Standfast Residence in Berwyn

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Standing witness along the Main Line of Berwyn, Pennsylvania, since 1924, this archetypal Colonial Revival was designed by renowned Philadelphia-area architect R. Brognard Okie. With extreme sensitivity and care paid to the original structure and its exceptional period details, this renovation and addition project tells the story of a home that was gradually expanded over the decades. The entirety of this restoration - from the tulip-shaped millwork incorporated throughout the new spaces, to the natural wood beams stained to lend them an appropriately aged patina - takes its cue from the existing framework and was inspired by the unique styling and detail that helped Okie bring the Colonial Revival movement to the area.

The name of this residence pays homage to the current homeowner’s Scottish heritage. As the battlecry of the Grant Clan, Scottish war generals would yell, “Stand fast!” from the prominent hilltop known as Craigellachie to provide warning to or raise the clan below. This same desire to honor the past colors every facet of this meticulous renovation. Outside, the addition’s new exterior walls are a stucco-on-block construction that mimics the more traditional stucco on stone found in the 1924 portion of the home. The interior features a soft, ethereal palette of historically appropriate colors that provide a clean backdrop against which the warm woods of the random width wide plank floors and exposed beams come alive. Wrought iron hardware and fixtures, plaster walls and detailing, stone fireplaces, Belgian bluestone flooring, flagstone terraces, and other natural materials characteristic to the area tie the home not only to a time, but also a place. Following Okie design principles and details, classic rat tail hinges and carved scalloping adorn the home’s new built-ins, while hand-forged iron hardware and beadboard backing decorate shelving units and period-inspired raised panel cabinetry.

The siting of the home’s addition, which expanded the 2,100-square-foot layout by another 1,400 square feet, takes advantage of the luminous southern exposure at the back of the property. The home office capitalizes upon the natural light with an airy full-wall expanse of windows with transoms, while the family room at the front of the addition features just a few large six-over-nine windows for greater privacy, but ample light. Also included in the addition is a new master bedroom with walk-in closets and en-suite bathroom, hallway linen cabinet, formal powder room, laundry room, mudroom, a covered porch, and new backyard landscaping and terraces.

Of primary concern in the design and construction of the addition was retaining the centurial character and artistic pulchritude that made the home’s careful preservation so essential in the first place. Here, the need for easy access to modern comforts and technology paralleled the desire for historic authenticity. The solution to these sometimes dueling aspirations was to hide the home’s contemporary conveniences in plain sight. Speakers and other technology are concealed within the home’s ceiling and thick interior walls. In the home office, filing cabinets, the printer, and other hardware stow away in custom drawers and compartments tucked within the traditional built-in detailing. To avoid marring the interior walls with unsightly air circulation apertures, a return vent is inconspicuously detailed into the steps leading into the living room. Behind the walls, mechanical and structural systems converge in a top-of-the-line central nervous system thoughtfully concealed within a traditional skin.

From new details created to feel antique, to historic features updated for today’s lifestyle, the Standfast Residence seamlessly integrates the preeminent materials, methods, and decorative hallmarks of yesteryear with the finest in modern building and architecture.

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