The video above begins with the words of Louis Kahn—his rather impressionistic feelings about the way he approached his work, which couldn't have been more different from this house on a hill in Malvern. The land was purchased in the 1970s, and passed to the original owner's daughter in the early 1990s. She and her film-director husband assembled a team to build this 7,200 square foot home, including architect Peter Zimmerman, Mark Davis, of C. Ramond Davis and Sons Builders, and Vincent Smith-Durham, who did interior and landscape design.
"The Story of Stillmeadow," a narrative about the life story of the house, is truly inspiring or depressing, depending on your bent. If you grew up as a Kennedy or can entertain like Martha Stewart, you'll feel a frisson of recognition. If you live in a two-room rental apartment, you'll want to shoot yourself. Here are some choice moments:
These rooms transition so easily from intimate conversations over a glass of wine with friends -- around the banquet table, sitting by the walk-in fireplace -- to baking cookies with our granddaughters, as our children visit in the living room. By bringing in an extra drop leaf table from the guesthouse we can seat 25 for Thanksgiving dinner. The term "walk-in fireplace" has always seemed disturbing. Moving on:
The porch and back yard have also hosted many memorable barbecues and picnics, baseball and Frisbee games. It is the starting point for walks through vast open fields, the “deep dark woods” and adventures in tree climbing and fairy hunting (grown up’s and kids alike). At the center of the house is the Courtyard. ... If there is a chill in the air and a bonfire is blazing, the courtyard becomes a unique experience ... the combination of bonfire sparks whirling toward the stars with the gentle sound of water in the fountain, it is absolutely enchanting.
The house excels at Thanksgiving and bonfires:
On an unseasonably warm Thanksgiving Day last year, we served 16 family members a delicious (group effort) dinner in the courtyard on a table made of sawhorses, followed by desert and stories at the fire. We have even been known to build bonfires in the midst of snowstorms, a great spot to sit with a cup of hot chocolate. ... But perhaps our favorite times have been reading in the hammock (hung between stone pillars, under the vine covered trellis? visited regularly by hummingbirds), or swimming by our selves at night under the stars.
According to the new brochure, "Film director M. Knight Shamalyan’s sprawling estate is visible from the back Terrace of this Residence, and pro athletes Roy Halladay, Ryan Madson, and Cole Hamels have homes nearby." Phillies fans will be disappointed to learn that people in the area are described as "genteel"—that's not a word they want associated with their sports team.
The vast five-bedroom house, which has truly spectacular details, is on the market for $3.75 million. Thanksgiving guests are not included.
· Listing: Stillmeadow [Hunter Reed]