A Historic Gladwyne Manse Withstands Change Gracefully

The 1930s English tudor is perfect for its new owners.



An all-season patio space overlooks the pool//Photos by Evan Wawrzyniak

The 1930s-era English Tudor exemplified a turnkey property. The previous owner happened to be a contractor, who’d spent several years renovating and updating the stone house in Gladwyne to his family’s tastes. Even so, once the new owners started to look at the home with a commitment in mind, some changes became paramount.

The office area just off the living room has a distinctly feminine touch

A Matter of Convenience

The first order of business was a connector. “They’re now able to walk from the main house to the pool house without being exposed to the elements,” says Jeff Brinton, a principal at Gardner/Fox Associates who added a similar element to the owners’ previous home. 

The new post-and-beam structure blends seamlessly with the existing architecture. A wood-burning masonry fireplace and electronic phantom screens make the space comfortable year-round. 

Just beyond the new connector, a brick terrace overlooks the pool, and a water feature set against the back of the new fireplace is another ideal addition. “The kids put goldfish in there,” says Brinton with a laugh. 

Lighten Up

Stone Tudors often lack natural light—and it didn’t help that the previous owners favored mahogany. In the kitchen, Carrara marble countertops have replaced black granite, brightening up the space. Cabinets now have glass doors and interior lighting, and the use of Carrara continues with the custom backsplash behind the stove. 

For the lady of the house, an office just off the formal living room features white cabinetry and built-ins. A white desk and area rug combine with neutral furniture to give the space a soft, relaxed feel. Centered between the built-ins and the French doors, an expanse of windows allows for plenty of natural light. 

“We painted all the cabinetry white,” says Brinton. “We also acid-washed the flagstone floor.” 

A dining area just off the kitchen is surrounded by windows.  

Master Redo

For one of the home’s more impressive transformations, the owners totally reconfigured the master suite, eliminating one of the bathrooms to maximize bedroom space. The couple now shares a single closet with a center island, built-in bench seating and custom cabinetry. A custom fireplace surround made of French limestone is a standout feature.

At the expense of an unneeded third-floor bedroom, Gardner/Fox added a vaulted ceiling, bringing in light from a trio of windows originally on the third floor. “All the windows have retractable shades, so the owner can control the amount of sunlight and privacy in the room,” Brinton says. 

The master bathroom was gutted to the framing to create a soothing, spa-like space. White Carrara marble tops the vanities, and there’s a soaking tub and a frameless, curbless glass shower with a zipper drain. The room also features a frosted-glass toilet enclosure and radiant-heat floors. 

The master bedroom

Finishing Touches

Brinton and his team enclosed both sides of the home’s porte cochere with low stone walls and glass windows. Radiant floor heating extends from the house to the garage. 

In the home’s lower level, additions include an intimate bar area with seating for four, quartzite countertops, and leaded-glass cabinetry. A home theater offers platform seating for up to six guests. Rounding out the amenities: a bathroom with a steam sauna and an expanded exercise area.

Resources

Architecture and construction: Gardner/Fox Associates, 919 Glenbrook Ave., Bryn Mawr, (610) 525-8305.

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