Check Out This Stunning French-Inspired Home in Radnor

Inspired by the elegance of Paris, this local couple transformed their home into something befitting the Champs-Élysées.



 

Photo by Devin Campbell.

After 10 years in her ’60s-era home in Radnor, Sandy Pancoast yearned for a hip apartment in Paris—but she didn’t want to move. So instead, she and her husband, Bill, conceived their own slice of Europe in an ambitious reimagining of their 6,000-square-foot home.

The project started small, with new decking around the pool, but soon expanded like the dough for a dozen baguettes. When they decided to add an outdoor kitchen, they called George Metzler of Rittenhouse Builders to give them an estimate for a covered portico.

Next, they installed new windows with black painted wood frames to mimic the metal frames found in France. “This was a chance to do something different, to set the tone,” Bill recalls.

With that inspirational infrastructure in place, they committed to a whole house makeover.

In the Details

Metzler and his team worked closely with Linda Phillips, the Pancoasts’ friend, neighbor and interior designer, to set the tone for an edgy take on traditional French style. “Linda’s gift is understanding what people want and then delivering it,” says Bill. “She’s incredibly talented.”

The kitchen is a study in black and white. Black lacquer cabinets are set into an island with a waterfall counter of white quartz laced with bold gray veining. There are no upper cabinets or open shelving. Instead, floor-to-ceiling white flat-panel cabinets and under-counter cabinets with drawers provide storage.

Photo by Angle Eye Photography.

Photo by Angle Eye Photography.

“The cabinetry is very sleek and minimalist, like what you would find in current-day Europe,” Metzler says. “Sandy did not want a kitchen that looks like a kitchen, because it’s open to the living area.”

Behind its simple lines, the kitchen is replete with details. The commercial-style range exhaust is at roof level, removing any sounds from the fans. There are two dishwashers, one accessible from the patio to facilitate poolside entertaining. Elsewhere, a foldaway window opens to the outdoor kitchen.

The 8-foot ceiling in the kitchen and adjoining family room is dressed with molding in large hexagons, providing architectural interest without requiring depth. The rooms were previously divided by a steel support column, which was removed in favor of an inset support ceiling beam. “It’s expensive but worth it,” Metzler says.

Reimagined Spaces

While the house feels more open, the existing footprint never changed. In reimagining their home, the Pancoasts’ goal was to make better use of its already considerable size, taking space from seldom-used areas and adding square footage to the places they enjoy most.

Photo by Angle Eye Photography.

Photo by Angle Eye Photography.

That included tearing out a meandering maze of closets to create a spacious master bathroom, complete with a double steam shower sheathed in marble. His and her vanities are stationed back to back in the center of the room, giving each spouse an individual zone for grooming and storage. “It’s so nice to have your own side of the bathroom, your own closet and to still be able to talk to one another,” Bill says.

Photo by Angle Eye Photography.

Photo by Angle Eye Photography.

Elsewhere, there’s an emphasis on equally high-end finishes, including the front door, which is crafted from a 2.5-inch thick slab of mahogany and framed with side-light windows. “It’s completely handmade, something to be enjoyed, the tactile feedback you get from a really well made door,” Metzler says.

Photo by Angle Eye Photography.

Photo by Angle Eye Photography.

Raise a Glass

The foyer makes a striking statement thanks to a floor designed by Phillips in a bold chevron pattern of black and white, a harbinger of the palette throughout the public spaces of the house.

It’s a large, welcoming area, with a compact wet bar installed by a previous owner. The Pancoasts took the mini bar up a notch with a cool quartz countertop, high-gloss black cabinetry and LED lighting in an upper cupboard for barware. An icemaker and a wine fridge are tucked under the counter.

Photo by Angle Eye Photography.

Located between the living and dining rooms, the foyer is an ideal location for entertaining, and guests are often greeted with a glass of bubbly. “There is tremendous flow,” Bill says. “There are no bottlenecks.”

Seamless Connections

The house can comfortably accommodate up to 100 guests indoors. In fine weather, when they open the pool and patio, that number doubles. The patio is set in an oversized checkerboard pattern, reflecting the palette inside the house. A knee wall around the pool provides casual seating nearby.

“It was important to us that there be a great connection between the inside of the house and the outdoors,” Bill says. “People should be able to move comfortably from one place to the other.”

Sandy and Bill Pancoast with their dog, Lacey.
Photo by Gini Woy.

Photo by Gini Woy.

Phillips came up with the design for the project that started it all. The roof above the outdoor kitchen is an elaborate arched and beamed tongue-and-groove ceiling crafted from Douglas fir with a mahogany stain. A porthole window mirrors accent windows on the house and ushers in natural light.

“She sketched a beautiful plan and we made it happen,” Metzler says. “You can do a better job if you know what makes people happy, and the collaboration between the Pancoasts and everyone who worked on their home shines through in the result.”