Restoration Solutions' Victoria and Lance McCue Tackle Their West Chester Georgian Manor Home

The home, part of Clocktower Farm estate, underwent a renovation that included transforming a tennis court in a paddock and building a five-story stone campanile.



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A grand, arched five-bay window brightens the master suite. (Photo by John Lewis)
At first, Victoria and Lance McCue had no intention of restoring a historic home. It’s the sort of work that already consumes their full-time careers. As partners in the West Chester-based firm, Restoration Solutions, they’ve worked on some of Philadelphia’s most iconic structures, including the Academy of Music, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

So, when they were in the market for a home three years ago, land was their primary focus. But then, they had a change of heart and decided to look at a few older homes. Their revised search brought them to Clocktower Farm, a seven-acre estate in West Chester anchored by a 123-year-old Georgian manor home.

The McCues simply couldn’t help their curiosity. They were able to see past the home’s many imperfections and envision endless possibilities. “We weren’t daunted by the state of disrepair,” says Victoria. “We were actually fascinated.”

That fascination led to ink on paper. The couple and their two daughters moved into the six-bedroom house right away, diving into a nine-month renovation process. “Our biggest challenge was putting the place back together with no blueprints,” says Lance. “We needed to figure out how it should be done.”

And it wouldn’t be a surface job. On the home’s exterior, boards were stripped down to the original wood and repainted. “We could’ve just used any paint, but we wanted to leave it better for the next person who lives here,” says Victoria of the lifetime guarantee that came with the product they chose. “This place won’t need to be repainted for at least another 50 years.”

Gutters were replaced; old trees were removed and new ones added. The property already had a pool, a barn with stalls, and a workshop structure. Elsewhere, a tennis court was transformed into a riding paddock for the owners’ horses.

The McCues have a detailed chronology of the property’s ownership and structures that dates back to 1703. Records show that the stone barn was built in 1838. Well-known Philadelphia aristocrat Sydney Logan assumed ownership of Clocktower Farm in 1895, and he stayed for 30 years. A descendant of James Logan (of Logan Square fame), he spent his life chasing the dream of becoming an accomplished poet and novelist. But, save for a few books, Logan’s legacy truly lives on in this architectural gem. He’s responsible for many of its glamorous Old World features, from a neoclassical dining room with ornate moldings and built-in china cabinets, to a second-floor master suite with a luxurious sitting room.
 

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