10 Architectural Wonders on the Main Line
The A.E. Winn House of 1886 was likely designed by Frank Furness. The building is of a distinct suburban type, planned more as a modern cottage than a country home. “We first see a long front volume that appears, from the left corner, to be one-room deep, with a low-arched window and rising gable marking its center, but we quickly sense something unexpected,” Cohen says. “We catch the fundamental asymmetry of the third bay, to the right, diminished in scale and clapboarded below, as if a bluntly appended later wing, but this was design mischief rather than absence.”
A large chimney emerges at left, angled to the house exterior, purposefully offering a hint to the arrangement within. There, four ground-story spaces pinwheel around the chimney mass, each anchored on one of its canted faces. These spaces find their own identities, aggregating in plan into an untidy square. Starting from the entry and stair hall, with its tall arched front window, one moves clockwise to the left into a parlor, then to an intimate lozenge-shaped rear den shaded by a porch and, finally, to the dining room, appended to the service areas of the kitchen and pantry at right.
“In its more foursquare cottage form and proximity to other homes, this was the more common housing of the suburb,” Cohen says. “Whether sustained by streetcar commuting or clustering near railroad stations, such houses—often predicated on the gathering of neighbors—posited an approximate class-equality friendly to the notion of a community.”