How One Local Couple Created Their Ideal Entertainment Space
Their 1929 stone colonial in Penn Valley provides a charming backdrop for holiday gatherings.
All Photos by Tessa Marie Images
Kate Kincaid and Greg Keilin fell in love with old stone colonials while house hunting on the Main Line. The couple is also keen on Danish modern furniture and antiques, and they enjoy hosting friends and family. In a stately stone home in Penn Valley, they found the ideal place to harmoniously blend their many and diverse interests.
Built in 1929 and designed by Walter Durham, one of the most prestigious and prolific Main Line architects of the 20th century, their home is spacious, steeped in vintage charm and built with the incomparable materials and craftsmanship that were hallmarks of American prosperity at its zenith. And in the spirit of the 1920s, it’s a swell place for a party.
“When we first saw this house, we could tell immediately that it had great old character, without being too stuffy,” Kate recalls. “We loved the layout of the house. We really wanted an entertaining space separate from the family area, so we don’t need every square inch of the house to be spotless in order to have people over. We also fell in love with the setting, which feels very private and peaceful because we’re surrounded by trees.”
Kate is an artist and Greg makes his living as an entrepreneur. Together, they like to artfully combine meaningful pieces to create interiors that are sophisticated yet welcoming. “We have antiques, family heirlooms, Danish modern craftsman and contemporary furniture,” says Greg. “We enjoy a well-placed pop of color or print, but our overall tendency is toward simplicity and clean lines. We want the house to feel a bit elevated, but it’s also important that everything be functional and comfortable.”
To create spaces conducive to sharing, the couple turned to interior designer Larina Kase. She helped them find an aesthetic that exudes a sense of personal history in the art and furniture, so it appears to have been collected over time. “We included every decade from when the house was built up until now—except for maybe the ’80s,” says Kase.
The recently renovated kitchen was outfitted with dual islands and commercial-style appliances. A few aesthetic changes—walnut stain on the cabinets and a Carrera marble backsplash and countertops—were the only modifications. “We love to cook, and that’s a big part of how we entertain,” Kate says. “We’ll start our dinner parties in the kitchen. We enjoy cooking with other people, so we tend to have snacks and drinks set up on the counters for people to munch on as we finish cooking. Then we’ll move into the dining room to eat. We like to serve buffet or family style.”
As art lovers, the couple enjoyed collaborating with their designer and various artisans throughout the process. The home has custom woodworking from Beyond Stock in Ephrata, one-of-a-kind pillows by Chadds Ford textile artist Ellen Catanzaro, and window coverings by Claudia Clobes Yudis of Urban Loft Window Treatments in Haverford.
This was our first time using a designer, and we couldn’t imagine anyone more perfect,” Kate says. “Larina completely understood our aesthetic and supported us in bringing our vision to life.”
The collaboration meant perfectly suited pieces, like the long, refined table in the dining room specially crafted in Lancaster County for the space. The accompanying upholstered chairs with nail-head detailing came from Studio 882 in Glen Mills and are conducive to social gatherings. “We were very focused on finding furniture that makes people feel comfortable,” Greg says. “Dining room chairs you can sit in for a long time, living room sofas that are elegant but also cozy—nothing too precious that people will be afraid of breaking just by using it.”
Nearby in the dining room, a mid-century modern credenza displays crystal. Kate painted the studies of flowers displayed on the deep teal walls. She mimics those in her floral arrangements when entertaining, bringing in live plants in vivid shades of persimmon, purple or fuchsia.
Overhead hangs an Art Deco-inspired chandelier dripping crystals. The designer suggested lacquering the ceiling in glossy off-white, with a hint of blue gray. “It has a wonderful sheen—very glamorous,” she says.
Continuing with the glamour, Kate and Greg are firm believers in enjoying their best china, so they use it regularly, paired with Waterford crystal and Georg Jensen silver.
“Our china is Bernardaud, and we have fairly simple service plates and dinner plates, but the accents plates are a bit more flamboyant—it’s fun to mix and match those,” says Kate, who also makes use of table linens of some kind. “I love the look of a bare table with the plates on chargers and a pop of color from a napkin,” she says. “We use tablecloths if we want it to feel just a little more formal.”
They also value place cards, especially when seating eight or more guests. “Figuring out who would work best sitting next to whom is a great way to prepare for what kind of mood the party will have, what kind of music to play,” Kate says.
The formal dining and living room areas are places where visitors can relax and indulge, whether for a dinner party or the holidays. “When we’re entertaining and there are dirty pots and pans all over the kitchen, we can close the door and keep the dining room and living room serene—and always ready for guests,” Kate says.
And that means the hosts can relax a little, too.