But the similarities to existing structures, in large part, end there. Period Architecture’s designers walked away from the blocky floor plans of nearby, older homes and blew the living space wide open. Large windows and glass French doors flood the home with natural light. A soaring, two-story entry hall draws eyes skyward. Clean edges—free of window trim and crown molding—along with a neutral color palette make the walls recede into the background. These design features work in harmony to create an overall feeling of loftiness.
To soften the space and introduce more natural elements, the designers selected white oak for the home’s flooring and stair treads. The wood has a subtle stain that serves to draw out its earth tones. “What we were trying to achieve with the interior finishes was a house that felt comfortable and livable, yet still modern.” says Dolan.
The home’s design also emphasizes how sightlines can be an effective way to make a statement. From the home’s front entrance, an uninterrupted sightline offers a view of the leafy landscape that frames the back terrace. In this outdoor space, a pool with three waterfall features takes center stage. It is flanked by a greenhouse that gives shelter to the many plants and flowers the homeowners bring indoors throughout the year. And to extend backyard enjoyment through the seasons, two infratech heat lamps were built into the covered patio’s ceiling.
But for all the light, air and expansiveness that the home has to offer, it’s best to remember that appearances can be deceiving. The open-living space and sun-bathed rooms belie the dwelling’s inner strength… the home’s envelope—its bones, so to speak—is a force to be reckoned with.
“The structure of the house required a large amount of structural steel, which can be typical for a modern house with such large open living and tall exterior walls,” explains Scott Porter of Porter Construction in Chadds Ford, who served as the project’s builder. While steel may be typical for a home of this design, this particular build demanded a bit more. “It’s the most steel we’ve ever put into a house,” he adds.
There is perhaps no better example of the juxtaposition of light and strength than the home’s magnificent stair tower… an architectural wonder. The 3-story, steel tower is entirely floating, outside of several barely visible connecting points at the landings to offer stabilization. According to Dolan, it was the first time the firm ever attempted to design such a thing.
The team created a glass-enclosed tower that glows with interior light in the evenings, demanding immediate attention from anyone turning onto the property’s driveway. A multi-pendant chandelier, sourced from Shakuff in Brooklyn, NY, runs alongside the staircase, beginning at its highest point and plunging toward the first floor. The view from the tower looking outward is equally captivating. Its windows offer a commanding view of bucolic fields and dramatic sunsets.
With so much visual stimulation, it can be easy to overlook the practical side to a living space. But Period Architecture kept in mind the age-old rule that form must follow function. From the very first conversation with the homeowners about design, the team understood that the home needed to be a welcoming space to entertain guests and a comfortable home for their family to reside… now and for decades to come.
The open concept of the main floor—connecting, yet delineating, the kitchen, dining and living rooms—is the ideal layout for gathering friends and family. A lengthy balcony, with cable rails that mimic the stair tower, overlooks the entry hall and living space. In a sense, it is a bridge that connects the first and second floor. A series of fireplaces warm up the entry hall, dining and living rooms. Each heat source is framed with Canadian-sourced concrete that is imprinted with wood boards, creating the illusion of weathered wood.
At first glance, the kitchen suggests simplicity by way of unadulterated surfaces and understated design elements, but it is a serious space for cooking. Two side by side kitchen islands topped with Cambria Brittanica quartz (Petragnani Brothers Tile & Marble in Kennett Square) provide ample surface area for working, as well as a comfortable spot for guests to pull up a chair to chat near the action.