Houzz Tour: Nestling Into the Rural Pennsylvania Landscape – Via Houzz.com
Regional barns and nature provide the inspiration for a new home sited between a meadow and the woods.
To help his clients fulfill their desire to get back to nature, architect Matthew Moger, of Moger Mehrhof Architects, got back to nature himself. “I took my daughter camping on the site, so that I could listen to what the landscape had to tell me,” he says. After careful consideration, he nestled a barn-like house between the meadow and the woods, so that it would serve as a bridge between the two.
Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: Barney and Nancy Leonard, parents of 2 adult daughters
Location: West Chester, Pennsylvania
Size: 4 bedrooms, 3½ bathrooms
Photography by Jeffrey Totoro Photography
The Galvalume standing-seam metal roof is built to last, and is outfitted with photovoltaic panels that generate electricity.
Floors: red oak
The views are vast, and in the winter they take in the pastoral landscape of the Brandywine River Valley, dotted with picturesque barns. The site is so private that, yes, that’s an outdoor shower you see on the left — no enclosure necessary. Just out of sight to the right is an outdoor fireplace.
Thus, the powder room, visible through the front door’s sidelight in the previous photo, is set to glow as soon as the sun sets, thanks to a seasonal timer, LED lighting and Plexiglas. The lights are mounted to 2-by-4 studs and a sheet of sandblasted Plexiglas. Moger wrapped the powder room with horizontal bands of reclaimed barn wood, just like the entryway’s exterior.
Front door: custom; door hardware: Rocky Mountain Hardware
Reclaimed wood plays a big role throughout the home, adding warmth and a sense of history. For example, the wood on the sliding barn door came from a local salvage yard in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The timbers are from a red oak that was at the end of its life on the property, and were milled onsite.
“All of the reclaimed wood is so rich and beautiful that it serves as art throughout the house,” Moger says.
Ceiling light: Hudson Valley Lighting Company
Large windows wrap the house and let in vast views of the landscape.
Fieldstone: Rolling Rock Building Stone; windows (here and throughout the house): Marvin
The little table is a model of the dining table Moger designed for the couple. Its base was inspired by the way two trees had fallen on the ground.
A mix of monopoint, pendant and natural lighting keeps the kitchen bright. The tall window on the right lets the cook see who is coming up the driveway, and the upper portion helps to vent the kitchen. The island countertop is Caesarstone; the rest of the countertops are locally quarried soapstone. “They add another organic element,” Moger says.
Cabinetry: custom, Superior Woodcraft
You may have noticed a lack of wall switches around the house. Thanks to Lutron’s RadioRA 2 wirelessly controlled lighting system, each room has only one touch pad, eliminating the clutter of multiple light switches. The homeowners can also control their lighting, HVAC and music remotely from their iPhones and iPads.
The floors are hickory, from another felled tree on the property. The bathroom has a private sink and toilet, and connects to a shared shower room that connects to another bedroom’s sink and toilet room. The mirror came with the couple from their home on the Main Line; they like its off-center placement.
If you’d like more detailed information about the construction process, check out Barney’sexcellent blog about the home. “My clients tell me that living this way has really improved their quality of life,” Moger says. It’s easy to see how, given the sunrise views from the bedroom, the easy airflow through the house, the views and, of course, the thrill of an open outdoor shower.
Other team members included Jonathan Alderson of Jonathan Alderson Landscape Architects, Tad Radzinski of Sustainable Solutions and Mark Thompson of MW Builders.