You will find a certain kind of a house—the sort of graciously proportioned, sprawling mini estate you might remember from The Philadelphia Story—dotting the rolling green acres of the affluent Main Line suburbs in southwestern Pennsylvania. Many of these exist courtesy of Walter K. Durham.
Prominent in the early decades of the 20th century, Pennsylvania architect Durham designed and built hundreds of revivals of something or other—cottages and brick colonials and French-style chateaux— for wealthy Main Line clients. One of his 1930's projects was an addition to a 200-year-old gentleman's farm in Chester County that, a few decades later, fell into severe disrepair. Four historic structures (the stone farmhouse, a carriage house, a spring house, and a barn dating to 1820) sat untouched for years: it was the sort of situation that could easily have led to the property being subdivided and the buildings razed. But local architects Archer & Buchanan, who specialize in restorations, had other ideas:
Photographs via Archer & Buchanan.
Above: A bank barn, often built into the side of a hill, is accessible at ground level on two separate stories. As is typical of the style, the barn at Mine Road Farm was built of stone. It was neglected, deteriorated, and overgrown with weeds before the restoration got underway.
Above: The barn's structure was stabilized; it also got a new cedar shake roof, wood siding, and windows.
Above: Portions of the main house at Mine Road Farm date to 1720.
Above: The barn, adjacent to a paddock, has stalls for six horses.
Above: Built on an embankment, the farm has a series of fieldstone retaining walls that define the gardens and lawns.