By AML Publisher
Photos courtesy of Kevin E. McPherson
AroundMainLine.com takes you for an exclusive online tour of the 2008 PSPCA designer show house.
Dear AML Readers:
The Pennsylvania SPCA (PSPCA) is hosting its third annual DogHaus, a highly anticipated designer show house organized every other fall that brings together some of the Main Line and Philadelphia’s most innovative designer minds. All proceeds for the event support the PSPCA’s efforts to help abused and neglected animals throughout the state. Starting October 11th, the PSPCA will welcome thousands of visitors to the Edgcumbe House in Chestnut Hill. The estate is an impressive 10,000 square foot stone mansion built in 1861 that dominates a spacious private property on exclusive Norwood Avenue. The Chestnut Hill Historical Society prevented this architectural masterpiece (which was then owned by Chestnut Hill Hospital) from demolition in 1980. The house is now in private ownership.
AML attended the DogHaus preview party on October 10th, a memorable October evening that brought out hundreds of supporters and animal lovers to enjoy absolutely fabulous food (courtesy of Rittenhouse Square’s Bacchus Catering: www.bacchuscatering.net), beautiful people and a breathtaking designer house. We were so wowed by the efforts of the PSPCA and the hard work and talent of the designers that AML is publishing a three-part series that offers everyone a convenient online tour of Edgcumbe from the comfort of their homes. We won’t show you every nook and cranny of the 25 deliciously designed spaces—that is for you to check out in person! But, we do encourage you to click back on AML for the second and third installments of our Doghaus series coming very soon.
In closing, if you are a fan of animals or creative expression, we highly recommend you make the visit to Edgcumbe. It makes for a fantastic afternoon with your friends and family. And, better still, you can tie in a walk through the shopping-friendly enclave of downtown Chestnut Hill, just a minute away. Kudos to all the designers who cleverly weaved a tribute to animals through their visions, with some more subtle than others. So if you can make it, walk slowly, take in fully each fantastic room, and look closely for a creative nod to God’s great creatures big and small.
Enjoy our online tour!
The Living Room
Joey Jagod, Melissa Freeman and the Luxe Home team
Hot Design Tip: Hot tub shaped like a dog bowl
Once you walk up the stone steps and enter the foyer, the first room that will greet you on your right is the breathtaking, spacious living room. The ornate carved wood ceiling is one of the great original features of the house’s architecture and provided the design team from Luxe Home a tremendous open space that they filled with vibrant aquas, whimsical blown glass accents and buttery fabrics. You will certainly appreciate the polka-dotted floor-to-ceiling custom draperies, as well as some incredible detail in the form of scrumptious animal accents. These irresistible elements are cleverly delivered in unique clusters and wall hangings—and will most certainly lure you into a room that you will never want to leave!
The central focus of the design seems to be a large pair of owl lamps strategic and statuesque behind the curved main sofa. And, as the designers pointed out, the sage green textured wallpaper shimmers in the afternoon sunlight that graces the room. “Going into the design process for this room we certainly appreciated the architectural subtext. So, we looked at this as American gothic and then we started to evolve into a bohemian chic, the idea of playing with color. There is a lot of woodwork, wainscoting on the doors, the carved ceilings. These details all present the challenge of complimenting a majestic room like this without being overpowering,” said Joey Jagod of the Luxe Team. The great genius of the living room and its head-turning, visually stimulating design elements rests in the unique balance of modern living with a strong hint of traditional.
The space is somehow ornate and brimming with the whimsy of wildlife, yet open and inviting. “The play of pattern on pattern was interesting with our color story. And the menagerie of animal we embraced: we have turtles, frogs, roosters, butterflies, owls, birds, pug pillows, dog fabrics, an elephant collage. In this house in general we wanted to balance the tradition with an updated look,” said Jagod. So, Luxe filled the large space with a ton of visual stimulation—a challenging task, as they acknowledge. “We had to counteract in just the right way the heaviness and ornateness of the wood work and bring out a lighter, more entertaining feel for the room without distracting from the carvings. It is a delicate balance, but one I believe we achieved,” added Melissa Freeman. The Edgcumbe living room is exuberant and sexy, colorful and stimulating but a fabulously cozy room and a great starting point for visitors. It certainly sets the stage for an enjoyable tour.
The statement room in most houses is the dining room, but that is an understatement in RJ Thornburg’s and Louis Naverette’s eclectic interpretation in the red-oak paneled masterpiece which is immediately down to the left after you enter the foyer. Aesop’s Fables act as the inspiration for a one-of-a-kind chandelier designed by famed Warren Muller that you have to see in person to fully appreciate. Muller is known for making sculptures and fixtures from found objects and this cleverly curious centerpiece springs from a lamb’s face. “It is the least used room in the house generally so we decided to approach it more like a lounge. And we went to nature for much of the inspiration of course. And you can see the inspiration from Aesop around the room. There are nods to the Greek gods with a bronze from the nineteenth century and strategically positioned discus throwers. Even though this is a Victorian house, we mixed in all different eras for this concept,” explained RJ Thornburg. In the left corner, modern lighting and a lounge-like seating area make what could be an intimidating paneled dining space an awe-inspiring room. The work of Thornburg is hard to put in words, stimulating and theatric yet somehow simple. This is a room full of talent and innovation you just have to see for yourself.
Gregory Augustine & Jenise Pencek
Ideal Client: One who allows the process to evolve
At the top of the grand staircase is a unique, modern men’s bedroom that really wowed the crowd at opening night. August Interiors demonstrated that an updated look, when done with detail and thought, can fit just perfectly in the oldest, most traditional Main Line mansion. The August philosophy is one of combining found objects, vintage textiles and fine art to bring the perfect palette of design to their finished work. “This is a look that has been collected, this is a look that takes time that is not easily accessible. There are different stories behind everything, gathered over travels and experiences. Many of the pieces come from warehouses and have been artfully refurbished. That gives this room meaning,” said designer Gregory Augustine.
The room’s main porcelain light fixture is custom-made and accents a low, inviting bed which is actually a piece purchased at Ikea and creatively covered in faux patent leather. The backs of the chairs are vinyl. August’s innovation shows that you can get a great, realistic look without using authentic animal materials or products. The design team of Augustine and Jenise Pencek also incorporated a distressed paint finish on a vintage highboy and had Pencek’s mother crochet the cabinet handles. “We like details that are very tactile, that look crafted and hand done. Construction and elements are what drives me. And we did recessed lighting, I am a lighting snob and the electrician had a hell of a time working with me on that request. But, without it the room would not have the same feel,” Augustine added. Finishing off the neutral, textured masculine palette and materials are the perfect contrast of hand-painted gold ombre drapes, kissing the finished floor ever so lightly.
Coming Up Next in Part Two
The Edgcumbe House is located at 8860 Norwood Avenue in the heart of Chestnut Hill.The 2008 PSPCA Doghaus will be open to the public October 11-November 9. Tour hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. Individual tickets, which include a complimentary catalog, are $25 and can be purchased at the door. All proceeds directly benefit PSPCA adoption programs. Visit www.pspca.org.