Best Of Both

Custom Architectural Firm Combines Modern Lifestyles With Time-Honored Traditions

Article by Julie Brown Patton

Photography by Jason Sandy, Angle Eye Photography

Originally published in West Chester Lifestyle

Period Architecture Ltd. is known for intuitive, comprehensive architecture. No matter the project, the firm's professionals achieve the desired blend of new individuality, character and ambiance. 

"We serve discerning clients who desire their homes to transcend period styles and trends, to include the necessities of comfortable contemporary living, and to be harmoniously sited within landscapes and communities," says Joseph Mackin Jr., Period Architecture co-founder and president.

Joe has long been inspired by the historical and regional architecture of his native Pennsylvania, and also by the resurgence and appreciation of classical and traditional forms. He confides he's motivated by a dual passion for historical and modern designs. Just take a look at the details he and his team incorporated into this new Chimney Hill residence in West Chester spotlighted here in West Chester Lifestyle.

This 4,000-square-foot residence on 1.5 acres with a barn and garage that additional usable space was modeled in the style of the Colonial Williamsburg/Dutch-Colonial Revival period. "We knew scale, proportion, order and rhythm of architectural details and materials are very important to the style's design. So, we incorporated classic Dutch Colonial materials, including a cedar gambrel roof, brick foundation, painted clapboard siding and painted millwork," says Joe.

During design, the team gave particular attention to the orientation, views and connection between indoor and outdoor living spaces.

Joe says one of the immediate challenges was that the house has two frontages:  a formal side that faces toward the public and an informal side used by family and visitors. 

For the formal, front-facing features, predominance was given to the gambrel massing with order and rhythm to the front porch, windows and dormers. 

The second, more informal family and guest arrival side features more cottage aesthetics, with sheltering roof lines, a breezeway and brackets that help bring down the scale.

The architects used the landscaping and picket fence of the raised courtyard to create the feeling of privacy and comfort. The house neighbors a historic home -- one that is the oldest house in West Chester -- so Joe says they were very mindful of remaining complimentary to that home. Secondary roof patterns off the main mass gambrel roof give the appearance of additions over time, boosting the house's overall character. The design team also sought to create open and sheltering areas for entertaining, grilling and playing outdoors.

Among some of the home's unique features is the herb garden just off the kitchen. 

Its “Party Barn” and breezeway links the garage to the residence, with the barn opening onto the raised courtyard, making a wonderful viewing spot for sunsets. 

Some key professionals and craftspeople who helped make this charming house happen were:  Ken Cassella/Cassella Builders, of Glenmoore; Mansueto Hardwood, of West Chester; Halkett Woodworking, of Souderton; and Zarelli Landscaping, of West Chester.

And, what did the new owners of this Chimney Hill residence have to say about the final outcome?  “It turned out to be pure perfection.”


Period Architecture, Ltd. is a custom architectural firm whose team's designs since 2010 have been rooted in time-honored traditions that also accommodate complex, contemporary lifestyles. This dual pursuit achieves transcendent, beautiful and livable architecture that integrates family life, entertaining and indoor-to-outdoor living.

Based in Malvern, Period Architecture professionals say they are committed stewards of the landscape and vernacular architecture. Whether historic, transitional or modern style, Joe says the firm's team aims to enrich and enhance the lives of their clients as well as their properties. Projects include new residences, additions and renovations, restorations, barns, and property planning.

"Appreciation and adaptation of regional and vernacular differences have led us to execute projects beyond Pennsylvania, including Delaware, New Jersey and along the eastern seaboard," he adds. 


  • The American Institute of Architects
  • The American Institute of Architects Philadelphia Chapter
  • The Athenaeum of Philadelphia
  • Institute of Classical Architecture & Art
  • Society of American Registered Architects

Period Architecture services are full spectrum:  master planning, researching codes, design, documentation and project management, as well as identifying builders, consultants, engineers, historians, and craftspeople as needed.

"It's all about establishing trust, and taking care of details," says Joe, who was fascinated with building things from an early age.

Period Architecture’s design studio team members prepare hand-sketched perspectives and digital or physical models that allow for careful analysis. Regular presentations to clients illuminate the design process and engage clients' active participation -- an approach that results in synergistically evolved solutions.

Related Businesses

Lulu & Mimi's Cleaning

Cleaning Services

Lulu & Mimi's Cleaning

Mission, KS

Since 1993, locally owned Lulu & Mimi's Cleaning has been known for our great service and affordable pricing. We're first...

Shower Doors of Nashville LLC

Doors + Windows

Shower Doors of Nashville LLC

Nashville, TN

Specializing in frameless shower doors, wine cellars, and other custom glass projects

See More

Related Articles

See More