Gawthrop House Renovation

New Design By Period Architecture Ltd. Creates Functional, Bright Kitchen Addition While Keeping Second-Story Views And Original Character

The owner of this 1917 classic, center-hall Colonial moved to West Chester from the Pacific Northwest, where her small home made up for its size with unforgettable views and unrelenting sunlight. Now, in her stone Chester County estate, this renovation and new addition aimed to honor the home’s history while replicating the daydreamy feel of her beloved West Coast residence. The professionals at Period Architecture Ltd. led the way in renovating this house once owned by U.S. District Judge Robert Gawthrop III.


The 1917 portion of the home has been meticulously maintained by both current and past owners, and it was crucial to honor their careful preservation and craftsmanship of the first builders.


The house addition was strategically built toward the south of the home to take advantage of the consistent sunlight and backyard views.


Even artwork resembling West Chester was incorporated into the home's décor. The painting is actually of Paris, created by Seattle artist Keren Jacobsen. The homeowner commissioned it after visiting 'The City of Light.'


The family dining is directly off the kitchen addition, located in the space of what was once an enclosed back porch. The round stone columns and wavy glass windows are all original. 


The new design created a functional, bright kitchen addition, while keeping second story views and the home's original character.

Doug Mancuso, Period Architecture project manager for this addition and renovation, says the goal of the new design for the Gawthrop House was three-pronged:  Create a functional, sun-drenched kitchen and mudroom; retain second-story views; and preserve and replicate the details and proportions of the original 1917 structure. To meet the challenge of creating a one-story addition that doesn’t obstruct second-story views, he says a hip structure on the standing-seam roof was employed. "This solution adds an aesthetically and architecturally gratifying addendum to the home without compromising the views of the home’s original top-story rooms," he adds.

Banks of six-over-six windows, a glass door that opens to the back terrace, and a cupola at the peak of a voluminous cathedral kitchen bay roof usher natural light into this transcendent space. Elsewhere in the kitchen, Doug emphasizes that bright white woodwork, an opalescent marble island countertop, and glazed brick backsplash provide ample spaces across which light can dance, even after sundown.

"The views to the backyard and the character of the materials were incredibly important to the owner to keep and restore," Doug assures.

He says the contractor, E.C. Trethewey Building Contractors, pulled out the old porch floor, installed radiant heat in the floors and found and replaced the floors with an antique brick more fitting to the period of the home. The brick was laid in a basket weave pattern.

Traditional woodworking and the use of a well-seasoned stone mason and other distinguished craftsmen carry the home’s fine heritage of mastery of detail into the new addition. Doug says that from period-appropriate light fixtures to properly sized and proportioned window panes, everything in this addition was closely considered from both an historic and utilitarian perspective. "The result is a space that both remains true to its history and rises to the demands of luxurious twenty-first-century living," he proclaims. 

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. Their design studio team members prepare hand-sketched perspectives and digital 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.

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