Thursday, August 2, 2012

Housetour: Glencairn

Adjacent to Cairnwood and the Bryn Athyn Cathedral sits Glencairn. The other structures pale by comparison as this house dominates the nearby landscape with its main 7 story tower.Raymond Pitcairn and his wife Mildred Glenn built Glencairn (hence the name Glen - cairn) as their family home between 1928 and 1939 adjacent to Cairnwood, the family seat, where they lived during contruction. Above you can see just HOW close.As at Cairnwood, views of the cathedral are found throughout the house.
Raymond was thus not only working on his Cathedral at this time but also on his own house and the similarities are striking. Romanesque details that he couldn't accomodate on the cathedral are instead used on his own medieval house/castle.Despite its eccentrically spooky design and enormous size this was every bit a family home for his 9 children (8 are depicted as corbels on this balcony seen above). Interestingly enough, some of the children chose to share bedrooms.Here unlike at the Cathedral, Raymond was able to complete a finished cloister which makes a lovely private garden for the house.Now housing a museum of Raymond's religious artifacts, the house has changed little since his time in residence.I loved these 2 ancient benches built into the wall with a view of the valley below.High above the cloister is a porch off the master bedroom. Details such as this stair articulated on the exterior had me so excited to go inside!The front door sits basically on the back of the house under the tall tower.As at the cathedral, the details here are amazing. Notice the name etched in stone over the heavy metal doors.The entry is lavishly covered with beautiful marble mosaics. Never forget though that this is a very modern house and was a family home. The modern day conviences are nicely disguised, like this electrical outlet above (if you can even find it - that is some amazing faux painting). The stone is so beautiful and suits the collection nicely.Off of the entry is the dining room with a terrific brick, groin-vaulted ceiling.I adored the painting over the fireplace. Notice too that the lighting conduit is expertly faux-painted to blend in with the brick. The Great Hall (or living room) sits off the dining room and is certainly an awe-inspiring space.Despite the size little elements bring the room down to human scale, such as the bookcases..Or the inglenook at the fireplace. Much of this custom furniture and the wood throughout the house is from the same stock of teak wood used at the cathedral.The opening between the dining and great hall is beautifully mosaic'd as well.Notice the glass railing on the balcony above.The concrete stairs taking you up to the bedrooms in the tower is poured concrete and painstakingly decorated.The hallways upstairs are also of stone and no design detail is spared or overlooked.The cozy family chapel here is similar in size to the one next door at Cairnwood.This one is a tad more ornate of course. Mosaic'd ceiling and with Raymond's passion, beautiful stained glass windows.Localized lighting is key in warming the stone and creating intimate spaces.Down the hall from the chapel is the library or family room, probably my favorite space.
Imagine a roaring fire in here and an afternoon spent perusing the bookshelves.Off the library is the master bedroom; surprisingly intimate for such a grand house.
Much of the furniture was made specially for the house and designed by Raymond, while the rest speaks of a family home of the time period.Each bedroom features a stone niche for a bible, seen beside the gorgeous crib.I loved the detail on this door's panels - it opens to feature a dressing mirror!The master bathroom is covered with beautiful marble slabs and brass fixtures: even the shaving sink is stone.Mosaics have a place here as well. I've always loved glass towel rods.The vanity is also of teak and matches others found throughout the house. A sleeping porch is located off the bathroom (seen from the cloister below).And what is located up the tower you may wonder? A metal and glass sunroom sits neatly within a large covered terrace with amazing views of the valley below.I hope you enjoyed this tour of eccentric and wonderful Glencairn as much as I, or even half as much!

15 comments:

The Devoted Classicist said...

I don't think I had ever even heard of this house, much less seen pictures. But it was a treat to see, especially the details.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Classicist, I hadn't either. I was headed to Philly and had remembered the Carrerre and Hasting's housemuseum, Cairnwood. Low and behold there was a cathedral and Glencairn as well! I was blown away.

Anonymous said...

What a great featured post on all three buildings. I will have to head over there to see them. Fantastic, unusual, monumental, awe inspiring, family oriented and so very different are just a few words to describe this unique property.

Parnassus said...

A house of great magnificence, although perhaps a bit on the grandiose and ecclesiastical side to be truly domestic. You might be interested in Stan Hywet in Akron, which is related in spirit and scale to the Pitcairn houses. http://roadtoparnassus.blogspot.tw/2012/07/stan-hywet-hall-in-akron-ohio.html

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Anon: certainly monumental! I love seeing things out of the ordinary like these.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Parnassus: yes, very ecclesiastical but that was his passion after all. His home was a reflection of this. Unusual and not for everyone, certainly -but thats what makes it so interesting!
thanks so much for the suggestion! I love to keep a running list of houses to see in case I'm ever in the area. I hadn't heard of that and it looks really interesting!

ChipSF said...

OMG - how have i never heard of this house? Thank you! Another spot for your list:

www.meadowbrookhall.org

lostpastremembered said...

I don't know where to start. You had me at ancient benches and went on from there. What a place!! The faux details are a joy. I think one of the things I hate about places that don't let you take pictures.. who say "its all in the book or brochure" is that we look at details not just the whole picture and they are lost in wide shots. How would you know that outlet was there in a wide shot???
Awesome tour... felt like I was there with my eyes!!!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Chip, long time no talk! Yes, this house is pretty amazing and unusual so I'm surprised that it hasn't been talked or written about much. Or maybe thats WHY it hasn't been and people don't know what to make of it?

ArchitectDesign™ said...

LPR - the faux details were a joy to be sure. They just showed the attention to detail which had been showered on the house.
God is in the details! Thank you for the compliments :-) It just made me realize I really need a better camera as I'm so disappointed with my photos.

Mark D. Ruffner said...

What an interesting house! Looking at all the rooms in this cavernous place, I see beauty but also very insular lives. I'd be interested to know what all those children did with their lives, and what they were like . . .

Karena said...

Stefan

Stunning, simply stunning! I have gone over and over these images. It is astounding the thought and detail in the planning of these majestic homes.

Thank you so much for sharing!

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena
2012 Artists Series

Elsbeth said...

Just noticed that the outside pics are very blue - could it be that the white balance setting on your camera is fixed on 'incandescent' or 'interior' setting? It is tiny bit a pity as your photos and posts are so excellent and you do such an effort in sharing! Really, really enjoy your posts, this one in particular.

Maria at inredningsvis.se said...

GREAT POST:)
Your blog is so wonderful..I asked you a while ago if you have twitter or fb??

If you want some cute swedish decor inspiration..check out my blog:)

Have a great week dear

LOVE Maria at inredningsvis.se
(sweden)

Brooke Michie said...

GORGEOUS, detailed photos! I grew up in Huntingdon Valley, about a five minute drive from here. You captured this estate/cathedral/etc beautifully!

http://fashionablepalette.blogspot.com/