if you have ever dreamed about owning a house in s forrest, or better still, a house designed by one of the masters of architecture from the 20th century, well now is your chance (if you have 6 million dollars in your back pocket)
Richard Neutra’s Pitcairn House, a very private, hidden masterpiece, is the quintessential house in the woods. Marvelous design, comfortable living surrounded by acres of wildlife and nature, yet close to metropolitan areas. A long driveway leads toward the top of a ravine overlooking the Pennypack Creek and groves of oak, beech, maple and poplar to the site chosen by Neutra in 1959. The superbly designed and maintained 6,303 sq. ft. house completed in 1962 is set on 10.1 conserved acres in turn surrounded by the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust, an 812-acre nature conservancy.
Neutra signature designs are found throughout: Twindows (PPG double pane thermal windows), floor-to-ceiling, connect the indoors with nature outside. Windows exposed to the sun and not protected by an overhang are tinted “Solargray”. Sculptural walls distinguish important areas: the invisibly set stone wall at the head of the driveway separates the front from the family entrance. A white minimalist wall interrupts the front façade marking the front door and hiding the deck behind it. The stone wall of the courtyard protects the Master Suite. Triangular trusses under the deck anchor the house to bedrock. The sloped roof, essential in Pennsylvania winters, is supported by triangular trusses that span outside the windows to form overhangs for the deck and terrace in the courtyard. Set at 10′ 3″ intervals the trusses define the living spaces – living room, dining room, library and kitchen. The peak of the roof is 12′ 5″ above the floor; however, the lower edge of the triangle creates the illusion that the ceiling is only nine feet high. The bronze spider leg juts out of the fireplace to join the brick hearth and then runs along the hearth to the edge of the room.
The cantilevered entrance staircase hovers over a swim-in-place indoor pool. A mirrored wall reflects the outside terrain and gives the illusion of a double staircase that invites the visitor to a spectacular 26′ x 22′ living room the center of the house with windows on both sides. The space can accommodate large groups or intimate gatherings. Off the living room is a large deck partially protected by an overhang, perfect for warm weather enjoyment. Behind the fireplace is the library with a marvelous view down the slope through the windows that meet at the corner.
From every vantage point trees, birds, wildlife and weather changes can be enjoyed. The living spaces are designed around a courtyard with a terrace, grass, sandbox and trees beyond. Windows in the living room and playroom form two sides. The third side is an invisibly set stone wall, which marks the edge of the Master Suite. The Master Suite located at the very private end of the house has a bedroom with floor to ceiling windows that look out on changing light and seasons. The bathroom with marble counters and a tile floor has a Jacuzzi tub and separate shower. A dressing area completes the suite. In 2000 a new, professionally designed chef’s kitchen was installed overlooking an eating area along the floor to ceiling windows – the perfect place to watch the birds at the feeder. A Sub-Zero refrigerator, double ovens, maple cabinets and a desk surround two working islands with granite counters. Off the kitchen are a large pantry and a laundry room. A professional video editing and screening room with a sound-proof recording studio was installed on the lower level. All the bathrooms were completely redone in 2000. Three bedrooms and a full bath open onto the family room. The guest room with floor to ceiling windows has a Jacuzzi bathtub. A private one-bedroom 519 sq. ft. apartment was added at the end of the family room. Attached to the house is a two-car garage. Down the driveway is a detached studio and garage. Pitcairn House is 40 min. from Center City Philadelphia and 1.5 hours from the Lincoln Tunnel. Northeast Philadelphia Airport, 15 min. away, is used by private jets and smaller planes.