Standing in front of the Villanova estate, the Fruits, you’ll immediately notice a multitude of standout characteristics, from a custom Vande Hey Raleigh roof to an evergreen landscape of plants like holly, boxwood and yews that stay vibrant throughout the winter. But, perhaps what piques the most curiosity lies under the arched entry, where the French saying “Le Fruit de Notre Travail” is carved into the stone wall—symbolizing the hard work and dedication that it took to build this Philadelphia couple’s dream home. Quite literally, the saying translates to “the Fruit of our Labor.” “We came from humble beginnings,” says the lady of the house, who is in the paper business with her husband. they purchased the 4-plus acres in 1999 and immediately got to work on making their dream a reality. She says, “After more than four years, which included combining two parcels of land and building, it only seemed right to give the house the name.”
When it came to choosing an architect and designer for the 12,791-square-foot home
located at 733 N. Spring Mill Road, the owners knew that local architect F.L. Bissinger would be the perfect t. “He was most like us,” she says. “Fred was chill, funny and really nailed the whole thing.” So, how exactly did he “nail it?” Bissinger expertly carved out the old-world aesthetic that encompasses the entire six-bed and 10-bath abode—starting with the custom wrought iron double doors that lead guests into the grand two-story foyer, and going all the way up to the private third-floor European billiards room complete with Ultrasuede quilted wallcoverings and octagonal wood ceilings. The private corner of the estate also houses an at-home gym, a sauna, a powder room and a widow’s walk.
On the first floor, there’s a salon, family room, dining room, kitchen and floor-to-ceiling mahogany-covered library that lords over it all. Then there’s the sunlit breakfast room that looks out onto the backyard patio and gardens, a favorite of the couple. “Sitting here and having a coffee is my little piece of heaven,” she says.
Front and back stairs lead to the second floor of the home, which houses five guest bedrooms—each with its own en-suite bathroom and custom mahogany closet—a two-bed, two-bath apartment suite and a master bedroom that boasts soaring handpainted tray ceilings, matching Hokanson carpet, custom millwork and a wet bar. The room’s silk blend wallcoverings are a subtly luxurious accent. His-and-hers closets, as well as his-and hers marble bathroom suites with walk-in showers, a vanity lounge and handlaid mosaic tile tub, make for the ideal spa setting.
Entertainment plays into both indoor and outdoor settings thanks to media and golf simulator rooms and an in-ground pool. Aside from a large stone patio, the star of this outdoor oasis is an 80-foot ash tree, which was on the original property. “We did our best to preserve and incorporate the original trees into the construction of the house,” the owner explains. And for the trees that didn’t make the cut? Well, just look to the walnut wet bar and octagonal wood ceilings in the billiards room. After all, everything in this home has special meaning. The Fruits has certainly lived up to its hard-earned name. $9.98 million, Andrea Desy Edrei, 917.968.7848, and John Bolaris, 646.705.3642, Black Label Keller Williams Luxury International, 733nspringmill.com