The Lion's Den
News & Views About Real Estate in the Greater Philadelphia Area
Luxury Homes and Communities of The Main Line – East End
Lower Merion Mansions for Sale
Bryn Mawr and Villanova are in the heart of Philadelphia’s Main Line and home to sprawling luxury estates as well as many beautiful million dollar homes that offer a more modest country home setting. Both of these communities have an impressive array of estate homes and historic stone mansions for sale.
The single family homes prices in Bryn Mawr hovers just above a half million dollars, while the average listing price can often be much higher. In Villanova, those numbers increase quite a bit where the more modest PA luxury estates for sale are in lower Merion township near Conestoga Road. The multi million dollar golf homes can be found in Radnor Township near the Radnor Country Club. According to 2009 data in Forbes magazine, Villanova on the Main Line and Philadelphia County’s Chestnut Hill are certainly two of the wealthiest zip codes in the United States.
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Architectural styles in Villanova and Bryn Mawr real estate range from very traditional center-hall floor plans to more asymmetrical, European influenced Normandy and Tudor Revival styles. Many of these midcentury modern masterpieces were home to Philadelphia’s aristocrats, business executives and celebrities. Designed during an era when people entertained, you will find larger formal living rooms, dining rooms and butler’s pantries. These generously proportioned estate homes will take your breadth away. Today, however, many of these homes are updated to reflect most homeowners’ desire for bigger, more functional kitchens outfitted with professional-grade appliances.
Of course, there are spectacular, new luxury homes in Bryn Mawr and Villanova. Typically, they are custom homes built and designed to reflect traditional architectural styles in the area. These modern-day Main Line mansions usually range from about 7,000 to 16,000 square feet and have gourmet kitchens, elaborate main bedroom suites, secondary bedroom suites, finished lower levels and energy efficient climate control systems that buyers seek.
Neither Bryn Mawr nor Villanova are employment centers, except for a few significant organizations, such as Bryn Mawr Hospital, Villanova University and Bryn Mawr College. There certainly are smaller scale professional offices and small businesses, but many residents commute to Center City Philadelphia, King of Prussia, Conshohocken or the Route 202 to Malvern, Great Valley and Chesterbrook for employment.
Commuter train service to Center City Philadelphia is available from Villanova and Bryn Mawr via SEPTA’s Paoli/Thorndale line. The trip takes about 25 minutes.
Lower Merion Luxury Homes Compete for Status
While there are many highly desirable addresses on Philadelphia’s Main Line, perhaps none is quite as prestigious as Gladwyne, a community with some of the most expensive Lower Merion Township real estate . Gladwyne is a community that is very convenient to both Center City Philadelphia and the King of Prussia area, making it a desirable choice for commuters to those business hubs. New construction has been kept to a minimum in this “preservation minded” community over the years. The area has more acreage left undeveloped, giving it a more open rural feeling compared to many other Main Line communities. There is even a 22-mile trail where equestrians can ride and other can go for a stroll or walk a dog. The very prestigious Philadelphia Country Club is also considered part of Gladwyne, adding to the “green” feel of the area.
A drive around Gladwyne will offer glimpses of some very big houses for sale that have an English manor feel. Expect to pay $500 to $600 per square foot for these historical beauties, particularly if they have been significantly updated in recent years with chef’s kitchens, newer mechanicals and gorgeous main bedroom suites.
Nearby, Ardmore and Wynnewood real estate offerings also tend to be traditional, sophisticated homes that have a stately feel. Just as in so many other Main Line communities, many houses here were built of stone in the early 20th century, usually with a center hall floor plan. Their construction, millwork, deep windows, hardwood floors and expansive formal rooms make them classic choices regardless of one’s decorating style.
Spectacular luxury estate homes of Wynnewood can be found between Old Gulf Rd and Montgomery Ave. in Lower Merion Township. Wynnewood is home to some very affluent celebrity homes including Jeffrey Lurie’s home, owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, who bought the Walter and Lenore Annenberg estate home.
Ardmore is a bit more commercial than many other Main Line communities, which may account for the lower home prices. The Suburban Square shopping area is a retail hub with major department stores, the very popular Ardmore Farmers’ Market and a range of upscale retailers. The Ardmore train station and Lancaster Ave are the primary transportation routes in and our of this bustling business community. More residential development is planned for Ardmore.
Find Executive Homes in Haverford Township
Haverford Township is home to one of the finest liberal arts schools in the region, Haverford College. The internationally renowned Merion Golf Club is one of the oldest country clubs in the U.S. The Merion Cricket Club is surrounded by some of the most beautiful country club estates on the Main Line . The Athertyn in Haverford Township offers luxury condos for sales for those seeking a closed community experience and the more stately mansions in Haverford can be found between Mill Creek Rd. and New Gulf Rd.
The town of Haverford is partially in Delaware County and mostly in Montgomery County. It has its own train station served by SEPTA’s Paoli/Thorndale line and is just a 20 to 30 minute train ride from Center City Philadelphia. Historically, Haverford Township was dotted with luxury estate homes, among them “Cheswold,” built by A.J. Cassatt, president of the Pennsylvania Railroad in the early 20th century (and brother of painter Mary Cassatt), “Knollbrook,” built by a son of the founder of Sun Oil Company, and “Dolobran,” built by Clement A. Griscom, a prominent Quaker businessman and 19th-century shipping magnate. The latter, by the way, was designed by Frank Furness, Philadelphia’s favorite Victorian-era architect.
These days, many of these fine elegant estates are gone or have been subdivided. For example, the spectacular home on Caenarvon Lane was created from stone garden sheds that once belonged to a much larger estate. The 2400+ square-foot stone house sold in Spring 2011 for about $1,000,000.
The area has a particularly large number of center hall Colonial Revival-style houses built in the early part of the 20th century. As a general rule, Main Line real estate from this era was often built of stone. These desirable houses have character and strength unmatched by most new construction. Some also include carriage houses and other dependencies that often have been converted to guest or in-law accommodations.
Rest assured that there are plenty of newer Haverford Township executive homes to choose from that have been beautifully designed with the needs of modern families in mind. There are some cul de sac-type developments like the new Haverford Reserve, and some very new condominiums are beautifully outfitted with terrific luxury amenities.
For more information about Haverford real estate, please contact Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty’s Philadelphia office at 215-735-2225.