Area Guides for Philadelphia and the Surrounding Counties in Pennsylvania & New Jersey

One of the most popular listings in the past month at Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty, thanks to press coverage in an array of news outlets, has been a home that’s hard to miss: It’s big, purple and architecturally ornate, set atop a hill above Frenchtown, N.J. Built by the Rittenhouse family (a branch of the family for which Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square is named) as a summer residence, this 1878, Second Empire gem was fully restored just a few years ago. Extraordinary gingerbread details outline the porch and portions of the mansard roof. As for the attention-getting exterior paint, scraping layers of old paint showed that the house has always been purple. Purple became popular during the Victorian era as it was during that time that the color was first able to be produced synthetically in mass quantities. Historically it was associated with royalty and luxury, extravagance, grandeur, and magic; perhaps the Rittenhouse family brought a little of each of these to Frenchtown in a bygone era. 

Inside this violet-hued retreat, expansive, sun-splashed sitting rooms include original pine floors, windows, doors, trim work and an elegant three-story stairway with original railings. The kitchen is outfitted with soapstone counters, a commercial three-bay sink, center island with a prep sink, stainless steel dishwasher, six-burner Miele stove/double oven, reclaimed barn board floors and custom cabinets.

Private quarters also were renovated so that the five main bedrooms each have a sitting room and fully updated bath complete with radiant-heat floors. There are two additional, potential bedrooms. Modern times blend very well with traditional elements.

The .48-acre property (two additional lots are available separately) includes a barn and gardens that should begin to bloom in about a month. It is offered at $999,999 and is represented by Andrew Abruzzese and Chris Preston in the Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty New Hope Office.

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