A Fairy Tale Find
A classic cottage in Arden gets an update by going back to its roots.
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The faucets on the sink and bin pulls on the cupboards are crisp, shiny chrome that reflect the vintage cocktail shakers on the bar. Overhead is a glass tulip lamp, an ever-fresh design that mimics the bell-shaped flower. A washer and dryer are stationed under the granite counter.
“Now doing laundry is fun,” Somerville says.
So is living in Arden, especially for people who love art and history.
Named for the sylvan retreat in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” Arden was founded in 1900 by sculptor Frank Stephens and architect Will Price. The utopian community was based on the Single Tax philosophy of political economist Henry George, in which residents do not pay taxes on the houses they own but rather on the land they rent.
Following the ideals advocated by British artist and social reformer William Morris, the founders fostered hand-crafted work created in a beautiful environment. To this day, theater thrives in the community, as do arts, crafts, concerts, weekly community dinners and the annual Arden Fair.
The Castle has grown over the years as various owners put their mark on the property. Somerville will always be grateful to the family who retained the diamond leaded-glass windows that were removed during an addition, then moved to the other side of the house.
One longtime resident was artist Clara Finkelstein, who left behind two striking still life paintings that hang today in the “ballroom,” as Somerville calls the expansive living room.
Finkelstein was a gifted artist who worked with Chadds Ford icon N.C. Wyeth. “Now I represent both their work, so we’ve come full circle,” Somerville says.
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