November 22, 2009

Historic House Tour: Cliveden (PA not UK)

Last weekend, several members of the Historic House Group and I went to Philadelphia. We spent most of the time at Stenton, but also found a spare few hours to visit Cliveden, home of the Chew family for more than 200 years.Philadelphia 218The house was the site of the Battle of Germantown in the American Revolution, and 125 British soldiers barricaded themselves in the house while the Americans shot at them. Philadelphia 239 You can still see the marks in the walls. Philadelphia 230

Because the same family lived in the house continuously for more than 200 years, there were very few significant changes to it, other than adding heating and indoor plumbing, and a new wing. Philadelphia 221

Unfortunately, the house is undergoing some major renovations, so we were only able to see the ground floor.Philadelphia 235 It was late in the afternoon when we arrived, and the house is dimly lit, so the photographs I took are not brilliant – or bright!

The woodwork in the house is just stunning and it is so classical in its styling. The broken pediments over the two rooms off the main hallway were just gorgeous. Philadelphia 240Here, you can see where the new wing of the house was added. They’ve taken a window and made a door from it. But when the door is closed, it still blends in with the original woodwork. Philadelphia 251While I loved the inside of the house, it was several of the views of the outside of the house that had me captivated. I loved this little outbuilding and can imagine I’d be quite happy in a house of this size and style. Unfortunately, I don’t think I am likely to find one in my current house-hunt.Philadelphia 215As we rounded a corner, I was delighted to find this little Palladian window and shutters in a corresponding shape. Philadelphia 204The shutter dogs on the windows may be close to original. It’s so pleasing to see even the smallest detail with a great aesthetic.Philadelphia 208I love the sturdiness of these columns in the back of the house. The detailing is spectacular. Philadelphia 205All in all, it was a wonderful day with some great new friends. For more pictures, check out JCB and Architect Design’s posts on our trip.


  1. It's perfectly beautiful and I am glad to know of it, thank you.

  2. Now that is my kind of weekend. Experiencing architecture such as that is a thrill to me. So fun to see this magnificent house Meg. Thanks for sharing no matter what the quality of the pictures. I too would be over the moon to live in just the outbuilding.
    Have a terrific Monday ~ Deb

  3. Looking at these pictures makes me think of my concern if ever I go on a group tour of a house. I am just the kind of person who would want to spend oh hour...studying that spot of light at the bottom of the staircase, or a shutter, or peeling paint to the point the guide would be snapping at me to "move along!"

  4. Cube... that is so funny! you will notice that most of my pix are of the outside details!

    Check Arch. Design - his indoor pix are really great.

  5. Wow, talk about a spectacular house.

    And I learned a new term today -- "shutter dogs" -- love it!

  6. Great post. Your eye for detail is fresh air, Pigown D!

    And I'm with Glamour Girl: Thanks for the new term, "shutter dogs." MizParse -- my Language Lady alter-ego -- will be tweeting that one!

  7. I loved that little outbuilding...

  8. Truly magnificent, they knew how to build beautiful houses then!

  9. Oh, what a beautiful heritage home! I've learned something new and very interesting. "Shutter dogs." Reminds me of "Fire dogs" which are andirons.


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