"The Dream House", 20x16, oil on linen
Many people entertain hopes of someday living in their dreamhouse, but I suspect that few people actually get to live their dreams. I feel fortunate that I actually did buy my dream house, and got to live in it for 13 years!
I sold real estate on the Pennsylvania Main Line a while back. No matter how many huge, fancy and impressive homes I saw during that time, I never wanted any other house but my beautiful farmhouse on Houndstooth Lane in Chester Springs.
The house was fabulous. It was a reproduction of an old farmhouse with three fireplaces (one, a walk-in), stone and log facade, cedar roof and magnificent wood floors and old world mouldings throughout. The best part were the views from every window, which were absolutely breathtaking no matter what season. There was a huge pond and horse farm behind us, and I often went out on the balcony of our second floor bedroom and just gazed out over the rolling hills of Chester Springs for what sometimes turned into hours. Sometimes I went down to the pond and wrote poetry. Usually I just fed the fish in our koi pond and read a book or had a glass of wine. It was a great house, but Chester Springs was a gem as well. Here is an aerial view of the house:
Located in historic Chester County, Chester Springs is best noted for historic Yellow Springs, which was the village just down the road from my house. Wealthy Philadelphians would ride their horse and carriages to Yellow Springs in the summer in the late 1800's, to bathe in the rich mineral waters of the springs in the village. The area is rich in mineral waters, including many ponds as well as Pine and Pickering Creeks, which flow through Chester Springs. Washington's army was housed in a home in the village there that acted as a hospital during the Revolutionary War and is now a restaurant. (Or at least it was when I lived there!) There is also an art school there and the road is aptly named Art School Road!
The surrounding area was magnificent, with many old gentlemen's farms perched on dozens of glorious acres with flowing springs, golden ponds and rolling hills untouched by development. Here is a photo from Red Hamer's book, "The Four Seasons of Chester County". The photo depicts the estate known as Pine Creek Mills, which dates back to 1750 and includes many buildings and a grist mill. It was also once the home of noted illustrator for the Saturday Evening Post, Joseph M. Clement. Pine Creek Mills is right down the road from where I lived in Horseshoe Farm off of the historic Horseshoe Trail, and the scene below is just one of many inviting scenes that I would love to paint en plein air someday. I added the view of Pine Creek and the stone foot bridge to my dream house painting because it depicts the area so well!
Although I miss Houndstooth, I am still glad that we moved to Florida 7 years ago, because it finally gave me an opportunity to do something I had always wanted to do, which was to paint!
Hopefully if I go back, the house and neighborhood have not changed too much, and I am happy that I still have the memories of that lovely place, and was able to actually live in my dream house for many years!