chestercountyramblings

meandering through, writing about whatever strikes my fancy

chestercountyramblings

now open: sycamore & stone

So yesterday I did a thing. I went and checked out the new Sycamore & Stone on 401!

Jeff Devlin‘s new property is one I am familiar with, because I used to patronize the antique store that was once in this barn. I love this property and was sad when it went up for sale because I was afraid some developers would snatch up the property and the beautiful barns and house would disappear. However when Jeff announced he had purchased this property I was totally psyched because I knew it was going to be saved, preserved, and wonderful!

Along with the barn which has the store there will be other things available to do on this property including the house becoming a fabulous Airbnb.

This is the kind of preservation in real time and adaptive reuse that Chester County needs more of! I will note that I first came to know Jeff and his fiancée Janelle, through our mutual friend Meg Veno, proprietress of Life’s Patina at Willowbrook Farm and the soon to be opened Mechantile at the Jenny Lind House in Historic Yellow Springs Village.

I will note that both the Mercantile/Jenny Lind and Jeff’s Sycamore & Stone are both located in West Pikeland Township. West Pikeland is a treasure trove of amazing historic properties. I hope that Township realizes how fortunate and blessed they are that they have people willing to come in and do these amazing adaptive resources that are viable on historic properties.

Jeff’s store is a feast for the eyes and there is all sorts of fun stuff! It has a great Americana country vibe. It’s a lovely space and shoppers feel relaxed in it. It is almost like welcoming someone into a great big farmhouse and not just a hands down super amazing barn. I gravitate to places that are warm and welcoming. And their staff is equally warm and welcoming!

One of the things I liked best are the reproduction hog scraper candlesticks he has available for sale. I collect the actual vintage/antique variety, so these are a real favorite with me! If Jeff Devlin had a wish list for customers mine would be to carry hand dipped taper candles that fit into hog scrapers because that is the right shape for them!

I look forward to this property further coming back to life and it is such a joy to see the work occurring on it every time I drive by. Jeff is a quality craftsman, and such a nice guy so I am glad he found his spot here on this property. My only lament is I don’t have a super old farmhouse for him to help me restore!

Anyway Sycamore & Stone is yet another reason to shop local! Enjoy the photos!

Sycamore & Stone is located at 1251 Conestoga Road, Chester Springs, PA. Right now the hours are WEDNESDAY-FRIDAY 12PM-7PM, SATURDAY 10AM-7PM, SUNDAY 10AM-4PM.

I will note that I have not been compensated in any way, shape, or form to write this post. I’m merely visited the store and I am now a happy customer: I like to shop local and support the businesses of people I know.

#shoplocal #shopsmall #stonehouserevival #schoolhousewoodworking #home

the old hershey’s mill is getting a makeover of some sort…

From ChescoViews

One of my favorite places around here is Hershey’s Mill Rd. Such a cool place. So many great old farm houses, barns, and the road is an old country kind of road that meanders.

This weekend on Sunday we went up Hershey’s Mill to Greenhill Road. We had a car behind us so I couldn’t get a photo but it looked like the funky mill property (and I mean that in a good way not bad FYI) on the corner with the sort of “gate house” garage entrance into the property is being restored! It looks like it obviously changed hands. This is very exciting and I can’t wait to see what happens. I love historic preservation in action! It would be cool if someone like Jeff Devlin had a hand in the restoration, but I know nothing…but that is what I would do….

1034 Hershey Mill Road, West Chester, PA 19380 | Compass
Found on the Internet

I do not know who purchased it but all of the overgrown everything is gone and it has been stripped down and you can actually see the house for the first time (or the first time for me.) Compass the real estate company said it was a barn on their old listing…but this was a mill…. the Hershey’s Mill. How cool.

1034 Hershey Mill Road, West Chester, PA 19380 | Compass
Found on the Internet

I never knew who lived there. I remembered the last owner did not want East Goshen to mess with dam (now drained or breached or whatever the term is.) Sometimes it looks like East Goshen is working on it when you drive by, but mostly not. I guess it is supposed to end up some sort of nature preserve thing and they are dealing with the flooding?

Philadelphia Inquirer: Picturesque Chesco dam dry and in limbo
by Michaelle Bond, Staff Writer, Posted: January 25, 2016

Neil DeRiemer and his wife, Karen, used to look out their bedroom windows and see a waterfall cascading over a small dam just a few feet away.

Like their neighbors, they watched blue herons, white egrets, and black turtles wade in the seven-acre basin that made their East Goshen homes waterfront properties.

“It was like living in Longwood Gardens,” said DeRiemer, 70. “How many waterfalls are left in Chester County?”

Now Hershey’s Mill Dam is dry, its basin drained after it failed state safety inspections about nine years ago.


Hershey Mill - Chester Co. - Pennsylvania
From the website “Mill Pictures“. Photo by Jim Miller 1987.

Philadelphia Inquirer: Chesco town opts to breach two dams deemed dangerous
by Michaelle Bond, Staff Writer, Posted: June 28, 2016

A local official called it the toughest decision he had had to make in three decades, one that East Goshen Township, Chester County, has been confronting for several years.

Tuesday night, the board of supervisors voted to breach the town’s two dams, both deemed potentially dangerous by the state – choosing financial considerations over the fervor of some residents who wanted to preserve what they consider landmarks of their town.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said years ago that the recreational dams, which have been part of the town in various iterations for centuries, could fail during a major rainfall. Township supervisors had to decide how to meet new state standards.

Supervisors told the 80 or so people gathered at the Goshen Fire Company banquet hall that they had to make the best decision for all the township’s 18,000 residents.

I have never read a comprehensive history of Hershey’s Mill, but that community for seniors with a golf course has a brief history of Hershey’s Mill on a website. This place seems like it was empty for a couple of years which is a shame because I think it’s magical.

Found on Internet. Unknown as to where it came from

I know whomever bought it had to clear overgrown trees and what once were shrubs to restore the place. That is common sense. I just hope the garages (the covered entrance) are going to be saved and restored too. It’s all part of the charm.

Hershey Mill - Chester Co. - Pennsylvania
From the website “Mill Pictures“. Photo credit Jim Miller 1987

It’s nice to know that it is not getting torn down. I wonder if the mill wheel is still there? According to the Mill Pictures website someone named Dean Piece in 2008 wrote:

*Update: Hershey Mill was converted in the early 1960’s by a wealthy Californian. Lucille Ball came to one of the parties he held when the mill was newly renovated. He died soon after the renovation – enroute back to California. The Estate was in probate for years to figure out the ownership. The original wooden wheel was removed and reportedly put in pieces under the brick floor on the ground floor. The three car garage contained chauffeur’s quarters and two 1961 Imperials. The Paddock Pool was one of the first in-ground pools in the area.

So it was owned once upon a time by a wealthy Californian? And Lucille Ball coming here to a party makes sense with something else a neighbor who is a lifetime resident told me:

When I was a little girl, Grace Kelly and her family would come out from the city to spend time at the mill house as their country home! They vacationed in the summer in Ocean City, NJ but spent many days and weekends at Hershey’s Mill.

Google photo

Anyway…if anyone has history to share, I am all ears. I love this place and I hope it becomes a happy and vibrant home (with a garden) once again. This place is a local treasure.

I am also delighted to have something fun to write about versus the past three months.

Here is hoping East Goshen actually finishes the park or whatever they are supposed to create.

Thanks for stopping by.

Another Google photo of Hershey Mill. Those overgrown trees/shrubs on left side of photo are gone.

life’s patina fall barn sale is this weekend!!

This evening was an absolutely perfect night for one of the first fall events of the season! We attended the Fall Preview Party for Life’s Patina.

Meg Veno outdid herself as always! This evening’s charitable recipient was Cuddle My Kids , a local non-profit which provides in home no cost cancer support for families in and around Chester County. As a cancer survivor I deeply appreciate these smaller charities which work so hard to help families and give them a bit of a break.

Life’s Patina is packed to the gills with so many cool things! And we also had a chance to chat with Jeff Devlin of Schoolhouse Woodworking.

The fall barn sale is this weekend September 20th through September 22nd! 10 AM to 5 PM Friday and Saturday and 10 AM to 4 PM on Sunday. 1750 North Valley Road, Malvern, PA.

It’s a fun sale and the barn is also full of decorating tableaux for lack of a better description. Meg has an amazing eye, and I am always inspired!

do you own an old stone house in chester county? then DIY network wants YOU!

NOTE: this is a beautifully restored old stone house. I took the photo recently, and it doesn't need DIY network :)

NOTE: this is a beautifully restored old stone house. I took the photo recently, and it doesn’t need DIY network 🙂

Ok do you have an old stone house you own that is in need of something? The Jeff Devlin and Stone House Revival  are looking for you!

Stone House Revival is an awesome show if you haven’t seen it (I record the episodes so I do not miss any!!) One reason I like this show is the way Devlin works with these old houses is awesome – he doesn’t try to make them what they are NOT and his renovations fit with the homes he is working on. And his is also not a beige, beige world. He is not afraid to use color, but there is a subtlety. He practices historic preservation and adaptive reuse and I think that is terrific!

Anyway if you are interested here are the details: 

Stone House Revival Now Casting

DIY Network is searching for current or soon-to-be owners of historic, stone homes in Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware and Chester County, Pennsylvania
A new home renovation show is now casting outgoing and fun homeowners who have a historic, stone house that is in need of some restoration work in a few rooms.
For example, do you have a room that is severely outdated or has a horrible layout? Or some living spaces that need to be restored? If so, we would love to hear from you!
If you would like to be considered for our show, please submit your information as soon as you can!
To submit, please email castingstonehomes@gmail.com – NO LATER than August 1, 2016  with the following information:
-Your contact info (including city and county of residence)
-Photos of the house and your family

-A description of the rooms in need and of your family

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