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A Unique Chalet-Style Arts & Crafts Colonial in the Hamlet of Rose Valley!

36 Rose Valley Rd, Rose Valley, PA 19063, USA




Time to sit back and allow me to share yet another Magical History Tour for this eclectic & amazing “Chalet-Style” Arts & Crafts Colonial in Rose Valley. This time, I am going to focus on the creation of the idyllic, Arts & Crafts community of Rose Valley.


As the industrial revolution was raging towards the end of the 19th century, there was a growing revolt against the mechanization of the modern world.  Machines were replacing craftsmen, and the “craft” of buildings, art & culture were being destroyed.


Starting in the U.K. with the likes of John Ruskin, William Morris, C.F.A. Voisey and in Scotland, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the revolution to reject the modern factory began in the 1880’s.


From Wikipedia, “Ruskin considered the sort of mechanized production and division of labour that had been created in the industrial revolution to be “servile labour”, and he thought that a healthy and moral society required independent workers who designed the things that they made. He believed factory-made works to be “dishonest,” and that handwork and craftsmanship merged dignity with labor.”


In the United States, likeminded craftspeople, artists, philosophers and architects began to think of a new way to bring craft back to everyday life. Some of the national names we all know today like Gustav Stickey & Elbert Hubbard (founder of Roycroft) created workshops to craft furniture and decorative arts, and publications to promote the lifestyle & sale of their merchandise.


In Philadelphia, a similar movement was taking place at the very end of the 19th century, led by the architect William Lightfoot Price, who was also a gifted artist & actor. Raised in Wallingford by Quaker parents, he moved into Philadelphia as his architectural practice flourished.  Successful in obtaining commissions for new developments (Wayne, Overbrook Farm & the Pelham section of Germantown) as well as commercial and residential projects from the wealthy industrialists of the time, Price built two grand residences for his own family, the first in Overbrook Farm and the second in Merion Station.


By the turn of the 20th century, the Arts & Crafts movement was clearly his future focus.

His first attempt at the creation of an Arts & Crafts community was in Arden, DE in 1900. Truly unique in its structure and governance, this became a single tax colony.


He then set his sights on about 80 acres of land with abandoned mills, workers’ cottages & a few larger homes that were mostly abandoned, along the Ridley Creek in Delaware County. The Rose Valley Association was founded as a stock company, for the purpose of encouraging artistic handicrafts. A total of 21 initial shareholders invested $25,000 with an additional loan from Swarthmore College to purchase the lands and all the buildings. In 1901, Will Price, along with several other founding families moved into the disheveled buildings along Rose Valley Road and began creating their new, idyllic community.


Rose Valley then began to draw likeminded citizens interested in the arts, decorative, musical & theatrical. Long before what we know today as Rose Valley was formally incorporated in the 1930’s, people came to the Rose Valley area to become involved in this vibrant arts community.


One of those like-minded people was John Bisseger, a draftsman who worked in the firm of Price & McLanahan. Bisseger moved to Rose Valley in 1905 and became a vibrant member of the Arts & Crafts community who was actively involved in the creation & design of many of the furniture pieces being produced at The Old Mill.


Having his roots in Switzerland, he designed a house for himself in the Swiss Chalet Style just two doors up from Will Price’s house on Rose Valley Road.  The 3-story balloon framed structure is highlighted by the most amazing 3rd floor balcony overlooking the hills with a detailed banister that is the most surprising & unusual feature of the house.  Detailed barge boards along the West wall have elaborately carved details that were supposedly created by another famous artist from Rose Valley, John Maene.


Originally, a large & welcoming front porch facing South had a 2nd floor roof deck. Shortly thereafter, that was converted to a 2nd floor sleeping porch, which remained until the current owners replaced it with a spacious master en-suite bathroom & walk-in closet in 2005.


Situated on just over ½ acre, the house is elevated from the road and surrounded by lush evergreens and specimen plantings that provide four seasons of interest.  A large and level side & rear yard provide great space for outdoor entertaining & play.


An original 1-car “carriage” structure remains tucked into the rear corner and while currently used simply for storage, it could be restored for a vehicle, or the next owners can expand to a larger 2-car garage.  The current Owners did obtain a building variance to construct such, but never got around to building it. Those building plans and the variance do transfer to the new Owners.


A large garden shed was installed in the rear yard while raised garden beds provide a great opportunity to provide the home chef with homegrown vegetables & herbs!


The design of the house provides great connectivity between indoors & outdoors with four doors. There is a side door at the driveway, a rear door into the mudroom & laundry area, another door from the kitchen/dining area that accesses a rear deck or the original front door that accesses the covered porch.


Across the front of the house, the spacious living room has two distinct areas. A smaller nook with an arched, cased opening is currently set up as a music room but could be a cozy space for the TV or other uses.  The main living room has a large bay window with a window seat (with ample storage below). The unusual, original Rumford fireplace anchors the room, with a large storage closet to its left.


The current owners completely reconfigured the back of the house in 2008 to provide a large, open-concept kitchen & dining area. A series of corner windows facing East & South flood the room with light through most of the day. Another bench seat (with storage below) anchors one end of the dining table.


The completely renovated kitchen provides ample storage in the custom cherry cabinets with a large breakfast bar open to the dining room, with space for 4 stools. A large full height pantry cupboard has pull-out drawers. Beautiful soapstone counters and a creative Mercer tile backsplash add color & energy to the space.  A 5-burner gas range anchors the main wall. The entire kitchen & dining room are serviced by radiant floor heating.


From the kitchen, one accesses the main staircase & living area (great for entertaining & circular flow) or the rear mudroom.  The mudroom has the renovated powder room, the washer & dryer as well as a walk-in coat closet with a window.


The basement is un-finished, but does have surprisingly tall ceilings and direct access to the driveway via a Bilco door.


Upstairs there are 5 large bedrooms & the “surprise” home office.


On the 2nd floor, 4 of the bedrooms occupy each corner, and each of the guest bedrooms has 2 closets A renovated hall bathroom serves all the guest bedrooms.


The owner’s suite is connected to one of the other bedrooms as well as the main hall. There are two large closets within the bedroom itself, as well as a 3rd walk-in closet within the en-suite bathroom. This space replaced the sleeping porch, now with a vaulted ceiling and 7 windows; it’s flooded with light.  A jetted tub and separate shower fare along one wall, while the walk-in closet, sink and the privy room complete the bath. This bathroom as well as the hall bathroom are also serviced by radiant floor heating.


Up to the 3rd floor. The 5th bedroom overlooks the rear yard and has multiple windows as well as storage within the eaves of the rooflines.


The final room a surprise worth waiting for: the perfect space for your home office, with the best view in Rose Valley from the chalet porch out front! The entire floor & banisters of the porch were just completely rebuilt, retaining the dimensions and details of the original design. Again, there is additional storage in the knee walls.


The entire roof was replaced in 2019. Exterior woodwork was repainted in 2020.


36 Rose Valley Road is a spacious home located in a wonderful community that retains many of the original ideals of a community built around “The Art that is Life”. The community spirit is alive & strong through its civic and non-profit organizations, which include the Rose Valley Museum & Historical Society, the Rose Valley Folk, Hedgerow Theatre Company, the Rose Valley Swim & Tennis Club, and the Rose Valley Centennial Foundation.


One of the unique aspects of Rose Valley is how it was designed originally to provide connection amongst neighbors via a network of trails that emanate in all directions out from the Rose Valley Pool. One of those trails adjoins the driveway at #36, allowing neighbors to easily walk to most destinations in the core of Rose Valley.


Situated ideally in Delaware County, one has easy access from Rose Valley to many destinations. Downtown Media and Swarthmore are just 5 minutes away.  The SEPTA station is within easy walking distance from the house, while Philadelphia International Airport is just a 10 to15 minute drive away.


  • Property ID
  • 5
  • 2.5
  • Square Footage
    3000 sqft
  • Lot Size
    0.52 acres
  • Icon
    Year Built

Updated on February 16, 2021 at 1:52 pm


  • Address: 36 Rose Valley Rd, Rose Valley, PA 19063, USA
  • City: Rose Valley
  • State/county: Pennsylvania
  • Zip/Postal Code: 19063
  • Country: United States

Contact Agent

J. Scott Laughlin
  • J. Scott Laughlin
  • BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors
  • [email protected]
  • 215-275-1685
  • 610-651-2700
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