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A Gardner’s Cottage in Haverford Makes a Cozy Home


The pool area//Photos by Ryan Macchione.     

Elizabeth Guillory’s career in sales means she’s constantly traveling. So she envisioned a calming retreat for her and her daughter after a hectic workweek. She found just that in Haverford: a stone home built in 1910, originally the gardener’s cottage for an estate.

Daughter Rachael fell in love with the outdoor space, with its beautiful gardens and in-ground pool surrounded by a bluestone terrace. “She was 11 at the time, so it was understandable that that was her focus,” says her mom. 

For her part, Guillory appreciated the home’s solid bones and the property’s seclusion. “It’s charming,” she says. “I call it the ‘Hansel and Gretel Cottage.’” 

By Main Line standards, it is small, with three bedrooms, a compact galley kitchen, and a main section that serves as a living room and dining area. “It’s a house made for a single person, a couple, or a couple with one child,” Guillory says. “It was the perfect size.”


From Left: The kitchen; The open dining room and living area retain the home’s original vaulted ceiling and exposed beams

A Modern Touch

Although the interior of the house was move-in ready, its dated style didn’t mesh with Guillory’s modern tastes. “Projects don’t scare me,” says Guillory, who has a background in interior design. “I actually prefer them, because you can put your individual touch on the house.”

While there would be no addition, a complete gutting would be required. She brought in Andrew Robbins, with whom she’d worked on another older home in Bryn Mawr. “He’s reliable and does excellent work,” says Guillory. “He’s a hands-on type of contractor.” 

The renovation included taking down interior walls to open up the living space and adding hand-milled baseboards, door trims and special moldings. White- oak hardwoods replaced terra-cotta tile flooring throughout the home. 

“The master bathroom was done in orange marble,” says Robbins. “It took a lot of work and customization to modernize it.” 

The combination living-and-dining room had an existing vaulted ceiling with exposed beams, which were retained. Uplights were added to bring attention to the beams’ unique architectural detail. Guillory also kept the structure’s original wrought-iron, single-pane windows. 

A white sectional couch defines the living space, where a Knoll coffee table and an antique armoire also sit. Off by itself, next to the fireplace, is an Eames cowhide chair. “I consider myself more transitional than modern,” Guillory says. 

A glass-topped Saarinen dining table is surrounded by four Brno chairs in brown leather, further reinforcing the owner’s fondness for mid-century-modern furnishings. A seat at the table offers the ideal vantage point for viewing the terrace and pool through the French doors. 

The dining area flows into the galley kitchen, its white cabinetry and chrome pulls accented with marble-slab countertops and backsplashes. Lighted glass-front cabinets on either side of the sink break up the solid wood. “It’s a small kitchen, but it works for us,” Guillory says. 

From Left: Spacious master bedroom suites were created for the owner and her daughter

Privacy, Please 

Two bedrooms were merged into one spacious suite for Rachael. The room accommodates two queen-size beds, and a sitting area includes a desk for homework. The bathroom has white cabinetry and marble on the counters, walls and shower. 

With Guillory’s master suite on the first floor and her daughter’s on the second, both have privacy. “I envisioned a clean, quiet, calm space for my bedroom,” she says. 

A gray upholstered bed with nailhead trim is one of a few pieces in the room. Superior Woodcraft’s great work on the cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms was enough to convince Guillory to have the Doylestown-based company design custom wardrobe closets on both sides of the master bedroom. 

Guillory chose white marble and cabinetry for her bathroom, as well. Other high-end highlights in the space include a heated custom-mosaic marble floor, a freestanding soaking tub, and a double vanity. 

The pool and pergola

Finding Space 

Prior to move-in, a fallen tree damaged the pool area and existing pergola. Robbins built a new cedar pergola, plus sitting walls with LED lights underneath. The pool is set where a backyard green-house once stood. Old coal bunkers accommodate concrete beds for an English-style garden. 

Next to the pergola, a sitting space has two couches and a linear fire pit. “We use that spot a lot in nice weather,” says Guillory. “It really expands our living area.” 

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