Updated: Thursday, March 8, 2018, 5:45 AM
Artist James Fuhrman’s Glenmoore home has been a labor of love and a site to love labor since 1973.
“I was never happy living in an apartment,” he said. “I lived in 27 different places before I was 30. And then I moved here, and I haven’t moved since.”
When he moved in 45 years ago, he knew he could make the one-room schoolhouse dating to 1867 into something that would work for him.
Fuhrman has degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University and studied the Martha Graham dance technique from 1979 to 1982. He has completed more than 20 large commissions in the Philadelphia region and is now showing five large works at Hortulus Farm Garden in Bucks County.
“I needed a place to work, mostly,” he said. “I knew that I could live and work in one space.”
About 20 years later, the sculptor met and married Fern Denney, and it was time to expand the home’s footprint. The couple added 3,000 square feet in 1998.
“The addition needed to — more than anything else — embody her personality as well as mine,” Fuhrman said. “It’s generous and welcoming.”
The home has evolved very intentionally, beginning with a winding pathway that leads to the home from a gravel road.
“We wanted people to have a bridge between the road and here,” Fuhrman said. “You have to pause and take your time and say, ‘Oh, this is a little bit different, and let’s catch our breath and enter.’”
He and Denney estimate that many hundreds of people in their community have crossed the threshold, either as schoolchildren or to attend one of the many events — including their own wedding — that the two have hosted at their home.
Fuhrman said the couple wanted the simple exterior of the home to reflect their own modesty.
“We don’t show off,” he said.
Inside the 4,200-square-foot home, he said, visitors are often taken aback.
“We judge people by how many wows when they walk in,” he joked.
The interior is spare and reflects a style that also has been attributed to Fuhrman’s work as bold and minimalistic.
“We have created a space that’s open,” he said. “It’s essentially a modern building now, with a schoolhouse as bones.”
Many of the couple’s design choices were meant to evoke disappearance and to provide space for quiet consideration in the three-bedroom home, Fuhrman said.
“It’s a house of contemplation with very private places.”
Kitchen cabinets are painted white to draw attention to the cherry countertops and the tiles Denney hand-painted in homage to Italian majolica designs and double ring quilting patterns from nearby Amish communities.
Walls of windows melt into the foliage just beyond the master bedroom.
“It disappears the walls,” Fuhrman said. “It’s a complete connection between the inside and the outside.”
Fuhrman said the position of the home on the 3.7-acre lot allows the couple to appreciate changing light and shadows throughout the day.
“The house works like a sun dial,” he said.
Fuhrman said he and Denney decided recently to sell the home. “It’s time for someone else to have the house,” he said. “It’s time for transition.”
The home is listed with William Cochrane at James A. Cochrane Inc. for $689,000. The property includes a second undeveloped lot.
Read full story: On the market: Artist James Fuhrman's Chester County retreat