The Alden Carriage House was originally designed by Stanford White in 1881 not long after he became a partner at the firm McKim, Mead and White. Earlier in his career, Charles McKim had designed a house on Long Island for Ann Coleman Alden. When Mrs. Alden decided to build a house in the hills of Cornwall, Pennsylvania for her son Percy, she commissioned the newly formed firm for the project. The Alden Villa became the first house Stanford White was to design as a managing partner principal at his own firm. As part of the program, the Aldens proposed a carriage house for their 300 acre estate. Though no record exists of the firm doing the work, White’s hand is clearly evident in its tightly wrapped skin and trio of beautifully articulated gable windows.
Fifty years after the Alden family sold the estate, developers purchased the land for construction of a retirement community. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission required the developer to sign a covenant to preserve the mansion and carriage house. The developers lifted the old barn off of its sandstone foundation and rolled it across the street, propping it up on blocks. Not in the business of historic restoration, they sold the buildings to a new owner that fully understood the significance of the property.
A precise process of renovation and restoration was taken to accentuate the subtle, unique design flourishes of White while tranforming it to a very different program than what it had originally been designed for: retail spaces and a salon & spa.