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The house itself is set on three acres of hilly ground stretching back into thick woods. When the Gorrivans purchased the property, the land was so overgrown that only when it had been cleared did they find they were possessors of a winding stream. Outside the front door, they replaced two unattractive cinder-block steps with an expansive patio and a small covered porch entwined with white flowering Clematis paniculata. This has formed an outdoor room that extends the living area of the house and serves as a place for reading, barbecues or family gatherings.
Philip also designed a cottage garden and filled it with old-fashioned perennials such as peonies and hollyhocks that meander through the property. Hydrangea are his passion and in summer the beds bloom with pee gees, huge white Annabelles and delicate blue lace caps.
Since both parents work, weekends are a time to relax with the children, swim, play tennis and golf (and in the winter, ski), as well as put in long hours of work in the garden, which has now become Philip's all-consuming passion. "We are religious about trying to get up here every weekend," he explains, "and also like to spend all the big holidays here. It's our other home, and it's where we all want to be."