A New Chapter in Style
It’s a beautiful sunny day in April, and Linda and Charles Schelke are pleased to discuss their plans for the new villa they are renovating at The Hill at Whitemarsh before moving in this fall. This is a new chapter for the Schelkes and they are eagerly embracing it.
“Our home of 26 years in Chestnut Hill was decorated traditionally, filled with beautiful antiques, and impeccably done by our New York decorators,” says Linda. “We loved it, and it worked in that space, but it felt like it was time to start fresh as we enter this new chapter in our lives.”
“As we thought about renovating the villa, we were inspired by a family trip to Scandinavia with our son almost 22 years ago,” adds Charles. “The country was charming and we fell in love with the Scandinavian design aesthetic—contemporary, but warm feeling. We decided then that if we ever redecorated, it would be along those lines.”
The Schelkes’ move to The Hill may be a new beginning for the pair, however having lived in Chestnut Hill for over two decades, they don’t feel like it will be a tough transition. They are members of the Philadelphia Cricket Club, which is less than a 10-minute drive from The Hill. They still have easy access to Center City Philadelphia, where they frequent orchestra performances and Library Speaker Series, among other events. And although the natural surroundings of Wissahickon Valley Park will no longer be accessible from their backyard, they will be enveloped by the 96 acres of rolling farmland that residents of the The Hill call home.
“It was time for us to do something different,” says Linda. “Our house and grounds were truly beautiful and spectacular. As hard as it was to leave, it just felt like the right time for us.”
“Our son’s marriage was celebrated at our home in 2019,” explains Charles. “It was magical, and a jubilant point in our life. Linda and I met in New York City while we were both working in the investment business. When our son was 3 years old, we left our wonderful Park Avenue apartment for this beautiful stone home in Chestnut Hill. To watch our son grow up there and celebrate his marriage there—it was just perfect.”
Being comfortable and inspired by their surroundings is a value that the Schelkes share. Whether in an apartment on Park Avenue, an estate in Chestnut Hill or a villa at The Hill at Whitemarsh, loving the space they’re living in is of utmost importance. Having the ability to do that in a whole new way is very exciting for them.
“The new space will have clean lines and will be very sleek and open with lots of natural light,” says Linda. The couple is working with interior designer Ashli Mizell to create a warm contemporary look for the new space. While it is still a work in progress, the designer’s vision board highlights a bright clean design with antique pieces, white and grey tiles, a variety of stone and texture, and top-of-the-line appliances.
“We love to cook and entertain, so we’re bringing in a Wolf® stove and Sub-Zero® refrigerator. We’re going to put grass cloth wallpaper on the walls and hang our favorite artwork throughout the space. We sold nearly all of our traditional furniture from the old house and are just taking select antique pieces with us,” says Linda.
“We’re going to be much more disciplined about what we hold onto now,” adds Charles.
“My daughter-in-law summed it up perfectly after seeing our soon-to-be home: ‘You’re not giving anything up in your life, you’re enhancing it.’”
“Our son and daughter-in-law came to our Chestnut Hill home to select whatever pieces they wanted,” Linda says of the downsizing process.
“But it wasn’t nearly as much as we thought or hoped they would take,” Charles interjects, as the couple laughs.
When asked if it was hard to part with a lifetime of items they had acquired to prepare for the move to The Hill, Linda and Charles both agree that they were happy to get rid of things.
“We’re embarking on a new adventure in a new environment,” Linda says.
In addition to the design aesthetic of their living space, the couple also prioritizes an active lifestyle and say that part of the appeal of The Hill is the resort-style feel to it.
“There’s a great deal to do and explore,” says Linda. “Between the wonderful guest speakers, book clubs, bridge and other intellectual activities, the nature component, and the athletic activities—it really encompasses everything we’ve been looking for. Our daughter-in-law summed it up perfectly after seeing our soon-to-be home: ‘You’re not giving up anything in your life, you’re enhancing it.’”