An Old (and New) Riverfront Mansion in Moorestown

by hookedonhouses on February 12, 2011

Maganda estate NJ-exterior old

See this grand old house? It’s part of a sprawling riverfront estate in Moorestown, New Jersey, that dates back to the 1600s. So I was surprised, to say the least, when I saw the rest of the photos in the listing. For starters, check out what it looks like on the other side…

Maganda house for sale NJ-exterior new

Um, what? At first I thought it must be a separate building on the property. It almost looks like an old church that was converted into a house. But then I saw a third photo, which shows that the two exteriors in fact belong to the same building:

old and new exteriors merged

Seriously? Why would they build a wing like this onto that old house?

I did a little searching around and found an interview with the owners on Philly.com. It explains that they like to collect antiques and religious artifacts, and this was a way for them to display their treasures from around the world.

For example, take a gander at the Great Room:

great room with stained glass

The article says, “In excavating for the home’s large two-story addition, thousands of mussel shells, remnants of French china, and American Indian artifacts were found and carefully stored for future research.”

Hanging over the Great Room are chandeliers that once graced a movie palace in Boston:

overview of the great room

In the kitchen, antique altars were used for the base cabinets:

kitchen 1

I think I would feel kind of silly–maybe even a little sacrilegious–making peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches for the kids on an altar like this…

kitchen 2

The staircase that leads up from the kitchen has an eye-popping landing:

staircase landing-stained glass window

The owners found this enormous chandelier on eBay. It originally hung in New York’s legendary Intercontinental Hotel:

huge chandelier

The house has 12,000 square feet, which is more than enough to lose other members of the family in. According to the article I read, the homeowners have one daughter…and a dog.

turret room

Even the bathrooms were designed on a grand scale and feature stained-glass windows:

master bath with stained glass

The photos of what appear to be part of the original house are what I really loved, though, like this stately blue room with the fireplace:

fireplace

And this staircase:

staircase

I think this is one of those “Special Homeowners Required” kinds of houses. It’s definitely not for everyone. Would it work for you?

The house is for sale for $5.4 million. For the rest of the photos and information, check the listing. You can see the article  about the homeowners on Philly.com.

To See More Homes I’ve Featured For Sale: Sunday Open House.

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E February 12, 2011 at 10:08 pm

yuck, it looks like a McMansion

A.Men February 14, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Disturbing!

Molly February 12, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Wow, that is just awful.

Why didn’t they build a separate gallery for their “artifacts”? They ruined the Adams family house. I would have rather seen it done all goth than THAT.

sad.

Spring February 12, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Well… They certainly know what they like.

Is that stained glass window in the bathroom supposed to be King David? If so I find that rather…. hilarable.

ShabbyChick February 13, 2011 at 10:24 am

Hahahahahaha! Where is Bathsheba, right??? LOL! That is hilarious!!!!!!

Cher February 12, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Wow. I can’t believe they put *that* addition on such a lovely home that was already quite special. Now it’s just…odd.
I absolutely adore that foyer, though.

Heatherly February 12, 2011 at 10:11 pm

I said “Oh Jesus” when I saw that bathroom. Interesting, to say the least.

Paige February 12, 2011 at 10:17 pm

That looks like crap, inside and out.

Jackie W. - Kanasas February 12, 2011 at 10:20 pm

“Special” is the operative word.

Sara February 12, 2011 at 10:20 pm

There are no words…

Amanda @ Serenity Now February 12, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Um, wow. I have to agree with the others, that a separate gallery would have been more appropriate. You can see how fabulous the original home was…why wreck it?

Sheila Krehbiel February 12, 2011 at 10:24 pm

Um, whaaaat? A special note of “odd” goes to the wallpapered ceiling above the stairs. Nice.

Chrissy February 12, 2011 at 10:28 pm

I’m with you on loving the old parts of the house! The new stuff is definitely not my style.

Chrissy February 12, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Oh, wow! I just noticed all the white church-type cabinets that they are using for their china cabinet. You can see the side of it in the kitchen pics and then the front in the great room/dining rooms pics. Definitely different. And no … it wouldn’t work for me at all.

Pat February 12, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Shall we all bow our heads in prayer…this house could use it.
Too bad…love the old house and grounds.

Billy February 12, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Some houses just make you want to read the owners’ therapist’s notes.

Rachel February 12, 2011 at 11:07 pm

It’s really quite sad – it could have been such a stately and beautiful home! And this Jewish gal certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable – they really have limited the buyer pool to very eccentric, very devout Christians, no?

Anne February 13, 2011 at 2:47 pm

This Catholic gal wouldn’t feel comfortable either! I can’t even imagine cooking dinner on top of an old alter – too weird for me!

Paula February 12, 2011 at 11:07 pm

That bathroom gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “praying to the porcelain gods”.

Bridget February 13, 2011 at 3:04 am

LOL!

Melinda February 13, 2011 at 9:26 am

Snort!

Mike February 14, 2011 at 11:06 am

^Like

Cassie February 12, 2011 at 11:15 pm

Egads. If someone really loved the main house, I’d say buy it and tear off the addition. One can hope they are taking their collection of stained glass with them. Religious art is so not my thing.

Nancy Hood February 12, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Nope, just don’t think I could be nekked in a bathroom with Jesus praying at the window ;) and it personally just doesn’t do anything for me. At all! haha

Su February 12, 2011 at 11:23 pm

…Way too much space for me…although I love it all, its a space for someone with a large family and a pocketbook for hired help.
Can you imagine raking the leaves in fall?

Julie February 12, 2011 at 11:59 pm

It skeers me.

Michelle February 13, 2011 at 12:07 am

Makes me kinda sad that they took the beautiful original house and basically ruined it.

le@thirdontheright February 13, 2011 at 12:18 am

far too ornate for me :) all a fluster and too much bother :) le xox

Derek February 13, 2011 at 1:06 am

MY EYES! MY EYES! YOWZA that is awful……proof that some people have more dollars than sense. A harsh lesson in architectural styles is in order here.

Bluezette February 13, 2011 at 10:15 am

“more money than sense” – EXACTLY what ran through my mind!

Kim February 13, 2011 at 1:12 am

I was so excited to view this house when I saw the first picture, but now I am just stunned. I mean how could they do this to such a beautiful and historical home? The owners might as well have, made their own church and held it right there in their house. What a shame. I feel sorry for this house.

Megan February 13, 2011 at 2:32 am

I’d like it if I could cut off the huge part housing all their stuff. The older main part is awesome; I love it! (But I would like to say for the record that I like the kitchen.)

Mom in High Heels February 13, 2011 at 5:24 am

Weird. I ache for the poor original house. The kitchen weirds me out big time. I’m not a religious person, but having the cabinets made out of altar pieces is just creepy.

Nadia February 13, 2011 at 7:30 am

As far as having religious relics… I see them as art. If I were them, I would have built a separate Chapel on the grounds… leaving the original house in tact.

jeannine520 February 13, 2011 at 7:39 am

That old saying is proven to be true one again. There really is no accounting for taste.

bermudaonion (Kathy) February 13, 2011 at 8:15 am

It wouldn’t work for me – those altars used in the kitchen would really bother me.

Homemaker February 13, 2011 at 8:19 am

Oh this is horrible. Why was there no protection for this piece of history? How sad that this once beautiful home fell into the hands of someone who destroyed it.

Amy W. February 13, 2011 at 8:19 am

Thanks for the pic. tour!
It was one spiritual spooky experience!!!

Sophie February 13, 2011 at 8:40 am

I think it’s a shame that the newer wing doesn’t match the older part of the house.

If I bought this house, I’d do a kind of renovation on the new wing. Take out those huge windows and all the extravagant decor. I’d put in smaller, older style windows to make it blend in with the older part.
If I had my way, I’d turn it into a huge, old house that looked like it was all original.

Teacup February 13, 2011 at 8:49 am

The stained glass window in the bathroom shows King David with his harp.
If you google King David and Harp you’ll find many illustrations.

Allison Hall February 13, 2011 at 8:59 am

Julia….I viewed this yesterday and had this Long dream over last night. In my dream though it was attached to an old mall in N.Y. City…..I was trying to get people in the mall and a few family members that were with me to look at it but no one was interested…I was very frustrated….Then there was this long adventure that went along with it….Crazy huh????…Must have had some impact on me…Lol

Allison Hall February 13, 2011 at 9:07 am

I must say though…The only part of the house that I actually like is the stairway half way up with the stain glass window…..I’m a bit of an eccentric myself but the house is a little gaudy for even my taste….I don’t see Whites and Golds going together in the same room…..

Carol M February 13, 2011 at 9:14 am

They completely ruined that beautiful old house. Some people just don’t deserve to have that much money. Ugh! Perhaps it could be a retirement home for priests.

Lisa February 14, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Hey, great idea!

Susan February 13, 2011 at 9:59 am

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating…”more money than sense.”

ShabbyChick February 13, 2011 at 10:22 am

Ok. Love: the wood floors and the wainscotting and moldings in entry, the black and white floor on the landing, and the vanity cabinet in the bathroom. Hate: everything else.

Cindy February 13, 2011 at 10:29 am

Wow! Just…wow.

They certainly did spend a lot of money to ruin what could have been a beautiful and stately home. Frankly, any home buyer in that price bracket would have to factor in the cost of fixing that mess. Ugh.

Special buyer needed, indeed. :-0

Ricki Jill Treleaven February 13, 2011 at 10:31 am

I bet I could fix part of that house (new part) with a little Italian lightening! Seriously. What a shame.

Becky @ Farmgirl Paints February 13, 2011 at 10:43 am

I don’t know how people live like that. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. I’d walk from one room to the next looking for a comfortable place to sit. Very cold and impersonal!

Mike February 13, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Jamie and I know exactly where this is…it’s about 2 miles from our house. They are never going to sell it for that much money. It might say “riverfront” but it’s more like “Creek” front. It’s a nice area where it sits, but I don’t see it selling for anywhere near that asking price.

Meg February 13, 2011 at 1:03 pm

This just goes to prove the point…”Money does NOT buy taste.”

MyDesignGuide February 13, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Palladio would be proud I guess:)

FairfieldHouse February 13, 2011 at 1:59 pm

And let’s not forget that NJ has the highest property taxes in the nation!

lu February 13, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Oh my-I’m all ready to do some updating to my riverfront gem, which looks like a doublewide compared to this! Not too much worth emulating here,although the hall ceiling is kind of exciting. I totally agree about the kitchen-I’d be on the look-out for a nun with a stick :) Nice find just the same Julia!

Susan F. February 13, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Just looks like all the parts my church did away with in the 60s! Yikes!

MINA February 13, 2011 at 5:43 pm

SORRY! I LOVE IT!! I COLLECT HOLY ART AND ITEMS AND I CAN SEE WHERE THEY ARE GOING WITH IT,HOWEVER I HATED TO SEE THE BEAUTIFUL OLD HOUSE MESSED UP THEY SHOULD HAVE BUILT A NEW HOUSE SOMEWHERE ELSE FOR THEIR SPECIAL COLLECTING.

Patience February 13, 2011 at 6:55 pm

The jarring contrast on the exterior between the old and new parts of the house is awful! The inside is a mix of good and bad. The altar kitchen island is bad, but I like the stained glass in the landing. Would this house work for me? If I razed the new addition.

Cori @WhereYouHangYourHeart.com February 13, 2011 at 8:36 pm

ewwwww… All those statues are really creepy. Especially the Jeeves one. I’m beginning to understand why they have to have historic home renovations approved by a board.

Elizabeth February 13, 2011 at 10:26 pm

I’d buy the house and then promptly remove that hideous addition. The wood floors in the entry are gorgeous as is the staircase. If they wanted a ‘church’ they should have just built a church and left that gorgeous historic home to people like us who appreciate the beauty. However, to each their own. I am curious to know how, if a historic society is alive in the community, how they allowed that addition. I studied at SCAD and majored in Historic Preservation and historic societies are notorious (as they should be) for even dictating the color of a door.

Nita February 14, 2011 at 2:30 am

Well, at least it doesn’t look like one more Pottery Barn house! I am so sick of all houses looking alike nowadays, and this one shows the owners’ personality.

nanne February 14, 2011 at 8:04 am

oh…my…..

the original house is fabulous (i actually love that wallpaper on the ceiling by the stairs) and i will leave it at that. i gotta say, i would love to shop that house if they ever had an estate sale.

nanne in indiana by way of alabama

Laurie February 14, 2011 at 8:36 am

Nita, I so agree with you….

T. February 14, 2011 at 9:07 am

Some people have more money than is good for them.

There is a similar home where I live, on a much smaller scale, where they joined two vastly different houses with a connecting atrium, so the owners would have room for all their collectibles. Not for me.

Elvira February 14, 2011 at 9:08 am

Wow! The original house was beautiful and had charm, but the annexe is hideous and completely ruins everything.
The interiors are far too extravagant to my taste, although I liked the staircase and the interesting wallpaper in the ceiling. The blue room was pretty and they had a few pieces of handsome furniture like the freestanding armoire in the kitchen or the huge mirror in the hall. The enormous carved candlesticks in the landing I would take home with me.
I found that all the numerous details cancelled themselves out, there were just too many of them and the result looked cluttered. Although I like stained glass, too much is just too much!

serenknitity February 14, 2011 at 11:42 am

It would definitely work for me…. if I were planning on opening a crematorium!

Jared February 14, 2011 at 12:39 pm

What a bizarre house. It’s a shame because the original house is so beautiful! I’m from NJ and Moorestown is filled with lovely old houses like that, minus the strange additions!

Cathy February 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Another Moorestown resident here. Let me had my triple-yuck to to the pile. Hard to believe in a town that was founded 400 years ago, but we don’t have a historic preservation society. There once was an ordinance with limited authority, but it was overturned by a residents group only a year and half after it was passed.

Amanda- Hip House Girl February 14, 2011 at 3:51 pm

This is too funny- I just did a post today about churches-turned-houses (although I swear I hadn’t read this one yet)! I couldn’t live in a house like this, but I could maybe see living in a smaller converted church.

Lisa February 14, 2011 at 5:49 pm

HEINOUS. In my opinion, they ruined a beautiful historic home by adding way too much onto it and filling it with ugly, gaudy furnishings. Sad.

amisare waswerebeen February 15, 2011 at 1:04 am

Definitely. I love it.

Meghan February 15, 2011 at 1:42 pm

I live 2 towns over from Moorestown & this house & have seen it frequently, from the outside.
I always imagined what it looked like inside & all I can say is “God forbid! I hope they did this b/c if they had an interior decorator that person should be shot!”

There are tons of gorgeous homes in Moorestown & now I am going to wonder how they are “done up” on the inside.

That is one hideous home.

Handy Man, Crafty Woman February 15, 2011 at 11:22 pm

hmmm, interesting. Not my taste.

I just can’t imagine all the dusting involved! :-D Then again, they probably have someone helping them with that! lol

MC Mann February 22, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Hey I live in Moorestown and we don’t have a river anywhere within town limits. The home is waterfront, but it sits on the Rancocas Creek. I was in that home before the current owners remodeled it and I thought it was much more interesting and liveable then.

Laura April 3, 2011 at 10:10 am

Huh. The addition doesn’t blend, and the church style is waaaaaay overboard. But in a weird way, I actually kinda like it (?). I’m not quite decided yet…. I think staying over one weekend would be awesome though, to explore! :)

Mata January 24, 2012 at 8:57 am

What they’ve done is downright criminal!

jignesh June 17, 2013 at 7:59 am

a lil bit “Goddy” ( gaudy :P)

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