As a builder, Ed Rudloff recognizes potential when he sees it. Overlooking the 500-acre Stroud Preserve in West Chester, the transitional farmhouse he and his wife, Marisa, bought in 2008 sits on a wooded acre in a cul-de-sac. The home needed work, but the location was picture perfect. Over the next dozen years, with medical breaks in between for Ed’s spinal and knee surgeries, the couple created their dream house.

“Our first son was 3 months old” when they moved in, said Ed, owner of Rudloff Custom Builders, based in West Chester. With a newborn, they initially focused on cosmetic improvements including painting and flooring. Next, they tackled the main bathroom and finished the basement, then worked their way through floor by floor.

The 5,100-square-foot house, including basement, has four bedrooms, 3½ baths, a home office, an eat-in kitchen/sunroom, living room, dining room, family room, and gym with sauna. Designed with an open concept whose rooms flow from one to the next, the house has walls that are mostly white, black and gray, either painted or wallpapered with geometric designs. The floors are white oak.

“We have very little on the walls,” said Ed, a carpenter by trade, who built extensive millwork on the walls and ceilings throughout the house. “In our dining room, we have a lot of millwork and a really cool metal mirror with a grayish-blue hue that’s about seven feet long by three feet tall. That’s our piece that just pops off the wall.”

Chrome finishes and navy and powder-blue accents are highlighted in upholstered furniture and pillows. The couple reupholstered an antique couch and chairs that had sentimental value but wouldn’t have fit in with the new decor.

“When we first got married, we were 24, moving into a house, and at the time, we spent a lot on the furniture,” Ed recalled. Their style then was more traditional.

Marisa, an avid cook, designed the kitchen for both beauty and function. Above the central island, Ed built an extensive coffered ceiling.

“I love to cook and entertain, and my boys, Eddie and Luke, finally eat everything,” said Marisa, who enjoys experimenting with meals she sees on Food Network shows.

They built an oversized hood over the stove and added rollout drawers with specialized bins for utensils and ingredients. Large, deep cabinets provide plenty of storage for pots, pans and appliances.

“You see absolutely nothing because there’s a space for everything,” Marisa said. “I love having six burners. The kitchen’s flow makes it so much easier to cook now.”

That’s important because they traditionally host every holiday for both their families and open their home for get-togethers for their son’s sports teams. “This is definitely the house where people like to gather.”

The basement bar has a black granite top and a stone veneer that matches the stone on the home’s exterior garden walls. Their final project will replace the home’s stucco with that same stone and siding, as well as replace all the windows.

“We are all so busy that when we are home, we like to hang out together,” said Ed, who loves to tackle big projects in his down time. “We used to have a wood deck, and we had a day off of sports one Sunday, and I came around the back corner of the house with a chainsaw and cut down the deck while the kids were inside having breakfast.”

In its place, he built a flagstone terrace and patio with lots of seating and a built-in grill with a black granite countertop. The family often gathers around their outdoor TV or in the hot tub. The large backyard includes a boulder wall with ivy and lots of colorful trees and shrubs.

» READ MORE: West Chester’s business district is fighting COVID hard, but winter is a looming threat

Ed grew up in Delaware County and Marisa in Montgomery County. When Ed first discovered West Chester, he knew it was the right place to raise their family.

“It has an awesome vibe and energy,” he said. “When we go into town and go out for dinner, prior to COVID, our youngest one could walk around with his buddies and come back and meet up with us an hour later.”

Their neighborhood has two large stocked ponds where the boys have been going to blow off steam after pandemic virtual school.

“They hop on their bikes and go fishing at the pond and created a bond by doing that,” Marisa said. “It was beautiful.”

Is your house a Haven? Nominate your home by email (and send some digital photographs) at properties@inquirer.com.