Page 23 - The Hunt - Fall 2019
P. 23

                                          In late 1985, Christopher
and Susan Casscells found themselves between a rock and a
hard place.
An orthopaedic surgeon, Chris was finishing his residency at Yale University. The young couple had two children—a toddler and an infant—and needed a home in northern New Castle County, Del., where Chris would soon be joining the medical practice his father founded in 1949.
They were about to settle on a home in suburban Hockessin, Del., where housing developments were springing up like mushrooms after a thunderstorm. But before they signed on the dotted line, Chris spied a “For Sale” sign outside a huge stone house in Greenville, Del. “A developer had planned to knock down the house and build new homes on the property,” Chris recalls. “But the house is so massive and the stone is so dense, it was too expensive to demolish.”
The Casscells moved in on a bitterly cold New Year’s Day in 1986. Ravaged by weather and neglect, the home—built in 1919 and expanded in 1927— had been vacant for several years. Still, it retained vestiges of grace and glamour.
It was a rocky start for the family. “We ran out of fuel oil that day,” Chris recalls.
But it didn’t take long for them to warm up to the old stone house. In winter, their nesting place is the second floor library,
with its crackling fireplace and stately wood paneling made from pine and stained to look like mahogany. “Every time someone in our extended family is recouping from an illness, they rest in the library in the big leather wing chair,” Susan says. “We call it the ‘recovery chair’ because it’s so cozy and comforting.”
After the addition of a third child, Susan’s mother came to live at the house to help with the kids. She took up residence in a pleasant suite on the third floor and ended up sewing curtains for most of the home’s 96 windows.
  Eventually, the couple replaced all of the
21
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