The L-shaped house faces Boot Road across a terrace and broad lawn; its sloped slate roof and two high chimneys are barely visible from the road behind a row of trees. Concord grapes (delicious, according to a current tenant, Kit Stewart) grow on gnarled vines across the front of the house, just above five French double doors and below five dormer windows.
A narrow, curved driveway leads from Boot Road to a cul-de-sac behind the house. The main entrance, at the end of a brick walkway at the back of the house, leads into a large hall paved with white marble blocks taken from the Hotel Colonnade on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia during its demolition.
To the left is a spiral staircase, carpeted in blue and flanked by a suit of armor. Beyond is a long formal dining room, decorated with original linen- backed wallpaper whose birds, ducks and flowers were hand-painted in China.
Off the dining room, banks of glass-fronted cabinets line the pantry, which leads into the modernized kitchen and laundry. (Other than the kitchen remodeling, no structural changes have been made to the house since it was built, according to documents filed in 1982, when the house was submitted for inclusion on the National Register.)
A narrow service stairway leads from the kitchen and laundry room to what were the servants' quarters on the second floor. An intercom box, designed to let the servants know which room they were needed in downstairs, remains prominently hung in the hallway of the servants' quarters.
Most of the first floor is occupied by the study, which features floor-to- ceiling bookcases and panelling, three French doors and a hardwood floor. Two sections of bookcases flanking the working fireplace have mechanisms that swing open, revealing secret passageways leading into the next room.
On the second floor are four bedrooms, two fireplaces (there are seven in the entire house), three bathrooms, a sitting room and several skylights. Above is an attic. The original brass plumbing remains in the basement.
Bordering the property are European linden trees, imported by Mrs. Rush; they required skilled pruning twice a year. Across Boot Road from Autun is the house of the parents of Benjamin Rush, who made his money as an insurance executive. That house was built in the Colonial revival style by George Page in 1908. The Devereux Foundation now owns both the senior Rushes' house and a gatehouse to Autun that is at the end of the driveway.
Autun was owned for 20 years by the Rushes, after which it was bought by Silvio and Frances Pietrinferni, who now live in Uwchlan. Marcia Green, who lives in south Florida, purchased the house in the early 1980s, and now Stewart (a musician who used to own West Chester's Gay Street Vendor) and several other tenants occupy it.
Autun was designed by Edmund Beaman Gilchrist of Philadelphia, who had just returned from France when he received the commission from the Rushes, according to Snyder. Born in Germantown and educated in the Philadelphia area, Gilchrist in 1924 received a medal for "most meritorious work" from the Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
One of Gilchrist's trademarks - which he used in Autun - was the mixture of rounded and peaked dormers. The two end dormers on the front of the house have rounded tops with fancy brickwork, while the central three have peaks.