Newly Renovated Residence in Society Hill Shows Off Restored Facade

TREND images via Zillow.com

TREND images via Zillow.com

Someone once asked me what my favorite part of the city was and, I’m assuming to their and now your surprise, I gave the anticlimactic answer of Society Hill. It’s heavily residential, to be sure, with commercial amenities slowly emerging as you near Old City or South Street, but that’s precisely why I like it. It calls to mind that old Thomas Mann quote that goes “Thoughts come clearly as one walks,” and Society Hill is my personal (I’m usually the only one taking a stroll there for the sake of it) walker’s paradise.

Part of what makes those occasional promenades so great are the home eye-candy, especially the historic ones with beautifully restored facades. This newly renovated home at 528 Spruce Street, listed for more than $2 million, finds itself in such a position. (Psst, you can see at an open house this Sunday, deets and photos below.)

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36 Affordable Townhomes to Replace Vacant Lot in Port Richmond

Grace Town Homes rendering | Kramer + Marks Architects | Image courtesy of Ceisler Media

Kramer + Marks Architects | Courtesy of Ceisler Media

About ten minutes from the blighted Orinoka textile factory building, another eyesore takes up promising real estate. Fortunately, like Orinoka, the vacant lot at 2201 E. Auburn Street in Port Richmond awaits a Friday groundbreaking on a project that will, upon completion, bring 36 affordable townhomes to the area. Completion is anticipated for fall 2016.

The residential development is to be called Grace Town Homes, according to a press release, and was conceived from a partnership between the Women’s Community Revitalization Project and the Firm Hope Baptist Church. It was designed by Kramer + Marks Architects.

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Jaw Dropper of the Week: French Country Estate-Style Dream on the Main Line

TREND images via Zillow.com

TREND images via Zillow.com

If this week’s Main Line Monday home seemed fitting as the setting for a Sabrina remake, then this Villanova residence would work great in a period film. Stylized in the character of French Colonial country estates, the three-acre property vaunts superb outdoor spaces by award-winning landscape architect Chuck Hess, while the home itself was designed by Peter Zimmerman Architects, a local firm noted for their historic preservation and residential projects on the Main Line. Let’s take a tour, shall we?

Built in 2002, the house at 1113 Brynlawn Road offers elegant rooms with accents that include coffered and latticework ceilings, fireplaces (there are seven total), reclaimed antique pecan floors, and custom millwork. Floor-t0-ceiling windows and French doors are also throughout, with a pair in the garden room leading out to a flagstone patio overlooking the multi-garden grounds (which, for the record, was the Association of Professional Landscape Designers “Residential Best of Show” award winner in 2007). The garden room also connects to a a gallery with access to the study and open family kitchen. Specs and photos below.

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Transformation In Store For Vacant Factory Building on Spring Garden

Google Street View

Google Street View

Situated near the corner’s edge of Spring Garden and 11th, the old Lawsonia Building stands in anticipation of a pending renovation and three-story addition. The news, which we heard from GroJLart on Hidden City Daily, is great, considering the property has been vacant for well over a decade. Harman Deutsch Architecture is designing the mixed-use development, he says, which will include ground level commercial space. Currently, zoning issues have the project on hold.

According to GroJ, the structure has been in the neighborhood for eighty-five years and started out as the manufacturing headquarters of the Woodward-Wanger plumbing supplies company. The facility was actually a $45,000 construction built on the site of the original factory, which had consisted of five combined row houses that operated for fourteen years before burning down in 1929. The newer colonial revival building, he writes, lasted a little longer, with seven decades and a stint as a hand-crafted furniture workshop (Lawsonia Manufacturing Company) under its belt. It was vacated in 2002 and has been empty ever since.

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Main Line Monday: Refined Villanova Manse Perfect Setting for Sabrina Remake

TREND images via Zillow.com

TREND images via Zillow.com

With Hollywood’s occasional remake frenzy in mind, we propose this Villanova home as one of the settings for a modern-day version of Sabrina, a 1954 rom-com starring Audrey Hepburn. (Let’s pretend the Harrison Ford* one never happened.) Without giving too much away, there’s an early scene in the film where a young, heartbroken Sabrina locks herself in the multi-car garage after seeing her crush, the spoiled younger son of her father’s rich employer, with another woman. She blacks out from car exhaust poisoning, but is saved at the last minute by Humphrey Bogart, the more together, mature elder son. You can imagine how this is going to end, right?

Anyway, the point is this residence has an expanded four-door garage that would be an excellent backdrop for that scene. It doesn’t hurt that it can actually hold up to seven vehicles, what with its three commercial parking lifts, thereby driving the point that Sabrina, the daughter of the family chauffeur, is considered a less than suitable match for either of the young men of the house and vice-versa (the house staff wants to protect her good name).

Other high-end features on the property include a pool and pool house, while inside are three separate recreation areas, plus a walk-in, temperature-controlled wine cellar. What’s more, the grey stone Tudor has several French doors with original leaded glass, as well as a marvelous Downsview kitchen with built-in banquette seating in the breakfast room. Then, there’s the matter of the deluxe master retreat, which has a bathroom encompassing separate baths, hers with seated shower, jetted tub, fireplace, and adjacent walk-in closet; his with steam shower and dressing area. A mirrored gym can be found on the third level.

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City House of the Week: Restored City Heirloom in Queen Village

TREND images via Realtor.com

TREND images via Realtor.com

Old City may have the word in its name, but it’s certainly not the only neighborhood promising history that spans back centuries. Case in point, Queen Village, which the Queen Village Neighbors Association website reports was originally a property owned by a Swedish family who crossed over long before William Penn even founded Philadelphia.

According to QVNA, the area underwent a serious wave of construction in the mid-eighteenth century and several residential buildings from that time are still around. One of the more notable ones is the George Mifflin House on the 100 block of Pemberton Street – it’s calling card? It has Mifflin’s original initials and the 1748 construction date on its side. Though, if we’re going by age here, it looks as if our City House of the Week beats out even the likes of that property. Read more »

Farmhouse Friday: West Chester Barn Converted Into Magnificent Residence

TREND images via Zillow.com

TREND images via Zillow.com

We don’t mean to play favorites here, but if we just had to choose a home on the Wyllpen Farm residential development to stand above the rest, it would definitely be this one. See, unlike its “newly” constructed neighbors, which were built between 1986 and 2000, this unique residence is a 175-year-old converted barn home outfitted with modern upgrades and balanced with original details.

Just looking at the photos gives you a sense of its original function, with hand-hewn beams and hayloft ladders all still present, as are the built-in bookshelves and beehive pillars. As mentioned earlier, though, it’s also been updated, these changes including remodeled upstairs bathrooms, butler’s pantry with wet bar and wine fridge, and an open kitchen with stainless steel appliances and granite tops. Outside, all the outdoor lighting and landscaping got a redesign in 2011.

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New Listing: Fantastically Restored Dwelling Behind Historic Philly Site

TREND images via Redfin

TREND images via Redfin

Under normal circumstances we’d hesitate to show you a home standing near a prison. (Trust us.) Fortunately, the correctional institution in question has long ceased to hold inmates. In fact, it’s now one of the city’s most historic sites and a fun destination during the Halloween season if you don’t mind the long lines – that’s right, we’re talking about Eastern State Penitentiary.

Completed in 1836, the facility was an architectural marvel that drew crowds on horse and buggy all the way from Philadelphia, which was then situated a mile away, according to Eastern State’s website. This restored gem on 23rd is about two blocks from the site and if you’ve ever been in the neighborhood, you know homes in that area are a far cry from the giant’s gloomy past.

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Coming Next Summer: Apartment Development Across From Clark Park

4224 Baltimore Ave rendering

It’s been months since we last revisited the mixed-use project planned for 4224 Baltimore Avenue, but we’ve now finally caught wind of new information regarding the long-stalled development: construction of the planned 132-unit building is slated for late summer 2016.

According to West Philly Local, the news was shared by developer U3 Ventures and property owner Clarkmore LP in a recent letter to the Spruce Hill Community Association Zoning Committee and the neighborhood at large. Despite lack of specifics, WPL reports the mixed-use apartment building is anticipated to include a fitness center and full-service restaurant with outdoor seating, “among other retail options.”

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Jaw Dropper of the Week: Eagles Watch Estate In Huntingdon Valley

Images via Zillow.com

Images via Zillow.com

Eagles Watch may sound like it was christened by your hardcore green-blooded uncle, but the truth behind the moniker of this Montgomery County estate isn’t actually that outré: it’s a home parked atop five acres filled with hundreds of mature trees and backs up to more than 800 preserved acres belonging to the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust. Naturally, the arboreal surroundings attract creatures of the avian variety, in this case the spot being of particular interest to nesting eagles. So cute!

The French Normandy-style home, custom built and completed in 2008, is said to boast fine carpentry and energy efficient amenities like seven climate control zones. Spaces of note include a stone and beam Great room with 20-foot ceiling and gourmet kitchen with hearth room, breakfast room and details like Sub-Zero fridge, stereo speaker system and Viking commercial 6 burner gas range. Downstairs, the lower level is an entertainment haven encompassing the likes of a wine tasting room, massage room, billiards parlor and game room. A fitness center with built-in bar and fridge is here too.

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