Seven Inspiring Jersey Shore Houses

Our Shore homes are the unfussy counterparts to our city and suburban sprawls — a little more comfortable, a lot less serious. But they pose a design dilemma: How to embrace a loosened-up vibe without veering into trite beach-house trappings? Consider this your idea book: seven inspiring Shore homes (you know, the ones you’ve always secretly wanted to peek inside) that go beyond shells and starfish for true seaside style. Read more »

The Utterly Fabulous (and Totally Boring) Life of Laurentius

Laurentius Purnama and his son, Jude. Photograph by Christopher Leaman.

Laurentius Purnama and his son, Jude. Photograph by Christopher Leaman.

It’s 4 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon, and I’m sitting in a butter yellow Queen Village kitchen, watching six-year-old Jude Purnama as he slurps up his after-school snack of bubble tea, a weird milky concoction dotted with gummy-like blobs that he hunts with a spoon. The kitchen, like the rest of the house, is a riot of homey clutter that teeters on messy but lands just this side of lived-in. A bright green credenza teems with tchotchkes; vintage canisters are clustered on the tops of shelves; cabinets are papered with Jude’s artwork. A speaker atop the fridge plays a schizophrenic loop of music: Billy Joel, Lady Gaga, the Beatles, Katy Perry. In the brief interludes between songs, there’s the faint mewing of cats — a trio of them, Spot, Maude and Charlie Chan — who slink through the house and periodically wind around my ankles. Katy Perry belts out her fiery fight anthem, all about rising and roaring, but the whole scene calls to mind a more down-to-earth soundtrack: Our house is a very very very fine house with two cats in the yard. …

Even amidst all this color and clutter and noise, I’m drawn mostly to Jude’s hair, a silky brown mop that crests over his ears and falls just below the nape of his neck. It’s beautiful, in the way most little-kid hair is: shiny and bright, of a shade that women spend hundreds of dollars to get in a salon. It’s the color of a coffee bean, but under the kitchen light, I notice streaks of reddish gold. They’re subtle but unmistakable. “Like lava!” Jude says. I mention how beautiful they are.

“Oh, that’s not all natural. I highlighted his hair! Babylights! It’s a light bayalage, just to give it some dimension,” his dad, Laurentius, says. Jude nods, plucks a gelatinous bubble from his glass, and pops it in his mouth, as if this is all perfectly normal. But in this family, a six-year-old with bayalage highlights that cost more than some people’s rent is normal, because Laurentius is Laurentius Purnama, a 43-year-old former hairstylist to the stars and the owner of one of the most high-end hair salons in Philadelphia, a sleek white-and-glass sanctuary that caters to the city’s most well-known — and well-off — citizens. Read more »

Your Shame-Free Guide to the Best Philly Sex Shops

Condom Kingdom | Photograph by Christopher Leaman

Condom Kingdom | Photograph by Christopher Leaman

1. Condom Kingdom

437 South Street, Queen Village.

If Disneyland went X-rated, it’d be something like this South Street stalwart, which mixes bachelorette-party kitsch (penis-shaped candy) with fetish gear (nipple clamps) in a cartoonish space that looks like a cross between a kinky cave and an ancient castle, with stone walls, ponds, and a condom-bedecked tree. Corny? A tad. Fun? Absolutely. Go here for: A user-friendly, accessible playground for entry-level enthusiasts.  Read more »

Reuben “Big Rube” Harley Is Philly’s Most Beloved Hustler

Photograph by Adam Jones

Photograph by Adam Jones

I don’t want to get my picture taken.

It’s a soupy Wednesday afternoon, and I’m four months pregnant. I’m exhausted, pasty-white with nausea, and wearing the only pants that fit, which are so stretched in the legs that even my knees look bloated. I tell Big Rube I’m not camera-ready as soon as I see him, which is at the Starbucks at 19th and Chestnut. He’s impossible to miss, a 300-plus-pound guy in a Big Bird-yellow rain jacket that envelops his massive frame like a tarp. As always, he has a camera looped around his neck. He smiles and smothers me in a bear hug.

“Nah,” he says. “We shooting you today. You stylin’.” Read more »

Confession: I’m a Philadelphian and I’ve Never Seen Rocky

Bronze footprints mark the spot where Rocky Balboa leaped for joy in the classic film Rocky. | Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

Bronze footprints mark the spot where Rocky Balboa leaped for joy in the classic film Rocky. | Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

I know a little bit about Rocky, mostly because I grew up around here. I can even imagine scenes: Rocky (real name?) runs through the Italian Market. He chases chickens. He punches gaping slabs of meat in a meat locker. He yells “Adrian!” Adrian wears a beret. At some point, Rocky fights a guy called Drago — although, on second thought, Drago might not appear until a later movie. The chickens, too. In my estimation, there are about 179 Rocky movies … and I’ve seen precisely zero of them. 

There are other seminal films I haven’t seen: Star Wars, Indiana Jones, The Terminator. My lack of late-’70s-and-’80s cinema knowledge makes me a bad 30-something. The fact that I’ve never seen Rocky? This makes me a bad Philadelphian.  Read more »

The Sinister, Glitter-Fueled Truth Behind My Annual Holiday Cards

Illustration by Angela Rio

Illustration by Angela Rio

Something happens to me around Christmastime, and it involves glitter.

Each year, just after Thanksgiving, I suddenly take leave of my senses, convince myself I’m crafty, and become obsessed with hand-making my holiday cards. I scour the shelves of Paper Source and the pages of Martha Stewart Living, setting unrealistic and downright masochistic goals: Yes! I think. This year I’ll embroider messages onto tiny squares of linen and deliver them by dove!  Read more »

Look Inside 10 of Philly’s Most Enviable Closets

There isn’t much in life that’s more personal than our wardrobes — they’re where we stow our personal artifacts, pile our favorite things (and dirty laundry) and hide our skeletons. Here, a glimpse inside the closets, collections and curiosities of Philly’s coolest characters, power players and fashion plates.

Dallas Shaw

Fashion influencer

Nearly 80,000 people follow fashion illustrator Dallas Shaw’s Instagram feed for peeks at her stylish life—and into her gilt-wallpapered closet, a guest room in her circa-1905 Wilmington house that she converted into a dressing room. In the glam space, both designer and “dirt-cheap” clothes line a wardrobe rack, silk scarves hang in a vintage trunk, and part of her vast shoe collection (it spans hundreds of pairs; out-of-season styles are in storage) is displayed on salvaged window frames and along an old gate from a church. “I’m not into the cubed closet thing,” says Shaw. “Instead of a traditional closet, I wanted to have a room that I can live in.”

Photography by Christopher Leaman

Photography by Christopher Leaman

Read more »

How One of Philly’s Coolest Developers Spends His Day

Photography by Courtney Apple

Photography by Courtney Apple

David Grasso has his hands in some of Philly’s coolest projects. The founder and CEO of commercial development firm Grasso Holdings, Grasso is a partner 12 different companies (including Fishtown eatery Wm. Mulherin’s Sons; coworking space Pipeline Philly; and ROOST Apartment Hotel). And he knows a thing or two about good design (have you seen the gorgeous interiors of ROOST?), luxe toys (see: His Tesla) and keeping sane during crazy-busy days (he gets 550 emails a week). Read more »

Current Obsession: This De-Stressing Chaise Lounge For the Perennially Frazzled

Konekt chaiseThough the base of the “Pause” chaise is rooted in technology — an ergonomic fiberglass shell created from a 3-D computer rendering — the finished product is crafted to help you escape it. The lounge is an offering from the year-old furniture company Konekt, a Philly-based outfit that combines the work of local artisans (those custom-made, and customizable, brass legs) with sleek design. The result? A sinuous, sexy spot where the perennially stressed-out can disconnect, unplug and, fittingly, pause. Starting at $8,000. Read more »

Suburban Square News: The Mall Gets Its Coolest Store Yet

Suburban Square News: Eaves Opening in Ardmore.

Suburban Square news: Eaves opening a second location in the open-air mall. | Images via Eaves Instagram.

After a season that’s seen some great indie boutiques shutter (R.I.P. Aoki), it’s heartening to see a local brick-and-mortar not only flourish, but expand. Case in point: The news that Eaves, Wayne’s stellar sanctuary for brands like IRO and Isabel Marant, is opening a second location in Suburban Square. (Cue cheering.)  Read more »

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