Habitat: A Modern Riverside Home in West Norriton

Exterior: The home’s exposed steel frame prevents the elevated house from swaying, saves the place from flooding, and creates a protected outdoor entertaining space underneath, complete with a hot tub and an outdoor shower. There’s also a roof deck atop the red stucco wing. Photography by Halkin Mason

Old City architect Michael Ryan had one crucial task when he designed this home: to do something —
anything — about the flooding. The house sits steps away from the Schuylkill River and its eponymous trail, at a picturesque bend studded with trees. While the setting originally appealed to the outdoorsy homeowners, who live downtown but longed for a weekend escape, they’d grown tired of bailing out their small 1930s home whenever the river flooded. Read more »

Habitat: A Character Study in Rittenhouse

Living space: The walls of the home’s “public” spaces are wrapped in reclaimed whitewashed chestnut planks that are riddled with wormholes, creating interesting texture on a neutral backdrop. The exposed wood beams over the dining area create a natural separation that helps define the three connected spaces. Photograph by Jeffrey Totaro

When the would-be owners of this Rittenhouse condo were house-hunting, they knew exactly what they didn’t want: a cold, modern high-rise unit that felt more hotel than home. “That’s what they were moving from,” explains Vivian Su, of Spring Garden-based architecture and design firm Rasmussen/Su. “They wanted a place that would feel more neighborhood-y — more casual and relaxing.” Read more »

The Stunning New Farmhouse on Historic Ardrossan Estate

Photography by Tom Crane | The Butler’s pantry

Set amid 14 acres of the historic Ardrossan property — former home of Helen Hope Montgomery Scott, the socialite who inspired The Philadelphia Story — is a sprawling stone farmhouse that looks like it’s been there for a century. Surprise: It’s a new build, the work of West Chester-based architecture firm Archer & Buchanan, Ltd. “Everything feels like it has layers of history and time,” says the firm’s partner and co-founder, Richard Buchanan. “It looks like a well-preserved 100-year-old house.” Read more »

6 Ways I Made My Small Bedroom Look Way Bigger

iStockphoto

From a square-footage perspective, my bedroom probably wouldn’t be considered “small.” It’s on the third floor of our 100-year-old South Philly rowhome and spans the full width of the house. But its unfortunately low ceilings — and my too-big, too-dark, poorly planned out furniture — made it feel claustrophobic. I hated it from the day we moved in four years ago.

A few months back, I’d finally had enough. The bed and the mismatched dressers were in the same spots the movers had dropped them. The vintage vanity I’d scored on Craigslist years ago was looking beyond sad and tired, its bad paint job pushed well beyond the “shabby chic” point. (And I don’t even like shabby chic things to begin with.) The bedspread was appallingly dark. The dark wood headboard further added to the blackhole-ness of the bed situation. It was just all so … thoughtless. I can’t even say it was ill conceived because it was never actually conceived to begin with.

So earlier this spring, we got to work. In the course of a few weeks, we’d completely changed the look and feel of our room. And without having to actually raise the ceiling even an inch, the room now feels — dare I say it — huge now. Airy. Glorious.

Here’s what we did.  Read more »

6 Gorgeous Philly-Area Swimming Pools

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There are swimming pools, and there are swimming pools. Philly-area homes have plenty of the latter, and on gorgeous sun-soaked days like today, we wish for nothing more than a swimming pool to perch beside. Here, six amazing ones. (Plus one hot tub so cool, we couldn’t resist.) Read more »

9 Doormats That Say Exactly the Right Thing

iStock/KenWiedemann

Tis the season for sprucing up your stoop. If your doormat didn’t survive the winter and you’re searching for a replacement, allow me to point you to several that say, well, everything — whether you’re feeling sassy, welcoming or a bit of both.  Read more »

Room of the Week: A Gorgeous Attic You’d Actually Want to Live In

Photographs by Courtney Apple

I don’t know about your house, but the attic in mine is, in a word, disgusting. I guess it could have potential as usable, livable space, if someone like Ardmore-based interior designer Naomi Stein got her hands on it. Naomi’s the designer who transformed our latest Room of the Week from a cramped attic storage space into the light-soaked sanctuary you see above. So, um, Naomi if you’re looking for your next project, you know where to find me.

Read on to see how this gorgeous space came together. And just wait until you hear the story of where all that rustic wood came from …  Read more »

5 Need-to-Know Tips for Mastering Indoor Succulents and Cacti

Photos courtesy @Shop.Field on Instagram

Photos courtesy @Shop.Field on Instagram

I do not have the best track record with plants. I’m a serial overwater-er, and as such I’ve had many a plant wither under my well-intentioned flood conditions. I’m the absolute worst with cacti because I just can’t seem to help myself when I’m wielding the watering can.

So when I found out that Field owner Erin Doherty has a cactus in her house that she hasn’t watered since October — October, people!— I nearly keeled over with shock. “It’s beautiful and thriving,” she says.

Well. I certainly have a thing or two to learn. Lucky for me, Erin’s the gal to turn to: Her pop-up shop specializes in succulents and cacti, and she has a house full of thriving plants to prove her green thumb is no joke. If you’re reading this so far, I’m going to assume need some help, too. Check out Erin’s top tips for mastering potted succulents and cacti below, then go check out the goods at her upcoming pop-ups, tonight at Lululemon in Fishtown from 6 to 8 pm, and on Mother’s Day weekend at Vestige.  Read more »

8 Ways to Turn Your Tiny Back Patio Into a Gorgeous Oasis

The Inspiration: A coolly laid-back patio by Australian-based Quercus Gardens | Photo: Robert Walsh Photography/Landsberg Garden Design

The Inspiration: A coolly laid-back patio by Australian-based Quercus Gardens | Photo: Robert Walsh Photography/Landsberg Garden Design

Transform a sad slab of concrete into an inviting outdoor oasis with cheery accessories, space-conscious furniture and greenery galore. Take a cue from our inspiration photo above — then sit back, relax and enjoy your paradise.  Read more »

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