Brownstone vs. Brownstone: Rittenhouse Edition

Google Street View of the lovely and desirable 2000 block of Spruce Street.

Google Street View of the lovely and desirable 2000 block of Spruce Street.

Here we have two single-family homes on the same block near Rittenhouse Square. They are, in fact, only about five houses apart from each other. They have roughly the same amount of square footage, and many similarities in style, both inside and out. But one is above $2 million and the other is not. That’s a significant dividing line.

Let’s take a look at slideshows of each.

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Saffron Wins Pulitzer for Architecture Criticism

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Saffron has been a finalist before, but this is her first Pulitzer win for architecture criticism. In fact, we hope the win celebrates the very idea of architecture criticism, which isn’t, you’d admit, quite as popular as other kinds. (Is there a Rotten Tomatoes of buildings? There should be.)

Between 1970 and 2014, only four winners of a Criticism Pulitzer have been architecture writers: the Chicago Tribune’s Blair Kamin, the Boston Globe’s Robert Campbell, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Allan Temko, and the New York Times’ Paul Goldberger.

Make that five!

Inga Saffron Wins a Pulitzer Prize

Famed Latimer House Drops $2M and Returns to Market

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The Latimer House was, when it was on sale in 2012 for $6.2 million, Philadelphia’s most expensive freestanding single-family home on the MLS. It was built in 1993 by husband-wife architect team David Slovic and Ligia Rave-slovic,  and quickly became well-known to Center City residents who would pass by the strangely unobtrusive but (for that reason) obtrusive gray box and puzzle over what might be inside — a dentist’s office? A Soviet storage facility? (There were no shortage of guesses as to what the building might hold, as I learned when I wrote about it for Curbed Philly, from Planned Parenthood to DMV to SAAB dealership.)

The interior (gallery below) would have surprised them.
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SOLD: Philly’s Most Unique Airbnb

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We knew the former Arthaus BnB would sell quickly when it was listed in January, but it’s a shame no one else will get to stay in the unique guest house, which was recommended in last year’s Washington Post travel guide. (Linger on these photos now, as well as the photos on the B&B’s website; you won’t see this decor again.)

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Stone Norman Mansion Is Full of Surprises

941 Bryn Mawr Avenue

941 Bryn Mawr Avenue

Take a drive along leafy Bryn Mawr Avenue, and — were you able to get a glimpse up a private drive and stand of trees — this Norman mansion doesn’t look out of place. It’s impressive, to be sure, but the stone exterior isn’t unusual for the area, and it suggests a traditional interior.

Inside, though, there are some rooms that definitely stand out. Take the kitchen, for instance. The glossy Italian Boffi cabinetry and center island are a deep, blood red, with countertops and backsplash in a gray and white granite. (The appliances are top of the line: Sub-Zero and Gaggenau.)

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A Translation of Carl Dranoff’s Main Line Times Editorial

Photo credit: Laura Kicey

Carl Dranoff, above, is a diplomatic guy. Photo credit: Laura Kicey

In response to claims that the project has been opposed by many in the community, Carl Dranoff wrote an editorial for the Main Line Times today, in which he attempted to clarify some aspects of the plan that seem to have been lost in the bickering. Of course, he puts everything quite delicately, but as someone who was once in a PhD program for Translation Studies, I feel qualified to at least attempt a rendering into regular-person talk, i.e., the kind of thing I imagine he says at home, head in hands, when the frustration gets to be too much.

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Inga Saffron vs. Mural Arts: The T-Shirt Edition

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A t-shirt made by Mural Arts in the wake of a column by Inga Saffron. Modeled by Emily Goulet.

This year marks the Mural Arts Program (MAP)’s 30th anniversary, and it should surprise no one that the Inquirer‘s Inga Saffron — a longtime critic of the city arts agency — would have something to say about it.

In a recent Changing Skyline column, the architecture critic did indeed take the opportunity to say a few words about MAP, some of them almost kind:

During those three decades, the city agency has left its mark on some 3,600 walls, mostly in the bleaker corners of the city where a little paint isn’t the worst thing that can happen.

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Suit Corner Is Engulfed By Fire

suit-cornerFirst it was Shirt Corner, the iconic clothing retailer at Third and Market. The retailer went out of business, the building was slated for redevelopment, the redevelopment was scrapped due to structural issues, then it (unexpectedly?) collapsed during demolition. Fans of historical buildings and classic type mourn.

Now, across the street, Suit Corner — which also had a similarly iconic facade, but was still serving customers after 50+ years — has gone up in flames. The fire started this morning, and has apparently destroyed the business, according to news reports.

For more on this story and for updates as it develops, head over to Philly Mag News & Opinion: Suit Corner Fire Is Under Control (Updated)

Image of Suit Corner via Google Street View.

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