$1.325 Million Dorchester Suite on Rittenhouse Square

Photos courtesy Allan Domb.

Photos courtesy Allan Domb.

What’s better than one beautiful unit at Rittenhouse Square’s Dorchester? Two combined units taking up one massive corner space at the iconic high-rise.

The current owner has lived in the building for 25 years in different units, which makes him a Dorchester devotee. “It’s a special place to me and my family,” he says. This particular suite is unique, he notes, because it combines a two-bedroom facing Rittenhouse Square with a south-facing one bedroom for a three-bedroom with views of both the park and South Philadelphia. And the skyline views are amazing as well. In fact, the dedicated website has a gallery comprised of view photos alone.

The owner says there are over $350,000 of updates in this home­, which includes a master suite marble bathroom (separate soaking tub, of course) and a kitchen with Sub Zero, GE Profile, Bosch, Hans Grohe and Kohler appliances.

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Morning Headlines: Elkins Estate One Step Closer to Redevelopment

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

The Inquirer’s Jessica Parks has the details on last night’s public meeting in Cheltenham where the township Board of Commissioners approved new zoning to allow the famed Elkins Estate to be turned into a boutique hotel, condos and an arts center. The 4-3 vote in favor of redevelopment surprised those in attendance, whom Parks says spoke uniformly to oppose the new zoning regulations.

Not that that means they’re against the redevelopment, per se.

Brad Pransky, a community activist with expertise in zoning and development, told the commissioners that he liked the proposed reuse, but that “we have rushed this through at a tremendous rate. I think we need to take a beat and look at some of the issues.”

While Parks says many in Cheltenham favor the plans to redevelop the Horace Trumbauer-designed estate because it will produce commercial taxes and preserve two historic buildings, some residents are concerned about the proposed density (reported to be some combination of hotel rooms and/or condos totaling no more than 500 units).

Of course, these things always boil down to parking.

“We already have people lining up for about half an hour at rush hour,” said Joseph Gilbert, who lives on Ashbourne Road.

Hotel-condo plan for Elkins Estate advances in Cheltenham [Inquirer]

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Morning Headlines: An Update to PDQ’s Tax Delinquent Property Spreadsheet

Screen shot from Philadelinquency.

Screen shot from Philadelinquency.

Christopher Sawyer, the anti-blight crusader behind Philadelinquency, announced yesterday that his tax delinquency database is now current as of August 1. The database is an addictive tool where you can search properties that are behind on their taxes by any number of data points.

Curious about your own zip code? You can sort that way. Curious about who reigns supreme with the most liens in the city? (It’s 37 and the title is shared by three people.) You can search that. Want to check on whether your neighbor filed a homestead exemption? You can search by individual addresses, too.

Hours of fun (and civic despair) to be had at the PDQ Property Catalog.

More news this way …

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Exposed Brickapalooza in Old City Condo

TREND photo courtesy Coldwell Banker.

TREND photo courtesy Coldwell Banker.


Cuthbert Street is a darling, cobblestoned alleyway tucked behind Old City’s more bustling streets. So of course a condo nestled there would be warm and charming in turn.

This two-bedroom unit occupies the upper floors in a quaint brick building. It boasts 14-foot ceilings and original (but restored! They’re always restored!) hardwoods. By far the most endearing detail in this cozy condo is the exposed brick everywhere. The living room also features exposed timbers and ductwork, producing an effect somewhere between loft and cottage that we find homey in the best sense.

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White Oak Farm in Glenmoore on 76 Acres with Saltwater Pool

TREND photo courtesy James A. Cochrane, Inc.

TREND photo courtesy James A. Cochrane, Inc.

Chester County’s White Oak Farm was built in 1906 and completely renovated 90 years later. The property includes a manor home, a detached two-car garage, a barn and a guest house. The garage alone includes a workshop and an indoor/outdoor kennel. The barn racks up more than 3,000 square feet of space and is currently a massive parking lot for farm equipment and something the listing refers to as “toys” (scare quotes included).

The estate still boasts original pine floors on the entire first floor. The ground level also includes a central audio system as well as the expected fancy kitchen (Sub-Zero refrigerator included) with two separate pantries. Upstairs is a master suite with an office and en-suite bath. The master also includes one of the four fireplaces. The home also includes a central vacuum system. The main house also features a there’s a wrap-around porch as well as a separate covered porch and a rear patio.

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Cozy Family Home Hits the West Philly Trifecta

TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach.

TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach.

This darling West Philly home already has a lot going for it if you’re in a family way: the lawn is beautiful, the sun room is cozy, and there’s a separate dining room as well as a breakfast nook. And then there’s the true West Philly trifecta. This house is Clark Park adjacent, has garage parking and sits squarely in the Penn Alexander catchment.

The arts and crafts-style home has four bedrooms and a generous family room. There are also two full baths. It’s especially sunny even if you don’t count the sun porch. Exposure on three sides makes for a lot of natural light. Leaded glass windows and woodwork throughout give the home a lot of character. A semi-finished basement and lots of closets also give it plenty of storage.
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Barclay Home of the Late Lady Bessborough

TREND photo courtesy Sotheby's.

TREND photo courtesy Sotheby’s.

There are plenty of luxury condos in this city (see: Claude Giroux’s new digs). There are few with as rich a back story as this triple-sized unit at The Barclay. If it looks like a residence fit for aristocracy, that’s because it was last the home of the late Lady Bessborough, countess of the same and wife to the late Earl of Bessborough, Viscount Duncannon. Before marrying into the aristocracy proper, the Randor native was already part of Philadelphia society, being related to both the Drexel and Biddle families.

The countess was known for many charitable interests – locally, for her support of Drexel as well as the American Philosophical Society – and was noted for her work to preserve Ben Franklin’s last existing home. Franklin’s residence on Craven Street in London proved to be fairly indomitable, having been twice bombed during World War II, set on fire in 1983 and flooded in 1987. Bessborough’s group helped complete repairs in 1996 and a decade later, the home opened to the public.
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Bryn Mawr Estate Hidden Behind Gatehouse Has Serious Potential

TREND photo courtesy Coldwell Banker.

TREND photo courtesy Coldwell Banker.

We are dreaming of what we could do with this private Bryn Mawr estate hidden behind a stone gatehouse and lofted among the trees. Built in 1964, the lines are giving off a serious MCM vibe. We yearn to take down the curtains (and the skateboards!) and open this home up.

The four-bedroom home boasts vaulted ceilings along with walls full of windows. The master bedroom and bath are on the main level and feature private deck access. There are also two family rooms, one of which has a very cool copper fireplace. The kitchen has a walk-in pantry. The bathroom will need a new shower curtain.
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Hidden 8BR Glenside Estate With Cupola

TREND photo courtesy Long & Foster.

TREND photo courtesy Long & Foster.

The thing we love most about this beautiful Glenside estate is that it has been restored to its 1830s heyday but there are still opportunities for new owners to personalize the property. With only four previous owners, the estate has retained original elements like pocket doors and pocket shutters as well as original pinewood flooring. While the property has been renovated meticulously, new owners will still have the chance to devise any use they like for two very cool spaces: a cupola and a restored barn.

The main living areas of the home include a library with the double whammy of built-in bookshleves and window seats. A formal living room features a fireplace with Mercer tile (you’ll also find that in the bathrooms and in one of the other three fireplaces). The kitchen has been fully renovated and includes radiant heat flooring, an eight-burner, two-oven Wolf stove, a Sub Zero refrigerator and a separate wine cooler. The first-floor dining room could accommodate more than 150 guests at a cocktail party.

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Passive House Building Principles at Kamp Kaolin in Landenberg

Photo by Laura Kicey.

Photo by Laura Kicey.

Currently under construction in southern Chester County (Landenberg, to be precise), Kamp Kaolin is a 2,700 square-foot home designed with a whole slew of industry buzzwords in mind. Sustainability. Passive house principles. Aging-in-place.

We talked to Hugh Lofting, of Hugh Lofting Timber Framing Inc., who is in charge of the project. The company is one of only seven certified passive house builders in Pennsylvania, so he’s the man to talk to when you want to confirm that the building principles involve more than a bunch of architects standing around saying things like “wherever you think the truss should go is fine with me” or “I’m sure that foundation is level enough.”

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