Habitat: Everyone Should Have a Coffee Bar in the Bedroom

Photo by Laura Kicey.

Photo by Laura Kicey.

Thirty years after building their dream home in Wawa, Delaware County, Jo Ann Townsend and her husband realized they needed a change.

“What we liked then was not what we wanted now,” Townsend said.

The couple had originally purchased nine acres of land from her husband’s parents. Her father-in-law was an architect who designed the home specifically to synchronize with the sun. In the summer, the home would be shaded. In the winter, the sun would stream through the all-glass wall in the living room .

Upstairs, the couple later added a three-story addition to the home. It enlarged the top-level bedroom but they didn’t have a clear idea of what to do with all the extra square footage.

“Lots of room with no sense or space planning,” Townsend said.

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Morning Headlines: Flipping the Conventional Wisdom on Renters

Photo by Michelle W. via Flickr.

Photo by Michelle W. via Flickr.

Kellie Patrick Gates parses a hefty city planning commission survey at PlanPhilly this morning. Among the findings that might surprise you if you still subscribe to antiquated notions about renters: they are “highly committed” to their neighborhoods; many choose to rent despite their ability to buy; and the most highly committed renters in Philly appear to live outside Center City.

Among the findings that night not surprise you:

Other factors that respondents said kept them from buying included some Philadelphia-specific criticisms: School quality (31 percent), taxes (29 percent), the feeling they could get more house for less money outside the city (27 percent).

The report also found that Center City renters love exactly what you think they’d love. Restaurants, amenities and walkability. Renters in neighborhoods outside Center City cited closeness to friends and family as behind their decisions to rent where they do.

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Contemporary Chestnut Hill Manse Bordering Philadelphia Cricket Club

TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach.

TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach.

The listing for this contemporary estate in Chestnut Hill pegs its construction somewhere around 1974. Which would make it about 120 years younger than its closest neighbor, the Philadelphia Cricket Club. Like its neighbor, the home features lots of lush green land and plenty of 215 cachet.

The home features five bedrooms and three full baths on just more than an acre of land. Glass doors and wall-sized windows allow plenty of light but the secluded setting ensures privacy. The kitchen is ringed with custom cabinets and also includes a large center island and top-of-the-line appliances like a six-burner Viking stove. A two-story addition makes room for a garden room, family room, TV room and sun room (in another house, these four rooms would be the same). The master suite includes a private bath with a sauna and six enormous closets.
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A Swoon-Worthy Garden and Patio in New Hope

Photo by Laura Kicey.

Photo by Laura Kicey.

At first, Sally Weisman did not want to move. She’d been living in Princeton, New Jersey for 13 years in a beautiful home. She was reluctant to downsize because she loves to have friends and family over. But she was ready for a smaller space. She considered going back to New York. Then she found a townhouse in New Hope. The clincher was the available lot next door.

Her interior designer, Helen Walton, first suggested that Weisman buy the available lot. When her builder agreed that it was a great idea, things started to take shape. Weisman moved in November and the garden was finished last month.

“I really couldn’t live without a garden or some outside space,” Weisman said.

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Secluded Garden Just Off Main Street in Manayunk

TREND photo courtesy Keller Williams.

TREND photo courtesy Keller Williams.

From the garden, it would be tough to guess that this house was just a stone’s throw from Main Street in Manayunk. The interior of the home also makes it seem a bit more … grown up than some of the typical neighbors. All of which is likely owed to the architect and professional designer who put the whole thing together.

The home features four bedrooms and two full baths as well as a powder room. Luxe paint, built-in shelving and original plank hardwoods give things a warm feel. The kitchen has been recently redone and includes subway tiles on the backsplash as well as a custom bench at the eat-in table. A basement boasts additional room for storage.

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Eclectic Loft in Historic Rebman Building

TREND photo courtesy Plumer & Associates.

TREND photo courtesy Plumer & Associates.

The common thread among units in the Rebman building appears to be the usual soaring loft ceilings, enormous windows … and the ability to completely customize your space. The two other lofts we have featured could themselves not be more different from each other. This third unit goes in a completely different direction, combining a cosy home with decidedly industrial fixtures.

Unit 4G features the same open layout with walls of windows facing south and east. Customization is immediately apparent, and not just from the distinctive red piping. Current owners have completely soundproofed the unit. The listing promises not a peep of noise from busy streets below. The unit’s single bedroom has a wall of custom-fit wardrobes. The bathroom has been built for two and includes a full laundry setup. A workspace could easily be upgraded to a studio for two.

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Morning Headlines: The Never-Ending Fight Over the S. S. United States

Photo by Laura Kicey.

Photo by Laura Kicey.

Lydia O’Neill and Jeff Gammage have a mega report at The Inquirer this morning about the ongoing (and seemingly never-ending) dispute over the S.S. United States’ future. In a nutshell: the official conservancy that owns the boat says its best bet for survival is redevelopment in New York (after a lengthy and costly set of repairs here) and local developer Joe Henwood wants to turn it into a floating hotel near Harrah’s in Chester.

The Conservancy says Henwood’s idea is dead on arrival and Joe says he’ll just wait until the Conservancy runs out of money to buy the boat himself. Hill International’s Irvin Richter agrees that the Conservancy had its time to make progress on the ship (it’s been 18 years) but the Conservancy says without the work it’s done already, the ship would have been scuttled ages ago.

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Queen Village’s $1.375M Dragon House

TREND photo courtesy Keller Williams.

TREND photo courtesy Keller Williams.

What better name for a Queen Village home than “The Dragon?” The wrought iron door leading to the four-bedroom row makes the name obvious. And the off-beat exterior sets the stage for an interior that’s different from many of the neighboring homes. In fact, the most conventional thing about this home might be that it’s within the Meredith catchment.

Inside, marble flooring meets maple flooring and exposed brick in a series of living spaces that look almost like they abut an interior courtyard. Exposed brick completes the effect. The nearby solarium features a pyramid-shaped skylight in the middle of a spiral staircase.

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Morning Headlines: Inga Saffron’s Take on Building Plan Behind Rodin

Photo by jcapaldi</a" via Flickr.

Photo by jcapaldi via Flickr.

An apartment building has been proposed for the narrow space behind the Rodin Museum, and you can bet the Inquirer’s Inga Saffron has feelings about it (and her usual well-reasoned, bigger-picture analysis).

At issue is not just the aesthetics of the grounds ringing the well-loved museum. There’s also the city’s “low line” rail park to consider. The “low line,” of course, is the underground equivalent to the city’s other dreamed-of rail park. Should the Cross Properties (owned by David Blumenfeld — not that Blumenfeld, but his brother) plan move forward as proposed, the nascent park idea would be kaput.

Saffron explains:

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$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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