What $500K Will Buy You in New Hope

350 S. River Rd., Unit A11, New Hope, Pa. 18938 | TREND image via Addison Wolfe Real Estate

350 S. River Rd., Unit A11, New Hope, Pa. 18938 | TREND image via Addison Wolfe Real Estate

Follow the Delaware up beyond Trenton and Morrisville and you soon find yourself in a land of forests, rolling farms and picturesque landscapes. This is Central Bucks County, a land chock-full of both beautiful, secluded homes and popular visitor magnets.

New Hope offers both. The compact borough itself is a charming, historic year-round celebration of laid-back, anything-goes diversity, and its surrounding countryside features picturesque old mills, Revolutionary War sites (Washington Crossing is just downstream) and thick woodlands.

At least one of our three featured homes is nestled in those woodlands. Another is right at the borough’s southern tip and offers a serene view of the Delaware Canal. All deftly mix contemporary design and traditional style.

350 S. River Rd., Unit A11 (above) | 2 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths, 1,385 square feet, $500,000

We’ll start with this attractive condo in The Waterworks, a converted mill located between the Delaware Canal and the river itself, offering great views in either direction. This canal-facing unit is full of light thanks to its large canal-facing windows and plenty of skylights, and its main living spaces boast high vaulted ceilings that add drama and style to them. There’s a wood-burning fireplace in the living room, a balcony overlooking an attractive courtyard in the dining room, and all of New Hope right outside your front door. The unit comes with two deeded garage parking spaces, but you’ll probably find yourself leaving your car(s) parked there, for it’s just a short walk from here into the center of New Hope, where shopping, dining and entertainment options abound. Not to mention that you might prefer biking along the 60-mile-long canal towpath.

350 S. River Rd., Unit A11, New Hope, Pa. 18938 [Donna Tyson | Addison Wolfe Real Estate]

6858 Upper York Rd., New Hope, Pa. 18938 | TREND image via Coldwell Banker Hearthside

6858 Upper York Rd., New Hope, Pa. 18938 | TREND image via Coldwell Banker Hearthside

6858 Upper York Rd. | 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths, 1,918 square feet, $499,000

Now we head upriver and into the woods, where we find this attractive contemporary Cape Codder. It presents an attractive face to your guests and visitors who arrive via the meandering driveway that terminates in a circle, but the really good stuff’s in back: a large terraced deck with built-in seating and a two-tiered area featuring a hot tub. The solarium dining area next to the kitchen looks directly out onto this terrace, and the living room also boasts a large window overlooking the back yard along with a gas fireplace. The powder room is decorated with custom-made blue tile, and the kitchen is a vision in white straight out of the 1980s. The master suite upstairs features high vaulted ceilings, a fireplace in the bedroom, an enormous walk-in closet/dressing room and skylights in both bedroom and bathroom. You’re far enough away from the New Hope party to enjoy total tranquility, but if you’re the entertaining type yourself, you’ll find this a great place to host your own parties as well.

6858 Upper York Rd., New Hope, Pa. 18938 [Heidi Mailer | Coldwell Banker Hearthside – Lahaska]

6468 Deerfield Rd., New Hope, Pa. 18938 | TREND image via Keller Williams Realty Bucks County Central

6468 Deerfield Rd., New Hope, Pa. 18938 | TREND image via Keller Williams Realty Bucks County Central

6468 Deerfield Dr. | 4 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths, 2,350 square feet, $495,000

Further into those woods, there’s a clearing in the distance, and in the middle of that clearing is this modern Colonial that’s filled with rustic charm and surrounded by 12 acres of woodland. The formal living and dining rooms are attractive and comfortable, but you’ll probably find yourself spending lots of time in the cozy yet bright family room with its wall-filling brick fireplace. There’s also a sunny breakfast room off the kitchen, which boasts cherry wood cabinets, black granite countertops and bar seating at its central island. The master bedroom features hardwood floors and a bathroom with a two-person shower and large vanity, and your back yard blends right into those lovely woods. Both New Hope and Peddler’s Village, another popular visitor magnet, are a short drive away.

This home’s sale price was reduced by $30,000 on Nov. 9.

6468 Deerfield Dr., New Hope, Pa. 18938 [Janet Sutton | Keller Williams Realty Bucks County Central]

More Black Than White Homeowners Still Underwater, Study Finds

NE by Race in Phila

Do you live in Stenton, West Oak Lane or Cobbs Creek?

If you do, the odds that you’re paying off a mortgage that’s bigger than your home’s now worth are higher than they are if you live in Somerton, Society Hill or Rhawnhurst.

A recently released study by Zillow examined racial disparities in “negative equity” — homes that are worth less than the mortgages that financed their purchase, also known as “underwater homes.” It found that in the third quarter of 2016 nationwide, homes in majority-black neighborhoods were twice as likely to be underwater as those in majority-white ones: 20 percent of the former vs. 9.9 percent of the latter.

The figures Zillow came up with for Philadelphia hew close to that national average but slightly below it: slightly more homes in white neighborhoods were underwater (10.1 percent), while slightly fewer (19.6 percent) were underwater in black neighborhoods. Read more »

The SEPTA Key Trip Cap Is an Outrage! (Well, Maybe Not.)

Jeff Knueppel, SEPTA general manager, uses a SEPTA Key for the first time at City Hall.

Photo: Brian Thomas

In case you missed the memo — and you shouldn’t have, since SEPTA publicized it widely back in 2013 — if you load your monthly or weekly TransPass onto a SEPTA Key card, your pass now has a ceiling on it.

I knew this, too, but that didn’t make me any less upset when, on December 31st, I tried to board the Broad Street Line at Walnut-Locust only to have the reader tell me my Key card was declined. It seems that I was attempting my 241st trip on SEPTA that month, and the maximum number of trips you can take on a monthly pass is 240. (For weekly pass holders, the number is 56.) Read more »

Why Parkway’s Doubling Down on North Broad

Parkway Corporation's proposed development at Broad and Spring Garden would add offices to the residence-retail mix found in other North Broad projects currently underway. | Rendering © BLT Architects

Parkway Corporation’s proposed development at Broad and Spring Garden would add offices to the residence-retail mix found in other North Broad projects currently underway. | Rendering © BLT Architects

Along with Eric Blumenfeld, Parkway Corporation has become one of the most important developers along the North Broad Street corridor. And like Blumenfeld, Parkway sees the street as having untapped potential as an all-day live/work/play environment. (The folks at Parkway should know: the company headquarters is at Broad and Race streets.)

What’s different about Parkway’s latest development proposal is that it seeks to combine all three of those elements into a single package at a convenient location.

“It’s my dream to build significant office space there, to get some jobs into that neighborhood,” said Parkway CEO Robert Zuritsky. “The retail and residential are a slam dunk, but [North Broad] is also an important commercial district.” Read more »

Networking Comes to the Field of Design

Mix & Match Design worked with a Malvern couple to turn an empty apartment bedroom into a charming rustic space. By doing the furniture-buying themselves based on Charney Widmer's list of items, they saved a bundle. | Photo: Mix & Match Design

Mix & Match Design worked with a Newtown Square couple to turn an empty apartment bedroom into a charming rustic space. By doing the furniture-buying themselves based on Chaney Widmer’s list of items, they saved a bundle. | Photo: Mix & Match Design

One of the great blessings networked computing brings us is the ability to do our work from just about anywhere.

Medical professional Chaney Widmer realized that early on when she decided to give her interest in interior design room to roam on the side. Then, as friends began asking her if she could help answer their design questions, she realized something else: networked computing makes it possible to work with just about anyone, no matter where they might be.

Put the two insights together and you get the business Widmer left the healthcare field to launch, Mix & Match Design Company.

Her firm’s product: Affordable interior design for the rest of us. Read more »

How Builders Discover What Lies Beneath

Builders of commercial and industrial projects, including apartment buildings, can run into costly surprises if they don't check out the condition of the land they're building on - and what's under it. That's where geotechnical engineers come in. | Photo: GZA

Builders of commercial and industrial projects, including apartment buildings, can run into costly surprises if they don’t check out the condition of the land they’re building on – and what’s under it. That’s where geotechnical engineers come in. | Photo: GZA

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the most famous example of what happens when builders fail to do due diligence on the land beneath their buildings and the things that may lie beneath it.

Unfortunately, back in the 1100s, there wasn’t really anyone around who knew enough about such things to advise the tower’s builders on how to avoid potential problems.

Today, there are experts who can offer that advice. They’re known as “geotechnical engineers.”

Ernie Hanna is one. He’s the principal in the Philadelphia office of GZA, a Massachusetts-based engineering and construction management firm with two other offices in this area; the Center City Philadelphia office is its newest. Read more »

Main Line Monday: A Contemporary Country Home in Berwyn for $675K

160 Hunt Valley Circle, Berwyn, Pa. 19312 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

160 Hunt Valley Circle, Berwyn, Pa. 19312 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

Looking for a backwoods retreat, filled with country charm and nestled deep in the forest?

How about one from which you could commute to your city job every day?

Except for the depth of the forest, we’ve found your place. But it seems to us that a three-acre lot should be plenty deep enough for your purposes.

And it comes with a bonus: a huge serving of modern sophistication to go along with the country charm. Read more »

That House Out There: Light(s) Fantastic in Upper Darby for $229K

11 S. Lynn Blvd., Upper Darby, Pa. 19082 | Images: Ann Marie Lander, Berks 360 Tour Designs via Wagner Real Estate

11 S. Lynn Blvd., Upper Darby, Pa. 19082 | Images: Ann Marie Lander, Berks 360 Tour Designs via Wagner Real Estate

The first question we asked when this listing crossed our radar screen was:

Are all those chandeliers included with the purchase?

The owner of this eclectically decorated Georgian Revival home in Upper Darby clearly has a thing about light fixtures in general and chandeliers in particular: it appears there’s not a single room in the house that lacks a chandelier, and several, including the huge master bedroom on the third floor, have more than one.

Then toss in the paper lanterns, ceiling fan lights, and distinctive pendant fixtures, and this home becomes a true festival of light — augmented by the natural light that pours through the home’s generously sized windows. Read more »

Philly’s A Bargain* for the Short-Term Renter

You could spend top dollar for a fabulous short-term furnished residence

You could spend top dollar for a fabulous short-term furnished residence like those offered at AKA’s three Philadelphia locations when visiting Philadelphia. Fortunately, if you don’t have that kind of coin, you can find very affordable alternatives, according to the Priceonomics Data Studio. It just depends on where you look. | Photo: AKA

With the presence of luxury extended-stay pioneer AKA in this market, you might get the impression that renting a residence for a short visit is an expensive proposition here.

Fortunately for your wallet, you’d be wrong.

According to the research team at the Priceonomics Data Studio, Philadelphia actually has the fourth-least-expensive short-term rental rates of any city in the country.

The study, explained in detail on the Priceonomics blog, actually examines daily rates for short-term rentals – the kind a visitor to the city would pay as opposed to what someone needing to find a place to rest their head for a month or longer might pay. But the study is nonetheless interesting for what it also reveals about data analysis: namely, the results you get depend on the data you analyze.

It’s something journalists like me often neglect to point out in stories discussing statistics, but it’s an important fact to remember.

So here’s the breakdown: Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: Future Past in Overbrook Farms for $765K

6401 Church Rd., Philadelphia, Pa. 19151 | TREND images via Keller Williams Realty

6401 Church Rd., Philadelphia, Pa. 19151 | TREND images via Keller Williams Realty

We tend to think of the open plan home as a modern (or modernist) invention.

Think again.

This elegant Tudor Revival home on one of the nicest streets in Overbrook Farms, designed by noted architect Charles Barton Keen, dates to 1926. Yet Keen had a keen sense of things to come when he laid out the classically inspired rooms on the inside, for while this home follows the formal design principles of its time, it also boasts features that give it an open, airy feel not commonly found in traditional homes of that period.

Take a look at the living room just off the foyer, for instance. That extra-large archway all but eliminates the boundary between the foyer and the living room. Likewise, the family room at the rear seems almost one with the up-to-date kitchen and breakfast room to which it is attached. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a standard doorway anywhere on the main floor, save for the one leading to the powder room. Read more »

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