6 Upcoming DIY Decor Workshops You Don’t Want to Miss

iStockphoto.com

iStockphoto.com

As a homeowner (or even a creative and savvy renter), there’s nothing more satisfying than successfully completing a DIY project in your home. Every time you look at, say, the tile backsplash you installed yourself, you find yourself beaming with pride. And I can tell you from experience that the feeling never really goes away.

If you’re looking to up your DIY ante, check out these upcoming local workshops that’ll hone your DIY prowess and spit you out on the other side with either a completed project, some serious know-how, or bothRead more »

Ooh La La! The Adams Gets a Parisian Makeover

This rendering by Philippe Maidenberg shows how his use of color will enliven the residents' lounge at the Adams.

This rendering by Philippe Maidenberg shows how his use of color will enliven the residents’ lounge at the Adams.

If you’ve followed my reporting on Post Brothers, you should know that I’m a huge fan of the Pestronk brothers’ theatrical flair. Whether it’s in design, marketing or public relations, Post Brothers knows how to grab your attention and hold onto it.

Now, as they turn to renovating the last of the four towers they’re making over at Presidential City on City Avenue, they’ve taken their eye for style and talent for showmanship above and beyond their usual standard.

To do this, they’ve enlisted outside help, namely, internationally known French architect Philippe Maidenberg, who has added a dash of color and whimsy to the lobby and model units at the Adams.

(Wait. Wasn’t it Jefferson who went to Paris? No matter. Neither I nor Post Brothers insist on slavish devotion to every historical jot and tittle when invoking past Presidential glories.)

Post Brothers CEO Mike Pestronk explained why they decided Maidenberg was the right person for this renovation project. Read more »

First-Time Find: A Step Up in East Passyunk for $229K

924 Sigel St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19148 | TREND images via Alpha Realty Group

924 Sigel St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19148 | TREND images via Alpha Realty Group

Row homes like this one in East Passyunk Crossing are common all over South Philadelphia: two stories, one bathroom, a small rear courtyard and three bedrooms.

Make that two actual bedrooms and an incredibly small “bedroom” in the middle. Yes, you can fit a mattress in that room, but once you do, there’s barely room for anything else. And often, it has no closet.

Consider this a feature, not a bug, of this very nicely updated and renovated home, for that middle bedroom on the second floor is just the right size for a home office, or a nursery or bedroom for a small child, or for extra storage space. Read more »

Collingswood Buys Ugly Houses Too

Collingswood Borough officials hope buyers will flip over the abandoned homes they're buying and restoring to stop blight before it spreads. | Photo: Emma Lee/WHYY

Collingswood Borough officials hope buyers will flip over the abandoned homes they’re buying and restoring to stop blight before it spreads. | Photo: Emma Lee/WHYY

The abandoned homes of Collingswood may not be in as dire shape as that “Ugliest House in America” we told you about last week, but they are every bit as much a drag on its neighborhoods as that disaster in Springfield was.

To help combat the blight, borough officials are taking a page from the HomeVestors playbook: They’re buying the ugly houses themselves.

Newsworks reports that Collingswood officials have taken advantage of a decade-old New Jersey law to sue for possession of some abandoned homes within its borders. The borough will use the proceeds from a $1 million loan and volunteer labor to restore the homes and sell them at market value to new buyers. Sale proceeds will then be reinvested in additional house restorations. Read more »

Is It Time to “Repeal and Replace” the Mortgage Interest Deduction?

Pixabay.com

Pixabay.com

If Congress is proactive, the possibility of productive tax reform in 2017 could very well become a reality. It’s necessary, too – particularly in the housing market, where the lack of resources to make housing affordable for lower- and middle-income families is growing. But where should reform begin?

A great starting place is the mortgage interest deduction (MID). Once untouchable in the political world, the MID is ripe for revision, and many people across the political and socioeconomic spectrums agree.

“For years, the MID was considered an untouchable third rail program – that’s no longer the case,” says Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). “In discussions of comprehensive tax reform, key Republican policy makers are actively considering a number of direct and indirect changes to MID.” Read more »

Trinity Tuesday: A Rare Gem in Rittenhouse for $330K

403 S. 17th St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19146 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

403 S. 17th St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19146 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

If you have champagne taste on a beer-bottle budget, say hello to this completely modernized trinity in the ever-so-desirable neighborhood of Rittenhouse Square.

In traditional trinity fashion, this property rings in at a mere 700 square feet. However, what you get for that square footage is well worth it (if you can bear living modestly, that is).

The first level sports white marble floors, built-in shelving, and recessed lighting. Just off the main room is a tiny kitchen with white appliances, a stainless steel backsplash, and countertops. The second level can act as one of two things: an additional living space (office, den, entertainment area, etc.), or a second bedroom. This level is also home to the trinity’s only full bathroom. With stone-embellished walls and flooring, it’s definitely one of a kind. Read more »

Main Line Monday: Worldly Comfort in Wayne for $925K

516 W. Beechtree Ln., Wayne, Pa. 19087 | Images via Houwzer Real Estate

516 W. Beechtree Ln., Wayne, Pa. 19087 | Images via Houwzer Real Estate

From the outside, you’d hardly be able to distinguish this colonial from the many others speckled throughout the Main Line. However, step inside and that will absolutely change – this sunlit open-concept home is a masterpiece.

Built in 1928 and completely renovated since then, this four-bedroom property adequately maintains some of its historical charm while containing all the amenities of a modern home. Read more »

What $500K Will Buy You in Rydal

1017 Lindsay Lane, Rydal, Pa. 19046 | TREND image via Kurfiss Sotheby's International Realty

1017 Lindsay Lane, Rydal, Pa. 19046 | TREND image via Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty

Back before Willow Grove Park Mall, Jenkintown was the shopping center of the northern suburbs. The department stores have all departed now, but the town retains its walkable charm, and it’s the hub of the north-side SEPTA Regional Rail system: its train station is the busiest outside of Center City.

Just up the road and two stops up the SEPTA West Trenton Line is Rydal, which shares its zip code but is a little more suburban — maybe it’s all those car dealers lining the Fairway along its northern edge that make the difference. Away from the autos, though, you’ll find a leafy community developed largely after World War II, filled with homes that reflect the styles of their era, some with a little updating in places. Take a look at these three homes to see what we mean: Read more »

Is The Center City Housing Boom Sustainable?

Center City's housing market is on a tear, with new units being built at a record pace. A new Center City District report looks at its building blocks. | Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia™

Center City’s housing market is on a tear, with new units being built at a record pace. A new Center City District report looks at its building blocks. | Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia™

Center City may have just regained momentum as a job generator, thanks largely to adjacent University City, but its housing market has taken off like a rocket, and the Center City District’s new report on housing, “Building on Optimism,” explains what’s produced this meteoric rise in great detail.

As for whether the core-city housing market can continue to build on that optimism…well, the devil’s in the details, and that rosy report points out where the thorns are.

But first, let’s smell the roses. Greater Center City — the area from Girard Avenue on the north to Tasker Street on the south between the rivers — has become one enormous construction site, with a record 2,506 housing units produced in 2016, the most since the district started keeping track of residential construction in 2000. Even more units are in the pipeline: 5,379 units are slated to be completed in the next two years, with the bulk coming on line this year. Read more »

How to Transform the Look of Your Home in One Weekend

A master bedroom in Doylestown | Photo courtesy East Coast Creative

A master bedroom in Doylestown | Photo courtesy East Coast Creative

Designer and DIY maven Monica Mangin might live in Bucks County — “I live in the woods, and I love it,” she says — but she knows all about the unique design challenges facing those of us who live in classic Philly rowhomes. The DIYer-turned-blogger-turned-TV host-turned entrepreneur and owner of East Coast Creative has bestowed her talents and aesthetic on many-a-Philly rowhome, so she knows her stuff.

In fact, last year she launched a home design-focused web series called The Weekender, which featured many homes from right here in Philadelphia. The show feels like something straight out of HGTV — styleless homeowners turn to our expert and host, Monica, for design help, and she completes five projects in a single weekend that totally transform their space — but it comes at a more web-friendly pace: Entire episodes last around 10 commercial-free minutes, and you can find them right on YouTube.

Season 2, which premiers today, branches out to homes beyond our region, but I chatted with Monica yesterday to get the skinny on what she learned about working in Philly homes during the show’s debut season, and to glean tips for totally transforming a space in a matter of days. Her insights below.  Read more »

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