Splendiferous Interior: Restored Carriage House in Bella Vista

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Among the charms of living in this greene country towne you can count streets nearly narrow enough to touch both sides simultaneously and the occasional carriage house remaining in a row of homes. This darling property on Kater boasts both and also includes a garage big enough for three-car piggyback parking in case you need a little more than colonial delights.

Above the cavernous garage is a loft-like living space with with exposed bricks, refinished pine floors and high wood-beam ceilings. The space has two large skylights and several windows that help break it up into separate areas. The single bathroom features a custom industrial sink and a very cool restored door. The kitchen is situated in the middle, open to the living and dining areas. And there is a wall of closets for the sleeping area in the back.

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Build a Custom Condo Overlooking Independence Hall

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The luxury will come at a cost – this property is listed at a cool $5 million – but it’s about time that city residents are offered the same perk so many hotel guests regularly receive: a direct view of Independence Hall. Adjacent (and connected) to the Omni Hotel, The Bank Building was built in 1857 to serve as the headquarters of the Philadelphia National Bank. What once stood as Banker’s Row is now a boutique condo building combining 19th century grandeur with the Omni’s concierge-level services.

This property is listed as raw space, which means the buyer will be on the hook for construction costs, but the buyer will also be free to customize the home to his or her exact specifications. A pretty rare deal for such new construction among history. As it stands now, the space includes high ceilings, exposed brick walls, wall-sized windows and a private wrap-around terrace with Chestnut Street and Center City skyline views.

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Morning Headlines: Center City Office Rental Rates Below National Average

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Every year the Center City District releases a “State of Center City” report. What did we learn this time around? It may not be doing as well as one would hope.
According to the Inquirer’s Chris Hepp, the report says Center City is “showing signs of distress” for…well, a bunch of reasons. What caught our attention was the issue of office rental rates, which shows that while Center City’s population has been increasing over time, office rental rates are still below the national average. What’s this mean exactly? Just the area’s inability bring in new employers, in direct contrast to other cities and even the suburbs.

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Malvern’s Most Earth-Friendly Cedar Mansion

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This Lindal Cedar home on Conestoga Road is about as green as it gets — and in some intriguing ways. For instance, the railings are made, in part, of the pipes and wood from a 400-year-old church organ. And recovered iron from the very historic Morris Steel Company was used as a building material.

As is obvious from all those windows, the home is optimized for solar panels, but the sun will heat and light things even without. The listing also notes “radiant flooring to optimize expenses in the basement” and “European designed AC high velocity delivery” as well as seven ceiling fans and a fireplace on every floor.

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What Becomes of an Empty Frat House?

penn-frat-houseIn late November 2012, Penn’s Skulls, or Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity, moved out of its on-campus house after losing its charter due to a death at one of its parties. Now, the Daily Pennsylvanian reports, the corporation of Skulls alumni that owns the house and the university are finally discussing its future use.

The fraternity wants to come back to campus, the executive director of its international organization told the paper, but won’t start talks with the college until 2015. (The university’s director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life said that Greek organizations often have to wait four to six years before they can “recolonize.”) And PKS likely wouldn’t move back into the house until a few years after that.

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Vision of NoLibs That’s More Buñuel Than Blatstein

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Perhaps it’s fitting that renderings of this new construction on Third Street should appear on real estate websites around the time of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s death, when so many are talking about magical realism. These remind me of fantasist animator Hayao Miyazaki too, particularly the night view, which is in a dark rain. You don’t see that too often — usually an exterior night view in a rendering has a building shimmering like a golden palace atop a hill of diamonds. Sparkly and pretty.

One image of the homes recalls the Mario Brothers circa Atari, with bright green levels that make me want to break out the eighth-grade joystick.

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Poet Walks Through Bensalem, Avoids Being Hit by Car

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One of Bensalem’s best known spots. Photo: MerchantCircle.com

I grew up in Far Northeast Philly but went to high school in the suburbs. Add in trips to the Neshaminy Mall and time spent in Wawa parking lots and the place I’ve probably spent the second-most time in my life is Bensalem, Pa.

The township doesn’t seem like the ninth-largest municipality in Pennsylvania -— it barely feels like a singular town at all, with various communities of the township retaining different characteristics. If I want to make my high school sound fancier, I could say it was in Cornwells Heights.

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Modern Chestnut Hill Home With Spa-Like Master Bath

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Let’s count the ways we can tell this contemporary Chestnut Hill home was owned by a designer:

  1. There is a cut-out in the courtyard, allowing a tree to grow unimpeded
  2. Sleek, clean lines combined with midcentury modern furniture everywhere
  3. Dramatic light fixtures

The listing tells us this home underwent “significant cosmetic and mechanical improvements” while designers owned the home. We assume they include the magnificent kitchen, which features custom cabinetry, Durat countertops, cork flooring and luxury appliances. While everything in this home looks professionally decorated and designed, it may be most readily apparent in what we assume is the master bath. The spa-like atmosphere is emphasized with an oversized soaking tub that looks like something straight out of a Rescue Rittenouse dream.

Outside, the property has been designed just as thoughtfully. The central terrace boasts a built-in grill station, a fire pit and a dining area. A second flagstone patio also provides views of the grounds. The landscaped property also includes an attached two-car garage and a shed as well as a custom-made treehouse.

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