University City District Report Says Parklets Enhance Neighborhoods

Photo credit: Dan Reed via Flickr

Photo credit: Dan Reed via Flickr

The elimination of parking space–even if it’s the loss of one or two spots–in a low-density neighborhood is not something drivers are likely to enjoy hearing, especially if their removal is for the purposes of a temporary Parklet. Unfortunately for them, a recently published report by the University City District reveals Parklets, a form of tactical urbanism, to be quite the improvement to most neighborhoods and businesses.

UCD case for parklets report 2015

Click to enlarge. | Chart screenshot from UCD’s report.

Using data gathered from six West Philly Parklets during the 2013 season, the report, called The Case for Parklets: Measuring the Impact on Sidewalk Vitality and Neighborhood Businesses, found them to bring “life to public spaces and more feet to neighborhood businesses,” as seen in their tendency for bringing in a sizable amount of users (including both patrons of nearby businesses and non-patrons), creating a “spillover” effect to sidewalks and other spaces (i.e. people stopping by to chat with parklet users), and boosting business sales for neighboring establishments (an average 20% increase in sales was seen for places near parklets). Furthermore, the report argues that because “it has been widely observed” that women are more discriminating when it comes to public spaces, the even number of female and male persons putting them to use shows that a sense of safety grows in the presence of a Parklet.

And those aren’t the only advantages neighborhoods get with their seasonal arrival…

Jaw Dropper of the Week: Modern Gladwyne Castle for $4.5 Million

TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach - Bryn Mawr

TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach – Bryn Mawr

He likes sophisticated modern living, she prefers homey spaces with a touch of the historical. Where and how will they ever find a home that suits both tastes? More importantly, wouldn’t a house like that elicit more than its fair share of eyebrow raises (and not in a good way)?

If you answered yes to the latter question, this house may change your mind. Ardwyn, a 70-year-old structure built in the French Norman style, is situated on three-plus acres of Main Line land and is a perfect blend of the above described tastes. The home owes its unique design to Castlecomb Projects who artfully balanced it out with “bold, impeccably selected and masterfully crafted” finishes. Stone and brick make up the building, which offers a spiral staircase turret, soaring ceilings, exquisite detailing, and a chic kitchen that looks like it was taken out of the pages of HGTV Magazine. To boot, there’s an upper level room with windows looking out to the great room, as well as an adjacent interior balcony.

You just <em>have</em> to see the gallery!

Jack-in-the-Box Home: Bathroom Edition

TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach-Center City Walnut

TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach-Center City Walnut

Renovations, particularly extensive ones that totally remodel a home’s interior, are always neat to see. Of course, the changes they bring about are especially striking when the exterior is super far from what you’d expect to see on the inside, as was the the case of Tylenol heir Hank McNeil’s Delancey mansion and this Bella Vista home.

Built circa 1915, the three-bedroom row house on Fitzwater Street now has a wholly contemporary interior that boasts the likes of high-end hardwood floors, an architectural staircase with iron railings, and a kitchen with elongated granite countertops and stainless steel appliances (that includes the vent hood). Above the kitchen island is designer pendant lighting, while across a set of sliding glass doors lead to the 30-foot deep garden.

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Video of a Schuylkill River Ice Breaker Is Oddly Therapeutic

We can’t get enough of the frozen Schuylkill River. Yesterday, it was a stunning drone video that gracefully hovered over the Hidden River. Today, we get to watch an ice breaker split the long sheet of ice that recently spanned the breadth of the river. Oddly enough, the video is almost like a stress release for those of us that are begging for warmer weather. Watch this a few times, we promise it will make you feel a little better! Read more »

Spotted: Gorgeous Tin Ceilings Inside This West Mount Airy Home

All images by TREND via Coldwell Banker Preferred–Avenue of the Arts

The seafoam-y green trim accents, classic cream-painted stone and the wraparound porch (partially enclosed) are just a few of the details that give this home in West Mount Airy marvelous curb appeal. Lookin’ to live in one of the best neighborhoods in the city? Right this way, sir/madam.  Read more »

Morning Headlines: Dranoff to Give ‘First Look’ at One Riverside, Ardmore Suit Dismissed

Rendering courtesy of Dranoff Properties.

Rendering courtesy of Dranoff Properties.

While we’re all getting iced and rained on this week, it certainly looks like everything is coming up roses for Carl Dranoff.

According to Cheryl Allison of Main Line Times, Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Bernard A. Moore dismissed the lawsuit brought against One Ardmore Associates, a partnership between Dranoff Properties and Lower Merion Township, by nearby business owners that could have blocked the transfer of the Cricket Avenue Parking Lot for the One Ardmore Place project. The mixed-use project seeks to bring 110 apartments, retail and a parking garage to downtown Ardmore. It has been contentious from the beginning, sparking a “Rally for Ardmore” back in November, and this current ruling looks to put it back on track for construction to start in the spring.

While the ruling is a major win for Dranoff, we all know it’s not his only project he has going at the moment.  Read more »

Dr. Seuss Would Straight Up Love This Place in Society Hill

Al photos by TREND via BHHS Fox & Roach–Center City Walnut

Al photos by TREND via BHHS Fox & Roach–Center City Walnut

It’s fitting that this house comes back on the market a day after the world celebrated the 111th birthday of Theodor Geisel, a.k.a Dr. Seuss. As you’ll see from the gallery, it’s definitely one of the most imaginative interior decorating jobs you’re going to see. Call it what you will, but the fact is that this home sits squarely on the 200 block of Delancey Street in Society Hill, meaning it’s on one the finest streets this city has to offer. Remember, it’s all about location, location, location– even Seuss knew that!

While we’re excited to hear all about the high ceilings, leaded glass, flooring of both marble and wood, a bi-level den and a “charming red brick patio”, the other fact is that even the listing can’t seem to get past the overabundance of wallpaper and artwork: Read more »

Light-Generous Contemporary Residence That Will Wake You Up Every Time

TREND images via Keller Williams - Salas Team

TREND images via Keller Williams – Salas Team

According to the Underground Health Reporter, exposing yourself to sunlight first thing in the morning is one of the most effective things you can do to lift yourself from that groggy “I will die if the curtains are opened” post-slumber state. So what’s that have to do with this Logan Square home, you say? Uh, how about everything?

Well okay, not everything. But it does have a two-story window facing out to the street from the dining area, meaning breakfast time will ensure a “Got it, I’m awake!” morning. The master suite, a retreat crafted by Jackie Gusic at inHabit Architecture + Design, also has generous access to fresh air and light thanks to a set of doors that lead out to a private deck.

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Homes with Names: “Sydbury House”, a Wynnewood Jewel by…Frank Furness?

TREND photos via

TREND photos via

If the interior details are less Furnessian than some of you scholars and dilettantes have come to expect from a home designed by the legendary architect, there may be a reason for that. According to an article on the Lower Merion Historical Society website, Sydbury House may not have actually been designed by Frank Furness:

The new house was designed by the venerable Philadelphia architectural firm of Furness, Evans & Company, whose principal partner, Frank Furness, had by then reached his mid sixties. Whether he was still directly active as its designer is uncertain; the house adopted the guise of the fashionable Colonial Revival that was sweeping the suburbs, casting commuters in the guise of 18th century country gentry. Such academicism was something of a rebuke to the bold, inventive and expressive spirit that marked Furness’ most celebrated works of the 1870s and 1880s.

And yet, there are traces of the architect’s style throughout the structure, namely a “distinctive breadth and massiveness” and a “lightness and academic correctness and an unconventionality in plan that seems to recall the old lion’s hand, even if it may have operated here through his influence over others in the office.”

Today the home, which had been commissioned by Latrobe Steel Company president Marriott Smyth, still commands a presence from the outside as it sits atop property just slightly over three acres.  Inside, several renovations have left it with modern day amenities, the likes of which include a gym area (formerly a sitting room / office) and his and her master baths. Eleven fireplaces and hardwood floors are throughout, as are a couple of wallpapered rooms (come on, makeovers are fun!).

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This Stunning Drone Video Will Make You Not Hate The Icy Weather, Maybe

We’re so over winter–especially after the latest storm that transformed the city into one enormous ice skating rink. While the shoveling, salting and slipping have certainly worn out their collective welcome (and clumpy boots, too!), there’s no denying one thing: winter is damn beautiful.

That’s especially true when it’s enjoyed from the confines of your warm home or even the office. Because it’s too dangerous to venture out onto the frozen Schuylkill River (for most of us, cough Brad Maule cough), drone enthusiast Rocco Avallone did us all a gigantic solid and captured the serene scenes from high above (and even up close to) our city’s Hidden River. It’s quite magical.

• H/t: Drone Captures Aerial Views of Schuylkill River [NBC10]

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