Jawdropper of the Week: A Modern Marvel on Washington Square for $2.85M

220 W. Washington Sq. #300, Philadelphia, Pa. 19106 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

Washington Square sits at the southwest corner of the Most Historic Square Mile in America and is itself filled with history: originally used as a potter’s field, it’s filled with the bones of scores of soldiers who fought in Revolutionary War skirmishes, a fact that led the city to erect a Tomb of the Unkown Soldier of the American Revolution in it in the mid-1950s.

This spectacular full-floor condo overlooks that tomb from a building where a little history took place in 1948 as well. Aside from all this, however, it leaves the past far behind. Read more »

This Designer Lets You Buy Her Services in Bite-Sized Pieces

This Palm Springs-inspired living room features some of Gage’s trademark design elements: colorful wall prints, appropriate greenery and vintage objects. | Photo: Michelle Gage

Have a bedroom where you have the furniture you want, but you want to give it some extra oomph?

Many people in this situation would turn to an interior designer for help. And most interior designers would tell them how much it would cost to have the room done up right.

Not Michelle Gage. Instead, she would give you an estimate of how much time it would take to tackle your problem and charge you for that many hours.

The Havertown-based interior designer is on the cutting edge of a trend in the interior design field: pay-as-you-go design services where clients are billed by the hour. This, she says, saves clients money because it lets them tailor their work to their needs. Read more »

A First Look at The New Aloft Philadelphia Downtown Hotel

The south side of the former Liberty Title & Trust banking hall houses the Aloft Hotel’s check-in desk (foreground) and re:mix, its lounge and “business center.” | Photos: Sandy Smith

Philadelphia’s first W Hotel isn’t set to open until early next year, but its second entry from W’s slimmer stablemate, Aloft, will open its doors to its first guests this Thursday afternoon (Aug. 31st).

The Aloft Philadelphia Downtown Hotel occupies the old Liberty Title & Trust Company building at the northeast corner of Broad and Arch streets — the one building that was spared the wrecking ball when the 100 block of North Broad Street was cleared to make way for an expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The Italianate Art Deco tower, it turns out, made a great space for a hotel. The soaring banking floor has been converted into a lounge and bar, and the upper office floors have become rooms with lovely views and a touch of personality lent them by their non-standard layouts. Read more »

AKA University City Levels Up With Posh Club Floor

The lounge at Level 28 in AKA University City. | Photos: Sandy Smith

If Cira Centre South is, as Brandywine Realty Trust’s promotions put it, “Philadelphia’s first vertical neighborhood,” then Level 28 is its town square.

The bottom floor of the AKA University City flexible-stay residence has been loaded with high-style amenities that should wow everyone who will use it.

At its heart is a sleek modern lounge situated at the top of the office building elevators; adjacent to this is an outdoor terrace facing north and landscaped with marsh grasses and wildflowers, an integral part of Cira South’s bid for LEED Silver certification. The lounge includes a pop-up bar that will swing into service when the workday ends. Read more »

The Bridge on Race, Ready for Its Closeup

These lounge chairs should prove very popular with couples on nice nights. They’re one of several attractive features found on the Bridge on Race’s fifth-floor community terrace. | Photos: Sandy Smith unless otherwise noted

When last we looked in on The Bridge on Race, the bold apartment building at the northwest corner of 2nd and Race streets, most of it was still a construction zone, but we could see the shape of things to come.

So we responded eagerly when the building’s developer, Jeffrey Brown, invited us back to check out the (all but) finished product.

The apartments at the Bridge are all move-in ready, and tenants have already moved in. The common amenities on the second floor are also ready for use, as is the showstopper: the fifth-floor rooftop terrace that’s open to all residents. The only unfinished element is the 19th-floor rooftop, which will have private terraces that building occupants can rent along with one community terrace facing the Delaware. Read more »

A Home With Character(s) in Wyndmoor for $4.25M

“Ropsley,” 8745-65 Montgomery Ave., Wyndmoor, Pa. 19038 | Photos: Herb Engelsberg and Michael Brock via The Sivel Group

The homes that Philadelphia’s “new money” built in Cheltenham Township were generally built to impress, none more so than the over-the-top and still-on-the-market Lynnewood Hall. And there were some very famous names associated with these mansions: Elkins. Widener. Wanamaker. Curtis. Stetson. Stotesbury. Cooke. (Yes, railroad tycoon Jay Cooke built a home in the township.)

This picturesque estate in the Wyndmoor section is far less opulent than Lynnewood Hall, but it has an informal elegance that makes it no less impressive. It also has a couple of illustrious names associated with it: McIlhenny and Poe. Read more »

2 Philly Architectural Firms Make Ranks of Top 100

Biovid headquarters in Bristol, one of the projects of Princeton-based KSS Architects, No. 188 on this year’s Architectural Record Top 300. | Photo: Halkin Mason Photography for KSS Architects

Philadelphia is home to scores of outstanding architects. A few, like VSBA, enjoy national and international reputations for their work.

But when it comes to the amount of work they do, only six firms in this region make the ranks of the architectural heavy hitters, and only two of those six are among the 100 largest architectural firms in the country.

Each year, Architectural Record releases a list of the 300 largest architectural firms in the country, ranked by total annual revenue from architectural services. No firm headquartered in this region made it into the top 50, but two — Ballinger and EwingCole — made it into the second group of 50. Read more »

Homes Being Planted at Julius Farm

(Left to right) PRDC Properties COO Brandon Morrison, Julius Farm homeowner-to-be Steve Cocca, PRDC CEO David Perlman and PRDC President Jon Thomas dig into the ceremonial soil next to a rendering of a Lookout model home at the Julius Farm groundbreaking. | Photos: PRDC Properties

With their nearly completed model home as a backdrop, executives of PRDC Properties formally broke ground July 24 on their latest residential project, this one in the Bucks County suburbs.

This project, Julius Farm, will consist of 11 custom farmhouses in the craftsman style. Each home will sit on at least two acres of land along a curving cul-de-sac in Chalfont. While the homes won’t have farmland attached to them, they will be surrounded by protected farmland, county parkland and forests, all of which will preserve their country character. Read more »

7 Funky Ways to Incorporate the Outdoors Into Your Home

Photos | Beets canvas: Aliza Schlabach Photography; Cactus frame and dining room decor : Magnolia Photography

Listen up everyone, it’s time to go green. And guess what? A green thumb isn’t required! Get your fix of the great outdoors, indoors. Here are seven fresh-feeling décor tips from top designers who think outside the planter. Read more »

A Midcentury Modern Makeover in King of Prussia

A model apartment living room at 251 DeKalb. | Photos: Sandy Smith

Followers of this channel should be aware that midcentury modernism is now history. That is, it’s become the subject of preservationist interest and action to preserve and update its iconic buildings.

This area saw three large midcentury modern apartment complexes rise over a span of about 15 years: Presidential City in the early 1950s, Park Towne Place in the late 1950s, and the 251 DeKalb Pike complex in King of Prussia in the early to mid-1960s.

Having documented the transformation of the first two, I was only too happy to accept the invitation from 251 DeKalb’s new owners, Candlebrook Properties, to take a look at what they’ve done with the third. Read more »

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