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 »

Requiem for a “Little Marble House”

The Kantors’ summer home in Avalon, as it appeared in the summer of 2013… | Photo: Jim Meehan via Jack Vizzard, BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors

Jersey Shore homes tend to stick to a fairly modest architectural language of wood shingles and beams, following a traditional architectural vocabulary with some connections to the New England shingle style.

Which is why, when a Main Line matron with a passion for the art of 18th- and 19th-century Europe imported a different New England tradition to the dunes of Avalon, heads turned.

And now they’re turning again as the magnificent marble edifice she built with her husband is being disassembled piece by piece for distribution to architectural salvage buffs across the country. Read more »

A First Look at the New Four Seasons Hotel – And Its New Manager

The new Comcast Technology Center (to the right of the Comcast Center) will include the highest hotel in Philadelphia when the new Four Seasons opens on its top floors in 2018. | Rendering: DBOX for Foster + Partners

Come 2018, Philly visitors and staycationers will get to rise above it all like never before when the new Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia opens atop the Comcast Technology Center.

And when they visit, a seasoned Four Seasons pro who got his start here will be in charge of making sure their stay is first-class from start to end.

That pro is Ben Shank, which Toronto-based Four Seasons Hotels announced today will serve as the general manager of the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center. Shank began his career in hospitality at the original Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia on Logan Square, which the company operated from 1983 to 2015. In the nearly 20 years since then, he has moved up through the company ranks, taking positions at Four Seasons hotels in New York, San Diego, Maui, Scottsdale and Orlando. Read more »

Hard Hat Tour: Jack & Jill

The stairwell of 1903 E. Arizona St. at the second-floor level. | Photos: Sandy Smith

“When are you going to clean up the outside?”

That’s what some East Kensington residents asked Red Oak Development principal Anthony Giacobbe about 2401 Emerald St., the crystal-like townhouse covered in Cor-Ten steel that was featured on Property right after Memorial Day.

Well, Red Oak is at it again, and East Kensingtonians are simply going to have to get used to rust-colored homes on their blocks.

This pair of trim townhouses at 1903-05 E. Arizona St. has been dubbed “Jack & Jill” because of their joined-at-the-hip character. And even though they’re still a little ways from completion, they’re already being marketed by Solo Real Estate, which is also marketing the Emerald Street property. Read more »

Hard Hat Tour: 1213 Walnut

The café-style community great room at 1213 Walnut. | Photos: Sandy Smith; renderings: Design Collective via Goldenberg Group

Philadelphia’s newest hotel is in its home stretch, sprinting towards an August opening.

Wait, did I say “hotel”? Forgive me, for I had a momentary lapse of memory in recalling what I was touring at 1213 Walnut St.

The building that local wags had dubbed the “Fergie Tower” is being referred to by that moniker much less often now that it’s a reality. The three companies in charge of making it happen — the Goldenberg Group, Houston-based Hines and Washington-based ASB Real Estate Investments — have always called it by its Midtown Village street address in Washington Square West, and its tenants will most likely do the same; after all, if they don’t, the Postal Service might not deliver their mail. Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: A Modern Jewel in Bryn Athyn for $2.9M

2860 Paper Mill Rd., Huntingdon Valley, Pa. 19006 | TREND images via Keller Williams Realty

Our first reaction on seeing this listing in the course of searching for homes with great porches for next month’s print issue was, “Wow!”

Our second, upon researching it, was, “That poor owner. He thought he had sold the place last year. He must be really sad to have to hang around this place for another year.”

Frankly, we wouldn’t have shed a tear over the lost sale were we living in this true Midcentury Modern jewel, for we’d be very reluctant to leave it.

We suspect you will have the same reaction after checking out some of the pictures. Read more »

How A Piece of the Mediterranean Landed in South Kensington

French doors and balconies with iron railings abound in Jeannie DeCarlo’s home on North Hancock Street in Old Kensington, which sold for just about what she asked for it last week. | Photos: Sandy Smith unless otherwise noted

Painter Jeannie DeCarlo, says broker Stephanie Somers, is “a tough lady. It’s hard to get her to laugh. But when she does, you know you’ve gained her favor.”

Somers, co-owner of RE/MAX Access with her husband Christopher, had many a laugh with DeCarlo as she set about achieving what seemed impossible: selling a one-of-a-kind house on a not-yet-gentrified South Kensington block for a price no other home in the area has fetched.

I also shared a few laughs with DeCarlo when I visited her home to tell its story. And in its story you find diCarlo’s determined personality and ultimately sunny spirit shining through. Read more »

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