Splendiferous Interiors: Center City Home Designed By Louis Navarette

Dining room interior designed by Louis Navarette.  Photo courtesy of Andrew Joseph PR.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Joseph PR.

Something a little understated, yet proof that art lovers live there…that’s what the couple who live in this brick Philadelphia townhouse wanted when they approached interior designer Louis Navarette to decorate their home. The study in harmonizing contrasts that resulted from the project can be seen in the gallery below.

Among new highlights in the home is the dining room, which has an 18th-century French table, Regency chairs, and a fun, pink Venini chandelier. Artwork by Ric Best lines one of the walls, while a small Fernando Botero sculpture stands on a 19th-century porphyry column.

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Jacques Ferber Reopens on Walnut Street

Jacques-FerberJacques Ferber was a Walnut Street institution since 1911, but where once there were furs (and protesters against them) there are now Vans. Ferber has moved to the second floor of 1708 Walnut, Shoppist reports:

The Ferber team preserved details of the historic building (take a look at the wide wood frames around the mirrors—those were designed by Frank Furness). The final result? A modern space with plenty of character, just like the collection itself.

Jacques Ferber Reveals Its New Walnut Street Store [Shoppist]

Singh Center Named One of World’s Best

Photo by Liz Spikol

Photo by Liz Spikol

Architectural Digest has named Penn’s new Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology, designed by Weiss/Manfredi, as one of its NINE BEST NEW UNIVERSITY BUILDINGS AROUND THE WORLD. Here’s how the magazine describes it:

Sensitive to the demands of biological research and the delicate equipment the building would house, Weiss/Manfredi worked to isolate vibrations and noise from a nearby subway line and mitigate other external environmental factors to create an efficient, beautiful research hub.

Federico Babina Made Cool Illustrations By Mixing Popular Architects and Artwork

Artwork by Federico Babina via Arch Daily.

Artwork by Federico Babina via Arch Daily.

ArchDaily brought this visual treat to our attention and we love it: artist Federico Babina (whose work is frequently featured on the architecture website) recently did a series called ARTISTECT in which he takes recognizable paintings by notable artists and, in his words, “reinterpret[s]” them “using a brush soaked in architectural tints.”

The twenty-five illustrations in the project are meant, Babina says, as stand-ins for “an imagined and imaginary dialogue between creative minds,” and he makes a point to focus on the “probable and improbable connections between forms of expression and aesthetic languages sometimes distant and sometimes very close.”

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Labor Day Weekend Estate Sales

An example of one of the quirky items that will be offered at the Chestnut Hill estate sale on Monday. Photo via SalesByHelen.com.

An example of one of the quirky items that will be offered at the Chestnut Hill estate sale on Monday. Photo via SalesByHelen.com.

Is there nothing better than a good estate sale? You get to tromp through a home and really look at the condition of the items as they were used in the space where they were used. If the home is especially beautiful, that’s a bonus, as is the fact that prices tend to be very reasonable. And keep in mind that these days an estate sale is very rarely due to a person’s death. It’s usually because a couple of empty nesters have decided it’s time to move into the city, or because an elderly person is moving in with her kids (or, uh, to a nursing home, which is actually depressing, but just put that out of your mind). Or sometimes people just need to liquidate because they’re exhausted by owning all that crap and are planning to join the Tiny Home movement. Anyway, stop analyzing and start enjoying. Here are three of this weekend’s estate sales that we recommend.

1. Case in point: This rather poignant pre-demolition sale of a Walter Durham home in Penn Valley or Narberth, depending how you look at it. The company handling the sale specializes in big items. For instance, they liquidated the entire Waynesboro Country Club on Route 252 in Paoli and a block-long synagogue in Allentown. So think big for this sale, which includes everything: an antique wood pine mantel, dining room chandelier and sconces, antique brick patios and walkways, flagstones, loose stone walls, patio doors, insulated glass windows, garage doors, an HVAC system, plantings…as the company says on its website, “Remember, if it is there, it is for sale.” If you’re a Durham fan, you can go for a last look before the home comes down in a few weeks. 8/30/2014 9am to 3pm and 8/31/2014 10am to 2pm, Righters Mill Road, Narberth, PA.

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Harris Steinberg to Leave Penn for Drexel

harris-steinbergTomorrow Drexel University will announce to trustees and senior staff that Harris Steinberg, currently executive director of the University of Pennsylvania’s PennPraxis, will become executive director of the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation. The formal public announcement will come on Thursday, and Steinberg will start the new job — along with a faculty appointment at Westphal College — on November 1. Steinberg has been at Praxis for 12 and a half years, during which he’s expanded PennDesign‘s horizons beyond the classroom and into the community through planning, community development, civic engagement, nonprofit journalism, public art and other projects.

Steinberg’s new position will be in keeping with that pursuit. “Drexel is really doing some incredible work in the urban realm,” Steinberg says, “and it seems the right time to build on the work I’ve done at PennPraxis. It’s the kind of engagement that Penn pioneered in the ’90s.” He notes that Drexel’s current president, John Fry, was “one of the lead generals” in creating that framework.

As for the fate of PennPraxis, he says, “The hope is that things will keep going.” The dean, he says, has already requested a memo with information about who will take over his responsibilities in the interim. He’s equally optimistic about PlanPhilly, the website that is essential reading for people who care about what’s happening in the city’s built environment, from historical commission decisions to plans for new buildings. It’s invaluable, and Steinberg says that in both cases, “we have all of the players working hard to make sure that keeps going.”

Steinberg first stepped onto Penn’s campus 40 years ago — just one of many alums in his family tree. “My kids went here, my dad went here, I’ve got a lot of Penn ties,” he says, when asked if he’ll miss his current employer. “I’m only going two blocks.”

Parc Rittenhouse Condo: Can We Keep the Blue Sofa?

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We love this condo, of course. Parc is lovely. The amenities (24-hour doorman; pool; gym; etc.) are terrific. The views are great. The location couldn’t be better. This unit features customized closets, a Sub Zero refrigerator and wine refrigerator, a Nest thermostat system, a Juliet balcony with French doors… You get the picture (or you will after the see the gallery). There’s even a parking spot for just $168 per month, which for indoor parking near the Square, is pretty good.

To the new owner: Seeing as you’re paying $1.8 million or thereabouts, perhaps you’re also buying a new sofa? Or bringing one you like? In which case, I’m sure you don’t mind donating this sofa to a needy real estate editor, whose IKEA leather sofa and Pier One circa-2001 couch are no longer making the grade…

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On the Market: Danny Seo’s Bucks County Stunner

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Photo via Kurfiss Sotheby’s International

Reading, Pa. native Danny Seo is a male, environmentally conscious Martha Stewart — if Martha Stewart were busier than she is and not an ex-felon. He’s a published book author. He has a syndicated column called “Do Just One Thing.” He has a line of home products is sold at TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods. He’s a Today show regular. He makes organic wines, and sells his bath products and fragrances on the Home Shopping Network. He’s a spokesperson for a couple companies. And now he’s a magazine publisher, with the first issue of Naturally, Danny Seo out this month.

As an introduction to Seo, the magazine features his Bucks County “glass house,” which is a mid-century modern-style beauty — a little Kahn-inspired jewel in the woods. An interview with him about the house does more to explain its appeal than any listing could. A few excerpts:

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