Passive House Building Principles at Kamp Kaolin in Landenberg

Photo by Laura Kicey.

Photo by Laura Kicey.

Currently under construction in southern Chester County (Landenberg, to be precise), Kamp Kaolin is a 2,700 square-foot home designed with a whole slew of industry buzzwords in mind. Sustainability. Passive house principles. Aging-in-place.

We talked to Hugh Lofting, of Hugh Lofting Timber Framing Inc., who is in charge of the project. The company is one of only seven certified passive house builders in Pennsylvania, so he’s the man to talk to when you want to confirm that the building principles involve more than a bunch of architects standing around saying things like “wherever you think the truss should go is fine with me” or “I’m sure that foundation is level enough.”

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Clash of the Real Estate Titans: Zillow vs. Trulia

Clash-1 and are the two most popular real estate websites, where the majority of consumers go when they’re trying to find a home to buy. What you’ll find on both is syndicated information — listings copy written by the realtor; photos provided by the realtor; info about number of beds, baths, etc. But each portal, as they’re called, ups the ante by supplementing syndicated information with customized features: maps, lists of homes that have sold and how much they’ve sold for, property history, neighborhood amenities, etc.

As with the travel industry, consumers can now do much of their research online, which changes the role of real estate brokerages. For many consumers, an independent brokerage is no longer the first stop along the home-buying journey.

Companies like Zillow and Trulia don’t necessarily think of themselves as being in the business of real estate. Spencer Rascoff, Zillow’s CEO, describes Zillow as a media company. In his first-quarter earnings call in May, he said: “We sell ads. We don’t sell houses.”

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Morning Headlines: Plans to Revitalize Metropolitan Opera on N. Broad

Curbed Philly has the scoop on some eyebrow-raising developments at the old Metropolitan Opera House at North Broad and Poplar.

Eric Blumenfeld’s company (yes, that Eric Blumenfeld), EB Realty Management, co-owns the property along with the Holy Ghost Headquarters Church. EB’s Commercial Development Manager Chris Cordaro tells Curbed they are currently negotiating to turn the lower level of the mouldering opera house into a giant catering space.

“We’re in discussions now about the size,” said Cordaro when contacted by phone. Although nothing is solid quite yet, he noted that it could be up to 20,000 square feet in size.

Curbed says there are also plans for a bakery, restaurant and a separate banquet area in the works. Head over there to gaze upon the renderings from Stokes Architecture.

Could a huge catering facility be coming for the Met? [Curbed Philly]

More news this way…

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City Finally Dismantles Boarded Up Frankford Home

frankford home fire 2013

4712 Worth Street (center)
Photo credit: Google Street View.

It’s not even city-owned blight, which begs the question…if it had it been, how much longer would it have taken? After almost a year of neighborhood meeting complaints and 311 calls to the city, the boarded up charred remains of this Frankford home are finally being removed. And at a heavier penny than usual, too.

John Loftus of the Northeast Times reports that after 4712 Worth Street burned down last July, the city stamped it with the ever ubiquitous “imminently dangerous” label and barred its entry. (Although a neighbor says possums and raccoons still managed to settle in.)

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Jaw-dropper of the Week: $12.5M in Loveladies

Photo via Joy Luedtke Real Estate LLC

Photo via Joy Luedtke Real Estate LLC

Talk about exclusive: Not only is this Gym Wilson-designed house in Loveladies; not only is it oceanfront; not only does it have Viking/Sub Zero and Miele appliances; it even has an espresso bar and martini bar. Then there are the materials: limestone, marble, onyx and glass tile in the bathrooms; granite and stainless steel in the kitchen; Brazilian Ipe for the deck outside; glass walls and California glass for the deck rails; carved cherry wood for the full-sized elevator. And whatever material makes a room soundproof for the movie theater.

That’s just for starters. See the gallery below.

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For Sale: Home in Lizzy Haddon Neighborhood Has Dodge Ball Court


The Lizzy Haddon neighborhood in Haddonfield is named after Elizabeth Haddon, the town’s co-foundress (her father bought the land in the late 1600s, but sent her to claim it when she was just twenty years old) known for her commitment to the flourishing community.

Haddon is said to have served as a clerk during women’s meetings for close to fifty years, while also being a pillar of charity for the poor and sick. Her public persona today is tied up with that generous image along with a notable frankness that is interlaced just right in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Elizabeth,” a poem depicting Haddon’s good deeds and her proposal to John Eustaugh.

Neighborhood history aside, here’s the house info:

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Best of Philly 2014 Preview: Home Decor


Best Furniture: Studio 882

Wander through his airy showroom, and you’ll feel like you’re in an Architectural Digest spread: Impeccably styled vignettes featuring top brands like Baker, Kindel and Julian Chicester rotate often, so the space is flush with inspiration. And the owners — expert interior designers in their own right — have the know-how to make it work in your non-­showroom house. 882 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, 610-314-8820.

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Haverford Modern: Is This a Hecto-Oxagonal-Geodesical-Solaris Home?

quaker lane

TREND photo via Christopher Real Estate Services

This home, built (quite clearly) in 1974, has that era’s California modern thing going on, but also a few contemporary touches you’d see in a home today, like the glowing red sink. Though it was previously marketed “as is” after a foreclosure, it seems to have been spiffed up quite a bit, with a kitchen featuring the following: “Italian Pedini cabinetry, silestone/quartz countertops, porcelain floor tile, a conduction cooktop, chef’s gourmet range hood, two stainless steel refrigerators, a large island, double convection oven, several glass door pantries, a butler’s pantry (with additional cabinetry, sink and second fridge) and a glass backsplash.” Updating the kitchen can’t fail.

More technically, there’s a new HVAC system and a pool surrounded by a new paver patio. But the photos really demonstrate what the house has to offer. Gallery below.

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Morning Headlines: Main Line Takes Steps Toward Revitalization

150 monument road bala cynwyd screenshot

Photo credit: Google Street View

A 207-unit apartment has been proposed for 150 Monument Road in Bala Cynwyd, a project to be presented before the Lower Merion Township Planning Commission this Monday.

The Main Line Times’ Cheryl Allison says the planned six-story building would be situated on a seven-acre plot in Bala Cynwyd that currently hosts another six-story building used for office space. Allison also reports the project includes a central courtyard with pool deck, commercial/restaurant space (3,700 square feet), and a four-story parking garage, which is to have 673 parking spaces, 207 of which would be for apartment tenants.

The proposed development is one of many (some of which are already in progress), and the result of revitalization goals for the City Avenue commercial district:
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Spruce Street Gem Built by Stephen Girard with Private Park Entrance

TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach.

TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach.

In a city where founders left history on practically every block in some neighborhoods, Stephen Girard still stands out. The guy stuck around Philadelphia during two separate yellow fever outbreaks to help the sick and dying. And then he personally bailed out the government to ensure the Americans would win the War of 1812. He provided for the city’s orphans in his will, establishing Girard College (for background on the school’s eventual desegregation as well as a fascinating story about the perimeter wall, check out Hidden City). Society Hill still bears reminders of the philanthropist, especially on Spruce Street.

This enormous home was built by Girard in 1831 and has since been restored and preserved. The listing claims in excess of 4,200 square feet but the agent’s notes tell us it’s closer to 5,200 square feet. In short, it’s huge. There are plenty of period details (the usual plaster, pine floors and winding stairs found throughout Society Hill). Our favorite is the actual King of Prussia marble in the fireplaces.The home itself has four bedrooms and four full baths.

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