Main Line Monday: A Home Full of Fun in Villlanova

1318 Valley Rd., Villanova, Pa. 19085 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

For those full-house families out there, this scenic property in Villanova is a dream home.

A whopping 7,618 square feet, expansive rooms, luxurious living quarters, a large entertainment space and elegant details like arched ceilings and columns are some of the features in this home that make it worth the price. From the charming cobblestone-lined walkway to the gorgeously landscaped grounds to its glass conservatory with vaulted ceiling, life in this modern French-inspired home looks like a perfect picture.

The front doors open to a grand foyer with limestone flooring, which leads to a comfortable, expanded family room with an exposed beam vaulted ceiling, custom built-ins for an entertainment center, wet bar, and a Palladian window that makes a cozy nook for quiet reads. The wood-burning brick hearth fireplace serves as a great centerpiece. Open columns divide the living room with a second wood-burning fireplace and a dining room that provides access to the conservatory through glass sliding doors, a perfect place to relax with the entire family. A cherry-paneled study with custom built-ins by Rossi Brothers provides a respite for reading. Read more »

Farmhouse Friday: A Landmark Restoration in Thornbury

148 Freedom Rider Trail, West Chester, Pa. 19382 (Thornbury Township) | Images from Keller Williams Luxury Homes International

148 Freedom Rider Trail, West Chester, Pa. 19382 (Thornbury Township) | Images from Keller Williams Luxury Homes International

What you see above is a common, if unusually large, Pennsylvania farmhouse whose oldest portion dates to circa 1797. What makes it special, besides the care and attention that went into its restoration, is the person who built it.

That person was Squire Thomas Cheyney, a relatively unsung hero of the Battle of the Brandywine on Sept. 11, 1777. (You may recognize the name because of the historically black university a few miles up the road, but that was named for a different member of the family who lived later.) Cheyney delivered crucial intelligence to Gen. George Washington about the direction from which British forces were advancing. That intelligence allowed Washington to shift his troops, saving his army from total annihilation in this early Revolutionary War defeat for the Americans.

“Had it not been for the Squire’s actions on Sept. 11, Washington would have lost the war and we would be sending our tax dollars to Great Britain,” said the house’s owner and restorer, John Murphy. Read more »

Hard Hat Tour: East Market’s First Building

The future home of the area's second, and Center City's first, MOM's Organic Market is almost complete. | Photos: Sandy Smith except where indicated

The future home of the area’s second, and Center City’s first, MOM’s Organic Market is almost complete. | Photos: Sandy Smith except where indicated

MOM is getting ready to welcome her neighbors to East Market come this fall.

That’s MOM as in “MOM’s Organic Market,” the first tenant signed for the mixed-use development that will, when complete, occupy the entire block bounded by 11th, 12th, Market and Chestnut streets. Its space on the street level of 34 S. 11th St. is closing in on completion, and work is well under way on getting the insides of the building ready for two more tenants, including a new one developer National Real Estate Development (NRED) announced yesterday (July 13): Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ), a national architectural firm with Pennsylvania roots whose Philadelphia office is currently at 123 South Broad.

NRED used the occasion of the BCJ announcement to invite the media in to take a look around and see how construction is progressing on the first building to be completed as part of the multiphase project. The building, which was once an annex of Snellenburg’s department store and was most recently home to the Philadelphia Family Court, has been given a Modernist factory-like treatment by project architect BLT Architects. Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: A Mediterranean Retreat in Penn Valley

44 Fairview Rd., Penn Valley, Pa. 19072 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

44 Fairview Rd., Penn Valley, Pa. 19072 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

For all you homebodies out there, this luxurious home in Penn Valley will ensure that the flak you get from your socialite friends is not for naught.

Think about it. Why drive into the city, battle with muggy summer heat and down drinks at Happy Hour in some overpriced restaurant when you have your own private retreat to enjoy at home instead? Especially when that retreat is a Mediterranean vacation in itself. Inside and out, architectural details ranging from large arched doorways to tile floors to stucco-clad fireplaces to Greek columns whisk you away to the lands of ancient charm and modern wonder. Read more »

Scientists Discover a New Shade of Blue That Could Lower Your AC Bill

blue

Image via Oregon State University

Back in 2009, a group of scientists at Oregon State University were testing new materials to be used in tech advancements. What they found instead was a surprising, brand-new shade of blue when they heated manganese oxide and a cocktail of chemicals in a furnace to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Aside from its obviously gorgeous, vibrant hue, the color compound contains properties that make it energy-efficient, super safe, and long-lasting. Why should you be excited about this now? Licensing agreements have only just come to terms, meaning the new shade of blue will hit marketplaces soon.  Read more »

City to Seek Development Proposals for Historic Germantown YWCA

Germantown YWCA | Google

Germantown YWCA | Google Street View image

The Germantown YWCA, a hulking, historic shell of a building on Germantown Avenue near Vernon Park, could be headed for a new life.

The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority plans to issue a request for proposals (RFP) to redevelop the building next week, PRA Director Greg Heller told Philly Mag on Tuesday. The Authority isn’t putting any restrictions on the proposed use of the building in the RFP, Heller said.

“We want to see what developers come up with,” he said. Read more »

Families With Children Continue to Leave Philly, Pew Study Finds

iStockphoto.com | f11photo

Center City continues to be the leading destination for those moving to Philadelphia from outside it. | Photo: iStockphoto.com

More Philly families with school-age children are leaving the city than moving into it still, according to a new Pew Philadelphia Research Initiative analysis of migration patterns in Philadelphia.

At 45 percent of the total number of households moving out, families with children under 18 make up the largest single group of out-migrants. By contrast, only 28 percent of households moving into the city had children under 18. Households with children under 18 account for 48 percent of all households citywide.

While the census did not ask people why they came to or left Philadelphia, the report states that “these numbers appear to validate concerns about families leaving the city… due to the ongoing problems of the public school system.” Read more »

An Idea Factory Adds a “Quiet Car” for Concentration

Biovid's new Bristol headquarters takes advantage of its building's historic charm and accommodates both social interaction and spaces for solitary concentration, like the "phone booths" at right in this photo. | Photos: Halkin Mason Photography for KSS Architects

Biovid’s new Bristol headquarters takes advantage of its building’s historic charm and accommodates both social interaction and spaces for solitary concentration, like the “phone booths” at right in this photo. | Photos: Halkin Mason Photography for KSS Architects

“New ideas need old buildings,” the celebrated urbanist author Jane Jacobs once wrote.

And in his search for a place where his firm could meet the demands of a changing marketplace while making his employees happier and more productive, BioVid President Andrew Aprill wound up settling on an old industrial building in the heart of Bristol.

With the help of a team of employees and the services of KSS Architects, Aprill took the strong bones of the old factory and changed it from a place for making things to one for making ideas. In the process, he and the architects came up with a solution to one of the most vexing problems of the contemporary workplace: making room for heads-down, focused work in an environment designed to encourage collaboration and the generation of new ideas.

Behold the office with a “quiet car,” the solution KSS proposed for the problem. Read more »

First-Time Find: A New Urbanite’s Dream Near the Art Museum

2022 Green St. Apt. 5, Philadelphia, Pa. 19130 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

2022 Green St. Apt. 5, Philadelphia, Pa. 19130 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

There’s no better place for first-time Philly homeowners to settle down than near the Art Museum. Nothing screams “I live in the city now” more than the spectacular urban panorama to be seen from this condo’s rooftop deck.

This building sits on the incredible tree-lined block just down the street from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This third-floor unit features a spaciously open living and dining room area with parquet floor that’s wide enough to accommodate your new friends and guests. The wood-burning fireplace is a nice touch and the three windows allow for plenty of natural light to flood through. The spiral steps in the living room not only add a stylish, industrial touch but lead up to a private deck with stunning views of the Center City skyline.

Read more »

Trinity Tuesday: A Big Little Home on Elfreths Alley

123 Elfreths Alley, Philadelphia, Pa. 19106 | TREND images via Keller Williams Realty

123 Elfreths Alley, Philadelphia, Pa. 19106 | TREND images via Keller Williams Center City Realty

Not all trinities have us wondering what it’s like to live in a spacious home.

This 2,600-square-foot expanded trinity has all the bells and whistles of a modern townhome while retaining classic Colonial rowhouse charm as it sits on the oldest residential street in the nation. There will be no squeezing to make room for your visiting friends and family here, folks.

Read more »

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