Study: For 53 Percent of Philly-Area Residents, The Rent Is Too Damn High

Subsidized

Subsidized apartment complexes like the John C. Anderson Apartments help keep some lower-income renters out of the cost-burdened category in Philadelphia, but there aren’t enough subsidies to meet the need — and some cost-burdened renters make too much to qualify anyway. | Photo: HughE Dillon

If you’re young, you’ve heard it from your parents. If you’re not, you’ve heard it from your financial adviser. Heck, you’ve probably heard this advice from your friends: Don’t spend more than 30 percent of your income on housing.

According to a recent study conducted by the apartment search site Abodo.com, 53 percent of Philadelphians find that difficult to do. Abodo found that Philadelphia ranked 25th out of the 100 metro areas with the largest renter populations when it came to “cost-burdened” tenants — that is, those who spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent.

And the problem is nationwide, said Abodo spokesperson Sam Radbil.  “With rent rates rising across the nation, our research team at Abodo began thinking about how rent is becoming an extreme cost burden for many people. So we set out to uncover how many people are truly struggling to pay their rent. What we found was that nearly half of all renters face a cost burden and in 99 out of the 100 metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S. with the most renters, 40 percent of renters are spending at least 30 percent of their income on rent.” Read more »

Thos. Moser Joins the Back-to-the-City Movement

Thos. Moser's new Rittenhouse Row showroom, next door to the Apple Store on Walnut Street. | Photos: Scott Spitzer Photography/Thos. Moser unless otherwise noted

Thos. Moser’s new Rittenhouse Row showroom, next door to the Apple Store on Walnut Street. | Photos: Scott Spitzer Photography/Thos. Moser unless otherwise noted

Thos. Moser has been making handcrafted furniture in Maine since 1972 and selling it in Philadelphia since the early 1980s. The company’s affinity for Pennsylvania runs strong and deep, and on Thursday, Nov. 10, Moser returned to Center City, where it opened its first showroom outside Maine.

The new showroom is at 1605 Walnut Street, right next door to the Apple Store. It’s the latest iteration in a four-decade-long love affair with Pennsylvania, said company founder Tom Moser.

Moser started his woodworking business in a Grange hall in New Gloucester, Maine, in 1972. Moser sought to produce high-quality products — furniture, in Moser’s case — that were rooted in a tradition of craftsmanship and made to last. Thos. Moser’s original chairs and other furniture took their inspiration from 19th-century designs, most notably the Shaker and Pennsylvania Dutch traditions, whose emphasis on simplicity embodied the aesthetic Moser wished to display in his furniture. Such furniture, he said, fit in well with the Pennsylvania aesthetic: the stone farmhouses of the Brandywine Valley, the unpretentious brick row homes of Philadelphia. Read more »

Main Line Monday: A Midcentury Modern Masterpiece in Strafford

356 Pugh Rd., Strafford, Pa. 19087 | Photos: Jon Biddle for HomeJab via Keller Williams Luxury Homes International

356 Pugh Rd., Strafford, Pa. 19087 | Photos: Jon Biddle for HomeJab via Keller Williams Luxury Homes International

You’ve seen photos of homes like these in places like Southern California and the Oakland hills.

If you’re the sort of person who hyperventilates at these photos, there’s good news: you now have a chance to live in one without having to move across the country.

Several noted Philadelphia architects also designed homes in the contemporary style we now label as “midcentury modern.” One of the best was Robert McElroy, who produced this beautiful, low-slung home on a one-acre wooded sloping lot on Strafford’s northern fringe. We can also give credit to the architect who owns this home now, for he gave it a top-to-bottom rebuild that updated all of its features and systems while respecting its heritage and style. Read more »

Farmhouse Friday: History Inside and Out in Chester County

1573 Camp Linden Rd., West Chester, Pa. 19382 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

1573 Camp Linden Rd., West Chester, Pa. 19382 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

Living at Brandybend Farm makes you a link in the great chain of history. Brandybend is located next to Trimble’s Ford, the famous crossing used by General Cornwallis during the Battle of Brandywine in 1777. In that fight, Cornwallis’ British troops defeated the Americans, who were forced to retreat to Philadelphia. However, as we know, America ultimately won the war for its independence, and this house is proof of how our country still stands tall after all these years.

Settled on top of a hill, overlooking the rolling green fields of quintessential Chester County, this 1780 farmhouse sits on 12 stunning acres, with frontage along the Brandywine Creek. This property, which has hosted visitors several times on Chester County Day, is special in that it offers not one but two different living spaces; the main house and the historic Bank Barn. Located just 10 minutes from West Chester, as well as a short drive to SEPTA Regional Rail stations and the Route 1 and Route 202 corridors, Brandybend Farm is one of the finest examples of exquisite country living in Radnor Hunt country. Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: A Modern Palace Just Off the Avenue of the Arts

1334 Kater St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19147 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

1334 Kater St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19147 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

Just off the point where the Avenue of the Arts and South Street cross, where Hawthorne and Washington Square West meet, is a stylish new development of luxury homes called Kater Court. The name strikes us as most appropriate, as these large (4,000-square-foot) homes are so lavishly equipped you’ll feel like modern royalty living in them.

There’s plenty of space for living, relaxing and entertaining, indoors and out, including two roof decks facing in opposite directions. Rich wide-plank wood floors (eight inches wide and six feet long) and modern iron stair railings add a touch of contemporary sophistication to the home, which has an elevator to carry you from floor to floor effortlessly.

The first space you see upon entry is the most breathtaking in the home: a dramatic living room with a 15-foot ceiling, the focal point of the split-level main floor.  Read more »

First-Time Find: A New, Bold Home in Point Breeze for $265K

1538 S. Colorado St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19146 | TREND images via Coldwell Banker Preferred

1538 S. Colorado St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19146 | TREND images via Coldwell Banker Preferred

The two-story row house is passé, says the conventional wisdom. It’s too small for modern living, and you can’t equip it with the features today’s buyers want.

This postmodern two-story row home in Point Breeze, a complete rebuild of a home built in 1917, demonstrates that the conventional wisdom is wrong. It plays well with its more traditional neighbors while making a new, bold statement all its own.
Read more »

Trinity Tuesday: Lots of Sun for Not Much Green in Queen Village

708 S. Leithgow St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19147 | TREND images via Plumer & Associates

708 S. Leithgow St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19147 | TREND images via Plumer & Associates

What distinguishes the trinity, that most peculiarly Philadelphian house type, from all the others is its three-stacked-rooms arrangement (four, if the home has a basement) with a tight spiral staircase taking up a chunk of the space in each room.

Somewhere along the way, an owner of this trinity had a bright idea: Since there’s this big courtyard in the back, I’ll put the spiral staircase in its own extension!

Thus this classic trinity has two unusual features: A larger back yard and doors separating the staircase from some of the rooms. It also gets more sunlight than many trinities do thanks to that large back yard, which means the windows on both east and west sides get plenty of exposure to the sun. So does the staircase, as it’s topped by a skylight. And it even has a roof deck for all-day sunshine. Read more »

Main Line Special: The Gilded Age Comes to Life in Bryn Mawr

1131 Green Valley Rd., Bryn Mawr, Pa. 19010 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

1131 Green Valley Rd., Bryn Mawr, Pa. 19010 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

“Can’t repeat the past?…Why, of course you can!”

It’s hard not to imagine Jay Gatsby, tragic hero of The Great Gatsby, bellowing this in the doorway of “La Lanterne,” as this home is properly called. In fact, many aspects of this home bring to fruition our idea of how Gatsby would have lived had he been real. From the long tree-lined driveway to the gilded and over-the-top interior to the perfectly manicured tennis courts and gardens that dot the property, it’s quite easy to say Mr. Gatsby would’ve been in his proverbial glory. Read more »

Farmhouse Friday: A Stone Gorgeous Find in Newtown Square

4701 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, Pa. 19073 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

4701 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, Pa. 19073 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

Looking to fulfill your fantasy of living the life of a country gentleman (or woman) in the middle of Radnor Hunt country?

We’ve found just the place for you to live your dream. It’s got a pedigree going back to the 1700s, and thanks to protected land surrounding its lush 18 acres, you’ll be able to enjoy your rural idyll forever.

This place is called Mill Hollow Farm, and it’s off West Chester Pike where Delaware and Chester counties meet.

Back when the huge main farmhouse was built in 1790, the area abounded in grist and cotton mills, some powered by the waters of Crum Creek, which flows along one edge of this property. To this farmhouse and its 14 acres of land has been added a clapboard-and-stone tenant house on four acres that can serve as guest quarters, a caretaker’s residence or an income property. Read more »

Philly Builder Recognized for High-Tech Solution to a Historic Restoration Problem

The former St. Margaret's School as it looked when Moser bought it in 2014, left, and Forrest Walk today, right. | Left photo: Cheryl Allison, Main Line Media News; all other photos: © Don Pearse Photography, courtesy T.R. Moser

The former St. Margaret’s School as it looked when Moser bought it in 2014, left, and Forrest Walk today, right. | Left photo: Cheryl Allison, Main Line Media News; all other photos: © Don Pearse Photography, courtesy T.R. Moser

When Moser Construction Management decided to undertake its first multifamily residential conversion project, it had two pretty high hurdles to clear. One was repairing the bones of a former Catholic elementary school in Narberth that had deteriorated over the years since the Archdiocese of Philadelphia closed it. The other was making sure it looked the way it did when it opened in 1925, at least on the outside, in order to satisfy Narberth Borough officials.

With a little elbow grease, some thoughtful interior design and some high-tech windows, Moser succeeded at clearing all these hurdles. Last month, Moser owner and operations manager T.R. Moser traveled to Minnesota to receive an award from the manufacturer of the windows, Integrity by Marvin Windows and Doors, and tour the manufacturing plant.

Before getting into why Marvin’s Integrity division bestowed one of its 2016 Red Diamond Achiever Awards upon Moser and his company’s project, let’s tell the story of the project. Read more »

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