Category: Architecture & Design

Property Has a New Address!

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Hey, y’all! It’s time to change those bookmarks. Property has moved, and we think you’re going to like our new digs.

We’ve got a spiffier look, much better galleries, mobile optimization, and all kinds of other fun stuff that you’re going to love, whether you’re into architecture, neighborhood news, new development, or real estate porn. We’ll have new editorial features for you too. If there’s a topic you’d like to see more of, contact your friendly editor, Liz Spikol, via email: lspikol@phillymag.com.

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Mid-Century Master Jules Gregory’s “Butterfly House” Now on the Market for Less Than $300K

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Architect Jules Gregory is probably best known in this area at the moment for the Lambertville house on the market that he designed for himself and that features a double conoid roof and interior work by George Nakashima. It’s truly a masterpiece of mid-century modern design. But it’s not the only Gregory house for sale in this area.

In fact, Gregory’s Butterfly House in Delaware Township, NJ, is also on the market. Built in 1955, it has, according to the listing, hardly been touched since then — and it looks it. It’s kind of in rough shape, but a new septic system is being installed. For someone inclined toward preservation and renovation of an important architect’s work, it’s remarkably priced: $299,000.

See the gallery below:

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Philadelphia’s Hotel Monaco Is One of Fodor’s Top 100 for 2013

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Photo by Laura Kicey

The Fodor’s 100 Hotel Awards is pretty much what it sounds like: a contest honoring the best 100 hotels around the world. And Philly’s own Hotel Monaco, in operation for just one year, has made the cut in the Sleek City Addresses category, which acknowledges “glossy city hotels that offer high style and first rate amenities.”

In case you haven’t seen the glorious Monaco, here’s a gallery of photos by Laura Kicey:

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Splendiferous Interiors: Magnificent Objects From Vaux Hill Mansion Go Up for Auction Tomorrow

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The phenomenal Vaux Hill in Phoenixville should rightly be a Winterthur-style tourist attraction with a Gettsyburg spin. According to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, it was originally a 300-acre farm purchased by James Vaux in 1772. Vaux was an amateur scientist, but a successful and influential one:

At his farm, James carried out scientific experiments in agriculture, becoming the first person to cultivate red clover in America, and also pioneered the use of anthracite coal for heating and cooking purposes. Accounts of his experiments can be found in early editions of the Franklin Institute Journal.

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Blog of the Week: “Terrible Real Estate Agent Photographs”

Here’s the concept: “Inexplicably bad property photographs. It’s that simple.” And it is. It’s also incredibly funny. Realtor friends, help us understand: How did these happen?

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The one above is captioned: “Whatever this furniture was doing before it was interrupted and photographed, I’m pretty sure they shouldn’t have been doing it.”

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Greater Philadelphia’s Four Richest People: Where They Live

Our friends over at Philly Post tell us the Forbes 400 is out–aka “ The Richest People In America” list–and four people within our Greater Philly universe have made the list.  For those wondering how the other half lives, so to speak, here’s what we know about their residences.

Mary Alice Dorrance Malone
Coatsville, PA

Iron Springs Farm from VirtualGlobeTrotting

Image of Iron Springs Farm via VirtualGlobeTrotting

The Campbell Soup heiress operates Iron Springs Farm, which breeds, sells and develops champion Warmblood and Friesian stallions. Should you be an animal person interested in cooing over foals, go quickly to the Farm’s Facebook page, where you may catch a glimpse of life on the farm.

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Thoroughly Mid-Century Modern Home With Bomb Shelter/Panic Room

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Quiz question for you real estate young’uns: When is a bomb shelter in a house for sale almost as unsurprising as a granite countertop? When that house was built in the 1950s, during the era of the Civil Defense Department propaganda and the Cold War (the Russians weren’t writing New York Times op-eds back then).

But time passes, and spaces get modernized to accord with contemporary mores and concerns. Which is why the bomb shelter was transformed, the listing says, into a “panic room.” Hmm. That is definitely more surprising than a granite countertop.

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BREAKING: Norman Foster to Design New Comcast Building

449px-Comcast_PhillyRumors have been mounting lately that Liberty Property Trust has something big and Comcast-related planned for its space at 18th and Arch. And now Hidden City is reporting that whatever Liberty’s plans are, they will involve a design by world-renowned Foster + Partners.

Even if you’re not familiar with the Pritzker Prize-winning, London-based architects, you’ve probably ogled some of their work. The famous London “gherkin” is a good example. As is France’s enormous Millau Viaduct. In other words, this is pretty big news for our future skyline.

Liberty’s past projects have included One Liberty Place as well as the first Comcast Center, so we know they like breaking records. For now, no one at Liberty is saying a word and neither are representatives from Foster. Stay tuned to see how this develops, and head over to Hidden City to check out some original renderings for the lots surrounding the Comcast Center. Remember the American Commerce Center?

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A Glimpse into the Terrifying World of Home Staging Props

Conventional wisdom says a home will sell more quickly if buyers are able to effortlessly imagine their own lives inside the property. Wolf kitchen appliances can conjure a lifetime of healthy gourmet delights. A well-placed treadmill in a finished basement can convince a couch potato that this home will help him stick to his exercise routine. Who doesn’t want that house?

So, as HGTV tells us, many realtors turn to staging and interior design to perk up buyer interest. And it works. But sometimes, things get really serious. And an artfully thrown shawl over the corner of the couch isn’t going to do it. Sometimes, props become necessary. There are listings in this town that will entice you with beautiful glasses of champagne and tins of glistening caviar. But beware, reader. Styrofoam and plastic that way lurk.

Below, a sampling of what is available to master stagers.

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Look: Renderings of Kimmel Center Renovation

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Image from Philadelphia Real Estate Blog by KieranTimberlake.

Philadelphia Real Estate Blog has posted renderings of what KieranTimberlake has planned for the Kimmel Center’s upcoming renovation. One of the changes will be a new Jose Garces restaurant, Volver, in the space where the gift shop once was. The blog’s Greg Meckstroth is optimistic that everything will work out.

Currently, the Kimmel Center is seeking approval for variances from the Zoning Board of Adjustment for signs that exceed allowable sizes at its new Kimmel Center restaurant and Innovation Studio. Approval from the ZBA is the final hurdle for the project. With the Center City Residents Association and Philadelphia Art Commission already on board, it looks the ZBA, too, will sign off.

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