A Room of One’s Own

Illustration by Melissa McFeeters

Open-plan main floors have been so popular for so long with both builders and buyers that anything else is hard to find — at least, in new or newly renovated homes. “I think open plans have been desirable for buyers here because homes are so narrow. They allow for the best entertaining,” offers Kelly Straka, owner of interior design firm Lux-Living and builder-broker Custom Philly Homes. And if the slew of house-flipping, home-improvement and house-hunting shows on HGTV is any guide, it’s not just Philly: All the world loves (and wants) an open floor plan.

Or … does it? Read more »

6 Ways I Made My Small Bedroom Look Way Bigger


From a square-footage perspective, my bedroom probably wouldn’t be considered “small.” It’s on the third floor of our 100-year-old South Philly rowhome and spans the full width of the house. But its unfortunately low ceilings — and my too-big, too-dark, poorly planned out furniture — made it feel claustrophobic. I hated it from the day we moved in four years ago.

A few months back, I’d finally had enough. The bed and the mismatched dressers were in the same spots the movers had dropped them. The vintage vanity I’d scored on Craigslist years ago was looking beyond sad and tired, its bad paint job pushed well beyond the “shabby chic” point. (And I don’t even like shabby chic things to begin with.) The bedspread was appallingly dark. The dark wood headboard further added to the blackhole-ness of the bed situation. It was just all so … thoughtless. I can’t even say it was ill conceived because it was never actually conceived to begin with.

So earlier this spring, we got to work. In the course of a few weeks, we’d completely changed the look and feel of our room. And without having to actually raise the ceiling even an inch, the room now feels — dare I say it — huge now. Airy. Glorious.

Here’s what we did.  Read more »

Adding Blue to Your Walls Puts Green In Your Pocket When It’s Time to Sell

Ka-ching! | Public domain image from Pixabay.com

Want buyers to appreciate your home even more?

Add a pop of color to your rooms and watch its value appreciate.

New research conducted by Zillow finds that buyers will shell out a little more for rooms painted in cool, neutral colors.

Especially blue. Kitchens, dining rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms done in shades of blue ranging from a light grayish-blue to cerulean, periwinkle, or even a navy blue dining room with white shiplap trim, boosted the sale price of homes anywhere fron $1,809 to $5,440 on average.

Buyers in Philadelphia are especially likely to find homes with blue to bluish-purple bathrooms, which tacked an average of $5,440 onto the sale price, and bedrooms in light to medium shades of blue, which added $1,856. Read more »

9 Doormats That Say Exactly the Right Thing


Tis the season for sprucing up your stoop. If your doormat didn’t survive the winter and you’re searching for a replacement, allow me to point you to several that say, well, everything — whether you’re feeling sassy, welcoming or a bit of both.  Read more »

Room of the Week: A Gorgeous Attic You’d Actually Want to Live In

Photographs by Courtney Apple

I don’t know about your house, but the attic in mine is, in a word, disgusting. I guess it could have potential as usable, livable space, if someone like Ardmore-based interior designer Naomi Stein got her hands on it. Naomi’s the designer who transformed our latest Room of the Week from a cramped attic storage space into the light-soaked sanctuary you see above. So, um, Naomi if you’re looking for your next project, you know where to find me.

Read on to see how this gorgeous space came together. And just wait until you hear the story of where all that rustic wood came from …  Read more »

8 Ways to Turn Your Tiny Back Patio Into a Gorgeous Oasis

The Inspiration: A coolly laid-back patio by Australian-based Quercus Gardens | Photo: Robert Walsh Photography/Landsberg Garden Design

The Inspiration: A coolly laid-back patio by Australian-based Quercus Gardens | Photo: Robert Walsh Photography/Landsberg Garden Design

Transform a sad slab of concrete into an inviting outdoor oasis with cheery accessories, space-conscious furniture and greenery galore. Take a cue from our inspiration photo above — then sit back, relax and enjoy your paradise.  Read more »

Room of the Week: A Dreamy Old City Dining Room With Ceilings for Days

Photo by Andrea Cipriani Mecchi Photography

Photo by Andrea Cipriani Mecchi Photography

Imagine with me, if you will, the amazing dinner parties you could have in this Old City dining room. I can’t help but place myself right there at the head of the table, full-on fabulous Great Gatsby attire, with a long smoldering cigarette between my fingers, while I entertain my guests with my wit and charm. I don’t even smoke, you guys, and I’m probably not that charming, either.

But doesn’t this dreamy dining room just make you want host the most fabulous parties, with the light from that pretty chandelier glinting off your champagne flute?

In this week’s installment of Room of the Week, I got the skinny on how this pretty dining room came together. Pay attention, people. There’s plenty of design inspo to crib here.

Read more »

Room of the Week: An Eclectic 1840s Living Room in Northern Liberties

Northern Liberties rowhouse | Photo courtesy PS & Daughters

Northern Liberties rowhome | Photo courtesy PS & Daughters

I’ll admit it: I’m a sucker for wood beams. They can be a gamble, though. If you’re not careful in how you use them, exposed wood beams can feel too heavy — or make a tall ceiling feel unfortunately low — so they only work in the right spaces. This, my friend, is one of those spaces.

In our first installment of Room of the Week, we’re taking a voyeuristic peek inside a fabulous open-concept living room/dining room in Northern Liberties that seamlessly blends old with new, original with modern, in a totally livable, family-friendly way. Check out all the inside design details below.  Read more »

9 Coffee Mugs from Philly Artists That Are Worth Getting Out of Bed For

coffee mug lead

Mitz Mug at Felt + Fat

On cold, wet days like today, the last thing I want to do is even think about getting out of bed. The only thing that makes it tolerable is the endless supply of coffee awaiting me. And the best way to make your coffee time even more enticing is by pouring said coffee into a gorgeous handmade vessel.

To wit: this roundup of nine unique coffee mugs — all made right here in Philly — that’ll actually get you out of bed with a smile. Or at least, something very closely approximating a smile. (Because let’s be real.) Read more »

Home Design Inspiration: 8 Gorgeous Ways to Add Geometric Elements to a Room

The Inspiration: A dramatic geometric space by famed designer Kelly Wearstler

The Inspiration: A dramatic geometric space by famed designer Kelly Wearstler | Photo courtesy Kelly Wearstler

Interiors are going geometric this season with sculptural circles, crisp angles and eye-catching cubes. Trust us: Math never looked this good. Take a cue from the geometry-soaked inspiration room above and work some geometric elements into your decor with our picks below.  Read more »

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