Would You Spend $200,000 on Your Child’s Bedroom?

So last week the Wall Street Journal filled me in on Dahlia Mahmood, an interior designer who created a lovely princess-themed bedroom for a Virginia client’s 2-year-old daughter a while back. The centerpiece of the $200,000 extravaganza is a bed shaped like a castle, complete with a walk-across parapet and turrets in which the toddler can store her dolls. It has its own elfin door, sized too small for adults but perfect for the girl, at least at the time it was built. (I assume there’s some other way for, say, the help to get in and change the linens.) The walls of the bathroom are painted by hand and adorned with Swarovski crystals. The … oh, hell, why don’t I just show you a photo? Here.

Ms. Mahmood’s work was just one exhibit in an article devoted to such grand excesses. Lindsay Dickhout, chief executive of the mobile spray-tanning company Million Dollar Tan, is building her girls, Stella, 4, and Presley, 2, a $70,000 princess playroom. It’s not going to be finished until next month, but it’s going to include a faux-gem-covered stage, a treehouse loft, and — oh, the wondrous whimsicality! — a miniature French café. “It’s going to be a pink explosion,” Dickhout told WJS, “with hearts and bows and crowns and tassels.” For now, Stella must make do with her $6,000 custom-made castle bed.

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Pros You Should Know: Meadowbank Designs

phillymag pros you should know - Meadowbank Designs

TRENDS we’re SEEING // Gray is the new beige; neutrals with pops of color; antique brass hardware in kitchens. Chintz is back, with modern, fresh coloring and patterns.

IF YOU’RE DOING A TOTAL RENOVATION // Have your entire team — architect, interior designer, landscape architect, contractor — on the same page. Pay attention to the architecture of your home, and find a style that complements the interior and the exterior. If you’re on a budget, work in phases, with a master plan.

TO DO THIS SEASON // Visit Terrain and Valley Forge Flowers for interesting seasonal decor, and treat yourself to a custom flower arrangement on the dining table for the arrival of holiday guests. Be on the hunt for outdoor furniture sales, to be ahead of the game for spring.

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Design Home 2014 Celebrates Ribbon Cutting Tonight

new home picThis year’s Design Home is in a lovely Wyndmoor neighborhood bordering Chestnut Hill. The street, East Gravers Lane, can get almost pastoral when all the leaves are in, and now that fall is here, the trees in the area are flush with color. The custom home, built by Glenn Falso Jr. of Main Street Development and designed by HarmanDeutsch Architecture and Diane Bishop Interiors, features a stone facade to match surrounding and historic properties. As for the interior? Tonight we’ll find out at the ribbon-cutting.

The house is in such a nice neighborhood — go for a drive, walk in the Wissahickon, and check out the house between now and November 16th. All ticket proceeds benefit MANNA.

Before-and-after gallery below.

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Parc Rittenhouse Condo: Can We Keep the Blue Sofa?


We love this condo, of course. Parc is lovely. The amenities (24-hour doorman; pool; gym; etc.) are terrific. The views are great. The location couldn’t be better. This unit features customized closets, a Sub Zero refrigerator and wine refrigerator, a Nest thermostat system, a Juliet balcony with French doors… You get the picture (or you will after the see the gallery). There’s even a parking spot for just $168 per month, which for indoor parking near the Square, is pretty good.

To the new owner: Seeing as you’re paying $1.8 million or thereabouts, perhaps you’re also buying a new sofa? Or bringing one you like? In which case, I’m sure you don’t mind donating this sofa to a needy real estate editor, whose IKEA leather sofa and Pier One circa-2001 couch are no longer making the grade…

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On the Market: Danny Seo’s Bucks County Stunner

Photo via Kurfiss Sotheby’s International

Reading, Pa. native Danny Seo is a male, environmentally conscious Martha Stewart — if Martha Stewart were busier than she is and not an ex-felon. He’s a published book author. He has a syndicated column called “Do Just One Thing.” He has a line of home products is sold at TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods. He’s a Today show regular. He makes organic wines, and sells his bath products and fragrances on the Home Shopping Network. He’s a spokesperson for a couple companies. And now he’s a magazine publisher, with the first issue of Naturally, Danny Seo out this month.

As an introduction to Seo, the magazine features his Bucks County “glass house,” which is a mid-century modern-style beauty — a little Kahn-inspired jewel in the woods. An interview with him about the house does more to explain its appeal than any listing could. A few excerpts:

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A Swoon-Worthy Garden and Patio in New Hope

Photo by Laura Kicey.

Photo by Laura Kicey.

At first, Sally Weisman did not want to move. She’d been living in Princeton, New Jersey for 13 years in a beautiful home. She was reluctant to downsize because she loves to have friends and family over. But she was ready for a smaller space. She considered going back to New York. Then she found a townhouse in New Hope. The clincher was the available lot next door.

Her interior designer, Helen Walton, first suggested that Weisman buy the available lot. When her builder agreed that it was a great idea, things started to take shape. Weisman moved in November and the garden was finished last month.

“I really couldn’t live without a garden or some outside space,” Weisman said.

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Happy Birthday, Charles Eames


You probably know the Eames chair. But there was more to Charles and Ray Eames than that. This TED talk, given by Charles and Ray’s grandson, is helpful and revealing when it sticks to the subject of their design history — and not uninteresting in other moments. Worth a watch:

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Habitat: Fishtown Church Conversion

Photo: Conrad Benner

Photo: Conrad Benner

Photographer Dominic Episcopo and his wife, Dawn, a makeup artist, have lived in their Fishtown home for 10 years — though calling it a “home” doesn’t do it justice. The former church is vast — much larger than the kind of home Dominic had in mind, even though he was searching for a live-work environment. “It was too much space,” he said, “but it was less [expensive] than most properties that I was looking at, and it had three to four times the space.” He’d only been to Fishtown a few times before he bought there, but the church sealed the deal.

Dominic describes his home’s style as eclectic.

“The building gives off a goth vibe and we painted the woodwork and molding black. I’m a collector so we have everything from animal hides to Persian rugs, 50s modern furniture and industrial objects and antiques. We have great art, mostly photography. I also have a pretty big record collection and vintage rock posters and art.”

His favorite rooms are his studio — “it’s pretty awesome” — and the bedroom.

Slideshow below.

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Get a Home Makeover From IKEA

home-tour-squadIKEA calls itself the Life Improvement Store, and it’s now expanding its services to make good on that moniker. Taking a page from the book of home-makeover shows that have become so popular, the Swedes have launched the “grassroots” IKEA Home Tour, which will send a team of experts to different cities to work with desperate homeowners (design-desperate, that is. This ain’t no Extreme Makeover).

The IKEA “Home Tour Squad” is composed of five IKEA employees (pictured, left) who are leaving their store-bound jobs and going on the road to provide two makeovers in each city they visit. So far the cities on that list include Atlanta, Charlotte, Baltimore/D.C., New York and Philadelphia.

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