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


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 »

This Expansive Persian Rug Showroom Is Manayunk’s Best Kept Secret

Parisa rugs

Parisa and her father in their Manayunk showroom. | Photo by Lauren McGrath for

Manayunk may not be the hippest neighborhood in Philly anymore (that honor belongs to Fishtown), but that doesn’t mean it’s not home to a few hidden treasures.

One such treasure—a magnificent Persian rug showroom—belongs to Parisa Abdollahi, owner of Parisa Rugs and Décor in Old City, and it seems decidedly out of place along the banks of the Schuylkill.

“It’s kind of like Ali Baba’s secret cave,” she chuckles as she leads us into her private collection of roughly 3,000 antique Persian rugs. She’s definitely not wrong. Read more »

Meet the Design Genius Behind Philly’s Coolest Shops and Restaurants

Kate Rohrer

Meet Kate Rohrer. | Photography by Courtney Apple for Philadelphia magazine.

You might not know Kate Rohrer by name, but if you’ve ever been to Double Knot, Bud & Marilyn’s, Lapstone & Hammer or Union Transfer, you’ve seen her work. She’s the founder of Rohe Creative, the Fishtown interior design firm behind some of Philly’s most well-designed hot spots, and she’s making serious waves in the city’s design scene.

So what goes on behind the scenes? I caught up with Kate as she shuttles between projects – these include a high-end beer hall in Rittenhouse! – and sushi lunches at Seiko in NoLibs to get the low-down on her favorite people, places and things. Here’s what a day in Kate Rohrer’s life looks like, as well as what inspires her, where she finds all those cool salvaged pieces for her design projects (fun fact: She’s using 93 antique frames for a wall installation in a current project!), and exactly which product she uses to get those covetable curls.  Read more »

East Market: Hub of a New Design District?

Architect's rendering of the new Design Within Reach showroom at Market East

Architect’s cutaway rendering of the new Design Within Reach showroom at East Market | Image from D Form A (DFA)

An interior designer I recently had the pleasure to meet hails from Italy but has resided in the United States for well over a decade now. Nonetheless, one aspect of American urban commerce mystifies him: the tendency for similar businesses to cluster in identifiable districts in our large cities.

Apparently, there’s no Garment District in Milan, no Jewelers’ Row in Rome. That’s actually a shame if true, for districts like these offer distinct advantages for both merchants and shoppers alike. For shoppers, these clusters provided an easy means of comparison shopping long before the Internet came along. Merchants were assured more of the people passing their stores were interested in what they had to sell. And the businesses could more easily gain knowledge and trade insights with one another while keeping up the competition.

Both Jewelers’ Row in Center City and Fabric Row on South Fourth Street have survived for more than a century because of these advantages. Now it looks like a new trade hub is about to join them. Read more »

Here’s Where to Find the Most Insanely Amazing Home Goods in Philly


A sneak peek of the space. | Photo via Marguerite Rodgers.

Home decor obsessives, free up your agenda this evening: Philly’s interior design forces are teaming up for the first time ever to present the Design Collaborative, a free showroom event showcasing the region’s most amazing home goods, taking place at the spacious 2,000-square-foot Art & Industry building in the up-and-coming New Kensington arts district.

Attendees can enjoy light refreshments and drinks as they walk through an array of chic residential spaces put together by the region’s top design professionals, artists, and collectors. Plus, we’ve been told that the main showroom opens up to a 5,000-square-foot warehouse space containing overflow home goods for sale.

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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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