Art Deco Meets Old-Fashioned in Fairmount

Photo : Conrad Benner

Photo : Conrad Benner

Name/Occupation: Kevin Clerkin, founder of Walk On Socks, and fashion writer/editor Laura Camerlengo, who works with the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Costume and Textiles collection

Neighborhood: Fairmount/Art Museum

Why did you choose to call this neighborhood home?
Kevin: “We love this neighborhood because it’s laid back and walkable, and it has a lot of great restaurants. Plus, it’s close to Laura’s job, and to Center City.”

How would you describe your home’s style?
Laura: “It’s probably best described as ‘bringing the past into the present.’ Our building dates to 1940, and some of the things that attracted us to this apartment were the original details, like the built-in cabinets in the kitchen and the parquet floors throughout. When we were decorating, we tried to find items from that same period, like the Art Deco ceiling panels from Provenance in our dining room. We mixed these items with new purchases, hand-me-downs from our friends and family, and a few DIY pieces.”

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Is This the Tackiest Decor in Montgomery County?

Taste: there’s no accounting for it, they say. They also say it’s all subjective. But there are certain identifying characteristics of tacky, are there not? Frosted mirrors. An overemployment of metallics. A white grand piano in a room with little black sculptures on the mantel.

Well, we need say no more. Below, just a few of the rooms from this home in Pennock Woods.

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Home Design Trends 2014: Navy Blue Rooms


Design blogger Mark D. Sikes was asked by House Beautiful what he thought a 2014 home design trend would be, and he said, “Navy blue will be a big trend for 2014. I’m seeing a lot of the shade on the runways, on the streets, in editorials, in chic interiors… I actually think everyone will get it in 2014.”

At 2221 Locust Street, the owner got it even before 2014, painting the living room walls a rich navy blue framed by white molding. It looks terrific, but everything about this restored 19th-century townhouse is terrific, from its high ceilings and two kitchens to its historic archways, built-in wooden closets, pine floors, and leaded glass windows. There’s a garden out back and access to a rooftop deck as well. And needless to say, the location is phenomenal.

The listing says the home was just appraised for 1.635 million, making the current asking price a “major value purchase.”

Gallery and info below.

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Splendiferous Interiors: Necessity Is the Mother of Fantastic in Old City (GALLERY)

old city transformed home

The home used to double as a hair salon. Unfortunately, the barbershop chairs are not for sale.

The house at 140 Vine Street may look like a typical Philadelphia rowhome, but inside it’s anything but. Cross the rubicon of a traditional front door, and walk into the magical kingdom hairstylist Cynthia Kehl has created. Her unique design aesthetic — a collection of broken antlers to mottled walls and cabinets — was minted by necessity.

“If I could throw everything out and buy new I would,” she says. Because she can’t, she trash picks, she dumpster dives, she goes to flea markets, she gets gifts from friends who understand her singular tastes. “I’m a big believer in using what you have. If I had a cardboard box on the corner, it would be the most fantastic cardboard box you ever saw.”

This house’s transformation was very much DIY. “I never knew one end of the hammer from another until I purchased this house.” It helped to have contractor friends, but Kehl’s artistic modifications are her own. Like the walls, which look professionally treated but came instead from Kehl’s intuition. “I usually have an image in my head of what I want a wall treatment to look like,” she says. “I use whatever I have lying around. I learn to go with my mistakes, and I end up liking my mistakes even better.” It’s a good lesson for anyone embarking on a home project. And the end result looks professional. Kehl likes to say, “Caulk and paint make it what it ain’t.”

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Gallery: Jamie Kennedy’s Quirky Ranch House

Monsignor Bonner High School grad Jamie Kennedy, who was probably voted Class Clown, has relisted his home in the Los Feliz neighborhood of LA — for the third time. It makes sense that someone from an unpretentious background would live in a hood like Los Feliz, which is a far cry from Beverly Hills or Encino. But according to, the comedian made plenty of modifications to the home, including the installation of “an outdoor fish tank,” which the listing refers to as “an aboveground koi pond.” The listing also calls the house “beautiful, contemporary, cool, and rare,” and there’s some truth to that, for sure.

Take a look. Gallery below.

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8 Reasons This House Has Been on the Market Since 2011

This Moorestown, NJ, home has some good qualities, but it’s had trouble selling. We think we know why.

The Yellow Brick Road5853573_1We understand the temptation to invoke Southern Europe with those pale bricks (we think that’s what’s going on). But reminding people of that fateful trip to Oz may be less appealing.

Built-in FormicaformicaPoor formica. It was once so desirable. Now a house hunter spots some at an open house and runs screaming. There are several rooms in this house that appear to have built-in formica cabinetry, including a little bedroom, the master bath, and one of the bedrooms. It’s just a beleaguered material.

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Habitat: Refined and Chic in Bucks County

If you are prone to pining after a country retreat, this is your Bucks County sanctuary. This home marries Andrew Wyeth’s color scheme and simplicity with a sense of calm and comfort. Homeowner – and interior designer – Danielle Datz purchased the house in 2005 and while she said it was a “solid, well-built” home, she also concedes that it was “very ’80s.” She oversaw renovations herself and now calls the home her design muse.


Photo by Laura Kicey

More aspirational design this way. Read more »

Habitat: A Bright Green Menagerie in South Philly

It should come as no surprise that the South Philadelphia home of a Philadelphia Zoo primate keeper and an environmental engineer would be replete in flora and fauna (living and taxidermied). And yet – and yet! – the rowhouse unfolds in room after room of delights.

Samantha Nestor (the primate keeper) and Andrew Haneiko (the environmental engineer) bought the home in 2005 and have been renovating ever since. We are as gaga for the animal-centric details in this house and the ways in which they sneak up on you as we are for the talented Laura Kicey‘s photos.

Sure, this looks like a standard chartreuse living room.


But, surprise! It is also a reptile house for rescues, home to the couple’s iguana, king snake and lizard.

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Thanksgiving Special: Best Luxury Kitchens in Center City


Everyone’s thinking about cooking this week. Well, not everyone. Not people like me, who wouldn’t know how to make stuffing even if you paid me to, and whose entire Thanksgiving crew includes a very cranky, just-neutered cat who’s wandering through the house uttering nonstop plaintive cries I can only interpret as, “Why? Why?”

But. There are many other people who cook, and for them — and even for me — it’s nice to dream of a phenomenal kitchen in which to whip up, over eight hours or so, a hearty Thanksgiving meal.

We’ve chosen six kitchens in luxury homes that are currently for sale in Center City that we think are tops — either because the equipment is terrific or because the design is lovely. Half of them are on Delancey Street (or Delancey Place, if you’re being grand about it).

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


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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