Jawdropper of the Week: Contemporary History in Old City

149 S. Hancock St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19106 | Images via Redfin

149 S. Hancock St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19106 | Images via Redfin

“Everything old is new again” is probably the best phrase one can use to describe this stunning renovation of a historic 19th-century commercial building on Hancock Street in Old City.

This building is the sole survivor of a row of similar buildings, and it has a pedigree: Cabinetmaker Michael Bouvier, the great-great-grandfather of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, bought the vintage-1816 structure in 1834 for use as his workshop. It came awfully close to meeting the fate of its neighbors before a couple bought the structure in 2010 and turned it into a super-spacious single-family residence.

While traditional in its details — crown moldings, classic baseboards, period doors — the home is at the same time thoroughly modern in its design sensibility and amenities. Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: Gilded Age Opulence on Rittenhouse Square

1830 Rittenhouse Sq. #6AB, Philadelphia, Pa. 19103 | TREND Images via BHHS Fox & Roach

1830 Rittenhouse Sq. #6AB, Philadelphia, Pa. 19103 | TREND Images via BHHS Fox & Roach

If you’ve been to Newport, R.I., you’ve probably done the famous Cliff Walk and toured some of the “cottages” the Robber Barons built as summer getaways at the height of the Gilded Age. These were homes built for show and entertaining as much as they were for living: huge ballrooms that could accomodate hundreds, dozens of bedrooms, grand lawns, opulent decor.

This extra-large condominium overlooking Rittenhouse Square looks like the pied-a-terre version of one of those places. Occupying the entire sixth floor of the first and (in many ways still) finest of the Rittenhouse Square high-rises, this home offers lots of room for entertaining, loads of windows offering gorgeous views of the square, and opulence almost beyond belief, though in a restrained Philadelphia fashion.

All that, and all the latest in kitchen and bathroom furnishings to boot. And it’s comfortable enough that you’ll enjoy living in it every day. Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: XXL Luxury Next Door to Billy Penn

123 Avenue of the Arts Suite 28CDE, Philadelphia Pa. 19109 | Photos courtesy of The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton

1414 South Penn Square, Suite 28CDE, Philadelphia Pa. 19102 | Photos courtesy of The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton

Have you ever seen eye-to-eye with William Penn?

We’re talking about the man who stands right on top of City Hall. In this luxury condo, you can gaze upon him quite easily. This week’s Jawdropper hones in on a stunning suite in one of America’s finest luxury residential buildings: The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton.

Back in March, we reported that interior designer Barbara (BJ) Nipon Spencer of BJS Design was brought in to outfit three of the units at the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton. She came up with distinctly different treatments for the three units: the two-bedroom Unit 44DE and two three-bedroom units, 31B and 44GH. Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: A Fabulous Federal in Society Hill

309 S. 3rd St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19106 | TREND Images via BHHS Fox & Roach

309 S. 3rd St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19106 | TREND Images via BHHS Fox & Roach

You may not have foreign ambassadors on your guest list for dinner, but if you did, you’d be able to receive them with the dignity they deserve in this meticulously restored 1814 Federal mansion in the heart of Society Hill.

Your domestic friends might ask, “So what’s it like to live in a piece of history?” You’d be able to answer, “Great!” For even though this home’s details are authentic to the core, it has also been updated where it counts the most for the modern homeowner, namely, in the kitchen and the bathrooms.

We’ll get to those in a bit. But first, let’s start with the impressive entrance hallway just beyond the chandelier-lit foyer. Read more »

Farmhouse Friday: A Gladwyne Mansion With Room for 100 (No Joke)

1243 Country Club Rd., Gladwyne, Pa. 19035 | TREND images via BHHS Fox and Roach

1243 Country Club Rd., Gladwyne, Pa. 19035 | TREND images via Coldwell Banker Preferred

This classic stone home in Gladwyne has all of the architectural features and design elements of a classic farmhouse. It even has a name — “Valley View.” And it’s on sale for only the second time in 60 years. But truth to tell, what you’re looking at here is a farmhouse on steroids: this is really a sumptuous mansion with plenty of farmhouse charm.

So if an 8,000-square-foot home with custom fireplaces and a 1,200-plus-bottle wine cellar is your cup of tea, snag it while you can. Last sold in 1992 for $817,500, and built after the area had been largely converted into estate suburbia, this home retains that classic feel of the farmhouse with a modern twist.

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A Penthouse Sells for a Sky-High Price

The balconies at 500 Walnut are extra-large to appeal to suburbanites used to large yards. The penthouse's terrace, shown here, is especially spacious and striking - and the unit just sold for an all-time record price. | Renderings courtesy Scannapieco Development Corporation

The balconies at 500 Walnut are extra-large to appeal to suburbanites used to large yards. The penthouse’s terrace, a possibility for which is shown here, is especially spacious and striking – and the unit just sold for an all-time record price. | Renderings: Cecil Baker + Partners, courtesy Scannapieco Development Corporation

The two-story penthouse condo at 500 Walnut is stylish and very spacious. And it just set a new record for ultra-luxury sale prices locally.

Scannapieco Development Corporation announced today (June 2nd) that it has sold the 8,900-square-foot penthouse for a record $17.85 million, the highest price yet for a luxury residence in Philadelphia. In addition to breaking the record the company set six years ago with the $12.5 million sale of the penthouse unit at 1706 Rittenhouse Square, the sale also set a new record price per square foot: $2,003, also well above the previous record of $1,613 for the 1706 unit. Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: A Palace in Phoenixville

1248 Pawlings Rd., Phoenixville, Pa. 19460 | Images from Kurfiss Sotheby's International Realty

1248 Pawlings Rd., Phoenixville, Pa. 19460 | Images from Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty

We still aren’t sure after seeing this home that we didn’t take a wrong turn somewhere and end up in the South.

This huge (8,951 square feet) home looks for all the world like it could have come out of “Gone with the Wind” with its Greek Revival design and tree-lined entrance driveway that ends at an elaborate marble fountain.

But this historic mansion is all Pennsylvania. Read more »

Vertical Block Party at Avenir


Last night I went to a Vertical Block Party in the new building on Chestnut and 15th – the Avenir. The building features sleek apartments — ranging from “flats” (just 300 square feet) and studios to one- and two-bedroom (835 square feet) units — as well as amenities like a screening room, a community room and a state-of-the-art exercise facility, as well as several “Think Rooms” for studying or for zen moments I imagine.

The party was open to influencers, and business leaders who enjoyed local bites and spirits. Avenir promotes itself as “micro living” at it’s best, but it didn’t feel claustrophobic, and 300 square feet didn’t seem as small as that number. (Be forewarned, micro living doesn’t mean micro rents.)

The location of Avenir is sweet, across from City Hall and Dilworth Park, near public transportation and a few blocks from the mega chic shopping on Walnut Street as well as a stones throw from the Shops of Liberty, where it was just announced the new Bloomingdale’s Outlet will be opening.

Photos after the jump »

Barclay Home of the Late Lady Bessborough

TREND photo courtesy Sotheby's.

TREND photo courtesy Sotheby’s.

There are plenty of luxury condos in this city (see: Claude Giroux’s new digs). There are few with as rich a back story as this triple-sized unit at The Barclay. If it looks like a residence fit for aristocracy, that’s because it was last the home of the late Lady Bessborough, countess of the same and wife to the late Earl of Bessborough, Viscount Duncannon. Before marrying into the aristocracy proper, the Randor native was already part of Philadelphia society, being related to both the Drexel and Biddle families.

The countess was known for many charitable interests – locally, for her support of Drexel as well as the American Philosophical Society – and was noted for her work to preserve Ben Franklin’s last existing home. Franklin’s residence on Craven Street in London proved to be fairly indomitable, having been twice bombed during World War II, set on fire in 1983 and flooded in 1987. Bessborough’s group helped complete repairs in 1996 and a decade later, the home opened to the public.
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Philly Condo Featured in the New York Times

Ritz Carlton condoA condominium for sale on the 29th floor of the Residences at the Ritz Carlton tower across from City Hall was featured in the New York Times real estate section last week as part of a feature called “What You Get for… $2.5 Million.” So, what do you get?

Well, you get a living room, dining room, and master bedroom all with a curtain wall of glass offering the view of City Hall’s clock tower at eye level. You get a foyer with a straight view through the living room out the windows. You get a special wing for guests with two bedrooms and a separate entrance. You get a master bath with “both a shower and a bathtub surrounded with white marble tiles shot with gray,” and a kitchen “styled with black cabinets, black-and-white granite countertops and gray tile floors.” You get a parking space, and access to a private park and a chauffeur-driven car and an on-site health club. (You do have to pay a little over $3,000 a month for those amenities.)

Read more »

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