Spruce Street Gem Built by Stephen Girard with Private Park Entrance

TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach.

TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach.

In a city where founders left history on practically every block in some neighborhoods, Stephen Girard still stands out. The guy stuck around Philadelphia during two separate yellow fever outbreaks to help the sick and dying. And then he personally bailed out the government to ensure the Americans would win the War of 1812. He provided for the city’s orphans in his will, establishing Girard College (for background on the school’s eventual desegregation as well as a fascinating story about the perimeter wall, check out Hidden City). Society Hill still bears reminders of the philanthropist, especially on Spruce Street.

This enormous home was built by Girard in 1831 and has since been restored and preserved. The listing claims in excess of 4,200 square feet but the agent’s notes tell us it’s closer to 5,200 square feet. In short, it’s huge. There are plenty of period details (the usual plaster, pine floors and winding stairs found throughout Society Hill). Our favorite is the actual King of Prussia marble in the fireplaces.The home itself has four bedrooms and four full baths.

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Toll Brothers Pushing 410 At Society Hill

A rendering of 410 at Society Hill, courtesy of Toll Brothers

Toll Brothers, the Horsham, PA-based megadeveloper, has found late-career success in the unlikeliest of places: bustling cities. The company has done projects throughout New York City, as well as the remarkably successful 600-unit Naval Square in Graduate Hospital. Now Toll Bros. is pushing its latest Philadelphia offering: the still-under-construction 410 at Society Hill, the luxury condo complex on Headhouse Square that replaces the large hole where Newmarket once stood.

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Newly Listed: Home Designed By Amburn/Jarosinski

406 S 6th Street

When David Amburn, one half of the well-known architecture firm of Amburn/Jarosinski, passed away in 2012, his work and life partner Jerry Jarosinski told the Inquirer the work of the designers of Kansas City Prime, River City Diner and Arroyo Grill had “significantly changed the face of Manayunk.” The firm’s work was also included in the book The Unexpected House in a City of Tradition, and Amburn was chair of the Historical Commission’s architectural review committee.

Meanwhile, Jarosinski was chairman of COLLAB in 1991 and 1993. In 2006, he was made an honorary committee member for his decade of service.

Right before Amburn passed away, he designed one last home in Harleysville, PA–for Jaronsinski. 

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Another I.M. Pei Gem in Society Hill Hits the Market

TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach.

TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach.

There are many good reasons to revere I.M. Pei and his Philadelphia handiwork. Sure, the Society Hill homes are uniformly the coolest. And the Society Hill Towers pair beautifully beside them. But the guy also turned down a place in Oxford because he liked Bing Crosby movies. And then he got one look at Penn and immediately transferred to MIT.

There’s another Pei on the market around the corner from this one, at $1.395 million. One sold in April for $1.1 million on South Third. So it’s a safe bet that this Saint James Place property will be a solid, 3-bedroom investment. The home home has been totally renovated, but hews to the unspoken rule that Pei houses shall be decorated with only modern artwork. The eat-in kitchen is all clean lines. Bathrooms throughout – including the en-suite in the master – are sleek and inviting. We are still puzzling over the lower-level library; we see books, but is that also a collection of … jars?

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Splendiferous Interiors: Delancey Street Surprise

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TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach.

When we hear “Delancey Street,” we assume pomp, grandeur and mahogany will follow. This townhouse has grandeur in spades – marble, stained glass and artwork abound – but not the kind you’d assume. In fact, from the outside, the only hint you get at what’s to come behind the front door is a modern art sculpture out front.

Once owned by someone in the movie business, the interior of the three-bedroom home has a definite flair for drama. There are hand-painted wall treatments in nearly every room in almost as many colors. Where there aren’t murals or ceiling art, there are mirrors. Or chandeliers. The kitchen showcases marble sills, floors and counters in addition to Frank Gallagher stained glass throughout.

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HGTV “House Crashers” Home with Parking for Two Plus Outdoor Kitchen

TREND photo courtesy Cityspace Realty

TREND photo courtesy Cityspace Realty

It’s easy to figure out which episode of House Hunters featured this Pine Street home. From the Philadelphia episode descriptions, we can infer that Mitch Williams and host Josh Temple once helped owners transform their basement into a Phillies fan cave (let’s hope there was no heckling involved). The listing photos of the basement make it pretty clear and close examination of the exterior shots reveal stadium seating in front of an outdoor television with a Phillies game on.

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$1.6M Society Hill Gem Built by Stephen Girard

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TREND photo via BHHS Fox & Roach

Stephen Girard’s name echoes throughout Philadelphia via street names, Girard College, Girard Estates and at one time the Girard Bank. In a city with so many historical characters haunting the past, you could be forgiven for forgetting that Girard was once the hero of Philadelphia. Not just for personally preventing the country’s finances from collapsing during the War of 1812 but also because he spent half of the 1790s physically caring for the city’s sick and dying during two separate yellow fever outbreaks. And that’s just a fraction of Girard’s biography. And a fraction of why owning a home he once built would grant you the ultimate 215 cachet. Read more »

Another Cecil Baker Home for Sale

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One would imagine that a fully stocked 500-bottle wine cooler in the basement would already make for a pretty Zen-like existence. But just in case you need a little more encouragement toward mindfulness, this Cecil Baker-designed Society Hill townhome offers both. Plus, there’s two-car garage parking to really ensure you never feel stressed trying to find a space in Society Hill.

Renovated in 2011, the corner property boasts natural light everywhere. In addition to the indoor-outdoor living space (more on that in a minute), there are windows on three sides of the home and a central light column. The first floor features a gourmet kitchen with the typical luxury finishes (a Viking stove, corian counter, cherry cabinetry). A-typical luxury finishes include two (two!) Asko dishwashers and a Kitchen Aide trash compactor. Off the kitchen and dining space is a living room with a wall of Nananwall doors that open to the Zen courtyard. That space boasts Brazilian Ipe wood and Mexican river stones along with a custom stainless steel waterfall. For entertaining, the space also features a built-in gas grill and a Bose surround system. Read more »

Society Hill Home With Buttery Yellow Guest Room

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The monochromatic palette of new construction can sometimes dampen the drama of a new home. So the advantage of a home built in 2006 is that it’s had some time to feel grow up a bit and start experimenting with color. Plus, being eight years old means there’s still some mileage in the tax abatement.

This end unit still boasts very tasteful, neutral wall colors and furniture schemes but every other room or so is punctuated with an accent wall or a bright coat of paint. We love the yellow guest room which manages to be less neon than buttery. The kitchen and family room feature luxury light fixtures as well as built-in cabinetry. The den, kitchen and family room are wired with built-in speakers, which is a thoughtful upgrade. Upstairs the children’s bedrooms feature the most darling tree-house style bedding we have seen to date. The master includes professionally designed closets and an en-suite bathroom. Two bedrooms on the top floor share a dual-access bathroom.

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Beautiful Society Hill Townhome Designed by I.M. Pei

Pei-designed townhome

People who don’t like modernist architecture probably haven’t spent enough time around good modernist buildings. Curiously enough, a great place to do that is Philadelphia’s most posh colonial-brick neighborhood: Society Hill. It has Louis Sauer homes, the Cambridge Seven-designed former Independence Park visitor center (which will soon be demolished; some people don’t like it anyway), I.M Pei’s well known Society Hill Towers, as well as a less well known block of low-rise town homes also designed by Pei. One of those is now for sale for just under $1.4 million, and it looks awfully appealing.

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