James Timberlake and Meg Rodgers’s Eclectic Shelter in the Sky
The city, stretching out below Marguerite (Meg) Rodgers and James Timberlake’s 31st-floor condo in the Society Hill Towers, seems to glow, especially as night falls. From this perch, cars look like blinking fireflies, and the Philadelphia we know at street level—noisy, frenzied—appears beautiful and calm.
The Rodgers/Timberlake home, with its serene tonal color palette and clean lines, is at once removed from the city’s electric bustle and an intimate part of it, thanks to three vast walls of windows (which can be covered with motorized blinds at the touch of a button). The Asian-inspired aesthetic, muted color scheme and rich woods give the space an air of worldly sophistication, but there’s levity to balance: A gas line in the dining area is layered with slate and exhibits loopy chalk drawings by the couple’s 10-year-old daughter, Veronica; a life-size vinyl wall decal of a football player fiercely presides over 14-year-old Harrison’s room.
The home was a labor of love. Meg, owner of interior design firm Marguerite Rodgers, and James, founding partner of internationally renowned architecture firm KieranTimberlake, combined three apartments into one space, linking them via a corridor that runs along the east perimeter of the house. “It was based on a Japanese teahouse,” says Meg. “There’s a calmness, a real serenity, to Japanese and Chinese architecture and design. I like the simplicity, the proportions, the key elements of light.”
The project was decidedly not easy. It took nearly eight years to accumulate all three apartments and another three to plan, gut and completely renovate them all; the family didn’t finally settle in until 2009. Throughout the ordeal, Meg was pragmatic in her design approach: “I worked with James the way I would with a client. I pulled all my ideas together and scheduled a meeting with him to go over it.” Getting two of the most sought-after design minds together in one spot can be difficult—even when these particular
two design minds happen to be married to one another.
But now, up here overlooking the city at night, things are quiet. At least until tomorrow, when Meg and James and Veronica and Harrison leave the plush serenity behind and head downstairs to their busy lives in the buzzing, colorful city below.
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