Old Meets New in South Philadelphia

The front of the house.

The front of the house.

Originally posted summer 2009. Photos by Frank Dreitlein.

Sharon and Jeremy were intrigued long before their home was completed. They would sit at a nearby café and admire the home’s beautiful copper flashing. They said they just “knew something interesting was inside.”

Former residents of Lombard Street, in Center City Philadelphia, Sharon and Jeremy were coincidentally looking for something a little bigger than their current home. Luckily, the very home they were admiring, was not only captivating from the exterior, it was very spacious on the inside as well, being well over 2500 square feet. Kelly Monk, a local realtor, assisted them with the acquisition of the house. Inayah Hart from Coldwell BankerPreferred in Old City, Philadelphia, first introduced RowHouse to the home as it was being built.

Developer Stanley Bailey has been renovating old homes in Philadelphia for the past nine years. He also worked on the Queen Anne semi-attached in Parkside we wrote about previously. Although he typically prefers to keep as much period detail and originality, in this case, nearly the entire house needed to be rebuilt. Aside from the exposed brick on the shared walls, nearly everything else was built from scratch. This blank slate allowed for freedom within the row house resulting in a very modern layout and open feel.

The new owners, Sharon and Jeremy, are very excited about their new, old home which has all the luxuries any homeowner could ask for including a wine cellar, loft office space with a view of the skyline, a water fall and a roof deck with panoramic, 360 degree views of Philadelphia.

One aspect of development and restoration that Stanley enjoys is choosing the best quality finishes and materials. For this house he chose a cream-colored onyx floor tile for the basement and hardwood throughout the rest of the house. The indoor waterfall is tiled in stone. The stairs were built new and feature a custom made, stainless steel banister with an almost industrial aesthetic. Recessed exterior lighting showcases the home’s unique exterior. The kitchen features custom cabinatry and stainless steel appliances.

Looking toward the back to the kitchen.

Looking toward the back to the kitchen.

Although barely moved in, Sharon was gracious enough to lead us on a tour through her home. Her choice of multiple, rich colors for the interior are strong but blend wonderfully and enhance the architectural lines from one space to the other. She loves the kitchen where the clean modern lines of contemporary styling meet crown molding, a characteristic of a more traditional home. Recycled glass subway tile was used in the backsplash giving the classic pattern a modern twist.

The waterfall, a unique feature in a row house, occupies an area created by the normal space between row houses built around the turn of the century and where the kitchen was expanded. The resulting channel goes the entire height of the house. On the first floor, it will be the focal point of the dining room. On the second floor, it’s adjacent to the laundry area. Sharon says the waterfall makes ironing so pleasant that she now irons everything, including sheets.

Also on the second floor are two bedrooms, shared by Sharon’s three children, each with its own bath. One of the bathrooms was the stage for some early drama in their new home as one of their cats decided to hide in the vanity. After several hours of searching, including engaging their new neighbors to search the block, they found the cat nestled in a drawer.

Facing the front. The rich colors balance the industrial quality of the exposed brick and custom banister.

Facing the front. The rich colors balance the industrial quality of the exposed brick and custom banister.

On the third floor is the master suite. Above the sleeping area is an office loft with windows that overlook downtown Philadelphia’s skyline. These private areas are separated from a second kitchen by a bathroom and small hall. Because the roof deck is prime entertaining space, Stanley wanted the owners to have a place to serve refreshments without having to go down two flights to the main kitchen. A narrow spiral staircase leads to the large roof deck, which features outdoor speakers and uninterrupted views of the city for miles in every direction. Despite the close proximity to the city, the house is quiet at night making the roof deck an especially peaceful place to unwind at the end of the day.

Stanley says he will miss the house he put so much energy and thought into but he equally enjoys seeing the new owners appreciate his hard work and truly love their new home.

 

 

 

 

Looking up through the waterfall channel from the dining room windows.

Looking up through the waterfall channel from the dining room windows.

 

The use of recycled glass subway tiles is both classic and modern.

The use of recycled glass subway tiles is both classic and modern.

 

Row house construction means that the basement wine cellar easily stays at a constant, appropriate temperature.

Row house construction means that the basement wine cellar easily stays at a constant, appropriate temperature.

 

The laundry overlooking the waterfall.

The laundry overlooking the waterfall.

 

The children's bedrooms.

The children’s bedrooms.

 

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French doors open to the street from one of the children's bedrooms.

French doors open to the street from one of the children’s bedrooms.

 

The master suite.

The master suite.

 

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The master suite kitchen.

The master suite kitchen.

 

The panoramic view from the roof deck.

The panoramic view from the roof deck.

 

 

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