March 29, 2015 |
Enter the dining room of Palmer and Judy Hartl's regal rowhouse in Society Hill, and your eye is drawn to an imposing Empire buffet made of crotch mahogany. So powerful is its scale that the piece would be out of place in a less splendid setting. But here, it's right at home, sharing space with a Knabe grand piano, a glass-topped dining table, and a gilded mirror. "The dining room is my favorite place in the home, especially at night, when the lighting looks great," says Palmer Hartl, 72, who sees the same majesty in the 9,000-square-foot, four-story house that he first saw 15 years ago. Back then, the couple owned a three-acre property in Gladwyne with expansive gardens and a pool.
March 15, 2015 |
Living in an 1835 Society Hill townhouse might spur some people to decorate to suit that period. Not Yvonne Novak and Aaron Weindling, who say they don't want to fill their 180-year-old home on South Seventh Street with Chippendale furniture and wingback chairs. "It is our home and not a museum. Antique sofas are hard to find, expensive, and not very comfortable," Novak says. "We have chosen to adopt a combination of previously owned and new things that fit our space and our lifestyle.
March 13, 2015 |
Mexican on the corner If early crowds are an indication, Joseph and Theresa Rimmer Scull have hit on the right combination at 22d and Carpenter Streets with a Mexican bar called Los Camaradas (918 S. 22d St., 215-309-3727). After a spell as Divan Turkish Kitchen, the bar had been two short-lived clunkers, SoWe and the Strip Joint, under different management. The Sculls - he was chef at the late Solaris Grille in Chestnut Hill, while she is a former beverage manager at La Calaca Feliz in Fairmount - added sconces and other decorative pieces from Mexico.
March 8, 2015 |
In 1991, Kristin and Steve Stoughton were 24 and engaged to be married. Knowing that they wanted to buy an older house, Steve's employer made a bold suggestion. The boss, a residential developer, was planning to build several houses on a tract in Fort Washington. Would Steve and his fiancee be interested in buying a battered farmhouse and barn on the site? Sure would. The barn and the small three-story dwelling dated to the late 1840s. Two-story additions were added in the 1920s and 1940s.
February 23, 2015 |
Kristin Recchiuti was on maternity leave about five years ago when it occurred to her that the 3,000-square-foot house she and husband Ed purchased in North Wales in 1998 was no longer working out for them. "We bought the house as a bargain in 1998 for $318,000, but it needed a lot of work now that we had three kids and a different lifestyle," Kristin says. The Recchiutis both work in the health-care industry for major corporations. Both are involved in patient education. "Maternity leaves can be dangerous because you have time on your hands and time to think," she says.
February 15, 2015 |
It was 2010. The kids were grown and out of the house. Ron Ettinger was tired of cutting grass and shoveling snow - he wanted to downsize. At 60, he was ready to move to a new home in a 55-and-over community. His wife, Hope, then 50, was not keen on the idea. She was too young to live in such a place and had always wanted to restore an old house. Though he is a talented woodworker, Ron nixed that notion. "I know my limits," he says. "Restoring takes more than being handy. " A visit to Montebello, a 55-plus community in West Berlin near their Voorhees home, helped Hope grow more amenable to Ron's plan.
December 20, 2014 |
Even before the front door is opened - even before one climbs the outside steps of the Spinelli home in Riverton - the dazzle begins curbside. The wraparound porch, the gazebo - and in this season, the lights and decorations - all suggest that something magical is unfolding. This is an exceptional place in any season, but at Christmas, the pre-Victorian home takes on a glow with an aura of yesteryears that blur present and future. The soaring ceilings, the woodwork, the fireplaces and arches and crown moldings all explain why 700 visitors poured in for a holiday tour sponsored by the Riverton Free Library last year.
November 6, 2014 |
Bar/restaurant plus butcher Across the street from the artisan work at the new La Colombe Torrefaction flagship in Fishtown, restaurateur Michael Pasquarello and butcher Bryan Mayer are behind the new Kensington Quarters (1310 Frankford Ave., 267-314-5086). It's a bar/restaurant with a butcher counter and classroom built in. Mayer, one of the godfathers of a new generation of butchers, ran the show at Fleisher's Grass-Fed & Organic Meats in New York. A chance meeting with Pasquarello - who with his wife, Jeniphur, owns Cafe Lift, Prohibition Taproom, and Bufad - sent him, his wife and daughter to Philadelphia.
November 2, 2014 |
FORTESCUE, N.J. - As volunteers had done at least a half-dozen times in the last few months, a group came to scrub, scrape, and paint to try to save the old Charlesworth Hotel, inundated two years ago by Hurricane Sandy. When the sunny morning rolled into a dark and cloudy midafternoon, one of the 20 or so volunteers noticed a piano among the still topsy-turvy mess of the main dining room. An impromptu concert broke out featuring Bach, Chopin, show tunes, and that beginner's favorite, "Heart and Soul.
October 12, 2014 |
Once Dora Siemel saw the cedar house on the Unami Watershed in Green Lane, Montgomery County, she knew she had found a place Buddha would have yearned for. The setting is calming, verdant and serene. "There is no ugly way to get here," she says of the journey through abundant woodlands, where creeks snake past colossal boulders. The land is home to fox, deer, trout, and several species of salamander. That tranquil spirit also exists inside the two-story, 2,200-square-foot house where Siemel and her husband, Bob Wolfarth, have lived for 22 years.