Center City Townhouse
Our clients purchased this 8,000 sf historic townhouse in the Rittenhouse area of Philadelphia so that they could be closer to their beloved Philadelphia Orchestra. It was built in the mid 19th century and importantly altered in the early twentieth after a fire. However, by the late 20th century the house had fallen into disrepair. In the mid-century a doctor had carved the first floor up into a series of exam rooms and offices, keeping the upper floors as his home. Restoring a sense of grandeur and accommodating the clients’ art collections and lifestyle, involved extensive interior and exterior design work, and nothing about the transformation was provisional. This complicated, multi-phase renovation project took eleven years to complete.
The first floor was conceived as two 1000 sf formal entertaining rooms, a parlor, a library, and a catering kitchen. The kitchen, butler’s pantry, dining room and two more entertaining rooms (one dedicated to music and a sitting room) fill out the second floor. The upper floors contain the bedrooms and offices. The style of the house includes direct reconstruction of the historic interiors, from both initial building campaigns but and diverges substantially in some rooms where the owners had particular stylistic, specifically, English 18th century, interests.
The design and construction of the garage and garden were part of the first phase. The gardens, including a garden installed on the new garage roof, were designed primarily to be enjoyed from within the house or in walking to and from the garage. Densely planted, they include a waterlily pond, fountain wall and connecting loggia. Special attention was given to the paving patterns to enhance the walking experience and to the selection of plants for their blooms.
Interior Design completed in association with Executive Interiors. Landscape completed in association with Victoria Steiger.
Traditional Building, Palladio Award - Exterior Spaces, Gardens & Landscapes, 2005
- "Square Roots: A Philadelphia Townhouse Reclaims Its Victorian Heritage" by Lynne Lavelle. Period Homes, November 2011.
- "A Historic House in Philadelphia Serves as a Haven for Art and Music" by Lydia Lee. National Trust for Historic Preservation, January 2021.
- "VMA's Lavish Renovation on Rittenhouse Square," by Michael Welton. Architects + Artisans, April 2021.
Architecture, Interior Design, Historical Preservation, Landscape