Classic Philly: The Rowhouse Revisited

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

According to the Philadelphia Rowhouse Manual, “the Philadelphia rowhouse, most simply, is a one to four-story house occupying a narrow street frontage and attached to adjacent houses on both sides.” And while rowhouses can be found in many cities across the country, the manual, put out by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, also states that the rowhouse outnumbers all other housing types in the city of Philadelphia…

The many of us who live in rowhouses have learned to embrace all of the charm, imperfections and challenges that come with narrow, attached, urban living. We love our row homes! And whether we live in Society Hill, Queen Village, Old City, Kensington, Washington Square, South Philly, North Philly, West Philly or Rittenhouse Square, we are always looking for inspiration on how to renovate, rejuvenate and restore the economically-built, historical gems we call home…

First Row:
1. Small Cool 2010: Christopher’s Retro Rowhouse & Chris & Liz’s Lodgey Loungey Living Quarters We first caught a glimpse of Chris and Liz’s Fairmount row home in the Small Cool 2010 contest. Since then, they’ve been kind enough to share even more of their renovation process. We love the vintage vibe that imbues the space, and their courageous and sophisticated use of color.
2. Krista & Zak’s Philadelphia Art Hotel There’s nothing shy about Krista and Zak’s use of color in their East Kensington home! The couple lovingly converted a three-story rowhouse into a hotel haven for visiting artists while sticking to a tight, tight budget. (I particularly like Kristen’s use of the fish-eye lens in the house tour photography, which enabled her to capture more of the narrow rooms than would have ordinarily been possible).
3. Tim & Sara’s South Philly Setup Tim and Sara have embraced the historical features of their South Philadelphia rowhome and have created a space that is warm and eclectic in the process. The kitchen is adorable, and that window above the opening? Gorgeous!
4. Jaclyn & Brian’s Bright, Bold & Boisterous Home Winners of the Small Division in the Small Cool 2010 competition, Jaclyn and Brian’s take on their Graduate Hospital area rowhome is delightfully quirky. (Not to mention, they have a seriously envy-inducing backyard…)
5. Elizabeth & Kevin’s Eclectic & Very Narrow Rowhome Rowhouses can come in small, medium and large sizes and at only 12 feet wide, Elizabeth and Kevin’s definitely falls into the ‘small’ category! Also located in the Graduate Hospital area, this home is full of color and wit.

Second Row:
6. East #13: Sary’s High-Contrast Color An entry in the Fall Colors 2008 competition, Sary’s rowhouse renovation has also been featured on Desire to Inspire. With its exposed brick wall, built-in seating and elegant kitchen remodel, this glamorous redo perfectly captures a rowhome’s potential.
7. A Philadelphia Rowhouse Renovation Rowhouse homeowners Michael and Thomas brought in historically-respectful architect Cara Carroccia to help maximize light and space in the home they share with their two girls.
8. Madie’s Family Home Madie embraced the quirks of her Italian Market area rowhome and commissioned just-as-quirky local artist Isaiah Zagar to do a mural on the side of her house!
9. East #26: Jo’s Bright & Happy Colors An entry in Fall Colors 2008, Jo’s 1920’s rowhouse embraces bright color at every turn. We love the greek isles-inspired cobalt used in the bedroom.
10. East #1: Kris’ “Winter in Paris” Another entrant in our Fall Colors 2008 contest, Kris’ charming South Philadelphia rowhome employs color at its subtle best.

Third Row:
11. Stephen’s Re-imagined Rowhouse Stephen revels in reinvention, and his Grays Ferry rowhome is chock full of his imaginative reuse projects.
12. Tanya’s Compact, Glowing Kitchen Tanya’s 1890’s rowhouse kitchen was completely unmanageable when she moved in. But after researching similar rowhomes, she was able to come up with a plan that allowed her to create a warm, brilliantly tiled space perfectly suited to her needs.
13. Montrose Green for Sale! This Philadelphia rowhouse has been sustainably renovated and is currently pursuing a LEED platinum rating. Visit owners Emily and Christopher Stromberg’s blog for interior images and to learn more about this gorgeously green project.
14. Before & After: Kristen’s Seating Area A rowhouse dweller herself, Apartment Therapy’s own Kristen Lubbe reveals a creative DIY solution for maximizing style and space in a small entry.
15. Look! Philadelphia Rowhouse Manual Available online or in print, the Philadelphia Rowhouse Manual is an invaluable resource for rowhouse homeowners. In it, you can expect to find all kinds of information on rowhouse styles & periods, maintenance issues, and interior and exterior renovations (including rooftop decks and green roofs).

Rowhouse renters and home owners – tell us about your place! What do you love, what do you hate and what are are your biggest challenges to date??

Images: As linked above.