May 17, 2017
By Joann Greco | April 29, 2016 | Home & Real Estate
Slick stonework and a cool collection of contemporary art make this just-listed Rittenhouse home a prime setting for entertaining.
The penthouse’s enormous open living room allows plenty of space for entertaining.
When Ken Karlan first toured the new penthouse on the 17th floor of Parc Rittenhouse, he liked what he didn’t see: no kitchen, no bathrooms, no closets. “There was nothing here,” he says with a laugh. “The ceilings were open, the floors were raw concrete, there were no interior walls. There. Was. Nothing.” The blank slate, he says, offered him the opportunity to customize everything.
Pulling together a locally based design team that included husband-and-wife architects Gavin Riggal and Juliet Geldi and general contractor Victor Brubaker, Karlan worked through “about a dozen different layouts.” His only requirement: that his private quarters—a master bedroom suite and an office—be at one end of the 5,000-plus-square-foot condo, and two guest rooms be all the way at the other end. In between: a lot of open space. Interior designer Tina Delia, also from Philadelphia, “was instrumental in pulling everything together,” he says.
Karlan turned to Stone Source to help him select the dazzling array of granites, limestones, and marbles that now compose seemingly every surface (including the four-and-a-half bathrooms) in the home. Visitors see that first in the kitchen, where a dramatic Carrera marble island holds court and plays off of white cabinetry and black granite countertops studded with amenities such as warming drawers and a built-in grill and steamer.
Perhaps the most showstopping use of stone is a low, dark granite bar, glittering with mica, which divides the living room and a den with a pull-down movie screen. Nearby, a pool table converts into another surface for setting down a drink by virtue of a beautiful inlaid wood cover. It sits between the dining room, where a custom-made table crafted from quartz gleams, and the kitchen. With the four bedrooms safely tucked away at the far reaches of the penthouse, this assemblage of living areas offers one dream space for entertaining. “I’ve had 50-60 people here for parties and it never even approached feeling crowded,” Karlan says.
The home’s stunning interiors and triple exposures no doubt make for easy cocktail conversation But what’s likely to strike visitors more immediately is the gallery-like array of fine art. Facing the entrance is the largest of them all: a sunny abstract by actress Sela Ward, whom Karlan knows through a mutual friend. (If one squints really hard, it almost bears the form of a Philadelphia soft pretzel.)
Other pieces include a photo montage of Center City and a triptych that incorporates a page from each book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, a favorite of Karlan’s. In the living room, about 35 bronze animal figurines by sculptor Loet Vanderveen, enlivened by gold eyes, tusks, and tails, prance and stalk on a circle-shaped étagère.
The mini metal menagerie and just about everything else will be relocating to San Diego soon. One thing that Karlan will likely leave behind is the fabulous dining table. “I don’t think it will fit in the elevator of my new building,” he says ruefully. Besides the table, what else will he miss when he sells the penthouse? “More than anything, I’ll miss using Parc downstairs as my go-to restaurant,” he says, laughing. “That, and having Rittenhouse Square as my backyard.” For more information, contact Allan Domb Real Estate
photography by bill stark