This Philadelphia townhouse is a testament to a designer’s ability to turn an arsenal of inspiration photos into one young couple’s perfect dream home. The airy rooms in this four-story urban townhouse offer a tasteful riff on the modern bohemian theme established early in the project, but also reflect the newlyweds’ shared vision of a comfortable and serene nest to call their own.
Houzz at a Glance Who lives here: Newlywed professionals and their dog Size: 2,250 square feet (209 square meters) Location: Philadelphia Designer: Phoebe Schuh of PS & Daughters
Designer Phoebe Schuh describes the four-story structure as a “stackable” townhouse, with the kitchen on the first floor, the living room on the second, a guest bedroom occupying the third and then the master suite on the fourth. When the homeowners, a psychiatry resident and her husband, a sales professional, purchased it as their first home together, it needed a complete refresh from rooftop deck to ground floor. Orange-toned cherry floors throughout the home were stripped and restained to a richer walnut finish, and nearly every wall in the home was repainted in soft shades of white from Benjamin Moore to help make the space light and airy.
The original entry hallway was teal and brown and did little to offer a warm welcome. The first step in brightening the corridor was to strip the dark paneling and then drench the room in Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White. A tumbled travertine tile in a herringbone pattern holds up to the inevitable stomping of snowy boots in Philadelphia winters, and just before the entrance to the garage, the tile gives way to the same walnut-stained floors that are installed throughout the rest of the home.
The stylish hallway includes a 40-by-32-inch print by photographer Kevin Russ, a vintage runner rug and a standing planter box at the end of the hallway that’s used as a clever catchall for keys, gloves and mail. The wood-and-leather coat hooks above the planter box are unassuming, but offer one more designer detail to take this newly brightened space to the next level.
The kitchen received a full gut remodel to make room for a banquette. Since there is no other designated dining space in the house, the homeowners wanted a place where they could sit around a table and gather with friends. Schuh ordered a custom table built with cast iron bistro pedestal legs and a walnut top, and added a custom cushion and pillows covered in a Malabar fabric from India, for that bohemian vibe. Now the banquette is the homeowners’ favorite spot in the house. They love to drink their morning coffee there, and the rising sun hits the corner just right.
To coordinate the multiple wood tones in the kitchen, Schuh had her custom furniture maker come by with stain samples so that the team could match the stain of the banquette table to the exact shade of the Serena & Lily Riviera bamboo bar stool legs. “We really wanted the tabletop and woven shades to echo the bar stools so that it was a consistent palette. Because it’s a small space, you really don’t want too many inconsistencies,” Schuh says.
Originally, both designer and homeowners assumed they’d put a pendant light over the table, but it simply couldn’t be worked into the electrical plan. Instead, the arc lamp reads like a happy accident, illuminating the space from above and sitting far enough out of the way as not to obstruct the diners’ comings and goings, while adding a nice unexpected sculptural dimension to the nook.
The spacious living room boasts a fireplace and beautiful French doors with a Juliet balcony. This is where the couple do most of their living, lounging, entertaining and relaxing, so the design team took great care to really get it right. Schuh specified custom sheer, gauzy draperies to infuse some drama, while the deep, oversized sofa provides an informal counterpoint to the window treatments.
The contrast between the grand draperies and the casual lounging sofa isn’t the only trick Schuh used to balance the yin with the yang, the masculine with the feminine, the modern with the relaxed boho. For example, the TV console, coffee table and planter all boast clean lines, while the artful mixture of pillows in custom Malabar fabric and West Elm’s nubby fabric in brown and black stripes is more eclectic.
The master bedroom has the benefit of a high ceiling. Schuh opted for an unusual beaded chandelier to call attention to the ceiling height. The lavender sunset print above the headboard picks up the lavender-gray stripe on the pillow shams, and the bench at the foot of the bed adds the same boho handmade feel accomplished through the pillow choices in the living room, bringing the home’s design scheme full circle.
In the master bathroom, the countertop is the same Carrara marble used in the kitchen and flows with the 12-by-24-inch Carrara subway tiles laid in a brick pattern in the shower. Wall body jets and a rainfall shower head signal luxury and quality, as do the fixtures from Restoration Hardware.
The rooftop deck’s landscaping was designed and installed by local landscape design firm Digs. To begin this phase of the project, roughly 400 square feet of decking was replaced and the painted black pergola and wooden wall planks were added. The space is used a lot for entertaining, so a comfy outdoor sofa from Restoration Hardware and outdoor chairs from West Elm were chosen to ensure that every guest has a cozy perch.
Low-maintenance plants in faux-cement acrylic planters bring greenery to this urban oasis.