Brimming with European influences and nods to famous Philadelphia homes, a Clinton Street Residence represents that best of both design worlds.
Great room, indeed: All of the home’s fireplaces were restored to wood-burning operation.
Discovering the 900 and 1000 blocks of Clinton Street in the Washington Square West neighborhood is a rite of passage for every newcomer to Center City. Sure, these tree-lined blocks echo the grandeur of those further uptown (tucked between Pine and Spruce Streets, Clinton is essentially Delancey Street), but there’s a certain something extra, too. Perhaps it’s the presence of one lush front garden after another. Maybe it’s the discreet charm of the herringbone-patterned brick sidewalks.
When they first encountered Clinton Street 30 years ago, Linda and David Rogers were immediately struck by its special situation—in the city but not quite of it. Although they were looking for a change of scenery from the Rosemont home in which they had brought up their college-bound children, Linda wasn’t especially convinced that city living was for her. “Clinton Street was immediately appealing because it was so quiet and tucked away,” she says.
It wouldn’t be long before the Rogerses would find themselves taking up the challenge of bringing the fourstory, 5,000-square-foot home back to its historic best. The sprawling Federal-style corner property definitely had curb appeal, thanks to its long side garden and attached trinity, but the home’s interior “wasn’t aesthetically inspiring,” says Linda. “We had lived in Paris and the Netherlands for many years, and the style of the great houses of Europe really impacted us.”
The home’s main kitchen and pantry feature light wood cabinets and brick detailing.
The first job they tackled, recalls David, was to completely rebuild the fireplaces and return them to wood-burning operation. Then they set about restoring or replicating details throughout the six-bedroom home. Out went intrusions like the dropped ceilings and ductwork, back came the moldings and ceiling medallion, which Linda painted herself.
What contributed most to making this house a home, though, was the couple’s impeccable taste and the antiques they had acquired through the years. From the English card tables that flank a gracious opening between the dining room and living room to the collection of brightly hued 18th-century Meissen figurines that dance atop a fireplace, everything is carefully placed and chosen to reflect and enhance the period in which the house was built.
Many of those accents will remain once the couple relocates to Virginia. These include custom draperies with period-appropriate tiebacks, several glittering chandeliers, and reams and reams of floral wallpaper (which, in one garden-like bedroom, extends to cover the ceiling).
Also of note are several nods to Philadelphia’s historic homes: a dumbwaiter fashioned after one at Fairmount Park’s Strawberry Mansion, a fireplace that’s similar to those in Society’s Hill’s Cadwalader House, and sunburst carvings that introduce a bit of the Biddles’ Delaware River mansion, Andalusia, to Clinton Street.
Those carvings light up the bookcases in the second-floor library, which with its moss green leather Chesterfield sofa and charming striped armchairs is Linda’s favorite room and the one she’ll miss most about the house. David has his own, more masculine retreat— painted in a bold red and highlighted by a burled walnut roll-top desk—but for him it’s the locale that stands out. “We always walked everywhere,” he says, “yet we could retreat from the city whenever we wanted to.” For more information, contact Lisa Silveri, Agency Real Estate Partners, 1518 Walnut St., 215-990-3159; luxury homesinpa.com.
Photography by: PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN ARMICH