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Old 12-25-2018, 11:07 PM
 
2,523 posts, read 1,172,747 times
Reputation: 1785

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Given gentrification etc. spreading thru simpler plain row blocks that get restored to its original brick with paint to awnings removed (many times that gave then individuality and to say ..... mine has the red door, green front or blue awnings and such).

Why do not MORE get a Colonial-look make-over?

Wouldn't take much.
- shutters of course (I know out of fashion today)
- high-lighted entrances where doors were a strength in its presentation.
- more greens in fronts, trees, and hanging of window planters.
- Colonial-looking front lamps.
- Bricked narrowest streets (though that's the city's job)

Just in IMHO ..... I think Philly could cash in better in AESTHETICS that would add QUAINTNESS to the quality of their look. We can love it in Society Hill.... so why not more recreating the look and quaintness adds to even values and visitors perceptions too.

Could be in infill that mimics more the original block look too? (I know not for a more contemporary blocky looking infill) though the city could zone or add a ordinance that infill adds more trees and some level of green added too ..... wouldn't hurt.

Just mainly for such blocks as these as examples that could look colonial....

This
https://www.google.com/maps/@39.9788...7i13312!8i6656

To more like this
https://www.google.com/maps/@39.9433...7i13312!8i6656

But then guess they tried it here.... not sure about success. In a very limited area of the block.
https://www.google.com/maps/@39.9680...7i13312!8i6656

Last edited by DavePa; 12-25-2018 at 11:30 PM..
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Old 12-26-2018, 05:39 AM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
5,447 posts, read 9,666,206 times
Reputation: 8721
For most people, their row house is simply their home, not part of a larger palette. Maybe in a neighborhood that had an historic designation like Society Hill, people might be more inclined to make these changes, but done individually, it wouldn't have the same feel. The streetscape (lights, sidewalks, trees) has a lot to do with Society Hill's look.
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Old 12-26-2018, 11:52 AM
 
312 posts, read 310,789 times
Reputation: 269
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavePa View Post
Given gentrification etc. spreading thru simpler plain row blocks that get restored to its original brick with paint to awnings removed (many times that gave then individuality and to say ..... mine has the red door, green front or blue awnings and such).

Why do not MORE get a Colonial-look make-over?

Wouldn't take much.
- shutters of course (I know out of fashion today)
- high-lighted entrances where doors were a strength in its presentation.
- more greens in fronts, trees, and hanging of window planters.
- Colonial-looking front lamps.
- Bricked narrowest streets (though that's the city's job)

Just in IMHO ..... I think Philly could cash in better in AESTHETICS that would add QUAINTNESS to the quality of their look. We can love it in Society Hill.... so why not more recreating the look and quaintness adds to even values and visitors perceptions too.

Could be in infill that mimics more the original block look too? (I know not for a more contemporary blocky looking infill) though the city could zone or add a ordinance that infill adds more trees and some level of green added too ..... wouldn't hurt.

Just mainly for such blocks as these as examples that could look colonial....

This
https://www.google.com/maps/@39.9788...7i13312!8i6656

To more like this
https://www.google.com/maps/@39.9433...7i13312!8i6656

But then guess they tried it here.... not sure about success. In a very limited area of the block.
https://www.google.com/maps/@39.9680...7i13312!8i6656
I think it's mainly money, time and of course changing priorities of the home owners. Once upon a time, a grand entrance, marble steps and large fireplace were considered important attributes to homes. Now, it's dedicated parking, rooftop decks with views of the skyline and open concept living. I certainly wouldn't opt for the former traits at the expense of the latter.
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Old 12-26-2018, 10:03 PM
 
8,472 posts, read 4,598,000 times
Reputation: 2832
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavePa View Post
Given gentrification etc. spreading thru simpler plain row blocks that get restored to its original brick with paint to awnings removed (many times that gave then individuality and to say ..... mine has the red door, green front or blue awnings and such).

Why do not MORE get a Colonial-look make-over?

Wouldn't take much.
- shutters of course (I know out of fashion today)
- high-lighted entrances where doors were a strength in its presentation.
- more greens in fronts, trees, and hanging of window planters.
- Colonial-looking front lamps.
- Bricked narrowest streets (though that's the city's job)

Just in IMHO ..... I think Philly could cash in better in AESTHETICS that would add QUAINTNESS to the quality of their look. We can love it in Society Hill.... so why not more recreating the look and quaintness adds to even values and visitors perceptions too.

Could be in infill that mimics more the original block look too? (I know not for a more contemporary blocky looking infill) though the city could zone or add a ordinance that infill adds more trees and some level of green added too ..... wouldn't hurt.

Just mainly for such blocks as these as examples that could look colonial....

This
https://www.google.com/maps/@39.9788...7i13312!8i6656

To more like this
https://www.google.com/maps/@39.9433...7i13312!8i6656

But then guess they tried it here.... not sure about success. In a very limited area of the block.
https://www.google.com/maps/@39.9680...7i13312!8i6656
No! Absolutely awful idea! Do you get that most of Philadelphia was built in the 19th century? No matter what people think it's a Victorian/Edwardian City in many ways. For ex. there are some nice new infill rows going on in East Falls that mimic the fronts of their neighbor housing. Nothing colonial!

Let's keep the colonial look where it belongs, thank you! And, I really dislike the constant focus on the 18th Cent. Enough!
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Old 12-27-2018, 08:07 AM
 
2,523 posts, read 1,172,747 times
Reputation: 1785
Quote:
Originally Posted by kyb01 View Post
No! Absolutely awful idea! Do you get that most of Philadelphia was built in the 19th century? No matter what people think it's a Victorian/Edwardian City in many ways. For ex. there are some nice new infill rows going on in East Falls that mimic the fronts of their neighbor housing. Nothing colonial!

Let's keep the colonial look where it belongs, thank you! And, I really dislike the constant focus on the 18th Cent. Enough!
Guess there is no reason Society Hill and other Colonial neighborhoods and early 1800s, are highlighted for Philly and gain it get great feedback?

Because it has the a preferred look with green and aspects that add a quaintness that gives it THE PHILLY BEST FOOT FORWARD.

Sorry but my opinion that gentrifying to bare wall of brick ..... doesn't add this for me. Whether 1700s or late 1800s or early 1900s. A plain wall of rows can have options to capture more of the Grandeur and quaintness that its CC neighborhoods give Philly.

There is little modern looking in just sandblasted Brick .... despite gutting the insides to fully contemporary.

I'm not suggesting much more of Philly. But still surprised more that could. Did not go for it. As for more Victorian once wealthier neighborhoods .... or others with more architectural features already to highlight. I'm not talking on them. Just the endless walls of plain rows ..... especially if not broken up. They could get such a more COLONIAL makeover in gentrification.

I understand the defense will always be .... Philly is fine in the choices ITS PEOPLE MAKE. Outsiders do not get that.
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Old 12-27-2018, 10:18 AM
 
Location: Pocopson
95 posts, read 28,797 times
Reputation: 134
I completely agree with DavePa. Aesthetically, most residential areas of Philly are on par with The Bronx in NYC. Maybe it's time to upgrade to Brooklyn-level quality.

Back when most of the city was blue collar, lack of resources would be a reasonable excuse. But now that the city is being gentrified and filled with spendthrift millennials, it's time to give a damn. The biggest sign of this being a wasted opportunity are the "flipped" rowhomes that get outfitted with luxurious interiors, but have absolutely no upgrades done on the exterior.

I used to live up in Lehigh Valley and everyone there would brag about their low cost of living. The truth is that the cost of living was only low because nobody wanted to live there. The same is true about Philly (when compared to NYC and DC) and a primary contributor is that nobody takes pride in their home's appearance.

I've lived in the Philly suburbs most of my life, and really appreciate the city, and that's exactly why I want to see it live up to its potential.
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Old 12-27-2018, 12:57 PM
 
Location: back in Philadelphia!
3,247 posts, read 4,596,089 times
Reputation: 2011
Since it's mentioned, it's also worth mentioning that Society Hill notably has a great number of modern buildings as a part of its fabric. That was an intention of the of the very successful revitalization plan that transformed Society Hill into what it is today - a focus on having the new buildings look of their time, so as to clearly distinguish themselves from the 18th century buildings, as opposed to try to make them blend in with and muddle the actual history. That is the best way to do historical preservation, in my opinion.
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Old 12-27-2018, 01:49 PM
 
312 posts, read 310,789 times
Reputation: 269
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patmcpsu View Post
I completely agree with DavePa. Aesthetically, most residential areas of Philly are on par with The Bronx in NYC. Maybe it's time to upgrade to Brooklyn-level quality.

Back when most of the city was blue collar, lack of resources would be a reasonable excuse. But now that the city is being gentrified and filled with spendthrift millennials, it's time to give a damn. The biggest sign of this being a wasted opportunity are the "flipped" rowhomes that get outfitted with luxurious interiors, but have absolutely no upgrades done on the exterior.

I used to live up in Lehigh Valley and everyone there would brag about their low cost of living. The truth is that the cost of living was only low because nobody wanted to live there. The same is true about Philly (when compared to NYC and DC) and a primary contributor is that nobody takes pride in their home's appearance.

I've lived in the Philly suburbs most of my life, and really appreciate the city, and that's exactly why I want to see it live up to its potential.
I don't think it's actually related to pride of ownership, outside of the neighborhoods that are in truly bad shape. I own a few places in South Philly and am a very proud Philadelphian and love my neighborhood. All my places are 1920s-built, three floor rowhomes with two or three front steps leading to a door which opens directly to the living rooms. The front of the houses go straight up (extremely narrow brick window sills, no front decks or juliette balconies). Even if I wanted to spruce up the outside instead of adding real value and practical/functional updates to the houses (i.e. extra half bath, granite counter tops, updated appliances), what exactly would I do? Re-cut the entire doorway to expand and extend the height? Replace my perfectly fine concrete front steps with marble? Construct and install a cornice with beautiful design? Not only would these projects be ridiculously expensive, they probably wouldn't add a whole lot to the look of the houses. I've added first floor window flower boxes and shutters to one place and honestly it doesn't exactly scream Colonial quality. LOL...

Exterior design options are limited for the typical middle class Philadelphia rowhome. It's just how they were built 100 years ago.
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Old 12-27-2018, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Pocopson
95 posts, read 28,797 times
Reputation: 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pennsport View Post
I don't think it's actually related to pride of ownership, outside of the neighborhoods that are in truly bad shape. I own a few places in South Philly and am a very proud Philadelphian and love my neighborhood. All my places are 1920s-built, three floor rowhomes with two or three front steps leading to a door which opens directly to the living rooms. The front of the houses go straight up (extremely narrow brick window sills, no front decks or juliette balconies). Even if I wanted to spruce up the outside instead of adding real value and practical/functional updates to the houses (i.e. extra half bath, granite counter tops, updated appliances), what exactly would I do? Re-cut the entire doorway to expand and extend the height? Replace my perfectly fine concrete front steps with marble? Construct and install a cornice with beautiful design? Not only would these projects be ridiculously expensive, they probably wouldn't add a whole lot to the look of the houses. I've added first floor window flower boxes and shutters to one place and honestly it doesn't exactly scream Colonial quality. LOL...

Exterior design options are limited for the typical middle class Philadelphia rowhome. It's just how they were built 100 years ago.
Every homeowner is limited by how the house was originally built, but that's not a reason to give up. And bringing up unreasonable stuff that nobody is recommending isn't an excuse either. There's lots of practical home improvements you can do (the flower boxes are a good start).

How recently was the front door replaced? Do you maintain your brick/wood/stucco exterior (i.e. cleaning and/or sealing it)? The stairways could be replaced without spending a lot of money - I'm not saying that granite is needed but something slightly more grandiose with a nice handrail and maybe a light. Are there any ugly electrical cords that can be rerouted? Are the mailbox, light fixtures, and street numbering all presentable? Shutters and exterior window trim goes a long way on any house, imho.

Honestly, the recurring issue I see everywhere is the lack of exterior window trim.
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Old 12-27-2018, 02:43 PM
 
312 posts, read 310,789 times
Reputation: 269
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patmcpsu View Post
Every homeowner is limited by how the house was originally built, but that's not a reason to give up. And bringing up unreasonable stuff that nobody is recommending isn't an excuse either. There's lots of practical home improvements you can do (the flower boxes are a good start).

How recently was the front door replaced? Do you maintain your brick/wood/stucco exterior (i.e. cleaning and/or sealing it)? The stairways could be replaced without spending a lot of money - I'm not saying that granite is needed but something slightly more grandiose with a nice handrail and maybe a light. Are there any ugly electrical cords that can be rerouted? Are the mailbox, light fixtures, and street numbering all presentable? Shutters and exterior window trim goes a long way on any house, imho.

Honestly, the biggest one for me is that apparently nobody ever cleaned the exterior of their house. There is a lot of industrial-age grime that still resides on lots of older construction to this day.
I think you'd be hard pressed to find any number of homes between Girard and Snyder Aves and Broad to Delaware river with what you describe above. Safe front steps and railings on not only demanded by code, but also quite common. Front lights are more often than not if for no other reason than to deter crime. Also, window boxes and shutters are all over the city. My homes are clean and cared for, but they still look like what they are - very functional blue collar-built homes from the 19 teens and 20s. They will never look high-end, overly attractive or interesting in any architectural manner until the entire structure is eventually torn down and a builder starts over. Just is what it is.

Also, just out of curiosity, why on earth would a homeowner rip out perfectly good two or three front steps or a slightly older, but perfectly solid and good front door and replace them? That's several thousand dollars. Most people I know have more pressing needs than to blow 4k replacing functional aspects of a home that are perfectly fine and safe. I think you might be asking for a lot from those that would have to provide the funding to beautify the exterior of their houses .
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