Northern Liberties Rowhouse



The 5th Street project is a large Eastlake style Victorian rowhouse in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia. The goal was to restore and honor the many original details still present in the house like plaster crown molding, original windows, floors and doors; but update the kitchen and bathrooms in a way that fit the lifestyle and style of the owners and did not seem out of place with the rest of the house. We combined two rooms at the back of the 1st floor to create a larger kitchen with a custom built island topped with a counter made of salvaged floor joists. We turned a small bedroom into a dressing room with a six foot soaking tub and repurposed vanity adjoining the original bathroom. The original bathroom was updated with a new frameless glass shower. We also restored most of the original wall tile and vintage pedestal sink. Where the existing tile couldn't be saved, we installed ming green marble. On the 3rd floor we remodeled a bathroom that was added in the 1930s, keeping the sink and tub, but replacing the plastic tile with a new bold tile pattern that recalls the art deco period, but with an updated color palette. We also installed a whole house fan, updated the electrical, stripped wallpaper and painted many of the other rooms.

One of the biggest challenges in this house and in many old houses we work on, is replacing wiring and plumbing without damaging original plaster walls and floors. It takes creativity, patience and care to make it work.

The kitchen we designed and remodeled for this house was featured in This Old House magazine, and the 3rd floor bathroom won a grand prize in Remodeling Magazine's design awards in 2012.

"This bathroom tile project offered a fun, refreshing layout challenge for us. We often work with horizontally oriented patterns but not as often with a layout that is all about vertical stripes. Placing the stripes properly in the room turned out to be much easier than expected thanks to the drawings Bronwyn provided. The drawings depicted the tile to scale in the space accurately and made our work much smoother. It goes without saying such attention to detail in the design process would be welcomed on all our jobs."

- Jason Ferraro, Earthstone Tile Works



Kenny Grono