The exterior of this c. 1880 twin house in Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood does little to suggest the surprisingly intact mid-century makeover found inside. Late 1960’s aesthetic preferences popular with the masses abound: Fake masonry, fake paneling, fake beams, drop ceilings, wood shingles, wall-to-wall carpeting, luminous ceiling panels, etc., all merge to create a memorable interior which is at drastic odds with the exterior.
thank you to Devyn of Our Philly Row who spotted this remarkable vintage remodeling and passed it on to me. Let’s go inside!
Deliciously abundant pretense remains eerily undisturbed after a half-century of use. Fake masonry covers one side wall while green-tinted wood “paneling” lines the other. Decorative beams “support” a drop ceiling while peachy wall-to-wall carpet leads to the room’s focal point… Image source: movoto.com
The former bay window of the original parlor has been converted to a stage-like area showcasing two plants and an empty table in a puzzling allocation of space. Rustic wood shingles contrast sharply with the swagged drapery framing the stage. Image source: movoto.com
The other end of the living room sports a large fireplace which would be right at home in any mid-century ranch house. Which makes sense, because it is obvious that this remodeling was an enthusiastic attempt to make a narrow city town house look and feel like a sprawling ranch house. The wide opening at left opens to the entry hall. Image source: movoto.com
The absence of risers gives the stair an open feeling. Luminous ceiling panels no doubt brighten the space when all the fluorescent bulbs are operational. To get to the dining room, just walk to your left beneath the staircase… Image source: movoto.com
The dining room is partially screened from the staircase by patterned amber plastic panels. A balustrade, possibly repurposed from the original main staircase, appears to have its balusters inverted. An amber swag lamp hangs before a veneer of fake stone which offers some relief from the relentless wood paneling. Image source: movoto.com
The kitchen opens to the far end of the dining room… Image source: movoto.com
Another luminous ceiling is found here, this one featuring slightly angled “beams”. Image source: movoto.com
I can’t tell where this bathroom is located, but it maintains the late 60’s theme rather playfully. A sunken tub in pale lavender (or is it violet mist?) echoes the sink and toilet. Check out the butterfly mosaic in the wall tile! More angled ceiling beams are found in this space. Image source: movoto.com
This space is clearly on the third floor, within the mansard roof. Image source: movoto.com
Another view of the room. This must have been a fun space to hang out in during the 70’s! Image source: movoto.com
This is how the attic room appears from the street. Image courtesy Google Street View.
Another visually-arresting bathroom of indeterminate location. Image source: movoto.com
And a third bathroom! Image source: movoto.com
A view from the back yard of the neighboring and attached house — which is also listed for sale. At the time of this writing, there is a pending offer on the property.