Victorian Residence
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Project Information
  • Completion: Spring, 2014
  • Architecture: Kass & Associates
  • Interior Design: Oona Sperr Interior Design
  • General Contractor: Bryant Phillips
  • Structural Engineer: Bevan Lawson
  • Mechanical Engineer: Advanced Engineering, Inc.
  • Photography: Halkin Mason Photography

This project involved the 3 year renovation of the George C. Thomas House, a historic double-wide urban townhouse in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood of Philadelphia. Completed in 1874 by the Hewitt Brothers with the assistance of Frank Furness, the house combines a French Second Empire exterior with interior details that epitomize Furness’ Victorian exuberance.

The scope of the work included the restoration of the historic public rooms in the front of the house and extensive reconfiguring of other spaces to enhance the character and flow of the home for both entertaining and family use. The First Floor rear of the house was transformed into a Conservatory / Family Room that opens into an enlarged new kitchen. The renovation on the Second Floor created a new Dressing Room and Bathroom as part of the Master Bedroom Suite befitting the grandeur of the home. In addition, bathrooms were renovated to support the numerous bedrooms dispersed throughout the townhouse. An elevator linking five levels of the house was inserted into the service side of the house. Lighting was upgraded throughout the house and mechanical systems were totally replaced during the renovation.

Highlighting the Conservatory is a new Furness inspired plaster ceiling and perimeter frieze that extends the Victorian language of the house and surrounds a new leaded-glass laylite. The Conservatory opens directly into a new Kitchen that transformed a previous kitchen, serving pantry and breakfast alcove into a one large room. The portal between the Kitchen and Conservatory was restructured and enlarged to enhance the flow from one room to another. The ceiling and window wall were reconfigured and extended in height to match the scale of the Conservatory and provide an open vista to the rear dining terrace and garden. The rear of the property culminates in a raised patio and outdoor fireplace.

On the Second Floor, a new Dressing Room and Master Bathroom were created by removing a maze of closets and separate, smaller bathrooms. The new Dressing Room is lined with upholstered walnut cabinets and new decorative wood beams. The enlarged Master Bathroom has custom his and hers walnut vanities topped with marble countertops. The space displays custom marble trim and a tub surround carved from Bianco Venatino marble.