Spruce Street

Historic Renovation

This private residence is one of five contiguous row houses built between 1831 and 1833 by Stephen Girard to endow Girard College. Girard’s considerable wealth allowed him to use the best materials and craftsmen available. Much of that original material is still in place in this residence. Our challenge, which included the renovation of all floors and the rear exterior courtyard garden, was to find ways to accommodate the convenience and efficiency of modern living and preserve the building’s rare historic character. The formal ground floor rooms were brightened by lightening the dark finish of the red pine floors and finishing the walls with cream colored period wallpaper. On the second floor, the master bath and bedroom were opened with transom lighting and the finishes were renewed. In the master bath, cream color travertine tiles were installed on the floor and walls. All bathroom fixtures were replaced – mixing sculptural, modern styles with traditional. The second floor rear bedrooms were converted into a library and study with new casework made from Pennsylvania cherry. An elevator was installed in the rear stairwell. Lighting, security, and audio systems were upgraded. The mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems were also upgraded or replaced.

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