An Art-Filled Mansion in Philadelphia

1901 Delancey Place

1901 Delancey Place

1901 Delancey Place

1901 Delancey Place

1901 Delancey Place

1901 Delancey Place

1901 Delancey Place

1901 Delancey Place

1901 Delancey Place

1901 Delancey Place

1901 Delancey Place

Oh, Philly. The real estate market here is experiencing a rather large boom; there are new luxury high rises popping up left and right, the home values in almost every neighborhood are increasing rapidly, and the city itself has received a host of attention recently. We were ranked the #3 city to visit in 2015 by the New York Times and the #2 Best Shopping City by Condé Nast Traveler. This year we’re getting a visit from the Pope, and in 2016 we’ll host the Democratic National Convention. For someone as fiercely proud of my hometown and lifelong chosen residence, this shower of attention and praise is well deserved and long overdue.

In addition to my borderline jingoistic hometown pride, I’m also a bit of a loon when it comes to real estate, both at home and abroad. I am always, much to Jamal’s annoyance, looking at real estate listings, regardless of the fact that we have no plans to move and lack the sort of income that would make all of the wistful prowling I do come to fruition. This mansion is a prime example. There is no way on god’s green earth, at $6m, we will ever be able to afford it, but that tiny detail hasn’t stopped me from checking the listing multiple times a week, just to drool a little bit. There are five bedrooms, seven bathrooms (seven!), a catering kitchen, an elevator, and several galleries of art. Galleries. In the house.

It isn’t even my style! The art is too…er, new? for my taste, and I do feel a sad tug of longing wondering what the house looked like when it was first built, before all that original character was stripped away in favor of the sleek, charmless modernity. But I have a funny personal association with this place; in 2009 I interviewed with the family, in their kitchen, for a full-time nanny position. The parents were exceedingly nice, and, though I obviously didn’t get the job, I’ve since retained a deep fondness for the house. I was a recent college graduate, released into one of the worst job markets in history, and had thrown my resume at every posting I seemed even remotely qualified for, and a bunch of ones I wasn’t. This was one of my first interviews, and I just remembered being awed at the scale of the place and the art, and impressed that people of that level of wealth (I would’ve been given $65k a year, my own apartment, and annual trips to the Hamptons, to tend to two middle-school aged kids) could take the time to sit in their kitchen and talk to me. I didn’t grow up too far from this house, and I live just a few blocks away from it now, but while the mappable distance may be small, I am worlds away from this sort of lifestyle. The mansion is basically a museum, full to the brim of interesting contemporary art. In doing a little digging, I found out this week while readying this post that the owner is an heir to the Tylenol fortune. Ah. It makes sense now, but I never knew the couple’s last name at the time; the interview was arranged by a third party private company who handled my background check and ensured a polite discretion on both ends. I wonder where they’re moving, and why. I’m curious to see what the new owners do to the place, too.

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March 26, 2015 / design / LEAVE A COMMENT / 7

7 comments

  • You know how I feel about modern and even I want one! If we combine everything we have……no, that wouldn’t work either.

  • 65k+apartment+hamptons. i’d have applied to that job too, heck, i’d apply now ;) but you know i think for what they have done to the place it’s really a remarkable job. if i just heard this described i don’t know if i could even imagine it, let alone believe it could look good, but i do think it does. honestly the only thing that really sticks out to me are those kitchen bar stools. i’d get rid of those straight away (and maybe the orange and red lights too). but other than that it’s really quite interesting. xoxo

  • I would be happy with the kitchen/living room only.
    OK, the WHOLE place would be just fine. :)

  • Oh my, you really have a history with this place! Though I love some of the mid century style furniture, the rest of the interior feels so bare. Kind of makes me sad, and cold. Shiver.

  • J’aime beaucoup la façade de cette maison mais j’aime moins l’intérieur. c’est drôle que t’avais déjà connu la maison et même les anciennes propriétaires !

  • How cool that you’ve actually been inside the space! The fortune explains it all. Was one of the rooms stuffed to the brim with cash (just bills everywhere)? That’s what I’m imagining as well. Let’s pretend it’s an art installation, they said.

  • I love modern art, but this house… feels so not-lived-in. I prefer a bit of a mix and match. old and new. high-brow and low-brow. this feels just sterile. but what a space…