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Name: Amanda and Dan with son, Max (1.5 months old). Also cats Hank (all black) and George (black and white)
Location: Bucktown, Pennsylvania
Size: 2,700 square feet (not counting the finished basement)
Type of Home: Standalone House
Years Lived In: Just over a year, owned

Amanda and Dan immediately fell in love with this house, which features lots of architectural details. “Our home was built as one of three family houses on a large flower farm originally run by one family. The main structure was sourced from a farmhouse in Harrisburg and reassembled on our property in 1990,” Amanda writes. “We love the large piece of property and the bonus green house that we hope to fill with flowers this spring. We were drawn to this house because it has a lot of old character while still having the right modern updates to make it a more functional forever family home. Specifically, we love the brick countertops, wide plank pine floors, and exposed beams and walls throughout the house.”

But buying a home and moving during a pandemic was an experience for the couple. “We moved in April of 2020 from California to Pennsylvania with job offers in the medical field and the hope of purchasing a home as soon as we landed back on the East Coast,” Amanda writes. “We flew both of our cats Hank and George home (they barely made the carry-on weight limit) while donning N-95 masks and sanitizing everything we touched. We then returned to California and drove our car across. Flying as well as driving cross country in the middle of the start of the pandemic both had its unique challenges. One small positive was having national parks like Zion and Bryce completely to ourselves, something we realize is a super unique experience.” 

“Covid pushed out our home purchasing plans further than we liked to admit due to a shortage of unique homes fitting our specific Chester County farmhouse taste. As houses stretched out of our price range, our radius expanded as well. Dan was still traveling and working in California so occasionally I would look at houses by myself or with him on Facetime — not ideal but taking 1,000 photos of every prospective house helped,” Amanda writes. “Eventually after a spring, summer, and fall of searching we both found and fell in love with this house. Admittedly Dan took some convincing since it wasn’t a truly ‘authentic’ farmhouse as it was built in 1990. He soon realized a newer house meant fewer older home problems like knob and tube electric, asbestos, and lead paint. This house also had a bonus full-height finished basement and greenhouse. With three acres of yard for our future kids (and now our 2-month-old son Max) to play in it, it was an easy decision.” 

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: We joke it’s “boho farmhouse with a touch of mid-century modern.” Additionally, we purchased various decor and furniture for our DIY Fishtown wedding in the fall of 2019 and have those elements throughout our house. For example, the actual rug we got married on is now in our living room and our sunroom peacock chairs are where we shared cocktail hour drinks together. We believe in buying things to serve more than one purpose and having the sentimental value is irreplaceable.

Inspiration: We lived in San Luis Obispo, California for five years (2015-2020) and wanted to incorporate a flair of relaxed costal California style without losing the farmhouse feel of the house’s bones. 

Favorite Element: Log cabin walls

Biggest Challenge: The layout of the living room because of a rogue support beam in the middle of the room. 

Proudest DIY: Shiplap wall/backsplash in the kitchen and the floating laundry room shelves using reclaimed old growth spruce from a Philadelphia warehouse.

Biggest Indulgence: Kitchen table. Was it worth it? Heck yes.

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? Sometimes our motorcycle lives inside to make for more garage space.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? Smart Thermostat (Ecobee) being able to turn your home’s heat on before arriving home is a luxury and makes for cozy winters.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Use a label maker; it’s game changer for storage bins and overall organization.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Wait to live in the space before purchasing all your furniture.

FIRST FLOOR BATHROOM/POWDER ROOM

Thanks Amanda, Daniel, Max, Hank and George!

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.

Carina Romano

Photographer

Carina is a freelance editorial and portrait photographer in Philadelphia. She co-owns Love Me Do Photography in Fishtown with fellow Tyler School of Art Alumni, Amanda Jaffe. Carina’s work has been published nationally and internationally.

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