More than a decade ago, the company we named Art Museum Signature Properties began renovating houses in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia located up the hill from the Schuylkill River and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We tried to keep the 19th century flavor of these houses built for the families of workers in the nearby breweries, factories and train yards by restoring the wood floors and keeping details such as crown moldings and built-in armoires.
At the same time, we upgraded bathrooms and kitchens, replaced wiring, and installed air-conditioning and decks. By adding shutters and flowerboxes on all the windows of these two or three story homes, stained glass window transoms, and a flag with our AMSP logo, we developed the “signature” that has become recognizable as one of our properties. With these additions, we introduced the use of five and six color exteriors on the traditional brick facades of these Philly rowhouses.
At first, longtime residents were not certain about our substituting chartreuse for dark green, deep purple for beige, or bright fuchsia for traditional brown. In recent years, however, the neighborhood was rediscovered as a friendly community and a good investment convenient to the Center City business and historic districts and also to major highways, the airport, and the train station. Soon more and more residents and new owners added touches of color to the outside at the same time they renovated their interiors. Our neighborhood continues to experience a colorful rebirth! It is our belief that neighbors sweeping front sidewalks, watering flowerboxes, watching children play, and walking dogs are more indicative of a safe and viable community than security alarms and iron bars on doors and windows.
As proof of our convictions, two of the three of us live in the neighborhood – one for 20+ years. We make use of our various skills and backgrounds for the benefit of the partnership: Cam is the architect, Jack is the designer and construction manager, and Kathleen deals directly with the banks and the tenants. Two years ago we decided to transform a group of our traditional yearly rentals into furnished short term guest houses. Each of our properties is unique – furnished in a mix of new appliances and conveniences together with collectibles and personal objects from our own lives and journeys. We see our guest houses as less intimate than a bed and breakfast but more personal than a hotel. We hope you will decide to be our guest whenever business, relocation, study, or leisure brings you to Philadelphia.