Home renovation

Inside 6 real home improvement stories in Philadelphia

The hottest trend in real estate in Philadelphia is finding an old house with good bones and making it your dream home.


Check out designer Michelle Gage’s Philadelphia home renovation story below. Photograph by Rebecca McAlpin

If you are a homeowner or in the market to become one, chances are you have renovation plans in mind. How do we know? According to a 2019 survey by Trulia and Harris Poll, 90% of homeowners plan to renovate at some point – and 68% of those looking to sell in the next two years plan to renovate before hitting the market.

It’s a good shot in Philadelphia, where many older homes were built with an astonishing level of craftsmanship and detail. “Buyers are realizing more than ever that some of these older homes are actually much better built than our new homes and have stood the test of time,” says local realtor (and reality TV host) Rachel Street. Meaning: Putting money into renovating a home isn’t just a smart move in life; it’s also a smart investment.

Ready to turn your home into the home of your dreams? Get inspired – and learn a few tricks of the trade – from real Philadelphia homeowners who did just that.


How this senior couple turned a pair of spare bedrooms into a chic home office

home office makeover

Michelle Gage’s home office, after renovation. Photograph by Rebecca McAlpin

Interior designer Michelle Gage and her husband have found a better use for a structurally unsound part of their home. Keep reading here.


How This South Jersey Family Turned Their Basement Into A Hipster Man Cave

basement man cave

See inside a professional basketball player’s basement man cave. Photograph by Rich McMullin

A professional basketball player gets his dream basement entertainment space. Keep reading here.


How a Montco family got their dream open concept kitchen

open concept kitchen

Take a peek inside this remodeled open concept kitchen. Photograph by Ronnie Bruce

They knocked down a wall to create a space conducive to receptions and daily meal. Keep reading here.


How this West Philly couple added to their townhouse to get a bigger kitchen

kitchen complement

The kitchen addition has more space and light, thanks to tons of new windows and a glass door to the backyard. Photograph by Courtney Apple

By building a new breakfast nook, this couple got more space and more light. Keep reading here.


How a Fishtown couple transformed their townhouse into an eco-friendly dream home

passive house design

Interior of the house, post-renovation. New energy-efficient triple-glazed windows help keep the house airtight. Photograph by Courtney Apple

They emptied it first. Now they are working to make it a zero-carbon, zero-energy home. Keep reading here.


How this downtown couple made their high-rise condo look bigger by adding walls

high rise condo renovation

This high-rise condo renovation included new walls to seal off the redesigned kitchen, creating separation between the cooking space and entertaining areas. Photograph by Courtney Apple

They bucked the open concept trend in favor of creating cozier, more intimate spaces. Keep reading here.


Published as “Home Makeovers: Philly Edition” in the March 2020 issue of philadelphia cream magazine.