A Family Home in Philly, Inspired by the Outdoors


Philadelphia, PA’s Society Hill neighborhood is home to a large collection of 18th- and 19th-century row homes, one of which was recently given a refresh by designer Nicole Cole. “Our clients wanted an engaging space inspired by upstate New York—where they love to vacation as a family,” she explains. A slew of organic nods to the great outdoors did the trick.

Paint by Benjamin Moore. Stools by Leeward. Ceiling by Buckminster Green.

Photo by Rebecca McAlpin

Cole’s thoughtful additions begin in the upstairs den, which she folded into the lush garden beyond through a splash of Benjamin Moore’s Cypress Green. So as not to distract from the view, she then pulled out one of her signature moves: She painted the white window trim to match the walls.

Verdant upholstery helps the sleeper sofa recede as well, and in turn, lets rustic touches like the brick wall and panelled ceiling shine. “We chose a soft, almost-whitewashed wood to keep things from feeling too heavy,” Cole says, adding, “A modern take on a cabin chandelier draws your eye up as you enter the space.”

The powder room had already been given a zhoosh—marble floors included—before Cole came on board, but she injected the room with more personality through interesting details like the handmade mirror and wild wallpaper.

Photo by Rebecca McAlpin

The adjoining powder room feels more like an aviary thanks to the egrets and cranes dressing its walls. They glide around a wooden mirror and sisal window shade—two earthy counterpoints to the slick marble floors underfoot. Illuminating it all is a pair of swooping sconces, the shape of which simulates the spindly legs of the nearby flock.

“To keep the room open and flexible, we knew that a daybed was the way to go. It can be styled like a bed or a mini-sofa—whatever is needed for that specific time,” says Cole. Wallpaper by Hygge & West.

Photo by Rebecca McAlpin

More wallpaper, this time depicting a fairytale forest, carries the theme into the eldest daughter’s
bedroom. “Behind the chair, we opened up the original closet to provide more functional open shelving for toys and books,” Cole says. Potted plants, a green blanket, and a built-in desk set against a backdrop that mimics the den completes the woodland makeover.

The wingback chair is upholstered in durable, indoor/outdoor fabric to protect it from anything the kids throw at it.

Photo by Rebecca McAlpin

It took 10 months to finish the project, and while it taught Cole and her team many lessons, they say the most valuable one was how to successfully collaborate while working remotely. “This was a project of firsts,” she begins. “Our first mood board presentation over Zoom, the first time our client’s took over measuring, and our first virtual design presentation. Through it all, our clients stuck with us and trusted us to transform their spaces with the same dedication to service that we’re known for.”

What spring-summer touches have you brought to your home? Tell us in the comments below.

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