Home Decor

This Philly Row House Brings Woodsy Vibes to the City

Wicker, wood paneling, and—of course—the color green helped designer Nicole Cole bring the outdoors in.

April 14, 2021
Photo by Rebecca McAlpin

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.

Art by Modern Pressed Flower. Photo by Rebecca McAlpin

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.”

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Just last weekend, I replaced the solid front door with a door that has a clear glass window in the top 4th of the door. WHAT a difference: some natural light in, ability to see out and just walking past the little hall is more pleasant as well.”
— Liz S.

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

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Written by: Garrett Fleming

Interiors Editor & Art Director


aunty P. April 15, 2021
I would also love to know the source of the crane wallpaper. I am planning a bathroom redo and this totally fits my color scheme and decor in this house on a river with water birds.
Yukon April 15, 2021
Found it! (Well, a friend who is excellent at internet sleuthing found it for me.) Here you go:
aunty P. April 15, 2021
Allie J. April 14, 2021
Lovely home! Can anyone tell me the source of the graduated-height rainbow candles in the shelf in the daughter's bedroom?
Garrett F. April 15, 2021
Hi Allie,

That's actually a ring toss toy. I love the idea of a rainbow candle though!

Allie J. April 15, 2021
Haha! Thanks. Now I’m going to try to create one with candles.
Yukon April 14, 2021
Beautiful home and such lovely, curated choices. Who makes that beautiful crane and egret wallpaper in the powder room? Anyone know?
Garrett F. April 15, 2021
Hi Yukon,

It's from Rouse House: https://www.rousehome.com/product/katie-scott-wallpaper-birds-dark-blue/

Yukon April 15, 2021
Liz S. April 14, 2021
I have a small cabin-ranch house on a wooded 8 acres in NW Montana. I love the woods and the shadiness, even in the dark of winter. My front door opens into a very small space/short hall that has a coat closet, alcove with "seat" and hooks for seasonal outdoor and dog walking paraphernalia, and an alcove with washer and dryer ... I call it my combo foyer/mudroom/laundry room. Just last weekend, I replaced the solid front door with a door that has a clear glass window in the top 4th of the door. WHAT a difference: some natural light in, ability to see out and just walking past the little hall is more pleasant as well.