A Renovation Near and Dear

My father once worked in this historically significant building in Philadelphia.  It once had a brass plaque stating the name of the law firm that occupied it, but now it is known as The Jayne House, a much more dignified pronouncement of its pedigree.  Built by Frank Furness in 1895 for Dr. Thomas Jayne and his wife, Frank Furness' niece.  The 19th C. Colonial Revival stands like a baroque gem just off Rittenhouse Square in the heart of Philadelphia.

Of course, I remember it fondly as a law office (the nicest law office I have ever seen).  It was warm and architecturally interesting, with much of its original ironwork, leaded glass, and millwork embellishments kept intact throughout the building's many incarnations as offices, a synagogue, and a Red Cross center.   It recently went through a thorough and thoughtful transformation in the hands of local designer Barbara Eberlin and architect John Milner.

I was thrilled to hear that is was bought by a family who wanted to respect its significance and make it a HOME.  Unfortunately, many of Frank Furness' magnificent buildings have been destroyed.

The 2 story foyer was the reception area.  With the skylight, balcony, and oak millwork, it was, and is, a showstopper!

After all the partitions and walls came down and the rooms were opened up to create a home and not a commercial space, the Jayne House really began to shine.  Columns were created to delineate space; a fire box was uncovered and brought back to life.  Plaster ceilings and matching leaded glass were added cohesively and married the new spaces to the old.

The conference room as I knew it remains much the same as a dining room

There was no kitchen at all when I walked the halls.  To minimize the impact of the restoration and its footprint, it stands where the rear palor would have been and where more offices had been.

There were clever little spaces and quirky touches.  This building is really full of character!  Between the 1st and 2nd floors there was a small conference room.  Now it looks like a beautiful Victorian landing with the Juliet balcony to the left.

This was my father's office.  It once held a massive desk, a couple of chairs, and a staircase to nowhere that he filled with knickknacks.  WOW!  What a master it makes!  Now the stairs lead to an upper sitting room.

There are several more bedrooms.  I wish there where photos of the kids' rooms.

A terra cotta roof was restored, and a rooftop deck was added, as well as a bluestone patio below.

After a three year renovation, the Jayne House has won several awards for the restoration/design team including the Bobbi Burke Historic Preservation Award and the Palladio Award.

It was registered with the Historic Preservation Society in 1982

photos: Tom Crane


  1. Great house and I'd say, great architecture! My mom would always exclaimed that it would be difficult to wash those kind of draperies and curtains. So, I switched to blinds in perth back home.

  2. Beautiful architects design, Like it! nice interior designing too!


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