We are overwhelmed with the response from our clients, partners, friends and family. Thanks to you we were able to donate over 200 toys to CityTeam in just 12 days! Words cannot express our gratitude! We look forward to coordinating another toy drive in 2023!
If you’re interested in learning more about CityTeam visit their website at CityTeam.org
This year we are excited to announce our 12 Days of Giving holiday toy drive benefiting CityTeam. Please consider joining our firm in donating children’s toys to spread Christmas cheer in the Philadelphia area.
To participate, drop off unwrapped toys to our offices in Malvern and Doylestown, or simply follow the link below to the Amazon Wish List and your donations will be sent directly to our office. We will deliver the toys to CityTeam in Chester, PA, the week of December 19th.
If you’re interested in learning more about CityTeam, their mission, or donating to this organization directly, visit their website at CityTeam.org
Our toy drive has ended, but if you’re interested in donating directly to CityTeam visit their Amazon Wish List here: 12 Days of Giving
Period Architecture accepted two design awards at the 2022 Trumbauer Awards presented by the Philadelphia Chapter of Institute of Classical Architecture & Art. Accepting the awards on behalf of the firm was Principal, Joseph Mackin, on Thursday, November 3rd at the Union League of Philadelphia. The firm was awarded the top honors in New Residential Architecture Over 5,000 Square Feet for Hilltop Residence and New Residential Architecture Under 5,000 Square Feet for Chimney Hill Residence.
“It is an immense honor to be recognized by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art for one home, let alone two,” stated Joseph Mackin. “The Trumbauer Awards are one of the highest distinctions for traditional design in our region and we are humbled by these commendations.”
Hilltop Residence in Greenville, Delaware, evokes the expression of an 18th-century, Pennsylvania farmhouse that has developed over time. “When we asked the homeowners their design goals for this home, they simply requested a home primed for a visit from George Washington himself,” Principal Jeffrey Dolan explained. Traditional details are found throughout the exterior and interior spaces with special care in designing period millwork and the incorporation of reclaimed materials. The judges remarked, “This design showed restraint. Sometimes it’s not what we put in, but what we leave out which makes for an award-winning design.”
Inspired by Colonial Williamsburg, Chimney Hill Residence sits atop a hill next to a well-traveled road leading to the historic borough of West Chester, Pennsylvania. “With such a prominent location, we were given the unique opportunity to create two frontages for this home,” says Mackin. The Dutch-Colonial style features one formal frontage with an “original,” center hall, five-bay mass, and one informal family frontage with a private courtyard and gardens. “It is the detailing and the massing that gives this period house it’s character,” the judges noted.
The Biennial Trumbauer Awards honor exemplary design that preserves and advances the classical tradition. Named for internationally renowned architect, and Philadelphia native, Horace Trumbauer, these awards recognize contemporary projects that express the breadth and inclusiveness present in his work. This year’s awards were open to the members from the Philadelphia, Ohio & Lake Erie chapters of the ICAA with submissions from Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Maryland.
As the temperatures continue to rise, outdoor living spaces become key to true summertime enjoyment. While you soak up the sunshine, think ahead to next summer and how you may be able to better utilize your outdoor oasis. After all, a yard is a special place of refuge and we believe you deserve to enjoy it in style and comfort.
Whether you’re looking to build a new house or create an addition to your existing one, these outdoor living ideas will undoubtedly increase your enjoyment of your home. In fact, these upgrades may have you feeling like you’re living in a luxury hotel—just without the room service.
Imagine throwing open your doors and, with a steaming mug of coffee in hand, lounging on your covered porch while enjoying fresh air, birdsong, or the comforting hush of summer rain. This is the beauty of a covered porch. It seamlessly connects the interior of your home with its outside surroundings and does so while providing protection against damaging UV rays or inclement weather. And, for those who like to host parties, these types of porches also enhance a guest’s experience because they can easily transition from the inside space to the outside one without having to worry about the weather.
A tip from our team: If you’re building a covered porch as an addition to your home, it is imperative that it’s design transitions smoothly from the original building.
If you ask a child, the advantages of a backyard pool are obvious: pool parties and playtime that lasts all day in the summer. However, having a pool in your backyard comes with other benefits as well.
From a design perspective, a pool provides an easy and beautiful addition to the yard from which to build around. But its impact on health is even more valuable than its design function. Several research studies have found that the presence of water in architectural design can improve concentration and memory and decrease heart rate, blood pressure, and rates of stress. In addition, a pool is a great-low impact exercise for just about everyone. We can’t think of a better way to help you feel like you’re relaxing in the lap of luxury than by floating in your own Caribbean blue-colored pool.
A tip from our team: Before designing a pool, consider how you want to use your backyard space in its entirety. This will help inform the size, location, orientation, and design of the pool itself as well as the design of the surrounding areas.
Luke Brian and Jason Aldean both have something in common aside from being A-list country crooners: they also have stunning entertainment barns on their properties. For people like these singers who are big on hosting guests, an entertainment barn allows them to put some space between their guests and the sanctity of their living spaces.
And, despite the name, an entertainment barn has many uses outside of being a private event venue. They can also be used as an overnight guest house, a detached office space, a workshop, a game room for adults, a playroom for kids, a “classroom” space for artists and creatives, or a place to host parent meetings, book clubs, or garden parties. However you intend to use it, an entertainment barn is the ultimate private luxury retreat that you’ll never have to travel to.
A tip from our team: When building an entertainment barn, you will want to work with an architect who will be able to connect it to the rest of your property in a cohesive and natural way. The best way to do this is to select certain styles from the private areas of your home to incorporate in your entertainment barn. To learn more about our tips on barn design, visit The Art of the Barn.
Bring The Vacation to You
It is important to remember that your home living space isn’t confined to what’s between the front and back doors. Your outside living space should feel as inviting and comfortable as your living room. So, whether you choose one of these options or all three, we have no doubt you will revel in the added luxury of your home as you lounge in your new outdoor space.
There is something magical about walking into a traditional Pennsylvania farmhouse home. The sandstone and granite walls feel solid and expansive. They stand like broad-shouldered guards defending against not just the cold but also the ills of the world. The inviting and gently winding central staircase unfolds with delightful secrecy into the warm depths of the home. Elaborate strap hinges and beading around the windows hint at simpler times when everything was handmade with dedicated precision by expert craftsmen. And, of course, each etch in the warn wooden flooring speaks of decades of lives lived and unknowable stories of the past.
It’s hard to experience a home like this and not get carried away by its charm. Frequently, homeowners who grew up in this kind of home come to us wanting to carry on that tradition into their own growing families. Others have simply fallen in love from a distance. Regardless of their personal histories with these homes, the masterful architect behind this style, Richardson Brognard Okie, is so infrequently talked about that few homeowners know anything about him or understand the intricacy of his work.
This lack of understanding means homeowners are not able to identify what parts of this style they want to capture in their own new homes. Since many homeowners come to us wanting to design in this colonial revival style, we are going to explore Okie’s history and architectural signatures so that you can better acquaint yourself with the craftsmanship and detailing of his homes. Doing so will likely give you deeper insight into how to approach the design of your new colonial revival home.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF R. BROGNARD OKIE
Richardson Brognard Okie (1875-1945) was known as an architectural artist and master builder. Colleagues praised his work saying it epitomized the American way of life because his buildings were of the highest quality — a result of his unrelenting desire for perfection — and yet were still modest and unassuming.
Born and raised in Camden, New Jersey, he moved to Philadelphia after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1897 with a degree in architecture. Okie had always had a close connection to the countryside and, after his move to Pennsylvania, this seems to have translated into a deep appreciation of the region’s copious farmhouses.
Early in his career, Okie was known to travel around the Pennsylvania countryside hunting for early Dutch buildings with his son in tow and a ruler in hand. When he found a particularly distinctive structure, Okie would pore over every detail of it, measuring everything he could and collecting castoff hardware. This is how he became fluent in the language of these iconic homes.
Okie’s fluency in Pennsylvania farmhouses eventually paid off spectacularly. Some of his more notable clients included the Pew family, the DuPont family, the former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Owen J. Roberts, and the former United States Attorney General, Philander C. Knox. He was also commissioned to restore Betsy Ross’ house and William Penn’s country home, Pennsbury Manor.
HOW TO SPOT AN OKIE HOUSE
Due to his thoughtful designs, there are signature details in Okie’s colonial revival homes that make his buildings easy to identify. “Okie is unique in that he created his own architectural vocabulary that, from the naked eye, looks very simple,” says Period Architecture’s associate principal architect, Patrick McDonough. “But, when you study his drawings and details, you get a better appreciation of just how much time and ingenuity he put into his houses.”
Stepping inside an Okie home is where you will be able to spot the most unique elements of his designs. Pay attention to the millwork, mantelpieces, and staircases. Okie infused these three elements, in particular, with his own signature style.
Okie had fun with the millwork in his homes and used these details everywhere. Look closely and you’ll notice: intricate beading on window shutters, door frames, walls, cabinets, and even stair banisters; distinctive semicircular doorstops behind every door; and creative zig-zagging woodwork holding up bookcase shelves known as saw-tooth shelving. The beading, in particular, is something that makes Patrick chuckle. “If you speak to any millworker today who’s working on an Okie house, they will complain about the beads. Okie put beads on everything. He is notorious for putting single beads, double beads, and sometimes even triple beads in his homes,” he says.
Many of the mantelpieces in Okie’s homes were inspired by the historic mansions in Germantown, PA. You’ll notice that he uses bolection molding and a decorative design technique called punch and gauge to intricately decorate his mantelpieces.
The staircases are the heart of every Okie home. “He used staircases almost like hallways,” Patrick explains. Most modern houses use a staircase to simply get someone from one floor to the next but, in an Okie home, the staircase strategically and seamlessly connects every section of the house. This means the main staircase will likely bring you to a half floor, servant’s wing, balcony, and second-floor landing all in a short distance.
Of course, Okie’s attention to detail doesn’t stop with the interior of the house. The exteriors of his homes also have classic signatures from unique shutters and fieldstone walls to precisely scaled porches and dormers. In addition, Okie was also consistent in the orientation, nestling, scale, and form of his homes. While these elements are not unique to him, paired with the interior and exterior elements outlined above they can become an excellent indication of whether you are in the presence of an Okie home.
A mark of a good architect is a conscious understanding of the best orientation of a building. Designing a house to get the best southern exposure not only gives it the best views and ventilation but also allows warm sunlight to enter the house for most of the year. Okie had an innate understanding of orientation. Most of his homes have large, southern-facing double-hung windows and Dutch doors to maximize the amount of sunlight and air entering the house. He would also align all the doors inside the home so that, when windows were open in the summertime, fresh air could filter through and cool the entire home.
Positioning a house at a high elevation point to get good views is a modern concept. Well before Okie’s time, home builders would build at lower elevations and try to embed their homes into the land to get the most protection from harsh weather conditions. Okie embraced this practice and did so with amazing ingenuity. He would nestle a home into the side of a hill in a way that managed to protect the home while still delivering beautiful views. It was this nestling technique, and the variety of elevational changes it caused, that forced Okie to engineer his unique staircases.
SCALE AND FORM
Okie had no interest in creating hulking mansions. Instead, he would create spacious, overlapping wings that unfolded into the landscape. Each wing was designed in a slightly different way so that the entire home looked like it had evolved over time.
HOW OKIE INFLUENCES OUR WORK TODAY
Okie never just recreated an old farmhouse. He studied the past and then infused it with his own creativity to make a unique design.
It’s in this way that Okie influences our firm’s work the most. Today’s residential styles have evolved drastically since Okie’s time, so when a homeowner asks us for an Okie-style house we need to find novel ways to blend historic farmhouse charm with the more modern living styles of our era. This means we, too, never just recreate a historic house. What we do is transform serpentine back hallways into more open living areas, rework staff quarters into cozy guest bedroom suites, and creatively hide modern elements behind old-world design. In other words, we are using history as inspiration and adding our own twist to create something new, unique, and tailored for each client.
In a word, Okie’s biggest focus was always on simplicity. He wanted each of his homes to have a vernacular feel. And this is yet another of the many ways he has influenced our work. We’ll let you in on an architectural secret: things that look simple are usually inordinately complex to design and build. Yet we understand and share Okie’s dedication to aesthetic simplicity, and commit ourselves to it for every project we touch.
Long before we started our firm in 2010, we each had a deep appreciation for Okie’s work. His dedication to detail and cohesion has been — and continues to be — a major source of inspiration to each of us in how we approach our designs. Now that you, too, have a better understanding of Okie’s work, we hope you’ll feel empowered to embrace your new home project with confidence.
OKIE HOMES ADAPTED FOR TODAY
If you’d like to see our Okie work in action, take a look at the homes listed here. This list includes a mix of original Okie homes that we delicately modernized for the needs of today’s families and homes that we designed from scratch in the Okie style.
While Pennsylvania’s cities might be known for many things — cheesesteaks, Hall and Oates, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and a lovable, googly-eyed, orange mascot among them — it’s countryside is associated with one thing above all others: it’s multitude of old, charming barns. So, it’s understandable that many homeowners come to us for guidance on what to do with an old barn sitting on their property or how to design a new one that looks like it’s always been there.
With the help of our project architects and resident barn experts, Brad Kline and Doug Mancuso, we are going to give you a brief introduction to the art of the barn and explain how to design a barn that fits your equestrian, agrarian or entertainment needs.
“The design for horse barns is very modular, which forces a kind of rigidity in the design,” Doug says. The interior layout, in particular, will be determined by three things: the quantity and size of the stalls, the width of the center aisle, and the types of additional amenities like wash stalls and tack rooms. Unless a homeowner has a unique aisle size in mind, they are generally 16 feet wide. The stalls themselves usually measure 12 feet by 12 feet for a single horse and 14 feet by 14 feet for a mare and foal.
From there, “choices need to be made about details that will ensure horse safety and comfort,” says Brad. For example, a lot of times we’re asked to include metal angles on top of the stall partitions, to prevent horses from chewing on them, or use rubber pavers inside the barn, which provides more support to horses’ delicate legs and hooves than brick or concrete flooring.
No matter what an owner needs in their barn, our mission is to deliver a beautifully practical structure. “We keep the large details like the timber frame, stall doors, offices, and tack rooms well-crafted while ensuring every detail is functional for everyday use,” says Doug.
When we take stalls out of the equation, the design possibilities for a structure become limitless. When it comes to designing commercial event barns, our goal is to find a balance between creating large, open spaces while making sure it still feels warm and inviting.
When thinking about creating an event barn, the two questions you need to ask yourself are: how many people do you want to be able to fit inside, and what types of events do you want to host in the space? Much of the design will stem from the answer to these questions.
“A great example of a recent event barn that we designed is Sammlung Platz,” says Brad. “The owner wanted to utilize it for corporate meetings, wedding events, and as a community center. So we created a global design to suit all their needs.”
However you decide to utilize your event barn, many of these types of spaces will require larger mechanical HVAC systems, a multitude of bathrooms, and possibly elevators and commercial kitchens. While this might sound like a lot to keep in mind, these are all considerations we will guide you through before starting the design process for your project.
Because we are based in Pennsylvania, many of our clients have old barns original to their property that they’d like to make better use of. Transforming these charming buildings from their original farm-oriented design to an entertainment barn allows homeowners to have a separate space to host guests in a variety of ways. “It’s a space where holidays happen, where you host your dinner parties. It’s an extension of the home,” Doug says.
The key to a successful entertainment barn is scale and proportion. “They are not meant to be grand spaces, they’re meant to be intimate,” says Brad. A typical size for an entertainment barn is three bays, or about 30 feet by 48 feet, which allows it to comfortably accommodate multiple seating groups. “Our focus is on not making them so big that they feel lonely. We want you to be able to use it even when you’re just a family of two or four,” says Doug.
Entertainment barns give you the most freedom to have fun with the design. Here are some ways that entertainment barns have been used in the past:
Detached office space
Game room for adults
Playrooms for kids
“Classroom” space for artists and creatives
A place to host parent meetings, book clubs, or garden parties.
Understanding how a homeowner wants to use their space is integral to our architectural process because we design with your needs and dreams in mind. One of the first things we’ll do is explore your ideas and guide you through your options so that we can make a space that is tailored specifically to you.
TAKE THE NEXT STEP IN BUILDING YOUR BARN
When it comes to barn design, the believability of the structure is always our main focus. We accomplish this by continually looking to history to see how barns were originally designed. Then, we use history to inspire our own design process down to the smallest details. Building in a believable way, rooted in history, is how we successfully create unique buildings that are tailored to their homeowners but still exude a feeling of instant old.
When done well, a barn has the power to transcend time. And when people walk into our barns, their nostalgia recognizes all of the authentic details and they allow their imaginations, if only for a moment, to transport them to another world.
After each gathering, you may notice the kitchen is inevitably where most people end up during parties. While you may appreciate the company, if you’re a frequent host you know a kitchen that is not designed for hosting means you’re tripping over your best friend with a blazingly hot tray right out of the oven or almost slicing a crocheted flower right off grandma’s new sweater as you try to squeeze your cutting board onto an already cramped counter.
Hosting doesn’t always have to be a Tetris game of cramped spaces and close calls. If a kitchen is designed with hosting in mind, you can transform your hosting experience into one that has enough room to invite loved ones to comfortably pull up a chair while you work your hosting magic. Here are six ideas to consider if you’re looking to upgrade your kitchen space and your own hosting experience.
For extra counter space
Counter space is the critical factor when it comes to being able to host comfortably. One way to provide more counter space is by incorporating a kitchen island — or two. Kitchen islands give you the space to spread out and get organized which will make prepping, serving, and dining a breeze. And islands don’t just give you and your food space, it also gives your guests somewhere to sit comfortably, and safely, out of the way.
Traditionally, a butler’s pantry was used to store fine china, silver, linens, and family heirlooms. Now, in more recent times, butler’s pantries are not only used for this kind of valuable storage space but also as a particularly useful area while entertaining guests. Butler’s pantries, as well as wet bars, free critical kitchen counter space and are also the perfect area to stage a buffet or drink station that will keep guests from wandering into the kitchen.
TO HIDE THE MESS
A delicious meal has its own kind of magic and, sometimes, seeing the mess and stress that comes with preparing the meal diminishes it. Afterall, there’s a reason why you don’t see the kitchen in most upscale restaurants. If you’re looking to replicate a fine dining experience at home, then an auxiliary kitchen may help you create just the right ambiance. An auxiliary kitchen tucks the real mess around the corner from the party so you can host in your spotless main kitchen. And, when using caterers, an auxiliary kitchen allows them to work out of sight and keep guests’ imaginations going.
Another way to conceal cooking messes and preserve the magic of a meal is with a pantry. While a pantry is conventionally used to add much needed storage near the kitchen, it can also be used to hide bulky appliances like ovens, microwaves, and dishwashers. When you need to tuck a mess out of sight, contain cooking odors, or separate these spaces, all you have to do is close the door.
FOR ADDED COMFOR AND CHARM
A kitchen fireplace was traditionally where you’d find pots filled with bubbling stews and soups, meat slowly roasting on a spit, and bake kettles covered in hot coal and slowly baking an assortment of cookies, cakes, and breads. While modern appliances allow us to prepare our food much more easily, having a fireplace in the kitchen is still a charming reminder of history that will make any guest feel at home.
When you are hosting a small number of guests, the kitchen can be an excellent entertaining space. All you need is a soft seating area that will help set a welcoming and intimate tone. Whether you choose soft chairs or a padded breakfast nook, these touches add a layer of warmth that will envelop your guests like a comforting hug. The added benefit of hosting in the kitchen is that it is usually one of the brightest rooms in the house with lots of windows and wonderful views.
GOOD KITCHEN DESIGN GIVES YOU PEACE OF MIND
While there is a certain amount of pressure that goes with hosting an event, you deserve to enjoy the experience just as much as your guests. And in order to comfortably enjoy hosting in your home, your kitchen needs to be designed accordingly. Adding even just one of these ideas to your kitchen can elevate your hosting abilities to a whole new level — and allow you to enjoy every moment of it.
In April of 2021, Period Architectureproudly announced the opening of a second office location in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. With commissions in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and throughout the eastern seaboard, Period Architecture has remained a committed steward of the landscape and vernacular architecture since its founding in 2010.
“Bucks County is a treasure of Pennsylvania. With a flourishing portfolio in Bucks County and the surrounding areas, it only made sense to open a second location in Doylestown, the heart of the region,” said Co-Founder and President Joseph Mackin.
Specializing in new homes, additions, renovations, barns, and buildings with enduring designs tailored to each distinct client, Period Architecture has grown from a three-person practice into an award-winning architectural firm with residential and commercial commissions along the east coast and beyond.
“Doylestown and the surrounding region of Bucks County has such a rich history and incredible community environment. We’re excited to begin our story here and look forward to engaging directly with local partners, craftsmen, and clients in the area,” says Co-Founder and Vice-President Jeffrey Dolan.
Located at 22 S. Main Street in historic downtown Doylestown, Period Architecture’s new office officially opened April 1st.