Marathon Grill restaurants
Location: Rittenhouse Square
How did you find this house?
I bought the house in July 1998. At that time I had been living in Philadelphia for eight years at various Center City locations. I decided it was time to buy a home, that it would not only be a good investment, but a way to gain stability and make my life feel more anchored. I didn't want to be right on the park where you could tend to be overwhelmed. I wanted to be able to retreat a bit, but still have access to my restaurants and Center City. I had just returned from a trip to India which was a very powerful experience. I realized that there was an illusion to renting a home that included freedom and independence; the idea that you can just pick up and live somewhere else. I was ready for a commitment at this point in my life, to create more of a foundation. A friend in real estate showed me the house, which is around 150 years old. I immediately loved the original pine floors. I was looking for certain elements that add character to a home. I also loved the various small rooms throughout the house which give me an opportunity to do different things in each room that represent me. When I first moved in, one room was specifically for yoga and meditation. The bedroom has nice architectural features with its high ceilings, French doors, skylight, and large open space. The house felt intensely comfortable immediately. I walked in and felt like I was home.
You talk about the house as a work in progress?
I want to accumulate really fine pieces of furniture that are going to last a long time. I enjoy simple modern pieces but also love to travel and bring home items such as wall hangings, rugs and little statues. I think when you merge the two--the minimal and clean of modern furniture (like Corbusier, Eames, Bellini, Herman Miller) with elements from travel--the result feels really personal and warm.
Your house seems to be your sanctuary.
Absolutely. I'm constantly inundated with the business and I know a lot of people in the city. It's wonderful to have a place to retreat to. I love to come home from the day and read the New York Times. I feel like I have control between these walls, like I have created this space for myself. I recently started to have dinner parties, which is new for me. I'm in a business where I interact with so many people, so often that when I come home from work I like to be alone or with my girlfriend or members of my close circle of friends. I had this revelation that I wanted to share my home socially. It's a great alternative to going out to bars, which really doesn't appeal to me any more, and it's much more intimate.
Do you bring your work home?
I'm actually struggling with that right now. I have an extra room upstairs that I'm contemplating turning into an office. Right now I do zero work at home. If I decide to include a work space at home than I'll be sure that the work stays in that room and doesn't overflow. I don't want my home to be an extension of work. I need the separation. I like the restorative elements of coming home. A sense of balance is vital to my overall happiness and the state of my space usually reflects the state I'm in. If I come home and there are dirty dishes in the sink or clutter everywhere, I know it's time to slow down.
What changes have you seen in Rittenhouse Square in the three years you've lived here?
People are buying the homes in this area and putting money into them. There seems to be a lot of expansion--building decks and additional floors. This is a very established part of town. It's not as transient as other parts. The area is getting younger, too. People who lived here for years took advantage of the increase in real estate value, which seemed to open up Rittenhouse Square to younger families with children. There is truly a neighborhood sensibility, which is an interesting contrast to the thriving city just around the corner. It's exactly what I need.
For more information on Marathon Grill restaurants and its six locations, visit www.marathongrill.com.
Savage Love: Involuntary celibacy?