Duplexcellence Phase 2.2 Launched


It was three years ago that we announced what we thought would be the only Duplexcellence building. This marked a number of firsts for us. It was our first stacked duplex building, our first “signature homes,” and our first spec project with Manifest AD. During the build of that project, we were approached by the owner of the lots across the street from it. A few months later, we had them under agreement and were designing up four more duplex buildings for what we now call Duplexcellence 2.

Today we are excited to announce the launch of Duplexcellence 2.2. That’s one more duplex almost identical to phase 2.1 on Hope St right behind those, fronting on 1309 N Howard St. The last building is another unique “signature” building on the corner of 117 W Thompson St. These units are quite a bit wider with about 2,000 SF of floor area. In other words, they are bigger than most townhomes we’ve ever built, but occupying only two levels each rather than 3-4. That means big, wide open spaces and more efficient living than you’ll typically find in these neighborhoods in Philly.

117 W Thompson Corner Units

Duplexcellence 2.2 Rendering 117 thompson

The only bad news we have with this announcement is that both of the upper units at each building are spoken for and under agreement. Phase 2.1 was quite popular, especially the upper units after our last party up there. We had a few passionate clients that hounded us to let them snatch up these units prior to them hitting the market. That still leaves the lower units up for grabs. They both hit our website for customization and the MLS for your realtor to inquire about.

1309 N Howard St Units

Duplexcellence 2.2 render 1309 howard

The exterior of 1309 N Howard will remain the same as the Hope St side. We were more than pleased with our first application of Corten Steel on a facade and the positive feedback received from you all out there was overwhelming. Let’s do another one! The reclaimed wood siding will come from another batch that we will pick from Provenance’s ample stock. It will bring a unique look to this building over the first even if it’s a minor detail.

We are trying out a new exterior product on 117 W Thompson St. We were afraid of overwhelming this corner with too much Corten, so we worked with Jeb Brookman at Manifest AD to come up with something different that would still riff off the first buildings a bit. We all wanted to continue with an open joint rainscreen assembly with a robust panel. The typical residential fiber cement products weren’t getting us excited so we set out to find a new material. We ended up on a composite cement wood board that comes in 1/2″ thickness in black.

This panel has a matte finish (we’re suckers for a good matte finish in everything from tile and counters to our sunglasses) that looks like a dark grey more than a black. It’s a natural material that shows variation from panel to panel which we prefer over more uniform, synthetic materials. The panels come with a sanded and un-sanded side and we’re leaning toward exposing the un-sanded finish. The wood material in the panels not only helps to reduce the carbon footprint of a typical cement panel, but adds some small improvements to thermal efficiency as well as sound insulation. How much exactly, we don’t know, but it’s a nice perk.

Manifest came up with some Corten accents on this corner guy to help link it back to the first buildings. The pilot house on top and recessed parapet wall around the roof deck are both clad in Corten. These will be best seen from the El half a block away, but if you get back a block, you’ll be able to appreciate this detail as well. We liked how are metal wraps are coming out at Folsom Powerhouse so much that we added some out of Corten here as well. We’re hopeful that the contrast of these two natural materials against each other will create a dramatic facade after a few months of rusting.

1309 N Howard A – Lower Unit Layout

1309 Howard Unit A Floorplan


The lower unit at 1309 N Howard is a nice starter home. It is just like the first phase, but a few feet deeper. You enter the first floor with open kitchen, dining and living room. Step down to a private rear yard out of the triple slider in the living room. Both bedrooms, bath and mechanicals are downstairs in a finished basement with large egress window to bring in more light and air to the bedrooms than typical.

117 W Thompson St Unit A Floorplan

117 Thompson Unit A


The lower unit at 117 W Thompson St is a totally different animal. The lot measures just over 24′ wide, making this the widest single lot we’ve built anything on to date. It’s a corner to boot, which makes these units pretty darn special.

You enter a raised first floor which contains two beds, two full baths, ample storage and a double height space carved out to the living area below. The kitchen, dining and living area are below along with a half bath and laundry nook.

We wanted to make this lower living area pop a bit, so we designed a few things out of the ordinary for us into it. First off, the kitchen is huge and includes a center island with cooktop. We’ve always missed the polished concrete floors of our first slab on grade projects, so we’re bringing them back for this level. A bit of California style living in South Kenzo! To continue the Cali vibe, we’re installing our first folding patio door. The big accordion style ones that open all the way. You know. The ones you see in multi-million dollar homes. Roughly 16′ wide that opens fully to a sunken rear yard that sits about five feet below the street level. I don’t even want to say how much this big ass door costs, but it costs about $3,500 alone just to have it installed.


Objekt Boston in Amsterdam


That’s it for this launch post. Hit us up in the comments with your thoughts on these new units.

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