A home for design in Chestnut Hill

by Stacia Friedman
Posted 3/30/23

A number of new design-centered stores have recently popped up on the lower end of Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill.

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A home for design in Chestnut Hill


A number of new design-centered stores have recently popped up on the lower end of Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill, generating buzz about a potential trend – with the power to bring more reliable foot traffic to a section of the neighborhood’s business corridor that has traditionally taken second place to busier blocks at the top of the hill. 

It appears that while the pandemic hit local businesses hard, it also ignited a new passion for home design and aesthetics. And that's where these new kids on the block come in, injecting fresh energy and inspiration into the neighborhood.

So, without further ado, let's dive into who these people are, and why they came here:

Northworks Architects: Chicago Cool meets Chestnut Hill charm

First up is Northworks Architects. This cool architecture firm from Chicago chose Philadelphia for its first branch office back in 2016. And now, they've settled into their new home at 8020 Germantown Ave.

Partner Rachel Thompson, a local resident herself, loves the vibe in Chestnut Hill and its friendly community. She even moved her family here and is now a proud parent at the Henry School.

“It was an experiment,” said Thompson, who initially worked out of her home in Queen Village before opening a studio in the Rittenhouse Square area. “After six years, we expanded our design team and began searching for a larger location. Meanwhile, my family also needed more room for our two kids.”

Thompson chose Mt. Airy and now lives within walking distance from the Henry School which her eldest child attends. “I love the balance of Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill, the proximity of the Wissahickon Woods, and the community is so friendly,” she said.

Northworks is all about creativity and diversity — 75% of their current staff of 12 are women. They don't stick to just one style, either. They do everything from renovating historic homes to building contemporary new structures. Plus, they've got offices in San Francisco and Wyoming, too. Check them out at NWKS.com.

Home Works: Your new home-office whisperer

Working from home? Shawn Gibbons, the owner of Home Works, is here to help. Home Works is all about creating home offices that fit right in with the rest of your home.

“Starting in 2017, our commercial clients wanted to combat the cubicle and bring the style and feel of a residential setting into the workspace so employees would have a more relaxed environment,” Gibbons said. “Then came the pandemic, with people working from dining rooms with children. That’s when our focus changed. We began to rethink what makes us most productive when we work at home.”

And yes, their desks and chairs are ergonomic. But what sets Home Works apart is their unique custom service. They’ll even come over with a measuring tape.

“We also incorporate color theory, suggesting colors that will make you feel more productive,” Gibbons said. “We strive to create a space in which you feel more productive, think creatively and have a sense of wellness.” 

Gibbons has quite an entrepreneurial background. She launched CI Solutions, LLC, a national commercial office design company in 2009 – which is now the parent company of Home Works. The company is a certified woman and minority-owned firm that values diversity and sustainability. 

Don't miss their opening celebration April 1 at 8129 Germantown Ave.

PTK Gallery: A magical wonderland of oriental rugs

Entering this oriental rug emporium is like stepping into Architectural Digest or watching Downton Abbey. Magnificent, handwoven antique rugs glimmer like precious jewels. 

But don’t be intimidated. Whether you are in the market for an heirloom carpet or are “just looking,” you will be warmly greeted by the congenial manager, Mo Sadeghi, who will make you feel right at home.

 “People have welcomed us here in Chestnut Hill,” he said. “They stop by just to say hello, as well as wanting to buy or have their rugs repaired and cleaned.” 

This family-owned rug store, which moved to a new Chestnut Hill location in August 2022, has been around for almost 50 years. It offers a huge selection of new and antique rugs – with traditional, handmade rugs for big homes and budget-friendly options for apartment dwellers too. They are also known for their rug repair services, including: edges opening up, fringe coming off, mending tears and holes, color repair, dye touch ups and cleaning. 

For more information, visit PTKgallery.com.