Real Estate Listings For Homes With Rooftop Decks: Rooftop Terraces, Sky Lounges, And Panoramic Views – The pandemic and premature stay-at-home orders have changed the priorities of homeowners and buyers. There is increasing demand for roof terraces.
Bill Pilat on the new roof deck of his home, completed in May in Southwest Center City. A roof terrace is a way for homeowners to increase the usable outdoor area of their home. Read moreTIM TAI / Staff Photographer
Real Estate Listings For Homes With Rooftop Decks: Rooftop Terraces, Sky Lounges, And Panoramic Views
Bill Pilat feels like he’s standing on top of the world looking out at the Philly skyline from the multi-level roof deck of his Southwest Center City townhouse.
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One level contains Adirondack chairs and vegetable and herb garden boxes. Up a few steps are wooden tabletops and bar stools, and under a pergola with lights, a bench and a fire table. Pilat’s rat terrier mix, Zucc, loves to relax on the roughly 400-square-foot deck, Pilat said. During the pandemic, he has had socially distanced gatherings with friends and is taking his computer to the roof while working from home. A dozen other roof decks surround him.
Last year, he decided to replace the small, regular deck that was on the house when he bought it three years ago, and construction began in February. Soon, pandemic restrictions left Pilat stranded, staring at the construction materials on his roof and imagining how he would use his new tire. But in June, his vision became a reality.
“It’s just so peaceful, especially now that we can’t go many places,” said Pilat, 34, who works in marketing. “Being able to go out somewhere was a godsend. I’m glad I didn’t put it off another year. I’d be kidding myself.”
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The pandemic and premature stay-at-home orders have changed the priorities of homeowners and buyers. More and more people are looking for extra space, both indoors and outdoors. Outdoor space is at a premium in densely populated parts of the city, but this year it has become a major dealbreaker for many home buyers.
When expansion is not an option, roof decks can make the difference. More buyers are looking for it, and some are even bringing contractors to shows to tour the roof, said Stephanie Biello, president of the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors. One of Biello’s clients with a $1.2 million house on Washington Square West plans to build a rooftop deck to help sell the house, which has been on the market for months.
David Posternack, owner of Swarthmore-based Match Remodeling, regularly worked on kitchens, bathrooms and basements around town. But in June, his phone “really started ringing” with work requests.
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Because he and his team of two to three people focus on one task at a time, he’s had to turn things away, “which as a small business owner is painful to do,” he said.
Customers want to expand their living space. They want to be able to enjoy being outdoors without having to wear masks or worry about crowded parks. (Plus, stronger breezes mean fewer bugs and relief from the heat.) They want a place where they can socialize more safely with family and friends, and they want a place to relax while their kids sleep.
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Most of the decks Posternack has built over the years are in South Philadelphia and Fairmount, and are typically 300 to 450 square feet.
It will take about 90 days to get the proper permits from the city, assuming everything goes smoothly. For Posternack, construction typically takes about a month, with more time if the deck requires a “pilot house”: a shed-like structure with an interior staircase.
Some decks are simple wooden structures for chairs and a table. Others span more than one level and are more ornate, made of composite wood that costs more but requires less maintenance. Grills, small kitchens with refrigerators, planters with flowers and vegetables, pergolas, televisions and hot tubs are among the things that top the roofs of Philadelphians.
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Before Sara Shuman moved into her condo in the West Poplar section of the city in 2016, she lived in apartments where her only outdoor space was the nearest park. For a while, she had only a few pieces of furniture on the uninviting roof of her apartment.
“It was kind of a dull, light brown stucco that looked a little depressing,” said Shuman, 29, a senior communications specialist at a financial firm.
Last September, she began transforming her roof with the help of friends and family. Inspired by her volunteer work at Mural Arts, Shuman teamed up with illustrator friend Jamie Sebzda to design her own mural. Colorfully painted plants reach for the sky on one of the deck’s pink plaster walls.
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She added a pergola, benches, a hanging rope chair and a fire table. She admits she doesn’t have a green thumb, but the pandemic has motivated her to garden to create her “own slice of outdoor life.”
“Having the extra space on the roof and adapting it made such a difference. I’ve been so grateful for that during COVID,” she said. “I feel very happy. I know not everyone has that kind of space.”
In June, she got engaged at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County, and her fiance, Nicolas Wilhelm, had some friends decorate the roof with flowers while they were away. “We had a really beautiful sunset photo shoot,” she said.
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Last fall, Diana Chamberlain moved from a five-acre property in Connecticut with two ponds and a large vegetable garden to a townhouse in Fairmount to fulfill her desire to live in the city. Chamberlain, a ceramist in her 70s, loved that she had space for a kiln and a porcelain sculpture studio. But a previous owner had extended the kitchen into the backyard, leaving little room for the gardening she also loves.
That’s why she’s working with Philadelphia-based Bellweather Construction to design and build a wooden roof deck to bring country living to the city.
“One thing I really missed is the air,” Chamberlain said. From the ground, “all you see are slices of it.”
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Paris is her biggest inspiration for a roof house, says Chamberlain, who is from England. When she lived in Paris, she loved being able to see the Eiffel Tower from her balcony. Here she is excited to see the Schuylkill, the art museum and the parks.
“When you’re up there, there’s a whole other world above the buildings,” she said. “To be able to live in the city but still be up and be able to look out and see things far away and see sunrises and sunsets. It really is too adventurous. It’s like having a view from a cliff or something.”
Tiffany Hogan and her husband, Sean, have been enjoying the multi-level rooftop deck atop their Fairmount home with friends and family for four years. After their daughter, Jane, was born in November and the pandemic paralyzed the city a few months later, the deck became even more of a place to get away without leaving.
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They put artificial grass tiles on the upper deck so their daughter could crawl around, put up a splash pad and named the place “Camp Jane.” Built-in planters hold tomato and pepper plants and perennials. Getting sun and fresh air on deck “really helps with mental health,” said Hogan, 36, who works as a medical speech pathologist at a hospital.
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She said the rooftop “allowed us to see our friends in person, maybe a little earlier than we otherwise would have been comfortable with,” because they had room to spread out.
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While people were largely confined to their homes early in the pandemic, Hogan’s tires gave them a safe way to talk to neighbors from a distance. Like the sense of community among the neighbors sitting on their stoops, “there’s also an interesting community on the roof,” Hogan said. Inspired by the card game, her brother-in-law is preparing to build one of his own a block away.
“We’ve definitely seen a lot more people in the deck community as COVID has continued,” she said. “Now that fall is coming and it’s not super hot, I think people will be outside even more.” In this story, Mansion Global highlights seven luxury properties on the Vancouver market. These properties are among the most sought after in the area and offer stunning views, luxurious locations, elegant living spaces and many extras. Read more about these striking features below. Click on the links for more information and to contact the dealer.
Located in Vancouver, BC, this one-of-a-kind home has 2,851 square feet of living space, according to a listing from Seva Roberts. It contains many features that make it a unique home. In the basement there is a bathroom, bedroom and lounge, laundry, workshop and storage/mud room. Beautifully updated kitchen with quartz countertops and stainless appliances, incl. 6 burner gas stove and vaulted ceilings in the dining room off the kitchen.
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