A Dated '70s Townhouse in Philly Goes Treehouse-Chic

Photos by Stefan Suchanec for Rory Creative

Who: John Geating and Gina Kim
Where: Kensington in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Style: Treehouse chic

John Geating and Gina Kim, the husband-and-wife team behind the small-batch furniture and homeware company Leeward, spent three-and-a-half months transforming a modest, dated house on Howard Street in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia into a home for their new business — and baby.

It was a lot of transformation, all at once.

"Initially the home was very '70s, with wood paneling covering all the walls, some weird popcorn ceilings, and carpet covering everything but the kitchen. Now, we jokingly describe it as 'treehouse-chic,'" says Kim,.

Tearing out carpeting and wood paneling was a must, not just for aesthetics but also for the sake of their new baby. "We just wanted to make sure we removed anything that could have remnants of lead paint or dust," Kim shares. And time was of the essence. Geating was tiling the kitchen and installing shelves up to the day Kim went into labor.

Now, baby Miki is nine months old, and the couple has settled in. Their home is filled with a casual, modern mix of Leeward custom designs, found furniture, and affordable basics. "We don't really have a set look we aspire to — [we] mostly just try to find the best possible uses for things we already have or find," says Kim.

And yet, if you look close, there's a sense of understated craftsmanship. "Neither of us are very flashy people," says Kim.

The kitchen
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9 Photos
credit: Stefan Suchanec for Rory Creative

Geating completely gutted and rebuilt the kitchen by hand, "after cleaning 20 years of grease off of everything," says Kim. The jade tile was where they splurged. "John built all the cabinets, shelves, and counters by hand to allow us to spend a bit more on the tile."

The kitchen
credit: Stefan Suchanec for Rory Creative

The custom shelving throughout the kitchen is one of Kim's favorite parts of the home.

Custom mirror
credit: Stefan Suchanec for Rory Creative

The custom oak mirror is by their own company, Leeward.

Custom mirror
credit: Stefan Suchanec for Rory Creative

The mirror in the bedroom is another custom-made piece.

The dining room
credit: Stefan Suchanec for Rory Creative

Geating is the woodworker — and Kim, a former textile designer, is ... all the rest.

The bedroom
credit: Stefan Suchanec for Rory Creative

There's not much just for display. "Most of the things that are around are used by us on a regular basis," says Kim.

The bedroom
credit: Stefan Suchanec for Rory Creative

The couple embraces a high-low mix of custom furniture and IKEA finds, including the ever-popular IKEA Sinnerlig pendant.

The living room
credit: Stefan Suchanec for Rory Creative

Kim's artwork is also on display. The pelican painting was a Father's Day present for Geating. "I couldn't be more excited to have this majestic and peaceful bird hanging out with us now here in Philly," he said on Instagram.

The patio
credit: Stefan Suchanec for Rory Creative

The outdoor deck was also built by hand.


Laura Lambert

Laura Lambert

Laura Lambert is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor who covers women's health, lifestyle and design.