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Welcome, and introduce yourself here

by Gregory La Vardera last modified Jul 20, 2010 02:55 PM
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Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by Gregory La Vardera at November 20. 2004

Welcome to the Delaware Valley Forum. If you are a new visitor please post and introduce yourself here. We have a loosely organized group of Delaware Valley Modernists and we strive to have meetings periodically. If you have any ideas for sites to visit or speakers to have then please pitch in.

I am the designated moderator for the forum. I'm Greg La Vardera, an architect in Merchanville, NJ, a few miles out of Philadelphia. I'm interested in modern houses and I'm here on LiveModern promoting my services and stock designs, and trying to connect people up with the modern things they are seeking.

ps - thats our cool Delaware Valley Modern logo by fellow DVM Lawrence O'Toole

Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by marcus geiser at December 15. 2004

My name is Marcus Geiser I live West of Pittsburgh and much of my work is done in the Northern Suburbs. I am a General Contractor and have no real specialty, but have been eductaing myself on Green Building and have looked into SIP's, ICF's, Radiant Heat, and Solar. All the information I have gathered has led me to believe this is the direction I should go. The process is slow any help in furthering my education would be appreciated.

Thanx hope to hear from you soon


Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by Gregory La Vardera at December 15. 2004

Hey Marcus - Welcome!

West of Pittsburgh is a long way from the Delaware Valley but you are welcome here with us till you spin off a new Allegheny group! Do I have my river right?

Tell us a bit of what the modern landscape looks like there. Does the shadow of Falling Water fall long over the region?!

Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by marcus geiser at December 16. 2004

Correct the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio, Ithink I may have spelling issues cause we just call it the Mon. There are alot of wonderful old homes here in this region and I believe that the modern movement is beggining to take hold. I would like to start a group maybe The Three Rivers Group.

I am having a hard time finding people interested modern buildings and green building. I think a group would be a good first step in getting people toghether to form an alliance. Ideally I would like to get a group of people to spearhead the movement here in Pittsburgh. Pool our resources.

Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by marcus geiser at December 16. 2004

By the way I really like you stock plans.

Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by Gregory La Vardera at December 16. 2004

Marcus - I think a Three Rivers Group would be great. You can ask Marshall to set it up for you if you wish, or hang out here for a while. There may be other locals lurking, you never know - this could shake them out.

You might not see too many modern projects happening, but I'm sure they are there. I'll bet there are some older neighborhoods with great mid-century ranch houses around too. I would not be surprised if you found a pristine enclave of these where some young people were discovering them and renovating them.

I seem to remember a cool urban loft project in Pittsburgh in one of my magazines - was it Dwell? It was set back from the street a bit, a coffee shop on the ground floor, and loft units above - some big two story street sculpture at the courtyard.

I'm glad you like the plans - any chance we could muster a speculative project to test the waters?

Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by marcus geiser at December 16. 2004

I am always looking for the right combination of people to put a development deal together. Maybe a guy I know would finance the build and provide a lot? There are many loft projects here right now, however coomercial is not my arena no capital to wait for checks.

I think with the right combination I could arrange a deal to build something fun, I have very little capital to invest but could build the project. He asked me about a spec house he wanted to build. I think he would be into doing something creative as a diversion.

I would like to get a few people together to meet over dinner or lunch and create a group to harness resources.

Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by Gregory La Vardera at December 16. 2004

If you want to try and get a local group going then email Marshall and start a Three Rivers Forum. We can post a news item and hopefully shake out any Pittsburgh people that are lurking reading the site.

As far as the spec project, take your person on a tour of my plan site and a tour of livemodern here so he can get a sense of the interest, give him a couple of issues of Dwell to page through. Also set of stock plans can reduce the upfront design costs when trying a modern project = less risk.

Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by Joe Walerko at January 19. 2005

My name is Joseph Walerko and I'm a resident of Eatontown, NJ. I'm currently an apartment renter living with my girlfriend and working at Fort Monmouth for the Army.

In the next couple of years we want to settle down in a house of our own, and our current research has been focused on modern prefab housing in the Hardford County, MD area (because, well, we had to start our research somewhere).

Like many young couples, budget is the #1 factor in choosing a home, and we want to get the most out of our hard-earned funds. We don't want to buy a 2500 sq.ft. house that will not only kill us in monthly payments, but won't make the best use of the space available and express our aesthetic tastes.

We want control over what we will eventually call home, and I'm thankful that forums like these exist.

Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by Hugh Brownstone at January 20. 2005

I live out on the Main Line, and am interested in selling our current home and building an LVL, Res4: or Glidehouse on a smaller piece of property. Much to learn, but first order of business is to find the land. Working on it!

Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by Gregory La Vardera at January 20. 2005

Welcome Joe and Coyote,

Joe, I'm not sure I understand you plans - you are going to relocate to Maryland? Keep us posted on your site search - a blog may be in order!

Coyote - Man, I'd love to see one of these houses in the Delaware Valley so we could see one in person.

If either of you two are interested in a meeting drop in on the other thread, and we will get something organized.

Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by Joe Walerko at January 24. 2005

[quote:lavardera format=text/plain]Joe, I'm not sure I understand you plans - you are going to relocate to Maryland?[/quote]

We are thinking about moving to Maryland, if I can find a new job there in 2006/2007. Basically, I'm starting my homework now. Once I know where I'll be working, then I'll know where I'll be living, and then I'll look into purchasing land within a reasonable commuting distance from my job.

But before that not-so-distant time when I'll roll up my sleeves and open my wallet, I'm reasearching all the ins and outs of owning land and building a house on that land.

Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by Paul DeVincentis at January 25. 2005

My name is Paul, from Colonia, NJ. I am a Rutgers grad student studying science education. One day I will graduate and will want to move out of my parents' basement; where to...I have no clue. Regardless, I will want to invest in a modern home. My undergrad was in landscape architecture which turned me on to modern and neo-modern art and design. Although my career has changed directions, my passion remains in art and architecture, and all things modern.

I am excited to see that there is a forum for the Delaware Valley, I don't think there is much support for modern design in NJ - probably due to lack of exposure and education. I am new to Dwell mag and hope that more people catch on to their exploitation of modern prefab.


Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by Gregory La Vardera at January 25. 2005

Welcome aboard Paul. Up in Colonia closer to NYC you have to have more modern design than we do down here!

Actually Philadelphia has a great tradition of modern design. I'm trying to spread that around Southern NJ a bit!

Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by Jeremy Dugosh at February 11. 2005
Hello, everyone. My name is Jeremy. I live and work in center city Philadelphia. I consider myself to be an Urban Modernist.My wife and I livein the city, don't own a car, etc. The ironic part? I live in a circa 1829 819 square foot townhouse that is listed on the Philadelphia register of historic places. I am an afficianado of Modern architecture of all types and I am engulfed in modern design, but I also appreciate older architectural styles. The inside of our house is completely modern (mix of mid-century and contemporary modern). I guess that I would have to describe our style and eclectic--I'm happy to live in a historic house in a historic neighborhood, but I'm also happy to have my modern interior. Am I an anomaly? I'm not sure. I'm also a strong believer in Jane Jacobs' brand of Urbanism--NOT a "new urbanist." I have subscribed to Dwell, Metropolis, etc. for quite some time. I am an editor by trade (I have a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology). I'm glad to have found this Forum and seemingly like-minded people in the area.

Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by Gregory La Vardera at February 11. 2005

I'm glad you found the site and our Delaware Valley Group.

There is no getting around the historic context and the urban reality of Philadelphia. We are really lucky here to have one of the few truly livable urban cores in the USA. Its something you just don't see that often here although its common in Europe. So I'm with you - there are many ways to live modern in a historic urban context. Again we can look to Europe for examples. It is not unusual to see a completely modern building sensitively inserted into a historic context, or a contemporary use integrated into a historic building. How many times do you see an ad for an italian furniture maker with modern pieces set in what looks like a room in a renaissance palazzo? I love that kind of contrast and Philadelphia is really one of the few places where you can make that happen.

Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by Clint Woodside at May 08. 2005

my name's clint woodside. i am a graphic designer, in philadelphia. i just (and by just i mean that the offer was excepted TODAY!) bought a rowhome in fishtown with my girlfriend. i am going to really tear into this house and plan to call on all of you for whatever advice you can give... so get ready.

Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by Dylan Galaty at June 20. 2005

My name is Dylan; my wife and I are relocating from NY to Philadelphia. We love modern design and are looking renovate the 100+ year old townhouse we just bought in Mt. Airy. We are very interested in locating modern designers in the area. And, becoming part of the modernist community in the Delaware Valley.

Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by Gregory La Vardera at June 20. 2005

Welcome Dylan - and Clint! Its great to see enthusiastic modernists posting on the board. Perhaps we need to organize the next meeting for some time in late july or august?

Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by Jason W Jones at August 14. 2005

Greetings to all! My name is Jason Jones and I recently moved to Wilmington, DE from Virginia. I am very curious to explore this site after reading some info in dwell mag on these forums, and am excited to see a board dedicated to the DE valley! From my own research driving around Wilmington and closely neighboring areas in Delaware only, and from discussions with local realtors, I honestly believed that there was not a market for modern residential design in Delaware. I'm hopeful I'll learn otherwise on this board!

For what its worth, my wife and I recently purchased a new construction townhome in downtown Wilmington which is part of an infill development project. We bought in for the concept but the design is rather boring, unsophisticated, and not very well planned out despite the builders intentions of developing a modern urban community. Its a start, however, and hopefully others will follow!

If anyone knows of any examples of modern residential architecture or of movements in the Wilmington area, please let me know ( I'd love to board that ship! We did consider the Philly area, but both of us work in Wilmington and aren't willing to burn the gas on a daily commute.

Looking forward to seeing what all this board has to offer! Cheers!

Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by Gregory La Vardera at August 14. 2005

Welcome JW

I don't know my way around Wilmington all that well, but I am sure the surrounding suburbs must have areas with midcentury modern neighborhoods. It was a time of economic growth and new neighborhoods were built almost everywhere. As you get settled in you will have to drive around and scout - we'll count on you to fill us in. As far as new modern neighborhoods - this is very rare on the east coast. On this site you will see discussions of new developments of modern houses cropping up in California and in Texas. There are some local forums where people are trying to get organized to create their own mod developments. This kind of activity is what LiveModern is all about. Share resources with others of like mind and let be known that we want modern houses!

Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by Melissa at August 25. 2005

Hi all. My name is Melissa. My husband, son, and I live in Voorhees, NJ. We are hoping to find land and have a WeeHouse built. The homes in south Jersey are pretty depressing. We lived in Philly for years, and I really miss the city.

I never much liked modern architecture, until my husband started reading Dwell. My favorite design mag is British Elle Decoration. Although I still favor older houses like the ones in parts of Mt. Airy, Chestnut Hill,and Overbrook Farms, I've really started to admire the ideas and worldview of modernists.

So far, finding affordable land has been a challenge. We want to stay in the Voorhees, Marlton, Cherry Hill east area (good school districts and all). We are working with a realtor but there's not much available. I'm open to suggestions. Will there be a DVM meeting anytime soon?

Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by Gregory La Vardera at August 25. 2005

We should organize a fall meeting time since we have not met since the spring.

I feel your pain when you speak about the houses being depressing -there is so much schlocky housing. But much like PA there are older and much nicer houses and great neighborhoods in towns like Merchantville, Collingswood, and Haddonfield, among others, but the housing stock does not always line up with the school districts. When it does you can bet the property values will be sky high as it is in Haddonfield or Moorestown.

If you can't find an empty lot, or a beat house in a decent neighborhood to tear down then you could consider finding a nice mid-century modern place to restore and adapt to todays needs. There is definitely some of this in Cherry Hill but I think it tends to be closer to West than East, although there are some mid-century enclaves off Kresson, heavily wooded subdivisions. I think the lots tend to be big, and expensive..

Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by Gregory La Vardera at September 20. 2005

I'm posting here because I'm hoping everybody who intro'd themselves here have subscribed to this thread.

I posted some events that may be interesting to locals in this new thread:

Its time to organize a fall meeting.

Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by Gregory La Vardera at October 13. 2005

Hi Allen - I think you will find a lot or ideas and resources in the postings on the Dwell forums here at LiveModern. I hop you post some pictures once you get your project rolling.

Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by Erin Fox at November 16. 2005

Hello all -

My name is Erin, I'm relatively new to the Philly area. Although I've been dabbling in various other design fields for the last 5 or 6 years, I've finally decided to go back to my first love - architecture (and to start getting some use out of that degree!). So my first step was combing through all my back issues of Dwell (almost 3 years worth) to find references to firms and homes in the Philadelphia area. Although I do still have part of 2002 to go, I've been really disappointed with the lack of Philly based firms with a strong interest in sustainable design. So, here I am, hoping to meet like minded Philly people, maybe one of whom has room in their firm for one!

Anyway, above and beyond that, I'm also looking to freshen up my slightly out of date education (which Autocad release are they on now? that feels like a loooong time ago), so I'm also planning on taking some courses starting next semester...building up to possibly going back to grad school. So any local insight on good programs in Philly would be appreciated. My understanding is that it's either Drexel or Philadelphia University. Am I missing anything on that point?

Thanks all - Erin

Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by Gregory La Vardera at November 16. 2005

Hi Erin - you might check with the Delaware Valley Green Building Council and see if they have any leads on which architects are into sustainable design.

As far as schools, Drexel has a great program. They have an evening program as well in case you care to work while you school. Phila Univ. is young, but I take that as a plus. You should check on their accreditation status if you want to move on to the lic. exam later.

Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by Erica Zbyszewski at May 21. 2006

Looks like no one has posted to this thread in some time!
I'm Erica and am married to Patrick. We have a toddler named Isadora and we live in a townhome in Phoenixville, PA (Chester County). We hope to locate/buy land further out in Chester County within the next year and then have a prefab modern/eco-friendly/solar powered home built within the next five years. Actually, we would like to build our own home and an adjoining cottage for my aging parents who also appreciate modern design, although they have only lived in cookie-cutter developments since they've been married.

I've been cooresponding with Greg for a few weeks now and have learned a lot, even in these early stages of planning. We like Greg's designs as well as the FlatPak (does anyone know if they use eco-friendly materials?) and have yet to decide if we want to go according to pre-designed plans or help create something custom.

This is all very exciting. We've been (mid-century) modern home design fans for a long time now and can't believe that our fantasies about having a unique home are starting to come together into reality.

I look forward to getting to know other like-minded folks in our area and would love to be a part of get togethers if they ever get organized.


Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by David Nuss at June 22. 2006

Hello, I'm David.

My wife and I live in northern NJ across from Manhattan. There is a new towering development going up next door in what used to be a single home zone and we fear the blasting and construction may destroy our nicely-done low-rise community, even to the point of non-habitability.

Of course the developers of the area would salivate at the prospect to remove the 70-odd condos here arranged in a nice quiet setting, and replace it with several hundred hi-rise 'luxury' rentals or condos. The whole area is being destroyed in this way.

Anyhow, we are gradually planning our Plan B in the eventuality we have to move, though we hope to stay for decades, as we've remodeled to our modern tastes.

Worst case, if we have to move, we'd like to know where we can go to find property that we can build a modern home on, or find an existing development of them (years ago we toured the Frank Lloyd Wright development in Westchester County, NY).

Unfortunately, work at this time for me is in Trenton, NJ and my wife in Manhattan. So we'd have to be near an NJ transit train stop rather closer to NYC than NJ. Wouldn't it be awesome if someone developed a green, modern housing community amid nature near a train stop?

Any help in progressing in developing this dreamy plan would be of help. The condo is our first home, so we are new to the whole subject.


Re: Welcome, and introduce yourself here

Posted by Colleen Daly at July 24. 2006


My husband and I are moving back to PA (previously lived in Bala Cynwyd) from Boston. We currently live in a gorgeous mid-century mod home that we renovated completely. My husband will be working in Bethlehem, PA and I will be job hunting - so not sure exactly where I'll be. Anyway, family is in the Collegeville area - so we'd like to be somewhere in between Bethlehem and Collegeville. Doylestown really appeals to me ( as least what I can tell from It seems to a vibrant community with farmers markets, a network of bike paths, some interesting shops/restaurants, yoga studios, turn of the century architecture on main street - only thing missing is a Whole Foods close by.

We'd like to build - but don't really want to to the development thing - yet we'd like to have a sense of community. Anyone familar with Doylestown or have suggestions for other places to look? Is land readily available ( metro boston was impossible to find land).

Any insight/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Oh, and suggestions for builders who are hip to the whole modern materials/eco friendly/pre-fab movement.

Thanks for your help and I look forward to attending one of your meetings when we finally get settled in PA


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