Three chickens in a backyard coop and four raised garden beds were part of the deal when Dylan and Casey Ciocca bought their Jenkintown home in 2018. That was a plus for Casey, who liked the idea of suburban homesteading.
“I try to eat organic vegetables, meat and eggs whenever I can, and I knew I wanted to have chickens in the future,” said Casey, a lawyer for the Senior Law Center in Philadelphia. “A few other families in the neighborhood also have chickens, including our next door neighbors.”
Beyond the chickens, the couple, who were moving from an apartment in South Philadelphia, wanted an older home with a lot of character, room to start a family, and plenty of space for Basil, their rescued pit bull mix, and two cats to roam.
“We wanted to be close to the train and in walking distance of bars and restaurants,” said Dylan, who works in his family’s auto sales business, Ciocca Mercedes Benz in Flemington, N.J.
The 4,800-square-foot, 1929 stone Colonial has five bedrooms, an office and 3½ bathrooms. Before moving in, the couple painted, installed central air, refinished the floors, and updated the electric system.
They also hired J. Thom Residential Design and Cabinetry to tackle a full renovation of the outdated back part of the home, which includes the kitchen and living space.
“Our goal was to make it feel like the rest of the home, yet with a fresh interpretation for a young professional couple who would eventually start a family,” said Jason Thompson, design director at J. Thom in Center City. “Planning a seating area next to the kitchen was key and multifunctional for hosting family gatherings and watching a golf match simultaneously. The area is complete with a newly renovated mudroom, butler’s pantry and bathroom/laundry room space.”
The Cioccas enjoy a modern traditional style that respects the home’s past without feeling stuffy. For example, the cabinet hardware is brass, as it would have been in the 1920s. The butler’s pantry is pale blue, and one bathroom is painted a rich, deep green, but most of the walls are white with oatmeal trim.
“That gave us a fresh, clean look and a blank slate to figure out what we wanted in terms of color palette and styling,” Casey said. “Before we moved in, the paint was like neon — very bright colors.”
An avid cook, Casey enjoys spending time in the kitchen, which features plenty of cabinets, white on the top and grayish-blue below. The marble-topped custom island has the feel of a free-standing table. Special touches, such as the dedicated spice drawer and corner cabinet for pots and pans, make meal prep easy. J. Thom designed a unique stove hood that blends in with the tile but has strong ventilation.
“The kitchen is usable and practical but still beautiful,” Casey said. “I like to entertain, and we’ve hosted most holidays at our house for our families.”
The couple enjoy spending time in the sun room, where light pours in through floor-to-ceiling windows. The formal living room features four sets of French doors, two connecting to the sun room and two leading to the foyer and back living space.
One of their great finds was a chandelier stored on a corner shelf in the basement, covered in dust. It matches the sconces that surround the living room fireplace, and once cleaned and refinished, it is now the focal point of the dining room.
The Cioccas spend much of their time outdoors in their yard, deck, front porch, and refinished and restored portico. They’ve shored up a detached garage that was in bad shape and painted the walls and refinished the floors.
“I’m a huge car guy, so I spend a lot of time in the garage detailing our cars,” Dylan said.
The Cioccas, who are expecting their first child in August, are busy renovating the nursery. They chose a Cole & Sons wallpaper that was a collaboration with Italian design house Fornasetti — whimsical enough for a child’s room without being too trendy, Casey said. As their family grows, they appreciate their tight-knight and generous community.
“I have a group of people I know I can reach out to if I ever need help, taking Basil for a walk, feeding our cats or even caring for the chickens if we’re away on a trip,” Casey said. “Everyone truly looks out for one another as if we’ve all lived here for 20 years.”
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