Farmhouse Friday: The Genuine Article in Quakertown

Pleasant Valley Farm, 1765 State Rd., Quakertown, Pa. 18951 | Photos courtesy Carol C. Dorey Real Estate, Inc.

Pleasant Valley Farm, 1765 State Rd., Quakertown, Pa. 18951 | Photos courtesy Carol C. Dorey Real Estate, Inc.

If you’re looking to move to the country, it doesn’t get more country than this, for this week’s featured farmhouse still has its rural farm character intact.

And that includes a living link to its past.

Pleasant Valley Farm in Quakertown features all the requisite structures a farm needs: two barns, two silos, a garage that can hold two vehicles (if you’re a farmer, they won’t both be cars), and even fields and pasture land encompassing five and a half of the farm’s 27 acres.

So if you have a hankering to take up farming, this is the perfect place to do it. But the home itself has plenty of charms that make it stand out. Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: Gilded Age Opulence on Rittenhouse Square

1830 Rittenhouse Sq. #6AB, Philadelphia, Pa. 19103 | TREND Images via BHHS Fox & Roach

1830 Rittenhouse Sq. #6AB, Philadelphia, Pa. 19103 | TREND Images via BHHS Fox & Roach

If you’ve been to Newport, R.I., you’ve probably done the famous Cliff Walk and toured some of the “cottages” the Robber Barons built as summer getaways at the height of the Gilded Age. These were homes built for show and entertaining as much as they were for living: huge ballrooms that could accomodate hundreds, dozens of bedrooms, grand lawns, opulent decor.

This extra-large condominium overlooking Rittenhouse Square looks like the pied-a-terre version of one of those places. Occupying the entire sixth floor of the first and (in many ways still) finest of the Rittenhouse Square high-rises, this home offers lots of room for entertaining, loads of windows offering gorgeous views of the square, and opulence almost beyond belief, though in a restrained Philadelphia fashion.

All that, and all the latest in kitchen and bathroom furnishings to boot. And it’s comfortable enough that you’ll enjoy living in it every day. Read more »

Greylock Estate Up For Sheriff’s Sale

A mortgage holder is forcing the vacant Greylock mansion at 209 W. Chestnut Hill Ave. into sheriff's sale. Conservation and preservation easements attached to the property may prove a stumbling block to a successful transaction, however. | TREND Image via Estately.com

A mortgage holder is forcing the vacant Greylock mansion at 209 W. Chestnut Hill Ave. into sheriff’s sale. Conservation and preservation easements attached to the property may prove a stumbling block to a successful transaction, however. | TREND Image via Estately.com

Greylock, the English Jacobean Revival-style mansion Pittsburgh steel magnate Henry Laughlin built as his retirement home in Chestnut Hill in 1909, is being auctioned off to pay back taxes and at least one foreclosed mortgage at a sheriff’s sale scheduled for Nov. 1.

The home, located at 209 W. Chestnut Hill Ave., has been vacant for “a number of years,” according to Lori Salganicoff, executive director of the Chestnut Hill Historical Society (CHHS). Its last occupant was a nonprofit organization that used the mansion as its office.

The sale has as its goal paying off $90,000 in back taxes plus the arrears on a mortgage held by a limited liability company that acquired the loan from its originator, Nova Bank. The stated opening bid for the property is $237,300. Read more »

First-Time Find: So You Want To Live in Chestnut Hill?

7814 Devon St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19119 | TREND Images via BHHS Fox & Roach

7814 Devon St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19119 | TREND Images via BHHS Fox & Roach

Chestnut Hill’s fans and defenders take great pains to point out that the neighborhood doesn’t really deserve its reputation as Pennsylvania’s answer to Greenwich, Conn. They point to the social-reformist impulses of one of its primary developers, George Woodward, and note that there’s actually a wide range of fine homes at various price points available in the neighborhood.

Critics scoff. Then a resident comes along to drop evidence in our lap.

The evidence is this handsome updated 1920s rowhome on Devon Street at the base of the hill. Located on a quiet residential street not far from Cresheim Valley Drive, this end-of-row unit boasts many features you’ll find on homes listing for much more than this one does. Read more »

Philly Slips A Notch on the Affordability Scale

Philly's still the most affordable large housing market in the Northeast, but it got a little bit less so in the second quarter of 2016.

The good news: you can still afford to buy a home in Philadelphia if you’re a middle-income earner. The bad news: It got just a little bit harder to do so in the second quarter of 2016.

According to the latest quarterly survey of housing affordability conducted by mortgage search site HSH.com, a local household needs to make $53,421.87 a year before taxes in order to afford the mortgage on a median-priced home in the 11-county Philadelphia Metropolitan Statistical Area.*

That’s about $3,000 per year less than is required to afford the mortgage on a median-priced home in Baltimore, and well below the metropolitan median household income of $62,171 in 2014, the latest year for which Census Bureau figures are available. Read more »

Trinity Tuesday: Big and Beautiful in Bella Vista

1132 Webster St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19147 | TREND Images via Coldwell Banker Preferred

Usually, you can count on a trinity to have one or two bedrooms, one bathroom — and maybe a half bath if you’re lucky — and less than 1,000 square feet of interior space.

This expanded trinity has none of these things. Instead, this Bella Vista beauty has three (that’s right, three!) bedrooms, two full baths, and a whopping 1,344 square feet of space inside.

It’s also been polished to a high gloss thanks to a top-to-bottom renovation two years ago.

You’ll notice the difference the moment you walk in the front door and see both the extended stairway to the second floor and the high first-floor ceiling. The owner even installed a chandelier in the eat-in kitchen to add a dash of elegance to the open plan main floor. Read more »

Main Line Monday: An Extra Helping of Charm in Strafford

429 Old Eagle School Rd., Wayne, Pa. 19087 | TREND Images via RE/MAX Main Line

429 Old Eagle School Rd., Wayne, Pa. 19087 | TREND Images via RE/MAX Main Line

There are loads of Colonial-style homes on the Main Line, as we have so often remarked. Dutch Colonial homes, however, are rare — and it’s even rarer to find one with plenty of Victorian detailing and style.

Which is what makes this vintage 1886 home near Strafford Regional Rail station such a find. The first-rate restoration and updating of this huge home make it even more of one.

The attention to detail is evident the moment you lay eyes on the filigreed wraparound porch and porte-cochère, and it continues on the inside, where the original hand-carved woodwork has been restored on the wainscotting in the foyer and the fireplaces in the foyer, living room, dining room, great room, master bedroom and second-floor study. Read more »

That House Out There: Creative Class in Old City

20 N. 3rd St. #701, Philadelphia, Pa., 19106 | Photos by Theresa Stigale via MGC Real Estate Group

20 N. 3rd St. #701, Philadelphia, Pa., 19106 | Photos by Theresa Stigale via MGC Real Estate Group

What sort of creative-class type are you?

An artist looking for a blank canvas to paint on? A craftsperson who’d like to turn raw space into a one-of-a-kind atelier? Or maybe just a middle manager looking for a place with a fantastic view?

If you’re any one of these, or anyone else with the scratch who has a hankering for elegant living with the industrial touch, these joined-at-the-hip condo units may be just what you’re looking for.

As currently configured, these top-floor units in Old City’s Daniel Building are two two-bedroom, two bath units with totally open kitchens in the main living space. But they can be reconfigured to suit: one unit for you, one for guests; a single unit with an in-law or au pair suite; a place for you to live and an income property; or maybe just the biggest, baddest full-floor loft condo in Old City.

Be aware, though: even though both the hardwood floors and the kitchens with their professional-grade stainless-steel appliances and countertops all shine with that high-tech gloss, this is still industrial loft space that’s really ideal for someone who is looking for a place to work as well as live. You’ll be right on “N3rd Street,” in the heart of a still-lively community of creative makers and thinkers even with the relocation of nearby IndyHall to 399 Market.

Want this kind of space, but not so much of it? The units can also be purchased separately.

THE FINE PRINT

BEDS: 4

BATHS: 4

SQUARE FEET: 4,138 (divisible)

SALE PRICE: $1,699,000 (both units combined)

OTHER STUFF: Did we tell you that the owners/developers, who are licensed real estate agents, will be glad to customize these units to suit you? Keep this in mind as you view the photos below.



20 N. 3rd St., #701-702 [Nella Genovese | MGC Real Estate Group]

 

Farmhouse Friday: Living History in Fagleysville

117 Cross Rd., Gilbertsville, Pa., 19525 | TREND Images from Herb Real Estate

117 Cross Rd., Gilbertsville, Pa., 19525 | TREND Images from Herb Real Estate

Chances are, when you take a look at the photos of this modest but sturdy-looking stone home out where suburban Philadelphia fades into suburban Reading, you will think, “Okay, so how much will it cost for me to fix this place up?”

If you’re a history buff, you should relish the prospect, for this home is a living link to Pennsylvania history.

The structure you see above dates to 1773 and was originally built as a parsonage and church farm. In 1830, it was the birthplace of Gen. John F. Hartranft, who spent the first 14 years of his life in this home before his parents moved to Norristown. A real estate agent, lawyer, and officer in the Pennsylvania state militia, Hartranft enlisted for service to the Union the moment he heard of President Abraham Lincoln’s call for troops to put down the rebellion that started when South Carolina troops fired on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861.

Hatranft’s own troops left him when their 90-day tour of duty expired on the day of the First Battle of Manssas (Bull Run), but he immediately volunteered his own services to his brigade commander, Gen. William B. Franklin. His bravery in rallying disorganized Union troops that day earned him a Congressional Medal of Honor in 1886. But before receiving the nation’s highest military honor, he served two terms as Governor of Pennsylvania immediately after the end of the Civil War. (It’s because of this that the street in South Philadelphia, one of a series of streets named for Pennsylvania governors, bears his name.)

But enough about its most famous occupant. (If you want to learn more about him, go here, or here.) Back to the house.

It’s got very strong bones: original wide-plank hardwood floors, 30-inch-thick walls, and a massive wood-burning stone fireplace in the living room. The home also features hand-painted decorations done in the German Baroque style. There’s also a wood-burning stove in one of the larger second-floor bedrooms. The home also sits on a four-acre lot that offers lots of room for entertaining, relaxation and gardening.

As we said, this home could use some updating. The kitchen was remodeled in the 1960s with board and batten cabinets and a propane stove, and one of the two third-floor bedrooms is a walk-through (there may not be much you could do about that). But take a look at the pictures below. You should see that in the right hands, this home’s history could come alive again, and its very affordable sale price should leave you with plenty of money to effect the revival.

THE FINE PRINT

BEDS: 4

BATHS: 1

SQUARE FEET: 2,303

SALE PRICE: $260,000

OTHER STUFF: The state historical marker commemorating Hartranft is nearby, on Sanatoga Road at Cross Road.



117 Cross Rd., Gilbertsville, Pa. 19525 [Andy Herb | Herb Real Estate]

Chinese Cultural Center Prepares for A New Future

The freshly restored face of a Chinatown icon. | Photos: Sandy Smith

The freshly restored face of a Chinatown icon. | Photos: Sandy Smith

A 185-year-old landmark in the heart of Chinatown is getting ready for a possible new lease on life once the legal hurdles are cleared. While waiting for that to happen, the company that stepped in to keep it from falling into the dustbin of history (or a heap of rubble, which is the same thing) is quietly testing the waters to see whether anyone might be willing to continue its rescue effort.

Maybe not so quietly as of Wednesday evening (Aug. 17th), when the building’s conservator, Scioli Turco, invited the interested and the merely curious inside the Chinese Cultural and Community Center at 125 N. 10th St. to inspect the ready-for-its-next-chapter property. Read more »

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