Just Listed: Old-School Renovated Rowhouse in South Philly

The owners of this handsome rowhouse near the Melrose Diner did something radical with it: They took it back to its roots.

renovated south philly rowhouse for sale exterior front

Maybe you’ve seen a house like this on a city street somewhere in Europe. This beautifully renovated one, however, sits in the middle of South Philly at 2330 S. 15th St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19145 | Bright MLS images via Coldwell Banker Preferred

We’ve showcased any number of radical transformations of older Philadelphia rowhouses and other structures in this section over the years.

Today, we offer a radical transformation in the etymologically accurate sense of the term.

In addition to meaning “all-encompassing,” the word “radical” also means “going to the root” of something: the word originates with the Latin prefix meaning “root.”

When Tom Armstrong, a risk management manager for a major local employer, and his husband Marcello Brening Barrera, founder and owner of the Brening Art Collection, bought this early-20th-century rowhouse not far from the Melrose Diner, they decided to listen to the house’s roots and let those tell them what it wanted to be.

These pictures should demonstrate that they heard this renovated South Philly rowhouse for sale loud and clear. Their renovation respects the essence of the house’s character while upping its elegance quotient.

renovated south philly rowhouse for sale vestibule

Tilework in vestibule

The elements they added to the house, like the custom address plate in front and the stained-glass French doors and transom inside the vestibule, complement the original tilework and woodwork.

renovated south philly rowhouse for sale living room

Living room

The wall treatments and paint schemes do likewise. The bluestone living-room fireplace and its marble surround also look good as new.

renovated south philly rowhouse for sale dining room

Dining room

They also enable the living and dining rooms to double as a showcase for original artwork by Barrera and other local artists.

master bedroom

Master bedroom

But not just those rooms: original art also graces all three of the upstairs bedrooms. If you’d like for some of it to continue to grace this house after you’ve bought it, Barrera is willing to consider offers.

master bedroom closet

Master bedroom closet

Granted, not everything about this makeover goes back to the house’s roots, but all of it respects its character, even the volume-enhancing mirrored doors on the master suite closet and laundry.

front bedroom

Front bedroom

The front bedroom’s original built-in chifferobe and custom bookshelf were also very nicely restored.



The hall bath, kitchen and basement rec room got made over sometime in the 1950s, but the couple decided that their tile, woodwork and cabinetry were worth preserving and sprucing up.



The kitchen is sunny and spacious with appliances in good working condition.

basement rec room

Basement rec room

basement rec room bar

Detail of bar in basement rec room

And you could become the host of your own Throwback Thursday parties in the downstairs rec room, whose knotty pine walls, linoleum tile floor and bar have been impeccably maintained. There’s even a vintage dartboard by the bar.

rear patio

Rear patio

The rear patio boasts plenty of color and lots of greenery. It really needs no improvement, but you could do the city a solid by installing permeable pavers or other rainwater-management features; the city may even pay you to do so.

Armstrong and Barrera picked a great location for a root-and-branch renewal: it’s close to the Melrose Diner, the East Passyunk Avenue dining and shopping district and Marconi Plaza park, to name just a few destinations. It’s also midway between two Broad Street Line stations and two bus routes that whisk you to the big-box Valhalla along South Columbus Boulevard.

All this makes this renovated South Philly rowhouse for sale a great place for you to put down roots. But if you’d like to do that, better act fast.



BATHS: 1 full, 1 half


SALE PRICE: $349,900

OTHER STUFF: The owners have accepted an offer on this house, but the offer is contingent, and the owners are accepting backup offers.

2330 S. 15th St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19145 [Christina Briglia | Coldwell Banker Preferred]