Just Listed: Spacious Modern Georgian Condo in Garden Court
In the 1920s, this was a spacious apartment in “the most exclusive location in West Philadelphia.” Today, it’s an entertainer’s dream, filled with modern features and room to live and work as well.
The dawn of the Auto Age was a time of great experimentation in American community planning and development. Builders big and small explored ways to fit cars into an urban fabric that up until then was not designed for them.
One of those builders was Clarence Siegel, the Philadelphia developer who turned a large chunk of land that had been in the hands of Anthony J. Drexel and Eli Kirk Price into the section of today’s University City known as Garden Court in the 1920s. Aimed at upwardly mobile marginalized folks, especially Jewish and Black people, who were frozen out of the city’s older well-to-do neighborhoods, Garden Court offered a wide variety of housing options, from modest rowhouses to huge freestanding mansions.
As it was being built, The Philadelphia Inquirer called it “the most exclusive residential locale in West Philadelphia” while at the same time noting that it offered “modern apartments of magnitude, comfort and luxury, surrounded by beautiful homes” — all designed in styles drawn from traditional English architecture.
This spacious Garden Court updated condo for sale began life as one of those apartments. It’s located in Building G of the original Garden Court apartment building, the first of the apartment complexes that line the northern edge of the neighborhood. Built in 1920, Siegel’s “entry level” residential structure got converted into condominiums in the late 1980s.
Owners Sean Healy and Giang Nguyen bought this spacious Garden Court updated condo for sale in 2004 (full disclosure: they’re good friends of mine). Over the 16 years since, they turned a handsome and spacious Georgian condo into an entertainer’s dream, with plenty of space for intimate dinners and large parties and a kitchen built to handle both.
“Sean and I were familiar with the building before we bought the place,” says Nguyen. “And we knew it was a building with tremendous character, history and community, so we were really excited at the opportunity to be able to move into that space.”
But the globetrotting couple also loved to entertain at home. That meant they had their work cut out for them. “It was a space with a lot of character, but it wasn’t really our style,” says Nguyen. “We wanted a place that would allow us to entertain in a way that we could bring a lot of people together and give Sean an opportunity to really cook.”
And if you love to really cook, you will definitely appreciate the kitchen the couple built for Sean to show off his prowess. Filled with professional-grade appliances, including a Wolf range with double oven, griddle, pot filler and commercial vent hood, a double-door Northland refrigerator and a full complement of other top-quality brands, it’s designed as one might design a restaurant kitchen, or a demonstration kitchen for a cooking show.
In contrast to many high-end kitchens that never get used — Nguyen called these “jewelry” for one’s house — this one was designed not only to look beautiful but to function beautifully. It has a butcher-block counter for prepping extending from the range to the microwave, a soapstone-topped peninsula for final preparation and plating, and a sink strategically placed between the peninsula and the dishwasher. It also has not one, but two pass-through windows: One connects to the spacious living/dining room, while the other one can accommodate bar seating on the side in the media lounge.
It also has plenty of pantry space in a corridor that leads to a small full bath, the laundry and the fire escape balcony.
The pantry bath was added when the couple turned the original, much smaller kitchen into the pantry and the former maid’s bedroom into today’s kitchen. Even though it’s the newest of this condo’s three bathrooms, it pays homage to the unit’s traditional design and detailing. (The upper tap on the wall controls the overhead rain shower head.)
But even with one less bedroom, this spacious condo still has plenty of private living space along with room for working from home.
Three bedrooms, two with en-suite bathrooms (one also accessible from the hall), are arranged at the end of a hallway off the living room.
Meanwhile, the bay-windowed sun room off the foyer could also serve as either a home office or a fourth bedroom.
You would have loved the rainbow of colors Healy and Nguyen chose to paint the various rooms, but since multihued spaces get in the way of buyers’ imaginations, the couple had the place redone in a neutral palette before they moved to a Boston suburb when Nguyen, a physician and researcher at Penn’s School of Medicine, accepted an appointment at Harvard Medical School. (Healy is a hospitality management professional who worked at the Philadelphia Marriott Hotel here.)
You won’t need to imagine the technology they added to the unit, however. You will find that this condo is fully wired for sound and video, with big-screen TVs or hookups in the media lounge, kitchen and two of the bedrooms, and built-in speakers in the main living areas and hallway.
The building also has some very nice amenities, including a fitness center and indoor swimming pool. Gated for security and privacy, its entrances face attractively landscaped courtyards with fountains and reflecting pools.
If, like Healy and Nguyen, you love entertaining and cooking, this Garden Court updated condo for sale has your name on it. But even if your idea of fine dining is having DoorDash deliver you a five-star meal, if you love to entertain, this condo will fit you like a glove. And if all you want is loads of stylish space to live a little larger in one of Philadelphia’s most distinctive — and still most sought-after — neighborhoods, then this is also the place for you.
THE FINE PRINT
SQUARE FEET: 2,400
SALE PRICE: $595,000
OTHER STUFF: A $1,232 per month condo fee covers building amenities, heat, water and sewer service, snow and trash removal and common area maintenance.
4621 Pine St. Apt. G310, Philadelphia, Pa. 19143 [Marcus Saitschenko | Coldwell Banker Preferred]
Updated Dec. 9th, 9:05 p.m., to correct the information about the condo fees.