On the Market: Renovated Airlite Twin in Cedarbrook*
This classic Airlite got the full modern minimalist treatment. It's located in a great neighborhood *whose residents will tell you they live in Mount Airy.
Why should a sleek, stylish modern house set you back a half a million or more?
This is a question a lot of developers hereabouts are asking these days. All of a sudden, just about everyone in the development game here has discovered a huge untapped market for “affordable workforce housing.” When even luxury condo king Tom Scannapieco is wading into the workforce-housing pool, you know it’s become a Thing.
But here’s the other Thing: A good stock of such housing already exists in neighborhoods across the city. One such neighborhood is Cedarbrook, where you will find this renovated Cedarbrook Airlite twin house for sale.
I learned about this neighborhood back when I visited it to write this feature on “middle neighborhoods” for Next City. Neighborhoods like these, full of working families who take pride in their homes and their communities, are as crucial to Philadelphia’s future as the gentrifying neighborhoods closer to Center City are.
That article, by the way, is the reason I use “Cedarbrook” advisedly to refer to this neighborhood. The builders who turned a former golf course into a little chunk of the Northeast that got lost on its way to the Boulevard right after World War II told the mostly Jewish buyers of their homes that they were moving into “The Estates at Mount Airy,” and the owners told the Blacks they sold their homes to the same thing.
Even the sign that welcomes you to the neighborhood’s business strip on Wadsworth Avenue, just inside the city line at Cheltenham Avenue, says “Welcome to Mt. Airy.” And Cherelle Parker, the odds-on favorite to become Philly’s 100th mayor, lives here and calls it Mount Airy also. But when East Mount Airy Neighbors was formed in 1966, the founders drew the organization’s eastern boundary at Stenton Avenue, leaving this neighborhood beyond the pale.
But enough about the neighborhood. Let’s look at the house.
First off, it’s totally 1950s on the outside and totally 21st-century on the inside, save for that one fragment of its past: the stair railing. The renovations kept the basic layout of the 1950 Airlite but opened it up completely.
By opting for a pure white color scheme, the renovators both made this house much brighter and turned it into a blank canvas on which you can project your personality.
You will find the crucial difference between then and now in the back half of the main floor. Back in the 1950s, builders had no idea that the kitchen would become a performance space. They still thought that the servants worked there, even if the “servant” was the lady of the house. So the kitchen was closed off from the dining room, turning it into a galley.
But today, the kitchen is an integral part of both private and social life. It’s one of the key components of the space in bigger houses that I call the “everyday living suite.” Since this house is too small to have both one of those and a living room and dining room, the renovators turned the main floor into an everyday living suite by removing the wall separating the dining room from the kitchen.
That, in turn, gives the kitchen an island with bar seating. Its contemporary Shaker cabinets and subway-tile backsplash keep it from being purely minimalist the way the rest of this house is.
Behind the dining room and kitchen, a large deck gives you space to entertain and relax outdoors.
The second floor contains three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
The spacious primary bedroom has its own stylish private bath.
The bedroom in the middle, as is common for Philadelphia rowhouses built between the 1920s and the 1960s, is a bit too small to use as a decent adult bedroom. But it makes a perfect nursery, den (as here) or home office, a function much in demand these days.
You’ll find laundry facilities and a powder room in the partly finished basement, accessed by stairs from the kitchen.
This Cedarbrook Airlite twin house for sale sits right in the heart of the neighborhood. Wadsworth Avenue, the aforementioned main shopping street, is just around the corner. A two-block walk up Wadsworth puts you at Cheltenham Avenue, where you will find the Cedarbrook Plaza shopping center across the street in Cheltenham Township. It contains a Walmart, a Fresh Grocer supermarket and several other shops selling clothing, accessories and more.
Two SEPTA bus routes pass through the intersection of Wadsworth and Michener avenues; both connect to the Broad Street Line for a quick trip into Center City.
It should be clear by now that this nicely renovated house is exactly what those developers are shooting for when they build “affordable workforce housing.” And you can definitely afford this one. Just remember to meet your neighbors after you buy this house. They’re a very friendly bunch. But don’t tell them you’re glad to have moved to Cedarbrook.
THE FINE PRINT
BATHS: 2 full, 1 half
SQUARE FEET: 1,332
SALE PRICE: $310,000
8426 Michener Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19150 [Jennifer Jones | Compass]