On the Market: Historic Rittenhouse row home for $2,695,000
On the Market profiles homes for sale in the Philadelphia region.
A Delancey Place mansion, which has rich history dating back to the Civil War, is on the market for the first time in two-and-a-half decades for $2,695,000.
The Rittenhouse row home, located at 1810 Delancey Place, was given as a present from the city of Philadelphia in 1864 to the widow of Major-General David B. Birney, an important figure in the Civil War, in recognition of his service. It stayed in the Birney family until 1906, and only several families have lived there since.
The home’s current owners, Jay Federman and Sylvia Beck, purchased the property in 1988 after it had been vacant for many years. With a newborn baby and looking for a home suitable for their expanding family, the couple found this home to be perfect.
Federman and Beck, both ophthalmologists, were already familiar with living on the prestigious city street. They resided just a block away for several years, but 1810 Delancey offered more space to raise their children.
“We fell in love with 1810 Delancey because of the light, the spacious rooms and the quiet, solid feeling of it,” Beck said.
Federman and Beck bought the home knowing it needed much work done, as it hadn’t been touched in years. They lived there for a month to just get a feel for the home and to plan how they wanted to remodel it.
Then they moved out for a year and rented in an apartment, while they completed their initial renovations. During this time, they restored all the basic systems and wiring, added in a garage, and restored the flooring, kitchen, bathrooms, and wine cellar.
“We wanted the house to be restored to its original splendor, so we tried to have everything redone the way it was originally,” Beck said.
Throughout the next 25 years that they lived there, Federman and Beck continued to complete more renovations, while keeping its original features from when it was built in 1856, including the crown moldings, chandeliers, fireplaces, and doors.
One of the most significant original features Federman and Beck appreciate are the stained glass windows in the kitchen/family room, which are valued at $21,250.
“We had an artisan take them apart and re-do the lead seams, using the original glass,” Beck said.
Another unique feature, which may be the only home in Philly that has them, are the caryatids, which were added during the 1923 renovation by the architectural firm of Wilson Eyre and Charles McIlvain. These female statues are used as window separators in the front of the home.
“They are art nouveau, and they are unique,” Beck said.
Some of the newer construction projects the couple completed include an updated kitchen, where they upgraded the appliances to Wolf and put in granite countertops, an expansion of the garage to two-car parking, an added intercom system, a new roof, and a skylight over the central stairwell. In 2005, the home’s façade became a Preservation Alliance façade.
Now with two grown children, ages 22 and 26, Federman and Beck are ready to downgrade. They enjoyed raising their children in the home, but are now making way for another family to experience living in the historic mansion.
After going through several major renovation projects in the past centuries, the home is now about 5,000 square feet, and has six bedrooms, four full baths and two half baths.
Beck says she and her husband really enjoyed the “warm” feeling the home gave them, as well the proximity to all the city has to offer.
“It’s such a great location,” Beck said. “We’re in the middle of the block, so it’s very quiet and it’s so central.”