On the Market profiles homes for sale in the Philadelphia region.
Amy Bluemle and David Cohen, the sellers of the latest Elfreth’s Alley home to hit the market, took great pride in preserving and living in a part of American history.
“We adore this house,” Bluemle said. “It’s been able to grow with us.”
The row home, located on the country’s oldest residential block, served as a baker’s home when it was built in 1741. Each of the other 31 homes on the narrow cobblestone street has a story, involving butchers, candlestick-makers, and blacksmiths that lived there in colonial Philadelphia. The street is now a popular tourist attraction and historic site.
At Bluemle and Cohen’s home, the second largest home on the block and located at 123 Elfreth’s Alley, remnants of the baker’s home still exist.
“There’s one entire wall in the basement that was a brick oven,” Bluemle said. “We learned later it was the commercial bakery.”
The oven is still visible, and the entire wall is the original exposed brick. The couple used the top of the oven to display trophies and photos of their family. They finished the entire basement two years ago – it was partially finished when they got there – and converted it into a family/media room fully equipped with a large sectional, flat screen TV, hammock chairs, and exercise equipment.
Other original features preserved in the historic home are the cabinet spiral stairs that extend from the basement to the top floor, and the hardwood floors present in every room, except the basement, top floor and master bedroom.
The home underwent one major addition around 1804 when a larger section of the home was built. The original property was a two-story trinity home with a kitchen, master bathroom and bedroom.
Bluemle, who runs a medical journal that rents office space from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and Cohen, a lawyer in Philadelphia, purchased the home in 2001 – the same week they got married. Moving from a modern apartment in Old City, they were looking for a change and a place to start a family.
“It was one of those houses when you walk in the door, and you have that gut reaction,” Bluemle said. “I called my husband and I told him we found it. He met me down here and we bought it.”
In the past 13 years, the couple has raised their two young sons, and has put their heart into the home by making renovations that preserved its rich history.
The refinished the kitchen floor, updated the kitchen appliances, put in a new high-efficiency Mitsubishi HVAC system, renovated the third floor bathroom, and put in a new front roof with side-wall stucco.
The 2,641-square-foot home has three bedrooms and three bathrooms. Other features include six original fire places, a roof deck, and a patio.
The couple has decided to sell the home now for $795,000. They plan to move to Society Hill for a larger home, as their sons – ages 10 and 7 – are at an age where they need more space.
“We love our neighbors; it’s a very nice neighborhood,” Bluemle said. “We’ll definitely miss Old City, but we’ll be back.”
The house is listed with Antonio Atacan of Keller Williams Realty.
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