It's a long way from a loft in Soho to a quaint Victorian in Moorestown, but it's the odyssey Megan and Jim Lucania made, with no regrets.
Back in 2012, when the glamour and vibe of New York were beginning to dim a bit and job changes brought them to the Philadelphia area, Megan and Jim started looking seriously at houses in South Jersey. And, yes, it meant a whole new way of life.
"I remember, after going to our share of open houses, walking into this house and thinking, 'Yes, this could be the one,' " says Megan, 30, an administrator at a Haddonfield executive-search company.
Jim, 37, a Wharton graduate who now is CFO of a private South Jersey company, saw great potential in the house their Realtor showed them on a tree-lined street. In less than four months from first sighting in January 2013, the Lucanias owned it.
To make the 1891 Queen Anne truly theirs, one thing was clear: The upstairs was in need of a makeover that would suit a young couple planning to have children.
Enter Moorestown contractor Craig Lord with imaginative plans about how to reuse the space already there. The goal, well-met, was to establish a whole new look and feel by rethinking those spaces, updating bathrooms, and finding the perfect place for a nursery.
"We're ready, and the baby's room is ready," Megan says during a recent visit, clearly delighted with the room they have prepared for their son. "Now all we have to do is meet him."
The official due date: Valentine's Day, which has delighted these first-time parents and promised a true celebration of love.
Their little prince's room is a charming second-floor space whose walls are decorated with hand-painted characters and designs by Mount Laurel artist Julia Lemyre. Tiny clothes hang in the closet at the ready, as is a contemporary crib that will ultimately become a youth bed.
The Lucanias' redone master suite, one of four upstairs bedrooms, includes a monumental shower that the contractor says is the largest he has ever installed.
"This is an amazing luxury," says Jim. "We could never ever have had this in Soho."
Fittingly, their 2014 wedding was held not in some Manhattan cafe, but, rather, in Moorestown's much loved Community House, a structure that has stood in the center of town since 1926.
Family is a major emphasis in the lives of this couple - so much so that the stair wall of their home has a gallery of bridal photos from generations past and present.
The images offer a history of bridal fashion that reaches back four generations, with Megan and Jim's wedding portrait the latest addition.
Downstairs, the expansive living room and dining room are now devoid of floral wallpapers that simply were not suited to their taste.
Today, the space is partially defined by some of the sleek contemporary furniture and art that was in their loft back in Soho. The couple has blended those items with the home's handsome molding and original staircase.
Both Megan and Jim love the Stickley style of furniture, and cherished pieces are scattered throughout their home, along with monumental art nouveau advertising posters.
As it happens, the house itself yielded a most distinctive gift. When the renovation was taking place, the contractor came upon a carton of items stashed between the chimney and a second-floor window.
The finds were not just historic newspapers, but also a collection of shoes of all sizes, most of them well-worn. These shoes, they learned from the local historical society, harked back to an old custom of using shoes as a barrier to evil spirits entering the lives of the home's inhabitants, especially its children.
Another treasure is the trunk that belonged to Jim's great-grandfather Salvatore, who arrived in America with it from Italy in March 1913 with his wife, Maria. The trunk, well-preserved, is their own reminder of roots and has a place of honor in the master bedroom.
It is the future, however, that is very much on the minds of the Lucanias these days. The only members of the family who may not be quite as enthusiastic about a new baby are their two adored dogs, Burt, a Havanese, and Bandit, a Maltese mix.