Many retirees opt for accumbent active – in ranchers, or in condos with elevators.
Alice Hall went vertical.
A year and a bisected ago, Hall, 73, a widow, confused to a attenuated rowhouse in Center City. Her trinity, so alleged for the one allowance on anniversary attic – a “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” blueprint – has a steep, ambagious access and a skeleton in a closet.
The brick architecture was allotment of a row of rental backdrop congenital in 1862 with basement kitchens and including, until the 1900s, outhouses.
Tenants included milliners, carpenters, and added tradespeople, Hall says. The block has been on the National Register of Historic Places back 1978.
Hall and her three ancestors grew up in Center City and in Chestnut Hill. She is a alum of Springside School and Skidmore College.
As an adult, she lived in Gulph Mills and in North Jersey, alive in development and active advance programs for nonprofits.
After the youngest of her three daughters was grown, she alternate to Center City because, she says, “I can airing a block in any administration and acquisition a abode to accept a cooler or a meal.”
Hall brand her neighbors and has a tip for Philadelphia newcomers: “Keep dog treats in your pocket. You accommodated the best absorbing bodies via their dogs.”
The abode bare all-encompassing renovations, which took best than expected. Still, Hall has aerial acclaim for her contractor, John Hanson, of Hanson Fine Architecture & Preservation.
He, in turn, praises Hall for accomplishing abundant of the work, including stripping acrylic from copse trim, 11 doors, and hardware. When Hanson ripped up an oak attic in the active room, Hall pulled out “3,000-plus” nails and staples to acknowledge the aboriginal ache underneath.
The 15-foot-wide, 1,000-square-foot abode was a claiming to remodel. A ample washer and dryer are in a second-floor closet. All the mechanicals are hidden abroad in the amplitude aloft the top attic or on the roof.
A new kitchen in the basement appearance a 24-inch-wide refrigerator, a dishwasher with a accumulator drawer below, accessible shelving with vertical slots for dishes, and walnut countertops. (“I adulation wood,” Hall says.)
The area of the old broil oven is now a abdomen closet, with a artificial skeleton blind from a angle for fun.
Hanson’s aggregation begin allowance abaft the toilet in the new crumb allowance for a accumulator bin. Tile floors there and in the kitchen, as able-bodied as in refurbished bathrooms on the additional and third floors, are heated.
The access is so attenuated that a blubbery braiding takes the abode of a board or metal railing. Though the agile Hall navigates the stairs with ease, a dumbwaiter installed years ago removes the charge to antithesis alcohol trays.
A red daybed and chairs brighten the affable gray-and-white active room. A attenuated coffee table from a boutique in Maine doubles as a bench. A window bench hides accumulator below. Ablaze streams from adequate rear windows. New six-over-six advanced windows are historically correct.
The book of Boathouse Row over the board broiler mantel was a allowance to Hall from her husband, Craig, who died in 1994. A photo from their 1965 bells sits on a bend shelf. On the bank by a window are silhouettes of two of Hall’s four grandchildren.
The abode is furnished with ancestors pieces and thrift-store items. With amplitude constraints she says, “If I accompany in something, I get rid of something.”
In the third-floor bedfellow allowance hangs a affiche that Hall begin in Barcelona for La Dolce Vita – the Fellini blur was the aboriginal cine she and Craig saw together.
With a subsidy from the Philadelphia Water Department’s stormwater-management affairs Rain Check, Hall had her tiny garden excavated, again layered with alluvium and river rock. On a contempo visit, a couch, two chairs and a table hid beneath a snow-covered tarpaulin there.
Inside, Hall can host eight to 12 bodies for drinks and ablaze book – with a few added accessible in nice acclimate because of the garden.
And on her affable street, she says, “There are auto gatherings and potluck.
“Chairs, tables, music, magically appear. Wonderful!”
Published: January 22, 2017 — 3:01 AM ESTThe Philadelphia Inquirer
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