Reuniting with Philly in Washington Square

Longtime New York residents Richard and Anne recently moved to Philadelphia, where Richard obtained his undergraduate degree at Penn in the early 1970s. The move brought them closer to convenience, friends in Philadelphia, and the Penn State women’s volleyball team (more about that later), while keeping them within a stone’s throw of New York where they still work.

Anne and Richard knew wherever they moved would ultimately be where they retired. They considered several places in New England, where they had owned a house on the New Hampshire seacoast, but they learned from experience that it was a bit too isolated from their friends in New York.

New Hampshire was also a 12-hour drive to Penn State. Richard blogs about the Penn State women’s volleyball team, and his mother resides in the college town.

Richard and Anne realized they still wanted to live in a city. Once they decided on Philadelphia, Anne and Richard knew what they wanted. After building their New Hampshire vacation home, they knew they didn’t want to be responsible for home repairs, which meant a condo was the way to go. The couple had also become accustomed to apartment living in New York.

Deborah Solo helped Richard and Anne find the apartment-style living the sought
Deborah Solo helped Richard and Anne find the apartment-style living they sought

 

Next order of business was obtaining a realtor. A friend recommended Deborah Solo, and Anne and Richard were thrilled with the results!

“Deborah was fabulous in guiding us, giving us a sense of neighborhoods, and she shared her honest opinions which we really appreciated,” Anne recounts.

Funny enough, Richard had actually met Deborah at a party when he was a freshman at Penn. So his return to Philadelphia was a reunion in multiple ways!

From among the many Center City neighborhoods they explored, Richard and Anne chose a condo on Washington Square
From among the many Center City neighborhoods they explored, Richard and Anne chose a condo on Washington Square

 

As for location, they looked broadly from Rittenhouse to Washington Square to Old City. Richard and Anne were impressed with how many of the properties they’d walk past in various neighborhoods that Deborah had personal experience with, whether she had sold them, been the buyer’s agent, or managed them as a rental.

“We always want a broker who has a broad range of experience,” Richard explains. “It helps them be holistic and present the full range of options rather than sticking to their personal comfort zone.” Deborah certainly showcased such experience.

The condo they chose was in need of some repairs, mostly cosmetic, which Anne and Richard believe helped them get a good price, despite its prime location on Washington Square Park. After building an entire house in New Hampshire, these minor updates and fixes didn’t intimidate the couple. “We’ve found you can create value by having a vision.”

Anne and Richard removed a large wall unit from the living room, repainted and installed recessed lighting
Anne and Richard removed a large wall unit from the living room, repainted and installed recessed lighting

 

Once they found the condo, Solo made the closing process run smoothly. Deborah deftly handled an unexpected hindrance during the final walkthrough, and Solo’s attorney Angel Franqui reviewed all the condo documents with a fine-toothed comb.

master bedroom2
A red accent wall pops in the master bedroom

 

Two and a half months after closing, the condo was repainted and had new lighting, tubs, toilets, flooring, and soundproof inner windows, which could not be penetrated even by the sounds of a bagpipe being played outside on the day these photos were taken.

And what a difference those cosmetic updates made! The hardwood floors gleam against the abundant natural light that floods through the unit’s massive windows. Richard and Anne’s art collection also shines in the natural light, as well as after the sun sets, thanks to the tasteful lighting they installed.

Anne and Richard's art collection shines in their new condo
Anne and Richard’s art collection shines in their new condo

 

Double-height ceilings add a sense of spaciousness even to the smallest room. Anne and Richard’s elegant updates blend seamlessly with unique touches from the previous owner such doors with frosted glass panels, a modern kitchen, and a master bath to die for.

The guestroom and Richard's office features a large window flanked by built-in shelving
The guestroom and Richard’s office features a large window flanked by built-in shelving

 

While Richard and Anne prefer not to make New York vs. Philadelphia comparisons, their cat Willow is certainly enjoying the additional square footage that buying in Philadelphia provided.

Willow the cat loves her new digs!
Willow the cat shows off the sleek, spacious kitchen in her new digs