Six years ago, we bought a small Federal row house in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The older neighborhoods are full of Federal row houses, but I should probably start at the beginning…
When I was in junior high school, two pivotal things happened. One, I visited Colonial Williamsburg, and two, I saw Dangerous Liaisons. These cemented my preference for things from the 18th Century. I also like the 17th Century but try finding that in America. The 18th Century is obtainable so it wins. Because it’s cheaper than art or real estate, clothing was the gateway. By college I had several robe à la française, because the back is rather dramatic. I’ll have to write more about that at a later time.
My obsession with living in an old house started in Brooklyn. My first apartment was in a wonderful building, built in 1874. From there, there was only one way to go; back. When we first started looking for a home in Philadelphia, I discovered that owning a really old home, pre-1800, was possible. I was hooked! It was just a matter of finding one that matched the description, in the right neighborhood, and for the right price. What we got was something from 1832, in a great neighborhood, that’s nearly affordable but it’s on a small street with great neighbors so it’s totally worth a diet of peanut butter & jelly and ramen. It’s Federal and authentic, practically bursting with colonial charm, even if it’s not from the 18th Century.
Colonial charm means the room dimensions are small. Thankfully, we’re only three and we’re not very tall, or wide. On the up side, small means less to clean and fix. Our home has a certain patina that means it’ll never look really clean. We’ve done a bit of work that I wrote about in my former website, that will be shortly moved over here. Meanwhile, below are some photos.