I’m terrible at picking favorites. Ask me my favorite color or food and I’ll tell you I can’t pick just one. You’d think I’d have just as much trouble with houses. But you’d be wrong. This has been my favorite house for a solid 20 years.
It’s in Atlantic City. More specifically, it’s in the nice part of Atlantic City. It’s the third house from the beach.
And it’s huge and fancy. But it’s not the hugest or fanciest house I’ve ever been in, I don’t even want a big house, and I’m not really a beach person anyway.
So what is it?
Well, sentimental attachment. This house used to belong to a good friend’s grandmother, and after thinking a 50’s Cape Cod was a palace, I was in awe.
Of course you love this foyer. But imagine seeing it for the first time when you were 6. And now imagine running all the way up to the top and pelting things at your sister.
And there’s this thing! It still works! (Or at least it did last year.)
And back then I thought circular flow was the gold standard of a nice house. Though our house didn’t have it, my grandparents’ homes did, and I’d run in circles in them. I will never forget the sound of my grandfather’s hutch rattling as I ran through the dining room. But in THIS there are so many rooms, alcoves, doors, and stairways you can do figure 8’s! And with 4 Jack and Jill bathrooms, 2 of which open to the same bedroom, you can even get through 3 different bedrooms without going into the hall! Plus, most of them are original (from 1919) and completely wrecked! My 2 favorite things.
And the balconies! So many of them! I believe there are 11 Juliet balconies, plus 2 large ones off 4 of the bedrooms and a partially covered wrap-around terrace downstairs to which all the front rooms except the dining room open.
And then every room was jam packed with weird stuff that had been there for decades.
The original owners took off for Europe and sold the house to my friend’s grandparents with much of the original furniture included. They then incongruously modernized some of the décor in 1960, and then basically let the place rot.
And really, there’s no better way for a house to win my heart than to need saving really badly. This house sold last year for $250,000. That’s about a million dollar discount versus a house in good condition. I have no idea what’s being done to it but that means that by rights it will be cost effective to save it.
I kind of want to knock on the door sometime, even though I’d be scared to actually do that. But I’ve pondered on how to restore this place for years. Before I know what happened to it, I want to go through what I would do. So this summer I’ll have a few posts where we can pretend that I’m a multimillionaire and that I want a shore mansion. This imaginary Chad does a lot of entertaining. I can’t figure out why else he’d want a 6000 square foot house with 10 bedrooms. But because he’s still a lot like the real me, he doesn’t care a hoot about having huge bedrooms and bathrooms and he’s going to keep the upstairs more or less the same as it is now. Maybe I should also consider what I’d do if I could have flipped the place to resell. Of course, this flip would be atypically preservation-minded and unprofitable.
So next time we’ll talk in a little more detail.