Fishtown Speculative Remodeling Project

Fishtown Speculative Remodeling Project


We renovated this charming 19th century rowhome in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood for a local development company that is reselling the home after the completion of work. Before the firm acquired this property, it was owned by a 94-year-old woman, who had been living on her own but was ready to move in with her daughter.

No upgrades had been done to this house since 1945, except for some wallpaper, drop ceilings, and carpeting in the 1970s. A new refrigerator and range were also installed a couple of years ago, but because we will be replacing them, we we sold them on Craigslist for a modest return.

Our goal was to keep intact as many of the original details of the home as possible, and to enhance its charm while playing up features like wonderful tall windows and ceilings.

    Here is a rundown of the project punchlist:

  • Old plaster walls were stripped of several layers of wallpaper. They will be repaired, prepped and then painted.
  • Old-growth pine floors upstairs were refinished, while new hardwood ws installed and finished on site on the first floor. This is a much nicer finished product than “out of the box” flooring.
  • Badly installed copper and cast iron plumbing were replaced with cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) tubing. This means that each plumbing fixture is now on a “home run” water line and can be shut off at the plumbing manifold.
  • The laundry area was reorganized and a new laundry tub was installed, which opened up a lot of space in the basement.
  • We replaced the failing water heater with a new one.
  • We replaced the very old forced air heating system with a new heater and A/C system.
  • We replaced the cheap replacement windows and doors with new Energy Star rated units.
  • The old roofs were repaired and replaced.
  • The exterior siding on the shed was removed and a new siding system installed. We were aiming to avoid vinyl here and opted for a nice board and batten wood siding.


Images courtesy of Solo Real Estate

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