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Cool Old House and a Chat with a Local Builder

I was working at my frame shop recently with a customer who had a military uniform to frame, we love these types of projects. We were being creative and listening to the customers wishes for this piece. The customer was Natalie DiRenzo ( I know, she has been married for what seems like forever, but to me she will always be Natalie DiRenzo). We got talking about Conshohocken and how things change, but yet stay the same and so on. We did a book in 2012 where we took at least a photo a day and we included her dad Nick when he was working on ‘fiene before it was open. At some point in the conversation we were talking about old houses and how we have such unique architecture in Conshohocken, Natalie lit up! She started telling me about a house that her and her husband Chuck had just bought, it had cool features throughout the house inside and out. I couldn’t get her to stop in all honesty, she really was so into this house. We got back to talking about the framing of the uniform, she was happy with what we had designed and she left. About a week later I called to let her know it was ready to be picked up. She came into the shop to pick it up and asked if I wanted to see the house she was talking about. I wanted to check this place out. So, we met at the house and I know why she lit up when talking about it….

I met her and her husband Chuck there at 307 East 9th Ave. You could barely see the house from the street due to the trees surrounding it, it is a hidden gem. Once you walk through the gate, you are caught up in how cool this old house is. I was a little cautious when I asked…. is this house about to be knocked down? I’m not sure which one of them yelled out first, NO. Chuck did tell me when he initially looked at the property he thought it would be a house that would be knocked down in order to build a set of twins. However, once they were able to walk through the house with a little more time they loved it. Sure it needed work, but the work in this particular house could be done. During our conversation Chuck did mention that some of the homes they have bought he goes in with the intention to restore/re-do/renovate the house and after bringing in other people they realize there is too much needed to restore or renovate a house and it is simply a hardship to renovate at a reasonable price. He has had to knock down a few houses that he initially thought they could renovate. With this particular house, they were excited when they realized it had good bones, a good foundation and some beautiful craftsmanship from the late 1800’s early 1900’s.

A little about Chuck and Natalie, it sounds like they started dating in high school. Natalie was a hell of a basketball player at Plymouth Whitemarsh. They are both born and raised here. They have 4 wonderful kids and the kids have a little of each of their parents personality. I know Natalie and we see each other when we’re dropping kids off at school and such, I really haven’t had a long conversation with Chuck before yesterday and I wish I had gotten to know him sooner. We sat there talking about so many things Conshohocken and the surrounding community. They are really down to earth. Let me get back to the house….

I don’t know if they wanted this little tidbit in the public, but I thought it was one of the coolest things…… Chuck and Natalie committed to buying the house, the previous owners were moving out and looking to stay local, during a walk through the previous owners had talked glowingly of certain things in the house like a special chandelier. Chuck and Natalie brought in an electrician and had them take down the chandelier and move it to where the owner had moved. I just thought that was so cool.

I was able to take some photos, I really can’t wait to get back in and maybe check it out once it is complete. I know Chuck and Natalie have their own house on Fayette Street and it has a little more space then this house does, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they have a conversation about moving to this house once it is complete…..

A few more things, I understand Chuck and Natalie have Borkowski Homes and they are working on a project in West Conshohocken. I didn’t ask for more details, but it sounded cool, what really sounded cool was the view. Maybe one day I’ll get over there and check it out. The house that we walked through, I don’t think they were trying to tell me about it in order to sell it…. I just think they love it. I totally see why. They had some great ideas for the house that keep in tact the older details, add some new features and make it a home. Best of luck guys, let me know when I can take another walk through. I want to see some of that exposed brick, new life in the fireplace and so on…. and I have to see how you kept the coolest part of the backyard, the little cottage garage.

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