On the Market profiles homes for sale in the Philadelphia region.
In 2005, Scott Larkin and his then-girlfriend (now wife) Megan were living in a small apartment at 12th and Pine Streets. Megan knew it was time for a change.
"[She] decided we were done living in an apartment above a pizza shop," Scott said. "It was time to buy something for ourselves."
The couple was looking for a very specific kind of property. It had to face south for optimal exposure to light and it had to be three stories.
"And we wanted to not feel bad about ripping all the details off of it," Larkin said.
In other words, it had to be primed for a total rehab.
Secondary to that, the couple was hearing good things about South Philadelphia.
"I had some co-workers who were very positive about the changes happening on Passyunk Ave," Larkin said. The house on Wharton was perfect for their purposes.
"It was OK enough to live in, but not OK enough to bring your future mother-in-law to," Larkin said.
The rehab came in two phases. First, Scott and Megan took on the third-floor bedroom renovation.
"That took us only four years," Scott laughed. "After time and life getting in the way, we decided maybe it was time to find a little help."
Luckily for them, Scott had gone to architecture school with builder Matt Seip.
"We gave him a call and said basically, 'What would it take?'" Larkin said.
Waiting four years to call in another professional allowed the couple time to live in the space and make purposeful decisions.
"In this case, having a long design-construction period let us really think about it and make what I think were really smart decisions," Larkin said.
The second phase of the rehab, which involved essentially the entire rest of the house, took less than half a year.
"We lived out of the bedroom for four or five months, " Larkin said. "We ate a lot of take-out, got pregnant. And then we had a brand new house, which was what we wanted when we bought it close to five years earlier."
The rehab was planned entirely around natural light. The first floor features frosted windows to allow light in without sacrificing privacy. Glass doors do the same. An open plan makes the home feel bright and airy.
Construction put the kitchen in the middle of the open first floor. It's Larkin's favorite spot in the house because it's easy to be there but still feel like he's connected to friends and family who might be in the living room.
"You're really part of what's going on," he said. "And that's just because it's basically right in the center of the house."
As he and his wife prepare to sell the home now, he says he thinks a combination of classic features and modern touches will attract a new buyer.
"When you walk in the door, it's not overwhelming and it's not trying to be so different," he said. "But I think it's a nice, warm, friendly place."
The home is listed for $395,000 by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox and Roach's Craig Wakefield.
Larkin said the move is a bittersweet one. "I probably would be very happy to continue the rest of my days there," he said.
But the next project calls.
"I really loved the process. Turning something a little run down and forgotten into something relevant and even a little special – it's part of what I do. The process is almost as fun as the end result."