When Ruth Charbonneau was looking for a home in 2006, she saw a lot of condo units.
"I had looked at many, many condos within my price range and expectations," she said.
Eventually, she visited one on a cobblestoned block of Race Street that combined everything she was after: few units, extra storage, and an open door for pets. She also loved the layout and the location.
"It is right off 95 and close to SEPTA," she said. "You can find plenty to do in the neighborhood or get to any other part of the city easily."
The building dates to the 19th century and has retained some of its original elements, including an industrial sliding door in Charbonneau's unit.
"It's not functional, but it is a reminder of the history of the building and the area and it adds to the individuality of the unit," she said.
When Charbonneau moved in, the building had just been converted to condo units, so most of the work she has done has been cosmetic, adding shelves and carpet.
"There was very little I needed to change structurally," she said.
In the kitchen, she added a pantry for storage. The room was already equipped with stainless appliances and granite countertops.
Since 2006, Charbonneau has enjoyed many elements of her Old City neighborhood. In particular, she has relied on Old City Coffee – steps away from her home – as a central location. She said the shop is an ensemble of "all the distinctive parts of a neighborhood – regulars, meeting place, and visitors."
Living among the coffee shops and galleries of Old City also means access to another Philadelphia tradition. "I get to go to First Fridays without planning, as it is right here," Charbonneau said.
While Charbonneau has loved the unit and her neighborhood, a new job is taking her elsewhere. She is confident that a new owner will enjoy the neighborhood just as much.
"I am listening to horses clop on cobblestone as they pass through the street – and no horns blasting to get by," she said. "If you live on cobblestone, you accept a slower street."
The property is currently listed by Dominic Fuscia at Coldwell Banker Preferred for $300,000.