Marci and Mitch Rose appreciate the simple things: family, friends, city living, and a cozy apartment in the National building in Old City, filled only with things they need and love.

The couple did a lot of purging when they moved from a 4,500-square-foot house in Churchville, Bucks County, to their 1,100-square-foot apartment in Philadelphia, and that was just fine with them. They appreciate having less stuff and the convenience their new lifestyle provides.

“The gym is right in this building, you can get coffee and breakfast downstairs on your way out, packages are delivered to the doorman and come to you, and we have parking,” said Mitch, 54, a salesman for a software tech firm. “Everything is just easier.”

Wanting a taste of city living, the couple rented in another Old City building in 2017, about the time the National was being renovated. They moved into the National in January, soon after it was completed.

The apartment, decorated in white and gray throughout, is warm and inviting. Open space and nine-foot ceilings give it a roomy feel, and sunlight filters in through oversize windows. The master bedroom comfortably fits a king-size bed, and a walk-in closet with lots of shelving offers plenty of storage space.

Marci Rose added a decorative pantry with a bar in the kitchen. The frosted glass barn door lets light into the guest room/home office.
STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer
Marci Rose added a decorative pantry with a bar in the kitchen. The frosted glass barn door lets light into the guest room/home office.

The couple use the second bedroom as a guest room/home office combo with a desk, sofa bed, and credenza. Frosted glass barn doors under a transom window let in lots of light. Beyond the kitchen and living room are two full bathrooms, a laundry room, and storage area.

Keeping the small space clutter-free requires organization, which Marci has in abundance. She has designated a place for everything. For example, she outfitted the laundry room with a table for gift-wrapping or as a holding area for such things as presents that won’t be in the home for long.

The mementos the Roses kept have sentimental meaning, including two bookshelves filled with family photos. A large, colorful framed self-portrait by their daughter Meredith hangs above the living room sofa, and another framed black-and-white photo, circa 1935, includes about two dozen members of earlier generations of Mitch’s family. A vintage cash register belonged to Mitch’s grandfather, and the credenza in the guest room is a family heirloom.

“We inherited it when we got married almost 29 years ago,” Marci recalled. “When we got it, I stripped it to the bare wood and stained it. It was much more rustic. When we moved to the city, I wanted to make it cool, so now it’s silver.”

Marci’s design taste and handiwork can be seen throughout the home. She installed a floating shelf under the living room television and built a decorative pantry with a bar in the kitchen.

To create more compact space, Marci Rose installed a floating shelf under the television in the living room. Shelving elsewhere displays family photos and mementos.
STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer
To create more compact space, Marci Rose installed a floating shelf under the television in the living room. Shelving elsewhere displays family photos and mementos.

“I really started cooking when we moved here because it’s so easy,” said Marci, 53, a designer and artist at Purple Pumpkin Gifts in Huntingdon Valley. “We entertain here. We had 12 people for the Super Bowl very comfortably.”

The home also is a gathering spot for their kids: Meredith, 27, Melanie, 25, and Max, 21.

The couple especially enjoy Old City. “I know a lot of the shop owners, and I love that you walk down the street and see the same people coming and going to work every day,” said Marci, who values being greeted by name.

They also appreciate their neighbors and the diversity in their building. “There’s a mixture of ages, people just starting off in life and older people in a different chapter of their lives,” Marci said. Residents have moved in from all over the country.

The common area in apartment building of the recently renovated National Building in Old City.
STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer
The common area in apartment building of the recently renovated National Building in Old City.

The Roses respect the juxtaposition of the new and old — the modern building that replicated the orange-tiled façade of the former National Products store, which occupied the site until 1996. The building abuts Elfreth’s Alley, the city’s oldest continually occupied residential street, dating to 1702.

Mitch wasn’t sold on city living at first. “I was concerned about the lifestyle, not being able to go out on the porch in the morning, hearing the birds and the bees,” he said. But he was immediately transformed. “I was shocked how quickly that feeling went away.”

Now they take advantage of the city lifestyle, seeing shows, trying new restaurants, and making plans on a whim. “We love walking everywhere,” they agreed.

The renovated National Building on Second Street honors the facade of the store that occupied the site until 1996.
STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer
The renovated National Building on Second Street honors the facade of the store that occupied the site until 1996.