Since 1974, the Clay Studio on North Second Street in Old City has been a mecca for potters, bringing artisans, teachers, lecturers, and the general public together to promote all aspects of the craft.
But for Neil and Elizabeth McLaughlin it has been much more than that: It was the catalyst for that most basic of life choices: where to live.
“We wouldn’t be here if not for the Clay Studio,” says Neil, whose retirement as a psychologist and community health administrator for the State of Delaware let the couple consider moving from Wilmington in 1999.
Elizabeth, a ceramic artist, had been spending time at the Clay Studio but wanted a studio of her own. The couple wound up buying more than that: a three-story Georgian rowhouse nearby that had served as a hat factory in the late 1800s.
The building had about 6,000 square feet of space, and the McLaughins set out to renovate it so it could accommodate their apartment, her studio, and additional space for commercial tenants.
“The building was a wreck, with exposed ceilings,” Neil says. “We put a lot of time into moving walls, building walls, creating private spaces. The attic had been unusable.”
The two commercial spaces, which have a separate entrance, are both currently occupied by an architectural firm with a lease expiring at the end of October 2020. They have a kitchen, a kitchenette, a full bath, and two powder rooms.
The McLaughlins’ apartment is entered from the third floor and includes a master bedroom with double height ceilings, a raised dressing area, a wall of windows, and a full bath.
The studio space is 600 square feet with 14-foot ceilings.
The basement, which is part of the commercial space, also has extra storage room, perhaps for a wine cellar. All utilities are separate. The floors are original hardwood, and the stairwells have forged iron railings. There is also a roof deck with garden area.
The couple are moving, Neil says, because “we’re 79 years old and looking at downsizing,” perhaps in an apartment that will still be close to the Clay Studio, where Elizabeth will be working again.
The property is listed by Franz Rabauer of Plumer & Associates for $1,749,000.