The Space

By J. Cooper Robb
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Nov. 30, 2005

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Kristine Seitz
Occupation: Architect.
Neighborhood: Fairview, Camden.
Style: Colonial revival.

 

It's Sunday afternoon. The sun is shining. People are strolling by with their dogs. And the air is filled with the sounds of children playing. This could be a scene from a Norman Rockwell painting. But it's actually Fairview, a neighborhood in the southern section of America's most dangerous city-Camden, N.J. A tranquil community located at the base of the Walt Whitman Bridge, the neighborhood grew up around the Camden shipyard in the late 1910s, and with its tidy streets, open green spaces and resurgent Main Street, it seems the perfect spot for anyone searching for an affordable home in a nearby suburban-style community. We got a taste of this up-and-coming neighborhood when visiting the surprisingly spacious home of Kristine Seitz.


How long have you lived here?
"I've been here a little more than two months."

Do you work nearby?
"I work in Voorhees Township. It's just 15 minutes away."

What made you choose Fairview?
"I was renting in Camden before. But I work at an architectural firm, and I wanted to feel like I was more a part of the community. I was kind of looking to lay down roots in the neighborhood, and that led me here. And I like that it's a historic neighborhood. Also being in the field, I enjoy the Colonial revival architecture and the fact that the neighborhood is really well laid out. I can just walk to dinner a block away with friends. Everything is very convenient that way."

What was the home like before you bought it?
"It was all boarded up, so they essentially had to renovate it from scratch. They put in new windows, plumbing, electricity, stainless-steel appliances, hardwood floors, wall-to-wall carpeting upstairs and central air. The interior was entirely redone, though they maintained the structure of the home."

The home dates back to 1918?
"Yes. There are historical guidelines to follow, especially on the outside. And being an older house, the rooms are a little smaller than those you find in new construction, but I like that. It gives the house a nice cozy feel, and even though I've been here only a couple months, it really feels like home."

You have a great kitchen. Do you cook much?
"I try to, at least as much as my schedule permits. But they did do a really nice job with the appliances."

And you have a backyard?
"That's the project I can't wait to tackle in the spring. I did manage to get some planting done out front."

How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you have?
"I have three bedrooms and one bath. It's hardwood floors downstairs and wall-to-wall carpeting on the second floor. I'm using one of the bedrooms for an office and another for a guest room."

Do you have a laundry room?
"That's in the basement, which I also use for storage. And I have a lot of closet space."

Do you think Camden gets a bad rap with its image as a dangerous city?
"I do. It seems ridiculous. I've never had any problems here."

Everything fits so well. Did you buy new furniture?
"No, I didn't, actually. Everything I had from my apartment just fit right. It was like I was made to live here."

 

Got a great space? Email J. Cooper Robb (jrobb@philadelphiaweekly.com) with your name, neighborhood and contact info.

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