While the first impression you get upon approaching the elegantly landscaped, 13-room, two-story Gold Coast home at 153 E. Glenside Ave. in Linwood is apt to be a pleasing one, what really sets this five-bedroom, 3½-bath residence apart from so many others in its price range is the treasure trove of hidden architectural assets it was endowed with by its builder three decades ago.
The exterior, in fact, has one feature that tends to makes first-time visitors do a double take—the striking contrast between the grey-brick exterior of the front and the moss green, wood-surfaced side of the house, where its two-car-garage, chimney and upper- and lower-level decks are situated, which makes it appear to be part of a completely different structure (although on closer inspection, the brick front also includes some of that same wood).
That effect, according to its current owner, Atlantic County Freeholder Director Frank Formica, former owner /operator of Formica’s Bakery and Café in Atlantic City, was the creation of the home’s builder and original owner, George Thomas, whose firm, Thomas Company, Inc., of Egg Harbor Township, has long done specialty work for the construction industry. And no, that’s not vinyl siding, Formica notes, but top-grade California redwood cedar. “It’s the real McCoy,” he says.
But then, so is everything else that has gone into the construction and interior design of this house, which Formica characterizes as the last word in authenticity. All the casing and all the trim work, as well as the interior staircase and the cabinets, are made of No. 1 solid natural oak, and all the hallways, including the 22-foot-high atrium, have solid birch floors. That’s one reason he considers it such a great buy at $449,000 — “You couldn’t replace it today for twice the price with that quality of materials.”
Nor, for that matter, could you easily find a home on the market that offers such a unique combination of amenities, such as its two distinctively different wood-burning fireplaces, a traditional-looking type in the sunken family room and a less conventional, semicircular one with an elaborate red brick hearth that adorns the finished basement, and the natural-gas barbecue unit that’s built into the lower deck from bricks identical to those used in the living-room hearth.
Then there’s what Formica refers to as “the all-season room” located right off that deck, a huge, totally enclosed sun porch that’s both heated and air conditioned. “I’ve spent more time relaxing in that room than I have in the rest of the house,” he says. For a potential buyer who also needs a good place to work remotely—as more and more people are doing these days—this house also has a first-rate home office, complete with built-in bookshelves (as well as a bedroom that can be converted into a second one if needed).
As for that 1,300-square foot basement, in addition to the aforementioned fireplace, it also has a bar that’s suitable for hosting any type of entertainment (as soon as large gatherings become permissible again), an extra bedroom and a full bath, making it an ideal “vacation suite” for family members of friends.
The list of hidden surprises this home offers also include some cutting-edge energy-efficiency features, such as a “wet hot-air heating system” controlled by a boiler that’s custom designed to send heat to six separate zones via more than 200 feet of cast-iron radiators --one which the owner says has allowed him to keep his biggest heating bills “within the $200 range.” And that’s in addition to what he describes as two “ecologically friendly” central air systems that separately cool the upper and lower levels.
Another highly economical feature—one Formica credits with having saved him thousands of dollars in water bills— is a sunken irrigation well and pump installed by Thomas to provide water to a six-zone sprinkler system with 10-12 heads each. Using municipal water for the same purpose, he estimates, would have cost him another $150-$200 a month. (Another significant savings, he adds, can be realized from the fact that the site is not subject to flooding, and thus requires no federal flood insurance.)
The house, according to its owner, also contains numerous other testaments to the ingenuity of the builder. They include a stainless steel baseboard around the walls of the garage, along with a giant matching workbench; two 200-amp electric mains (although the appliances, heating and hot water are all powered by natural gas) with a hook-up that can easily accommodate a generator; a built-in mahogany sideboard in the formal dining room; a lighting system in the foyer that can be programmed to match the occupants’ mood; a wall of shower nozzles in the master bathroom, and a leak-proof tile tub in the upstairs laundry room in which both the washer and drier have been placed as a safety measure.
Among the home’s other amenities are an eat-in kitchen that has both a comfortably traditional feel and a full complement of top-of-the-line, stainless steel Electrolux appliances (in addition to those 100 percent-oak cabinets); a huge storage attic accessible via a stepladder from the laundry room, and no fewer than three walk-in closets (two of which are in the master suite). Finally, there’s what’s standing on the front lawn—an authentic antique gas lamp from Philadelphia’s Broad Street (a wedding gift to the builder’s father), which has been electrified, but retains its original charm.
Adding to this home’s appeal is its location in one of the Mainland’s most desirable neighborhoods, just a short walk from the Linwood athletic fields, the meadows and bucolic Off’s Pond, a popular spot with local nature lovers.
If all those hidden attributes, as well as an outwardly lovely home are the kind sof things you’d like your lifestyle to include, the person to contact is Kevin Corcoran from Kevin Corcoran Real Estate in Atlantic City, at (609) 348-0077 or his cell phone (609-432-9226), or email him at email@example.com to arrange for a private showing. But don’t hesitate—a property with so much going for it may soon no longer be on the market.
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