John DePhillipo has something peculiar in common with his house and it's not just the fact that he lives there.
"We're both the same age," he says. "It was built in 1941, the same year I was born."
Located in Margate's fashionable Parkway section, the all-brick colonial revival structure is the fourth house from the beach. John, a longtime builder from Philadelphia, bought it in 1973 as a summer home. He's lived there full-time since 1985 with his second wife, Maria. It's where they raised two sons.
"I bought it from the original owner, a Dr. Stewart whose office was right in the house," John says. Those were the days when doctors worked out of their homes and came to see you with a little bag."
Dr. Stewart was a general practitioner but he might as well have been a dentist considering all the dentil molding that adorns the house. The notched trim that resembles teeth can be found on the crown molding, arched doorways, and the fireplace mantel. It even lines the cornices under the roof.
The intricate wood trim is one of the things that attracted John to the house.
"When I saw the Flemish brickwork and all the dentil molding I asked the owner for a set of plans," he says. "That's when I learned it was a super custom home designed by a famous architect from Connecticut. He was a bit of an historian who drew up the plans with a quill pen."
John also had fond childhood memories of summers at the Jersey Shore.
"I grew up in South Philadelphia and used to come to my grandparents' house in Atlantic City every summer," he says. "They had an Italian restaurant on Pacific Avenue across from Convention Hall called Bella Napoli. My aunts and uncles and cousins all worked there in the summers and stayed upstairs."
John and Maria's house in Margate stands on a beautifully landscaped double lot at the corner of South Thurlow and Atlantic avenues. It features ocean views from the master bedroom and finished third floor and a floor plan that has remained virtually unchanged for 70 years.
To the right of the foyer is a den with a separate entrance that once served as Dr. Stewart's examination room. To the left is a formal living room with a fireplace, now converted to gas, and hardwood floors that extend through most of the house. The large formal dining room has built-in shelves and French doors to an elevated paver patio.
"Many a summer night we'll have dinner out here," John says. "It's very private."
Raised panel doors, double hung windows and radiators are all original. Four of the five bathrooms still have their original tile floors and walls. But there have been some changes. The foyer is now floored with porcelain tiles. The third floor attic has been fully finished and now includes a cedar closet and a full bathroom with a skylight and steam shower. There's also the green linoleum floor in the kitchen, which was installed in 1973.
"My friends laugh when they see it but I've seen it in architectural magazines. It's coming back," John says.
The kitchen also has newer cabinets and granite counters. A sunken utility room has a laundry chute and access to the two-car garage, which is entered from Atlantic Avenue.
Off the kitchen is a second staircase to the second floor where there are four bedrooms, two with private baths, and two that share a Jack-and-Jill bathroom. The bathrooms have their original tile walls and floors. A large walk-in attic above the garage is used for storage but would be ideal for a rec room.
The flagstone walkway in the front yard is original, but John added the paver patio off the dining room and also enclosed the back yard with low brick wall.
Amazingly, considering its proximity to the ocean, the house suffered no damage from Hurricane Sandy.
"The water came up to the front steps," John says. "But it never got into the house."
The hair salon Maria owns just a few blocks away wasn't so lucky. Her shop, Nix Salon and Spa, was inundated during the storm. The good news is that the damage has been repaired and the shop is up and running again.
When John and Maria sell the house they plan to remain in Margate but they're looking to downsize.
"We found a smaller four-bedroom house on Bayshore Drive that has an elevator," Maria says.
"We're lived here a long time and enjoyed it," says John, who has four grown children from his first marriage. "But I'm 70 years old. I want less responsibility."
Maybe its because he shares a birthday with the house, but John is hoping the next owner won't demolish it. "It's a double lot so they could put two houses here," he says. "I hope they don't do that. But I have no control of it."
For more information on this property, which is listed for $2.5 million, call Paula Hartman of Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors, 609-487-7234 or direct at 609-272-7337.
Style: Colonial revival
Price: $2.5 million