Amanda Gibney Weko, who does writing and strategy for the design community in Philadelphia, knows something that too many diehard Philadelphians ignore: There is a town in New Jersey that is well worth leaving the city for, and its name is Collingswood. It's got a little of Bedford Falls about it—it was once named one of the "Kindest Places in New Jersey"—but it's also diverse and contemporary enough that you don't feel you've stepped into Pleasantville (we mean the movie Pleasantville, not the NJ Pleasantville). Best of all, Collingswood is right on the PATCO line for an incredibly easy commute. It also has some great housing stock, as Weko's home, now for sale, demonstrates. It's a lovely Queen Anne with gorgeous period details, but it didn't start out that way. Talk about sweat equity.
"The house operated as a duplex and/or illegal triplex from the mid-1960s until my husband and I bought it in 2003," Weko says. "We restored it from a deteriorated, aqua shag-carpeted, paneled apartment building into a single family home." They captured its original 1895 floor plan and updated it with modern amenities, leading to in This Old House magazine, Philadelphia magazine and the Courier-Post. They're leaving the house now not because they don't love it, but because, well, life happens, you know?
Size: 5 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,037 square feet
Outdoor space: wrap-around porch, "new-stamped concrete patio surrounded by a willow privacy hedge"
Ooh, fancy: Carrera marble countertops in kitchen, radiant floor heating in bathroom
· Listing: 325 Lees Avenue, Collingswood, NJ [Prudential Fox & Roach/Haddonfield]