A well-known home with a quirky and elaborate interior in historic Cape May, NJ, is up for sale for $3 million.
Known as the Empress, this Queen Anne Victorian was built in 1885 and measures 4,563 square feet. It has eight bedrooms, eight baths, and two half-baths. Initially listed in September 2018 for $3.8 million, the home’s price was reduced a few times.
A single family has been living in the home, but it’s licensed as an eight-room overnight establishment. Each guest room has its own bathroom and HVAC system. The rooms are decorated in the style of the 1880s with antiques and custom drapes and bedding.
The home is being offered as a turnkey purchase, which includes the decor and furnishings with the exception of “personal items, artwork, and a few antique pieces,” according to the listing.
The main level features two parlors, a formal dining room, and reception area equipped with a dumbwaiter.
The lower level includes a dressing room, barber shop, player piano, and game table. There’s also an antique ice cream parlor and 12-seat theater. A popcorn machine stands at the ready nearby.
Purchased by the current owners in 2010 for just less than $250,000, the home has undergone extensive renovations. The company behind the renovation, OSK Design Partners, says the home was transformed from top to bottom. Wrought-iron staircases and handmade porcelain tile were imported from England. The colored glass windows are authentic reproductions of the originals.
New audiovisual system, computer networking, wiring, and fire sprinklers were all installed. The company also removed a few modifications made in the past that weren’t in line with the home’s 1880s lineage.
The kitchen features modern conveniences and appliances with period touches.
Despite the modern conveniences, the home is a throwback to the age of elaborate and opulent interiors and furnishings.
Formerly known as the Bell Shields house, the Empress sits on the corner of Hughes Street and Decatur in the town’s historic district and is one of several late 19th-century frame buildings. Horses and carriages pass by it daily.
The seaside resort of Cape May is at the southern end of a peninsula dividing the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay. It’s very close to Philadelphia.
The home’s landscaping includes private gardens and wraparound porches.
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