They had always lived in leafy-green areas like Elkins Park, but the couple realized that the right property could offer them everything they wanted.
How did they choose?
"Our dog had a lot to do with it," Feldman says, laughing. "He is pretty much of a weenie, he doesn't like to go into elevators, and has never even gone out the front door."
Still, in addition to Jesse, their English Labrador, credit for the decision to buy their 2,700-square-foot unit also must go to the couple's chain of advisers. Feldman and Frank said they consulted Ambler contractor David Meyer, who led them to architect Jeffrey Krieger.
At one time, the space had been three apartments, which were obliterated in the building's conversion to condos. Feldman, Frank, and Krieger were presented with an empty shell that got light only at the front and the back.
Frank, a clinical social worker, and Feldman, an executive at a title insurance company, gave Krieger their specifications and left the design to him.
The work took about a year. Now, their home is a mixture of light and quiet created to take advantage of the unit's north-south orientation and the thick, resilient structure of walls erected more than a century ago.
"When we are here, we never hear street noises," Frank says. "It is hard to imagine that we are in the middle of the city."
Light was a major part of Krieger's plan. He adapted the space to make sure light travels - via sources both natural and artificial - from the front bedroom windows to a rear yard converted from a parking lot.
The bedroom, which faces Spruce Street, has a series of recessed fluorescent cove-lighting units that lead to the master bathroom, where a panel at the top of the door allows a few inches of sunlight to filter in in the daytime. At night, a fluorescent wand provides illumination.
A hallway with pendant lighting leads from the master-bedroom area past a study-den that has been designated as a guest room.
The cozy den is painted a vibrant red set off by furnishings in more neutral hues.
Since the living room/ dining room area was a one-story, 1950 addition to the old apartment house, Krieger could install skylights. At night, fluorescents simulate natural light.
Krieger designed plates to fit over the dining table, "so neighbors in the floors above, whose apartments don't extend above the skylights, can't look down and see us eating," Frank explains. (Rear balconies from the three floors upstairs look down on the addition.)
The living room has a huge plateglass window and a wall fitted with colored-glass blocks in red and blue. On another wall, an original working fireplace offers warmth, both physical and aesthetic.
The kitchen area has a granite island surrounded with seating that looks out toward the fenced-in terrace and the yard.
"I always look out at the garden when we are sitting at the counter," Frank says.
The view includes a garage that Krieger modernized and studded with some of the same red and blue glass blocks used in the living room's wall.
"We love the lighting in the skylight that looks like sunlight in the night as well as the natural sunlight in the day," Feldman says.
He and his wife are very happy with their city home, he says.
And Krieger is happy with the outcome, too, noting:
"It was like solving a puzzle designing the space and providing the light and space Marilyn and David need."