Yoi-cation is everything: Myron Cope, Frank Gustine Jr. downsized to Mt. Lebanon

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Andy Starnes, Post-Gazette
A view from the second floor balcony shows the open floor plan of the living room, dining area and kitchen of Myron Cope's condo, for sale in Woodridge, Mt. Lebanon. The broadcaster left a life-sized cutout by the fireplace to greet visitors.

Other than their famous names, Myron Cope and Frank Gustine Jr. had little in common when each bought condominiums in Woodridge.

Andy Starnes, Post-Gazette
The kitchen of the condo that belonged to ... well, most Pittsburghers will know.
Click photo for larger image.
More information
For more information on 407 Kingsberry Circle, call Barbara Baker and Bob Main of Prudential at 412-833-7700, ext. 281, or go to www. prudentialpreferred.com, MLS No. 634962.

But Mr. Gustine, a three-sport star at Pitt and son of Pirates infielder Frank Gustine Sr., and Mr. Cope, a radio personality and Steelers color man for 35 years known for his trademark exclamation "Yoi," quickly found common ground amid the well-landscaped Tudor town houses in Mt. Lebanon: Each wanted to downsize to a South Hills community that was close to restaurants, shopping, family and friends.

"We really enjoyed Mt. Lebanon because of all the conveniences," said Mr. Gustine, who lived with his wife, Linda, in a much larger stone Tudor nearby for 23 years.

"This is not real big, but it fits us."

Mr. Cope, meanwhile, left his home of 27 years in Upper St. Clair to move into a condo under construction in Woodridge seven years ago.

"I liked the convenience -- the stores and the malls are just five minutes away. But it's completely set off. ... the beauty of the place. In the spring, they plant the nicest garden you'll ever see at the entrance," he said.

With health problems blurring his distinctive voice, Mr. Cope has moved to a retirement community and put his unit on the market for $399,000 through Prudential Preferred Realty.

At about 2,000 square feet, 407 Kingsberry Circle is midsized for Woodridge. Entering from the parking area, it looks much smaller, but the low ceiling in the entry hall gives way to 9-foot spans, then an angled cathedral ceiling that encompasses the 17- by 13-foot living room. Sliding glass doors next to the brick gas-burning fireplace lead to a deck with a retractable awning.

The first-floor's red-stained oak floor matches cherry cabinetry in the 20- by 9-foot kitchen, complemented by charcoal gray ceramic-tile counter tops and stainless-steel appliances. One of three bedrooms, a full bath and a powder room are on the first floor.

A red-stained railing with white balusters looks down on the living room from the second floor, which contains a full bath, 16- by 13-foot bedroom and a 20- by 7-foot "sitting room" with the view of the living room.

"My decorator, Susan Finnegan Rosen, came up with that," Mr. Cope said. "She was killing me with change orders. Finally, I surrendered: 'Susie, do whatever you want.' It's beautiful."

The 20- by 17-foot finished basement leads to a small patio. A two-car garage is next to the front door.

Photographer, Post-Gazette photos
Above: Megan Gustine-Foster holds her daughter, Mia Foster, in front of her parents' home in Mt. Lebanon's Woodridge community.
Below: Inside, the dining room's French doors lead to the family room.

Click photos for larger image.

The Gustines, meanwhile, bought one of the older units a year ago September. Though the nearly 30-year-old town house was in move-in condition, it needed updating. They began an eight-month renovation that included most of the first floor and all but one of the 3 1/2 bath bathrooms.

Hardwood floors replaced carpeting throughout the first floor and doorways and portions of walls were moved to create an open kitchen and eating area. A long wall opposite the dining table is now filled with floor-to-ceiling cabinetry. Mrs. Gustine came up with the changes with help from Mrs. Rosen, the same designer used by Mr. Cope, who just happens to be her sister-in-law.

"I tell her what colors I want. She makes sure I don't make any major mistakes," Mrs. Gustine said, laughing.

The French doors that now connect the dining area with the new family room were Mrs. Rosen's idea.

"I like to work at the kitchen table and open my mail," said Mr. Gustine, president of FWG Real Estate, a commercial development company. "I can see the TV (in the family room) from here, too. She hates when I do that."

Mrs. Gustine said she agreed to the view to get her husband to go along with the French doors. She noted that his "real" office is off the living room, which has a vaulted ceiling.

The master bedroom was dramatically changed when the bathroom was reconfigured and a new wall replaced folding doors. The new bathroom boasts marble counter tops, white cabinets like those in the kitchen and two sconces that are set in the wall-length mirror. Contractor and friend Dave Barkman did all of the work.

The Gustines, who also bought a second home in Florida last year, said Woodridge works because it's the right size for the two of them and because it's close to her mother and their daughter, Megan Gustine-Foster, son-in-law Dave and 15-month-old granddaughter Mia in Upper St. Clair.

Seven other town houses are currently for sale in Woodridge, on Kingsberry, Queensberry, Thornberry and Allenberry circles and Royal Court. Prices range from $210,000 for a two-bedroom unit to $410,000 for three bedrooms. Condo fees range from $180 to $210 a month.

Empty-nesters from Mt. Lebanon have also flocked to Main Line, whose two- and four-unit carriage homes began going up in 1989. Existing two- or three-bedroom units usually sell in the mid $200,000s to the low $300,000s. Newly built units range in size from 2,500 to 3,500 square feet and in price from $450,000 to $600,000.

Realtor Jane Compagnone, a Mt. Lebanon empty-nester who now lives in Woodridge, noted that it's not all empty-nesters and singles. One couple with five children has rented a unit for a few years. The children enjoy the in-ground pool, clubhouse and party room.

The Gustines, Mr. Cope and others note the mature trees and flower beds, which are tended by a committee of residents. Mr. Cope, who had roses at his Upper St. Clair home, was glad he didn't have to care for them at Woodridge.

"My roses always went blooey. When Chuck Noll came over, he'd always give me a lecture on how to take care of my roses."

Kevin Kirkland can be reached at kkirkland@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1978.


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