An in-ground pool is an obvious amenity in a house for sale in mid-August. But visitors to the brick contemporary-style house at 3418 Ridgewood Drive in Churchill often feel refreshed before they even see the water.
"We walked in the front door, saw this soaring cathedral ceiling and all these floor-to-ceiling windows," recalled Judy Rubinstein, who bought the house with her husband, Richard, in 1970. "We looked at each other and knew instantly. We didn't even look at the rest of the house."
The couple have put the five-bedroom, 41/2-bath house (MLS No. 927383) on the market for $320,000 through Ellen Livingston of Prudential Preferred Realty (412-670-1366 or www.prudentialpreferred.com). An open house is scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday.
The Rubinsteins weren't looking for a house with a pool, but they and their children have enjoyed it. The pool, whose deep end is at least 9 feet deep, was built at the same time as the house in 1957. It is the focal point of the view through the large windows of the combined living/dining room, which runs along the back of the house and measures 13 by 40 feet. Shortly after they moved in, the owners added a shoji screen to provide privacy between the front and back of the house, but it's usually open, Mrs. Rubinstein said.
The entire house has a comfortable air that instantly relaxes people, she said.
"I've been to Fallingwater and this house has that same inside/outside feeling of being one with nature," she said.
Her real estate agent said that the log-burning fireplace in the living room, hardwood floors and the 20-foot-high cathedral ceiling made of redwood also give the first floor the atmosphere of a ski chalet. A covered rear deck looks out over the pool and wooded yard filled with pin oaks, honey locusts and other mature trees. In summer or winter, it's perfect for entertaining, the owners said.
Visible from the living/dining room is the kitchen, which has its original cherry cabinetry, ceramic tile floors and counters made of granite and laminate. The main floor also includes the 23- by 13-foot master bedroom and another room measuring 17 by 13 feet. The Rubinsteins have used that room as a nursery and later as a den.
The house's lower level has three full baths and three bedrooms ranging in size from 14 by 10 feet to 19 by 12 feet. The 29- by 12-foot family room leads out to a covered porch and the fenced pool. Now that the Rubinsteins are empty-nesters, they mostly live on the main level.
The 1.1-acre property has a county assessed value of $150,000 (www2.county.allegheny.pa.us/RealEstate/Default.aspx). Over the last three years, four houses have sold on Ridgewood Drive for prices ranging from $150,000 in June 2011 to $245,000 in September 2011 (www.realstats.net).
The property is only two blocks from the Parkway East and a 15-minute drive from Downtown in non-rush-hour traffic. The Rubinstein children have lifelong friends in the tight-knit neighborhood, which has its own garden club and civic association. A $35 annual fee goes toward landscaping at the entrances.
"This house has a peaceful feeing," Mrs. Rubinstein said. "You can entertain 100 people or have a cozy dinner for four. It works for both."
Kevin Kirkland: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1978.