There is something about living on the river's edge that makes life better.
Maybe it's watching the barges slowly passing or being able to do some lazy afternoon fishing from your own front yard.
While there may be a few challenges involved, 134 Coxcomb Hill Road in Plum (MLS No. 944083) has the potential to be one of those special places.
The five-bedroom house on a little over 2 acres along the Allegheny River is listed for $275,000 with Keith Ruffing of Keller Williams Realty, The Dustin Nulf Team (412-788-0888 ext. 312 or www.kw.com).
"Very, very interesting but will need some elbow work," said Mr. Ruffing, "It's one of a kind. ... If someone is looking for a project like that, it's the perfect spot."
There are two ways to look at it: Some people will see only that it needs major updating, from the windows to the kitchen to the one full bathroom.
But old house lovers will appreciate that its ornamental trim, fireplace mantels and other woodwork are still intact.
The house was built around 1884, and the property is rumored to have belonged to the Logan family, the third family to hold the district's charter from the English government in the late 1700s. The red-brick Queen Anne-style house has a slate roof and an interior that still boasts its original newel post and staircase, elaborate paneling and doorframes with decorative plinth blocks.
Every room, with the exception of the kitchen, features a fireplace mantel made of Rosso Levanto marble with inlaid or carved designs. The interior wooden shutters flanking the original leaded-glass windows are typical of the Victorian era. Stained to match the woodwork, the shutters control light and provide interior furnishings from the sun.
The 16- by 15-foot living room features the largest and most intricate of the fireplaces and, like the rest of the house, beautiful hardwood floors in need of a bit of care. Pass through a plaster arch to the 17- by 13-foot dining room, which has a built-in china cabinet at one end and fireplace on the other.
There are four entrances to the house, each with covered porches. The largest porch is over the front door; the others lead to the kitchen, study and dining room.
The galley-style kitchen measures 7 by 6 feet and may have been a butler's pantry off the dining room. The narrow space leads to a 12- by 12-foot room that could be the new kitchen. It has stairs leading to the second floor and several windows providing a great view of the river valley.
The 15-by 13-foot study is a truly special room. From the unique built-in secretary to the fabulous stained glass in the bay windows, it transports you to another era. You might expect to see Sherlock Holmes and Mr. Watson taking tea, going over a case, in a room like this.
Upstairs are four large bedrooms measuring 17 by 14 feet, two 15 by 14 feet and one 12 by 12 feet., each with a marble fireplace and one with bay windows.
The hallway leads to a 6-by 4-foot linen closet and a full bathroom that will need major renovation.
The third floor boasts a 29- by 27-foot bedroom and bonus rooms with arched ceilings and windows with spectacular views.
Both the heating and electrical systems were updated in the mid-1990s with a new hot water tank, gas furnace and breaker box. Stairs from the kitchen lead to the unfinished basement where there are hook-ups for a washer and dryer and lots of storage.
You can also access the basement through wooden basement hatchway from the backyard.
Other structures on the property include a utility shed and a swimming pool that will need to be filled in or repaired.
"There is a marina to the left and nothing really to the right for quite a ways, a former industrial property," said Mr. Ruffing.
To the rear of the house are railroad tracks. The county assessed value is $147,100 (www2.county.allegheny.pa.us/RealEstate/Search.aspx). Over the last three years, five properties have sold on Coxcomb Hill Road for prices ranging from $54,000 in August 2011 to $226,495 in October 2009 (www.realstats.net).
Mature trees surround the house and shield it from the road.
Travel time to New Kensington's town center is five minutes and reaching Pittsburgh takes slightly more at 30 minutes using Route 28.
"A lot of work but lots of potential," Mr. Ruffing said. "This is a place for someone who is looking for space, a riverfront property and has interest in history. ... So many possibilities."
Liz Gray: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1978. First Published January 12, 2013 5:00 AM