It's the holy grail for many young families -- a house with character that is not ridiculously expensive in a good school district.
All three come together beautifully in 455 Freeport Road, Blawnox, a three-bedroom, 11/2-bath Craftsman-style brick house (MLS No. 927301) listed at $137,500 with Lynn Niman of Prudential Preferred Realty (412-782-3700, ext. 212, or www.prudentialpreferred.com). An open house is scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
"You're kind of surprised [when you go inside]," Ms. Niman said. "All the integrity of a Craftsman-style home makes it a very inviting house. And it's got a good feel to it."
Fine examples of craftsmanship are everywhere in this house, from the leaded-glass sidelights and transom on the front door to the built-in cabinets and ceiling beams in the dining room and living room. A great deal of care has been taken over the years -- 124 to be exact -- to preserve the Craftsman period look.
"I was looking for a house in the Fox Chapel School District, and this house came up," said owner Renee Gorczyca. "My favorite part of the house is all the built-ins. I love those cabinets. They are the neatest thing."
The main floor has an open floor plan with a well-preserved room divider between the 18- by-14-foot living room and 12- by-12-foot dining room. Both rooms have wall-to-wall carpeting covering hardwood floors and gas fireplaces with brick surrounds.
"There's a beautiful window seat in the dining room -- great for all the kids' games," said Ms. Gorczyca, noting that the large amount of storage was another reason she bought the house.
The 13-by-7-foot galley kitchen, which is due to be updated, has a garbage disposal, dishwasher, gas stove and microwave oven.
"It's a workable kitchen, and it's got the space to be redone," Ms. Niman, the Realtor, said.
One update that proved to be very useful to a growing family is a large back porch that was turned into a 20-by-7-foot media/game room with its newer windows, its own heat source and door to the backyard.
"I love the back room. When the kids had friends over, I could close the door and wouldn't hear them," Ms. Gorczyca said.
The three bedrooms upstairs measure 11 by 10 feet, 11 by 9 feet and 11 by 8 feet, each with hardwood floors, dark-stained wooden baseboards and trim and tall windows. The owner had the full bath upstairs updated with new ceramic floors and a three-piece suite. A powder room is in the basement.
The unfinished basement and attic provide lots of storage room that any family with children will love. The water heater was replaced three years ago, and the gas furnace and air conditioning units were both replaced 10 years ago. Ms. Gorczyca said that the basement has higher ceilings than are often found in older houses, and because it runs beneath the entire house, it would add lots of space if finished.
There is a detached single-car garage, with electric door opener, built into the hill in the front of the house.
The fenced-in backyard measures 125 by 50 feet and comes equipped with a tire swing. There is also street parking in the rear.
The property has a county assessed value of $71,000 (www2.county.allegheny.pa.us/RealEstate/Default.aspx).
Twelve single-family properties have sold on Freeport Road in Blawnox in the past three years for prices ranging from $45,000 in April 2010 to $153,000 in December 2010 (www.realstats.net).
Freeport Road is the main street, and this property is within walking distance of a bus stop and antique shops, restaurants and other small businesses. It's a 20-minute drive to either Oakland or Downtown.
"Blawnox has a nice old town feel to it," Ms. Gorczyca said.
"It's just a nice, stable community, a great place to start because you get the Fox Chapel schools and it's less than 10 minutes everywhere," Ms. Niman said.homes
Lizabeth Gray: firstname.lastname@example.org. First Published February 2, 2013 5:00 AM