The dining room was the main room of the original section of this log house in Hempfield, built in 1813 and part of the 1780 land grant from William Penn.
The kitchen counter tops were made with wood salvaged from the house during restoration, and the floors are the original boards put down when the house was built.
The exterior of 787 Beaver Road in Hempfield.
The living room features a large handcrafted, wood-burning fireplace built from stone.
The screened-in porch offers views of a garden.
By Lizabeth Gray Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
In a year of "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" as a movie and Daniel Day-Lewis' amazing performance in the film "Lincoln," a 200-year-old log cabin may seem rather trendy.
For Nancy and Robert Gottheld, living in a bit of history was a choice they made 40 years ago and the beginning of an adventure in DIY that most of us would consider a huge challenge.
Now the Gotthelds have put 787 Beaver Road, Hempfield, Westmoreland County (MLS No. 929335), on the market for $249,900 through Scott Ludwick of Prudential Preferred Realty (724-433-7800 or www.prudentialpreferred.com).
In the early 1970s, the couple were planning to move into a brand-new house in Monroeville when Mrs. Gottheld saw an ad that read: "Historic old house, 3 acres." She had always wanted a horse and her husband had grown up in the country, so they decided to take a look.
When they visited the house, renters were living there.
"It was so decrepit," Mrs. Gottheld said. "The renters wouldn't even get out of bed as the agent took us around."
Despite its appearance, the Gotthelds bought it and started a DIY project that took up their evenings and weekends for the next year as they gutted and restored the entire interior.
One of the first challenges was the years of questionable upgrades by previous owners. The couple removed years of whitewash from the ceiling and walls, finding everything from old clothes to snakeskins in the chinking between the logs.
"I scrubbed for a whole year, up a ladder, getting whitewash off the beams and ceiling," Mrs Gottheld said.
Carved into the main summer beam, she found the initials of the house's builder. "A man named Adam Horn obtained a couple hundred acres around here in 1780 and I found his initials."
The log house was built in 1813, according to county records. The current property includes a two-car garage and 2.9 acres, part of the original 1780 land grant from William Penn.
After restoring the exterior, the Gotthelds put on an addition in 1976. It includes an 18- by 17-foot living room, laundry room and powder room on the first floor and a 21- by 16-foot master bedroom and full bath on the second. The living room features a large handcrafted, wood-burning fireplace built from stone brought up from a farm in Pittsburgh.
Visitors enter through an 8- by 7-foot foyer, which leads to the 21- by 15-foot main room in the original section of the house. Now used as a dining room, it has plenty of rustic space for family entertaining.
"And log [wood] when it's very old becomes petrified, almost hard as a rock," said Mr. Ludwick, the Realtor and a log homeowner himself.
The warmth of natural wood is everywhere, especially in the kitchen. The counter tops were made with wood salvaged from the house during restoration and the floors are the original boards put down when the house was built. Adding to the kitchen's charm are two antique hoosier cabinets and a walnut wall cabinet, all included in the sale.
The second floor holds three bedrooms measuring 15 by 9 feet, 14 by 8 feet and 13 by 10 feet. Ceiling beams and logs in the walls are all exposed.
In 2012, the Gotthelds installed a new asphalt shingle roof and electric panel and over the years, newer windows have been added. The basement runs underneath the original house and has concrete-block walls. An enclosed breezeway with a large closet links the house to the garage.
French doors in the living room lead to a lovely screened-in porch that offers views of the extensive garden that the Gotthelds designed themselves. In the summer, hosta and daylilies are the stars.
"We belong to the Pittsburgh Daylily Society with over 800 different hybrids" [in the garden], said Mrs. Gottheld, an avid gardener who has cultivated and named her own hybrid daylily. 'Precious Danielle' was registered in 2006 with the America Hemerocallis Society.
While the property originally had well water, it now has city water, electric baseboard heating and air conditioning. The property's assessment is $15,670 (www.co.westmoreland.pa.us). Over the past three years, eight properties have sold on Beaver Road for prices ranging from $28,000 in October 2010 to $374,000 in April 2009 (www.realstats.net).
The property is a 35- to 40-minute drive from Downtown in non-rush hour traffic. "Convenient location but completely private," is how Mr. Ludwick describes it.
The Gotthelds said they are moving to be with their daughters in Florida. "It's so peaceful here. I'm really going to hate leaving," she said.