Dream Home: After 10 years, $2.3 million house got even dreamier
March 3, 2016 3:23 PM
The tree-themed iron railing in the foyer was fabricated on site by Andrew Jacobs.
A two-story portico was added to the front.
A rear view of the house with the added gazebo and patio.
Builder Kyrk Pyros designed the water feature with the homeowner.
In the kitchen, an 18- by- 4-foot island can seat six.
The dining room can accommodate 20 people.
The gazebo features a copper roof.
A 46-foot long wrap-around deck was added to the original construction.
By Rosa Colucci / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Call it Dream Home 2.0. After living in their new home for a decade, the owners of 1540 Fox Chase Lane in Upper St. Clair decided to undertake a major renovation, adding a professional dance floor, kitchen and home theater on the lower level and a sustainable oasis in the back with a large water feature.
The homeowners, who asked not to be identified in this article, wanted to seamlessly integrate interior and exterior spaces to live and entertain throughout the house. Now empty nesters, they have put their dream home on the market for $2.3 million (MLS No. 1087874) with Bonnie Begay of Howard Hanna Real Estate (howardhanna.com or 412-833-3600 ext. 253).
Built in 2002 by Thomas Builders on a 2.2-acre site at the end of a cul-de-sac, the more than 7,000-square-foot house retains its symmetrical design containing pairs of two-car garages (one for oversized vehicles) and a governor’s driveway.
The renovation was led by DLA Architecture and executed by Kyrk Pyros, a LEED-certified engineer and owner of KP Builders. The changes began on the outside, where a two-story portico frames custom entry doors. Inside, a curved staircase with a glass-and-iron railing was added in the 20-by-16-foot entry. All of the ironwork was done on-site by Andrew Jacobs. The tree design repeats on a catwalk above.
“The old staircase was nondescript with a pine rail,” Mr. Pyros said. “We had to install steel beams in the basement to support it. It’s the most unique staircase we have ever done.”
Glass provides safety and a clear view of the family room, where a new two-story stone fireplace can be seen behind floor-to-ceiling glass doors. A custom media center of mahogany and wenge adds woodsy warmth to the 22-by-17-foot room.
Off of the entry, a former den has become a 17-by-14-foot music room. Dampening the sound is new insulation that gives the home an R27 rating in the exterior walls and R50 rating in the roof. Rich purple was carried through from the music room’s rug to the walls of the dining room.
“The owners have had as many as 20 people for a sit-down dinner,” said Ms. Begay.
At 31 by 17 feet, the kitchen has room for several cooks. “Everyone wants a large kitchen. This fits the bill,” the Realtor said.
The walls are covered floor to ceiling in Euphrates Valley slate tiles with metallic gold accents. Solid maple cabinets complement a stainless-steel SubZero refrigerator, Thermador stove and Miele dishwasher. There is an additional GE wall oven and microwave on a far wall and a second microwave in the 18-by-4-foot center island. Topped with black granite, the island can seat a half-dozen guests. A built-in wine bar nearby contains a 36-bottle chiller.
The 46-foot-long wrap-around deck on the back of the home was made from ipe. Also known as Brazilian walnut, it is one of the densest woods available and has the same fire rating as concrete or steel. A gazebo has a warm copper roof, gutters and downspouts. They direct rainwater into a pair of underground cisterns that hold 5,000 gallons each, Mr. Pyros said.
That water feeds the waterfalls and a Rain-Bird irrigation system that drip-waters 23 lawn zones and flower beds.
A two-story outdoor fireplace creates a resort-like feel and tempered-glass railings offer an unobstructed view of the backyard and hills beyond. An outdoor kitchen features a sink, grill and counter space. A professional sound system with outdoor speakers keeps the party rolling.
Multiple staircases lead to the outdoor space and water feature. Slate imported from India blends with glass tiles for a Southwestern feel.
“I designed it in-house with the homeowner,” Mr. Pyros said. “There is a walkway with several waterfalls, each creating a different sound.”
At night, outdoor lighting highlights stone pillars and mostly native plants including 48 maple trees. LED lighting creates a dreamy effect in the evening.
Also on the main level are two home offices, two powder rooms and a spacious, handicapped-accessible guest suite with a 15- by- 13-foot sleeping area, a 17- by- 13-foot sitting room, a gas fireplace and a private master bath with jetted tub. The mud room is 18 by 13 feet.
The second-floor master suite is laid out like a separate wing. The rooms include a 19- by- 16-foot sleeping area with gas fireplace, a sitting room, two walk-in closets and a master bath with cherry cabinets, jetted tub and separate shower.
Three more bedrooms on the second level range in size from 15 by 13 feet to 15 by 15 feet. Each one has a private bathroom and walk-in closet. A large laundry room has a folding area and storage space.
The redesigned lower level has 9-foot-high walls of stacked Vermont ledgestone and a fireplace gives warmth to the 25- by- 17-foot billiard room. It flows into the home theater and the professional dance floor with lights and a mirror wall.
“We searched the world for that and found the best,” said Mr. Pyros.
A second kitchen features a stunning earthy green marble counter, wood cabinets and commercial-grade appliances by KitchenAid and a Miele warming oven, dishwasher, microwave and ice maker. A separate gym is also on the lower level behind closed doors. Several sets of doors lead to outdoor patios and fountains.
The property’s county assessed value is $1.3 million (www2.county.allegheny.pa.usRealEstate/Search.aspx). Over the last five years, five homes have sold on Fox Chase Lane ranging in price from $755,000 in September 2013 to $1.09 million in December 2011 (www.realstats.net).
To make the huge house energy-efficient, the owners upgraded the HVAC system with three-zoned heat pumps, each with gas backup. They also switched to low-voltage LED lighting in all of the living areas and integrated it into a programmable system. The security and alarm system was also upgraded. Exterior upgrades include Pella Energy Star windows, GAF Camelot lifetime shingles and Senergy stucco with new exterior stone work.
Ms. Begay and Mr. Pyros acknowledge that such eco-friendly upgrades are not as sexy as the gazebo or water feature, but they make the house more livable.
“We look at the 100-year life cycle of the house. We approach all of our projects in that way,” he said. “We want people to live in that house.”
Rosa Colucci: 412-263-1661 or email@example.com. Twitter: PGRosa_Colucci.
To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner.