Buying Here: Observatory Hill


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Some Pittsburgh residents have to head to a museum to get their history fix. Others find the past right in their own homes.

The latter will be the case for the buyer of 3340 Perrysville Ave., Observatory Hill, North Side. The five-bedroom, one-bathroom home (MLS No. 903462) is for sale for $185,000 through Howard Hanna Real Estate agent Brian M. Sergi-Curfman (412-421-9120 or www.howardhanna.com).

An open house is today from 1 to 4 p.m.

On June 1, the home was featured in a "Today" TV show segment on houses across the country for under $200,000.

The home, built around 1905, has been fully restored so that most features, including hardwood floors, moldings, baseboards and two stained-glass windows, are either original or modeled on their predecessors.

"It's a real rare thing to find a house that old with the original features that are not touched or changed," said owner Justin Griffith, who restored it with his partner, Tim Corcoran. Mr. Griffith and Mr. Corcoran, who bought the property in 2006, continued a restoration project begun by the previous owners before moving to a larger home on the street. All told, the home has gone through about a 15- to 20-year renovation.

To determine the home's age, they consulted old city maps. The house first appeared on one dated 1905, on a block called Judges Row because so many city judges lived there. However, 3340 Perrysville originally belonged to a doctor, William Borne, who saw patients in the home, the sellers said.

Among the original features are seven decorative fireplaces, an original chandelier in the 15-by-15-foot dining room and an elaborate, wooden balustrade on the wide front staircase. The kitchen includes an original tin ceiling in an egg-and-dart pattern, Mr. Griffith said.

"We miss the historic part of the house," said Mr. Griffith, who moved out in February. "It had so much charm. It was sort of like living in a museum in many ways."

The 12-by-10-foot kitchen also has been updated with new wooden cabinets and green marble countertops, both chosen to reflect the kitchen's original decoration, he said. A butler's pantry includes original wood and glass cabinetry. The dishwasher is disguised behind a cabinet panel, and the refrigerator has a stainless-steel exterior.

The gas stove and oven was made in Pittsburgh in 1923 and still works perfectly, the sellers said.

The first floor also includes a 15-by-13-foot living room and 20-by-12-foot entry room.

There's only one bathroom, but that space is fully tiled with pink, purple, white and green tile in the Victorian four-color style.

A buyer could add additional full bathrooms, said Mr. Sergi-Curfman.

The 15-by-15-foot master bedroom includes large windows. Three additional second-floor bedrooms measure 13 by 12 feet, 11 by 11 feet and 19 by 8 feet. A den on the second floor measures 17 by 18 feet. The third floor includes a 17-by-18-foot family room and a 20-by-12-foot bedroom.

A new furnace and central air conditioning were installed by the sellers.

The home is across the street from Riverview Park; the sellers enjoyed walking on the parks many trails. Many young couples with children also live in the neighborhood, they said.

The house is also near several markets, a "wonderful little bakery," and just five minutes from McKnight Road in Ross, with larger supermarkets.

There are two parking spaces on a parking pad behind the home's fenced backyard, but buses to Downtown also stop along Perrysville Avenue.

Over the past three years, 25 properties have sold on Perrysville Avenue for prices ranging from $15,000 in February 2012 to $258,000 in January 2012 (www.realstats.net).

The sellers paid $192,000 for the home in 2006. The property is currently assessed at $85,800 (www2.county.allegheny.pa.us).


SALES SNAPSHOT

21ST WARD/MANCHESTER

20112012
SALES3231
MEDIAN PRICE$19,900$36,000
HIGHEST PRICE$142,500$325,000


22ND WARD/NORTH SHORE

20112012
SALES4041
MEDIAN PRICE$142,000$175,000
HIGHEST PRICE$332,500$404,703


23RD WARD/EAST ALLEGHENY

20112012
SALES4750
MEDIAN PRICE$41,412$38,000
HIGHEST PRICE$265,000$350,000


24TH WARD/TROY HILL

20112012
SALES7673
MEDIAN PRICE$20,000$20,000
HIGHEST PRICE$511,750 $685,000


25TH WARD/CENTRAL NORTH SIDE

20112012
SALES8673
MEDIAN PRICE$26,500$37,500
HIGHEST PRICE$295,000 $354,013


26TH WARD/PERRY HILLTOP

20112012
SALES160139
MEDIAN PRICE$34,336$39,000
HIGHEST PRICE$199,000$258,000
27TH WARD/BRIGHTON HEIGHTS

20112012
SALES203178
MEDIAN PRICE$43,000$45,000
HIGHEST PRICE$245,423$196,000


AVALON

20112012
SALES6954
MEDIAN PRICE$70,000$66,000
HIGHEST PRICE$155,000$180,000


BELLEVUE

20112012
SALES7988
MEDIAN PRICE$88,000$87,000
HIGHEST PRICE$169,900$165,000


BEN AVON

20112012
SALES2724
MEDIAN PRICE$159,000$171,500
HIGHEST PRICE$394,000$340,000


BEN AVON HEIGHTS

20112012
SALES54
MEDIAN PRICE$167,450$205,000
HIGHEST PRICE$490,000$337,000





homes

Marcus Schwarz: mschwarz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1964. First Published July 7, 2012 4:00 AM


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