Buying Here: Aleppo


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Tucked away in the woods outside of Sewickley is a 2 1/2-story farmhouse that belongs in a storybook. But instead of Hansel and Gretel, you'll see the occasional flock of turkeys, a wandering deer or maybe a salamander slipping into the creek out back.

The three-bedroom farmhouse with third-floor bonus room at 990 Glen Mitchell Road, Aleppo, is on the market for $275,000, listed with Jill Stehnach of Prudential Preferred Realty (412-716-8634 or www.prudentialpreferred.com). An open house is scheduled for 1-3 p.m. Oct.13.

A little over eight years ago, Joyce Smith bought the house, which had been rehabbed by the previous owner. She was drawn to both the house's style and its natural setting.

"I feel in love with the inside of the house," she said.

Since the house was built in the 1920s, visitors are often surprised by its large open floor plan.

The 15- by 15-foot dining room flows into both the 15- by 12-foot living room and the 14- by 13-foot kitchen. Yet it is also one step higher than the other spaces, like an island floating between the two. Its warm honey-colored wood floors contrast nicely with the neutral tone of the carpeting in the living room and the ceramic floor tile in the kitchen. Uniting all three is a ceiling of stained pine beams and boards.

"That's one of the things that really drew me," Ms. Smith said.

Depending on the new owners' choice of decor, the ceiling could fit country style or, with different furniture, a more urban feel. A ceiling fan in the living room and a wrought-iron chandelier in the dining room add artificial light to the sunlight that streams through tall windows that run the length of the house.

Though the house feels secluded -- with woods all around -- Glen Mitchell Road is not a country lane. Newer double-paned windows make certain that occupants see but don't hear cars, the occasional bicyclist or a runner on a morning workout.

"People are always going by, but it's a quiet situation," said Ms. Smith, who enjoys the occasional bike ride into town for coffee or a bit of shopping.

In the kitchen, antique glazed cabinets with a slightly distressed finish include a floor-to-ceiling pantry and a built-in microwave shelf. Stainless-steel appliances include a Maytag dishwasher and Jenn-Air refrigerator and stove. They offer a contrast to the richly veined granite countertop.

The one thing you won't find in the kitchen is a big hood cluttering the view. A downdraft vent in the island stovetop carries steam and smoke from the cooking surface through the basement and outside.

Doors on one side lead to the basement and to the walk-in pantry that provides great storage conveniently out of sight. The large window over the kitchen sink offers views of the woods and French doors lead to a back deck. Ms. Smith added a firepit there.

The powder room adjacent to the kitchen is tiled floor to ceiling, with a band of pebbles running up the wall behind the sink, giving the room a sense of style.

On the second floor, a window seat beneath a tall window at the end of the hallway offers a spot for a cup of tea and a good book.

The master bedroom is the smallest of the three, measuring 13 by 12 feet. The other two bedrooms are 14 by 12 feet and 14 by 13 feet. All three rooms share the neutral carpeting found in the living room along with its wood trim and pine ceilings. All three have ceiling fans and two have window air conditioners that will be staying.

Each bedroom has a character of its own, with muted colors and chair rails. Two have white shutters instead of traditional curtains.

The soft tones of the ceramic tile in the main bathroom complement the crisp white paint of the cabinets. The shower tub combination has a one-piece fiberglass surround. Between the large vanity and the tri-paneled mirrored medicine cabinet there is plenty of bathroom storage.

The third-floor bonus room, accessed via a staircase in one of the bedrooms, would be a perfect home office, playroom or exercise room. At 28 by 8 feet, it has substantial space, though some of it is restricted by the angled ceiling that follows the roofline.

In May of this year, new lines connected the house to the public sewer system. Baseboards provide radiant heat powered by an oil furnace. There is an electric hot water heater in the unfinished basement, an asphalt shingle roof and security system.

The property's assessed value is $126,800 (www2.county.allegheny.pa.us/RealEstate/Search.aspx). Over the last three years, four properties have sold on Glen Mitchell Road for prices ranging from $99,900 in July 2013 to $308,000 in August 2011 (www.realstats.net).

Ms. Smith noted that Aleppo is close to shopping in Sewickley and not far from Downtown. "Twenty minutes from everywhere," she said. "You can get right on [Interstate] 279 or Ohio River Boulevard."

There is plenty of parking available on the gravel driveway that leads up to the perennial garden at the front of the house. Around the side of the house, Ms. Smith planted a herb garden that provides her with "fresh herbs way after the snow flies."

Leaving all this is going to be hard for her but she's taking some rather nice memories with her as she downsizes to a new place. Ms. Smith recalled one time when party guests lingering into the night beheld a lovely moment by the small stream that runs through the back of the property.

"There was a mother deer playing with her baby, showing her how to play in the water," Ms. Smith said.

"Salamanders, minnows and frogs -- those are the things that make it so special."


SALES SNAPSHOT


ALEPPO


2012

2013

SALES

20

38

MEDIAN PRICE

$158,000

$163,500

HIGHEST PRICE

$470,000

$535,000



BELL ACRES


2012

2013

SALES

23

27

MEDIAN PRICE

$130,000

$180,000

HIGHEST PRICE

$1,085,000

$1,085,000



EMSWORTH


2012

2013

SALES

32

61

MEDIAN PRICE

$83,000

$87,000

HIGHEST PRICE

$189,900

$210,000



GLENFIELD


2012

2013

SALES

2

4

MEDIAN PRICE

$100,000

$70,000

HIGHEST PRICE

$150,000

$180,000



HAYSVILLE


2012

2013

SALES

1

1

MEDIAN PRICE

$31,000

$30,000

HIGHEST PRICE

$31,000

$30,000



KILBUCK


2012

2013

SALES

8

9

MEDIAN PRICE

$184,500

$163,000

HIGHEST PRICE

$651,000

$333,750

OHIO


2012

2013

SALES

150

196

MEDIAN PRICE

$285,000

$299,900

HIGHEST PRICE

$1,518,000

$641,000



OSBORNE


2012

2013

SALES

7

14

MEDIAN PRICE

$389,000

$415,000

HIGHEST PRICE

$1,045,000

$1,050,000



SEWICKLEY


2012

2013

SALES

68

85

MEDIAN PRICE

$203,191

$272,500

HIGHEST PRICE

$1,222,500

$1,493,000



SEWICKLEY HEIGHTS


2012

2013

SALES

6

11

MEDIAN PRICE

$520,000

$90,000

HIGHEST PRICE

$2,400,000

$2,400,000



SEWICKLEY HILLS


2012

2013

SALES

20

26

MEDIAN PRICE

$521,995

$461,995

HIGHEST PRICE

$1,050,000

$647,932


homes

Lizabeth Gray: lgray@post-gazette.com. First Published October 5, 2013 4:00 AM


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