Buying Here: Carnegie


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Like so many small towns surrounding Pittsburgh, Carnegie is rich in Victorian architecture. When the steel industry fell in the 1970s, many of these fine homes were chopped into apartments or duplexes, often losing their architectural details for the sake of an extra closet or another bedroom. Fortunately, that trend has reversed in the past decade and some of these grand old houses have been brought back.

The five-bedroom, Queen Anne-style house at 528 Beechwood Ave. (MLS No. 960675) is a fine example of one done right. Listed with Elaine Goldblum and Judi Stadler of Coldwell Banker Real Estate, the property is on the market for $219,900 (412-979-7750 or www.pittsburghmoves.com). An open house is scheduled for 1-4 p.m. today.

Current owner Brad Crabb credits Dean Carrick, whom he purchased the 113-year-old house from 10 years ago, for converting it from apartments to a single-family home again. Mr. Carrick spent several years on the renovation, preserving the ornate details while updating some parts, including replacing old windows with double-paned ones to make the house more efficient and comfortable.

The three-story, wood-frame house with a wraparound porch is on a corner lot with mature landscaping, including several large trees that provide shade during hot summer months. Upon stepping through the front door, visitors first notice how spacious the entryway is.

"The entry foyer is very large and spectacular," said Ms. Stadler. "It has a gas fireplace and a stairway going up to a stained-glass window."

Sunlight highlights the paneled wainscoting and oak leaves carved into the balustrade. There is plenty of room for a couch by the gas-fired stone fireplace, one of five in the house.

Mr. Crabb's favorite room is the 15- by 20-foot living room. This sunny room features a bay of three tall windows at one end and a brick fireplace along one wall. Another favorite is the upstairs off the master bedroom, a private porch that becomes a hideaway in summer months.

"There is a maple tree that fills with leaves and it's nice to go up there and have dinner," he said. "You can see the fireworks from there."

The real dining room measures 15 by 14 feet and has neutral carpeting and 10-foot ceilings. Its dark-stained trim is found in nearly every room of the house except the kitchen.

An addition to the original house, the kitchen is large and modern with lighter cherry cabinets running around the U-shaped cooking area and an eating area, both with ceramic tile floors. The appliances, which will be staying, include a side-by-side Kenmore refrigerator and dishwasher, a Jenn-Air electric stove with a GE microwave above and a KitchenAid trash compactor.

What makes this kitchen so enchanting is the light. A large arched window with stained glass panels frames a table that invites you to linger with your coffee and morning paper. An adjacent wall of windows with more stained glass includes a door leading to a brick patio.

Off the kitchen is a butler's pantry with floor-to-ceiling cabinetry. Storage should never be an issue in this house.

Down the hall is the den that Mr. Crabb currently uses as a home office and television room. Measuring 11 by 14 feet, it would be easy to convert the den into a first-floor bedroom with the convenience of a full bathroom next to it.

The second-floor bedrooms range in size from 15 by 13 feet to 21 by 22 feet. Each has dark wood trim and a gas-burning fireplace. Five or six years ago, Mr. Crabb had the three chimneys repointed.

The 20- by 15-foot master bedroom has a private porch and a large bathroom with soaking tub and separate shower. A tall window at one end brings in the sun, highlighting the dark green tiles, white fittings and brass fixtures, and giving the room a spa-like feel. The third floor is almost like another master suite.

"People are really surprised at how big the attic is, like three different rooms," said Ms. Stadler, noting that its living area includes a stove and sink, full bathroom and bedroom.

Carnegie has access to both Interstates 79 and 376 and is a 15-minute drive from the airport and shopping in Robinson. The house is a few minutes walk to the borough's Main Street with its specialty shops and numerous restaurants. The area is seeing a bit of a renaissance with people moving in and rehabbing many of the older homes.

The 2013 county assessed value is $146,500 (www2.county.allegheny.pa.us/RealEstate/Search.aspx). Over the past three years, 10 properties have sold on Beechwood Avenue for prices ranging from $40,000 in June 2013 to $193,000 in September 2011 (www.realstats.net).

"There's quite a good mix in this neighborhood," said Mr. Crabb, noting that one of his neighbors grew up in the house he now lives in, and that a couple with four children lives next door.

 

 


Lizabeth Gray: lgray@post-gazette.com.

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