Buying Here: Hampton


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"Whoever buys it just has to love it," declared owner JoAnn Travis, referring to her home of the past 14 years.

The home at 3931 Mount Royal Blvd. in Hampton (MLS No. 977361) is more than a home to Ms. Travis and her husband, Andrew. It is a piece of history dating back to 1787. The log and wood-framed farmhouse is on the market for $274,000 through Debbie Platts of Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services (412-366-1600 or www.pittsburghmoves.com).

An open house is set for 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

The three-bedroom, two-bath, cedar-shingled building with a springhouse and two-car detached garage began life as a simple log cabin built by John Walters, a Revolutionary War veteran.

"It was built right after the war with a depreciation land certificate," explained Ms. Travis.

After the Revolutionary War, land certificates were used to reimburse soldiers who had been paid with depreciated currency during the war.

Now, this unique family home includes not only the best of the past but numerous updates that provide modern comfort. "A warm and friendly house," said Ms. Platt. "When you walk into it, you just want to sit down by the fire and stay there forever."

Hand-hewn logs fill three walls of the 19- by 17-foot living room. The brick fireplace at one end of the room extends from the floor to the ceiling. On either side of the fireplace, the hearth extends the width of the room, creating a riser above the beautiful hardwood floors that extend throughout the house.

The formal dining room measures 19 by 15 feet and has a Dutch door with glass panes that leads to the covered side porch. The decorative brick fireplace has a hook-up for a potbelly stove and storage space for logs. A built-in cupboard provides plenty of storage for linens and dinner services.

Over the years, Mr. Walter's family and farm grew in size along with his home. Additions were made to the rear, which now contains an eat-in kitchen, full bath and family room on the first floor and two bedrooms on the second. James Rafferty, the previous owner, made many of the sensitive updates to the house, including the kitchen.

"We bought if from a couple who had been here for 30 years. He was a teacher and he lovingly restored the house," said Ms. Travis.

Mr. Rafferty installed new cherry cabinets and a neutral ceramic tile backsplash, countertop and floor. Appliances include a Kenmore refrigerator and dishwasher, Sharp convection oven/microwave and GE stove with a hood fan by Broan.

As owner of Farm Fresh Antiques in the Wexford General Store Antique Center, Ms. Travis has a deep appreciation for the house's history. She added her own distinct style to the kitchen. "I took two of [the cabinets doors] and put glass panes in and then added mirrors on the pantry doors to open the room up a little bit," she said.

In the pantry is a new Frigidaire large-capacity washer and a Maytag dryer. Both can be purchased separately by the new owner.

The 16- by 16-foot family room features a wood-burning fireplace with built-in bookcases on one side and a desk on the other. With its own full bathroom, it could become part of a first-floor master suite.

Ms. Travis discovered more of the home's history in the cellar.

"What we found was a spear, looked like it was African," Ms. Travis said.

The house was reportedly a stop on the Underground Railway around the time of the Civil War.

Although the house qualifies as a historic landmark, the family decided not to pursue historical designation as it would prevent alterations like the newer Pella windows the previous owner had installed.

A skylight set in the sloped roof over the second-floor bathroom reveals Ms. Travis' passion for antiques and her ability to combine new and old. Designing both bathrooms herself, she used beadboard for both the walls and the ceiling in the upstairs bathroom. Then she converted an antique dresser to a vanity, brought in a clawfoot tub and installed Moen brushed nickel hardware and a chandelier overhead.

Off the 16- by 14-foot master bedroom is an 11- by 11-foot bonus room lit by a dormer window. Tall windows and a double closet give the bedroom a spacious feel. It also contains another of the owner's finds:

"In the master bedroom there is a little wood burning fireplace ... We found it hidden behind drywall." She had it fitted with a new flue.

The two remaining bedrooms each measure approximately 16 by 15 feet but are decorated differently. One is a relaxing white room with soft light and beautiful views while the other is more masculine with towering cathedral ceilings and double cedar-lined closets.

Every room in the house is filled with wonderful antiques and decorative pieces that could be purchased by the new owner.

There is a two-zone, gas-fueled, forced-air heating and central air conditioning system. The three building all have asphalt roofs with cedar shingles and the two-level springhouse has a stone foundation.

Downtown Pittsburgh is roughly 15 to 20 minutes away while the restaurants and shops of Lawrenceville, Oakmont and McKnight Road are close by.

The property has a 2013 county assessed value of $130,700 (www2.county.allegheny.pa.us/RealEstate/Default.aspx). Over the last three years, 13 properties have sold on Mount Royal Boulevard for prices ranging from $60,600 in December 2012 to $767,000 in July 2010 (www.realstats.net).


Lizabeth Gray: lgray@post-gazette.com.

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