Buying Here: Churchill


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Linda Miller can see similarities between Frank Lloyd Wright-designed houses like Fallingwater and her house at 105 Merrie Woode Drive in Churchill.

"The redwood, the brick, the way glass meets glass at the corners," she said.

That's no coincidence; the house was designed by architect Richard Righter, a talented student of Wright's, who then worked for Richard Benn & Associates. Built in 1957 at the crest of a hill, the 5,800-square-foot house (MLS No. 905711) is on the market for $899,000 through Barbara Logan of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services' East Suburban office (412-271-7600 ext. 214 or www.howardhanna.com).

Although it appears to be a one-level rancher from the front, the house is actually two levels, offering views of the surrounding woods from a cantilevered balcony, French doors and large windows and the deck of an in-ground pool in the rear. There are four bedrooms -- three on the upper level -- and 4 1/2 baths, all of which have been updated within the past 15 years by Mrs. Miller and her husband, Larry.

Mrs. Miller grew up in the house, which her parents bought in 1961. She and her husband have made many changes, always careful to keep the house's open layout and modern architectural details intact.

They enlarged the sunken lower-level family room measuring 25 by 16 feet, adding a wet bar and floor-to-ceiling liquor cabinet with smoked glass doors.

"It's a wonderful house to entertain in," Mrs. Miller said. "Everything is open."

They added a garage and turned another garage into an exercise/dog room (they used to have five Doberman pinschers but are now down to two). That space is heated and air-conditioned, as is the 2 1/2-space garage next to it.

The couple also added a 24-by 12-foot closet off the 18- by 11-foot master bedroom, which is on the upper level. Its updated bath features built-in shelving, a 10-foot sink and vanity topped with marble and a large marble-tiled shower with steam room.

The two other bedrooms on the upper level measure 12 by 11 feet, though one is currently used as an office. A bedroom on the lower level measures 15 by 13 feet and is served by a full bath with jetted tub and a powder room.

Wood-burning fireplaces with wrought-iron screens are found in the family room and the living room, which measures 21 by 18 feet and offers access to the 14- by 4-foot cantilevered balcony. A built-in stereo is connected to indoor and outdoor speakers and there is a security system.

The 11-by 11-foot kitchen kitchen has rosewood cabinetry, porcelain-tile floors and granite counter tops with marble backsplashes.

Although there is room for a large table in the 16- by 14-foot dining room, the Millers often eat at the granite-topped bar in the kitchen. The black appliances include a convection oven and larger-than-usual regular oven.

The 2.29-acre property includes two large pressure-treated wood decks near the 10-foot deep concrete pool. The couple had the 36- by 14-foot pool repainted last year, and added exposed-aggregate concrete walkways and driveway near the house. The rest of the 2/10ths-of-a-mile-long driveway that winds up the hill is made of blacktop. At the bottom of the drive are two gargoyles and a security gate controlled from the house.

Mechanics include a three-zone gas-fired boiler, radiant heat on the lower level and a whole-house gas-fueled generator that goes on automatically if the house loses electricity.

The property has a county assessed value of $324,000 (www2.county.allegheny.pa.us/RealEstate/Default.aspx). Over the past three years, no properties have sold on Merrie Woode Drive. However, two properties sold on nearby Nottingham Drive for $220,000 in July 2010 and $250,000 in April 2011 (www.realstats.net).

It is open by appointment only.


SALES SNAPSHOT

CHURCHILL

20112012
SALES4750
MEDIAN PRICE$145,000$140,000
HIGHEST PRICE$405,300$400,000


GREENSBURG

20112012
SALES154170
MEDIAN PRICE$84,000$89,900
HIGHEST PRICE$379,000$526,000


HEMPFIELD

20112012
SALES374456
MEDIAN PRICE$132,000$144,000
HIGHEST PRICE$675,000$625,000


IRWIN

20112012
SALES3844
MEDIAN PRICE$89,900$106,000
HIGHEST PRICE$299,000 $255,000


JEANNETTE

20112012
SALES133144
MEDIAN PRICE$30,000$55,000
HIGHEST PRICE$375,000 $179,000


MURRYSVILLE

20112012
SALES239250
MEDIAN PRICE$212,000$201,782
HIGHEST PRICE$970,000$1,000,000
NORTH HUNTINGDON

20112012
SALES337375
MEDIAN PRICE$159,900$140,000
HIGHEST PRICE$850,000$625,000


PENN TOWNSHIP

20112012
SALES200201
MEDIAN PRICE$152,000$175,000
HIGHEST PRICE$676,000$635,000


SALEM TOWNSHIP

20112012
SALES3744
MEDIAN PRICE$114,000$120,000
HIGHEST PRICE$483,032$285,000


SOUTH GREENSBURG

20112012
SALES2830
MEDIAN PRICE$70,000$75,000
HIGHEST PRICE$159,500$185,000


SOUTHWEST GREENSBURG

20112012
SALES2931
MEDIAN PRICE$68000$57,000
HIGHEST PRICE$135,000$146,000


Correction/Clarification: (Published October 18, 2012) A Buying Here feature Sunday about a house in Churchill incorrectly identified the architect. Richard Righter, who then worked for Richard Benn & Associates, designed it for builder Harold Sampson as his home.
homes

Kevin Kirkland: kkirkland@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1978. First Published October 13, 2012 4:00 AM


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