Buying Here: Hazelwood


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Michele Kennedy's parents bought their 1920 American Foursquare in Hazelwood from the original owners in 1971. They went on to raise a family of seven in a neighborhood of large families that played, worked, prayed and grew up together.

"To tell the truth, it hasn't changed a whole lot," said Mrs. Kennedy, who bought the house at 332 Ashton Ave. from her parents' estate. "Growing up, there were a lot of families with lots of children. ... Now it's still a lot of families, maybe not so many kids."

The five-bedroom, three-story brick home (MLS No. 973609) is on the market for $88,000 through Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services sales associate Mary Ecsedy (412-363-4000 or www.pittsburghmoves.com).

The Kennedy family has seen Hazelwood rise, fall and begin to rise again. Jobs were lost when the LTV coke works and other mills and factories shut down, followed by many family-owned businesses. Now that story is being rewritten as urban renewal flows into Hazelwood, which offers sturdy old housing at reasonable prices in close proximity to the university/medical hub of Oakland and Downtown.

Mrs. Kennedy believes Ashton is almost fully owner-occupied. Mentally walking up and down the street, she says: "They grew up down the street," "They grew up in Hazelwood" and "The three [families] across the street have been here as long as us."

A lilac bush that Mrs. Kennedy's father planted back in 1971 for her mother is the centerpiece of the front garden, whose neat hedges enclose a yard filled with hostas, irises and, in the spring, lilies of the valley, grape hyacinths, daffodils and tulips.

Mrs. Kennedy's father, Walter Janowski, was a Pittsburgh police officer who raised orchids.

"He used to walk the beat in Hazelwood, which is why he liked the neighborhood," she said.

He also was the lifetime treasurer of the Orchid Society of Western Pennsylvania, and along with his son, built a greenhouse onto the family home.

Entering from the large front porch, the first thing that grabs a visitor's eye is the beautiful dark woodwork. From the entry door's sidelights and transom to the banisters and baseboards, rich wood tones outline the 7-by-7-foot foyer.

Through original pocket doors is the 12-by-14-foot living room. What must have been a fireplace at one point is now more of a decorative chimneybreast with built-in glass front cabinets on either side.

A second set of pocket doors, this time with upper glass panels, leads to the 16-by-11-foot dining room. Light-stained hardwood floors connect the three spaces but they are now hidden beneath wall-to-wall carpeting.

The 17-by-9-foot eat-in kitchen, although not recently updated, is bright and there is plenty of storage in the wood cabinets. The owners will be leaving the gas stove and refrigerator along with another fridge and dryer in the basement. Off the kitchen is a large covered deck with room for a table, chairs and a gas grill.

The four bedrooms on the second floor range in size from 10 by 9 feet to the 13-by-11-foot master bedroom. All have new wall-to-wall carpeting and ceiling fans, and there is a hallway linen closet. The fifth bedroom, measuring 23 by 13 feet, takes up the entire third floor.

"The third floor is a large room with two small closets under the eves with space for a window seat," Mrs. Ecsedy said. "I think all the little girls would love it."

Almost unchanged since 1920, the main bath features a deep tub and a combination of square and subway tiles running up the walls. The pedestal sink, while not original, was chosen with care to blend in with the original feel.

Most of the plumbing is the original copper pipes but some has been replaced over the past 93 years.

"We don't know how old that furnace is but we think it was replaced around 1996," said Mrs. Kennedy, adding that the "boiler is a champ!"

A unique feature of the house is its "brick-stucco-brick" construction that keeps the warmth in during the winter and the heat out during the summer.

All new Traco double-paned vinyl windows were installed in 1996, about the same time the furnace was replaced.

The backyard is a continuation of the front with mostly shrubbery rather than flowers. Forsythias, rose of Sharon, lilacs, wild roses and fragrant peonies draw visitors to the arbor at the end of the yard. It wouldn't take much for an avid gardener to renovate the greenhouse. The plumbing and heaters were removed but the structure and the foundation are solid.

For want-to-be carpenters or DIYers, the full basement is a dream. Completely dry with white-washed walls and painted floor, it has a workbench, too.

The house's electrical outlets are three-prong and were installed when the system was updated 1996. There is a newer asphalt composite roof.

"The owners' hopes are that we find a family that would be happy as they were" in this home," Mrs. Ecsedy said.


SALES SNAPSHOT


12TH WARD/LARIMER -LINCOLN


2012

2013

SALES

65

72

MEDIAN PRICE

$8,100

$9,600

HIGHEST PRICE

$150,000

$300,000



13TH WARD/HOMEWOOD


2012

2013

SALES

63

72

MEDIAN PRICE

$6,900

$10,000

HIGHEST PRICE

$130,000

$200,000



14TH WARD/SQUIRREL HILL


2012

2013

SALES

425

564

MEDIAN PRICE

$266,500

$275,000

HIGHEST PRICE

$1,893,500

$1,805,163



15TH WARD/HAZELWOOD


2012

2013

SALES

181

250

MEDIAN PRICE

$76,000

$81,000

HIGHEST PRICE

$200,000

$318,500



BRADDOCK


2012

2013

SALES

23

23

MEDIAN PRICE

$6,786

$8,000

HIGHEST PRICE

$60,000

$40,000



BRADDOCK HILLS


2012

2013

SALES

12

21

MEDIAN PRICE

$63,500

$75,000

HIGHEST PRICE

$109,200

$109,200

EAST PITTSBURGH


2012

2013

SALES

32

44

MEDIAN PRICE

$14,900

$20,000

HIGHEST PRICE

$98,500

$103,000



EDGEWOOD


2012

2013

SALES

33

35

MEDIAN PRICE

$495,000

$360,000

HIGHEST PRICE

$1,450,000

$2,400,000



NORTH BRADDOCK


2012

2013

SALES

64

79

MEDIAN PRICE

$10,900

$11,000

HIGHEST PRICE

$125,000

$220,000



RANKIN


2012

2013

SALES

17

24

MEDIAN PRICE

$14,508

$15,000

HIGHEST PRICE

$39,000

$321,500



SWISSVALE


2012

2013

SALES

142

180

MEDIAN PRICE

$68,000

$49,000

HIGHEST PRICE

$372,000

$795,000


homes

Lizabeth Gray: lgray@post-gazette.com. First Published August 17, 2013 4:00 AM


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