Buying Here: Ben Avon


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Built around the turn of the 19th century, the Dutch Colonial at 7410 Brighton Road, Ben Avon, had been hidden behind a curtain of trees for years when Rose and Mike Clark bought it.

"When we moved in you could not see the house from the road," Ms. Clark said. "Most people didn't realize it was there."

Today is quite a different story. Set above the street, the house's tidy landscaping and new concrete steps lead to a brick- and shingle-sided home with a distinctive gambrel roof and long front porch. It is priced at $345,000 (MLS No. 992090) by Kathy Hall and Betsy Wotherspoon of Prudential Preferred Realty (412-367-8000 ext. 270/272 or www.prudentialpreferred.com). An open house will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. today.

The front porch, which has tall columns, a wooden railing and plenty of space for rocking chairs, is one part of the house the Clarks wish they could take with them. The front door is framed by a leaded-glass transom and side windows. A small sitting area off to the left is the perfect place to put down book bags and get snow-covered boots off after school.

"Older charming home but it has all the modern updates and conveniences," Ms. Hall said. "The condition, the space, it's really well-maintained."

The Clarks added a driveway and parking pad after they bought the house seven years ago. Many visitors enter directly from it to the 12- by 12-foot eat-in kitchen, which has been updated with cherry cabinets and stainless-steel appliances that include a Bosch range, Kenmore refrigerator and dishwasher and a built-in microwave oven and garbage disposal.


(Click image for larger version)

The Clarks put in a granite counter top and fitted the fireplace with an electric heater but kept the red-brick charm of the surround. The new owners could easily convert it back to a gas fireplace. The kitchen is a bright and sunny room with three large windows offering a fine view of the back garden. It's Mrs. Clark's favorite room.

"I like looking out the back at the garden, especially in the spring and summer," she said. "You have the birch trees and the azaleas. It's just very nice back there."

A small covered porch at the rear entrance and stairs lead up to the large upper yard area with room for a play set or a sizable run for a dog.

A powder room around the corner from the kitchen has a marble floor and trompe l'oeil wallpaper that gives the small room a sense of elegance.

There are window seats in the 27- by 14-foot living room, the 15- by 14-foot dining room and the master bedroom. A wide archway separates the living and dining rooms. In addition to the window seat, the dining room has a hardwood floor, crystal chandelier and built-in china cabinet with leaded-glass front.

"Sunday dinners were always at the house," Mrs. Clark said. "That was a tradition we always had -- spaghetti every Sunday."

There are two staircases to the second floor -- a smaller set off the kitchen and the main stairs off the living room. Original stained-glass windows color the view from the landing on the main staircase.

The master bedroom measures 25 by 16 feet and has room for a sitting area for late-night reading or early morning tea. When the previous owners renovated the second floor, they removed a wall between the master bedroom and an adjacent bedroom to create the large master suite. There are now two bedrooms on both the second and third floors.

The master bathroom is broken into two sections by design, with the jetted tub and vanity in one side and the toilet and walk-in shower in the other. Mrs. Clark said they replaced the vanity counter tops with Corian.

Her favorite part of the large marble-tiled shower is a 6-foot-wide bench.

The ceiling angles created by dormers and the unusual line of the roof gives each bedroom a distinct character. The other second-floor bedroom measures 16 by 12 feet and the two third-floor bedrooms are 15 by 15 feet and 16 by 7 feet. All but one bedroom have neutral carpeting. The other has laminate wood flooring.

"It's a nice community neighborhood [where] everyone is pretty social, looking out for one another if you need them," Mrs. Clair said.

The couple added central air-conditioning when they moved in and purchased a new boiler about the same time. Window treatments are included in the sale of the home along with all kitchen appliances. The basement follows the footprint of the home and is currently unfinished.

The house has a property assessment of $265,700 (www2.county.allegheny.pa.us/RealEstate/Search.aspx).

 

Website: http://benavon.com

Size: 0.5 square miles

Population: 1,775 (2010 census)

School district: Avonworth (www.avonworth.k12.pa.us)

Enrollment: 1,520

Average 2013 SAT scores: 525 Verbal, 528 Math, 513 Writing

Annual 2014 taxes on a house assessed at $100,000: $2,586; Borough: $428 (4.28 mills); School: $1,770 (17.7 mills); County: $388* (4.73)

Claim to fame: Lined with big trees, sidewalks and gracious old homes, Ben Avon doubled for Chevy Chase, Md., during the 1991 filming of "Lorenzo's Oil" starring Susan Sarandon and Nick Nolte.

• Includes the Act 50 Homestead Exclusion, which allows the owners of their primary residence to reduce the value of their assessment by $18,000.

-- Gretchen McKay, Post-Gazette

Over the last three years, four properties have sold in the 7000 block of Brighton Road for prices ranging from $186,500 in June 2010 to $375,000 in October 2012.


Lizabeth Gray: lgray@post-gazette.com.

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