Buying Here: Elizabeth Borough


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Shingle-style architecture is hard to define. Coming into popularity after the lavish, decorative Victorian period, it reflects a more rustic and relaxed way of living.

The two-story, three-bedroom home at 921 Third Ave. in Elizabeth Borough is a fine example of the style. The early 1900s house (MLS No. 999313) is priced at $109,000 with Dick Charles of RE/MAX South (412-884-2900 or www.southinc.com). An open house is set for1-3 p.m. next Sunday.

"My parents bought the house when they were very young, in their 20s," said owner Linda Wagner said. "Been in my family for over 50 years."

The asymmetrical design of the house provides some rather unique details not found in newer homes, including an exposed-brick wall in the eat-in kitchen, built-in cabinets and two fireplaces -- a marble surround gas burner in the living room and a brick wood-burner in the family room.

The living room is 15 by 12 feet with a built-in bookcase to the one side of the fireplace and wood beams running across the ceiling. Like many older homes, it has tall baseboards and three- or four-paneled solid wood doors.

The first floor has a 15- by- 11-foot family room with a bay window, window seat and a large closet with plenty of room for winter coats and spring umbrellas plus the kids' backpacks. The formal dining room measures 9 by 7 feet. With so many windows and a crystal chandelier, it is a bright, light-filled room that has been the scene of many a family celebration over the years.

"Such a great house, so nice to sit on that back porch, shaded with a nice breeze," Mrs. Wagner said.

At the rear of the large flat yard is the detached two-car garage. The house and garage are covered in dark gray wood shingles trimmed in white with an asphalt shingle roof. The mature landscaping includes ferns, flowers and shrubs.

The exterior of the house and the living and dining room have been painted in the past two years.

There are three bedrooms ranging in size -- 12 by 11 feet, 12 by 13 feet and 12 by 8 feet -- and a full bathroom. On the third floor is a finished attic with painted hardwood floors and windows at either end of the room. The new owner could convert the room to an extra bedroom or a home office.

The house has radiators, several of them with handcrafted covers, and air conditioning on the first floor. Numerous windows have been replaced without detracting from the home's vintage character.

With newer countertops and solid wood cabinets, the kitchen comes with a dishwasher, refrigerator and gas stove that is truly retro.

"It's a Tappan gas stovet hat slides out and the exhaust fan turns on when you open the top," explained Mr. Charles.

In the unfinished basement is the washer and dryer, the gas furnace and water heater. A bonus for the new owner is a large freezer that is part of the sale.

The house's county assessed value is $46,200 (www2.county.allegheny.pa.us/RealEstate/Search.aspx). Over the past three years, eight properties have sold on Third Avenue for prices ranging from $30,000 in February 2012 to $126,000 in March 2010 (www.realstats.net).

Mrs. Wagner said it is easy to walk or bike around the area, noting that Round Hill Farm is nearby and a boat launch is less than a mile away. She said her neighbors are very friendly.

"The people that move into that house, they'll go 'Wow! I never knew neighbors could be so nice.'"

Lizabeth Gray: lgray@post-gazette.com.


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