Buying Here: Swissvale


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One of the things Steve Audia and his wife, Reagan Heller, will miss about their century-old Swissvale home is the third-floor media room.

"We had a projector and a 106-inch screen up there. So whenever co-workers were talking about getting together and watching a movie, it always came up that we were the best place," said Mr. Audia, an IT director at Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center.

The 18- by- 18-foot room with slanted ceilings is only one of the nice features in this five-bedroom, two-bath house at 7633 Westmoreland Ave. (MLS No. 1000522), now on the market for $145,000. Howard Hanna Real Estate agent Brian Sergi-Curfman (412-421-9120 or www.howardhanna.com) is holding an open house at 1-4 p.m. June 1.

Situated on a fenced-in corner lot, the Dutch Colonial-style house has a large covered front porch bounded by a Japanese maple and butterfly bush. "Nice thing about the porch is that it's not too open and not too closed," Mr. Audia said.

Inside, the 1910-built home has lots of dark-stained woodwork and finely crafted built-ins.

PG graphic: Swissvale
(Click image for larger version)

"The largest part of the attraction is the original features throughout the home and that it's been maintained well over the years," Mr. Sergi-Curfman said.

The 21-by- 14-foot living room is particularly striking, with a hardwood floor, paneling, boxed-beam ceiling and built-in cabinet by the large stone fireplace. Two ceiling fans keep the front room cool in the summer and original radiators keep it warm the rest of the year.

The house has four decorative fireplaces; Mr. Sergi-Curfman said it wouldn't take too much effort to convert them to ventless gas burners. The one in the 15- by- 14-foot dining room has a white-tile surround and hearth, a cast-iron insert and large built-in cabinets. A tall window on the other side of the room brings in lots of light.

The kitchen measures only 12 by 7 feet but has a breakfast nook large enough for a big family table. In addition to the wood cabinets in the kitchen, a floor-to-ceiling pantry along the breakfast nook wall offers more storage. Several of the upper cabinets have glass panes and there is both under-cabinet and recessed lighting. Appliances include a General Electric gas stove and microwave and a newer Whirlpool refrigerator. The couple installed a new garbage disposal in 2012.

There are four bedrooms on the second floor measuring 15 by 14 feet, 14 by 13 feet, 11 by 10 feet and 10 by 9 feet. Two have fireplaces, two are carpeted and two have hardwood flooring. It's a good bet that the two rooms with carpeting also have hardwood underneath. A previous owner installed dropped ceilings in all of the second-floor bedrooms.

One bedroom connects to the master by an interior door, which the couple removed.

"My wife uses it as an office," said Mr. Audia. "Could be set up as a giant walk-in closet. The previous owner pointed out that it would be a good baby room."

A small room at the end of the second-floor hallway has great natural light from three walls of windows but is too small to be used as a bedroom. The couple have found it to be a great place to hide away with a book or for "digital detox."

The third-floor media room could be used as a master bedroom suite or large office. The two full bathrooms both have shower-tub combinations and ceramic tile on the walls and floors.

"A house with four bedrooms on the second floor and an extra family room on the third floor plus two full baths is a rarity at this price point," Mr. Sergi-Curfman said.

The laundry is in the unfinished basement and comes equipped with an LG washer and dryer set. There's a small porch at the rear of the house and a large stone patio area.

The current owners replaced the asphalt shingle roof fours years ago and added an expansion tank to the water heater. They also installed additional insulation underneath the kitchen in a crawl space that is not part of the main footprint.

"We haven't done any [changes in the wiring] but there was electrical work done just before we moved in," Mr. Audia said.

The property is within walking distance of Edgewood Town Center and a short drive from Downtown, Oakland and all of the restaurants and shops of Regent Square.

"If you keep going up Braddock towards Rankin, there is a bus stop for the East Busway," Mr. Audia said.

Now that they have moved, he said they are "already missing the convenience of the location. ... Now we have to drive to get to the bank or the grocery store."


Lizabeth Gray: lgray@post-gazette.com.

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