Buying Here: Rosslyn Farms


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Inside the hall closet of 1 Old Farm Road, there is a crack in the plaster that opened when road workers blasted a nearby hillside to make way for the Parkway West.

That may be the only flaw in this four-bedroom, 2 1/2-bath Cape Cod-style house, which is on the market for $559,900 (MLS No. 1003842) through Ausra Gause of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services (www.howardhanna.com or 412-741-2200, ext. 239). An open house is scheduled Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m.

When homeowners Doug Florey and David Lloyd moved in 11 years ago, the house was in excellent condition. The garden was not, but more on that in a minute.

Entering the front door puts visitors in a center hallway with large doorways to the living room on the right and dining room on the left, both with large bay windows. The formal living room measures 27 by 15 feet, is painted a rich cherry red and features one of two wood-burning fireplaces. There is plenty of room for a large sofa and grand piano.

The formal dining room measures 15 by 14 feet and is painted sage green. A Tiffany-style chandelier casts a soft glow and a pair of paneled doors provide access to the kitchen. Both rooms feature wide crown molding painted a glossy white.

The 25- by 13-foot kitchen was remodeled by the homeowners in 2009 and is light, warm and welcoming. White cabinets have wide chrome door pulls and some have glass fronts and interior backlighting to show off treasured pieces. There is a center island and second side island that doubles as a breakfast bar; all counters are a light, creamy granite. A six-burner Dacor stove sports two ovens that Mr. Florey loves for small cooking chores. The refrigerator and dishwasher are Miele and both are hidden behind matching cabinet panels.

Opposite the main sink, a second bar sink and drink area serves guests and there is a sit-down dining area next to the breakfast island. Large windows offer views of the outdoors and French doors open to the patio and the pergola. A door leads to the two-car garage.

In addition to the main staircase, the house has an elegant private elevator that services all three floors.

"This is a home that you can truly age in place in," says Mr. Florey.

Installed by the previous owner, the elevator is smartly hidden behind panel doors which do not open unless the elevator has arrived. Inside, a small crystal chandelier lights the wood-paneled space and a working phone.

Upstairs, the 26- by-15-foot master bedroom steps down to a small master bath and a secondary bedroom that measures 18 by 14 feet. The second room is currently used as a vast home office and has a wall of built-in drawers and counter space that would be a crafter's dream. Once a servant's quarters. it could become a private guest suite just by closing doors. A pair of 15- by 11-foot bedrooms serve as an upstairs den and a guest bedroom.

The large basement is partially finished. One side is a large, rustic television room that measures 26 by 15 feet. It has dark brown beams, wood paneling and a brick wood-burning fireplace. A high-efficiency washer and dryer are in the laundry and utility area on the other side. The elevator "is perfect to send up the clean laundry," Mr. Florey said.

The house has two air conditioning units and two furnaces.

"It cuts down on utilities," he said. "The smaller unit services the master suite area so in the evening, you can turn down the rest of the house while keeping your personal space comfortable."

The nearly 1 acre of gardens surrounding the house its owners call "Acorn Hill" are so spectacular that they were recently featured in Fine Gardening magazine.

"When we moved in, the acre consisted of a huge chinquapin oak, an American elm (!), two silver maples and a catalpa along with some lovely old stone walls," Mr. Florey told the magazine. "The rest was a sea of weedy, parched lawn."

They had landscape designer Mary Brown draw up a master plan that included an extensive irrigation system of 22 stations that waters the beds, side and front lawn. Over 11 years, the two men have planted many trees, including blue and green spruce, concolor and Fraser firs, white pines, native dogwoods and redbuds, Japanese maples, a dawn redwood and a bald cypress. There are also thousands of daffodils, hundreds of peonies and several varieties of viburnum.

Mr. Florey is especially proud of the native elm, the largest in Allegheny County. Over 40 feet tall, it is a rare survivor of the dreaded Dutch Elm Disease that has wiped out most of the nation’s native elms.

Since the house is so secluded and shaded, there are no window treatments, which creates beautiful views from all of the windows. The views are also impressive from a back stone patio, an adjacent pergola covered with mature wisteria and a three-season solarium that was added in 2004. The 18- by 12-foot room off the living room has sliding windows and pop-in screens for fresh air. From this room, visitors can see a giant acorn statue that sits snugly in a bed of daylilies, under the redwood.

Other improvement include James Hardie concrete siding, new gutters and downspouts, Andersen windows and a large-capacity rain barrel. In addition, all utilities including FIOS cable have been moved underground.

The property’s 2014 county assessed value is $252,400 (www2.county.allegheny.pa.us/RealEstate/Search.aspx). Over the last three years, one property has sold on Old Farm Road for $235,000 in June 2010 (www.realstats.net).

The homeowners said they are moving to be closer to their respective worksites.

"Even though our commute is longer than we would like, it is the perfect respite when you arrive. It is hard to leave here," Mr. Florey said.

Rosa Colucci: 412-263-1634 or rcolucci@post-gazette.com.


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