Buying Here: Ambridge


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Every once in a while, you come across a home whose owners have put something extra special into it. That is the case with 522 Wilson Ave. in Ambridge, which bears the marks of former owner John P. Plesh.

"My father loved Ambridge," said Pam Weigand, who is handing the sale of the home for her mother, Pat Plesh.

The split level is on the market for $95,000 (MLS No. 1024794) with Ann Ridley of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, formerly Prudential Preferred Realty (www.thepreferredrealty.com, 412-741-6312).

It originally had three bedrooms, but after two major renovations and one addition it has an open floor plan with two bedrooms, 21/2 baths and a loft. It also has sweeping views of the Ohio River valley and the Ambridge Bridge.

"My father started the renovations after all of the kids moved out. He was very artistic," Ms. Weigand. "We all said, 'Why don't you move to Sewickley?' He said that is where he loved and lived."

Mr. Plesh, a commercial artist, was devoted to his Croatian heritage, his daughter said. He was once national secretary-treasurer of the Croatian Fraternal Union. He designed 12 stained-glass windows that may stay with the house if the seller and new owners can agree on a price. Some are part of the new entryway, which also has skylights and large windows on both sides.

Mr. Plesh also had contractors install 3-inch-wide oak planks on the walls and ceiling in the living/dining room area. Installed diagonally, the light-stained wood and recessed lights give a unique character to the 22- by 13-foot space. The adjacent kitchen measures 19 by 9 feet and has oak cabinets and white laminate counter tops with a double-bowl stainless-steel sink. It also has a dishwasher, double oven and wood-paneled, dropped ceiling.

"At the far end of the kitchen, my dad took out the nook and installed a glass solarium," Ms. Weigand said.

The solarium runs the width of the house and has a parquet wood floor. It has access to a paver patio, brick barbecue and the small backyard. Other rooms on the main floor include a bedroom and full bathroom.

The solarium was Mr. Plesh's first improvement, done in the late 1980s. The next one, in 1989-90, changed the front entry and opened up the basement, which is now a 21- by- 12-foot space that includes a den with built-in bookshelves and a bar.

"You open up the doors and the lights turn on," Ms. Weigand said. "There is small wine storage and an octagonal bar sink with brass fixtures. It is a cozy and welcoming space."

She said the upstairs and loft were part of his final renovation, completed in 1992.

"He died suddenly before he had his open house after the last renovation. He was only 68 years old."

Mr. Plesh created the upstairs as a private haven to take advantage of the views.

"He wanted to see all of Ambridge, so that was his floor," his daughter said.

The master suite includes the bedroom, walk-in closets and a bath with a Corian shower, jetted tub and bidet.

Steps lead to the loft where Mr. Plesh used to record and host a Sunday morning radio show on WMBA-AM in Ambridge. "Heritage International" at 10 a.m. featured ethnic music from all cultures. At 11 a.m., he followed with "The Croatian Hour." He and Mrs. Plesh also made and served meals four times a week at the Croatian Social Club.

The loft features solid oak walls and floor with a carved bannister. Large three-panel glass doors lead to a small outside balcony. Four skylights contribute to the open-air feel. The opposite side of the sitting room has a four-panel bow window with panoramic views.

In back is a two-car garage that Mrs. Plesh had built and a small yard and concrete patio. The house has gas, forced-air heating but no central air-conditioning.

"He just wanted the home to be his home," Ms. Weigand said. "It will be a great home for somebody. There is a lot you can do with all of the space."

Over the past three years, 13 properties have sold on Wilson Avenue for prices ranging from $20,000 in July 2012 to $96,900 in April 2013 (www.realstats.net).

The home is open by appointment.

Rosa Colucci: rcolucci@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1634. Twitter, PGRosa_Colucci.


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