Buying Here: How couple fell in love with century-old house in Ingram
October 22, 2015 1:01 PM
Linen-colored paint highlights the exterior of the house at 222 W. Prospect Ave. in Ingram.
Front patio of an Ingram house built in 1910. The structure boasts plenty of Italianate details inside and out.
Wainscoting highlights the staircase in the front hall. The wool runner on the stairs was custom-made.
The medallion in the foyer features inlaid details.
The kitchen's centerpiece is a reglazed 3-foot-wide antique sink.
Built-in shelving, an original fireplace mantel and retro belt-driven ceiling fan are highlights of the living room.
Another view of the living room.
The family room has painted brick walls and lots of windows.
Bathroom walls feature hand-painted tree branches that extend to the ceiling.
Period antiques and light fixtures accent the dining room.
A curved bay with three windows in the master bedroom.
The back patio is part of the expanded backyard.
By Rosa Colucci / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Sometimes you fall in love with a house but the timing isn’t right.
“We actually looked at it years before when it was for sale,” said Randy Gilbert. “Like many Victorians, it had too much of everything — wallpaper, paint, you name it. Plus, it was 3,600 square feet for just the two of us. We didn’t have children at the time.”
Then, a second chance and the stars aligned. “It came back on the market and we were in that mode, we had kids. Plus, it was in the Montour School District. That was a big factor for us.”
Anyone who drives by the 105-year-old house at 222 W. Prospect Ave. in Ingram will easily see why it captured the hearts of Mr. Gilbert and his wife, Jamie.
But now they have to move and the house is on the market for $369,900 (MLS No. 1074656) with Gina Giampietro of RE/MAX Select Realty (724-933-6300 ext. 974 or www.selecthomefinder.com).
PG graphic: Sales Snapshot (Click image for larger version)
When the Gilberts bought the house in 2011, some renovations had been done. “The people that lived there had good intentions but got in over their head,” Mr. Gilbert said. “I did the same thing on the North Side. It isn’t fun.”
This time, armed with experience and great contractors, the couple have restored this house to its original grandeur. The front door, painted high-gloss black with brass hardware, sets the tone for what lies within.
The majestic 27- by- 8-foot entry features wainscoting and original hardwood floors with a medallion detail. The main staircase has been refinished and outfitted with custom wool stair runners and brass rods made in England. A brass pendant light by Typhoon Lighting in Braddock is just one of many in the home.
“They assisted us with the process. We spent thousands of dollars getting period-correct fixtures. They refurbished some and they are a mixture of new or gas converted to electric,” Mr. Gilbert said.
The dining room features a restored antique plaster chandelier that fits the 19- by- 15-foot space perfectly. A trio of windows is opposite the fireplace, which boasts a gas log insert and handcrafted iron surround.
The living room measures 30 by 14 feet and features views of the back and front of the home, some through a huge picture window. A belt-driven ceiling fan adds a bit of retro cool.
The 15- by- 15-foot kitchen features farmhouse cabinets, oak counter tops and a six-burner professional stove. Stainless-steel appliances complement the woodwork, but the star of the show is the reglazed farmhouse sink. Original to the home, it’s 3 feet wide and outfitted with new period fixtures. A large pantry is nearby.
The powder room is painted like a Japanese pagoda, with intricate branches extending into the ceiling. A gold-leaf mirror with matching sconces reflect the scene.
The sunroom is now an all-seasons room thanks to Wade Heating & Cooling.
“They did some extremely difficult work with this house,” Mr. Gilbert said. “The HVAC was electric and our winter bills were $1,500 a month, They converted us to gas, running ductwork and lines behind three floors. It was seamless. Our bills are now $150 a month in the dead of winter.”
The system, which includes central air-conditioning, has three zones that can be controlled remotely. “I can change the settings from work,” he said.
Upstairs are three bedrooms that range from the 17- by- 15-foot master to the 13- by- 13-foot nursery, the only one with carpeting. They are serviced by a bathroom that features a black-and-white marble floor and porcelain pedestal sink.
The third floor features an in-law suite with two bedrooms and a full bathroom whose 50-square-foot, ceramic- and granite-tiled shower includes body jets and a rainshower fixture.
The exterior is as impressive as the interior. When the Gilberts purchased the home, it shared a driveway and a garage with 228 W. Prospect. They purchased that property in August 2014, tore down the home, rebuilt the garage and expanded their yard. They fenced the lot, installed a play area for the kids and planted grass. They also installed a stone patio for entertaining.
“It’s redeeded to one parcel. We have no nearby neighbors and woods behind us,” Mr. Gilbert said.
The property’s county assessed value is $158,700 (www2.county.allegheny.pa.us/RealEstate/Search.aspx). Over the last three years, 11 properties besides the Gilberts’ have sold on West Prospect Avenue, ranging in price from $52,000 in January 2011 to $193,500 in June 2012 (www.realstats.net). The tax bill on this home is $4,899 per year, according to the listing information.
The Gilberts thought this would be their forever home. They can’t find anything that can compare.
“You can’t even come close. We will always love and miss this home,” he said.
Inside out: Ingram is small, just 0.46 square miles, and a scant 5 miles from the city of Pittsburgh. The borough has 3,300 residents and a small-town feel.
According to the Ingram Historical Society, Edward Ingram and his son, Thomas, owned all of the land within borough limits. In 1880, they put parcels up for sale, marketing it as “haven away from the industrial pollution and noise of the city of Pittsburgh.” An advertising circular showed the $290 lots could be purchased for $2 down and weekly installments of $1.50 with no tax or interest. They had hookups for gas, electric and telephone and prizes were given to builders who completed houses fastest. The borough was incorporated in 1902.
Among the historic homes on West Prospect Avenue is that of Edward and Charles Stotz. architects and designers responsible for the Church of the Epiphany, the clubhouse at Oakmont, Point Park University buildings and Schenley High School.
You might be surprised to know that many of the roads are still paved with yellow bricks. The median family income in 2010 was $45,824.
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