Buying here: Murrysville house carries lots of hard work, sensible design
November 25, 2016 11:07 AM
Becky Rothrauff / Rebeca Sue Photography
The exterior of the house at 5919 Graybrooke Drive in Murrysville has new vinyl siding, soffits and gutters.
By Rosa Colucci / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Nicole D’Ottavio has a keen eye for a house’s potential. When she looked at 5919 Graybrooke Drive in Murrysville in November 2013, she saw past an eyesore on an otherwise lovely street.
“It was a rental for five years with an out-of-state homeowner,” she said.
The interiors of the four-bedroom, 2½-bath house were in such bad shape that she and her son couldn’t live there. It took Jason Ott of J. Ott Contracting and Fine Building six months to set things right.
Now the house is picture-perfect and she is getting married. So she has put it on the market for $345,000 (MLS No. 1251695) with the same agent who sold it to her, Teresa Santella of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices (724-327-0444 or www.thepreferredrealty.com). An open house will be held at 1-3 p.m. Dec. 4.
Ms. D’Ottavio, a self-described Pinterest addict, began the project with pinned photos of interiors and items she liked. Then she had new ¾-inch thick oak floors installed in most of the first floor and replaced pine doors, baseboards and window trim with more substantial oak. She personally painted the trim a crisp white.
Buying Here: Murrysville (Click image for larger version)
The inside of the three-panel front door is painted a soft blue and shows off the leaded-glass panes. To the left of the entry, an 18-by-12-foot formal living room is being used as a play room.
Around the corner, she made the 12-by-12-foot dining room look larger by painting horizontal stripes on its walls. Another Pinterest inspiration was an oval light chandelier from Lowe’s.
The 18-by-10-foot kitchen was completely redesigned. New white cabinets are outfitted with granite counter tops and appliances include an LG counter-depth refrigerator, Samsung convection oven and Bosch dishwasher.
“I removed a walled-in pantry and opened it up to include a counter-depth wine bar,” Ms. D’Ottavio said.
The smart new layout had enough room for bench seating with storage. A set of windows are outfitted with striped Roman shades from Pottery Barn that will stay with the home.
The 20-by-14-foot family room was stripped down to the studs. Mr. Ott redesigned the wood-burning fireplace, replacing the brick hearth and surround that she feared would be a hazard for a toddler. The contractor removed the upper brick and built out the lower portion, finishing it with glass tile. The ceramic-tile hearth is edged with wood. The space is finished with berber carpeting, crown molding and a new Andersen sliding glass door that leads to the back deck. It has new boards and has been brought up to code.
Upstairs, the 19-by-12-foot master bedroom with his and her closets is the largest of four. The master bath and another full bath were completely gutted and plumbing and wiring repaired. Both feature extra-deep soaking tubs with ceramic- and glass-tile surrounds, energy-efficient toilets and Thomasville vanities with granite and marble tops.
The son’s 15-by-14-foot bedroom is painted a pale blue with a magnetic road and tiny trucks.
“I wanted to make it really special for him. The closet is an odd space so I took off the door and made a little hideout for him,” Ms. D’Ottavio said.
The 15-by-12-foot guest bedroom has a feature wall painted a deep plum. A fourth 14-by-11-foot bedroom now is being used as an office. All of the bedrooms have new closet organization systems.
The basement contains the laundry and lots of shelving for sports equipment or tools. There is a door to the two-car garage. “The garage doors are brand-new and belt-driven. They are good for 25 years,” she said.
Other major upgrades include central air conditioning and a new Lennox furnace with a two-stage system. “My heat bill is only a quarter of what it was since I had it installed,” Ms. D’Ottavio said.
On the exterior, she had new vinyl siding, soffits, fascia and gutters installed this year. She said she got to know many of her neighbors when she tackled the lawn, which had not been mowed in two years. They came in droves, offering help, tools and encouragement.
“There was a lot of trimming, mulching and weeding and edging,” she recalled.
Today, there are neat beds filled with shrubs and a well-groomed lawn in the back.
The Westmoreland County appraised value of the home is $43,290 (www.co.westmoreland.pa.us). In the last three years, seven homes have sold on Graybrooke Drive for prices ranging from $210,500 in September 2012 to $278,000 in January 2013 (www.realstats.net).
Ms. D’Ottavio says she remodeled the house as if she would be there forever. “I did not treat it as a flip.”
She hopes the next homeowner will love it as much as she does.
“I want everyone to know what a great neighborhood it is. It’s filled with kids.”
Rosa Colucci: firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter: PgRosa_Colucci.
Inside out: Murrysville is a municipality roughly 20 miles east of Downtown, just east of the Westmoreland/Allegheny counties line. For this reason, it is designated as the Gateway to Westmoreland County. In 1933, local Boy Scouts decided to offer motorists a leafy welcome by planting trees that would eventually spell out “Murrysville” on a hill near busy Rt. 22. In 1947, the sign was featured in "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" as the world's largest arboreal sign. It’s not anymore.
The letter Y in the sign points to the Haymaker Gas Well, the nation's first commercial natural gas well. Today, parts of the community are being tested for potential Marcellus Shale gas wells.
Murrysville’s residents, who numbered more than 20,000 in the 2010 census, can take advantage of more than 1,000 acres in Duff Park, which is designated as a wild plant sanctuary by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Other public parks include Bear Hollow, Chambers, Murrysville Community Park and the Lillian Kellman Nature Reserve.
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