This six-bedroom, three-bath home in Crafton retains many original features that were preserved during its renovation.
By Rosa Colucci / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
While everyone was talking this year about the real estate markets in Lawrenceville and East Liberty, suburban Pittsburgh houses were quietly selling at close to asking price — if Buying Here is any indication.
Of the 50 properties featured in this space in 2016, the majority were in suburban Allegheny, Butler, Beaver and Westmoreland counties. Many houses sold within months of being listed. The exceptions were the three properties priced at over $1 million. All three are still on the market.
David and Cathy Johnson’s dream house started with a pony.
“Our kids got into horses and we wanted a place for them with a barn,” Mr. Johnson said.
That wish resulted in a six-bedroom,10-bath custom-built home on 22 acres in Peters, Washington County. The house at 179-199 Johnston Road (MLS No. 1226589) features a grand floating double staircase and lush views of their 22 acres, which includes a large stables. Originally, priced at $8.15 million, it has been reduced to $7.95 million. The listing will be removed from the multilist for a few weeks and return in the spring.
To the north in Sewickley Heights, Steelers Hall of Famer Lynn Swann put 181 Merriman Road (MLS No. 1226640) on the market when he was offered the athletic director’s job at his alma mater, the University of Southern California.
The five-bedroom, seven-bath ranch-style home was designed by Tasso Katselas, the same architect responsible for Pittsburgh International Airport, and features Spanish quarry tile floors and lots of stone. Amenities include a vaulted wine cellar and outdoor driving range. Originally listed at $2.25 million, it’s now available for $1.995 million.
The last of the million-dollar babies is 1320 Woodbridge Drive (MLS No. 1065903) in Unity, Westmoreland County. Built and occupied by builder Bryan Grejtak and his family, the 9,000-square-foot home is a study in contemporary design and stone, glass and granite. It was originally priced at $1.249 million and now listed at $1.1 million.
Sometimes special houses find that just-right buyer. The house at 369 Mill Dam Road, Indiana Township, has its own special charm. Built by Michael Ferraro on 2.5 acres from reclaimed barnwood and stone in 1980, the house was exactly what Lee and Don Newcomb were looking for. They have added six separate outdoor spaces to take advantage of its views and private lake. The couple paid $550,354 for the property originally listed for $599,000.
Carter Evans, a young renovator who learned his craft working alongside his grandfather, bought 57 Hawthorne Ave. in Crafton intending to live there. After beautifully renovating the six-bedroom, three-bath house built in 1890, the 21-year-old changed his mind and decided to sell it. Originally listed for $249,000, the property sold in November for $195,000. Not bad for a first-timer.
Another fixer-upper was the star of decorating blogs such as Apartment Therapy and Design Sponge. Erin and Richard Kelly transformed 107 Fairfax Road in Forest Hills from frumpy to fabulous with lots of white paint and a sharp eye. Listed for $169,900, the house was under agreement for $175,000 by the time the story appeared in the paper four days later.
Another young couple took on a renovation, this time on a house that was just 11 years old at 225 Summerlawn Ave. Only work pulled them away from the four-bedroom, 4 1/2-bath house. They repainted walls, refinished floors and reimagined the kitchen with Wolf and Jenn-Air appliances. Listed for $530,000 in the spring, it sold for $499,000 in the fall.
A beautiful renovation in Beaver is still on the market. Designer Judith Minegar and husband Craig took on what she called “the biggest, ugliest house on the block.” The couple renovated 1004 Second St., which has three bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms, and added crown molding, exposed brick and put in a spa bath. Originally listed for $425,000, it is priced at $415,000.
A classic Italianate-style house at 332 E. 10th Ave. in Tarentum was a project for Heather Weiseman. Built in 1896, the four-bedroom, 2 ½-bath home retained lots of original details including wainscoting and tall period baseboards. She put it on market for $175,000. A new kitchen and bath surely helped its quick sale for $163,000 at the end of March.
We featured a home in the Cement City historical district of Donora in the spring to coincide with a tour of the neighborhood. The house at 146 Bertha Ave. (MLS No. 1231613) was built in 1916-17 by Lambie Concrete House Corp.
Michael and Marsha Beresh bought it for just $13,500 in 1971 and carefully preserved the three-bedroom, one-bath house with a historical marker on the front. Listed for $45,000, it is now available for $40,000.
The year started with a home that held a lot of history. Located on Rt. 30 in Ligonier, the Soffel summer home has an original stone exterior and sits on 3 lovely acres. Mr. Soffel, warden of the Allegheny County Jail built the three-bedroom, 1½-bath house for his wife, Kate, as a respite from a smoggy Pittsburgh. Apparently it was not enough.
While ministering to prisoners at the jail, she got involved with the Biddle brothers, who were both sentenced to die for killing a Mount Washington shopkeeper in a robbery. Her love for Ed Biddle led to her aiding their escape on Jan. 30, 1902. The brothers died in a shootout and Mrs. Soffel died from typhoid fever in 1909.
Her house was listed for sale at $210,000 and sold for $205,000 in March.
Rosa Colucci: firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter, PgRosa_Colucci.
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