Could Opportunity Knock Again With This Charming Dormont Home?
Maggie Kucera became a homeowner at 28 when she purchased the century-old, Craftsman-style home.
When friends decided to sell their Dormont home, Maggie Kucera saw it as an opportunity to own her own home before she reached the age of 30. At the time, Kucera was living in Shadyside, but couldn’t afford to purchase a home there.
“Dormont was much more affordable,” she says. “I remember being thrilled that I was actually able to buy this house when I was 28.”
As it turned out, Kucera, who is soon to be married, enjoyed living at 1611 Hillsdale Ave. as much as she did living in Shadyside.
“I just love Dormont; I love the location,” she says. “I’ve owned it for 11 years — me, in a 100-year-old house.”
Built in 1920, the five-bedroom, two-bathroom home features 2,400 square feet of living space spread over three floors. It’s now on the market for $325,000 (Donna Howland Klein, Re/Max Realty Brokers, pittsburgh-moves.com) and is open by appointment.
The home’s Craftsman-style details start with the welcoming front porch, which features a slatted ceiling and a newer floor deck.
“My favorite place is the porch swing,” Kucera says. “It is such a friendly community. [It’s] so nice to be outside and just talk to your neighbors.”
Inside, hardwood floors and naturally finished woodwork set the stage for a decorative fireplace surrounded by a stone facade and flanked on each side by bookcases.
A fluted archway opens to the dining room, where large windows fill the room with light. The floor-to-ceiling alcove shelves can showcase ceramics and act as practical storage, while a fancy, open-arm chandelier offers some sparkle.
In the kitchen, soft sage green walls contrast nicely with light oak slab cabinets. There’s also a huge pantry wall with a desk that doubles as a coffee station.
“The kitchen was a big selling point for me,” Kucera says. “It was an addition to the home that was installed two owners ago.”
The space got a huge workout during the pandemic from Kucera, who spent a lot of time there baking.
“I have a grain mill and I was baking bread and galettes during the pandemic,” she recalls.
As befits a home chef, Kucera says the double-oven convection range with a gas cooktop is less than six months old. Other amenities include a french-door style refrigerator, a double sink and plenty of counter space to cook upon. Kucera also recently updated the cabinet hardware, giving the space a clean, contemporary look.
Off the dining room is a bedroom that’s being used as an exercise room. The first floor also has an updated full bathroom with a tub/shower combination, giving the space potential to be used as a guest suite or an opportunity for one-level living.
Below a window on the staircase landing sits an original bench. Farther up on the second floor are a full bathroom and four bedrooms, including a bedroom converted into a sunny home office.
The primary bedroom has a soft-gray color scheme and a walk-in closet with an organizer system and multiple shelves. A fourth bedroom also is being used as a custom closet and is outfitted with an IKEA Pax System.
Updated in 2019, the second-floor bathroom features new wainscoting, a jet stream tub and a storage vanity painted a rich shade of fern green.
The third floor has a large room with dormer walls, generous ceilings, original floors and great storage options; Kucera’s fiancee is currently using the space as an office.
“The closet is huge,” Kucera says. “I have a ton of decorations up there.”
The HVAC system is a combination of radiator heat and central air conditioning. Kucera says she invested in the central air, while the previous owner had beautiful, custom radiator covers installed throughout the house.
A rear deck leads to the backyard, where the fire pit became a place of gathering and respite during the pandemic.
“I also bought a backyard space heater and we were able to gather around during the winters,” Kucera says.
Drawing on her years of experience covering the region’s real estate industry, Rosa Colucci’s Hot Property offers an inside look into unique and historic homes currently on the market. Each week, Hot Property goes behind the For Sale sign to share the story of a special Pittsburgh area home. Four times a year, Hot Property gives an in-depth look at the region’s real estate market in Pittsburgh Magazine HOME, tracks housing prices and sales and details where the hot properties can be found. Rosa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Planes, Trains & Automobiles: A 23-minute commute to the airport. Daily transport via Pittsburgh Regional Transit and the “T” light rail system. Street parking.
Schools: Keystone Oaks School District (kosd.org) is comprised of Castle Shannon, Dormont and Green Tree and ranks among the top 15 districts in Western Pennsylvania. The district offers more than 21 sports at the high school level and a STEAM curriculum.
Neighborhood: Historic and lively, Dormont is a Gold Certified municipality with Sustainable Pennsylvania, which means it aims to save money, conserve resources and encourage innovation as a way of operating to advance community prosperity. Dormont is convenient to Downtown and its sidewalks and thriving business district make it a friendly place to live.