Hot Property: A Stately Home in a Suburban Hidden Gem
The classic brick home in Ingram is full of eye-catching details, including original dentil molding.
If you took a poll of all of the hidden suburban gems in Pittsburgh, Ingram would be right near the top. With a population of just 3,237, and covering less than half of a square mile, it’s so far under the radar that it practically holds stealth bomber status.
So here’s a primer.
It’s not part of Crafton, but they’re next door neighbors and best buds, so much so that you often hear “Crafton-Ingram” in reference to the area. Just 10 minutes from Downtown, it’s also convenient to Crafton Ingram Shopping Center and Crafton Ingram Lanes — and so you can see why there’s all the confusion.
Nonetheless, hidden hamlet communities are a specialty around this area, and Ingram’s qualities are what attracted Anna Romansky and her husband, Brian Cleveland, to their gem of a home at 24 Vancouver Ave.
“We were so intrigued by the neighborhood because it had everything,” Romansky says. “And the Montour School District offered a great school life.”
When the couple bought their five-bedroom, two-full bathroom and two-half bathroom home in 2011, they were just starting their lives together and had no children. The 1907 classic brick Victorian stood out to them because of its original dentil molding, beautiful front porch and stately, gracious profile.
“The previous owner had done some updates,” Romansky recalls. “Every room had outdated wallpaper and there were carpets on the second and third floors.”
The couple got to work, tackling many period-appropriate updates over the last 10 years. While they love their home, their burgeoning family necessitated a move.
“We now have four kids,” Romanky says. “We wanted more outdoor space for the kids. It was the one thing you couldn’t change.”
The couple has listed their home for $299,000 (MLS# 1511652, Lu Ryan, Howard Hanna Real Estate, howardhanna.com, 412/708-2300). It is open by appointment.
Anyone with an eye for detail will notice the home’s many special touches, starting with the front porch.
“We installed all new floor boards, narrow tongue-in-groove, and stained them,” Romansky says.
The pillars are accented in Victorian colors and add a nice touch to the three-panel front door. Inside, the original entry is stunning. There’s a panel-oak staircase, original pocket doors, leaded glass and a bowl-flush mount light fixture, the first of many the couple had restored or replaced throughout the home. The grand space also comes with a bonus around the holidays, according to Romansky.
“We were able to put an 11-foot Christmas tree in the entryway,” she says. “It was harder to find the tree than [it was] to fit it in there.”
The 15-by-14 square-foot formal living room is anchored by the original fireplace. The mirrored mantel with carved details and tiger-wood columns is functional as well as beautiful. To the right, through a second pair of pocket doors, is an equally beautiful fireplace that is simpler in design but shines bright thanks to the tile surround.
The home is heated by radiator heat, and the couple painstakingly sanded and restored every radiator in the home with soft metallic paint, transforming them into gorgeous works of art.
The 12-by-11 square foot kitchen was remodeled by the previous owner and features a smart layout with an island workspace, granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances. Overhead is a copper-colored tin ceiling.
The lovely rear yard has a new back porch deck with wood-look ceramic tile and spindles painted in a Victorian-era color palette. Where a garage once stood is a parking pad that can host two cars. Perfectly level, the low-maintenance yard is a great place to entertain.
“We updated all of the landscaping around the house with river rock,” Romansky says.
Back inside, the primary bedroom on the second level was completely remodeled. The couple smartly tore down a false wall attached to a formerly captive bedroom and turned the space into a luxury bathroom.
“We installed marble tile and heated floors,” Romansky says. “The clawfoot tub is from the late 1800s and we had it completely refinished. The chandelier is antique with new wiring.”
A double furniture-style vanity and a stand-alone shower add to the bathroom’s great design. It is a genuine complement to the bedroom, where a second tin ceiling features a coffered medallion box. Rounding out the space is a fireplace and new hardwood floors.
The second floor features two other generously sized bedrooms, also with hardwood floors. A full second bathroom, remodeled by previous owners, stands out thanks to a stained glass window and tongue-in-groove panel wainscoting.
The third floor also got the demo treatment when the couple removed another captive room and transformed the space into a home office. New hardwood floors, baseboards (some salvaged and some new) and lighting make it a super-functional space. Another bedroom on that level is clean, light and bright as well.
“All of the spaces have room-darkening shades, and we stripped all of the painted wood in those rooms,” Romansky says.
As her family readies for their next phase, she says there is a lot she’ll miss about her old neighborhood.
“From our house, you can walk to two different parks,” she says. “I also belonged to a great mom group. There are a lot of young families moving in because of the great school district. We had a lot of nice neighbors.”
Drawing on her years of experience covering the region’s real estate industry, Rosa Colucci offers Hot Property, an inside look into unique and historic homes on the market. Each week, Hot Property goes behind the For Sale sign to share the story of a special Pittsburgh-area home. And four times a year, Hot Property gives an in-depth look at the region’s real estate market in Pittsburgh Magazine HOME, tracking housing prices and sales and detailing where the hot properties can be found. Rosa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.