Hot Property: Everything You Need Is Nearby with this Tudor-Style Home
The four-bedroom home in Dormont is within walking distance of bustling West Liberty Avenue.
Jim Paonessa has a lot of great memories of his late sister, Rosetta.
The siblings were two of five children who, with their parents Joseph and Sara, moved into 1300 Biltmore Ave. in Dormont more than six decades ago.
Rosetta spent her life as a respected executive secretary at Westinghouse. She also served her community and her church — and she loved their family home, according to Paonessa.
“We moved into the home in 1956,” he says. “There were five children. We had lots of room in that house. “
Rosetta lived alone in the home for 40 years — and, according to her brother, enjoyed every minute of it — before she died in October at age 80.
“I kept telling her to downsize and sell the house,” Paonessa says. “She would say, ‘Jim, it’s convenient here. I have everything I need right around the corner.’”
Her elegant Tudor-style home is now listed for $329,900 (MLS# 1523693, Janet Caputo, Coldwell Banker Real Estate, 412/980-6025, coldwellbanker.com). It is open by appointment.
Rosetta was right about the home’s convenient location. The four-bedroom, two-bathroom home on a corner lot is just a short walk from the restaurants, grocery stores and churches of bustling West Liberty Avenue.
The welcoming front porch has a porch swing, custom awnings and original beadboard ceiling. Three stained glass transom windows have beautiful color and are part of a collection of seven such windows on the first floor alone.
Inside, the home features original wood trim, including coffered ceilings, stiles and rails on the walls. Underneath the wall-to-wall carpet are original hardwood floors that are in great shape. A pair of classic sconces light one side of the living room, accented by a flush-mount crystal ambient light.
Flanked by a pair of built-in bookcases, the living room fireplace wall has a gas stone-façade fireplace and a beefy mantel. An equally elegant dining room has its own fireplace and built-in cabinets, plus another gorgeous window.
“Rosetta had custom curtains in all of the rooms,” Paonessa says of the panels that still drape some of the windows.
Between the living and dining room is a pair of operable pocket doors, although the carpet currently prevents them from opening.
Beyond the living room is a darling sunroom. Paonessa (who also lost another sister earlier this year) says one of his last great family memories took place in the well-loved room.
“We had a last Christmas Eve Seven Fishes dinner,” he recalls. “All of the siblings were there with all of the kids. There were 38 of us for a sit-down dinner.”
Meal prep for the event would have been impossible had Rosetta not kept up the kitchen remodeling.
“She remodeled that kitchen several times over the years,” Paonessa says. “She had something done in that house every year.”
The kitchen features ceramic tile floors, custom cabinets that match the original wood trim, black granite countertops and a roomy pantry. The entry hallway features a paneled wall, coat hooks and built-in seating.
The basement is where the Paonessa family’s father, Joseph, kept busy with projects.
“He was a carpenter and he put up a gameroom. He had a second kitchen down there where Rosetta used to do her canning,” Jim Paonessa says. “In the storage room, he had a barrel that he made wine in every year.”
Exiting through the rear kitchen door lands you on a spacious outdoor patio built above the garages below. It has a nice view, with plenty of room for a big party. Iron railings surround the perimeter, and there is also enough yard for a pet to run around in or for planting a garden.
Paonessa adds the family used the patio all summer long, eating most of their meals out there.
On the home’s second floor are four large bedrooms with decorative mantels and huge windows. Most of the rooms are painted white and feature wall-to-wall carpeting.
The third floor is completely finished. The front room has a dormer ceiling and is so large that the queen-size bed looks lost in it. There are gas and water lines, so the space could be made into a separate suite.
Mechanically, the house has a newer furnace, roof, sidewalks and radiator heating.
“My sister was a fanatic about that house,” Paonessa says. “It didn’t get a lot of wear and tear because she was the only one in it for 40 years. It is a nice neighborhood. She just loved it.”
Hot Property is 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 email@example.com.
Planes, Trains & Automobiles: A 23-minute commute to the Pittsburgh International Airport. Daily transport via Port Authority buses and the “T” light rail system. Street parking.
Schools: Keystone Oaks School District (kosd.org) is comprised of Castle Shannon, Dormont and Green Tree. The average elementary class size is 22 students. The district ranks among the top 15 in Western Pennsylvania. There are more than 21 sports at the high school level and the district has a STEAM Curriculum.
Neighborhood: Dormont has a historic society, a lively community life and a voluntary cooperation with Sustainable Pennsylvania. Sidewalks and a thriving business district make it a friendly place to live.