Ready to Dive into This Shaler Home with a Picture Perfect Pool?
The four-bedroom, stone ranch has been updated from top to bottom.
While Mary Lee and Bruno Conicella loved the four-bedroom, stone ranch at 1605 Burchfield Road in Shaler, it was the recently installed in-ground pool that sealed the deal for the couple when they viewed it for the first time 34 years ago.
“Our two children are both in their 30s now, but when they were young kids, we were the house that everyone converged upon, which we loved,” Mary Lee says.
Now, at a time when many couples their age are looking to purchase a one-level ranch house such as this one, the Conicellas have decided it’s time to make another dream come true.
“We’ve always wanted to build our own house,” Mary Lee says.
Their home is now on the market for $378,000 (MLS#1606341, Brian Czapor, Piatt Sotheby’s International Realty, sothebysrealty.com). It is open by appointment.
Over the years, the couple renovated many of the rooms, marking a stark contrast from what the home looked like when they bought it.
“The entry walls were painted a bright raspberry — it was wild,” Mary Lee says. “There was a nautical theme in the lower-level family room, and the bathroom downstairs had an oil-drip lamp with a woman posing in the middle.”
The finished, lower-level game room had 1970s-era paneling and dark red shag carpeting. Fortunately, Bruno is a handy guy; he quickly started taking on projects.
“We did it in phases,” he recalls of the game room. “Eventually, we did the drywall. They had the wet bar, we added the granite.”
While the couple kept the lower level’s original fireplace, they added more stone façade to the walls and installed a drop ceiling, Pergo flooring and box pillars. They also upgraded that unusual powder room into an accessible space with a walk-in shower, large format tile and a generously sized vanity. Over the years, it would accommodate both of their parents.
“My mom lived with us for 20 years,” Mary Lee says. “After she passed away, Bruno’s mom sold her house and moved in; it was an easy walk-in shower for her.”
On the first level, the berry-colored entry was replaced with a classic white hue that runs throughout the home. The sunken living room features the original exposed wood beams. There also are bordered hardwood floors that accentuate the room shape and give a nice flow in connection with the four bedrooms.
A glass panel wall of French doors leads to the sunroom, which is currently used as an office. During the first of two kitchen renovations, the couple also got rid of the home’s original, Avocado-green appliances.
“There was a pull-out electric green cooktop,” Mary Lee says. “The house was built in 1967, so it was a thing.”
Twenty years after that first renovation, they dove in again in 2020.
“We felt it was time,” Mary Lee says. “We wanted new floors and granite countertops.”
The remodeled kitchen now features raised-panel, solid-wood cabinetry. The granite countertops extend to a peninsula island that seats three in the dining room. There’s also easy-to-maintain porcelain tile flooring and stainless-steel appliances. A set of doors leads to the covered deck, which overlooks the pool and the terraced planting garden.
“I grew my own tomato plants,” Bruno says. “It was easier to work in the tiered garden.”
The 14-by-28-square-foot pool is anchored by a large shed that doubles as a Tiki bar when the doors are open. The space also features two lofts for seasonal storage.
“We call it the barn,” Mary Lee says. “It has electricity, lights and a refrigerator. You can pass drinks through the window.”
A two-car garage leads into the asphalt hardscape, which long doubled as a basketball court for family members and guests. An additional carport with metal roofing is located under the deck.
Everything in the home has been completely upgraded over the years. The big joke between the couple is that when Mary Lee travels for work, Bruno does a new project. When she returns, it takes a while before she notices.
“The front landscaping was completely changed on one trip,” Bruno says.
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.
About: Shaler (shaler.org)
Planes, Trains & Automobiles: A 40-minute commute to the airport. Daily transport via Pittsburgh Regional Transit. Rideshare. Street parking.
Schools: Shaler Area School District (sasd.k12.pa.us) serves four suburbs and offers extensive programming, including a large marching band, orchestra and drama club. The extensive Quad A sports programming features more than 14 disciplines, including football, basketball and indoor track and field.
Neighborhood: Named after Charles Shaler, a prominent mid-19th-century judge, after a petition was formed to break away from the village of Glenshaw in 1845, Shaler was once a small farming community that drew its livelihood from Pine Creek and Girty’s Run. Today, the township, conveniently located close to Downtown, is primarily residential.