This Renovated Ranch in McCandless Could Be Your Own Party Palace
Built in 1954, the ranch has a series of expansive additions, including a patio with an unusual custom bar.
David and Teresa Pitell have no shortage of great stories when it comes to David’s family home.
Located at 9301 Venango Drive in McCandless, the house has gone through a lifetime of renovations and reimaginings at the hands of David’s late father, Gerald Pitell, who oversaw the construction of the home in 1954.
“Originally, there were two driveways because Dad ran his business out of the home,” David recalls. “He was constantly remodeling. The kitchen that is in there right now is the fifth kitchen in that house. He was a building contractor, so when things got slow, [his employees would work on the house to] have something to do.”
Throughout the years, the family took full advantage of the property’s 1¼-acre lot to expand the simple ranch’s original footprint into an expansive home perfect for entertaining.
These days, the Pitells say they spent the last two years overseeing the home’s latest round of renovations to get it ready for sale. It’s listed for $498,000 (MLS#1557192, Beth Danchek, Coldwell Banker Real Estate coldwellbankerhomes.com, 412/389-4609). It is open by appointment.
Featuring a double-sided driveway, the home’s all-white exterior pops against the large expanse of green lawn and trees. A small set of steps lead to the entry, where to the right is a large formal living room with a wall of arabesque tile and an Italian marble façade.
The room has an arch façade in front of the original windows that echoes the numerous archways throughout the home — but the true star of the show is the gorgeous floors underfoot.
“When I started to remodel, I lifted the carpets and found the original white oak hardwood floor that had never been touched,” David says. “After refinishing them, I liked it so much that I thought I would carry it into the kitchen, so I had the same floor installed to carry it through.”
It goes perfectly with the new kitchen installed by the couple. The space features white shaker-style cabinets, a large island with granite countertops, stainless-steel appliances, open shelving and a chimney-style vent. There is a large, open timber truss that adds dimension to the space and also mimics a design element found elsewhere in the home.
The formal dining room has a tile floor and a vaulted ceiling with more open trusses. A large black iron chandelier anchors the room while French doors add some privacy. Just beyond it is a series of newer additions.
“My dad put an extended room on the back,” David says. “He was a big game hunter. He wanted two chandeliers and a large fireplace.”
The roomy space features knotty pine, vaulted ceiling and open trusses in their natural state. Track lighting and a wall of windows in a bump-out bay provides extra seating and also fills the room with light. A large fireplace wall adds to the appeal, as does a diamond-and-cross mosaic parquet wood floor.
“Even back then, it was really unique,” David says. “My father was ahead of his time — just plain wood would not have done it.”
Outside is a covered patio with a wet bar and a barbecue area. Running down the center of the bar counter is an unusual row of old fence spikes.
“The spikes are for when your glass was empty,” David says. “My dad thought you could put your glass upside down on there for a refill. He was quite a character.”
The home’s three bedrooms includes a generously sized primary suite, which features new carpeting. The attached bathroom has a large standing shower, natural wood vanity and mosaic tile surround.
Two more bedrooms contain the original white oak flooring. They are serviced by a perfectly preserved Mid-Century Modern bathroom featuring salmon-colored tile running in vertical stacks, a tiled vanity top and pop-art style vanity backsplash.
PItell says he decided to leave the original bathroom in place even as he embarked on a whirlwind of renovations elsewhere in the nearly 70-year-old home.
“Besides the kitchen, I put in a new furnace, new air-conditioning, and I redid all of the electricity coming into the house,” he says. “I redid everything that needed to be upgraded or replaced in the home.
Downstairs is a powder room and a finished basement with a mirror wall and space for a wall-mounted television.
David says the house was a gathering place for many throughout the years — and it could handle a big crowd.
“My graduation party was in 1971. We estimated 500 were there,” David says. “[My Dad] entertained a lot. His normal weekly party would usually have 50 to 75 people for a gathering.”
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 email@example.com.
About: McCandless (townofmccandless.org)
Planes, Trains & Automobiles: A 30-minute commute to the airport. Daily transport via Pittsburgh Regional Transit. Rideshare available. Some street parking.
Schools: North Allegheny School District (northallegheny.org)
Neighborhoods: The suburb between Ross and Wexford perked up more than a decade ago with the opening of McCandless Crossing, an outdoor mall that features retailers Ethan Allen, Old Navy, Dick’s Sporting Goods and several women’s clothing and retail shops. Food also figures prominently with Bonefish Grill, Chipotle, Burgatory and Longhorn Steakhouse. On weekends, there is live music in the pavilion.