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Buying Here: 3 bedrooms near Mount Washington views, restaurants priced at $275,000

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette logo Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 1/14/2022 By Lizabeth Gray / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
© Provided by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A few minutes walk to the best view of Downtown, close to great bars and restaurants and easy access to transportation. Sound like an entry in a Pittsburgh guidebook?

No, it’s a description of a three-bedroom, 1½-bath home at 156 Labelle St. on Mount Washington. Owner Justin Foltz purchased the house in 2014, working with his Uncle Steve as his agent.

“My whole family is in real estate,” he said with a laugh.

Now he’s listed the house for $275,000 (MLS No.1535036) with the same uncle, Steve Foltz of Century 21 Frontier Realty (www.century21.com or 724-809-6990).

Foltz figures the two-story home was built on a half-acre lot somewhere around 1916. It’s considered French Provincial, a style very popular in the 1920s. Aluminum siding covers the exterior and the roofline has a fairly steep pitch.

After buying the house, Foltz renovated the interior, adding a powder room on the first floor, updating the electrical system and replacing fixtures throughout the house. Then he did more.

“I had a contractor come in to redo the kitchen and [full] bathroom,” he said.

Tubular pipe shelving was installed, giving the home a more industrial look. Some has been removed but the hallway unit with two shelves and lots of room for boots, shoes and umbrellas is staying.

The living room has a decorative fireplace and newer laminate flooring that was also installed in the kitchen and old dining room. Foltz uses the dining room as a second living room. It has access to the kitchen and its own decorative brick fireplace. The new powder room with a live-edge counter on the vanity was tucked into one side of the room.

The two-sided breakfast bar by the kitchen also has a live edge. It leads to an updated kitchen featuring a skylight and lots of storage, with dark cabinets on the bottom and white ones on top. Subway tile was used for the backsplash and brass for the cabinet hardware and faucet. Samsung appliances include a refrigerator, dishwasher and gas range.

The upstairs full bathroom has new laminate flooring and a large vanity with a marble sink. The walk-in shower echoes the kitchen’s subway tile with smaller mosaic tile on the floor. A frameless glass shower door and brushed nickel fixtures and fittings give the traditional bathroom a modern touch.

The master bedroom, which was gutted soon after Foltz moved in, now has high ceilings, a bank of windows at one end, laminate flooring and two closets.

The two other bedrooms are connected. A captive bedroom is a flaw in some houses but Foltz turned it into a plus, making one bedroom a home office with a sleek desk.

“That desk is attached to the wall and staying,” he said. “That was a captive bedroom so I turned that into a walk-in closet.”

The new closet has shelving, clothes racks and more than enough room for a large wardrobe.

With so many changes to the layout and use of rooms, Foltz has a suggestion for how the new owner could repurpose the original living room: “You could turn that first room into a bedroom,” he said, noting that it’s close to the new powder room.

Off the kitchen is the first of two decks that overlook the backyard, a lovely secluded area with grass that never needs to be mowed.

“Actually had natural grass turf put in,” Foltz explained. “I planted a peach tree and there’s raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. The kiwis haven’t come in yet. They will in a few years.”

The yard slopes away from the house and has good drainage, which means no flooding in the basement. There is a common path at the bottom of the fenced-in yard. Both decks are edged with solar-powered lights that Foltz installed.

In the unfinished basement, the owner set up a workout room and is leaving behind a pull-up bar. The washer and dryer are also staying. The house has central air-conditioning, forced-air gas heating and a gas-fired water tank.

The property’s assessment is $102,000. Over the last three years, four houses have sold in the 100 block of Labelle Street for prices ranging from $107,000 in October 2019 to $485,000 in May 2021 (www2.alleghenycounty.us/realestate/GeneralInfo.aspx?).

Foltz, who is moving to the North Hills to accommodate his growing family, said he will miss this house that is a few minutes’ stroll to Grandview Avenue’s view of Downtown and many bars and restaurants. 

He bought it when he was single but that has definitely changed in the last seven years, he said as he juggled his 9-month-old daughter during a phone interview.

“I’m a chiropractor in East Liberty so working from home, not at all,” he said. “Commutes to the city — 5 minutes has turned into 30 real quickly.”

Lizabeth Gray: lgray@post-gazette.com

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