From blue-collar to hipster, Lawrenceville’s history is part of this house


Their story is a classic tale of the evolution of Lawrenceville.

Before Business Insider ranked him among the The “most hipster” neighborhoods in the worldand before the palms arrived and Brooklynites migrated there, Lawrenceville’s main street was filled with neighborhood bars that served a drink and a beer to blue-collar workers who stopped in before heading home.

Dan and Mary Alice DeVinney have lived there all their lives, as have their parents before them.

“I grew up on the 44e Street and Mary Alice lived on Main Street,” says Dan. “After having children, we needed a bigger house.”


They looked at more than 50 homes around Pittsburgh, but “there wasn’t much for sale in Lawrenceville at the time,” Dan says. The couple became discouraged in their search.

“I’ll never forget that. I said to Mary Alice, ‘I’ll be honest, I don’t want to leave Lawrenceville.’ She said ‘Thank God, me neither!’

Then they found their perfect home at 4209 Sherrod St.

“Danny’s parents lived at the end of Sherrod and mine were always on Main Street,” says Mary Alice. “We bought it from a Pittsburgh firefighter, Joe Picasa.”


It was 40 years ago. The couple raised four children in the four-bedroom home, which is now on the market for $549,900 (MLS # 1573957, Lori Hummel, Howard Hanna Real Estate, It is open by appointment.

Built in 1900, the three-story all-brick home features a lovely porch and original stained glass windows. When the couple bought it, the house had paneled walls, old rugs and too many layers of white paint on the wood, spoiling the beauty of the century-old home.


It took 10 years before the DeVinneys said they could do a major renovation on the house. Taking one floor at a time, they removed drop ceilings, installed recessed bookcases and laid all new flooring.

“You couldn’t sand the floors, so we put ¾-inch oak throughout,” Dan explains.


The couple hired a professional to restore the carved wooden banister decorated with ribbons.

“There were seven coats of paint,” recalls Mary Alice. “You couldn’t even see the details carved into the starting post.”

They decided against creating an open floor plan, preferring the original layout. The living room measures 11 square feet by 14 square feet and the dining room measures 12 square feet by 14 square feet.


In the kitchen, significant changes have been made.

“There were white cabinets that were painted. They were made of particle board. The walls had wallpaper and a chair rail,” says Mary Ann of what the kitchen looked like before.

The couple installed wooden cabinets, porcelain tile floors and a banquette in the corner as a smart way to save floor space. It also has cabinets under the seat for additional storage. They also removed a pantry and installed a much-needed powder room in its place.


The exterior has a large terrace with generous seating area and great views of downtown. The couple also installed a series of steps leading to a lower level terrace, where there is a hot tub and a swimming pool with its own heating system, which has extended the swimming season for their children.

“The spa stays with the house, I just had a new motor installed,” Dan says. “It’s really beautiful. I used it all the time.”


The second floor has all new windows, two bedrooms and a large full bath. The carpeted bedrooms have plenty of closet space and feel even more spacious thanks to the 9-foot high ceilings that were exposed after the drop ceiling was removed.

The full bathroom has a whirlpool tub, stand-alone shower, and walnut vanity with granite top. Behind a pair of mirrored sliders hides a laundry center with full-size units.


The third floor has two more generous bedrooms with the original knotty pine paneled walls. The rooms have high ceilings, small skylights and lots of natural light.

The basement has been extensively refurbished. The couple installed a sump pump, a French drain system and completely waterproofed the space. There are tiled floors, built-in bookcases, a fireplace and a big screen TV.

“We built it as my man cave and then the teenagers took it over,” Dan laughs. “Behind that is a mud room with an extra fridge; Their friends were always there and you always need more food.


The house has radiator heating and no central air conditioning. Although they use in-window air conditioners for a few months of the year, the couple say the breeze across the house keeps it very cool. Other upgrades include a new lifetime metal roof with a transferable warranty. The couples also had the brick exterior redone three years ago; The entire interior was painted light gray before the sale.

“We never would have left if our children hadn’t moved away,” says Mary Alice. “What really made the move difficult were our neighbors on Sherrod Street. A lot of young families moved in, and they were great. It was even harder to leave. My sister still lives there.

Hot Property, an inside look at 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 provides an in-depth look at the area’s real estate market in Pittsburgh Magazine HOME, tracking home prices and sales and detailing where hot properties are located. Rosa can be reached at [email protected].

About: Laurentville (,
Population: 10 100
Planes, trains and automobiles: 27 minutes from the airport. Daily transportation via Pittsburgh Regional Transit. Carpooling, street parking and bus lanes.
Schools: City of Pittsburgh, with magnetic programming, including CAPA in the heart of downtown. (
Neighborhoods: One of the most popular neighborhoods in the country, Lawrenceville is divided into Upper, Central, and Lower Lawrenceville. The business district stretches along Butler Street from 35 to 62n/a streets and features everything from award-winning restaurants to trendy boutiques and art galleries. The bustling pedestrian community, which is close to the waterfront and walking paths, attracts visitors and residents from coast to coast. Housing is a dense mix of townhouses and colonial and Victorian-style homes, many with rooftop terraces for admiring downtown views.


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