When they bought their Squirrel Hill home 20 years ago, Philip and Amy Elias spared no expense to restore its original elegance and Golden Age craftsmanship. Yet, they still wanted it to be functional for their modern family.
The mansion at 1160, boulevard Beechwood., built in 1920 by Marguerite Finley, the widow of a banker and president of a steel company, was recently marketed for $ 4.9 million, listed by Coldwell Banker agents Susie Silversmith and Laura Waxter .
It is the most expensive advertisement in the East End of Pittsburgh.
âThe owners worked closely with a team of professionals to design every square inch of the home and employed master craftsmen to select high-end luxury materials and furniture,â says Waxter. “Their vision was to capture the attitude of the ‘modern mind’ that permeated the designs of the 1920s and 1930s.”
The property includes 1.2 acres of land and six bedrooms, six full and one partial baths, and five fireplaces in 13,837 square feet of living space. The neoclassical style home features a symmetrical main block and rounded one-story side extensions, a centered Palladian window on the second floor, arched window openings, and a classic surround entrance with columns and large side windows.
In the 1940s, the house fell into disarray and foreclosure, says Silversmith. Its windows were smashed and weeds filled the yard. Subsequent owners repaired the house, preserving some of its irreplaceable fixtures and frescoes, structural integrity and original charm. Designers Alex Kahn and Garth Massengill organized much of the interior design in the 1980s and 1990s. Yet even when the Eliases bought it in 2001, it took a lot of work, Silversmith says.
The Eliases spent four years restoring the house from scratch using custom materials. They added a 3,000 square foot wing and matched the exterior with brick imported from Tennessee. The annex has two bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a guest lounge, a poolside bathroom and two changing rooms, a grill kitchen with a bar and a four-car garage.
âYou feel like you’re on vacation when you’re in the back,â says Silversmith. âIt’s beautiful. The back of the house is totally private. You can’t tell there’s another house near you.
At the entrance of the house, a pair of iron doors flanked by stained glass windows adorned with red jewels open onto a reception hall and a reception with a large staircase. The first floor also has a formal living room, breakfast and dining rooms, library, veranda, bar, elevator hall, main kitchens and service, a powder room and access to the 54 x 24 foot inground pool with glass tile and automatic cover.
The main kitchen has black granite covering the walls, counters and floors. The service kitchen was designed as a staging area with storage space for glassware, porcelain, and other dining room necessities. The devices are top of the line – Wolfe, Asko, Bosch, and Franke – and include Sub-Zero refrigerators and freezers. The floors on the ground floor are Portuguese limestone with different patterns to create a flow from one room to another.
All the mechanics of the house were also renovated, says Silversmith, including six HVAC systems and three water heaters.
âIt’s rare to find a home in this kind of state,â she said. âIt’s a building, not your normal house. Design and function work so well together.
The bedrooms on the second floor include a master suite with two dressing rooms and a huge private bathroom. The main level has a multimedia room with a projector and screen and an integrated audio system. The house has high speed internet access, a security camera system with outdoor video surveillance and a fire system. Twenty-four intercoms allow communication throughout the house. The third level is unfinished.
The Elias decided to sell because their three children are grown up and are starting a new phase in their lives, says Silversmith. Philip Elias is President and CEO of VELOCITY World Media and Elias / Savion Advertising.
âThey enjoyed it so much, they thought it should go to someone else who would really appreciate it the way they did,â she says. âThey had family reunions. The pool was the center of the summer. The children brought back friends from school. They are very warm and friendly people, and the children have always been made to feel welcome.
The house’s history and architecture have already attracted potential buyers, says Silversmith, although she acknowledges it may not be a quick sale.
âIt’s like any house, you have to find the right buyer for it,â she says. âI think this is the kind of house that might attract someone who didn’t know they were looking for a house. Since I put it on the Internet, people have texted me saying, âI’ve always loved this house.
âI think people are tired of seeing the same white kitchen at different prices. This house really has its own character, built from an exciting time. There is a bar that feels like stepping into a 1920s hotel.