OWhen Shirin Fozi and her husband, Thomas, moved from Chicago to Pittsburgh in 2013, they hoped to take advantage of the hilly terrain by finding a property with stunning downtown views.
When they discovered 1208 Haslage St., they found the views to be just as spectacular as in other parts of town more famous for their vistas. Considered one of Spring Hill’s oldest homes, the two-story Greek Revival brick home features four bedrooms, a charming kitchen, and classic, quirky touches.
“It was love at first sight,” Fozi says of the house. “It was built during the Civil War.”
A former professor of Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, Fozi was recently offered a position at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City as Associate Curator of the Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and the only thing that could have gotten us out of our home,” she says.
The couple listed the home for $450,000 (MLS # 1576791, Todd Kilgore, Piatt Sotheby’s International Realty, piattsir.com). It is open by appointment.
Late Pittsburgh home historian Carol Peterson documented the history of the property for former owners David Russell and his wife Cynthia May Russell, who purchased the home in 1991 and oversaw the building’s original restoration.
His inventory showed the house was built between 1854 and 1858 for Adam Reineman, an active real estate speculator who at the time was considered one of Pittsburgh’s wealthiest residents. The house was originally part of 44 acres of land Reineman owned on the reservation. Besides subdividing parts of this property, records show that Reineman purchased 267 properties and sold 783 plots during his lifetime; Many were subdivisions of his original purchases.
At the Haslage Street home, the inviting porch leads to a 34-square-foot by 8-square-foot entryway, where a black and white checkered linoleum floor plays beautifully against the soft green walls. It is lit by a brass lantern, one of many special fixtures in the house.
To the left of the central hall, the 16-by-15-square-foot living room features hardwood floors, original fireplaces, and a sunny layout aided by cheerful yellow paintwork paired with a period-appropriate wallpaper border in shades of blue. The open arm chandelier with glass bowls and crystals is accented by a ceiling medallion.
Through a pair of large patio doors is an equal sized formal dining room which features complementary blue and white floral wallpaper and an even larger ceiling medallion which is elaborately painted in golds and golden blues; from it hangs a tiered chandelier.
To the right of the central hall, the 17-square-foot by 15-square-foot formal living room is outfitted in red and white wallpaper with green accents.
The kitchen’s original restoration included a white tin ceiling decorated with scrollwork and large relief panels. LED spotlights keep things bright, and a quirky whale chandelier has been rewired and hung above the island.
White cabinets, deep yellow-gold walls, red tile backsplash, and classic black stone countertops give the entire space a welcoming feel. Unlike when the house was built, it has modern appliances.
“When the house was built in the 1850s, it had outdoor plumbing,” says Fozi. “The kitchen was added later.”
There’s also a ton of storage space, thanks to the house’s original butler’s pantry. It features large oak doors with carved pillar details, a mirrored backsplash and generous drawers. Painted in deep terracotta, it blends beautifully with an adjoining room that can be used as a breakfast area or private dining room.
This room features more period-appropriate wallpaper and an arched white marble fireplace topped with a large mirror. In the corner, a false wall panel door opens onto a century-old room dressed in the original wallpaper; It’s a great conversation starter.
Upstairs are four bedrooms, a bathroom and a practical laundry room. The rooms are all 16 square feet by 14 square feet, except for one which is a bit smaller. The master bedroom has a large fireplace with the original carved pillars, a fireplace mirror and green tile surround. Some rooms have carpeted floors, although a few have the original floors restored.
Interestingly, when the indoor plumbing was installed with the kitchen, it was also installed upstairs to the new bathroom and laundry room.
“All the running water in the house is in this addition,” says Fozi. “It makes it very easy if something goes wrong.”
The spacious bathroom includes a claw foot tub, separate shower and single vanity. The laundry room is closed off, but adjoined to a separate small utility-type room with a sheet metal ceiling.
Featuring tiled floors and stone walls, the basement is surrounded by the original stone foundation and contains solid wooden beams.
On the third floor is a cool bonus space with a ladder and trapdoor that leads to a rooftop observation deck with spectacular views of the downtown skyline. The backyard hosts a stone patio with remarkable plantings.
“In winter, we used to go tobogganing in the garden with the children,” says Fozi. “There are fruit trees; We have an old and a new pear tree. Last year, I made a pear pie once a week.
There is also a Honeycrisp apple tree, blackberry bushes and two dogwood trees that bloom with white and pink buds in the spring. There are also dozens of daffodils planted throughout the property.
Fozi can’t help but get sentimental about the house.
“We will never live in a house like this again,” she said. “I’m really going to miss the view.”
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: spring hill
Planes, trains and automobiles: 30 minutes from the airport. Daily transportation via Pittsburgh Regional Transit, carpooling. Street parking.
Schools: City of Pittsburgh (pghschools.org)
Piece: Historic, eclectic, and vibrant, the Pittsburgh neighborhood hit its peak in the 1950s. The rejuvenation of the neighborhood, along with a new appreciation for the city’s north hilltop neighborhoods, has helped make it a highly desirable neighborhood.