Ohen interior designer Mary Laipple built 455 Wyola St. in the Sweetbriar Village development on Mount Washington in 2013, she created a space that was definitely ahead of its time.
HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” was dominating the airwaves, and kitchens with white shaker cabinets and 50 shades of gray throughout the house were all the rage. Instead of following the trend, Laipple, working closely with Sweetbriar developer Jeff Paul (owner of Pomo Development), designed a lived-in, welcoming vibe that was anything but farmhouse.
“This space is modern industrial,” she says. “I wanted it to feel like when you came along it was nothing new.”
To achieve this, she chose wide-plank oak flooring with black streaks for the three-bedroom, 2 ½-bathroom home. Complemented by oil rubbed bronze fixtures, the kitchen has black soapstone countertops and taupe cabinetry.
Now that the house’s timeless style is all over social media, Laipple is ready to find her next project. She listed the home for $599,900 (MLS # 1537071, Lynne Bingham, Howard Hanna Real Estate, howardhanna.com). It is open by appointment.
Special design details begin with the porch, where the Craftsman-style front door has a teal frame. Inside, high ceilings give the house a sense of expansiveness. A climb of three steps provides a view of the main living space.
Custom kitchen cabinets are from Decora; a central island with a waterfall edge can accommodate four people. Professional-grade appliances, including wall ovens and a six-burner gas range, are from Jenn-Air.
“Every cabinet at Decora is handmade, even down to the painted finishes,” says Laipple. “I knew I wanted to make soapstone [countertops]. It is so beautiful and is antimicrobial.
The cabinets are hung on a wall of handmade subway tiles in neutral hues. The striking rubbed bronze hood is accented by a braided backsplash.
Lantern pendants hang above the island as well as the nearby dining table. A custom wall bar features grained glass entry doors, wine storage, sink and mini fridge. It is perfectly located to serve both indoor and outdoor customers, thanks to the proximity of the patio.
“We have a covered terrace, a grill and a sofa,” says Laipple. “It’s great and we use it all the time.”
Back inside, the stacked stone gas fireplace has an elegant and beautiful vertical soapstone accent on the left side only.
“I ordered a coat [and] brought in the stacked stone and the soapstone accent panel,” Laipple recalls. “Behind is where all the media and technology is hidden for the house.”
Upstairs, the custom master bedroom features a tray ceiling, ceiling fan and a continuation of the wide plank floor. A pair of doors open to reveal a dramatic bathroom with a double sink vanity, porcelain and glass tile walls, a soaking tub and a large glass-walled shower with a seat. Dramatic and spacious, it makes an impressive design statement. There is also a walk-in closet with custom drawers, hanging space and shoe storage.
The other two bedrooms are 11 square feet by 11 square feet and 11 square feet by 10 square feet respectively. One is used as a guest bedroom and is decorated in a soft shade of green-grey. Painted in a soft mottled pink, the second room is staged like an office.
Down the hall is a bathroom which could easily be connected to the guest bedroom as a second bathroom. The upper level also has an ultra-practical laundry area. There is also storage space in the attic with retractable access.
The finished basement includes a beautiful yoga studio and workout space. There is also a powder room which can be transformed into a full bathroom, as well as three large closets.
“Some owners have made it a guest suite by converting the bathroom and attaching it to the main room. It’s very flexible,” adds Laipple.
The house also has an integrated garage for two cars. The community itself has a large common area and sidewalks, perfect for walking your dog and meeting new people.
“The location is so convenient. Mount Washington definitely has its own personality,” says Laipple. “There’s an eclectic group of people who live here and that makes everything interesting.”
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. Writer Rosa Colucci can be contacted at [email protected].
On: Mount Washington
Planes, trains and automobiles: 20 minutes drive from the airport. Daily transport via Port Authority, including two historic slopes. Street parking.
Schools: City of Pittsburgh. An extensive lineup of magnets is available, including CAPA in the heart of downtown. (pghschools.org)
Piece: Perched 367 feet above where Pittsburgh’s three rivers meet, Mount Washington ranks among the top three city views in the world. Overlooks, slopes, and a panorama that encompasses the top of downtown and the head of the Ohio River is a big tourist attraction. Grandview Avenue is packed with cliffside restaurants including Altius and LeMont, while St. Mary on the Mount Church keeps a watchful eye on the city below.