Marylynn spent 17 years as the film critic for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette before becoming the newspaper’s society editor and SEEN columnist. She is currently working on a collection of short stories.
The before pictures of the house in Fox Chapel would send a chill through the heart of even the most accomplished renovator. An 1870s cottage married to a 1950s ranch created a charmless union, to say the least.
Following in the footsteps of Brandon Smith would be a daunting task for most architects. He left his imprint throughout the region, designing in his lifetime (1889−1962) many Western Pennsylvania landmarks.
One of the many paths through Frick Park wanders past the house, which sits on the crest of a hill overlooking acres of woodland. Each time he passed it, the current owner would tell his wife that if it ever came on the market, he would buy it.
This is the story of a thoroughly modern dilemma that was solved by a building erected in 1901 along the banks of the Allegheny River. More than a full century later, the Armstrong Cork Factory in the Strip District is bustling with life and assorted pursuits of happiness.
“We’ve actually had guests who couldn’t find the front door,” laughs the owner of this magnificent residence hidden on seven secluded acres in Fox Chapel. Indeed, the curved walls that soar from 18 to 28 feet in height present a series of undulating planes that gently disguise the entrance.
A life well traveled, well collected, well lived. The evidence fills the spectacular city residence of a prominent couple who recently moved into an historic building. Their apartment occupies most of an upper floor, with views on three sides that provide a breathtaking panorama.
The house sits majestically on the crest of a hill, with sweeping vistas of other hills and the wooded valleys that connect them. There is little evidence of civilization even beyond the 33-acre site, which makes the home seem private and remote.
Unlike most of the homes designed by architect Brandon Smith, the stucco, brick and limestone residence in Squirrel Hill isn’t large or imposing. It was built in 1948 for a retired couple who were downsizing, but who wanted an elegant and formal town house.
From the outside, the Tudor home looks as if it’s always been comfortably nestled on the leafy street in Sewickley. That was important to architect Douglas Devlin, whose challenge was to fit a new residence into an established neighborhood without disturbing the aesthetic.