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.
A casual inventory of the materials Philip Elias used for the interior of his 1920 home sounds like an exhibit in the hall of minerals. Semi-precious stones including tiger’s eye, lapis, charoite and sodalite mingle with Paridisio, Empress Green and Rojo marble as accents amid pale squares of Portugese limestone.
Waiting at the drawbridge for the fishing boats to pass, a bag of fresh crabs in the back seat and a lazy Gulf breeze ruffling the palms, it’s easy to see why a family from Pittsburgh would want to linger in Boca Grande.
From the outside, the stone and shingle cottage could easily be perched along a bucolic lane in the Cotswolds instead of a quiet road in Fox Chapel. That’s what makes the inside all the more remarkable.
Their Shadyside home was one of the city’s finest, sequestered at the end of a leafy cul-de-sac. The grounds included a stone courtyard, large pool and formal rose garden that Tim and Audrey Hillman Fisher often used for the many benefits and parties they hosted.
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.