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21st Century Colonials: Georgian style homes filled with authentic details

Saturday, February 08, 2003

By Gretchen McKay, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

The two-story Colonial is one of the most popular -- and recognizable -- house styles in the United States. Particularly well-known are the Georgians, with their centered front entries, symmetrical double-hung windows and dentilled cornices.

A Horn design ---- a Tidewater Georgian at 2009 Lynn Lane, Richland, includes four fireplaces, including this one in the livingroom. This house, too, is for sale -- at $329,900. (Photos by Pam Panchak, Post-Gazette)

But what's billed as a Colonial in real estate ads is often a far cry from what was constructed by colonists in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Two Georgian Colonials that recently went on the market, both designed by Richland-based builder Don Horn, are delightful exceptions.

A stickler for fine details, Horn is well-known for his authentic reproductions of Colonials like those built in Williamsburg, the capital of Virginia from 1699 to 1779.

The two-story Virginia plantation home he built at 102 Gran Sasso Drive in Pine features five bedrooms, nine wood-burning fireplaces, 10-foot ceilings on the first floor and wide-plank poplar floors throughout. Located at the end of a private drive on 13.5 wooded acres, the home is priced by Coldwell Banker's North Hills office at $889,900.

The two-story brick Tidewater Georgian at 2009 Lynn Lane in Richland, which sits on half an acre in Fairwinds, an established golf course community, has four bedrooms and four fireplaces and is listed by Howard Hanna's Allison Park office for $329,900.

While the houses differ in size and price, both feature Horn's high-quality workmanship inside and out, as well as many 18th-century English architectural details missing in more modern Colonials.

Both houses, for instance, boast brick pyramid steps with rounded nosing and a three-sided rise up to the front door. They also feature double-hung windows with wooden muntins across the facade, historically accurate Williamsburg colors on the interior woodwork and paneled overmantels atop the wood-burning fireplaces (all of which have been conveniently piped for gas because, as Horn puts it, "not everyone is a Boy Scout").

Prefer a brand-new Colonial?
Horn's latest offering, a spec house, is located at 408 Wynstone Drive, Lot 432, in North Park Manor, Pine. This 2 1/2-story brick Georgian Colonial features five bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, five fireplaces and a three-car attached garage. It's expected to be finished in June and priced at $759,900. You can take a virtual tour of the property at www.prudentialpreferred.com, tour number 437609 or call Prudential agents Gloria Carroll or Barbara DePietro at 412-367-8000.

Just 2 years old, the house on Gran Sasso Drive is one of the largest of the 28 homes Horn has built in the North Hills over the last 14 years. It's a stunning composite of Wakefield Plantation, the Virginia birthplace of George Washington, and Gunston Hall, built in the late 1750s by George Mason, one of the most important writers of the Revolutionary period.

The 4,300-square-foot house features four chimneys and five dormers.

What's most remarkable about the exterior is the brickwork. Crafted completely from handmade red clay bricks shipped from New London Brickworks in North Carolina (which also supplies Colonial Williamsburg), its walls are laid in a decorative Flemish pattern.

Like most Georgians, the house is just two rooms deep. But the rooms are so large that it has a spacious feel.

The 21- by 15-foot formal living room to the right of the paneled front door has moss-green woodwork and a fireplace fashioned from handmade bricks. Across the hall, an equally roomy formal dining room boasts raised paneling below a chair rail and another brick fireplace. The foyer has a paneled wood ceiling.

The 32- by 15-foot kitchen features a stainless Thermador range with six burners, convection oven and period-inspired custom cabinetry from The Kennebec Co. in Maine. Combination soapstone and tiger maple countertops add a touch of elegance.

A large eating area is warmed in cooler months by another wood-burning fireplace with paneled overmantel. The back door leads to a brick patio overlooking woods.

The 21- by 15-foot first-floor master bedroom suite features mustard-colored woodwork and an adjoining wing with oversized bath, walk-in shower, custom cabinets and twin sinks. A second wing on the other side of the house contains an 11- by 9-foot den and first-floor laundry.

The house on Lynn Lane is also two rooms deep and features many of the same fine details, on a more modest scale. Built in 1987, the house is modeled after the George Wythe House, considered by many to be one of Colonial Williamsburg's most handsome houses.

The 29- by 8-foot entry features hardwood floors, pale-blue crown molding and chair rail and a powder room with a transom window. To the left, a formal living room to the left has a log-burning fireplace with marble and slate hearth that opens onto the cozy family room.

The 17- by 14-foot kitchen has a brick fireplace, custom cherry cabinets, wall oven and a Hermitage island with gas cooktop and grill; a windowed eating nook overlooks the multilevel rear deck.

The second floor holds four carpeted bedrooms, including a 15- by 14-foot master suite with a gas fireplace with wood mantel and double closets. The master bath has both a whirlpool tub on an oak platform and a walk-in shower as well as his-and-her sinks.

There will be an open house at 2009 Lynn Lane, Richland, from 1 to 4 p.m. today. Information: Toni Riethmiller at Howard Hanna at 412-487-7787, Ext. 214. To schedule a private viewing of 102 Gran Sasso Lane, Pine, call Carol Bagaley at Coldwell Banker, 412-366-1600. You can also take a virtual tour of the property at www.pittsburghmoves.com, tour # 248922.

Gretchen McKay can be reached at 412-761-4670 orgmckay@post-gazette.com .

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