🌉🚋 The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

To say that I’m always thinking about moving to Pittsburgh is… accurate. My mom raised me on a steady drip of the Steelers and Flashdance and constant talking about how great the city is. When I moved there for grad school, I found out how right she was.

Pittsburgh is home to many of my favorite things in the entire world1:

  • the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. It’s a gorgeous example of public architecture and the second floor has window seats that look out over the dinosaur room in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

  • my favorite art installation (now defunct ☹️)

  • the feeling of release when you go through the Fort Pitt tunnel and pop out on the other side overlooking the three rivers and downtown Pittsburgh. I cried the first time I did the drive. The movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower tried to capture it, but it doesn’t do it justice.

  • The Andy Warhol Museum (among many others)

  • my favorite pierogi place, and many of my favorite bars and coffee shops

Why Pittsburgh isn’t more highly regarded in the public consciousness, I’ll never know. Home Again With the Fords premiered this week adding even more “pretend you’re Leanne Ford, buy an inexpensive home in Pittsburgh, and renovate it yourself” fuel to the fire. Here are the homes that are making me seriously consider packing it all up and moving back (varying levels of Steve Ford handyman skills required).

The Victorian

Location: 914 Beech Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233
List Price: $585,000
Listing: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/914-Beech-Ave-Pittsburgh-PA-15233/11376528_zpid/

There are few things quite so quintessentially Pittsburgh as living in a Victorian home on the North Side. This home is a 10-minute walk to Heinz Field and The Mattress Factory and just on the other side of the park from the Allegheny Elks Lodge which hosts the Pittsburgh Banjo Club (just trust me).

This home has been beautifully updated and maintained with a lot of the original details still intact. I love the windows overlooking the tree-lined street.

In a lot of ways the house has been pared back to just the most impactful details, and there’s plenty of room to renovate even more character back into the home. Or if you like the paired back style with a bucket of paint and the right styling you could absolutely have an eclectic Parisian style home.

The Penthouse

Location: 166 N Dithridge St APT 5A, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
List Price: $549,000
Listing: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/166-N-Dithridge-St-APT-5A-Pittsburgh-PA-15213/164333449_zpid/

It might be an unpopular opinion, but North Oakland is my favorite neighborhood in Pittsburgh. It’s sandwiched in between the major universities, very walkable, contains the Carnegie Museum of Art/Museum of Natural History/Library/Music Hall, and abuts Schenley Park. The neighborhood has a wide variety of building types and styles, but the tudor revival buildings are some of my favorite and Hampton Hall is no exception.

This penthouse unit is a charming surprise. It’s a two-story unit with heigh ceilings and lots of graceful curves, plus a lot of square footage.

My favorite area in the space is the living room/library. I love the arched doorways, wood beams, and detailing around the fireplace and built-ins.

I also love the angled ceilings in a lot of the secondary spaces, especially this mint tiled bathroom.

The Contemporary

Location: 1073 Dorset Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
List Price: $1,995,000
Listing: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1073-Dorset-Rd-Pittsburgh-PA-15213/11529501_zpid/

Pittsburgh is not all old houses, and this contemporary mansion on the edge of CMU’s campus is a great example of that.

This home enjoys views of its lush surroundings from floor-to-ceiling windows on every level (including the indoor pool on the ground floor). I particularly love the main living space with its wood paneled walls and ceilings, and angled windows that give the room more interest than just being a flat box.

I also love the built-ins that make space for the entertainment system and separate out the spaces in the open floor plan.

This home also has one of my favorite features: an atrium. I can’t imagine anything nicer on a cold winter day than spending time in the atrium amongst the tropical and desert plants. It’s like a personal Phipps Conservatory.

The Fixer Upper

Location: 2438 Saunders Station Rd, Monroeville, PA 15146
List Price: $330,000
Listing: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2438-Saunders-Station-Rd-Monroeville-PA-15146/11652105_zpid/

My heart skipped a beat when I found this listing. If you look past the grainy photos and the dark lighting, there is a gorgeous diamond in the rough here waiting to be polished. This mid-century modern home has all of the character you’d expect and then some, including an indoor pool at the heart of the house.

Yes, this home is going to need quite a bit of work but it would be so worth it.


Pittsburgh is really into renovating old churches and turning them into a new use. This unit is a blank slate and it would be cool to put your special touch on it: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1-Pius-St-SUITE-B7-Pittsburgh-PA-15203/2075649562_zpid/ or you could just buy a whole church and figure out what to do with it: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2235-Federal-Street-Ext-Pittsburgh-PA-15214/2111299673_zpid/

I’ve dreamed of moving into this building since I was a student at CMU. This unit is cute, but I’m holding out hope of one day getting a rare two-story unit: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/540-N-Neville-St-APT-805-Pittsburgh-PA-15213/11529061_zpid/

The closest to a Leanne Ford farmhouse I could find: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/3617-N-Hills-Rd-Murrysville-PA-15668/10684503_zpid/


This post is not paid for by Visit Pittsburgh; I’m like this for free.