Pittsburgh: Park Place

Have you ever heard of Park Place? We live there now! Usually when people ask me where we live, I say Point Breeze and then they often ask, where in Point Breeze? I tell them and then they say something like, “is that part of Point Breeze?” with a mildly skeptical expression. Yes it is! However, it’s also considered its own neighborhood — Park Place. The city portion is considered part of Point Breeze and there are also a few streets into Wilkinsburg.

I found this map of Park Place here.

And according to Google, here is Point Breeze:

We have a Park Place Neighborhood Association and a Facebook page!


Some great things about Park Place:

Proximity to Frick Park: Frick Park is Pittsburgh’s largest historic regional park with 644 acres. We can walk to the Frick Park trails from Park Place. During the summer, my family walked/biked to the Frick for their Summer Fridays concerts.

Boys and I on a hiking snack break

Forbes & Braddock Playground: There’s a great playground, pavilion, tennis courts, baseball field and access to the Frick Park trails.

In a tree by the playground

We have schools! Shady Side Academy Junior School and the Environmental Charter School Primary School are both located in Park Place. The Environmental Charter School building was actually the Park Place School from 1903- 1979 and the building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Proximity to Regent Square Businesses: We can walk or bike to D’s, Square Cafe, 61B and all the other great businesses in Regent Square.

Sidney being responsible for my leftovers….

Madeleine Bakery & Bistro: We have a great bakery and cafe (at the border of Regent Square).

Proximity to East End Food Co-op: We can walk or bike to get groceries.

It’s Flat! Another great thing about Park Place that I didn’t even really consider until we moved here is that it is so flat. We have been biking more than ever before because there are no hills. Taking walks or bike rides is much more enjoyable without all the hill climbing typical for Pittsburgh.

Interesting article about how the millennials are now choosing real estate based on walkability. Excerpt:

“Walkability is a really big thing,” he said in the report. “They want to be able to walk to neighborhood coffee shops and bakeries … Health and wellness is a priority for them, so they like to be close to fitness facilities and yoga studios.”

He continued: “Location has always been a factor in real estate, but what’s changed is the definition of what is a good location. It used to be that the prestigious neighborhoods were gated and secluded, often outside of town. Millennial buyers want to be close to the action.”

Up and Coming Business District: There is small street of commercial property and store fronts on the border of Park Place and Wilkinsburg on S. Trenton Avenue. We took a walk down this street recently to check it out. There are a few vacant store fronts and not a lot happening at the moment but there is a great, little bike store, Fern Hollow Bicycles. I took my bike there when I was trying to mount a child bike seat to the back and the owner was very helpful. I’m really hoping some other new businesses find this street and revive it.

Families are Moving In: We experienced this at our Mt. Lebanon house and our house in Forest Hills. When we first bought, there were a lot of folks on the streets who had owned the houses for 30+ years. Over the time that we lived there, we saw many of these people selling and young families moving in. Seeing kids playing outside and with neighbor kids is good for everyone and I see it happening here too.

Unique Architecture: I posted about our house before. Our house style is one of many, many different styles found in Park Place. Here’s a before and after (in progress) for you of our house.

You too could buy an old, broken house and restore it (very slowly)

Real Estate Value: A lot of the neighborhoods in the area have gotten really expensive. In comparison to Highland Park or the main part of Point Breeze, Park Place offers a good value while still being a great location. Speaking of which, our neighbor’s house is for sale. And just in case you are not aware of this, I am a real estate agent. Just saying. 🙂 Get in before the prices go up!!

So that’s our new neighborhood, Park Place 🙂

Our Big Blue House

I mentioned a while ago that we moved over the Summer. We bought this big, old blue house that’s over 100 years old.

When we first bought it, there were two giant birch trees about a foot from the house. We had them cut down and had all the old, plastic covered windows and rotting sills replaced before we moved in.

We also had some of the rooms painted including this yellow…Steelers themed one. The picture below is from the listing. We removed the carpeting in that room and put down hardwood flooring too.

The old fan is still in there and we don’t have any furniture for this room yet but it’s starting to look better. In the corner (below pic), we had to run pipes up to the second floor bathroom because we put the laundry upstairs. (The basement was a somewhat horrifying dungeon with extremely narrow stairs so moving the laundry upstairs was a priority.) That corner will eventually be dry walled in. We’re also going to possibly move the half bath partly into this room.

That little stove in the room is a wood burning stove that will only fit very tiny logs.

At some point, someone took out the old glass above the front door, added glass slanted pieces and boarded off part of the opening. I’m talking to a stained glass maker to see how much it would cost to have a piece of stained glass made for this spot. If it’s too expensive, we’ll probably just put in a regular piece of glass.

Here is the upstairs bathroom pic from the listing. We removed that big, black cabinet on the right and put the stackable washer and dryer there. It’s a temporary fix until we can renovate this ridiculous bathroom. By the way, there’s no vent for heat in this bathroom. Just that light up fireplace.

We haven’t done much in the dining room yet but we did replace the light fixture (which had bungee cords holding it up) and the ceiling is no longer blue. Here’s the before:

And the in progress picture below. I’ve been shopping for curtains for this room for weeks. All of the windows in this house are extremely big and tall because the rooms have 12′ ceilings so curtains seem like a big commitment.

And that’s about where we are with this house. We had an architect come this past Friday and we are going to have plans drawn for the first floor. We want to move the half bath, open the kitchen up to the back den and open a doorway from the living room to the dining room. They’re also going to help us with adding a roof over the front door and hopefully a covered porch across the whole front of the house.

The exterior is scheduled to be repainted in October. No more varying shades of peeling blue!

This house is a huge project and we’re going to have to do the work slowly over time and live with the chaos for a while. But we get to walk/bike to school, Frick Park, our friend’s houses and to restaurants and bars so we think it’s worth it. 🙂