Saturday, April 13, 2013

7506, 7508 and 7510 Trevanion Avenue houses

Get ready for a motherlode! We're about to look at three of the beautiful homes that made me fall in love with Frederick Scheibler in the first place.

But this morning, my Beagle seemed extra tired. Porter came to me with a lot of health problems, so when he drags himself along, I take it seriously. I decided to turn today's dogwalk into a joyride.

I love my little Beag.

Beauty overload! I knew this gorgeous trio was made of Scheibler homes the first time I visited the annual Regent Square Yard Sales.

These homes were built during a time when the middle class was growing and Pittsburgh's East End was quickly filling with houses that were designed for economy over aesthetics. Many of the same basic designs were being used over and over again. Scheibler's houses, though, stood out.

Working chronologically, here is the Miller House: 7506 Trevanion Avenue, built in 1905. I love how it juts off unexpectedly, with stained glass and a corner of windowed walls. (I wish I was a famous Scheibler scholar so owners would invite me inside.) The Miller House is on the Historic Landmark registry.

7506, taken from in front of 7508
Right next door, you'll find 7508 Trevanion Avenue, built a little later: 1922-1923.

7508 and 7506.

Check out the stained glass in 7508, below. It is almost the same as the piece in 425 South Braddock Avenue. See? Click here!

But now for my personal favorite: The very romantic Hellmund House, 7510 Trevanion, built in 1915. This might be my second favorite Scheibler building of all time, falling short only to the Old Heidelberg. I would desperately love to see inside it.

I love the surprising shape. The front door isn't stuck on the front of the house; it's tucked into a little cutaway. There are arches, geometric shapes, stone mosaics, leaded and art glass, stone walkways, French doors leading onto a balcony, surprising angles, a chimney and a patio. The driveway dips into a lower level garage (also by Scheibler).

In The Progressive Architecture of Frederick G. Scheibler, Martin Aurand says that the house has an "obsession with corners," since the main entry opens at a corner of the house and every room is entered at a corner.

He also writes that "The rooms abound with built-in cabinets, fireplaces with inset tiles, and an array of custom-designed lamps ranging from a bejeweled urn to a futuristic recessed ceiling fixture. This abundance of inventive detail turns the house into a jewel box."

Speaking of jewel box, look how the upper and lower roof are connected by a triangular spandrel, accented with dots of colored tiles. And, Scheibler returns to the stucco.

I can't imagine calling this beautiful place home. 

According to Aurand, the Hellmunds chose Scheibler as their architect because they lived in the (now-shabby) Meado'cots. Rudolph E. Hellmund was a prestigious engineer and inventor who spent his leisure time gardening. He and his wife had a love affair with their house, calling it by the affectionate German diminutive, their Hausen. 

Here is the floor plan, courtesy of Martin Aurand. Click to enlarge it.

One last thing. Looks like I missed my chance to tour these houses during a Regent Square house tour in 1997!


  1. 7508 is unique in that it incorporates an integral garage when they were still being relegated to the backyard and it's covered with a gambrel roof which is somewhat of a departure for Scheibler, which shows he was thinking outside of the box again. The Miller house always reminds me of the work of English Arts and Crafts architect CFA Voysey. I was lucky enough to have worked on a project for the Miller house back in the 1990s, involving the incorporation of an architect designed custom built-in in one of the second floor bedrooms. The Hellmund house is exquisitely designed and was cutting edge for 1915. It is very similar in flavor to some of Frank Lloyd Wright's prairie style houses, such as the Ward Willits house. A study of the floor plan that your blog provides, reveals what appears to be a two sided fireplace between the living and dining rooms allowing one to peer from one room to the next through the fireplace! This is a 1915 house with a modernist feature that would become all the rage in 1950s sprawling ranch style houses. Yet, once again Scheibler is decades ahead of his time.

  2. I went on that house tour in 1997, and got to see inside these houses. The Hellmund house, in particular, blew me away. It is surprisingly small inside, but very cosy and the details are seemed like a fairy tale dwelling to me It does have a double-sided fireplace in the living and dining rooms, with beautiful art tiles surrounding it. When I toured the house, the owners had the small room called the "Ladies Room" (near the front door) set up as a music room, with either a clavichord or a spinet piano in was very charming. I remember all of the light fixtures and lamps - to call it a "jewel box" is a very accurate description!