Saturday, April 27, 2013

Harter House, 2557 Beechwood Boulevard house, garage and wall

Porter hitches a ride through Squirrel Hill.

Scheibler placed a beautiful wall around 2557 Beechwood Boulevard, which kept me from properly stalking it for you, but don't worry -- I dug up some more photos!



I wish I could get closer to the Harter House because it is enchanting and romantic -- a sibling to the Parkstone Dwellings (1922) for sure. This house was designed from 1922-1924 for Eva Harter, who encouraged Scheibler to indulge in what she called "doodads."

Martin Aurand quotes Baille Scott in a chapter about Scheibler's period of charming and effusive homes (and I love this):

"The natural reaction from the dry mechanical routine of modern life leads to a demand for romance in every form. In the form of fiction it supplies a retreat, an escape for the mind to an enchanted realm where thrilling deeds may be done without danger, and beautiful habitations enjoyed without expense. In the treatment of the house a more real and permanent haven may be secured. Here at least we may say there shall be no ugliness. On crossing this threshold we pass into charmed territory, where everything we possess shall be in harmony."

The Harter house sits back on a lawn, which a driveway that curves dramatically around it.

Aurand compares the roof to "mushroom caps," the wood shingling to moss and calls the house "a den in a Northern forest."

While the entrance is in the center of the facade, the porch is decidedly off-center. 

Below are two photos and a floor plan stolen from Martin Aurand's The Progressive Architecture of Frederick G. Scheibler, Jr.   He writes that construction of the house was long and brought substantial cost overruns. Scheibler insisted that the flooring be removed and replaced as it was inferior quality, and the "doodads" added up. Frank and Eva Harter developed cash flow problems soon after moving into the house (prohibition hurt Frank's business as liquor importer) and they were forced to sell it by 1925. What a star-crossed lovestory!

Aurand also writes that the interior has an "extraordinary array" of built-in cabinets and lamps, tiled fireplaces and art glass. The entry hall and dining room share a windowed wall of double doors and six large art glass panels depicting hollyhocks. Other art glass features birds, spider webs and, in the bedrooms, water lilies that transform dressing room mirrors into reflecting pools! Eagles and carved wood squirrels inhabit the house as well.

The overdecorated interior ended up being so artistic, expressive and playful that Eva complained of a lack of wall space for her furniture!

My heart aches to get inside this house.


Wow!
I sometimes joke that I'll know I made it when I finally own a washer and dryer. Imagine owning a breakfast room! 


Frank and Eva Harter commissioned this home, two summer homes on the New Jersey shore, a house at Conneaut and a couple of proposed homes in Switzerland, which never came to be.

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Update on June 6, 2013: 

This amazing home was listed for sale on June 3. The price listed is $929,000 and is described as follows:

Known as "The Mushroom House," this amazing residence has to be seen to be believed. Built in 1923 by the reknown architect Frederick Scheibler Jr, this home sits majestically on almost an acre of land just steps from Frick Park. Though it has fallen into some disrepair,all of the Scheibler fantastic details are intact. From the ash floors,mohaghany carved appointments,stained glass,and inlaid tiles this is a museum quality masterpiece.

Best of all, there are photos! What an amazing thrill!























19 comments:

  1. I totally dig your obsession with Scheibler's work. What would Pittsburgh be like without its domestic architecture?

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    1. Thanks so much for coming to my blog! I know -- Pittsburgh has so many gems. Love it.

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  2. Like your blog! Spent a lot of time near many of these homes/buildings! My wife and I are going to view the Harter House if it's still on market in two weeks (we're in Philly now). I think it might go quickly for $929k despite it's shape. Looks like they're roofing now? Those old green tiles were awesome. Steeltown Antehm linked to your blog. I fan them on Facebook.

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    1. Thank you so much for telling me about the link -- I like Steeltown Anthem too but missed the post! I'm so pleased. But I have sad news for you. I asked my realtor friend to let me inside the Harter House, but as it is already under contract, she said we can't get in. I believe it was only listed June 3. We need to petition for some kind of tour!

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  4. work starts this Friday 2557 beechwood

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  5. My sister & her family bought this house in July.. restoration has begun and the progress has been fun to watch.. They would be happy to show you around sometime.

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  6. if you're interested in contacting her, you can email me at melissadalecosta@gmail.com

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  7. I'm obsessed with Scheibler houses, too! I've had the good fortune to see the inside of several over the years. They're so charming and whimsical - I just love them! I didn't know the Harter House was on the market recently - thanks for the pictures! Another Scheibler house on Hulton Rd. in Oakmont sold this year as well...a very interesting house. Thanks so much for this blog - I'm really enjoying it!

    Amy

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  8. I'm obsessed with Scheibler's architecture too! So charming and whimsical! I've had the good fortune to see the inside of several Scheibler houses over the years. I just love them! Another one sold last summer as well - in Oakmont, on Hulton Road. That one has an Italian bedroom addition that was added many years ago after the owner took a trip to Europe! It's a very interesting house - I heard the new owners are planning to restore it. Thank you for this blog...I'm really enjoying it!

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  9. nothing has posted in a long time have you disappeared

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    1. No, but thanks for checking in! I will post soon!

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  10. House will be finished by end of august are you interested in seeing Adam

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    1. That is exciting … congrats! Let me know when it's done!

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    1. Hi Adam! I'd love to get in touch with you about showing the restoration on this blog!

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