Fox Chapel's First Home
It was called “Summer Seat” and it was part of a tract of land bought from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by Peter Benson, for two pounds, nineteen shillings, in 1786. The family actually lived closer to Fort Pitt, as the Seneca Tribe, among other warring Iroquois tribes, posed a particular threat. Nevertheless, the remote cabin was centered in a forest, atop a hill, surrounded by lush farmland and bountiful game.
There are many stunning aspects to the property, and they begin with the entrance. For starters, you’re astounded it’s just 10 miles from downtown Pittsburgh. You will definitely feel as if you’re deep in the Pennsylvania woods.
Beginning with a password-protected gate and a long, meandering 2,500 foot drive through Trillium Trail, you'll find the home very well hidden.
At first, all you can see is the original log cabin, which still serves as the main entrance. But this quaint beginning soon reveals a sprawling 7,100 sq ft luxurious cabin, meticulously designed, with every attention to detail.
There are a few outbuildings on the property, the first being a large barn with three bays for either cars or equipment, plus a very large upstairs. There is a stone springhouse that is used for storing firewood, plus an incredible children’s playhouse in the backyard. The roofs are a combination of standing seam roofs and cedar shake.
Additions to the original cabin, including the barn, were all done with painstaking attention to detail, ensuring all materials were recovered from Western Pennsylvanian cabins and farms built in the 1700s. From the stonework to the logs, everything is original.
Not to be spared are the numerous gardens throughout the property. They’re truly lush, and the surrounding forest is thick with 89 different species of trees, ferns and Rhododendrons. The house is centered on 3.7 acres and happens to be nestled between over 50 acres of a protected land trust and conservation land, furthering the sense of being far from a major metropolitan epicenter.
The large backyard gives way to a bluff, whose vista spans a valley, overlooking Riding Meadow Park, the lacrosse fields of Shady Side Academy and the Fox Chapel Golf Club. The neighboring hilltop, though obscured by the forest, is the Fox Chapel Country Day School. The views are spectacular. There are numerous stone walls, patios and walkways throughout the property. All of them are comprised of stones handpicked from local, Pennsylvanian farms.
As for the main house, it’s even more impressive than its surroundings. As mentioned, the logs, beams, and stones are original, or recovered from other farmhouses built in the 1700s, all from Western Pennsylvania. The same is true for over 80% of the hardwood floors found throughout.
All of the windows were constructed on-site, using old-style window glass. Each is a traditional double-hung window, meaning it does not use a pulley system, rather cast iron pins—reminiscent of 1700 era homes. There are 105 windows (tops and bottoms) with custom, 4-panel wooden shutters. Every window has a custom storm window and screen, and all of the trim is wooden, handmade and fitted on-site.
There are eight fireplaces in the main house, plus one in the playhouse. Two of the fireplaces in the main house are the original Summer Seat fireplaces. The others were precisely restored from other farmhouses and cabins, again, all from the 1700s, and made with native logs and stone. Three of the fireplace mantels and surrounds were custom built on-site by wood craftsmen.
The main entrance begins with a cozy living room perfect for small gatherings or a great book. Then again, just off this room is the library, with its own fireplace and equal charm. All of the handrails and moldings are wooden, handmade and fitted on-site. A little-known secret is the home served as a speakeasy during prohibition in the 1920s and ‘30s. The basement of the original section still contains the steel vault door and bar where the booze was once hidden and stored. If only these walls could talk.
Like most homes, the heartbeat is the kitchen, and 9 Trillium Lane cannot be beat. At the center is a massive, beautiful, white Carrera marble island with its own sink. The other counters are a mix of white Carrera and soapstone. There are two Gaggenau ovens, two Miele dishwashers, two Sub-Zero refrigerators, and a Viking stovetop with soapstone countertops of its own. Of note: the stovetop was fitted into a stone kitchen nook originally built in the 1750s and reassembled on-site. The kitchen also includes two walk-in pantries and its own laundry room. The basement of the kitchen happens to contain a darkroom for the photographer looking to keep it “old school” with film.
This is as exclusive as they come, and ideal for someone who values history and privacy, as much as charm and luxury. This is the historic and breathtaking estate of 9 Trillium Lane, just fifteen minutes from downtown Pittsburgh.
9 Trillium is an exclusive property for sale by owner. To reach owner directly, please call the number below or send an email using the form below.