Piatt Sotheby’s Realtor, Sewickley native now owner of pre-Civil War home

Thursday, July 25, 2019 | 12:01 AM

The Jones family’s new home is not new. In fact, it’s one of the oldest in Sewickley.

“We saw an opportunity,” said Robyn Carson Jones, “and we’re crazy enough to do it.”

The home, at 335 Chestnut St., is pre-Civil War, having been constructed in 1847.

It has been a mortuary and more recently, an apartment complex. But Robyn, a Realtor with Piatt Sotheby’s International Realty, and her husband, Doug, are up to the challenge of restoring it to its original splendor as a single-family home.

“I could see it, the first time I looked around, that it really could be amazing,” Robyn said of her vision for the home. “At first, I didn’t know it was for us. But here we are. We’re ready.”

Robyn, a 1997 Quaker Valley graduate, felt the pull to return to her hometown after graduating from the University of Mississippi and living for a while in Louisiana.

“Sewickley is home. I always knew I’d come back,” said Robyn, whose father, Terry, ran Sewickley accounting firm Carson & Co. and whose mother, Judy, still lives in the area.

Robyn and Doug, vice president of Global eCommerce at Apex International, wanted their children — Jacob, Caroline and Lily — to grow up in a tight-knit community.

“One of the beautiful things about Sewickley Village is that friends become family,” Robyn said.

They purchased a home in Sewickley Hills but found themselves spending a lot of time in the car, driving to and from the Village. When an opportunity came up to purchase the Chestnut Street home, they jumped on it.

“It’s a way of life — walking to events. Just the other night, we stopped and got ice cream. And we like to entertain. We’ll have everyone over for Light Up Night and Memorial and Labor Day,” Robyn said. “We wanted something where we could have a lot of people over.”

The house is about 3,200 square feet, but the total living space will come in at around 4,000 square feet once the basement is finished. Plans for that space include a theater, workout room and two offices.

Upstairs, the family room, dining room and kitchen will be open. Five bedrooms, four full bathrooms and two half-baths will complete the living space.

Doug, who is enthusiastic about researching the home’s history, plans to hang old photos and memorabilia in the entryway.

“I want to have a deep understanding of the home,” he said, showing a photo of a promotional stamp that Ritchey Funeral Home had printed that depicts the stately house.

When the family purchased the home, Robyn found herself in the unique position of going through a process she’s accustomed to walking her clients through.

“I’m doing what I help clients do,” she said. “This is an opportunity to show (work) from vendors we recommend.”

Robyn frequently connects buyers to contractors in the area. She is working with two she recommends — D’Augostine Construction and Wade Weissman Architecture — on the renovation.

“We’re not just buying and selling houses. I’m involved in the community, on the board of Child Health Association and a member of Neighbors and Newcomers,” she said. “I don’t disappear. I’m your neighbor; I’m a person you are going to see in the Village. I want your transaction to go well.”

The Joneses hope to be in their new home by Christmas and eventually open it up to the community as a stop on the Sewickley House Tour.

“People are enjoying seeing the work that’s being done,” Robyn said. “We can’t wait until it’s complete.”

A blog on the renovation of 335 Chestnut St. can be found at revivingchestnut.com. Piatt Sotheby’s International Realty Sewickley office is at 519 Broad St. For information, visit piattsothebysrealty.com or call 412-939-7000.