Summer 2018


Justine and Curtis Kossman don’t want to leave this Shadyside house with an indoor pool, underground garage and the charm of a country estate.

“The decision to put this house on the market was painful,” Mrs. Kossman said. “We raised our children here and we love it here, but it is just the two of us much of the year.”

The asking price is $3.45 million for 5228 Westminster Place (MLS No. 1279271), a seven-bedroom, 5½- bath home with a four-car, underground garage, unheard of in Shadyside. It’s listed with Roslyn Neiman of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services ( or 412-889-5488).

“What is beautiful about this lot is that it is four-tenths of an acre and almost all flat,” said Mr. Kossman, a principal with Kossman Development Co. “That allowed us to take a very traditional house and add to it, creating a modern living space.”

“The house was half the size when we bought it in 1997. We made modifications to the house to combine two bedrooms to make a master suite.”

One of the most desirable additions was an indoor pool that opens up to the outside in the summer. “We can sit in the Jacuzzi in the winter and watch it snowing outside. It’s surreal,” he said.

Mrs. Kossman said the changes fit their family’s lifestyle.

“Now everyone wants the kitchen that opens to the family room and you can watch the kids play. It leads right out to the patio and the pool.”

The entrance hall and the hall leading to the addition have floors of black and white marble. Off the hall is the cherry-paneled office. A mineral collection displayed on the built-in shelves includes a 50-million-year-old fossil.

“We spend a lot of time in here, Curtis for work, and our son and daughter did a lot of homework in here,” said Mrs. Kossman.

A formal dining room next to the office features a two-sided fireplace. The opposite side faces the large family room with Douglas fir beams. Other working fireplaces serve the living room, dining room, and master bedroom and bath.

“We went to great lengths to make the new part look like the old part of the house, so from the outside you can’t tell,” she said.

“The original house, because of its age, had a lot of black soot on it,” Mr. Kossman said.

He matched the old brick to new brick and had the house acid-washed so it would blend. The developer also replaced the slate roof after a tree fell on the house. “That is a lifetime roof,” he said.

“We really wanted to maintain the architectural integrity of the house,” said Mrs. Kossman.

The kitchen includes a Sub-Zero freezer and refrigerator and two dishwashers as well as an island with gas cooktop and double oven. “It’s a big, intimate kitchen,” he said.

There is a theater room off the family room with a screen that drops from the ceiling. A steam room with a rain shower services the pool area, which has its own security system.

“The pool has more security than the house,” Mrs. Kossman said “No one can get from the house to the pool without me knowing about it. It was all about keeping the kids safe.”

By the pool is a patio with tables, umbrellas and hook-ups for an outdoor kitchen. Behind it is a grassy area with a 100-year-old Japanese maple tree and an enclosed garden. “It’s so private,” he said.

The family room is linked to the second floor by a steam-bent spiral staircase made of cherry wood. A game room at the top was built for the Kossman children. Exposed wood trusses and metal joinery give it a contemporary feel.

“I like showing structural integrity in architecture,” Mr. Kossman said.

Off the playroom loft area is a large bedroom with a bathroom.

“This house really should have a family in it. It’s a very livable home,” he said.

Patricia Sheridan: