1155 McCully Drive in Penn Hills. Photo by Ed Rombout.

Perhaps it’s fitting that an architect will be the new owner of a home on McCully Drive in Penn Hills that was designed and built by a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright.

The house at 1155 McCully Drive had multiple offers, says Lori Hummel of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, and sold for $25,000 over the asking price of $419,900.

Built in 1950, the 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom home was designed by Richard A. Miller, a graduate student at Taliesin East, Wright’s school of architecture in Wisconsin. It was built for a Westinghouse executive who wanted a home that demonstrated Wright’s principles of functionality and organic architecture.

“The whole concept is to bring the organic, outdoor elements inside,” says Hummel. “And the geometric lines — if you walk through the house and look at the ceilings, it’s not just that they’re vaulted, but also that they’re all triangles and geometric shapes.”

In addition to the natural wood of the ceilings, large windows flood the indoors with natural light and open the home to its wooded setting. Corner windows in several rooms enhance the views.

“With the size of the windows, you’re feeling one with the outdoors,” Hummel says. 

Two stone patios — outside the first-floor family room and the lower-level den — further blend the living space with the grounds, says Hummel, as does the stacked stone fireplace in the family room.

The yard, she says, is “absolutely stunning, about an acre and a half,” with mature plantings.

Another Frank Lloyd Wright signature design incorporated into the house are bedrooms with built-in closets and dressers so that storage is well thought out and organized. 

“The bedrooms are not enormous but they have everything built in, so you don’t need a lot of furniture in the rooms,” says Hummel, who notes the L-shaped kitchen also has floor-to-ceiling storage.

Hummel sold the house in 2009 to Carmen Michael “Buddy” Sokol and his wife, Kathryn Courtney “KC” Henninger Sokol. KC, whose family owned Kennywood, fell in love with the house and made it her own, Hummel says, but her death in 2020 from multiple myeloma has led her husband to sell their home.

Situated close to the Parkway East and Business 22, the house is among many properties on the market that have triggered bidding wars and sold quickly, says Hummel.

“In this market, we’re still seeing a lot of bidding wars because there’s not a lot of inventory out there,” she says.

“The market is still hot. There’s so much negativity about interest rates, which are now around 7%, but that’s still low — and we expect them to come down by the end of summer. We think they’re going to stabilize around 5 or 6 [%].”

Sandra Tolliver is a freelance writer, editor and public relations professional in Upper St. Clair.