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Sizzling property (once more): Fairmont’s iconic ‘Lava Home’ is again in the marketplace

FAIRMONT — It was 1966 when the primary of the absolutely laden dump vans started rumbling down from Pittsburgh on these pre-interstate roads.

And Carol McWilliams couldn’t wait.

She knew that the architectural imaginative and prescient she had been carrying round since she was a child was about to erupt, lastly, into full-scale realization.

“That’s when it hit me,” she mentioned.

“That’s after I knew we have been actually going to do that.”

What she was going to do, was put up a home like no different in Fairmont.

A home like no different in West Virginia, actually.

This time, McWilliams, a contractor who was creating properties and residential developments for others to stay, was going to construct one thing she and her daughters might occupy.

A house as iconic as she was (even when she didn’t say that half out loud), as she was working her profitable firm in a discipline then dominated by males.

She was going to make use of volcanic rock from Hawaii for the exteriors and fireplaces of her dwelling.

The eruptive bounty was bought on the Massive Island, which took a whole lot of cellphone calls — no small feat in these rotary-dial days.

Then, the payload was shipped throughout the Pacific to California and loaded into railroad automobiles sure for Pittsburgh.

As soon as there, it was then off-loaded to the aforementioned vans for the haul to Fairmont.

With its porous surfaces and flat blacks and grays, McWilliams adored the feel and aesthetic of the rock.

It was excellent, she mentioned, for the refined Egyptian theme of the house, that might evolve into greater than 4,000 sq. ft of dwelling area by the point she was by way of.

Two years later, she and her ladies moved in.

If Fairmont was identified architecturally for something again then, it was by means of the mansions constructed by its former coal barons.

These have been the crumbling, once-showplaces since segmented into flats, for higher or worse.

Then got here that hip, funky dwelling that couldn’t have been extra distinctive for its time.

Individuals known as it “The Lava Rock Home” or “the Carol McWilliams home,” each apt identifiers for the lady who turned a picture into a set tackle.

Drive up immediately, 56 years later, and it’s nonetheless there, with its evolutionary stone and low-slung strains echoing Frank Lloyd Wright and Robert Venturi.

It’s nonetheless there, occupying a parcel that’s slightly greater than an acre, in a cul-de-sac off Fairmont Avenue and U.S. 250.

Alethea Moody Sensible was there this previous Wednesday and opened the door with a smile.

“Let me present you what we’ve completed with it,” she mentioned.

And sure, it’s on the market. Even the customized furnishings. Extra on that.

Hoping folks will flip for it, another time

Alethea and her husband, Ed Sensible, purchased the home final spring and set about re-imagining it.

Each have backgrounds in actual property, design and contracting.

Aletha, a Fairmont native, graduated with a advertising diploma from WVU, and was an All-American observe and discipline athlete on the college in Morgantown.

Ed is a former CONSOL engineer who grew up in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

His mining job introduced him to the Morgantown space. Actual property was how he and Alethea met.  

She was a Realtor and he had simply began shopping for rental properties and outdated homes he might flip for revenue.

That’s what they do with their Trebor Fael Administration Companies firm.

They’re identified for his or her historic renovations and design work in Morgantown’s South Park neighborhood and different locales throughout north-central West Virginia.

When the dwelling they’ve since rebranded as “The Lava Home” went again in the marketplace final spring, they leapt.

Revamping the imaginative and prescient

The interiors of such properties for his or her time don’t all the time age effectively.

Carpets, counter tops, wooden paneling and the like.

The Lava Home wasn’t a intestine.

It was extra of a revisioning-rearranging form of factor, as Alethea mentioned.

Wall-to-wall carpet gave technique to tile and high-end vinyl planking for the ground.

A contemporary kitchen was put in with an island — and that look was accomplished with up to date lighting fixtures all through an open design transitioning from the eating room to lounge and a café-styled seating space.

That well-known lava rock fire put in by McWilliams’ father, Paul Lewis, a celebrated stone mason and homebuilder in Fairmont, nonetheless instructions the lounge.

Ed designed and constructed the espresso desk and different furnishings, that are customized to the home.

Understated grays run all through, together with the black accents that dominated within the authentic design.

In historical Egypt that hue didn’t simply imply demise. It additionally meant life and fertility.

The Nile would flood yearly, and the black, nutrient-rich sediment it bestowed in the course of the runoff made for agricultural improvements nonetheless in use immediately, which is what resonated with McWilliams.

“In fact, we have been going to respect what Carol did,” Ed mentioned.

Newer parts in the home carry Japanese themes, given the well-known architect Wright’s love of that Asian nation’s artwork and aesthetic.

The stained-glass panels created by McWilliams for the kitchen stayed — and have been additionally echoed right into a design characteristic for the swimming pool and out of doors entertaining space.

Maple accents have been added to the outside and new landscaping accomplished the deal.

“Lots of Carol remains to be on this home,” Alethea mentioned.

McWilliams herself was in the home this previous December.

“She needed to see it,” Alethea mentioned. “She loves what we did, and that’s so essential.”

Dive in, and make a proposal

The home formally hits the market this Thursday.

It’s listed at $729,000 by way of Morgantown’s Compass Realty Group, the place Alethea additionally works a Realtor.

The Lava Home is her itemizing. Name her at 304-844-6395 for all of the particulars.

Alethea and Ed, in the meantime, have gotten to do one thing over the previous months they’ve by no means completed in 30 years of flipping homes.

They moved into the Lava Home, briefly.

That was throughout Christmas.

They needed to expertise it for themselves, whereas they might.

Now, they need a household to expertise it — with reminiscences, and no matter else it might be that can flip the place right into a legend.

In any case, each good home has to have not less than one legend connected.

The one on the Lava Home entails the late Sizzling Rod Hundley, the beloved WVU basketball star identified for his impulsive excessive jinks on the court docket and off it, too.

Based on Lava lore, Hundley, who was there at a celebration within the Seventies, made a working leap from the home’s flat roof — in an effort to pull off a flailing, film stuntman-styled dive into the pool.

Whereas simply clearing (in fact) the concrete patio, within the course of.

May Alethea, a fellow WVU athlete who nonetheless holds the NCAA Ladies’s Excessive Soar document, do the identical when a sale is made?

“I don’t know,” she laughed. “Perhaps?”

“I’m simply glad we have been in a position take Carol’s imaginative and prescient from 1968 and develop it out to 2024. And it is a nice home.”