Town Talk: The Historic Day House — Northside’s Historic B&B’s Part 2
By Anna Yoder | Columnist
This is part 2 of 2 of Northside’s Historic B & B’s featuring The Historic Day House.
I continue to be amazed at the friendliness and small town feel of the Northside. One of those moments occurred a few years ago when I stopped during a walk to admire the notably stunning Victorian home on North Avenue with its cheerful bright orange entrance door flanked by gargoyle sconces… and wondered who lived there AND what does the inside look like?
A casually dressed man in a ball cap and shorts sipping a beverage sat on the steps adjacent to the garden fountain and perennial flower bed planted within the cast iron fenced-in courtyard. Not wanting to invade his privacy yet compelled to know, I sheepishly asked him if he lived there. He politely said yes and nonchalantly asked me if I wanted to see the inside. Bubbling with enthusiasm and excitement, I soon would be able to quell my curiosity and emphatically said “YES!”
As it turned out, the friendly chap was Executive Chef Dennis Vodzak, who in 2004 purchased the 7,200-square foot 1871 Victorian home I had been admiring. Dennis originally moved to the Northside in 1991 “for the architecture and inexpensive houses” and clearly hit the jackpot regarding his interest in architecture with this breathtaking Victorian home. The home is known as The Historic Day House and was originally owned by the prominent Day family whose patriarch was a shipbuilder with 10 children.
According to Dennis, in 1934 it was turned into five apartments which were still in existence when he purchased the home. With “paint, light fixtures, and much TLC” (and a “ten-year plan!”), Dennis brought the home back to its “original beauty.” A feat for only the stouthearted! Upon the completion of his plan, Dennis decided to pivot from full time corporate Executive Chef to innkeeper and in 2017, opened The Historic Day house as an “Airbnb short term rental.” (By the way, Dennis continues to offer a bit of catering on a part time basis.)
The Historic Day House offers four guest suites: The Parkview, The Heinz, The Allegheny, and The Balcony. Each suite is impeccably decorated to period, unique, and offers views of the Pittsburgh city skyline as well as Lake Elizabeth in historic West Park. The Parkview and Allegheny suites are the most spacious suites topping out at 17 feet by 20 feet. The Parkview suite is painted in soft “Emerson green” (think a cross between pistachio and soft green apple) with stunningly coordinated period decor resulting in a true WOW factor. Experience ultimate comfort in its antique four-poster bed, relax by the fireside in matching wing chairs, and pamper yourself in the massive en-suite bathroom epitomizing luxury with its chandelier lighting, classic black and white marble, granite and heated floors. The Allegheny is equally gorgeous with its sophisticated elegance and antique furniture. The Heinz suite features a kingsized antique bed, bay window seating area and is “a perfect getaway for two” while the Balcony suite features a balcony from which there is a “great view of the park.” All suites will surely please the most discriminating tastes.
A delightful continental breakfast comes with each stay which you can enjoy in the beautifully decorated and expansive dining room whose table can seat up to 12 guests! At times, the breakfast features Dennis’ own delectable fruit tarts that look almost too pretty to eat. As a guest you may also relax in the inviting front parlor and surround yourself in all the exquisite furnishings you would expect to find in a Victorian parlor.
The 1918 hardwood floors throughout the home originate from Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Another of the many interesting features of this home are the two large fireplace corbels (originally from the Top of The Triangle where Dennis was Executive Chef) rescued from an abandoned closet and incorporated into the kitchen fireplace. Although most guests don’t regularly meander into the grand, gourmet kitchen of The Historic Day House, it is worth mentioning. The enormous 17 feet by 40 feet kitchen — outfitted with a Wolf stove, huge central island, impressive marble backsplash and floor — is by far one of the most lavish and decadent (in a good way) kitchens one will ever see in a private home. Given that Dennis is a chef, I guess it makes perfect sense.
Prior to moving to the Northside, my husband and I have been guests at the Historic Day House and felt completely pampered during each and every visit. I am compelled to mention too that Dennis’ rating on Airbnb is that of “Superhost” which is defined as “someone who goes above and beyond in their hosting duties and is a shining example of how a Host should be.” This rating describes Dennis to a “tee!” Dennis’ warm and friendly hospitality along with the luxurious suites are why we continued to return time and time again to The Historic Day House.
I remain spellbound at this magnificent home each time I visit as I was during my very first tour of this home. During a recent chat, Dennis told me he is fast approaching retirement age; however there still is time to book a stay at The Historic Day house and pamper yourself. To book a room simply go to airbnb.com and search for the Historic Day House. When you do, be prepared to be spellbound by its beauty and the comfort… and experience Dennis’ unparalleled hospitality.
The Historic Day House is located at 512 W. North Ave.