Handcrafted Home

From top to bottom, Werner Krupp and Ingrid Nagin built their home with the environment in mind.



Werner Krupp wasn’t looking to build a green home when he created the graceful tower on Spring Hill that he shares with his wife, Ingrid Nagin. But the final result, a four-year labor of love, is an energy-efficient house very much in harmony with its surroundings.

“The house is not ‘green’ in the sense that some people put shredded jeans in as insulation instead of fiberglass,” says Krupp. “I did not do that. But it’s a house that is energy-conscious.”

Krupp, a retired graphic designer, didn’t stick to organic products or pursue LEED-certification. But his design decisions, large and small, were made with the environment in mind.

WORKING WITH NATURE

The couple chose their south-facing lot for its ample daylight, and Krupp’s design brings the light indoors. In nearly every room, “you get light from at least three sides,” Nagin says. “Even when it’s gray outside, it fills this house with a kind of soft light.”

Balance is key: Sunlight warms the home year-round, but wide overhangs above many windows keep the midday sun from overheating it in summer.

The tower structure maximizes views of the city with the upper floors and roof deck offering 360-degree panoramas. “The lot actually dictated what needed to be on there,” Krupp explains. “That’s why we didn’t build a ranch house. We built a tower that would take advantage of the altitude.”

At ground level, a vegetable garden is home to everything from green beans and tomatoes to exotic roots such as celeriac. Inside and out, the color palette came courtesy of nature—desert reds, sandstone gold and shimmering granite grays were inspired by stones and driftwood the couple collected throughout the years.

The house has cork floors warmed by an energy-efficient radiant heating system, which Nagin says runs silently. Most crucial, Krupp heavily insulated the house from top to bottom, adding extra insulation between wall joists and beneath the roof.

“The house is completely airtight, and it’s insulated way above what the specifications would be,” he says. “Instead of paying $250 a month in gas in the winter, we only pay $120.” Those bills may get lower: Krupp designed the rooftop to accommodate solar panels, which he plans to install eventually.

A SELF-MADE HOUSE


Krupp refurbishes older structures and builds new ones “as an avocation, rather than a money-making job,” he says. For this project, he worked on his own, consulting with Nagin and getting valuable advice from a friend—architect Dutch McDonald, one of the founders of Pittsburgh’s EDGE Studio.

It’s been rewarding. “I spent those four years putting those pieces together with my own hands,” he says. “When I couldn’t lift something or when two hands weren’t enough, I hired somebody else who could do it. But it’s a self-made house.”

Not surprisingly, the interior decorating was a similarly organic process. The couple mixed some of Nagin’s older furniture, including a ‘50s-era Danish modern sofa, with new pieces she discovered through her working as a graphic designer at the Pittsburgh furniture retailer weisshouse. Those items blend seamlessly with ones Krupp custom built, such as the kitchen cabinets and dining table.

Nagin is quick to praise her husband’s work in building the house. And he describes his wife as an “expert in furnishing.” Together, they treasure this uniquely handmade home.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


The Tale of Tyler Kennedy as Willy Wonkowski in Randyland

The Tale of Tyler Kennedy as Willy Wonkowski in Randyland

The series of three videos promotes Junior Achievement's Golden Ticket raffle for a pair of season tickets to the Steelers, Pirates, Penguins and more.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
First Look: Superior Motors

First Look: Superior Motors

Kevin Sousa's Braddock restaurant finally is open. So how is it?

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Read on for some under-the-radar ideas on how you and the kids can survive a rainy day this summer.

Comments


A Band Called Creeper Made Me Love the Warped Tour Again

A Band Called Creeper Made Me Love the Warped Tour Again

Returning to the Vans Warped Tour proves that the long-running festival can still surprise — and, against all odds, it's even a great time for grown-up punks.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Stan's in Town Making the Rounds as Pens Celebrate

Stan's in Town Making the Rounds as Pens Celebrate

The Penguins’ successful Cup defense this season also has ensured trips to Canada, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Germany and Russia, as well as various stops in and around Western Pennsylvania.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Ease Your Way Into Style With These Slides

Ease Your Way Into Style With These Slides

Slide through summer with these trendy velvet slip-on shoes from Vintage Grace Boutique.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Valerian and Dunkirk are (Very Different) Winners

Valerian and Dunkirk are (Very Different) Winners

Reviews of "Dunkirk" and "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Here Comes the Bride and Groom — to a Different Tune

Here Comes the Bride and Groom — to a Different Tune

Three Pittsburgh-area couples make strong arguments for choosing non-traditional songs for the walk down the aisle.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Noted Garden Writer Tovah Martin Headlining Summer Short Course at Phipps

Noted Garden Writer Tovah Martin Headlining Summer Short Course at Phipps

The author of "The Indestructible Houseplant" will lecture on creating a garden for all five senses and other green subjects.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

School trustees voted this week to increase tuition for in-state and out-of-state students.

Comments

Edit Module

Edit Module
Edit Module