Warming Up Winter

Vibrant shades of red bring energy and warmth to a stately Squirrel Hill home.



Photo by Laura Petrilla

Ellen Kander and husband, Gregg, wanted their upstairs family room to be warm and inviting, even on the grayest winter days. And they wanted their master bedroom, which is right next door to the family room, to be calm and relaxing but still colorful.

As they pondered the best way to redecorate, the answer for both rooms turned out to be adding the color red.

Red is Ellen’s favorite color, and it’s a wonderful way to bring a burst of energy to any room. But using red can be tricky: The room can feel overpowering if you bring in too much of it or use the wrong shades.

So Ellen combined her design knowledge with help from family members to choose the perfect pieces for these rooms. Getting advice from your family about how to decorate your house may sound like a risky proposition, but Ellen’s family owns the design store Weisshouse (a place she worked for many years). So she had a team of experts ready to share their thoughts on creating cozy, colorful rooms that are perfect for play and rest.
 

Everyone’s Favorite Room

“When we originally decided to do our family room over, we thought it would mostly be used by our four children,” Ellen says. “But in the end, it’s a room we all gravitate toward.”

When it comes to design, the key to this room is the sprawling patchwork rug made from several antique Sumac rugs sewn together.

Rich shades of cinnamon are balanced by warm golds, and the casual style contrasts with the architectural lines of the modern Tufty-Time sofa from B&B Italia.

Furthermore, the sofa’s modern lines “work well against the natural organic chunk of wood coffee table,” Ellen says.

Ellen and her sister, Stacy Weiss, spent hours debating on the perfect color for the family-room walls. Green and red are natural opposites on the color wheel, so they balance each other. But rather than using a bold green, the sisters decided to soften the look with a warm, golden green, one that Weiss calls “pea soup with a little cumin.”

The family room has more red in it than the bedroom because it’s meant to be a more vibrant space. But the color is used sparingly so that energizing doesn’t tip toward exhausting.

The Kanders chose an eclectic mix of pieces to make the atmosphere inviting, combining rustic pieces like an antique farmhouse table with sleek Italian designs and a classic Eames chair. That also allows for a lot of flexibility: “You can slide in things to change it up when you want to,” says Weisshouse designer Ron Reinheimer, “and borrow from one room to reinvent another.”
 

Cooler Reds for the Bedroom

Besides having fewer red pieces, the bedroom leans toward slightly cooler shades of red—more berry than cinnamon. The walls are a deep taupe, and the huge windows give a striking view of berries on the branches outside.

Again, contrast is key for achieving a harmonious effect: A pair of Ralph Lauren chairs covered in pinstriped charcoal wool bring in formality and masculinity, while the vintage desk chair and rustic accessories help to keep the space from feeling too formal or traditional. “It’s all about layering an interesting mix of pieces that do not conflict with each other,” says Reinheimer.

Placing red accessories throughout the room adds bursts of color amid peaceful neutrals.

“It just makes me feel good,” Ellen says. “During these Pittsburgh winters, it makes me happy.”
 

Sign Up for the 412 e-Newsletter

 

Our new, daily e-newsletter is curated by the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine and is designed to give you the very best Pittsburgh has to offer -- delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign me up!
* Email
 First Name
 Last Name
  * = Required Field
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best Restaurants 2016

Best Restaurants 2016

Which 33 Pittsburgh-area establishments did our independent Restaurant Review Panel include among its top picks this year? Find them here.
Six Pittsburgh Chefs Who Are Outstanding in Their Field

Six Pittsburgh Chefs Who Are Outstanding in Their Field

In addition to awarding Best Restaurant honors this year, our Independent Restaurant Review Panel also voted to recognize six chefs for their contributions to Pittsburgh’s culinary community in 2015.
Citizen Artist: Vanessa German

Citizen Artist: Vanessa German

German blends a collage of community activism and soul-searching artistry.
PittGirl to Wooers: ‘Not Today Satan, Not Today’

PittGirl to Wooers: ‘Not Today Satan, Not Today’

It only takes one person, one jagoff, one childish, attention-seeking, discourteous jerk to send a woo through PNC Park.
Daytripping: Canonsburg is a City of Antiques

Daytripping: Canonsburg is a City of Antiques

Nearby Canonsburg is a rare find for antiques collectors.
U.S. Open at Oakmont: Will The Town Finally Be a Player?

U.S. Open at Oakmont: Will The Town Finally Be a Player?

The U.S. Open is returning to Oakmont — and unlike previous tournaments, this one could make the community a vital part of the action.
Edit Module

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Local Filmmaker Celebrates Pittsburgh Food

Local Filmmaker Celebrates Pittsburgh Food

Artist David Bernabo creates a series of films that track various aspects of Pittsburgh's food culture.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

Kennywood Park opens soon and new this season is the return of the famed whale at the entrance of Noah’s Ark. In the name of science, PittGirl paid an early visit to test the squishiness quotient of the whale's all-important tongue.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Richard DeShantz Plans Two New Restaurants at Salt of the Earth Building

Richard DeShantz Plans Two New Restaurants at Salt of the Earth Building

DeShantz owns three other Pittsburgh restaurants and is about to open a fourth.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Best 6 Places to Get a Cup of Tea in Pittsburgh

The Best 6 Places to Get a Cup of Tea in Pittsburgh

The quiet rise of Pittsburgh's tea scene gives us a few favorite gems.

Comments


Highmark Stadium Pub Wants Your Attention

Highmark Stadium Pub Wants Your Attention

The in-house tavern at the Riverhounds' home stadium is now welcoming guests during weekdays. But is it worth a dedicated stop?

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Crosby’s Long-Awaited Signature has Pens Pondering The Possibilities

Crosby’s Long-Awaited Signature has Pens Pondering The Possibilities

For Sidney Crosby and for the Penguins, happy days are here again. But the emotion of the moment won’t mean much if Crosby and the Penguins aren’t able to build upon it as the series progresses.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Flip the Switch: Industrial-Style Lighting Made in Pittsburgh

Flip the Switch: Industrial-Style Lighting Made in Pittsburgh

An electrician by trade, designer Thomas Verscharen creates custom lighting out of repurposed pieces.

Comments


Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The Angry Birds Movie Is Just a Total Mess

The Angry Birds Movie Is Just a Total Mess

Plus reviews of "The Nice Guys" and "Neighbors 2," as well as local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Get with the (Wedding) Program

Get with the (Wedding) Program

Have you ever considered making programs for your wedding guests? If not, think again and get creative.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
A Tiny House that's Big on Energy Savings

A Tiny House that's Big on Energy Savings

Spread out across the city for these upcoming events, including a “Tiny House” exhibit at the Carnegie Science Center displayed by the FIY Network.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Pitt Adds New Major

Pitt Adds New Major

The environmental engineering major will be available in the 2016-17 academic year and aims to help students prepare for a changing job market.

Comments