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

Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

With so many options in and around the city, every couple can find the special space that feels just right — whether they’re looking for nature, rustic charm, fairytale romance, stained-glass beauty, treasured religious ritual or classic tradition.
Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Delve below the surface to explore the underground areas that serve as vital pathways to our region.
Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Chefs who grew up in Pittsburgh are shaping the culinary scene in other cities across the country — and gaining national recognition in the process.
Restaurant Review: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is Smokin'

Restaurant Review: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is Smokin'

The meat-centric restaurant in the Strip District is helping to redefine Pittsburgh's dining expectations.
Cranking Out Old School Valentines Sealed with a Quirk

Cranking Out Old School Valentines Sealed with a Quirk

In Lawrenceville, a love for letterpress leads to a business whose greeting cards reach audiences across the country.
Pittsburgh's Third Renaissance and Complaints from 2007

Pittsburgh's Third Renaissance and Complaints from 2007

This third Renaissance has allowed us to be spectators as Pittsburgh changed from a city suffering the damages wrought by the collapse of its steel industry to a vibrant, active place known for its academic, medical and technology sectors.

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Beer News: East End Brewing Moving to Bigger Space in Strip District

Beer News: East End Brewing Moving to Bigger Space in Strip District

The new space, called the East End Brewery Taproom, will offer lunch and dinner service, expanded hours and a place for customers to sit and enjoy a pint of beer from one of the brewery’s 12 taps.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: Yikes! Imagine This Instead of a Fountain at the Point

PittGirl: Yikes! Imagine This Instead of a Fountain at the Point

City leaders considered many options for Pittsburgh's confluence including something that looked like it was designed by the Jetsons, or an absolutely bonkers, batpoop insane idea by the one and only Frank Lloyd Wright.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Wigle Whiskey Ripe for Expansion with Threadbare

Wigle Whiskey Ripe for Expansion with Threadbare

The Strip District distillers will launch a hard cider business this fall.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
7 Best Restaurants for College Students in Pittsburgh

7 Best Restaurants for College Students in Pittsburgh

Easy access from universities, wallet-friendly prices and really good food make these our favorite choices for the university set.

Comments


Head to 'Quick and Shameless' For an Unpredictable (and Essential) Night of Pittsburgh Comedy

Head to 'Quick and Shameless' For an Unpredictable (and Essential) Night of Pittsburgh Comedy

The LGBTQ-friendly variety show offers one of the city's most unusual (and often unforgettable) lineups of comedic talent.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
It's Simple This Time, Super Bowl 50 Won't Even be Close

It's Simple This Time, Super Bowl 50 Won't Even be Close

The Panthers are going to get to the Broncos eventually. When that happens, Peyton Manning is going to be forced to throw it. And once that happens, it’s going to get ugly.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Delicate Pieces for the Harsh Winter

Delicate Pieces for the Harsh Winter

Lighten up your look with a cheerful necklace.

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.
George Clooney, Jane Austen, Nicholas Sparks and Some Zombies Walk Into a Multiplex

George Clooney, Jane Austen, Nicholas Sparks and Some Zombies Walk Into a Multiplex

Our reviews of "Hail, Caesar!," "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" and "The Choice."

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Real Pittsburgh Weddings 2016: Seven Adorable Moments

Real Pittsburgh Weddings 2016: Seven Adorable Moments

To coincide with the launch of our Spring 2016 Weddings magazine, we’ve created a Week of Wedded Bliss — seven stories to introduce you to the couples featured in our Real Pittsburgh Weddings. On Day One, we compile seven of our favorite moments.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Pillow Talk: Pittsburgh's Skyline Inspires New Design Line

Pillow Talk: Pittsburgh's Skyline Inspires New Design Line

Check out the new pillow collection from local interior designer Zach Mitchell. Plus, get the scoop on The Pittsburgh Christmas Carol Tour.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Mock Crime Scene to be Held at Waynesburg University

Mock Crime Scene to be Held at Waynesburg University

The event is for high school students who are interested in criminal justice, law enforcement and forensic science.

Comments