Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Loft Living

Cozy warmth in a sprawling space: Fashion stylist Bear Brandegee’s strategically designed Lawrenceville home celebrates contemporary living in an old church banquet hall.



In the family’s previous home, each room had a distinctive look. Decorating this loft required an innovative approach: The master bedroom, dining and living areas are all connected, so the owner used one palette of colors throughout the space and combined several decorating styles for an eclectic look.

Photo by Laura Petrilla

Loft apartments are prized for their wide-open spaces and towering ceilings. They feel wonderfully airy and light, but they can have a downside: Soaring, open spaces can also feel cold and impersonal.

Two years ago, fashion stylist Bear Brandegee was determined to have the best of both worlds when she began designing her family’s loft in Lawrenceville. With careful planning, she created a home for herself, her husband, Nir Kossovsky, and their daughter, Natasha, that can only be described as warm and wonderful.

Before moving to the 4,000-square-foot loft, which is one of three homes carved from a former church, Brandegee and her family lived in a 6,000-square-foot house. So the move required some serious strategy.

“Getting our arms around making the contents of 20-plus rooms from an old East End home work in a virtually open space was a huge challenge,” Brandegee says. “We tackled it by breaking the problem into three steps. First, we created a list of our activity areas—cooking, working, entertaining, exercise, etc. Second, we designed distinct living areas around those activities. And third, we pared down our ‘stuff’ to those things we used and truly love.”

As the family decided on their needs and wants—including a cozy conversation area, a dining area to hold their 11-foot Italian table, an intimate breakfast area and separate but connected workspaces—Brandegee sketched out the living space on graph paper.

She briefly considered using decorative screens to section off the different areas within the huge main room, but that interrupted the flow of the loft.

Brandegee found creative ways to balance the loft’s airy feeling with the intimacy of traditional rooms.
 

Lighting

The loft’s ceiling features recessed lighting in various parts. Brandegee strategically added chandeliers over several areas and also used lamps to define each space with warm, welcoming light.

“When we divided the main space into each life area, we created lighting especially for that area so that the other spaces could be dark but the one we were in would be cozy,” she says. “We also lit for the evening so that the entire room would sparkle and have interesting lighting with no dark spots.”
 

Rugs

Each section of the loft has an area rug to define its boundaries and create warmth underfoot. Between the rugs, large stretches of the loft’s polished hardwood floors are visible, including a space where Brandegee and her husband enjoy ballroom dancing in the evenings.
 

Scale and Placement of Furniture

The sweeping dimensions of a loft can accommodate huge pieces of furniture. But Brandegee opted not to use many large pieces. “You want the space and each mini area to feel comfortable and not super-sized,” she says, “so I suggest limiting the use of oversized furniture to a few key, strategically-placed pieces.”

She uses a few items of varying heights to define the living areas, including potted plants and standing sculptures. But low-slung sofas and tables are used throughout the space to bring a down-to-earth feel.

A long, low sideboard is used to define one side of the dining-room area. But the absence of walls presented a challenge: The back of the sideboard is visible from the living-room area. Brandegee’s solution? She painted the unfinished back of the piece.
 

Warm Colors

The final element that brings intimacy to this cavernous space is the color palette. Ruby reds, deep browns and warm shades of gold appear throughout and are set off with dramatic black accents.

The finished space is grand and intimate. Once used as a banquet hall for church events, it now feels like a home but retains its original purpose as the perfect place to celebrate.

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

PIT Turns to CMU to Make Airport Smartest in the World

The airport authority will use minds at CMU to discover ways to make it easier for passengers to get from the terminal’s parking lots to their seat on the plane.

Celebrate August Wilson's Birthday With a King and a Block Party

The ninth play in the 10-part Pittsburgh Cycle will open outside at the August Wilson House.

First Look: Soju in Garfield

Simon Chough’s Korean restaurant is six years in the making.

I Feel Pretty Isn't What You're Expecting (And That's Okay)

Reviews of "I Feel Pretty" and "Super Troopers 2," plus a rundown of events at the Pittsburgh Underground Film Festival.

Get Your Clark Bars While You Can – They May Soon Be Gone

Production of Pittsburgh native candy bar may halt if the current producer cannot find a new buyer.

Coughlin's Law Wants To Be Your Mount Washington Destination

Notes on the busy new bar and restaurant near Grandview Avenue.

The 2018 Return of the Burgh-y Mother's Day Gift Guide

It's back! From the dog mom to the working mom, we've got you covered with these locally made must-haves.

Patriot Games Can’t Diminish Harrison’s Place in Steelers History

James Harrison intimidated opposing players in a way not seen since the days of Jack Lambert and Mean Joe Greene.

Bruno Sammartino Dies; Wrestling's Longtime Champ Was 82

The Italian-born star died surrounded by family in his adopted home of Pittsburgh.

It’s Road Repaving Season in Pittsburgh. Is Your Street on the List?

The City of Pittsburgh has finalized its street paving plan for 2018. You’re one click away from finding out if your street or route to work is on the list.

Three Rivers Champion: James S. Perry

Perry combined his love for athletics and volunteerism to create a youth athletic association that at its height provided organized softball and baseball to more than 350 boys and girls.

Three Rivers Art Festival Brings Music and New Art For 59th Summer

Point State Park, Gateway Center and sites across the Cultural District will host free, world-class art and events during this year’s 10-day festival.

Sound of Silence: Century III to be Sold at Sheriff's Sale

The nearly 40-year-old mall encounters foreclosure once again. Will this sale be the end of the line?

Pittsburgh Riverlife President & CEO Vivien Li Resigns

Li is returning to Boston to be with family members who are in declining health.

The Best Ways to Reuse and Repurpose Wedding Decor

From new decor in the home to donations to charity, check out these ways to repurpose leftover wedding decor.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


PIT Turns to CMU to Make Airport Smartest in the World

PIT Turns to CMU to Make Airport Smartest in the World

The airport authority will use minds at CMU to discover ways to make it easier for passengers to get from the terminal’s parking lots to their seat on the plane.

Comments

Celebrate August Wilson's Birthday With a King and a Block Party

Celebrate August Wilson's Birthday With a King and a Block Party

The ninth play in the 10-part Pittsburgh Cycle will open outside at the August Wilson House.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
First Look: Soju in Garfield

First Look: Soju in Garfield

Simon Chough’s Korean restaurant is six years in the making.

Comments

New Chefs Coming to Smallman Galley

New Chefs Coming to Smallman Galley

Smallman Galley will rotate its third class of chef/owners this June … but this time there’s a twist.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 2018 Return of the Burgh-y Mother's Day Gift Guide

The 2018 Return of the Burgh-y Mother's Day Gift Guide

It's back! From the dog mom to the working mom, we've got you covered with these locally made must-haves.

Comments

The 5 Best Places to People Watch in Pittsburgh

The 5 Best Places to People Watch in Pittsburgh

A coffee shop, an iconic landmark, an airport and beyond — these are the best places to practice the art of people watching.

Comments


Coughlin's Law Wants To Be Your Mount Washington Destination

Coughlin's Law Wants To Be Your Mount Washington Destination

Notes on the busy new bar and restaurant near Grandview Avenue.

Comments

Smallman Galley Goes 3D With Its New Cocktail Menu

Smallman Galley Goes 3D With Its New Cocktail Menu

The bar team at the Strip District restaurant incubator continues its flights of fancy with Flashback Flavors.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Patriot Games Can’t Diminish Harrison’s Place in Steelers History

Patriot Games Can’t Diminish Harrison’s Place in Steelers History

James Harrison intimidated opposing players in a way not seen since the days of Jack Lambert and Mean Joe Greene.

Comments

Penguins Seeking 3-Peat With The Swagger of a Champion

Penguins Seeking 3-Peat With The Swagger of a Champion

The power play, star power and goaltending are among the primary weapons the Penguins have at their disposal in their quest for another championship. But so, too, is an unshakable belief they can hoist Lord Stanley's Cup three times in a row.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
I Feel Pretty Isn't What You're Expecting (And That's Okay)

I Feel Pretty Isn't What You're Expecting (And That's Okay)

Reviews of "I Feel Pretty" and "Super Troopers 2," plus a rundown of events at the Pittsburgh Underground Film Festival.

Comments

Despite The Rock, Rampage Is a Wild Misfire

Despite The Rock, Rampage Is a Wild Misfire

A review of "Rampage," plus an update on the former Friends of the Hollywood Theater and other local movie news.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
The Best Ways to Reuse and Repurpose Wedding Decor

The Best Ways to Reuse and Repurpose Wedding Decor

From new decor in the home to donations to charity, check out these ways to repurpose leftover wedding decor.

Comments

How Lucky Socks Played a Key Role in Couple’s Wedding

How Lucky Socks Played a Key Role in Couple’s Wedding

A pair of puffin socks played a big role in this Pittsburgh couple’s relationship — and, in a surprise move by their pastor, their wedding.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Toll Gate Revival Gearing Up for New Location, New Experience

Toll Gate Revival Gearing Up for New Location, New Experience

The vintage décor and reclaimed materials business owned by Seth Hunter will open in a larger Lawrenceville warehouse next month.

Comments

Take a Sneak Peek at Our 2018 Ultimate House

Take a Sneak Peek at Our 2018 Ultimate House

Tours of Empire on Liberty, a one-time furniture and carpet warehouse in Bloomfield turned into a mixed-use structure, take place this month. The tour includes a look at the penthouse and two condos.

Comments