Urban Oasis: Piatt Place

The Strip District is within walking distance, Heinz Field is a stone’s throw away and the view of Pittsburgh’s downtown skyline is an urbanite’s dream.



Photos by Becky Thurner Braddock

Nancy Lynches has loved every place she’s lived: Mount Washington, Edgewood, Sewickley—even southern California. But none has suited her quite like downtown Pittsburgh. “I looked for five years,” she says. “One of my dearest friends from high school is a real estate agent, and I dragged her everywhere—Squirrel Hill, Shadyside, Oakland.” As lovely as those neighborhoods are, her thoughts kept returning to downtown.

EMBRACING THE ENERGY

Decades ago, straight out of high school in West Mifflin, Lynches signed on to her first job in downtown Pittsburgh. She took to the energy of city life instantly. But it wasn’t until last summer when she moved into a brand-new unit at Piatt Place that the Golden Triangle finally became her home.

Today, she revels in walking just a few blocks to her office in Oxford Centre, where she is the branch manager and senior vice president of investments at Wells Fargo Advisors. “During the blizzard, I walked to work. I felt a little guilty,” she says, knowing that while others struggled on icy roads, “I just put on my snow boots.”

She and her husband, David Marrangoni, who is the vice president of marketing at Baierl Automotive, enjoy walking to the Strip District for breakfast on weekends. They walk to Steelers games, Penguins games and the theater. “We come out of the opera, and it’s like, ‘We’re home!’ This is too cool.”

Lynches says Piatt Place’s small size—which occupies just the top three floors at 301 Fifth Ave. on top of the old Lazarus department store building—makes it feel more “like a small town” than a towering high-rise. Neighbors chat at the on-site fitness center and drop in for visits. Friends from elsewhere around Pittsburgh often come by before or after going to dinner or a show. “I’m not always having a party, but often someone comes over for a drink,” she says. “There is so much more social energy here than anywhere else.”

TACKLING THE CHALLENGES

City life, of course, isn’t perfect. Gas stations and supermarkets aren’t exactly on every corner. But the lifestyle has become easier since Right by Nature opened in the Strip, Lynches says, “and you learn things like, ‘Hey, CVS has eggs. Mancini’s Bakery has pasta and sauce.’” But the couple usually drives to the suburbs to shop on weekends.

Another challenge: Upscale dining abounds, but places such as “Subway, The Pita Pit or the little Chinese restaurants are not open in the evenings because they cater to the business crowd.”

In choosing her location, Lynches wanted a large terrace for cooking outdoors (not all buildings allow that) and craved a view of more than just tall buildings. It wasn’t easy, but she found a unit with an ample terrace overlooking the spires of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. “You almost could be in some European city,” she says of the striking view.

Next came the challenge of limited storage space. The couple opted for a three-bedroom condo then redesigned it as a two-bedroom with a storage room. Taking advantage of the 10-foot ceilings, they installed kitchen cabinets that extend to the ceiling. And they eliminated clutter: “This is 75 percent of the space we had in our last house,” Lynches says, so some things had to go. But “it felt good to let go of stuff.”

And to balance the sleek, contemporary design of their downtown home, Lynches and her husband recycled furniture from their suburban residence in Sewickley.

Traditional pieces, including overstuffed sofas and soft, upholstered dining chairs, make this glamorous space feel invitingly down home.

Downtown living, Lynches admits, isn’t for everybody. Even she gets wistful talking about missing the sight of leaves turning golden in the fall. But after years of searching and months of designing and building, Lynches has finally found her dream home.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2017

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2017

Pittsburgh’s medical lifesavers rated by their peers, including anesthesiologists, cardiologists, dermatologists, neurologists, ophthalmologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, surgeons, urologists & many more.
Health Care in Pittsburgh that Goes Beyond the Office

Health Care in Pittsburgh that Goes Beyond the Office

Innovations in Postpartum Depression Treatment, First-Aid Training and Food Security.
Looking Back: Dan Rooney, Remembered

Looking Back: Dan Rooney, Remembered

The builder of two stadiums, a billion-dollar football business, NFL labor harmony and racial sensitivity, and bridges between constituencies –– he was an everywhere man whose soft, steady hand was felt everywhere.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

New Study: Pittsburgh Drivers are The Worst of the Worst

New Study: Pittsburgh Drivers are The Worst of the Worst

Pittsburgh ties with one other city for having the worst drivers in the nation.
HGTV Series Pilot Focuses on Renovation of Pittsburgh Home

HGTV Series Pilot Focuses on Renovation of Pittsburgh Home

The pilot episode of “Steel City Rehab” follows a Pittsburgh couple as they flip a home in the city’s East End.
‘The Good Wife’s’ Zach Grenier Appears on the Pittsburgh Stage

‘The Good Wife’s’ Zach Grenier Appears on the Pittsburgh Stage

Grenier on playing the dream role of Willy Loman, coming to Pittsburgh and performing at the renowned Pittsburgh Public Theater.
Enjoy a Cocktail to Help Preserve Pittsburgh's Historic Murals

Enjoy a Cocktail to Help Preserve Pittsburgh's Historic Murals

The nearly 80-year-old murals by Maxo Vanka show an immigrant's’ perspective on important issues.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2017

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2017

Pittsburgh’s medical lifesavers rated by their peers, including anesthesiologists, cardiologists, dermatologists, neurologists, ophthalmologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, surgeons, urologists & many more.
Health Care in Pittsburgh that Goes Beyond the Office

Health Care in Pittsburgh that Goes Beyond the Office

Innovations in Postpartum Depression Treatment, First-Aid Training and Food Security.
Looking Back: Dan Rooney, Remembered

Looking Back: Dan Rooney, Remembered

The builder of two stadiums, a billion-dollar football business, NFL labor harmony and racial sensitivity, and bridges between constituencies –– he was an everywhere man whose soft, steady hand was felt everywhere.
Restaurant Review: DiAnoia's Eatery Bridges the Gap

Restaurant Review: DiAnoia's Eatery Bridges the Gap

With a little work, the Strip District restaurant could become a Pittsburgh classic.
Pittsburgh at the Forefront of The Brain Revolution

Pittsburgh at the Forefront of The Brain Revolution

Alzheimer’s disease is the most expensive ailment to treat and the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. Pittsburgh has become a battleground in the fight against the devastating illness, thanks to the decade-long quest of two Pittsburgh researchers whose work is on track to change the face of medicine and affect millions worldwide.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


New Study: Pittsburgh Drivers are The Worst of the Worst

New Study: Pittsburgh Drivers are The Worst of the Worst

Pittsburgh ties with one other city for having the worst drivers in the nation.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Scratch Food & Beverage Has a New Executive Chef

Scratch Food & Beverage Has a New Executive Chef

Brandon Blumenfeld introduces an American gastropub menu at the Troy Hill bar.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


Five Essential May Events

Five Essential May Events

Comics (the kind on paper), comics (the kind with microphones), cats and more upcoming delights.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
‘Use Him Like ‘Troy Polamalu’ – Steelers Should Jump on This Pick

‘Use Him Like ‘Troy Polamalu’ – Steelers Should Jump on This Pick

If Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers is still available, the Pittsburgh Steelers would be wise to make him their first-round pick in the NFL draft.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Pittsburgh on a Plate

Pittsburgh on a Plate

The way to a beer lover’s heart is mapped out on notNeutral’s plate, which highlights Pittsburgh breweries (and other points of interest) across the city.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Sink Into a Trippy High School at Row House Cinema

Sink Into a Trippy High School at Row House Cinema

The Pittsburgh premiere of offbeat cartoon "My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea" is the local film event of the week.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Beautiful Blooms: Twists on the Traditional Bouquet

Beautiful Blooms: Twists on the Traditional Bouquet

You’ll definitely want the story behind these stunning wedding flowers.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Rare Plants, Accessories, Up for Grabs at 2017 Garden Marketplace

Rare Plants, Accessories, Up for Grabs at 2017 Garden Marketplace

Hosted by the Penn State Master Gardeners, the free event, which includes the local daffodil society’s annual show, features exclusive and hard-to-find flowers, shrubs, fruit and vegetable plants and other garden accessories from a variety of vendors.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
A-Rod to Talk Baseball and Steroids at Slippery Rock

A-Rod to Talk Baseball and Steroids at Slippery Rock

Considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time, Alex Rodriguez also is one of the league's more controversial stars.

Comments