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 Module

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.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Sweetheart Ideas: How to Make the Most out of Valentine's Day

Sweetheart Ideas: How to Make the Most out of Valentine's Day

From a hotel “Love Lockdown,” to a museum breakfast in bed, to a rooftop singles event - there's plenty to eat, drink at do in Pittsburgh on this weekend for love.
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.
See How Pittsburghers Used to Get Around

See How Pittsburghers Used to Get Around

This rare video gives you a passenger's perspective of street car trolley travel in the 1960s.
Steelers' DeAngelo Williams Scores as Daughters' Hair Stylist

Steelers' DeAngelo Williams Scores as Daughters' Hair Stylist

In a pair of TV ads, watch the Steelers' running back tackle styling the hair of his two adorable daughters.

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


Sweetheart Ideas: How to Make the Most out of Valentine's Day

Sweetheart Ideas: How to Make the Most out of Valentine's Day

From a hotel “Love Lockdown,” to a museum breakfast in bed, to a rooftop singles event - there's plenty to eat, drink at do in Pittsburgh on this weekend for love.

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.
Super Bowl Predictions: Can I Have That One Back?

Super Bowl Predictions: Can I Have That One Back?

Denver's upset win over Carolina -- predicted by hardly anyone (including yours truly) -- should be interpreted as good news for Steelers' fans.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Shirts We Love For Valentine’s Day

Shirts We Love For Valentine’s Day

Let your heart do the talking with these fun sweaters from Rosewood Boutique.

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.
Love and Lace: Six Stand-Out Dresses

Love and Lace: Six Stand-Out Dresses

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 two, we fall head over heels in love with these six dresses.

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