At Home with Pittsburgh's Style Setters
Take a peek inside the stylish homes of some of the city's most well-known home-decor boutique owners.
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When your passion is purveying a city with covetable home goods and decor, bringing work home is inevitable.
“That’s how I always make my best decisions on products we buy. The rule of thumb is: Would I buy it for my house? Would I like it here?” says Shawn Aversa, who owns of Von Walter & Funk in Lawrenceville with husband Jamie McAdams. “Sometimes, it doesn’t make it to the shop,” he adds with a laugh.
Aversa is not alone. Owners of a few of Pittsburgh’s most popular design and decor boutiques mix professional expertise and personal taste to steep their own homes in enviable style.
Danielle Franks and Kristin Bordeau, friends and owners of House15143 in Sewickley, carry over the lived-in farmhouse charm of their store to their own homes, both just a few streets away from the shop.
Franks has filled the 1920s home she shares with husband, Brian, daughter, Ella, 13, and son, Dylan, 10, with a curated mix of the old and new, a style honed in her role as main buyer for the store. She devotes frequent weekends to flea market excursions and also loves scouting new vendors.
“Most everything in the store I either own or have at one point owned one of,” she says. “Sometimes when I go to fairs especially, I have to make those hard decisions. It’s like, ‘I really love this. Do I need it, or can I let someone else have it?’ You can only have so many things in your house, but I can buy it for the store and other people can enjoy it as well.”
Her home is full of eclectic groupings of glassware, books, plants and candles, as well as gallery walls featuring a mix of recent and vintage photos and items, plus a few art pieces created specifically for the family, including a rendering of their home and a sign depicting their name and address.
Franks also is fond of messaging, and nearly every room has one or more pieces telling visitors to “Count Your Blessings,” “Let Today Be the Day,” or simply, “Cheers!” either as framed artwork or simply scribed in chalk. These items are prevalent (and popular) in the shop as well.
The kitchen features another one of Franks’ staples: white subway tile. A mix of white and glass cabinetry, concrete countertops and stainless steel appliances complete the clean, yet inviting, look. A long wooden table with a burlap runner welcomes diners in the adjacent eat-in area.
The dining room in particular embodies the House15143 aesthetic, with an inviting table set for 12 complete with the Hester & Cook’s “Tropical Leaves” paper placemats and a “Classic Stripe” paper table runner, both sold at the store.
“It’s so easy for me to sell them to people because I use them for every holiday and occasion,” says Franks, who often hosts family gatherings. “They come in really fun, pretty patterns, and they’re easy cleanup because you just throw them away. They’re some of my favorite things in the store.”
Upstairs, the master bedroom invites repose with whitewashed wood coating the walls and ceiling, bringing a light, airy effect to the room. Dark hardwood floors let the white and grey bedding and decor pop.
On the other side of Sewickley Village, Bordeau’s home offers visitors hints of the shop before even entering. A printed pillow perched on a chair on her front porch reads “15143.” Inside, the rustic chic of the shop pairs with a touch of modern drama.
“I call myself, at my base, transitional,” says Bordeau, who lives with husband Dr. Kevin Bordeau, son Hudson, 14, and daughter Barrett, 12. “I like clean lines and twists on texture. I don’t like things to match or be too perfect.”
Deep indigo paint and thick-striped drapes add sophistication to the dining room. Delicate curves of the chandelier cascade down then swoop upward to hold bright round bulbs atop ivory sleeves.
Interesting overhead elements ranging from elegant to industrial can be found throughout the home. The renovated kitchen — a clean and classic sprawling expanse of white cabinetry and a mix of marble and concrete countertops — has two light fixtures. A glass rectangle surrounding Edison bulbs hangs above the eating area while a large recycled-metal chandelier is over a chef’s island.
A spherical polished chrome cage looms above the living room, where the soulful eyes of a horse depicted in a large piece of artwork watch over the room from its place mounted on the wall. The Western-meets-luxury look is completed with a round wooden coffee table, worn leather couch, woven rug and cowhide ottoman.
The farmhouse feel extends into the kitchen’s seating area, where a towering baker’s rack is packed with white dishes, copper bowls and wire baskets, while suspended wooden shelves above a nearby bar area boast a sign proclaiming, “We Do Loud, We Do Fun, We Do Awesome.”