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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ECLECTIC cohesion

The home shared by the owners of Von Walter & Funk is a collection of everything the couple loves. Aversa and McAdams, who live in a turn-of-the-century Queen Anne Victorian in Highland Park, enjoy entertaining, and when they do, there is no shortage of conversation pieces from a wide range of time periods.

“Everybody loves to poke at things and ask us questions about them,” says Aversa. “We like things that remind us of a time or of people in our lives. Everything has a story.”


From the piano stools serving as side tables in the living room to the vintage shaving brushes displayed in the upstairs bathroom, treasures fill the home. The mantel in the living room houses a duo of brass horns. One is an old Boy Scout bugle that was once displayed in the shop; it came home with Aversa to serve as a Christmas decoration and never left. They rest alongside a marble Victorian bust and an array of canine figurines. The couple, owners of four dogs, love things featuring animals — particularly dogs, horses, rabbits and birds — and glimpses of them can be found throughout the home.

The dining room mantel showcases several top hats of silk and beaver fur, one of which belonged to McAdams’ great-grandfather. This room also is home to several bar carts — one a Sorrento Italian-style inlaid serving cart and another a repurposed pastry cart — as well as an antique radio.

The tops of several doorways are adorned with arches of old keys suspended by nails, an homage to Aversa’s grandmother, Janet Irene Von Walter (the shop’s namesake, along with McAdams’ grandmother Harriet Pauline Funk) who collected them and displayed them in a similar fashion. An old yoke hangs above the doorway of the butler’s pantry — another idea borrowed from Von Walter — near a wall covered in Currier & Ives prints.

While much of what they own has sentimental value, Aversa and McAdams believe in living among their things, not around them. Most everything is untethered and able to be touched. Not much is encased, save some select china pieces.

“That’s our rule: It has to be an accent piece that is accenting without being a burden, and it has to be usable,” Aversa says. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be used for what it was originally intended, but otherwise, it’s just junk behind a glass wall unless you pull it out and use it.”

Aversa also is a devotee of wallpaper and often injects accent walls in innovative ways. The living room features the Vincent Van Gogh Wallpaper Collection’s “Almond Blossom” in yellow serving as backdrop for the mantel. Rifle Paper Co.’s “Peonies (Yellow)” provides a pop of color in the butler’s pantry, and “Daydream” by Julia Rothman presents a serene pattern of birds in flight in the dressing room. The bold tomato and white pattern of flora and fauna depicted in Emily Isabella’s “Otomi” ascends the staircase.

From the carefully curated groupings where everything and nothing makes sense to the abundance of one-of-a-kind finds, the home is reflective of what the shop owners strive to offer their patrons.

“Our idea for the shop was really to bring in things we love and had a hard time finding around here,” Aversa says. “We were always good hunters for vintage and new things, but now, there’s so much more available to us. It does make its way in here.

“We like mixing things, as long as it all works together. We live in a big Victorian. Does everything have to be Victorian? No, as long as it works and isn’t blatantly out of place.”

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