Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Best Kitchen Renovation

With help from HGTV star Leanne Ford, former NFL player Gus Frerotte and his wife, Ann, created a cozy, timeless kitchen in their century-old Oakmont home.




photos by alexandra ribar

 

From the enormous table to the crackling fireplace, Ann and Gus Frerotte’s kitchen is surely welcoming. But what makes it the winner of the Best Kitchen Renovation award is the delicate balance it strikes: The room is designed with some of today’s most popular kitchen trends, and yet it has timeless appeal and a vintage style that will never look dated.

The Frerottes, collaborating with interior designer Leanne Ford, one of the stars of HGTV’s “Restored by the Fords,” and architect Greg Dutton of Midland Architecture, which has offices in Lawrenceville and Columbus, Ohio, chose items that are fresh and popular right now — large ceramic farmhouse sinks, classic white subway tile, a reclaimed wood table, exposed shelving and a white color palette with touches of black and wood tones.

While each of these elements are trending, their popularity stretches back to the era when the Frerottes’ century-old home originally was built. The space also is layered with modern touches — mid-century wire chairs at the reclaimed wood farmhouse table and two stunning industrial light fixtures over the table — so that it’s not pinned to any one era or style.

The result is timeless without being overly historical, according to Dutton. Ford adds the approach is a central part of her design work.

“I am very passionate about timeless design, which I think comes from mixing styles, genres and eras,” she says. “You never want to see a project of a home and be able to pinpoint exactly when that was designed. Interiors are meant to stand the test of time, especially kitchens.”
 


 

REALIZING THEIR DREAM. 
After moving around the country numerous times during Gus’ NFL career — which took them everywhere from Denver to Miami to St. Louis — the family was seeking a permanent home in Pittsburgh; the Frerottes both grew up north of the city and loved the area. They wanted a place where childhood friends and family would drop in for dinner and good friends from around the country could come for long, relaxing visits.

At the heart of this vision: A warm, comfortable and down-to-earth kitchen that felt more like the downstairs servants quarters on “Downton Abbey” than anything the upstairs aristocracy would ever choose.

When the Frerottes discovered a century-old caretaker’s cottage in Oakmont, they knew it could be a perfectly cozy home base — but that it was going to require serious renovation: The original kitchen was about the size of a walk-in closet. The floorplan of the house also needed updating, according to Dutton.

The family dove in, working with Dutton, Ford and contractor Mark Patsey to realize their dream. 
 

“They wanted this kitchen and the entire home to be warm,
welcoming and inviting” Leanne Ford

PLANNING AND RECLAIMING. 
Once they’d committed to a full-scale renovation, the Frerottes were able to create a space for socializing and serious cooking.

“Ann is an amazing chef,” says Ford, so the planning included plenty of counter space and ample storage, plus two full sinks. “A barebones remodel of a kitchen is such a different thing than just redecorating because you can really consider how you cook and what you need.” 

One priority was saving as many materials from the original house as possible, which required some thoughtful, and creative, planning. At Gus’ suggestion, the old wooden floorboards became the ceiling, hung upside down so that the rough underside was exposed, holes and all.

While the couple used Ford’s help to buy many items, much of the kitchen was custom built. 

“Annie found a table she really liked online,” which they then used as inspiration to make their own table using reclaimed wood from the house, Gus says. They also enlisted the help of Gus’ childhood friend, Ed Reitler, a woodworking teacher at the Otto-Eldred School District in McKean County near Pennsylvania’s border with New York. 

“I told Ed, ‘Take our wood. Can you make us a table?’” Gus recalls. 

When they couldn’t find the right metal brackets for the sturdy opened shelving they wanted, they turned to mechanic and craftsman Kenny Ellwood, owner of Krazy Kennyz Kustomz in Armstrong County, who built the brackets they needed.

The kitchen’s custom cabinets were made from alder wood with imperfections “that already feel like it has character to it,” Dutton says. 

The cabinets were painted white, but they don’t have a perfect sheen or flawless finish. As the paint naturally gets worn over time, the cabinets will only look better. Like the informal subway tile and the exposed beams, those real-life imperfections only add to the beauty, according to Dutton.

Tying it all together is Ford’s luxurious, yet accessible, design sensibility.

“We used all very clean, simple and timeless elements in here,” Ford says. “But adding fun touches like the amazing double chandeliers over the kitchen table or the mid-century chairs with the farm table keeps things fresh and fun.”

FAVORITE DETAILS. 
Along with the stunning ceiling and large double sinks, the Frerottes also love their fireplace, which is open to both the kitchen and the living room. “When we opened the fireplace, we realized it wasn’t venting the right way,” Gus says. 

The couple added specially tempered glass on the kitchen side that sends smoke up the chimney but keeps the fire visible and allows its warmth to be felt in the room.

“They wanted this kitchen and the entire home to be warm, welcoming and inviting,” says Ford. The final design is luxurious, dramatic and definitely an award winner, and yet “nothing is too precious.”

VENDORS
Contractor: Mark Patsey
Cabinetry: Mullet Cabinet
Appliances: Don’s Appliances
Flooring: Ceramiche Tile & Stone
Countertops: Dente Classic Stone
Countertops Installation: East Coast Countertops
Lighting: Restoration Hardware  
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

2018 Best of Design Winners

Best New Home

A mountain-modern home built into the hillside of a reclaimed mining site has become the dream home for a family of five.

Best Renovation

Cory Cope and Jennifer Owen spent 10 years renovating a former power station on the North Side into their dream home.

Best Bathroom Renovation

Interior designer Lauren Levant turned a dated master bathroom into a sleek sanctuary.

Best New Kitchen

Inspired by a sweeping view of the Allegheny River, Cyd Stackhouse and Bob Bergren incorporated water into every design choice of their modern, ethereal kitchen.

Best Kitchen Renovation

With help from HGTV star Leanne Ford, former NFL player Gus Frerotte and his wife, Ann, created a cozy, timeless kitchen in their century-old Oakmont home.

Best Outdoor Space

Wanting to extend their living space, a Mt. Lebanon couple added an inviting porch to their 1920s-era home.

Meet Our Judges

To ensure fairness and neutrality, a panel of Cleveland-based professionals in the design and architecture industries handled this year’s judging process.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Halloween in Pittsburgh: How to Embrace the Fright

From haunted houses and scary movies to pumpkin patches and zombie bars –– we are here to help you experience as much of the ghoulish holiday as you dare.

Perspectives: Mourning Without a Road Map

A 30-year-old woman “who had lost her father too soon” learns the importance of following a plan when saying goodbye.

On Fitness: Peace and Posture Instead of No Pain, No Gain

Client by client, personal trainer Ian Riggins is dismantling the aggressive side of the fitness industry.

Angling for Tranquility: The Lure of Kayak Fishing

Kayak fishing is growing in popularity as anglers discover the peaceful joys of casting a line from the water's surface.

MultiStories: Pittsburgh's Art Deco Obelisk – The Gulf Building

As the Gulf Building rose into Pittsburgh skyline in the early 1930s, the prospects of its owner were headed in the opposite direction.

“First Man” Author to Appear at Heinz History Center

James R. Hansen, author of the authorized Neil Armstrong biography, will speak about the astronaut’s life on Nov. 1.

Results Are In: Jobs are Plentiful in Pittsburgh

Glassdoor’s newly released city shortlist for hot jobs ranks Pittsburgh #1.

The 400-Word Review: The Old Man and the Gun

Robert Redford's alleged final performance is a quiet, fitting farewell.

Sandwich, Helmet, Teammates Await Bell’s Return to Steelers

Le’Veon Bell reportedly intends to return to the Steelers before the second Browns game on Oct. 28, but hasn’t yet. But that didn’t stop some of his teammates from trying to have some fun with Bell at the media’s expense.

A New Day for Craft Beer in Pittsburgh

Day Bracey, along with Ed Bailey and Mike Potter, forges a more inclusive approach to craft brewing.

Southern Cuisine Served with a Big Side of Hospitality

Sugar and Smoke owner Andrea Robinson not only wants to feed customers of her new eatery in Bloomfield –– she wants to know their names.

Meet Pittsburgh's 40 Under 40 Honorees for 2018

For two decades, Pittsburgh Magazine and PUMP have presented the annual 40 Under 40 list. And every year, 40 people who have been alive for less than four decades are chosen because of their career accomplishments, dogged volunteer work and commitment to the Pittsburgh region. This year is no different. Read on to learn more about some of our very best neighbors.

Restaurant Review: Pie for Breakfast

Pittsburgh gets an updated, all-day diner with a sense of place from the owners of Legume Bistro and Butterjoint.

This is Not a Drill: Can Pittsburgh Survive a Disaster?

Location and geography make Pittsburgh one of the safer places to be in a disaster, but just how well would we do in the face of a cataclysmic event?

Finding Her Voice: An Acid Attack Victim Fights Back

Hanifa Nakiryowa's life changed forever after becoming a victim of a disfiguring acid attack.