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Best Outdoor Space

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




photos by craig Thompson Photography 

 

When Bob and Karen Brown wanted to update their 1920s-era Mt. Lebanon home into a more welcoming, open place where friends and family could gather, their designer saw an opportunity to extend the inviting ambiance to an adjoining outdoor living space.

The cozy, comfortable porch Regis McQuaide created with his team at Master Remodelers Inc., a Castle Shannon-based design/build firm, earned the distinction of Best Outdoor Space.

The closed-off floorplan of the house the Browns have lived in for 17 years inhibited them from spending time together as a family — anyone in the kitchen was completely cut off from everyone else. Looking toward retiring in the home, the couple wanted better overall flow and more natural light. 

They reached out to Master Remodelers, which opted to add to the home’s strong foundation and bones with an expansion, including an updated kitchen flowing seamlessly into an open living space. They built a first-floor powder room and a basement-level exercise room and created a butler’s pantry connecting the kitchen and dining room.
 



 

The kitchen is now infused with light, clean lines and Old World touches. Connected to the kitchen by glass doors, the new outdoor space continues the feeling of openness and inclusion.

The Browns wanted to maximize space while maintaining the integrity of the yard. Master Remodelers created a custom stone fireplace to build in some privacy while still allowing the porch to be open. The hand-built piece features a steel chimney faced with stone from an Indiana quarry. The gas fireplace is remote-controlled and emits no smoke.

The couple positioned two deep-seated wicker chairs in front of it, and the spot quickly became their favorite for reading, enjoying a cocktail or listening to music. The rest of the porch is large enough for hosting a small gathering, and the Browns find friends and family gravitate to the serene space.

“Even in late fall, we’ll come out, have a drink, relax and unwind. It’s really nice to have. It does add a couple of weeks or months to the summer or fall,” says Bob Brown.

Wild Rose Landscape Design of Bethel Park introduced an array of seasonal blooms, and the design team at Master Remodelers painted the detached parking structure behind the porch to match the house.
 


 

Now, the Browns love being home, and with the help of their outdoor living space, are getting the most out of every minute spent there.

“It’s changed their lifestyle, and that’s what we enjoy most doing in our business,” says Helene McQuaide, Master Remodelers’ chief marketing officer. “It’s not just remodeling a space — we’re really enhancing a lifestyle.”

VENDORS
Architectural Design Build Firm: Master Remodelers, Inc.
Interior Design: Pavilack Design
Countertops: Primo Marble & Granite
Appliances: Don’s Appliances
Cabinetry: Bonura Cabinets
Sinks & Faucets: Luxe Kitchen & Bath Design
Windows: Marvin Windows and Doors
Siding: James Hardie
Landscaping: Wild Rose Landscape Design
 

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2019 Best of Design Winners

Best New Home

Mired in controversial beginnings, a sleek contemporary townhouse nevertheless bloomed in a historic section of Pittsburgh’s North Side.

Best Renovated Home

The painstakingly detailed restoration of the historic Century Inn in Washington County following a catastrophic fire took more than two years.

Best New Kitchen

The modern farmhouse kitchen stands out thanks to a few high-impact wood features.

Best Kitchen Renovation

This kitchen in a historical Lawrenceville home situated on three lots received a major facelift.

Best New Bathroom

The owner of Armina Stone’s modern, European-style master bathroom features marble slabs from Turkey accented by luxurious gold fixtures.

Best Bathroom Renovation

Once a disco-era disaster, this master bathroom in Wexford went from dark and dated to a contemporary classic.

Best Outdoor Space

Sophisticated and private, a walled urban garden on the South Side contains all the recreational features you’d typically only find in the suburbs.

Best Room

Once a catchall for toys and exercise equipment, the basement of this Sewickley home is now a sophisticated entertainment space.

Meet Our Judges

To ensure fairness and neutrality, a panel of Cleveland-based professionals in the design and architecture industry handled the blind judging process.
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