Best Room

mossArchitects took advantage of sloping topography to design a dream home, including a two-story great room with a stunning view.
Murrysville Residence Photo Credit Anthony Musmanno 3


For years, the triangular, sloping lot in a well-established Murrysville neighborhood sat empty — passed over by buyers.

While others may have seen difficulty in developing the unique lot, Darren Lloyd, associate principal at mossArchitects in Garfield, and his clients — Joanna Fong and Justin Isariyawongse — clocked something else.

“We saw potential in it,” Lloyd says.

Indeed, the contemporary, yet family-friendly, 5,000-square-foot, five-bedroom home Lloyd designed for the couple was built to take full advantage of the sloping topography, which includes a sweeping view of the heavily treed landscape and a scenic pond.

Murrysville Residence Photo Credit Anthony Musmanno 7

“Our home looks out onto an incredible western Pennsylvania vista,” says Isariyawongse. “You can see the soaring sky that can change quite dramatically by the hour or the season.”

One of the best views of the property comes from a light-filled, two-story great room that flows seamlessly onto a sizable outdoor deck via a 17-foot-long folding glass wall. Praising the room’s open-plan design, judges named it their Best Room in the 2020 Best of Design contest.

Judge Crystal DeCastro Knapik, a project designer with Vocon in Cleveland, applauded the room’s connection between indoor and outdoor living space.

“The light-filled, two-story space creates such dynamic gathering zone that appears to be so well connected to the rest of the home, and the site on which it sits,” she says.

Lloyd called the great room the centerpiece of the open-concept home, adding the couple, who are both physicians — as well as parents of two young sons — saw the room as a focal point for entertaining and relaxing.

Murrysville Residence Photo Credit Anthony Musmanno 4

“It really knits the whole space together,” he says.

Fong, a neurologist at UPMC, loves that she can see her sons — ages 4 and 7 — playing in the great room from the kitchen. Part of the room also is sectioned off by frosted glass telescoping doors, which hide a toy-filled playroom.

While the white, textured walls give the home a modern, uncluttered vibe, it’s far from sterile. Isariyawongse, a urologist as a private practice in Monroeville, adds the kids have no issue playing in the great room “like rhinoceroses.”

“This is their home, arguably more than ours,” he says. “Although we love The Warhol, we didn’t want it to feel like The Warhol.”

mossArchitects associate and senior interior designer Gina Konopack, who worked with the couple on the project, notes the goal was always to keep the interior simple and restrained, so as not to take away from the stunning view.

Warming up the double-height space is a natural wood ceiling with a custom finish. Isariyawongse and Fong also chose dramatic lighting by Foscarini that reminded them of clouds — and also doesn’t obstruct the view.

“We really wanted something that added a sculptural element to the room and complimented the modern space,” Fong says.

Other contemporary elements include grey-stained wood flooring with integrated radiant heat and exposed steel columns. The clearly visible, custom staircase, which features a stainless steel cable railing, adds another structural element to the room.

But in the end, it all comes down to the view — and the relaxing effect it has on the couple. Because of the long hours they work, Isariyawongse says they wanted their home to be a sanctuary, a place where they could get away without traveling.

“After a long day or week, it’s incredibly rewarding, and even therapeutic, to be in this home,” he says. “You can literally sit for hours daydreaming and watching the fall leaves flitter down.”


  • Architectural Design: mossArchitects
  • Interior Design: mossArchitects
  • General Contractor: MM Marra Construction, Inc.
  • Mechanical/HVAC: J.A. Sauer Co.
  • Electric: Leone Electrical Contractors
  • Plumbing: R&G Plumbing
  • Cabinetry: Lusso Cucina, Woodland Wood Products
  • Hardware: Kwikset, Atlas
  • Appliances: Samsung, Bosch
  • Fixtures: Kohler; Brizo, Grohe
  • Lighting: Tom Dixon “Etch” (kitchen island pendants), Foscarini “Big Bang” (dining room pendants)
  • Wood Flooring: Prosource of Monroeville
  • Countertops: Silestone
  • Windows and Doors: Kawneer (Windows), NanaWall Systems (Folding Glass Walls)
  • Furnishings: by owner
  • Tile: Prosource of Monroeville, Architectural Clay Products
  • Landscaping: Whitetail Landscapes, LLC.
Categories: Best of Design, HOME + Design