Find Life-Changing Products at the Home & Garden Show

Catch Boyce Thompson's presentation on the cutting-edge products you'll want to have in your home.

We’re not quite in the Jetsons' era, in which you can push a button and dinner pops out, but these products may just change the way you go about life at home.
At the 2015 Duquesne Light Pittsburgh Home & Garden Show — through March 15 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center — Boyce Thompson, former editorial director of BUILDER magazine, will appear on the new-products stage to introduce and answer questions about “Life-Changing Products for 2015.” He’ll have a selection of 14 cutting-edge items that he predicts will change the way you interact with the space around you.
Among the items designed to make your life easier are countertops that can wirelessly recharge smartphones and tablets simply by placing the devices on them as well as a thermostat that remembers how you program it and creates a personalized heating and cooling schedule for you. It even adjusts itself when you’re not home.
Curious about the future? We have a full preview here of all the products you’ll see on the stage, plus an interview with Thompson himself.  
Now, if we could only get Rosie the Robot to clean our house for us.
(1000 Fort Duquesne Blvd., downtown; 412/565-6000)

With 25 years in the business, Randy L. Snell is an interior-design veteran. A married father of two children, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh graduate is the head interior designer at Archetype Design Studio in the North Hills.
My design aesthetic is:
My design aesthetic is rooted in traditional design. It has evolved over the years into what I would classify as classical, tailored, traditional style. My projects, however, are all over the map, ranging from very traditional to transitional to contemporary. I enjoy the challenge of working on my clients’ behalf to help them achieve their design aesthetic.
What’s the best way to update a room?  
Obviously, it depends on the room. In general, simplification. Elimination of heavy, fussy floral draperies and replacing them with something more tailored both in style and fabric selection. The same goes for upholstery. I often will encourage clients to reupholster pieces that they (already) have if they have good lines and are comfortable. Simply replacing a dated, bold-patterned fabric with a simple texture can make a big difference in a room.
What’s your favorite design element or piece?
I recently purchased a full-size vintage red telephone booth for a client. It is a bar that houses a wine cooler in the base, and it has wine-glass storage in the top. It obviously makes quite a statement. I like to incorporate unexpected elements like this that serve as a conversation piece.


Cure your kids’ weekend-boredom blues by shuffling them over to Assemble Pittsburgh. Located in Garfield’s Penn Avenue arts district, Assemble is a community space where artists, technologists and kids connect through interactive gallery shows, learning parties, workshops and more.
Assemble each week hosts a Saturday Crafternoon for kids in first- through eighth-grade classes. This week’s craft takes place from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 14 and features local cartoonist and printmaker Juan Fernandez, who will work with the youth to design and screen print bus posters and transit comics.
Extra credit: Skip the fridge — and make your kids proud — by matting their artwork and adding a simple white frame. The personalized piece will add a fun touch to your kitchen or your child’s play space.
(5125 Penn Ave.; 412/432-9127)

If you’ve got a home improvement project coming up, you’re not going to want to miss this one. The Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation will host a carpentry basics workshop from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 21, at the Landmarks Preservation Resource Center in Wilkinsburg. Regis Will — a woodworker, craftsman and owner of Vesta Home Services — will teach DIYers how to use a saw, chisel, square and more while building a sawing bench.
(Landmarks Preservation Resource Center, 744 Rebecca Ave.; admission is free for PHLF members and $5 for non-members. RSVPs are appreciated. Contact Mary Lu Denny at 412/471-5808, ext. 527, or go here for more information.)
It’s a birthday party! Harmony-based Darn Yarn Needles & Thread will celebrate its fifth anniversary Tuesday, March 17 through Saturday, March 21 with sales, trunk shows, prizes, food and more. The charming fiber arts shop, located in the heart of Harmony’s historic district, specializes in American-made supplies for crocheters, knitters, spinners and weavers.
(253D Mercer St.; 724/473-0983)
Are you as sick of the white stuff as we are? Get a preview of the lovely greenery to come with the annual Spring Flower Show at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. This year’s event takes place March 14 through April 12.
(1 Schenley Drive, Oakland; 412/622-6914,


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