Pittsburgh Home Q&A
We've got the answers to your Spring home & garden questions.
After a winter of some of the snowiest days in years, most of us are ready for sunshine and milder weather. Soon, the daffodils will be trumpeting the arrival of spring. Make sure your garden and your home is ready. It won’t be long before the flurry of spring activities is upon us.
The time for dining al fresco under the stars, firing uup the grill and splashing in the pool is just around the corner. Shake off the winter blahs by planning for your first outdoor project or giving the house a good spring cleaning.
There’s no time like the present to tackle that home improvement project you have been thinking about. Get it done before it’s time to hit the links or head to the beach on vacation.
Whether you want to spruce up your home’s interior, beautify the exterior or just make your home run a little more efficiently, our region offers some of the finest top-quality products, skilled craftspeople and purveyors of exquisite home accents. To get you started, here is a guide to some local home and garden experts:
Q: Where can I find interesting and beautiful accents for my home?
A: The Galleria of Mt. Lebanon (1500 Washington Rd., Mount Lebanon; 412/561-4000, galleriapgh.com) is Pittsburgh’s premier upscale mall, offering a unique collection of retailers, including national names as well as locally-owned independent shops. Located just 10 minutes south of downtown Pittsburgh, with free indoor parking, the Galleria of Mt. Lebanon will give you a day of shopping you will not forget. There are shops such as Anthropologie, Pottery Barn Kids and Restoration Hardware, along with nationally-known names like Godiva, Crabtree & Evelyn and Williams-Sonoma. During your shopping spree, visit the Galleria’s many fine and casual restaurants, or enjoy a movie at the mall’s cinema.
Ten Thousand Villages (5824 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill; 412/421-2160, pittsburgh.tenthousandvillages.com). Accent your garden or patio with handcrafted ceramic and terra cotta planters from Ten Thousand Villages. For generations, artisans in Vietnam have crafted functional art from clay. Using time-honored traditions, artisans today craft beautiful planters perfect for the modern garden. In Vietnam, artisans pour thin, light clay into plaster molds, a process that creates the hollow pieces that are joined together for the final form. Artisans dry the planters in the sun then hand-paint glazed patterns, creating a one-of-a-kind planter. After glazing, planters are fired in a gas kiln. Ten Thousand Villages offers an affordable collection of unique planters handcrafted by skilled artisans in a variety of sizes and designs.
Located in an 1860s stable, Artistry (2613 Smallman St., Strip District; 412/765-2522) features old mesquite-door tables (dining, coffee and sofa); trellises and other garden items; upholstered furniture; iron beds, tables and baker’s racks; Southwestern furnishings and accessories; wall décor; lamps, rugs and decorative accessories; and gifts and accent furniture.
Q: Where can I find quality furnishings for my home?
A: Pittsburgh’s premier destination for fine home furnishings for over 50 years, Weisshouse (222 Fifth Ave., Shadyside; 412/441-8888, weisshouse.com) brings the best furniture, flooring, kitchens and accessories from across the globe into your home. Whatever your style, Weisshouse can make your design vision a reality with complimentary design services. Weisshouse represents over 100 manufacturers including Ligne Roset, B&B Italia, Poliform/Varenna, Gus*, Calvin Klein, Mitchell Gold+Bob Williams, Tufenkian Artisan Carpets and Tamarian Carpets. The business occupies a two-story building with parking for 30 cars in Shadyside. The 14,000-square-foot showroom houses the largest selection of wool carpeting in the region with over 5,000 hanging carpet samples; hundreds of hand woven, 100% wool area rugs, as well as wood and cork samples. The collectibles are personally selected by Weisshouse staff from exotic locations across the globe. You can find them online at weisshouse.com in “Shop Unique Finds.” Weisshouse also has closets and entertainment and storage systems, all custom-fitted to your interior. You really can have it all. Antique or contemporary, modern or classic, Weisshouse has something for every taste.
Q: I am thinking about remodeling my kitchen and bath. Where can I go for the best resources?
A: Do it right with Style-Rite (1306 Greensburg Road, New Kensington, 724/339-1400; 22067 Perry Hwy., Zelienople, 724/452-9801; style-ritekitchens.com), distributors of kitchen and bath cabinetry. Style-Rite offers the “rite” quality, the “rite” service and the “rite” price. Style-Rite began as a small cabinet manufacturing company in 1957 and was incorporated that year as Style-Rite Wood Products Company. Current owner and president Frank Boyd began working at Style-Rite in 1958. At that time, Style-Rite was primarily serving home builders in the greater Pittsburgh area. The company began commerce with the public in the early 1960s, remodeling kitchens and bathrooms. Now, with two area showrooms, one in New Kensington and one in Zelienople, Style-Rite can build you the kitchen of your dreams. Both locations feature beautiful cabinetry to meet all budgets. Showrooms are open Monday through Saturday and are filled with a myriad of kitchen displays that will stir your imagination. See kitchen styles from Decora, HomeCrest, Schrock and others. Call or visit for a free estimate.
IKEA (2001 Park Manor Blvd., Robinson Twp.; 412/747-0747, ikea-usa.com). The kitchen is at the center of your everyday life and no matter if you’re mashing potatoes, sorting recycling or just hanging out, it has to work–24 hours a day. That’s why IKEA kitchens are thought through inside and out with the ability to customize every detail to meet your exact needs. From smooth-closing drawers, smart interior organizers, stylish yet durable cabinets and hardworking countertops, the certified kitchen planners at IKEA Pittsburgh can help you select the right products for any taste, function and budget. With smart planning, your kitchen will be a place for cooking, entertaining and doing the dishes. Visit the all-new kitchens department today to be inspired.
Splash (1237 Freedom Rd., Cranberry; 724/772-1060, 4807 William Penn Hwy., Murrysville, 724/733.2600, exploresplash.com) has all the inspiration you need to make your ideas come to life. From fabulous faucets and fixtures to tantalizing tiles and tops; custom cabinetry for kitchen, bath and bar; and thousands of styles of cabinet and door hardware—the selection at Splash is second to none. Whether you are adding a master bath suite, freshening up your powder room, dreaming of a wine cellar, or expanding your entertaining area–Splash’s skilled designers work with you to create a one-of-a-kind space that is a unique reflection of you. The beautiful showrooms feature the latest in cabinetry, hardware, faucets, fixtures and much more. Splash realizes that the beauty of a home truly is in the details. Oftentimes the most challenging aspect of a project is locating just the right materials to achieve a desired look or design solution. Whether it is the gracious curve of a faucet spout, the claw feet on a vintage style tub, the molding on a custom cabinet or just the right knob to open it with, Splash has what you are looking for. Competitive pricing, personalized service and expert advice are all part of the difference you’ll experience while working with Splash.
Blume’s (904 Freeport Rd., Freeport; 724/294-3190, blumes.net) Bring your design dreams to life with custom countertops by Blume’s, expertly crafted to bring elegance, warmth and distinction to any environment. The company has been fabricating and installing residential and commercial applications through kitchen dealers in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia since 1988. Marking their 20th anniversary, they achieved accreditation by the Marble Institute of America for Natural Stone. Blume’s philosophy is to obtain customer satisfaction through quality products produced within a timely manner, with courteous customer service and support. Visit Blume’s Web site for their wide selection of solid surface, quartz, granite and natural stone products.
Tile & Designs, Inc. (Spahr Street at Ellsworth Avenue, Shadyside; 412/362-8454, tileanddesigns.com) strives to help you dream, build a design, and deliver a great end product. For over 30 years, Tile and Designs has grown and adapted to the ever-changing world of construction, home design and style. The showroom offers more than 4,000 square-feet of products. Modernizing the business means their efforts remain consistent. They continue to preserve and sustain all environments through quality craftsmanship and superior products. As their library of recycled materials continues to grow, the selections continue to be chosen because they speak for themselves and to their dwelling place. Tile is a fit in the green world. Tile & Designs invites you to experience the state-of-the-art showroom, play with the products, and understand what a fully trained designer can do to help you create your vision.
HABITAT decorative plumbing and hardware (519 Locust Place, Sewickley; 412/741-9412, habitathardware.com) is one of the largest showrooms for decorative door and cabinet hardware in the tri-state area. Focused on products made in the United States and Europe, Habitat offers mid-range to luxury decorative plumbing and hardware for the home. Under new ownership since 2004, Habitat’s focus is to offer exciting solutions that are right for clients, to offer more product choices, and to keep commitments to every customer on every order. Habitat is an authorized dealer for over 100 manufacturers, and offers a total of over 160 lines, many as exclusive dealer or showroom to western Pennsylvania, and also offers custom solutions for unusual projects.
Q: What’s in store for storage?
A: California Closets (10899 Perry Hwy., Wexford; 724/935-7066, californiaclosets.com) recognizes that with the popularity of open-concept homes, there is a growing need for custom storage and organization solutions. California Closet Company can create innovative solutions ranging from bedroom closets to hand-crafted entertainment centers, built-in office areas, mud rooms, laundry rooms, garages and more. Call for your free in-home consultation.
PremierGarage (724/837-4460, premiergarage.com) With PremierGarage you’ll find the best solutions to enhance your garage, and fantastic options to add beauty and increase utility of this overlooked space. Premier also provides cabinets and flooring for the laundry, game and craft rooms of the house. Get the finest cabinetry, organizers and innovative garage floor coating systems for a one-stop solution that’s livable, durable and eye-catching. PremierGarage designers will design the very best solution for you based on your unique situation, and practical and aesthetic needs. During your consultation, computer-aided design programs are utilized so you can view three-dimensional renderings of your plans immediately.
Q: How can I make my home’s exterior as beautiful as the interior?
A: For your landscaping needs Gardens Gorgeous by SHP Solutions, LLC (412/492-7021, gardensgorgeous.com) “grows solutions by design.” Owner Susan Parker has more than 40 years of gardening experience and is a certified and active master gardener. Services offered include: landscape garden design, garden maintenance instruction/calendar, advice on garden art, working as a liaison with your gardener, plant purchasing assistance, garden consultation, linking clients with hardscape contractors and floral arrangements for special occasions.
Eisler Landscapes (1031 New Castle Rd., Prospect; 800/420-TREE, eislerlandscapes.com). Explore the world of landscaping possibilities with Eisler Landscapes. In business since 1926, Eisler serves western Pennsylvania with premium design, installation and construction services. Enhance your lifestyle and property value with an Eisler landscape. Residential and commercial services include landscape architecture, landscape instillation, site construction and green building elements such as green roofs, permeable pavements, bio swales and rain water recovery systems.
Franklin Nursery (2437 Rochester Road, Franklin Park; 412/366-8765, franklinnursery.com), an independent garden center located north of Pittsburgh, is a full-service garden center that’s become a must-visit destination for garden lovers. Franklin Nursery specializes in shade, evergreen and ornamental trees that the owners grow locally on their farm. The nursery also offers an amazing selection of shrubs, perennials, roses, annuals and herbs. The nursery has a selection of shredded bark, mushroom compost and topsoil available for pick-up and delivery. A well-stocked garden market is where you can find a full line of garden products, including organics. The owners’ original family home has been transformed into a gift store.
Linder’s Fine Furniture and Rugs‘ (701 Yunker St., McKees Rocks; 412/771-2345, lindersfinefurnishings.com) division of outdoor furniture and accessories will help you extend the comfort and style of your indoors to your outdoor living space. Linder’s, carrying on the tradition of unique furnishings and rugs for the indoors, carries upscale, high-quality outdoor decor and furnishings to enjoy the beautiful three seasons of outdoor living. With a renewed commitment to superior customer service, Linder’s offers interior/exterior decorating services as well as special considerations for designers and architects.
Garden Girl (412/773-1993), a landscape designer, offers custom design and installation, and help with perennial gardens.
Gardener’s Eye (3392 Saxonburg Blvd., Glenshaw; 412/487-7802) offers outdoor furnishings, fountains, garden vessels, and garden design and installation.
Q: How should I water a flowerbed that I recently planted with shrubs, perennials, and annuals?
A: The experts at Bedner’s Greenhouse (315 Coleman Road, McDonald; 724/926-2541, bednersgreenhouse.com) advise that you first consider what size container the plant is in, and therefore how deep into the soil the roots will be. Annuals in cell packs or small pots will require a frequent, shallow watering, especially on hot, dry days. Perennials in one or two-gallon pots have roots that sit about a foot down in the soil, and therefore require a deep soaking for about 15-20 minutes every three to four days. Trees and shrubs need a long, slow watering cycle of about 20-30 minutes every four to five days. A soaker hose is the ideal way to accomplish this, but a sprinkler can also do the trick. Just remember to set the kitchen timer to remind yourself to turn off the water. This will encourage a deep root system that survives drought much better.
Q: What is a good way to update the look of my home without purchasing new furnishings?
A: Changing the wall decor in your home or updating the frames on your current artwork gives your home a fresh new look. Framework on Forbes (5868 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill; 412/421-4940) will consult with you on re-framing your cherished pieces, oftentimes updating the materials to conservation quality in order to ensure that the images you love stay vivid and that the artwork retains its value for years to come. Framework also accesses many sources for prints, giclees and original art, and with over 5,000 frames to choose from and a professional staff to help guide your choices, you’ll see why they were voted “Best in Pittsburgh.” Home consultations are also available.
Q: Where can I go to pursue my interest in interior design and architecture?
A. Chatham University (Woodland Road, Shadyside; 800/837-1290, chatham.edu) offers co-educational programs including a Master’s of Science in Interior Architecture for students who have completed a Bachelor’s of Interior Architecture; Master’s of Interior Architecture; which prepares students for licensure as an interior designer; Master’s of Landscape Architecture, a professional applied degree leading to licensure; and Master’s of Arts in Landscape Studies, which teaches the art and philosophy of landscape design.
Q: Where can I turn for flooring options?
A: Located on Route 8, Paracca Interiors Flooring America (1000 Pittsburgh Rd., Valencia; 724/586-7777, paraccainteriors.com) invites you to visit their spectacular new flooring showroom featuring more than 8,000 square feet of flooring options. Family-owned for more than 40 years, and located exclusively on Route 8, Paracca Interiors offers carpet, hardwood, laminate, tile, natural stone, cork-bamboo and green select products along with custom installation. Paracca also offers custom granite slabs for the kitchen, bath, outdoor bars and more.
Q: Who can help me with the home improvement project I have been planning?
A: R & R Masonry Restoration (412/561-6463; reberrestoration.com) has been providing masonry services to the greater Pittsburgh area since 1989, specializing in brick pointing, chimney rebuilding and repointing, and brick and crown replacement. Because of the quality of their work, and the number of years they’ve been in business, R&R Masonry has a long list of satisfied customers that are willing to provide their names, phone numbers, and addresses to potential clients. A portion of that list is mailed along with their estimates. R&R is proud to be listed as a "Grade A" service provider by Angie’s List, which rates providers by price, quality, responsiveness, punctuality, and professionalism. R&R is insured, offers a 10 percent senior citizen discount, and provides detailed free estimates.
Q: I am building a new home–any ideas for financing options?
A: With Charleroi Federal Savings Bank’s (800/297-8521; charleroifederal.com) owner-builder mortgage program, you are your own contractor. Take up to 12 months to build and make interest-only payments during construction. Approved construction bills and invoices are paid weekly and there are free inspections. Pay only one loan closing, which saves time and money. Lot/acreage may be financed and the lot and/or labor-equity can be used toward the down payment. The bank specializes in log and modular home construction.
Q: We are looking for a residence where we can enjoy the best of city living. Any suggestions?
A: Experience the art of downtown living at Piatt Place (301 Fifth Ave., Downtown; 412/434-1181, piattplace.com), condos for purchase, and MarketSquare Place (222 Fifth Ave., Downtown; 412/551-5484, marketsquareplace.com), rental lofts. Piatt Place offers owners who purchase before March 31 $7,500 in free upgrades, 12 months free parking and 12 months free from Homeowners’ Association fees. Luxury condominiums, located in the building that once housed the former Lazarus department store, are available with the option to customize or combine homes for ultimate flexibility. Piatt Place offers 45-day move-in with your selections, along with large grilling balconies, 10-year tax abatement and world-class amenities. MarketSquare Place offers loft-style apartments in the historically converted G.C. Murphy building, adjacent to the $200 million Fairmont Hotel project.
Q: Where can I go for help with my audio and video needs?
A: Kozi Media Design (877/746.5694, KoziMediaDesign.com), Experience sight, sound and audio/visual solutions like never before. Kozi Media Design tri-state servicing firm brings audio and video to life in your home, office, or business with full system integration, distributed audio and video, custom theaters, lighting and drapery control, secure camera systems, audio and video conferencing, sound masking, digital signage, even Golf & Hockey simulators, and much more. Kozi is a seasoned electronic architectural firm and a family owned and operated business for over 10 years in the ‘Burgh. From start to finish, and beyond, Kozi will professionally design, engineer, project manage, program, provide and install all specified quality components of your specialized project to your utmost satisfaction. Kozi Media Design is proud to be your audio visual solutions partner. Contact Kozi Media Design today to discuss your project.
Q: What other resources should I know about?
A: Comcast (1-800-COMCAST, comcast.com) provides the entertainment and communication services that keep you connected to the things most important to you. Comcast Digital TV provides dozens of programming options including an expanding high definition channel lineup, On Demand with over 17,000 titles, and the digital video recorder option to record, pause and rewind live TV. Comcast High-Speed Internet is faster than DSL or dial-up and includes a comprehensive security suite, up to seven e-mail accounts, Video Mail, and more. Different service options let you choose which speed is best for you. Comcast Digital Voice® is rated number one in call clarity with plans for both local and nationwide unlimited calling. Call today and let Comcast bundle the services that work best for you.
Peerless (3490 William Penn Hwy., Wilkins Twp.; 412/823-7660, peerlesswallpaperandblinds.com) For more than 75 years, Peerless has been proud to be the tri-state area’s first choice for wall-coverings and window blinds. With over 1000 in-stock patterns and 1500 books of special order wallcoverings, Peerless carries all the best brands including Scalamandre, Van Luit, Ralph Lauren, Laura Ashley, Schumacher, Osborne and Little, Thibaut, Sanderson, and Zoffany to name just a few. Visit the store during the Hunter Douglas Energy Efficient Window Fashions Sale Event, which runs through April 15, for rebates on some of their best selling blinds.
Natural Stitches (6401 Penn Ave., East End; 412/441-4410, naturalstitches.com) is a full-service yarn shop, offering one of the largest and best fiber selections in western Pennsylvania. With a focus on natural fibers, Natural Stitches carries a wide array of materials to suit every taste and budget, including organics. The shop also offers supplies for spinning, needle felting and finishing. The yarn selection runs from lace weight to chunky. Classes and projects for all skill levels of knitting and crocheting are offered, including children’s classes. Natural Stitches provides a comfortable atmosphere for customers to shop, learn and relax, with a knowledgeable staff available to answer your questions and guide you in your fiber journey.