An Aging-in-Place Remodel in Mt. Lebanon

A Main Level Home Addition Prepares a Couple for Future Aging-in-Place Needs

This older couple had aging in place in mind when they sought out Prime 1 Builders to remodel their home. While they were not experiencing any mobility issues now, they wanted to modify their home to create more of a one-floor living space. They were concerned about climbing the stairs to their second-floor bedrooms and bathrooms in the future.


Aging In Place Remodel Design

The goal of this aging-in-place remodeling project and addition design was to create a space that can be enjoyed now while providing enough flexibility for future aging-in-place needs, should the clients need them. To accomplish this, we designed a space that is not only open (for ease in mobility), but also provides all of the features they will need should they need to be confined to one-floor living: bedroom, bathroom, easy-to-navigate kitchen and laundry room.

  • For now, the space designated as a future bedroom will be enjoyed as a TV room.
  • The laundry room was moved up from the basement to the main floor.
  • A lovely, modern bathroom is located off the kitchen, complete with a low-threshold shower. Attractive grab bars were installed in the shower, and additional blocking was installed behind the walls for more grab bars to be installed when needed in the future.
  • French style patio door opening lead out to a spacious and lovely, covered deck.
  • The area under the covered deck serves as a carport.
  • The addition created an additional two-car garage. The homeowner currently uses it as his woodworking shop.

Addition Construction & Challenges

One of the first challenges while constructing this room addition was to remove an old covered concrete porch perched over a concrete block storage room, but we were able to remove this structure without damaging the existing house.

Another challenge came from the close lot lines of this neighborhood which required us to excavate close to the neighbor’s newly constructed concrete driveway—installed right at the property line. We excavated and installed the new reinforced concrete block foundation without disturbing the earth around the driveway.

With an existing walkway at the front of the house leading to a gently sloped driveway, the addition and the garage can be easily accessed without climbing any stairs. The exterior siding and trim colors were selected to blend in with the existing home exterior.

Whether you want to build your dream home or renovate and expand your home to meet your needs today, we can help. Contact us.

Award-Winning Kitchen Addition & Garage Build in Point Breeze

A Kitchen Addition & Garage Built for this Urban East-Side Pittsburgh Home

When this client came to Prime 1 Builders, they wanted two items: to build a detached garage and to expand the kitchen of their brick home in Pittsburgh’s Point Breeze neighborhood. Their vision was to have their larger kitchen overlook their backyard, which is often utilized for dining and entertaining, as well as finally have a two-car garage to protect and charge their cars and store belongings.


Constructing a Kitchen Addition

This brick home was built in 1929, so care needed to be taken to join the addition to the existing home. The kitchen addition was affixed to the house where a modest back porch existed. The wall between the existing dining room and the new kitchen wasn’t entirely removed, but the opening was expanded, to allow access around the island and create a nice flow to a new backdoor. A flat roof, rather than pitched, was used on the addition. This thoughtful design feature limits any obstructions from the second-floor bedrooms, while still allowing for high ceilings and tall windows to overlook the backyard oasis.

The space that was previously occupied by the small, existing kitchen was transformed into a mudroom and powder room. The former butler’s pantry was opened—by removing a wall—to make room for the family piano. This also created a desirable open floor plan.

The large wall of glass windows that was added to the kitchen (at the rear of the house) now serves double duty. It allows for a tremendous amount of natural light to enter the kitchen and flow into the existing house, and it also creates a true “picture window” effect—looking out over the back yard and garage.


The kitchen with its island and generous counter space is truly an inviting room to cook, eat or just hang out in, and the brick exterior makes the room seamlessly integrate with the existing house and the back yard.

Building a Detached Garage in Urban Pittsburgh

These homeowners also wanted to build a detached garage in their Point Breeze neighborhood because they not only wanted indoor parking for their two cars, but they also wanted storage for their bikes, camping gear and still have enough room for a workbench. Additionally, since one is an electric vehicle, they also required an electric car charging station to be built into the garage.

Just like the kitchen addition, the garage exterior was designed to blend with the architecture of the existing house as if it were a part of the original construction. The width of the garage extended from one property set-back line to the other to create privacy and limit the access to the back yard from the alleyway. The garage roof was prepped so that the owner could install solar panels (which was completed), and the panels are not visible as parapet walls were designed to conceal the panels.


Underground electrical conduits from the garage to the house were also installed. This connects the solar panels on the garage roof to the “buy back” electric meter and contributes to reducing the home’s carbon footprint.

The main challenge in building the addition and garage was access to the lot. We knew that once we constructed the shell of the garage structure, we would no longer have access to the lot for moving any large or heavy items. We worked the project in such a fashion to ensure all the large materials and heavy lifting was complete before we closed off access to the area.

Whether you want to build your dream home or renovate and expand your home to meet your needs today, we can help you navigate the design-build construction process.

Contact Us.


Project Story: Regent Square Multi-Room Addition

Our client had a dilemma that many growing families face—running out of space in their current home, and they had no desire to move. They loved the neighborhood and location, as it was right across the street from Frick Park, one of the larger parks in the city.

Since the home was in an urban location with tightly spaced homes on small lots, it only allowed us to build on a small footprint. The plan called for adding more first floor living space that included a kitchen/dining room and family room, and a second-floor master bedroom suite. An additional requirement was, the owners wanted to leave enough room in the small backyard for a one-car garage to be built in the future.

We designed and built the addition to blend seamlessly with the existing house by matching the exterior features and finishes. The client desired an open floor plan to connect the expanded kitchen with the existing living room and the new family room.

At the rear entry is a small mudroom complete with a bench and coat hooks. The ¾ height wall between this area and the new family room allows the natural light from the full-glass rear door to pour into the family room but still partitions off this area as well as the entry to the new powder room.

The kitchen features a large island with stools for casual dining, a work-sink and a microwave tucked at a lower level for easy access.

The kitchen offers a lot of light, including natural light from the side, recessed lighting, beautiful pendant lights over the island and under-cabinet lighting to give working areas plenty of light.

Behind the range, the beautiful marble tile in a herringbone pattern complements the white subway tile.

Upstairs, we added a full master suite with a bathroom and walk-in closet. Both the master bath and closet entries are accessed using sliding barn doors.

The master bath has his-and-hers sinks with a marble countertop, a soaking tub and a roomy walk-in tiled shower with a built-in cubby.

Would you like to build a new home or add a home addition? Let us help. As your design-build team, we can walk you through every step of the process. Contact us to talk further.

Project Story: Mt. Lebanon Addition

This family of four needed more space, particularly Elisabeth, the mom. With two teenage boys, the quaint, Mt. Lebanon home was feeling cramped. As much as Elisabeth loved her boys, she also longed to have her own space to relax after a day of teaching without the noise of video games and teenage banter in close quarters. The answer would come in a 1,000 sq.-ft. two-story addition.

The lots are small and the homes are close together in Mt. Lebanon, and while there was room on the lot for the addition, excavating at the rear of the house was a challenge because it couldn’t be accessed with heavy machinery.

This renovation began by enclosing the existing side porch and converting it to a den, which would double as a guest room, and adding a large family room to the backside of the house. It was important to Elisabeth and Jacob to create a space that better accommodated their mothers during their stays, so in addition to the den/guest room, a small powder room was converted to a full bathroom with a no-threshold walk-in shower and a teak-bench seat. This small change created a “suite” for the grandmothers, which allowed for first-floor living and privacy, when wanted, yet they could still be close to family activity.

The new family room was designed with a large wall of windows that gives them an outstanding view to their backyard. The window seat makes a nice, comfortable place for them to enjoy seeing deer grazing or birds on the feeders. Since the family enjoys watching movies and playing board games together, the room has a new, larger flat-panel television and a square coffee table.

Outside, the garage was lengthened to accommodate two vehicles, when parked in tandem, and a “captured” bay was added behind the house to serve as an auto shop.

Upstairs, the master bedroom was expanded above the downstairs addition to include a full master suite which includes the bedroom, a new master bathroom and a walk-in closet. The existing bedroom was turned into a sitting room – where the couple can watch television, read or simply unwind. A second floor laundry was added so that Elisabeth no longer has to lug clothes up and down two flights of stairs to the basement.

As Elisabeth told us, “Our new home is beautiful inside and out. The addition has a very organic feel in the neighborhood, prompting more than one of our neighbors to state that ‘it looks like it always belonged there.’”

Project Story: A Squirrel Hill Addition

Aaron and Liz loved their Squirrel Hill neighborhood. It was convenient to Aaron’s work, shopping and offered the type of atmosphere the couple wanted for raising their young family. While they absolutely loved where they lived, their home was too small, and with another child on the way, they needed to figure out a plan.

Aaron and Liz heavily considered moving and even made an offer on a home about 1½ blocks away from their current home. However, at the final moment, they rescinded the offer. They realized what it would mean to move away from their neighbors, who were like family – even if it was just a few blocks away.

That’s when they decided to renovate their existing home. They asked friends for referrals and found us.

In addition to gaining more space for their family, the other goal Aaron and Liz had was creating a more inviting area downstairs for entertaining friends and relatives – which they frequently did. The once-cramped galley kitchen was opened up to the dining room and transformed into a spacious culinary haven to give Aaron and Liz plenty of space to prepare food while still entertaining guests. To add a personal touch, Liz had doorknobs from her grandmother’s home; a combination of original and replica were installed onto the cherry cabinets.

To add even more space, the small deck off the dining room was expanded to wrap around to the kitchen – so it could be accessed from both rooms.

Upstairs, Aaron and Liz worked in a spacious master suite, complete with a walk-in closet and small office nook. The master bathroom has a beautiful glass-enclosed walk-in shower and upgraded finishes and fixtures, including a large vanity with his-and-her vessel sinks.

Each child now has their own bedroom and shares a dedicated bathroom with a quartz double-sink vanity (made to look like marble) and an attractive tiled tub with plenty of space. A second-floor laundry closet was also added.

All in all, the family got exactly what they were looking for – a larger home in the perfect neighborhood.

Project Story: Lawrenceville Art Studio

Gerbe Glass Storefront
After A Grand View
An Outdoor Oasis In The Middle Of The City

This empty-nest couple, Bernadette and Chuck Gerbe, wanted to start a new life in the city. They’d purchased a 150-year-old building that had previously housed a men’s clothier, a butcher and a beauty shop. They had a vision of creating a live-work glass studio in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh.

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