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.