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.


Kitchen Storage: Now and Later

Is it important to have an organized kitchen?

This is a question that many of us have asked—and answered—these last few months. As we adjusted to a new stay-at-home work/school environment, we have experienced just how functional our home truly is. The kitchen has long been the hub of the home. But as this space continues to be asked to do more, we are seeing how the kitchen plays a vital role in the overall health of our home’s ecosystem. And the more organized it is (based on each family’s needs), the better it functions.

Here are a few of the big benefits of having an organized kitchen:

  • Saves time—When you can see what food you have, you’ll spend less time searching for ingredients during meal prep because you know precisely which kitchen nook it’s in.
  • Saves money—When your food and cooking gadgets are organized and visible, you are less apt to purchase something you don’t need.
  • Better planning—Meal planning is much easier when you have a system in place for easily accessing recipes, ingredients and cooking utensils.
  • Less frustration—Whether you enjoy cooking or see it as a necessary task, it becomes an easier and less stressful process when you are organized.

Kitchen Storage: Now and Later

You have probably noticed a few areas you’d like to improve in your current kitchen. Here are some ideas for maximizing the current space in your kitchen now and later.

Storing Small Kitchen Appliances

Small kitchen appliances are fun to use and add an element of convenience, but they can also take up a lot of space by cluttering up the most precious real estate in your kitchen—your countertops.


Think strategically about what you’ll keep on your countertop all the time, like the coffeemaker, and what can be moved to another area or be stored. You can keep small appliances that you use frequently (ex. toaster or Instant Pot) nearby. But the ones you don’t (ex. waffle maker or immersion blender) can be stored elsewhere.


There are lots of innovative ways to upgrade your kitchen cabinets to more efficiently store those small kitchen appliances. An appliance garage is a compartment that can store—and conceal—a few of your frequently used kitchen appliances. Pull-out drawers can easily hold and help you maneuver heavier and bulkier machines.

Kitchen Drawers and Cabinetry

The area of the kitchen where you have the most potential to organize and maximize functionality is with the kitchen drawers and cupboards.


Go through all of your cabinets and drawers with the intention of organizing and purging. You will find a lot of additional space simply by removing the items you rarely use. For instance, you may have a drawer full of plastic utensils but only a few that you use often. Keep those you use regularly within reach, and put the rest elsewhere.


The days of having to crawl on your hands and knees to reach into the back of the cabinets are over.

Today’s kitchen cabinet manufacturers have developed some fantastic options for maximizing storage space and keeping everything visible and easily accessible.

  • Tip-out trays
  • Sliding spice racks
  • Rollouts
  • Lazy Susans
  • Utensil bins … and more.

Blind corners can now be adapted for their optimum potential as the perfect spot to store bulky small appliances or serving dishes that you only use occasionally. Peg board pullouts can organize pots and pans, dishes and more. Kitchen islands can reach maximized storage potential with built-in waste containers, microwave drawers, pet feeding stations and additional storage built into the backside.

The Pantry

The most important organizational tip for a pantry of any size is that everything needs to have a place so you can see everything at a glance.


Clear containers are good for organizing dry foods and for protecting food, too. Group like-items together, such as breakfast foods, baking goods, canned goods, etc. If you have kids, make a kid-friendly spot with a few plastic bins for them to store their own snacks.


Just like with the kitchen drawers and cabinetry, there are many options to update your pantry space to make it more functional. If a walk-in isn’t possible, you can install a pantry cabinet. Incorporate pull-outs for easier access to those lower spots.

More Drop-Zone Storage

The kitchen is often the “drop zone” for everything—shoes, backpacks, sports equipment, cell phones, wallets, purses and keys. While the kitchen is usually the most convenient spot in the home, this extra stuff adds clutter and decreases functionality of the space.

Now and Later

Look around your home to identify other places where a drop zone would make sense, such as adding cubbies to a laundry room or creating a charging table at an entrance. Later on, consider adding an improved entrance that integrates a drop zone/charging area as part of a larger project, such as a kitchen renovation. The key to keeping your kitchen organized and less cluttered is to make the most frequently used items easy to access. For the rest, find another spot. If you’d like to discuss updating your kitchen for better functionality, contact us.

13 Kitchen and Bath Design Trends from Industry Pros

Every year, the National Association of Home Builders and the National Kitchen and Bath Association team up to bring industry professionals, like our company, a top-notch tradeshow. Over 100,000 builders, remodelers and design professionals from across the global come together for a three-day event, Design and Construction Week™ new products are available to see, and we can learn about what’s trending in home design.

One education session that is always popular is “60 Design Ideas in 60 Minutes,” and from this session, we’ve created our top 13 design trends for kitchens and bathrooms – as suggested by some of the top industry pros.

Kitchen Design Trends

Kitchens have a new meaning in our lives. People continue to want to stay connected to their friends and family and use the kitchen space in that fashion. Today’s kitchen trends are about convenience and functionality.

Timberhaven kitchen interior, featuring a participation island.

Participation Island: Islands are getting bigger – much bigger. Kitchen islands need to be able to handle multiple functions at the same time, such as two chefs preparing food while still having space for friends to congregate.

The Morning Kitchen: This is a separate space in the kitchen where you tuck the breakfast-prep items, such as the coffee maker, smoothie machine and toaster. It can also accommodate shelves and the microwave drawer, so children can get their own breakfast in the morning.

Dining Rooms & Breakfast Nooks: People are forgoing traditional dining rooms to dedicate that square footage for home offices, dens or playrooms. As a result, they are creating more seating space around the island and larger breakfast nooks.

Storage: There can never be enough of it, and kitchen cabinetry is becoming quite versatile with storage options. From pull-out corner trays and spice rack drawers to pull-down racks and kick drawers, there truly is no limit to how organized and functional a kitchen can be.

Collector Cabinets: Free-standing curio cabinets are in the past, and lighted, built-in collector cabinets are in. This is the perfect spot to display family collectibles and beautiful glass pieces and heirlooms.

Beverage Center: This separate area dedicated to beverages features a small second refrigerator where both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, like sparkling water, are stored. This is the perfect spot for friends to grab a cold drink without disrupting the chef’s meal preparation.

Natural Elements: Natural elements, like stone, brick and wood, are being tastefully designed into all of the spaces of the house, including the kitchen.


Pantries: No longer a second-thought closet, the pantry has been upgraded to one of the main features of the kitchen – with plenty of storage, counterspace and light.

Technology: Technology is playing an even bigger role in the kitchen. Wireless speakers, charging hubs, smart appliances and voice-activated assistants are all becoming a requested feature in our kitchens.

Bath Design Trends

Bathroom RemodelThe bathroom, particularly the Master Bath, remains one of the most requested renovations today. Today’s bathrooms are still about designing a clean, fresh oasis for homeowners to find a bit of comfort and tranquility in their lives.

Showers & Tubs: Beautiful, tiled walk-in or seamless glass showers are still a must-have, and they are getting bigger – meaning more square footage is dedicated to showers. Roomy soaking tubs remain a hot trend with no signs of changing anytime soon.

Lighting: Lighting options continue to abound in the bathroom – chandeliers, sconces and even back-lit mirrors are all being added to this space.

Aging in Place Gracefully: A concern for many is aging – either being able to stay in your home longer or taking care of an older relative within your home. As such, a whole new era of accessibility features, such as decorative grab-bars, have come into vogue.

Wood Vanities: More homeowners are opting for wood vanities – which often mimic a freestanding piece of furniture. They bring the outdoor elements into the home, and give the bathroom a clean, natural look.


The “buzz word” at this year’s tradeshow was flexibility. Creating flexible spaces – either temporarily or long term – within our homes. Many of the design ideas we’ve shared with you can be modified down the road, should that be what you need or want.

As your design-build professional, we want to create flexible spaces that you can enjoy for years to come. Contact us to talk further!


Photos used in this article are from our homes.