Lifespace

Before + After: 422 N St Clair

In case you haven’t seen the gorgeous photos Lifespace Pittsburgh has been blasting, I’m excited to share that my second project designed in collaboration with K Bennett Development Group is complete! 422 N St Clair is another full gut renovation in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh. And, it's for sale!

I was fortunate to be involved in the project from the very beginning stages, joining the initial walk-through with their project managers and contractors immediately following interior demo. The initial walk-through is one of my favorite parts of the process because of its collaborative nature. During the first meeting my priorities are to observe, listen, and then loosely begin to talk about potential layouts with the team and bounce 'what-ifs' off of the contractor. Then I typically stay after the meeting to complete the field measure and continue to visualize layout possibilities.

In this house, the first floor layout didn’t need to change drastically. The existing stairs couldn’t be salvaged due to structural issues and replacing them meant increasing the width to  meet code. This impacted the hallway width, so the jog in the wall in the dining room was eliminated. The opening to the kitchen at the end of the hallway was closed and a powder room was added. A built-in hutch in the dining room was removed to create more flow between the living and dining rooms, and the opening from the dining room to the kitchen was widened as well. A new window located was added to the kitchen and an existing window was infilled.

 

On the second floor the main hallway had to be widened to accommodate the new stairs and stack over the shifted wall below. New posts and footers were added in the basement to support the newly configured walls. A large master suite in the rear of the house was created by closing off the secondary hallway and only having access through the master bedroom and a new window was added to the master bathroom to stack over the new window added to the kitchen below. It's important to consider how interior changes will affect the exterior - in this case the owners will be viewing the rear of the house often due to the rear garage and deck and I wanted it to look intentional and balanced. At the front of the house we eliminated a bedroom (there are 2 more bedrooms on the third floor) and created in its place a laundry room, bathroom and water closet. Another bedroom was left as-is with the addition of closets on either side of the fireplace.

 

On the third floor we combined two very small bedrooms into a single large bedroom and demo’ed an obtrusive brick fireplace stack that was between the rooms. Closets were added under sloped portions of the ceiling to appear as if they were original. 

 

And now, the before and after photos!

First Floor

Before: the entry foyer.

After: the landing at the bottom of the stairs was eliminated in favor of more floorspace, the stairs were rebuilt, and a powder room was added at the end of the hallway.

After: a closer look at the powder room. The moody paint color is a much needed contrast to the light, bright hallway and living areas. 

Before: living room looking across to den.

Before: living room looking across to den.

After: you can no longer see the stairs because the landing was eliminated.

After: you can no longer see the stairs because the landing was eliminated.

Before: the dining room. 

After: removing the built-in hutch created an open floor plan between the living and dining rooms.

Before: the kitchen.

Before: the kitchen.

After: a new window on the right of the fireplace floods the room with light. 

After: a new window on the right of the fireplace floods the room with light. 

After: another view of the kitchen. Photo courtesy of Lifespace Pittsburgh. 

After: pantry space off the kitchen with built-in storage, a bench, and coathooks on the opposite wall. Photo courtesy of Lifespace Pittsburgh. 

Before: the entry foyer.

After: removing the stair landing created a more spacious and balanced foyer.

After: the entry foyer looking towards the front door. 

Second Floor

Before: a wide-angle shot of the bedroom that was eliminated to create a bathroom and laundry room.

After: double vanities with a separate water closet and shower room increase privacy and allow everyone to get ready at the same time. 

After: the shower room and water closet.

After: the laundry room - plenty of storage with a fun, graphic floor tile.

Before: the hallway at the front of the house.

Before: the hallway at the front of the house.

After: the window is no longer centered in the hallway because the wall on the right was shifted to accommodate the wider stairs.

Before: bedroom #2. 

After: in the bedroom, closets were added on either side of the fireplace for storage that appears to be original.

After: in the bedroom, closets were added on either side of the fireplace for storage that appears to be original.

Before: a wide-angle show shows the master bedroom in the center. 

After: the door to the master bedroom was moved to create a more functional flow through it and to the closets and master bathroom.

After: the door on the left is a walk-in closet; the hallway on the right leads to another closet on the left, a water closet on the right, and the master bathroom at the end.

Before: a wide-angle shot of the master bathroom. The window on the left was infilled. 

After: dual vanities create balance and symmetry. The glass door to the walk-in shower is visible in the left mirror.

After: the off center fireplace opening is concealed by white paneling; a new window to the right of the fireplace mimics the new window directly below in the kitchen and creates a purposeful location for the soaking tub. 

After: a spacious walk-in shower with a tiled bench.

Before: the second floor stairs.

After: the awkward turn in the stairs was eliminated when the stairs were rebuilt and the hallway was widened.

Third Floor

Before: the hallway.

After: no major changes - just some TLC. 

Before: bedroom #3. You could see outside through the damage in the joists.

After: the existing cantilevered portion on the face of the house was rotted through and missing the original corbels on the exterior. Since there was no architectural charm to maintain, we decided to make the front of the house flush to reinforce the minimal aesthetic.

Before: bedroom #3. 

After: two cramped bedrooms were combined into a single larger bedroom by removing the dividing wall and brick fireplace stack. A walk-in closet was tucked under the sloped ceiling line on the left.

Before: bedroom #4.

After: since this bedroom is awkwardly shaped, the wall was framed out flush on either side of the fireplace to provide a place for a bed. A new closet is tucked under the sloped ceiling line. 

Next I'll be sharing some details on each area of the house - the fixture and finish mood boards, why certain design decisions were made, and sourcing details.