The Art of Living
Urban vibe lures a couple downtown
A piece of stained glass depicting a baker hangs above the custom-built curved credenza.
Shortly after they were married, Tammy and Kevin McCarl took on the task of determining where they were going to live. Before saying “I do,” Tammy resided in Monroeville, while Kevin had a home in Cranberry Township. During their conversations, something kept leading them downtown. “We both love the city,” Tammy says. “We were coming downtown all the time, for business and social events. It just seemed natural.”
A perfect fit
The McCarls were in the process of looking at several different residential complexes in the downtown area when they walked into Piatt Place on a whim. They were on a tour of a unit on the seventh floor when they stepped out onto the balcony. “The view was astounding. I couldn’t believe it and I wanted to live here immediately,” Tammy recalls.
Stretching out before them was a magnificent view of downtown Pittsburgh, complete with the steeples of Trinity Cathedral and First Presbyterian Church. “The interior was great, but the outdoor living space, in the heart of a city no less, was what sold us on moving here,” Tammy says.
Lucas Piatt, chief operating officer of Millcraft Industries, which developed the mixed-use building, says the offering of outdoor living space is what makes Piatt Place unique. “Traditionally, this is one of the things people sacrifice when they move from the suburbs to an urban development,” he adds.
Millcraft created Piatt Place after purchasing the old Lazarus department store on Fifth Avenue about six years ago. After adding three floors to the four-story building, Piatt Place now houses 500,000 square feet of retail and office space, as well as 65 residential condos. “I think this is a great location. It is right in the heart of the city,” Piatt says. “You can walk to 200 different restaurants and shops and big corporations are based right in the area.”
Two reupholstered vintage chairs and Flokati throw pillows add a punch of color and character to the living room.
Making it their own
Tammy, an avid art collector and antique dealer at Mahla & Company Antiques in the Strip District, took on the task of creating a unique home that speaks to both her and Kevin’s passions. She started this process by completely renovating the kitchen, which originally had a traditional décor. “I wanted a contemporary, Italian-inspired kitchen,” she says. “I envisioned the kitchen to be the centerpiece and I wanted it to be a wonderful backdrop for artwork.”
The McCarls enlisted the help of April Spagnolo, CKD, of Kitchen and Bath Concepts. The highlight of the new kitchen is the Pedini cabinetry. “Tammy loved the curved radius cabinets as soon as we showed them the custom options Pedini offers,” Spagnolo says.
Boasting a mix of Silver Oak, aluminum, white and gray lacquered cabinets, all topped with Amazon Gray quartz counters, the McCarls’ kitchen also offers an abundance of storage. “The pantry and wall cabinet, which also houses a microwave and built-in coffee machine, is four feet wide,” Spagnolo says. “There are double drawers along the cooking wall. The amount of storage space is amazing. This feature really allows them to keep a clean, clutter-free kitchen.”
The floating credenza along the opposite wall keeps with the overall theme, thanks to the Silver Oak drawers and curved front. “It mimics the 70s vibe that I love so much, as you can tell by the rest of our house,” Tammy says.
Located above the credenza is one of Tammy’s favorite pieces-a stained glass baker she purchased in New York. “It came from an old St. Louis bakery and probably dates back to the 1900s,” she explains. “I love it and it just fits perfectly in here.”
Merging old and new is something Tammy loves to do, and the living room proudly displays her love of Mid-Century art and 1960s and 70s furniture. From the vintage black lacquer sofa to the green and chrome 1950s school chairs around the White & White glass dining table, which turns into a coffee table thanks to a remote control, everything has a place. “Everything here has a story, which is what makes it truly unique,” Tammy says, as she quickly describes the 1950s coffee table she bought from a woman in California. “It’s made from the trunk of a sequoia tree after it fell. It is French polished, with a beautiful grain. I had it in my old house and I had to bring it with me.”
In order to incorporate modern conveniences, such as the flat screen television and fireplace, the couple brought in Randy Snell of Archetype Design Studio. Snell surrounded the fireplace with grey textured stone tile, an accent Tammy loves because it plays off the colors of the church steeples. The stone also complements the opposing wall, which is covered in Phillip Jeffries Granite Stone. “It’s a wonderful wall covering that gives a rich, textured look,” Snell says.
Snell offset the television and placed it on a swivel so it can be viewed from the kitchen. A bamboo veneer surround gives the television a look all its own.
A pop art hand chair sits at the piano in the family room.
A place for everything
Just like the living room, the family room also has a story to tell. A favorite place for watching movies and entertaining friends, the space also holds a few of Tammy and Kevin’s favorite things. Tammy received the white piano from her mother shortly after they moved into Piatt Place. “It’s been in our family for years,” she says.
Fittingly, the piano sits beneath Kevin’s prized photo of Muhammad Ali and The Beatles, taken when the Fab Four visited the boxer at a training facility in Miami, Florida in 1964. “Ironically, during construction, we listened to Beatles’ music on my iPod so hanging this photo somewhere was a necessity,” Tammy says.
Tammy has scattered her glass collection throughout the home. Guests will find everything from Mid-Century glass pieces by Blenko to vintage Italian art glass by Venini, Barbini and Barovier.
Tammy also took great care when selecting the pieces she wanted to incorporate into the couple’s master suite. Keeping with an Art Deco theme, she placed two mirrored consoles by Serge Roche on each side of the Cubistic Art Deco bed. A 1949 French movie poster hangs above the bed.
Tammy and Kevin have their own master bathrooms, each featuring a modern spa-inspired design and accouterments. “One of my favorite rooms is my closet,” she says of the huge space accented with a ‘50s Murano chandelier.
Pièce de résistance
Despite the stunning interior, the McCarls’ home complements the couple’s favorite aspect: the view. “To this day, we can’t get enough of it,” Tammy says. “We love sitting on the balcony, grilling and looking around us. At night, when the clock tower on Trinity Cathedral is lit, it is amazing.”
In addition to the balcony, they have private access to a rooftop deck via the spiral staircase. They haven’t developed the deck yet, but it is next on their list.
Besides the view, the McCarls love the lively atmosphere. “We’re right in the midst of it,” Tammy says. “Every time we go out it is an event. Just going to pick up groceries is an event because there are so many great places to shop and wonderful people to meet. We love it here.”
Kitchen designer: April Spagnolo, CKD, Kitchen & Bath Concepts, LLC; Contractor: RDC; Millcraft Industries, Inc.; Kitchen cabinetry and radius glass countertop: Pedini; Kitchen countertops: Vangura; Rex Glass & Mirror; Kitchen & Bath Concepts; Backsplash: Glass tile, Ceramiche Tile & Stone; Kitchen sink: Franke, Seymour’s; Kitchen faucet: KWC Ono, Seymour’s; Appliances: Miele dishwasher and double ovens; Wolf cooktop; Sub-Zero refrigerator; Faber hood with stainless steel cover from PMI; supplied by Hillmon Appliance; Kitchen lighting: Tech Lighting, Archetype Design; Living room wallcovering: Phillip Jeffries Granite Stone; Fireplace and waterfall: Napoleon Quality Fireplaces; Fireplace, television and water feature design: Randy Snell; Stone and porcelain tile: Ceramiche Tile & Stone; Bamboo fireplace veneer: Winfield Designs; Fireplace cabinetry: Mapletree Furniture Makers