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Old Soul

Sewickley couple keeps home’s essence alive

Having a good eye and a gut feeling, Jill noticed a house that looked like it was getting cleaned out to be put on the market—which was exactly the case. Looking at the house, Jill had a vision and thought it had a very similar footprint to what she and her husband had designed in their plans.

“I thought, here’s an opportunity to make it work,” Jill says. After purchasing the 1954 French/contemporary house, the couple got to work and fast. They kept a lot of the framing of the home, but not much else. “We pretty much gutted the house so we could remodel it to fit exactly what we had in mind,” Jill says.

Herb Brown of Brown’s Building and Remodeling guided the remodel with perfection according to Jill and her husband. “If we ever get a single comment over and over, it is that the house looks like an old house due to the architecture and detail,” says Jill. “Herb and his team of carpenters created this beautiful space with their magnificent craftsmanship.”

Less contemporary, more traditional

Jill’s taste is very French Country and she especially wanted her home to reflect that style. She contacted Linda Yeager of The Kitchen Studio early in the remodel. “I’m a big visionary person and I know what I like, but Linda was crucial when it came to the layout,” says Jill. Yeager’s plan was simple: make a very large space efficient. “I’m lucky to be able to work with very beautiful kitchens, but before anything, the space has to function and that is my primary concern,” says Yeager.

Yeager worked to create zones that would give the kitchen a natural flow. The large island is an organized work station that includes a pullout microwave, dish drawer for storage and prep sink, which is very close to the range so there is no need to carry food all over the kitchen. The room also features a wet bar and butler’s pantry, making entertaining a breeze for Jill and her husband.

Yeager says Jill had an aesthetic idea in mind from the beginning of the remodel. “She knew the kind of look she wanted and we took a long time to perfect the color scheme, because there were a few colors that were close, but not exactly what she wanted,” says Yeager. The cabinets are glazed in a custom blend somewhere in the middle of creamy beige and yellow. When it came to the wood for the island Jill decided on her favorite, walnut, and it turned out to be a great accent with the light cabinetry. Jill and her husband were looking for something decorative and special with the custom hood, which is also walnut. “They definitely didn’t want the traditional hood so we took it a step further with a beautiful piece,” says Yeager.

Designer dining room

The dining room was practically designed around a large, round dining table. Jill wanted a big square room to fit the table and the couple also wanted to have access to their wine room. In original plans, the house was going to have a wine cellar, but due to a change in structural plans, the wine room was moved to the main level, right off of the dining room.

When you walk into the dining room, one of the first elements to catch your eye is the ceiling detail. Somewhat similar to the detail in the kitchen, these treatments came from the same place, which started with an out-of-the-box idea from Jill.

The detail came from antique folding screens that Jill purchased to incorporate into the stairwell for the wine cellar. When the couple shifted gears on the wine cellar, Jill wanted to think of a way to use them because she loved their detail. “Having this big square dining room with all of this white dry wall ceiling, I knew I wanted to do some kind of treatment, maybe have someone come in and do some hand painting,” Jill says. “As I looked at those panels, I mentioned to the carpenters that I thought we could take the screens apart, cut them down and come up with a pattern. Of course they looked at me like I was crazy and said no, but I asked them to just try. Sure enough it worked and we ended with this beautiful detail.”

Jill had the carpenters use some leftover pieces for the ceiling detail in the kitchen. Finally, Jill used what was left in the wine room. “I only have one small piece left and I keep joking with my husband that we have to find something to do with it since we used the rest of it,” she says.

The dining room also acts as a combination living room, which Jill says is great for entertaining. “I absolutely love this concept because when we entertain and you want to be more comfortable, you can sit on the sofa and pull chairs around, and with the wine room so close, it makes for an overall great space,” Jill says.


Homebuilder: Brown’s Building and Remodeling, Herb Brown

Kitchen designer:
Linda Yeager, The Kitchen Studio; Cabinetry: Custom cabinetry, Superior Wood Products; Flooring: Quartersewn Oak; Countertops: Granite, Dente Fabricator, Unity Marble and Granite; Backsplash: Travertine Stone; Main sink: Shaw original Fireclay farm sink; Wet bar and butler’s pantry sinks: copper; Faucets: Bronze finish, Rohl; Dishwasher: Miele; Refrigerator: Sub-Zero; Oven: Viking; Wallcovering: Paint by Sherwin-Williams; Antique beveled glass transom: Architectural Antiques, New Castle, PA; Window treatments: Nancy Lee Sewing and Embroidery

Dining Room:
Fireplace screen:
Antique English Barley Twist, Linder’s Furniture; Antique mahogany buffet: Sewickley Antique and Unique Barn Sale; Chandelier: Crystorama, Horchow; Chairs: Antique high back carved, cane backed South Bank Galleries (Carson St. Pittsburgh); Table: Hickory White; Wallcovering: Paint by Sherwin-Williams; Window treatments: Nancy Lee Sewing and Embroidery

After living in Harrisburg for 11 years and planning a dream house to sit on five acres, Jill and her husband realized, due to work, a move to the Pittsburgh area might be more convenient. Having a hard time finding a lot that would match their plans, the couple rented while their search continued.

Jun 8, 2011 10:08 am
 Posted by  S.Townsend

Can anyone tell me where can I buy the barstools featured in the Old Soul article, March 2011 issue of Housetrends - Pittsburgh? Love them!

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