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Pittsburgh Kitchen/Mudroom/Closet addition Reveal

6 years ago
last modified: 6 years ago

We bought our house almost exactly 6 years ago. It was built
in 1903 and is located in a historic part of Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill. The
neighborhood is pretty well known as it was the famous Mr. Rodger’s
neighborhood. Fred Rodgers, in fact, literally lived around the corner from our
house (the house he lived in was not the house from the show which was just a
set). It’s fairly eclectic with a wide mix ranging from mansions of former
steel magnets to college student apartments and has become a very desirable
neighborhood as Pittsburgh has redeveloped. Our oldest child had just turned 1
and we had another due in January. We were living in the two bedroom home in a
suburb north of the city that we bought when we were first married and I was
commuting an hour each way to my new job so we were in need of a bigger home
with less commute. We ended up falling into a too good to pass up sort of deal
on a fixer that was a combo of an early 1980s remodel and things original to
the house.

We bought it knowing the kitchen needed some work, but
prioritized bathroom, garage, electrical updates, finishing the attic for guest
rooms, and having babies more than the kitchen. We did a few updates with
hardware, appliances, and wall color to tide us over. For the kitchen itself,
it was good enough to get by.

After we had our third and final child and our older ones
started school, it became clear the function of the entire house wasn’t really
working. The main entrance we used was directly into the kitchen, there was no
pantry, laundry was in the (scary) basement, and there wasn’t enough storage in
the master bedroom. And kitchen was ugly and a bit dysfunctional which was compounded
by tripping over coats, backpacks, shoes, etc.

So it was either live in unhappy chaos, move, or remodel.
Moving wasn’t a great option, transfer taxes in the city are excessive and I
couldn’t find something that was an obvious upgrade to our house for much under
1M and it still wouldn’t really be exactly what we wanted.

Started investigating building a two story addition of about
500 sq ft (250 sq ft per floor) to expand kitchen, create an entryway/mudroom,
relocate laundry, add a pantry, and get a huge master closet. Ended up building out 13 ft which was about as much as we could do without digging into the hill behind our house. Initially
targeted about 150k to spend. Hired a design build. The plans they gave were
uninspired and the initial estimate was approaching mid 200s. Parted ways with them about
$3k poorer and not much to show for it. Interviewed a couple other contractors. Initial bid from the one we
settled on (Action Builders Bridgeville PA) was near 200k. After the poor first experience
with an expensive designer, I did most of the layout and design/finish choices
myself with significant gardenweb and wife input. I can’t thank the people who
contributed to my design enough, seeking help here was one of the best things I’ve
ever done. The contractor and cabinetry place mostly followed my plans but prevented
any major mistakes (clearances, etc) from being made.

They started the week before Christmas 2016, were mostly
done by first week of July and totally done about 3 weeks ago. Contractor was
good and we’d use them again for sure, no significant complaints. Having no
kitchen at all for about 6 months with three kids was a challenge for sure. It
some ways the slowness was good because it really allowed enough time to make
sure everything was how we wanted it. It also helped some with the budget. All
said and done we were in the low $300s by the end. I tweaked the layout
including adding a small deck which drove up the price. There were some minor
construction surprises including some unexpected beam work, but that mostly
stayed on budget (+ contingency). Cabinets and appliances were WAY over budget
though (but worth it, I think). We sort of took the philosophy of if we are
spending this much already, might as well spend a little more and not

The end result has totally transformed the house. It’s
really made life so much easier and has worked out pretty much how I imagined
it would when planning it. I’ll post some comments with the pictures.

The stuff

Cabinets: Custom from Andredas Cabinetry (near Pittsburgh).
Door style is CRP-10 with elite bead (also referred to as monarch square) and a
reverse raised panel from Conestoga. Painted cabinets are hybrid MDF/Maple in SW
Repose Grey. Stain is a custom driftwood with black glaze on maple. The color
is based on a sample I got from Starmark cabinets. Closet cabinetry is unglazed
sable stain on cherry, same door style.

Counters: LG Viatera Muse in kitchen, LG Viatera Aura in

Kitchen hardware: Berenson Maestro Satin Nickel & Amerock 18” Satin Nickel Rope appliance pull

Fridge: Paneled Thermador 30” fridge & 24” freezer column

Range: 48” Thermador Pro Grand Steam Range

2 DW: “Free” Thermador sapphire & Miele Lumen, both

Hood: “Free” Thermador 54”x27” 1000 cfm pro wall hood

Speed oven: M-touch Miele Contour Line

Coffee: M-touch Miele Plumbed

W/D: Electrolux Steam

Sinks: Kohler Whitehaven in Sea Salt, island is 24” and
laundry & cleanup are 33”

Faucets: Perimeter Delta Essa x 2, Island Delta Trinsic Pro
(all with Touch2o)

Stools: Tabouret Bistro Wood Seat Gunmetal Finish Counter

Kitchen Floor: Marazzi American Estates in Spice (6” x 36”),
charcoal grout, random lay pattern

Backsplash: MSI Whisper White Arabesque, bright white grout

Island light: Feiss 4 light Lumiere Dark weathered oak/ORB

Laundry light: Shades of Light Square Wood Frame and Sheer
Ceiling Light

Pantry and Coat Closet: Custom ORG system installed by McKee Closet Organizers in Pittsburgh)

Closet hardware: Amerock Crystal Satin Nickel

Closet light: Ballard Designs Claire Chandelier

Closet sconces: Pottery Barn Pearson Shade Sconce

Closet Carpet: Tuftex Taza in Plaza Taupe

Closet Beverage Fridge: Electrolux

"After" shot from dining room opening

"Before" all cleaned out right before demo. The blank spot on the left wall had a cabinet on it that had already been removed by this point.

This is probably a more accurate "before" picture of how it often looked on a day to basis.

This was how it looked when we first bought it, I didn't get as great pictures of the kitchen as I would have liked.

The back of our house before

And after. It looks really pretty seamless with the original house. The stucco and fake hardie board stucco are almost indistinguishable from one another. The new roof is asphalt and the old slate, I was a little concerned about how that would look, but its fine. We now have this covered area under the overhang to do something with.

House from the street. Again the addition looks like its been there all along. You can see the different roofs if you look, but its not really noticeable just at a glance.

This is the layout we ended up with, had some minor changes between it and the finished product. Basically the idea was widen the kitchen about 3 feet and tack on the mudroom with a pantry and coat closet providing some separation but still having an open(ish) space.

My crew enjoying the new space.

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