LIFESTYLE

A Touch of Tuscany

The house sits majestically on the crest of a hill, with sweeping vistas of other hills and the wooded valleys that connect them. There is little evidence of civilization even beyond the 33-​acre site, which makes the home seem private and remote.

Smicksburg, Pa.

by Barbara Eichenlaub
Soaring gas prices might have you reconsidering autumn travel, but much of it can be duplicated within an hour’s drive of Pittsburgh. If you are yearning for New England’s fall colors, Lancaster’s Amish countryside, a vineyard’s fall glory or a small town’s welcome, try a visit to Smicksburg, in northern…

Great Allegheny Passage

On May 21, 1975, a small train rolled out of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Station in Pittsburgh. At the head was a yellow, red and blue Chessie System locomotive, #6600 with asleeping kitten on the side. It was followed by a gleaming stainless steel Amtrak Silver Dome, #9401, and…

Ranch Redux

“I was desperate,” explains interior designer Jeffrey Graciano as he stands, looking anything but, in his Louis Vuitton loafers, gray slacks and crisp, white shirt. The Churchill native was recalling how he ended up buying a nondescript, 1960s faux-​colonial ranch on a cul-​de-​sac in Fox Chapel.

Staying Close to the Plow

Outside Neal’s Harness and Tack Shop in northern Lawrence County, cars and pickup trucks park alongside Amish horse-​drawn buggies. A row of gasoline-​powered washing machines, a sideline of Neal’s business, squat in a row beside the entrance.

A River Runs By It

This is the story of a thoroughly modern dilemma that was solved by a building erected in 1901 along the banks of the Allegheny River. More than a full century later, the Armstrong Cork Factory in the Strip District is bustling with life and assorted pursuits of happiness.

Klavon’s

by Barbara Eichenlaub
Nothing says summer like a classic banana split. For some of us, it recalls going to the neighborhood drug store/​soda fountain with no thought of caloric intake or cholesterol levels.

Jewel in the Crown

A casual inventory of the materials Philip Elias used for the interior of his 1920 home sounds like an exhibit in the hall of minerals. Semi-​precious stones including tiger’s eye, lapis, charoite and sodalite mingle with Paridisio, Empress Green and Rojo marble as accents amid pale squares of Portugese limestone.

Take Five

A recent Gallup poll revealed that up to 44 percent of us are frequently stressed, and 55 percent of us feel we do not have enough time to do the things we want. That’s 130 million anxious people, give or take a few basket cases. A little over an hour…

Into the Woods

One of the many paths through Frick Park wanders past the house, which sits on the crest of a hill overlooking acres of woodland. Each time he passed it, the current owner would tell his wife that if it ever came on the market, he would buy it.

Moundsville, W. Va.

by Barbara Eichenlaub
As the holidays approach, frantic parents stand in endless lines or buy online, getting the hottest high-​tech “made in China” toys. If that seems overwhelming, try visiting the Official Marx Toy Museum of Glen Dale, W.Va. Located in Moundsville, just south of Wheeling, the museum takes visitors down memory lane…

Updating a Brandon Smith

Following in the footsteps of Brandon Smith would be a daunting task for most architects. He left his imprint throughout the region, designing in his lifetime (18891962) many Western Pennsylvania landmarks.

A Cottage Charmer

The before pictures of the house in Fox Chapel would send a chill through the heart of even the most accomplished renovator. An 1870s cottage married to a 1950s ranch created a charmless union, to say the least.

Putnam Place

by Barbara Eichenlaub
Few things satisfy more on a warm summer day than strolling through a beautiful garden and then selecting and cutting flowers for a perfect arrangement. If you don’t have the time, space or talent to cultivate and tend a cutting garden, The Putnam Place, about a mile from Bakersfield (in…

A Country Idyll

Rough-​hewn stone, wood and copper are traditional materials for a country house, though the only thing country about the residence designed by Roger Ferri some 20 years ago is its location.
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