Home & Lifestyle

Verdant Views

Make a left and then another and a pristine gravel drive leads to a scene of sheer bucolic bliss. Wrapped around the courtyard is a 1920s home thought to have been designed by Brandon Smith. Though his name is not on the original plans, it is in the architect’s style, examples of which abound in …

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Pair Trendy Hawaiian Poke Bowls with Alsace Gewurztraminer and Craft Beers

If you haven’t heard of poke bowls, don’t worry. You will. Just ask Angela Earley, a partner in Penn Avenue Fish Company in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. “Recently regular customers have come in saying how much they enjoyed poke bowls in L.A.,” she notes. “Some even told us we should open a poke only restaurant.” But …

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Bring on the Meat!

Years ago, the Sunday roast inevitably came from the neighborhood butcher. The relationship between the homemaker and butcher was once so significant, that the television series “The Brady Bunch” included “Sam the Butcher,” who was both meat purveyor and love interest for housekeeper Alice. This was before mega-grocery stores and warehouse clubs with inhouse butchers, …

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Home & Gardens

There’s a hand-drawn map of old Fox Chapel that shows the original estates, scattered here and there on the great pieces of property they once commanded. Many of the homes were weekend or country places the wealthy used as a respite from smoggy Pittsburgh; with better transportation they became primary residences and were built as …

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Antarctica, Wonder that Inspires

There are times in your life that mark changes in your composition. Our trip to Antarctica was one of those times. It’s a continent without native people, but where wildlife thrives in an unpredictable environment. It’s a world without infrastructure. The scale is otherworldly and the landscape staggeringly, breathlessly beautiful. It is a landscape difficult …

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Secrets of Oakmont

With the gaslights along the brick-paved Allegheny River Boulevard, the small, independent shops and the 1889 Carnegie Library, visiting Oakmont can feel like a welcome trip back in time. That’s especially true if you walk into the Kerr Memorial Museum on Delaware Avenue. Dr. Thomas Kerr built the Queen Anne-style home in 1897 for his …

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Glendorn Aglow

On a pristine morning after the season’s first snowfall, determined anglers cast their flies into streams not yet frozen. Eight inches of snow blanketed the landscape, but inside the Big House a fire crackled as guests enjoyed a hearty breakfast and the view through giant windows. Or they could look the other way at the …

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The New Apartment Dweller

East Liberty-Shadyside is the epicenter of Pittsburgh’s new apartment wave, featuring both Bakery Living and the three-building Mosites Co. complex known as Eastside Bond. Together, these developments, only a stone’s throw apart, have introduced more than 700 rental units over the past few years. One of the attractions of the neighborhood is its proximity to …

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Real Estate Tug of War

The holiday revelers, about 150 strong, gathered at East End Brewing Company to enjoy a different sort of Christmas celebration, neither family gathering nor office party. Rather, this soiree was hosted by Walnut Capital for the tenants of its trendy Bakery Living apartment complex at Bakery Square in Shadyside. To underscore how responsive it is …

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Flipped Out

Our adventure began with a two-sentence conversation with Eric as we watched our new favorite HGTV show, “Flip or Flop.” The show stars Tarek and Christina El Moussa—a young, attractive (and a bit annoying) married couple who buy property, flip it, and sell it, usually making an outrageous profit. Eric: “We could do that.” Me: …

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A Delicious Quandary

In 1968, Pittsburgh Chef Ferdinand Metz cabled from Frankfurt, Germany, to tell his friends that the U.S. Team won the Grand Gold Award in the International Culinary Competition. He was at the top of the culinary world, with 16 gold medals and the grand award given to him and his team. And thousands came when …

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Desert Bloom

The definition of oasis is simple: a fertile spot in the desert where water can be found. That applies to any number of gated golf communities that surround Palm Springs, California. But The Reserve in Indian Wells is different. Instead of fighting nature by pumping water onto artificially green lawns, it embraces the desert soil. …

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Cleaner to the Stars

It’s time to don your best apparel for holiday parties, dinners and events. And then, of course, you’ll need to have those clothes cleaned. There are countless options, but Jerry Montesano’s Shadyside Valet is a standout. Jerry was born into the business—his father owned a dry cleaning company in Penn Hills and then sold dry …

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The Kindness Meter in Various Cities

Returning home last Monday from a weekend trip to visit our newly transplanted daughter and her family in Seattle, we had a delightful conversation with our Uber driver, a native Pittsburgher, on the way back from the airport. He had recently retired from his full time job, but enjoys meeting people and figured driving for …

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Car Trouble

At 5:30 a.m. one recent morning, I was driving the Parkway East to Monroeville, and actually ON TIME. I began to hear a loud “ka-thunk” from the front left of my mini-van. Suddenly, my front left wheel popped clean off. Had it been later, I would have been horrified at the idea of my wheel …

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Now Entering “Happy Valley”

The Pennsylvania State University has more than 645,000 living alums. Obviously, they know about “Happy Valley,” as do the throngs who attend football games each fall. But if you’ve never visited Penn State, State College or Centre County, it’s well worth exploring, especially on a quieter, non-football weekend. While there are chain hotels available, go …

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A Collector’s Eye

Tradition winds through the leafy streets of Sewickley like a summer breeze, ruffling the flags on stately old homes and the flowers that adorn each perfect lawn. In a neighborhood filled with beautiful houses, the 1950s French-inspired stucco stands out, as it did when Anne and David Genter bought it 10 years ago. “This had …

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The Old Ways May Be Best

Marino floro plucks a perfectly shaped fig from a tree in his Sewickley yard, opens the door to his chicken coop, and offers the fruit to a chamois-colored hen, which clucks with enthusiasm. Three chickens inhabit this paradise of a mini-farm, where trees yield four different kinds of figs, as well as peaches, plums, apricots, …

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On the Road to Prosperity

Prosperity means different things to different people. But to the residents of a village by that name in Washington County that’s been significantly affected by fluctuations in the coal and Marcellus Shale gas industries, Prosperity is home. Some of the 1,105 residents have made a lot of money. Some are working hard to just get …

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Sail Away to Annapolis

Just about every place in Annapolis will tell you it has the best crab cakes in town, and they’re all right. The Chesapeake is famous for its blue crabs, plucked daily from the bay and served any number of ways, but always with abundance. There is so much crab in Annapolis, a visitor can get …

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A Classic Redefined

It’s difficult enough for many couples to agree on a new home, but the challenges were even greater for Stephen and Helen Hanna Casey. He’s an award-winning architect and she’s the president and CEO of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, the fourth largest real estate company in the U.S. “Steve knows architecture and design, and …

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An Art Full House

“We’re art addicts so we’re always buying stuff, ” says the owner of a wood-clad modern home in Fox Chapel, laughing. She and her husband are just back from a major art fair and the question, as usual, is where to put the new piece. From the outside, no one would suspect that the discreet …

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