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greater PITTSBURGH | SEPTEMBER 2012 | Vol. 6, no. 4 | | $4.95

green issue

Oakmont Home Built to Last Zero Energy Remodel Thrives in East Liberty


Landscape Trends:


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For the sophisticated buyer

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8/24/12 2:11:22 PM Whether you want to build turn-key or as an owner/builder, Heartland Everywhere has you covered. It is the perfect choice when you only want the very best. View our gallery of homes for inspiration, browse a sampling of available home sites, or contact us today 724-871-0181, to determine the next step toward building your dream home!

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Greater Pittsburgh Publisher Bill Slattery Editor Christina Kleiner Contributing Writers Hilary Daninhirsch, Joan Pearlstein Dunn, Phyllis Gricus, Stephanie Aurora Lewis

a letter from the publisher

In my opinion, true green building involves building a house to last.


—Salvatore Staltari

Our time-honored “steel town” of Pittsburgh has officially gone green. The former industrial center of America is now a hub for sustainable design, green technology, LEED-certified buildings and groundbreaking startups, proclaiming Pittsburgh’s 180-degree turnaround a triumphant success. Led by corporate forces such as PNC, everywhere you turn from the Fairmont Hotel to Phipps Conservatory and even the rooftop of the County Office Building are all feeling the effects of the black and gold city going green. No eco-friendly deed goes unnoticed in this town and our homeowners are eager to share their efforts with you. However, what separates these homes from most others is what is actually inside of the walls and the structure of the home, not necessarily the outside. We would like to tip our hats to the people in our community who are making Pittsburgh a cleaner, healthier place to live and are excited to show you how it is done in our second annual Green Issue. Also included are eco-savvy style tips and an exclusive garden feature that is sure to make you green with envy. Housetrends anxiously looks forward to our next issue, where we will be bringing you home remodeling and building trends. Until then, check out Housetrends. com for additional home and garden tips and ideas. Enjoy learning and seeing how our city is “LEED-ing” the way in eco-friendly construction. We will see you later in the fall! Mia Feinberg, Bill Slattery

Contributing Photographers Susan Allen, Chris Bucher, Dale Clark, JE Evans, Daniel Feldkamp, Robin Victor Goetz, Craig Thompson Sales Assistant Mia Feinberg For advertising information call 412-596-1030 E-mail: Write us at Housetrends Magazine c/o Christina Kleiner, E-mail: Housetrends magazine is published by Erilia Publishing LLC, 100 Mulberry Lane Pittsburgh, PA 15235 Member of

Corporate Corporate Managing Partners Robert J. Slattery, Kevin Slattery Senior Director of Graphic Services Gary Boys Creative Director Nina Kieffer Editorial Manager Karen Bradner Senior Graphic Designer Tara Burchfield Color Technician Elvis Lim Production Coordinator Lisa Cavin Sales Production Mary Burdett VP of Interactive Media Ric Welker Print Production Dawn Deems Website Development and Prepress Systems Sandy Sinex Advertising Designer Gina Miller Quality Control Supervisor Sandy Whalen Quality Control Heather Fox, Melisande Weidner Founder/Executive Publisher Sam Wilder

Photo by Craig Thompson


Bill Slattery and the Housetrends staff

Published in conjunction with Buzz Publications, LLC and reach publishing llc. © 2012 Reach Publishing, LLC Housetrends magazine is produced by Reach Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. All logos and trademarks are the properties of their respective owners. We assume no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions or any inconsistency herein. Housetrends makes no warranties, representations or endorsements regarding any of the services and/or the advertisers, builders, designers or any third parties appearing in the magazine. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, without the written permission of Reach Publishing, LLC except where prohibited by law. Reach Publishing, LLC reserves the right to edit, alter, or omit any advertiser. Back issues are available upon request for $5.00 per copy, including shipping. (Subject to availability.) To have your name removed from our mailing list, Please recycle or send a letter to Housetrends, Name Removal, pass this magazine on 4601 Malsbary Road, Cincinnati, OH 45242. to another reader

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Energy Audits, Solar Installs, Performance Contracting & Green Construction A more livable home. A healthier environment. And, a more sustainable planet.

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greater pittsburgh | vol. 6, issue 4.







22 ON THE WATERFRONT New home takes nature seriously


FURNISHING TRENDS Eco-Savvy Style Creative thinking turns would-be trash into ingenious treasure

12 FRESH FINDS The latest finds in furniture, flooring and lighting


LANDSCAPE TRENDS Green in the Garden Sustainable landscaping tips and ideas

49 GAINING INDEPENDENCE Renovated East Liberty colonial becomes self-sufficient 59 UP AGAINST THE WALL Art is awarded a prize location in several area homes 77 GADGETS AND GIZMOS Eco-friendly high tech products for your home

80 HOUSETRENDS.COM Tips, recipes, resources and inspiration 81 AD INDEX

on the cover 22

This environmentally-friendly home, comprised of copper and steel, offers spectacular views of the Allegheny River. Photo by Craig Thompson

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fresh findsflooring

Au naturel is a current trend that’s here to stay. It’s a green collar world bringing earth’s beauty back into the home.





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New home takes nature seriously By Joan Pearlstein Dunn | Photos by Craig Thompson

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Oakmont, a charming suburb of Pittsburgh, is a small town with some big city picks. The world-renowned Oakmont Country Club has brought the national spotlight to this riverfront town. With a nationally ranked golf course, the Club has hosted more major championships than any other course, including the U.S. Open eight times. Specialty boutiques, restaurants, various businesses and an old-time movie house line the town’s two main streets. These are just a few of the reasons one local resident chose to call Oakmont home. “Other than a grocery store, when you live in Oakmont, you never have to leave,” says Dave. “And of course there is the river.” continued >

The home is clad in copper siding, which is exceptionally durable and recyclable.

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durable responsible fewer materials thrown out

selecting productsand finishes need to be means that or reinstalled if they fail.

—Salvatore Staltari

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Standing the test of time The greatest challenge in planning this outstanding home was assembling the right team. A project of this magnitude required craftsmen with great technical skills, a synthesis of natural born talent and a true collaborative spirit. Working as a team, were architect Joel Farkas of Farkas Associates, contractor Salvatore Staltari of Avanti Construction, Inc., and homeowner Dave. Together, they refined every idea, material and detail, while following one principal rule: the design is the boss. The trio met once a week during the construction process to discuss progress and explore possibilities. The first order of business was the actual site. “The ground was very soft because it’s along the river,” points out Dave. Digging 9 feet, they hauled away the soft dirt on semis and replaced it with new dirt that contained more clay material. “My house is made of metal and is very heavy, so we needed to support what we were going to build.” They positioned the lower level above the 500-year floodplain, and covered the house with materials that would stand the test of time. “Dave had two rules for us,” says Farkas. “That the house wouldn’t flood and the house wouldn’t leak.” The home is clad with copper siding—a low maintenance and recyclable material that can have a lifespan of over 200 years. In time, the outer surface develops a light green patina, which adds to the beauty and helps to protect the copper. “In my opinion, true green building involves building a house to last,” says Staltari. “Selecting durable products and responsible finishes means that fewer materials need to be thrown out or reinstalled if they fail.” The roof is made of terne-coated stainless steel (TCS). The coating of zinc alloy prevents corrosion, allowing the roof to last for decades. Much like the copper siding it never needs a coat of paint and will go through the patina process, which eventually weathers it to an earthy gray. The steel roof helps to insulate the home, lowering the amount of energy expended to heat and cool the interior. continued >

The inviting entry is softened by a large rug and greenery.

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Self-sufficient and inviting The house is run totally by electricity. A windmill and 42 solar panels generate power and feed it back to the power company, thereby reducing the owner’s utility costs. At Dave’s request, all equipment including heating, cooling, central exhaust fan, water heater, central vacuum and the electric circuit panels can be accessed in one utility room. The home is heated and cooled by a geothermal heat pump that works by circulating water through a system of wells several hundred feet below

the ground. In the summer the water extracts heat from the home and transfers it into the earth, while in the winter it brings warmth up from below. The system is unaffected by the weather, and since they are operated by electricity, the solar and wind power are there to help offset operational costs. “My entire electric bill averages about one hundred dollars a month,” says Dave. “I wanted an all-electric house where I could actually make the majority of my energy and I’ve

accomplished that so far.” The house is laid out on an 8x8-foot grid structure, with living spaces rotated 18 degrees around a central column. This simple adjustment created room for the balcony, stairwell and elevator, while at the same time added outstanding corner views from every room. Being a fitness buff, the homeowner installed a full-scale indoor gymnasium and outdoor resistance pool. A separate area was designed to hold Dave’s collection of 10,000 old time 45’ records. continued > FAR LEFT: A windmill helps to generate the power used to operate the home. MIDDLE TOP: The environmentally friendly home offers breathtaking views of the Allegheny River. MIDDLE LEFT: 42 solar panels were installed on the roof to help lower the utility costs. MIDDLE BOTTOM: All of the home’s mechanicals, including HVAC, water heater and a central vacuum system, are housed in one room. ABOVE: Over time, the copper siding will develop a light green patina. LEFT: Fresh pops of color, such as the bright green staircase wall, can be found throughout the house.

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Dave loves his barrel roof over the kitchen and living area. “My last home had a flat roof that was always leaking,” he explains. “Now I don’t have to worry about that.” Kitchen countertops are made from thick sheets of beveled glass and were paired with zebra cabinetry in the stunning, hightech cooking space. Aside from a generator, the gas cooktop is the only gas appliance that can be found on the property. Oak flooring materials came from a locally owned forest and sawmill in Pennsylvania. The mill is certified by non-profit groups that work to monitor responsible forestry practices. Both warm

and cool at the same time, the architect’s paint choices took the homeowner a little while to get used to. “At first I thought they were a little whacky,” laughs Dave. “But now that I’m used to it, I think the colors look great.”

Complementary details The master bedroom has a sweeping view of the river that can be best enjoyed on the private veranda outside. With the flick of a switch, recessed blinds are drawn up and into the ceiling, exposing a window wall of beauty. “Architecture combines function with sculpture, and in that regard, architects cannot go it alone,” explains Farkas.

“We need clients to inform us about function, contractors to flesh out the sculpture and we need everyone to show up happy to be there every day.” The collaborative efforts of the three men can best be appreciated in the master bathroom. Dave wanted the look of natural stone and didn’t want to mess with grout. “I suggested using large slabs of stone on the walls to eliminate the grout joints,” says Staltari. “This type of installation was not something that we had done before, but it was a perfect solution.” Stainless steel was selected for the shower floor, and a product called Slip-Not was applied to create a non-slip surface. To continued >

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ABOVE: A barrel-vaulted ceiling adds visual interest in the combined dining and living area.TOP RIGHT: Beveled glass countertops and zebra cabinetry, accented by a rich purple wall, create a stunning kitchen. RIGHT: The house is constructed of metal and glass, including this elevator located next to the staircase.

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make it accessible, there is no curb and water drains by running into a trough. The floors and shower bench are radiant heated with water from the geothermal transfer system. All bath and kitchen exhausts are centralized into one unit, with heat being recovered from the air before it leaves the building. “Things just have to come together perfectly,” expresses Farkas. “At the end of the day, the collaborative effort and perfect symmetry culminated in an epic home that proved to be greater than the sum of its parts.”


Architect: Joel Farkas, Farkas Associates, LLC; Contractor: Avanti Construction, Inc.; Cabinetry: Team Laminates Company; Marble and granite fabricator: Phillips Granite, Inc.; Sinks: Seymour’s Bath & Hardware; Lighting: Liberty Lighting Products, Inc.; Elevator: James R. Pitcairn, Inc.; HVAC: Western Pennsylvania Geothermal HVAC; Concrete flooring: Direct Service, Inc.; Hardwood flooring: Allegheny Mountain Hardwood; Hardwood flooring installation: Nova Flooring; Electrician: Skover Electric Services, Inc.; Plumbing: Louis Volpato Plumbing; Painting: Century Interiors, Inc.; Metal roofing and siding: Cancilla Brothers, Inc.; Steel: Multi-Metals Company, Inc.; Windows: Marvin Windows and Doors; Custom glass: Nemes Glass Corporation; Concrete driveway: Dominic Tavella; Ceramic tile: Darren Jarvis; Custom metal work: Lewis Fabricating; Welding: South Side Welding; Insulation: InsulRight, U.S. Spray Systems; Excavation: Mele Side Development; Windmill: Vox Energy Solutions; Granite countertops: Dente; Bathroom shower: Striatto Olimpico marble, Dente LEFT: The master bedroom features a wall of windows with recessed blinds that come down from the ceiling. ABOVE: The floor of the master bathroom shower is comprised of stainless steel with a non-slip coating.

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Check out for the latest home remodeling, decorating and building trends our city has to offer! Our photo galleries are full of ideas, inspiration and the resources you need for a new kitchen, bath or any outdoor project you are planning!




Click on “Pittsburgh” to see local features and articles!

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eoo Creative thinking turns would-be trash into ingenious treasure

savvy style

By Stephanie Aurora Lewis Repurposing-inspirational stores are recycling meccas for the eco-savvy, creative, and adventurous homeowner. When patrons visit these stores, they hopefully walk out with a treasure that will tell a story about its past and foretell of its ownerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s future ingenuity. These stores help us to save memories and to avoid waste.

continued >

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A patron usually has one of three different general ideas for their treasure. One, they will reuse the item as it was originally designed such as a bathroom sink relocated to a new home. Secondly, the item could be generally used in the same way, but located creatively such as older kitchen cabinets used for a laundry room. Thirdly, purchased items can be used for completely unique purposes such as an old door used for a table top. Store owners receive donations or arrange special purchases from people that own buildings that are either renovated or demolished. In fact, these store owners are a type of hero that goes into areas where building materials would normally be sent to the landfill and they gather it all up and take it back to their store to clean and organize so that it can be purchased, often for only a fraction of its original price. The variety of acquired materials ranges from basic architectural supplies such as over-ordered items to vintage light fixtures, decorative banisters, and century-old oak wood trim. On one hand, excessive building supplies are reused rather than wasted. On the other hand, special architectural features and history are preserved. “You can look at some of our items and recognize that we are keeping the city’s history alive,” says Lisa Doxsee, communications manager of Building Value in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Unpredictability must be seen as an opportunity more than as a challenge. “Often times, the items are ‘project starters,’” says Doxsee. Items move quickly, so your project ideas must be flexible. Some of the most common challenges include finding items that are the correct size for their intended repurposed locations and functions. For example, if a homeowner plans to purchase a vintage sink for their bathroom remodel, it may take several weeks before finding the sink that has the desired style and the specific size needed. Sometimes traveling from store to store or making a trip to another city is needed if you do not have a time constraint. In this case, flexibility and planning ahead are key strategies for a repurposing project. Mike Gable, executive director of Pittsburgh-based Construction Junction says homeowners can also turn to the Internet. “Reuse operations like Construction Junction and Planet Reuse are developing online inventory systems that will make it possible to search inventory and shop for used building materials online and connect with other stores selling the same materials.” It is so much easier to purchase a new coffee table from a furniture store rather than to make enormous efforts creating a coffee table out of unusual sorts of salvaged materials. There are advantages, however, and rewards for ingenuity and hard work. For a college student, the repurposed coffee table may better fit their budget. For the artist, the coffee table will engender a dearness that comes only from building a vision. For the eco-savvy homeowner, repurposing is one of the most enjoyable ways to improve the environment by diverting waste from the landfill. “Fine furniture and goods of quality were built to last forever. As all of us come to appreciate the lessons of our commitment to a world of limited resources, recycling and finding second homes for things is simply smart living,” says Rebecca Sohn of Pittsburgh-based Black Lamb Consignments.

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OPENING PAGE: The homeowner calls this kitchen island a “chunky piece with a history.” Photo by JE Evans OPPOSITE TOP: Furniture pieces by artist Boris Bally are made from recycled street signs. Photo by Craig Thompson OPPOSITE BOTTOM: Artist Paul Hamilton hand carved and painted an old piece of wood transforming it into this headboard. Photo by Dale Clark/Arc Photography ABOVE: Vintage light fixtures hang in the kitchen and guest suite in this Pittsburgh home. Photos by Craig Thompson

continued >

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BELOW: A Granville, Ohio homeowner collects old wood from torn down buildings and repurposes it into vintage structures. Photo by Dale Clark/Arc Photography RIGHT: An old patent file from the early 1800s sits in a Columbus homeownerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s office area. Photo by JE Evans

ABOVE: This display at Pittsburghâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens was part of a show which showed ecologically-inspired interior spaces. Photo by Craig Thompson RIGHT: Repainted metal kitchen cabinets find a new home in this Cincinnati-area laundry room. Photo by Robin Victor Goetz/ RVGP Inc.


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furnishingtrends Here are a few creative repurposing ideas to jump-start your imagination:  oors as bed headboards, tables, ● D wainscoting, benches, desktops, countertops, and hinged together as a room screen.  indows as photo frames and ● W mirrors.  owling alley flooring as a kitchen ● B countertop.  nusual furniture items used for ● U different functions such as a library filing cabinet for a wine rack. ● I ndustrial and mail crates as coffee tables.  intage door knobs installed as coat ● V and towel hooks.  intage architectural items such as ● V skeleton keys and chandelier crystals used in jewelry. ● Vintage lighting fixtures rewired.

Aside from frequenting a repurposing store for a home project, store owners have noted high school students come to find supplies for theatrical settings, artists find reclaimed materials for sculptures, jewelry, and furniture, and entrepreneurs such as restaurant-owners find the unique items they need to create a fun and swanky interior design. Resources such as magazines and blogs are useful for the creative repurposing homeowner. If inspiration comes easy, but fulfilling the inspiration is a challenge,

 arge granite slabs from a decon● L structed bridge used as front door steps.  rawers gathered from multiple ● D dressers and recombined to make a new dresser.  dry-erase board or a chalkboard ● A used as a tabletop or a countertop.  eclaimed stone, brick, or concrete ● R blocks for landscaping projects. ● Milk bottles turned into lamps.

TOP: This barn door was built from hand-milled reclaimed oak. Photo by Daniel Feldkamp/Visual Edge Imaging RIGHT: The contractor salvaged this German silver sink from the original butler’s pantry during a kitchen remodel. Photo by Robin Victor Goetz/RVGP Inc.

continued >

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Slate flooring was repurposed from a neighbor’s home in the Cincinnati lower level. Photo by Robin Victor Goetz/RVGP Inc. | A salvaged piece makes for a charming display case in a guest bath. Photo by Dale Clark/Arc Photography | A stone slab makes a fitting entrance for this artist’s retreat. Photo by Dale Clark/Arc Photography | This dining room table from Rustic Refinery is made from reclaimed lumber. Photo by Susan Allen

there are contractors and specialized furniture companies that can construct the project. “We have posted photographs of ideas that our patrons have shared with us

to help shoppers come up with their own ideas,” says Chris Sauer, owner of Columbus Architectural Salvage. Employees and store owners are also great resources for the

patron who needs guidance with creativity, inspiration, and/or the realization of the project. Some extreme designers have taken

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repurposing to another level by renovating an entire kitchen by using all salvaged and reclaimed materials. In this case, mixing up materials is a key design element. It would also take careful thinking and purchasing so that the project’s materials are all purchased in advance before beginning construction. Take care to recognize personal dangers such as lead paints that may coat many of the best items in the store. No matter how large or small the project, there is great satisfaction to be found when saving waste and creativity meet. Whether or not you plan to use materials from a reuse store, it would be of great value to think about donating your items because, “Deconstruction is simply the right thing to do. It creates jobs, it reduces the amount of waste going to our landfills, it saves valuable natural resources and it preserves architectural antiques that are abundant in historical buildings,” says Jerry Janszen, director of Building Value in Cincinnati. “Consumers who purchase reclaimed and recycled furniture not only help to save our precious environment, they save a little green in their pocketbooks too,” adds Sohn. Below is some information shared by Lisa Doxsee from The Deconstruction Institute website: The deconstruction of a typical 2,000-square-foot wood frame home can yield 6,000 board feet of reusable lumber. This is equivalent to 33 mature trees, or the yearly output of 10 acres of planted pine. The average American home (2,000 square feet), if demolished, would produce about 10,000 cubic feet of debris. Deconstruction is more labor intensive than demolition. Consequently, more time and money is spent on hand labor than on the operation of heavy equipment.

Shop Locally

Ready to go eco? Here are some great spots to check out repurposed materials and furniture in the Pittsburgh area. ● B  lack Lamb Black Lamb Consignments believes that finding second homes for things we have outgrown or no longer need is simply smart living.

● C  onstruction Junction Construction Junction promotes conservation through the reuse of building materials.

ABOVE: A repurposed industrial cart has a new use as a coffee table. Photo by Susan Allen, courtesy of Rustic Refinery

Building Value’s job training program creates well-paid, entry-level jobs for the construction trades. The average single family home contains 5,174 pounds of steel and 1,830 pounds of plastics. Net green house gas reduction from recycling this material is 2,956 pounds, a benefit equivalent to the annual CO2 absorption of 114 trees. Each year the United States buries about 33 million tons of wood related

construction and demolition debris in our landfills. As anaerobic microorganisms decompose this wood, it will release about 5 million tons of carbon equivalent in the form of methane gas. This is equivalent to the yearly emissions of 3,736,000 passenger cars. Every ton of wood that is reused avoids the creation of 60 pounds of green house gases that would have been created to harvest and mill new lumber.

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Gramercy Park by Wood-Mode. ©2012 Wood-Mode, Inc.


105 Brilliant Ave. Aspinwall, PA 15215 412-449-0140


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Donate, Don’t Dump Reuse starts with the important decision to not send a reusable easier with our free material pick up service, in store drop off, and strip out before demolition. Donations are tax deductible.

Shop Here First With 30,000 square feet of retail space you never know what you ideas: s Kitchen Cabinets s Doors and Hardware s Architectural details s s Lumber and moulding s Paint & Tile s Flooring s s Wood Furniture s s And a lot more!



We’re More Than A Store Job Training: CJ partners with Goodwill to provide material processing jobs for their clients with barriers to employment. CJ ReGives: This program provides CJ inventory to social service, environmental, and art focused

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CJ Hours Mon. - Fri.: 9am - 6pm Saturday: 9am - 5pm Sunday: 10am - 5pm

229 SPAHR STREET Shadyside, PA 15232 412.362.8454


CJ Classes: We also offer renovation classes and more resources to help you recycle/reuse.

8/24/12 1:36:52 PM


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8/24/12 4:04:05 PM



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158 PERRY HIGHWAY SUITE C, PITTSBURGH, PA 15229 T : 412.415.3484 - F : 412.415.0446 PA001227




8/27/12 11:27:46 AM

It’s not often that you’d use the term ‘energy-efficient’ to describe a 100-year old home, but the house owned by Janet and Harris Ferris is


a striking exception. In late 2011, they moved into their 2,300-square-foot, completely renovated East Liberty home

Independence and have nary an electric bill.

Renovated East Liberty colonial becomes self-sufficient By Hilary Daninhirsch | Photos by Craig Thompson

continued >

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This net-zero design home was the brainchild of Michael Merck, president of West Penn Energy Solutions. Merck purchased the threestory colonial from East Liberty Development, Inc. (ELDI), an organization that is helping to revitalize the East Liberty neighborhood by buying rundown homes and encouraging people to fix them up. Making Pittsburgh history Merck, an energy consultant, had wanted to renovate a home to make it net-zero, meaning one with zero energy consumption and zero energy output; in net-zero buildings, energy can be generated on site. “I mainly wanted to demonstrate that it could be done, regardless of the age of the house. You can retrofit an existing structure to make it as energy-efficient or more energy-efficient than one that is brand new,” he explains. And he succeeded; the project became the first renovated net-zero home in Pittsburgh. So, of all the possible houses and locations, why this one on North St. Clair Street? “This house had great southern exposure and a couple of other characteristics,” says Merck. “It was brick with an interior wood frame, so we could get high levels of insulation in the house. It had a big side yard for the rain garden. It just made sense.”

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The main level features radiant heat flooring under the hardwood. OPENING PAGE: The garden is filled with native plants and thrives on water runoff from the roof of the home.

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Merck says that the house, which had been vacant for about four years, was partially gutted, and his team had to completely strip out the interior and reconfigure it. “It was originally a single-family home converted into a multi-family home, with two, three-bedroom apartments. We converted it back to a single-family home.” Using specific formulas from a software program, Merck and his team converted the house to a net-zero design. Energyefficient features include 64 square feet of solar thermal panels to help minimize the cost of heating the water. An additional 18 Solarworld solar panels were also installed on the roof to help lower the cost of electricity. Based on a formula that factored in the average number of Pittsburgh sun hours per day, Merck estimated that the system should produce 6000 kilowatt hours a year in energy.

The house is also heavily insulated, with 18-19 inches of insulation in the attic. And all interior paints, stains and glue are low to no-VOC (volatile organic compounds). Merck added a 93% efficient boiler to heat the home. Rather than bulky radiators on the first floor, in-floor radiant heat was installed. “The second and third floors are heated by baseboard radiators that are slim in design, not bulky and big. Two separate thermostats control temperature more evenly throughout the house, which helps reduce energy costs,” he adds. There is also a heat recovery ventilator—or HRV—which helps the airtight home create natural fresh air exchanges within the house. In addition, the outdoor rain garden helps capture rainwater.

Old and new collide The Ferrises had lived in apartments in Mt. Washington and the South Side but

wanted to be centrally located. They also wanted a home with a lot of historic elements but didn’t want the high utility costs and other pitfalls and expenses that often go along with an older, large home. With this home, though, they have the best of both worlds. “We live in a new house with the beautiful old design that was done efficiently so the cost was not inhibiting,” remarks Janet. She loves the open concept with the original oak hardwood floors with mahogany inlay, the high ceilings and the stately pillars. Merck considers the home as a netzero ‘design.’ “I cannot guarantee net-zero because I can’t live in the house with you. OPPOSITE: Low to no-VOC paints, stains and glue create a healthy living environment. BELOW: A Heat Recovery Ventilator helps to ventilate air by using the heat in outgoing stale air to warm up the fresh air being brought into the home.

continued >

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Ultimately your comfort and pattern of living is going to rule energy costs.” However, the Ferrises, who weren’t looking specifically for a ‘green’ home, have been pleasantly surprised by their electric bills; some months have even generated more energy than they can use. In that case, they are able to sell it back through a broker and thus garner a credit from the electric company. “The idea of net-zero is that money you would make in selling those units would pay for any additional gas or water for your home,” Janet says. The heavy insulation keeps the house fairly cool in the summer and “toasty” in the winter. The air conditioning this past summer did lead to small electric bills, though. And because of the airtight characteristics of the house, the Ferrises have to be careful about any toxins that may be brought inside, such as those in commercial carpeting. “I have had cancer in the past, so I’m more sensitive to thinking about what’s in the environment,” Janet adds.

Thinking outside the box Harris, who is Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, adds, “We’ve always been conscious of resources and recycling, and are even thinking about getting a natural gas car in the future. So, having taken this step, we’re wondering what the next step might be.” Harris spends a lot of time in the rain garden, in which the couple has planted perennials. “It’s a pleasure to know what the rain garden’s function is: to create a buffer so storm water coming off the roof doesn’t go into the sewage system, but is retained to replenish ground water instead of putting extra stress on our already stressed-out sewage system,” he adds. The Ferrises say that the house complements their lifestyle; the city location is close to shopping and restaurants and to their work. “It was evident there was

Editor’s Note: The push to build green and conserve energy is picking up steam in the heart of the city. The Green Building Alliance recently announced a citywide challenge to encourage business and property owners to go green. Pittsburgh 2030 District—part of the National Architecture 2030 Challenge—is a collaborative and voluntary effort for downtown companies to reduce water and energy consumption and transportation emissions by 50% by the year 2030. For more information go to www.

The idea of net-zero is that “money you would make in selling those units would pay for any additional gas or water for your home.  -Janet Ferris

a vibrancy to the area. It was the beginning of a new era for East Liberty. That was an attractive thing to be a part of,” Harris adds. While they say that the house is comfortable and livable, the Ferrises do have plans to put in a garage as well as an enclosed courtyard for their dog. “It gives us a chance to be creative,” remarks Harris. “It’s a canvas.”

TOP: The rain garden is a member of the Three Rivers Rain Garden Alliance. RIGHT: Two solar panel systems installed on the roof help to lower the cost for heating water and electricity.

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The skilled artisans at Premier Granite and Stone have hundreds of beautiful slabs at their ďŹ ngertips to help you make the perfect choice for your home or work space.


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8/24/12 1:41:32 PM


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Photo by Craig Thompson

against the

Our hats are off

to the plucky homeowners who fearlessly incorporate art into their lives and homes, awarding it pride of place with verve and sass, making for memorable places and unique spaces.

By Nina Kieffer continued >

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Try This On for Size…

If you’ve got it, flaunt it. (Wall space, that is.) Artwork on a grand scale plays with proportion and alters viewers’ perceptions of space. TOP: columbus Photo by daniel feldkamp/ visual edge imaging RIGHT: PITTSBURGH Photo by craig thompson

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The Third Dimension

Populate your space with sculpture in the round to add motion, depth and the all-important conversation starter. TOP LEFT: columbus Photo by daniel feldkamp/ visual edge imaging TOP RIGHT: DAYTON Photo by daniel feldkamp/ visual edge imaging LEFT: INDIANAPOLIS Photo by CHRIS BUCHER

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LEFT: INDIANAPOLIS Photo by chris bucher BELOW: cincinnati Photo by robin victor goetz/ rvgp inc.

A Patch of Blue

Bold use of signature colors can exude a range of emotions from calm serenity to heady excitement, whatever ambiance you want your home to express.

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The Sum of Its Parts

A clever collection of deftly arranged pieces combines to provide an eyecatching composition just begging for closer inspection. BELOW: dayton Photo by daniel feldkamp/ visual edge imaging RIGHT: cincinnati Photo by robin victor goetz/ rvgp inc. BOTTOM: cincinnati Photo by robin victor goetz/ rvgp inc

continued >

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Study in Contrast

Although prevailing wisdom dictates gallery-white walls, art placed against the right intense and saturated hue jumps off the wall as an immediate, arresting focal point. RIGHT: pittsburgh Photo by Craig Thompson ABOVE: cincinnati Photo by joe vandehatert

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Funyak incorporates xeriscaping – utilizing native plant material and landscape design to conserve water. From concept drawings to final installation, you can depend on Funyak Lawn & Landscape to deliver results you’re sure to love. s$ESIGN)NSTALLATIONs"OULDERSCAPESs#USTOM0ATIOSs/UTDOOR+ITCHENSs7ALLS0AVERS s4REE3HRUB)NSTALLATIONs7ATER&EATURESs)RRIGATIONs&IRE&EATURESs,ANDSCAPE,IGHTING


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8/24/12 4:20:12 PM



!    "!










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Mozart Room

The Common Plea Restaurant has been located in the heart of downtown Pittsburghâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s civic and legal district for over 40 years. We create modern interpretations of regional Italian cuisine, served in an elegant dining room.

We pair first class service with superior seasonal cuisine, making your event simply unforgettable. Our comprehensive planners and creative chefs work together with you to ensure a seamless, elegant affair.

Awaken your senses in the comfortable elegance of the Mozart Room at Heinz Hall. Our talented chefs will set the tone with sophisticated and classical cuisine. Attending a performance or simply dining at the Mozart Room never ceases to be impressive.

310 Ross Street Pittsburgh, PA 15219 412.697.3100

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8/24/12 3:43:28 PM

eat Local eat Fresh eat Seasonal

100 Miles 100 Ingredients 100 Local Sources The PeasOut Project presents: Eat100 – a gathering of 100 local purveyors within 100 miles joined together by Jason Capps and the Bella Sera culinary team to create 100 seasonal menu items using ONLY their harvest.

Wednesday October 10, 2012 5:00 to 10:00 PM

The PeasOut Project intends to plant the seed of awareness for a healthy change in how we live by encouraging the Pittsburgh community to garden and eat/preserve seasonal, local foods from nearby sources—the way it used to be.

To RSVP & for more info (purveyors welcome) visit

Bella Sera 414 Morganza Road Canonsburg, PA 15317

$10 per guest. Kids under 12 free. All ages welcome. Expect an abundance of good eats! Live Jazz Performances Cooking Demonstrations


Interactive Chef-Stations

12PHC426_Housetrends_r1_Layout 1 8/16/12 4:18 PM Page 1

Designed and built by Pittsburghers and Pennsylvanians, the new Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens has emerged as one of Earth’s greenest buildings—a remarkable facility equipped to generate its own energy, and treat and reuse all water captured on site. Now nearly complete, the CSL will soon open its doors, beckoning you to enter and explore the possibilities for a better world. Begin your journey at

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Green like you've never seen.

8/24/12 2:02:52 PM

––––––The 9th Annual 2012––––––



Tickets are free to download at You can link to Ronald McDonald House Charities, Pittsburgh to make a donation. Come enjoy paradise, dozens of the most beautiful gardens. Experience outdoor living and dining rooms, ponds, waterfalls, and flower gardens.


Weekend of September 29 - 30. Noon to 6 pm.

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8/24/12 2:03:54 PM

green garden landscapetrends

in the

Eco-friendly tips and ideas for your landscape By Phyllis Gricus

Your garden may look green, but it can be harmful to the environment. And gardeners, along with the products they use, can be some of the biggest offenders. Minimize the negative impact your spot of Eden has on the world by employing sustainable gardening methods. The following pages offer a few ideas to get you started.

continued >

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Photo courtesy of Phyllis Gricus.

Bee friendly The wild pollinators, native bees—often small, stingless, solitary and unglamorous compared to honeybees—are also in decline. The primary reasons for the decline are the use of pesticides and development where there used to be habitat. Pesticides applied in agricultural settings are being done by trained professionals, while those applying pesticide at home are often using far greater concentrations than necessary; allowable concentrations are often much higher for home use. Why do we need pollinators? Almost all of the world’s seed plants—plants that feed us—need to be pollinated. Your garden can attract native bee populations if you plant native plants—they’re four times more attractive to native bees than exotics. Choose plants that bloom throughout the season to attract bees all year long. Diversity is important, but it doesn’t mean planting one of each species; small groups of the same flowering plants work well. The early spring blooms of redbud (Cercis Canadensis) and rhododendrons (Rhododendron spp.) provide the first nectar of the year. Beebalm (Mondarda fistulosa) and Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) are summer favorites. Goldenrod (Solidago speciosa) and New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) offer blooms through October. Native bees are important to the ecosystem by helping to pollinate plants and flowers.


If you’re interested in making your garden pollinator-friendly—which also benefits a wide range of other wildlife—check out the resources at

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Photo courtesy of Phyllis Gricus.

Thanks to innovative thinkers and leaders, Pittsburgh has made the transformation from smokestack industry to green economy with a commitment to sustainability. A regional catalyst in the sustainable landscape arena is Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. With the building of their new Center for Sustainable Landscapes, not only is the building going to exceed LEED® Platinum certification, but the highest green standards will also be extended to the landscape. The surrounding grounds are designed in a way that will restore the natural landscape function, provide wildlife habitat and use rainwater only for irrigation. Phipps offers both adult learning and professional certificate programs on gardening sustainably. Go to to learn more about the programs.

ABOVE: Companion planting can help keep bugs away and improves soil health.

Best Buds Companion planting is about plants helping each other out. The natural chemicals produced by one plant can help keep bugs away, keep the soil healthy and improve the flavor and growth of its neighbor. You can discourage harmful pests without losing the beneficial insects by planting a specific mix of flowers, herbs, or vegetables in proximity to each other. In essence, companion planting helps bring a balanced ecosystem to your garden.


Companion planting has been a practice since ancient times and is primarily used in the vegetable garden. The Native American’s Three Sisters garden, which interplants corn, beans and squash, is a well-known example. Very little scientific research has been funded to prove why such partnerships work; however, the anecdotal evidence is hard to ignore. continued > Photo by Craig Thompson

If you’re interested in companion planting, this book is a good resource: Great Garden Companions: A Companion-Planting System for a Beautiful, Chemical-Free Vegetable Garden

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Photo courtesy of Phyllis Gricus.

Black Gold Black gold is the invaluable product of composting—the natural recycling of organic waste into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw out more than 25% of the food we prepare and most of that goes into landfills. And that food waste, because of lack of oxygen in landfills, produces the greenhouse gas methane. If food waste were composted instead of being sent to landfills, the resulting reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would be equivalent to taking more than two million cars off the road. Compost, when added to the soil improves soil health, aids in erosion resistance and improves water retention. It also works as a slow-acting fertilizer, which lasts a long time in the soil. You would be feeding the soil—for the benefit of plants—with organic matter, reducing your need for garden chemicals. Mulching is another way to be sustainable in the garden. And compost is an excellent mulch to use in garden beds or top-dressing the lawn. In comparison to wood mulch, compost mulch helps to restore ecological processes to nutrientpoor, degraded soils. TOP LEFT: Compost feeds soil organically, reducing the need for garden chemicals. TOP RIGHT: Composting food waste helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. LEFT: A compost bin can be attractive and functional.


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Check out Compost: By Douglas Green (Kindle Edition) for more enlightening tips to create your own compost.

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Photo courtesy of Phyllis Gricus.

This rain garden accentuates the front yard of Lami Grubb Architects in Edgewood.

Water, water, everywhere When it rains, Pittsburgh has an over abundance of water. Stormwater runoff causes flooding, erodes hillsides, destroys habitats and washes pollutants into our waterways through our sewer system. Stormwater management is a challenging environmental problem in our region. Alcosan Sewer Authority, the city of Pittsburgh and 82 additional municipalities have been court-ordered to develop a plan to fix the problem. Homeowners can


also do their part to help solve the problem by incorporating rain gardens into their landscapes. A rain garden is a planted depression designed to soak up a few inches of water runoff from a roof, driveway, or other paved surface. The water slowly seeps into the ground, replenishing the earth instead of heading for the nearest sewer pipe. Rain gardens are easier to maintain, less expensive over time, attractive and more

For more information about rain gardens and local initiatives go to, and efficient than many conventional stormwater management solutions. Phyllis Gricus is the owner of Landscape Design Studio in Pittsburgh, creating sustainable and imaginative gardens for all seasons.

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Vangura’s Countertops, the right choice for your home.

Be assured that our 40 years of experience will result in the right choice for your needs and your budget.

Find out why so many Pittsburghers have been saying “I Love My Vangura.”

Call 412-824-7777 or go to to schedule a consultation at our showroom located at £{{ΣÊ6>˜}ÕÀ>Ê>˜iÊUÊ œÀ̅Ê՘̈˜}`œ˜]Ê*Ê£xÈ{Ó HTPT0812.030

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Less Work. More Life.

Accent Your Home With Beautiful Paint/Stain Free Hand Railings and Decking!

Specializing in Custom-Designed, Maintenance-Free Fences, Railings & Columns


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Maintaining & Preserving Pittsburghâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Unique Tradition of Slate & Tile Roofs Since 1946.

Quality is Our Tradition







SAVE ON YOUR ENERGY BILLS Dryer vents clogged with lint cause the dryer to run longer resulting in excess energy costs of $18 to $24 per month.


Specializing in Dryer Vent Systems DID YOU KNOW...?

National Fire Protection Association





get the lint outâ&#x201E;¢

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Dry Clothes - Safe Homes


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Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s technology with a green twist.



Breathe Easy

Clay Paint is a chemical-free, biodegradable paint that is highly durable and provides a soft matte finish that is perfect for a family room or bedroom. Clay Paint by Unearthed Paints is 100% no-VOC paint made from vegetable protein and white clay and can be tinted in a variety of colors.

Show Time

This Samsung 55-inch television has earned a spot on the Energy Star Most Efficient 2012 list. 3D LED HDTV by Samsung costs an average of $10 per year to operate based on five hours of television use per day.

Water Smart

Conserve water with the Addison showerhead with H2Okinetic technology. This showerhead delivers 36% less water per minute compared to a high-flow system. H2Okinetic Technology by Delta produces larger water droplets that retain their heat longer for a massaging shower experience.

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Manfred Honeck, conductor Thomas Hampson, baritone William Caballero, horn

NEW WORLD SYMPHONY September 21-23

Strauss: Concerto No. 1 for Horn & Orchestra Strauss: Orchestral Songs Dvorˇ ák: Symphony No. 9, “From the New World”





MORRISON & the pso

0 & 8:00 PM SATURDAY, SEPT. 29 | 2:3 7:30 PM & 0 2:3 | SUNDAY, SEPT. 30





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Photo courtesy of Lebello

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AdvertiserIndex Allegheny Mountain Hardwood.....................18

Kitchen & Bath Concepts......................... 4 & 5


K.P. Soergel...................................................68

Aspen Valley.................................................18

Master Remodelers.......................................68

Avanti Construction......................................35

Michael Lotenero..........................................65

Baird Brothers Fine Hardwoods....................15

Paracca Interiors............................................15

Bella Railings.................................................75


Bella Sera......................................................67

Phipps Conservatory.....................................67

Black Lamb Consignment........................36, 46

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra....................78

Building Performance Architecture.................21

Premier Granite............................................55

Cardello Lighting...........................................16

Prime 1 Builders Inc......................................58

Case Handyman & Remodeling....................11

Rex Glass & Mirror Co.................................17

Century Interiors, Inc....................................33


Ceramiche Tile & Stone................................17

Showcase Kitchen & Bath..............................44

Colonial Modern Furniture............................13

SPLASH Design........................................2, 46

Construction Junction..............................45, 47

SPLASH Design2...........................................33

Copperleaf Kitchen & Bath Designs...... 56 & 57

Sun-up Construction.....................................46

Day Apollo Subaru........................................84

The Common Plea.......................................66

Dente Classic & Exotic Stone..........................3

The Idea Shop..............................................47

Dollar Bank...................................................82

The Natural Sleep Shop..........................47, 48

Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Appliances...........................................19

Tile & Designs, Inc..................................45, 47

Dryer Vent Wizard........................................76


Family House................................................66

Welte Roofing...............................................76

Famous Enterprises.......................................44

West Penn Energy Solutions............................9

Funyak Lawn & Landscape Management.......65

Willowbrook Design.....................................20

Guardian Storage Solutions...........................58

Willow Grove Showroom.............................33

Habitat Hardware...................................47, 55

Please visit our advertisers and let them know you saw their ads in Housetrends.

Hancole Design......................................46, 48 Heartland Homes.................................... 6 & 7 Hillmon Appliance.........................................19

This index is published as an added resource. The publisher does not assume responsibility for errors or omissions. InsulRight......................................................34 J.A. Sauer Heating & Air Conditioning, Co....83 James R. Pitcairn, Inc.....................................35 Jones Stone & Marble...................................34

President and CEO, REACH USA Robert J. Slattery Š 2012 Reach Publishing, LLC Housetrends magazine is published by Erilia Publishing, LLC in conjunction with Reach Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

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The world keeps getting smaller. Leave a small footprint.



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Pittsburgh Housetrends  

September 2012 Green Issue