Whether through hassle-free finishings, additional storage or clean, elegant design elements, Pittsburgh home owners are constantly seeking simple and affordable transformations to make their homes more efficient, beautiful and low-maintenance, as noted by Pittsburgh interior designer Nancy Sudsina, who creates kitchen and bath designs at W.T. Leggett Kitchens in Pittsburgh. “I have been designing kitchens and baths for the past 12 years and absolutely love it,” says Sudsina, adding, “Each project is unique and has its owns challenges.” Sudsina, who enjoys creating beautiful, functional spaces, shares her tips for adding local flair to your home in ways that all Pittsburghers can appreciate.
Sudsina is seeing more use of simple, clean lines in design and door styles. These design options tend to require less maintenance, particularly in regards to cleaning, and are typically more affordable than more traditional, elaborate touches. One of the easiest, most inexpensive ways to achieve this is to shop for streamlined furniture, art and hardware with contemporary, modern flair. Choose neutral, cool colors like beige or gray and add pops of brighter, vibrant hues in accent elements.
In this busy world, Pittsburghers are less willing to devote long hours to cleaning and maintaining their homes, particularly in the kitchen and bath. Instead of natural stone or granite, for instance, which require a good bit of work to maintain, home owners are seeking more efficient, durable materials. “The pendulum is swinging to more quartz countertops, which results in no maintenance and have the look of stone,” explains Sudsina. She adds that the availability of so many vendors to select from makes purchasing these finishings quick and easy since it is no longer necessary to travel to the granite yard to approve materials. Opt for countertops made of quartz, stainless steel or paper composite (paperstone).
“Probably 80 percent of the kitchens I do have cabinets with crown to the ceiling,” says Sudsina, who attributes this style to Pittsburghers’ need for increased storage. “Thinking about the ease of use and storage is very important.” Home owners in Pittsburgh value additional storage that is super accessible and these types of cabinets are fantastic doing just that while preventing dusty cabinet tops, a benefit that adds to the perk of not needing to clean. In the living room or bedroom, choose multi-functional pieces that can be turned into modified shelving and those that feature under-the-bed or under-seating storage.
Recently, Sudsina has noticed a trend toward more luxurious updates and design features in bathroom remodels. “In baths, the use of larger tiles and resistant-to-staining grouts are popular thanks to their spa feel and ease of cleaning,” she points out. Pair these flooring details with relaxing paint hues like green, blue or neutral tans, all of which mimic a soothing, calming effect found in the most indulgent spas. To achieve an upscale style, Sudsina recommends incorporating a secondary handheld shower, which is also growing in popularity for its ease of cleaning a shower. A whirlpool tub and bath seating complete this in-home spa experience.
In 2012, Pittsburgh was named the country’s most gray cities, according to Forbes, meaning that the greater Pittsburgh area has a high percentage of residents older than 60 years of age – more than 23 percent, in fact — and Sudsina is working with many of these baby boomers looking to remain in the area for as long as possible. “Aging in Place (AIP) is an important design element at the moment,” explains Sudsina. “Currently 60 to 70 percent of my clients are 60 years or older.” Make your own home AIP-ready by finding ways in which you can bring less straining to daily activities and create a level entry in the kitchen and bath area. Replace your current walls cabinets for those easier to reach, install ramps where stairs once were and consider right-height seats and no-threshold showers, all in durable, long-lasting materials and finishes.
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