There are five girls in my family and we each live in wildly different homes. Somehow we all grew up under the same roof in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and now, decades later, we’re spread out across the country (and globe) injecting our own style into our own homes. Last year, while I was visiting my sister, Victoria, in Pittsburgh, I fell in love with her eclectic, art-filled home and today, I’m so excited to share a little house tour with you.
Victoria is the only one of the sisters that still lives in our beloved hometown of Pittsburgh. She lives on the first floor of a historic house in Wilkinsburg, in the East End and has for the past three years with her sassy cats, Doug and Manny. The home was built in 1920 and oozes all the charm you could possibly want. Two big fireplaces. Lots of built-ins. Original stained glass windows and big pocket doors she uses to section off spaces for parties. But she has also managed to curate and add new furnishings and accessories that have just as much charm to the old world mix. Like, the recently added Nirvana Dakota Smoke Sofa (so much character, like your favorite leather jacket you’ve been wearing for years) and Sven Chair in a velvety dark blue–both from Article–to her living room. By day, she’s the Editor in Chief of TABLE Magazine, a regional food and lifestyle magazine. But she’s also a really talented painter (and art collector)–we have a few of her pieces in our laundry room and the girls’ room–you can check out her Etsy shop here.
I asked her a couple questions about how she chose her home and her decorating process and challenges, too. Here’s what she said:
J: How did you know this home was the one?
V: I was really looking for a home in which I could house a little artist’s studio. The living room opens into a bright studio. As soon as I saw my home’s little sunroom, I knew I would be really inspired here. I paint every morning, from 6:30-8:30 a.m., and having a special space in which to be creative was the most important thing for me.
J: What’s something you did to make your house feel like home?
V: As soon as I moved in, I started hanging art. That made it feel like home right away. Since my rooms open into one another, I knew the bedroom had to be something special (it’s adjacent to the living room, where I entertain). I built a chesterfield-style headboard that fits into the mantle of the home’s second fireplace. The result is both dramatic and intimate. I’m also a big fan of functional décor, I knew I wanted a clothing rack (mine was built by a dear friend) on display. The bedroom built-ins were a no-brainer home for my shoes–display what you love!
J: What is the most challenging part of your home?
V: Because I’m a renter, I can’t renovate my kitchen. It’s small and opens into my pretty, whitewashed dining room. I like to host dinner parties, but that means that the kitchen has to be very tidy before anyone comes over, and I have to prep and plate courses in view of my guests with very little workspace. It always takes planning!
J: What were some of your decorating goals of your home overall?
V: I’m a collector! I wanted to show off as many of my antiques and curious little finds as I could. When I travel, my souvenir is always art, and one my favorite pieces is the little wood painting of a woman in a red dress that I brought back with me from Florence.
The golden rooster lamp was a lucky find in a friend’s attic. I painted it gold, stripped the shade, and installed an Edison bulb. I get lots of compliments on it. On the large canvas behind my couch, I painted the quote, “Flying is simple. Just throw yourself at the ground, and miss.” It’s paraphrased from Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Lastly, I entertain always. The living room is the literal center of my home, and stocking it with a warm leather sofa with natural color variations, marks, wrinkles and creases that gets softer with every sit, and an elegant velvet chair that pulls out all the blue accents scattered around the apartment makes for the coziest evenings in, with friends and long conversation.
Couldn’t you just move in? Her home is such a magical corner of the world. I love the expertly crafted gallery wall in the hallway, the shoes in the built-ins and I want to sink into that leather couch! What’s your favorite part?
Special thanks to Victoria for opening her home to us. All photos by the insanely talented, Adam Milliron.