From Dark and Dim to Cheerily Colorful in Pennsylvania

Lu-in Wang and her husband, Dave Herring, needed some drastic changes to perk up their dark and neglected Pittsburgh home. They replaced old windows, then tackled the dim and obsolete kitchen, working with architect Mary Cerrone to incorporate light and color. A brand new deck plus a rainbow-like palette then helped turn the remainder of the home to a bright and inviting location.

in a Glance
Who lives here:
Dave Herring and Lu-in Wang
Location: Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh
Size: About 2,100 square feet;3 bedrooms, two bathrooms

Adrienne DeRosa

The brand new kitchen makes sensible use of this narrow space. Open cabinets and plate racks bring about the spacious feel and store things within arm’s reach.

Cerrone made custom maple cabinets with a bright yellow aniline dye complete. This process allows the natural grain of the wood to come through, giving subtle warmth and texture to the space.

Before Photo


BEFORE: Formerly, the outdated kitchen has been split into three small rooms — a highly impractical design.

“No room was large enough to be helpful,” says Wang. “Each can accommodate no more than one or two people at one time.”

Adrienne DeRosa

They included a fresh workspace, integrated to the cabinetry, in the kitchen’s entry. The countertop is the perfect multitasking spot and can be transformed into a drink area if they entertain guests.

Stool: Model Six Stool, Jeff Covey; wall paint: Mt. Rushmore Rock, Benjamin Moore

Adrienne DeRosa

Cerrone replaced a window with a glass door to get instant access to a new outdoor balcony. A sliding screen solves the space challenges of the narrow thoroughfare. The screen tucks into a pocket behind the stainless steel fridge.

The doorway frame went through the exact same dying process as the cabinetry to get a more textural look.

Door hardware: Flat Track Series, Barn Door Hardware

Adrienne DeRosa

Herring and Wang’s excitement for colour greets visitors as soon as they enter the house. “We like warm, vibrant colors and tend to be attracted to the same ones, which is fortunate,” says Wang. “We did take into account the colors of adjoining rooms — particularly on the first floor, where each room has views of the others.”

Vibrant and contrasting colors highlight the house’s original features, like this archway and little wall cutout.

Entry paint: Bay Coral, PPG Pittsburgh Paints

Adrienne DeRosa

Light floods the living area from the back of the home, bringing the principal colors to life. Wang and Herring considered the colors of adjoining rooms when planning their own palette, leading to vibrant layers of colour and space.

Fireplace wall paint: Forsythia Blossom; media wall paint: Butterfly Bush, both by PPG Pittsburgh Paints

Adrienne DeRosa

Saturated colors in the dining area, such as the vibrant Savannah Moss green walls, feel particularly warm paired with organic wood furniture.

The combination of modern and traditional pieces creates a comfortable yet efficient atmosphere. “We get ideas by looking around wherever we are, particularly when we travel,” Wang says. “We love the functionality and feel of little, simple spaces”

Living chairs: Wrap Dining Chair, West Elm

Adrienne DeRosa

Wang enjoys spending time composing in this blue home office.

The antique chair was a wedding present in Herring’s sister, who rescued it out of their father’s pharmacy. The Bellevue print came out of a local artist and friend.

Wall paint: Monet Blue, PPG Pittsburgh Paints

Adrienne DeRosa

Wang and Herring redesigned their master bath in 2012, installing a tiled bathroom to save a fresh Cambria granite counter. Long subway tiles at a monochromatic scheme visually elongate the wall.

Wall paint: Hot Spring Stones, Benjamin Moore

Adrienne DeRosa

This window within the vanity has been the greatest challenge with the bathroom’s redesign, since it prevented the usual mirror installation. Cerrone had a swing-arm mirror set up on the wall.

Adrienne DeRosa

The aluminum deck — made with elements from a fire escape maker — has doors leading off the kitchen and living room, providing an immediate connection to the outside. During the summer months it is an perfect spot for entertaining.

Your turn: Show us your colorful home!

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