House hunters need answer only one question before
they step into the Pittsburgh Home & Garden Show
next week: Are they looking for a luxury dwelling, or
are they footing the bill themselves for their new residence?
If it's the latter, they'll want to steer clear of the
Dream Home and head to the Designer Show House, where
reality is the keyword for the model home. The show
opens on Friday at the David L. Lawrence Convention
Center and runs through March 13. For the first time,
two houses are being constructed on-site, says John
DeSantis, executive director of the annual event.
"The new convention center has given us the space
to grow," he says.
The additional space is apparent in each themed area.
The Garden Pavilion alone has increased to 100,000 square
feet -- or 2 1/2 acres -- compared to just 10,000 square
feet four years ago, he says.
As in the past, the show will be divided into four
categories of services and products: landscape and gardening,
construction and remodeling, kitchen and cooking, and
home interiors. Nearly 1,600 exhibitors representing
600 companies will display their products.
Local decorators from the American Society of Interior
Designers will create the interior furnishings and decor
of the Designer Show House, an affordable ranch home
being built by 422 Homes of Indiana, Pa. "The Sterling,"
the modular home being installed at the home show, is
valued at $169,000, says Bill Hughes, vice president
and general manager of 422 Homes. The same model can
be adapted to a Cape Cod with a second floor at an additional
cost, he adds.
The Dream Home is "The Covington," from Heartland
Homes' Charleston Collection, and has an estimated price
of $350,000, says Marcie Wilson, spokeswoman for Heartland
"People come to see the Dream Home and love it
of course, but most people in Western Pennsylvania don't
live in a house like that," DeSantis says.
Tom Zwierzelewski, a designer for Levin Furniture
based in Smithton, Pa., is furnishing and decorating
the Dream Home, which is 3,400 square feet. He selected
the Urban Views furniture collection from Broyhill in
buttermilk and charcoal painted finishes, which he says
"is made for today's casual lifestyle. It has Old
World styling with contemporary accents." The collection
combines cottage-style elements such as bun feet with
more contemporary details.
The house features an open floor plan that has a gourmet
kitchen as the hub surrounded by large dining and living
room areas and a media room featuring a home theater
and plasma television. Also featured are a large foyer,
a master bedroom suite with two walk-in closets, a powder
room, sun room and laundry room.
From its faux finish paints in suede and sandscape
shades, to its black granite kitchen countertops and
white metal lighting fixtures, the Dream Home showcases
the latest decorating trends, Zwierzelewski says.
"We didn't cut any corners in this home,"
Seven local designers from the American Society of
Interior Designers are working to furnish the Designer
Show House, says Karolyn Spagnolo, home show chairwoman.
They include Spagnolo of Spagnolo Designs, master suite;
Carolyn Thornton, Carolyn Thornton Interiors, foyer
and living room; Nancy Drew, Drew Designs Ltd., family
room; Lynn Staab, Organized Spaces, laundry room; Chuck
Honse, Ched Designs, kitchen and dining room; Pat Lynn
Good, Multidimensional Designing Services Inc., home
office, and Andrea Pohl, Andrea Pohl Interiors, teen-ager's
Each designer is working with their own brands, in
most cases local artisans and furniture craftsman to
furnish the home, which is 2,400 square feet. Spagnolo
says the designers will "work our magic" using
affordable furnishings and stylish decorations.
"We don't have unlimited budgets," she says.
"We're going to wow them with 'normal.'"
Members of the designers group also will be available
for free 15-minute consultations with home show visitors
planning their own design projects, she adds. The homeowners
should bring fabric swatches, photos and other materials
to help with the decorating advice.
DeSantis says areas have been expanded to include more
exhibitors and more room for displays. In the kitchen
area, for example, cooking classes for adults and children
will be offered for the first time.
"The big difference with this year's show is that
visitors will notice so much more in each category,"
DeSantis says. "With more than nine acres of exhibits,
this really has become four shows in one."