When Stan Adamik and Jason Charney moved from a clapboard Cape Cod–fashion home in rural Pittsburgh into a modern attic 10 minutes from downtown, they faced a dilemma: how to make their traditional furnishings work in a metropolitan setting.
Rather than force their attic into a traditional mold, they whitewashed the floors and walls to create an original backdrop for their old-school bits. The few then brought the room up with bright art and much more modern furnishings to establish a cool transitional look that reflects their brand new big-city way of life.
at a Glance
Who lives here: Stan Adamik and Jason Charney
Location: Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh
Size: 1,200 square feet; 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom
That’s interesting: Blackbird Lofts, where the couple resides, was the very first LEED-certified residential construction in Pittsburgh.
The couple’s perception of proportion is somewhat more evident than in the living room, where a large fiddle-leaf fig sets the scale to get the space as a painting by local artist Brody Parker Burroughs elevates the wall using colour and dimension. “My decorating doctrine is to trust my first instincts when choosing things for my area,” Adamik states. “I find that my first gut response usually produces the most fascinating and successful results.”
A Gus Modern white sectional sofa holds bright pillows made from classic silk ikat cloth.
Cocktail table: glass, Curvet
As an interior designer in Weisshouse, Adamik has instant access to special finds, such as this classic Japanese camphor back that affirms a 19th-century good ebony Anglo-Indian box filled with photos.
In the living and dining space, draperies made from vibrant Duralee linen break up the expansive white walls. “I love textiles,” Adamik states. “I think in a different life I’d be a textile designer. A cloth is a microcosm of a inside’s bigger picture. A cloth can encompass many aspects of design: colour, texture, light and scale.”
Armchair: Earl Chair, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams; reading lamp: Studio Floor Lamp, Thomas O’Brien for VIsual Comfort
Adamik and Churney added a low dividing wall to separate the kitchen from the living room, a decision that expanded chances with respect to how to best lay out the area. At only 5 feet tall, the trailer keeps the open feeling of the distance yet is ample enough to accommodate the amusement center.
To unify the living and dining areas, Adamik added a large-scale sea grass carpet to unify the living and dining room, while an indigo blue Pakistani Gabbeh rug helps specify the living room.
Rug: Pakistani Gabbeh, Weisshouse; poufs: Cisco Brothers
The entryway is defined by art that is oversize. The art is a selection of 10 prints from Visionaire magazine’s “Larger Than Life” issue.
“Carrying out a monumental piece there was required,” Adamik states. “Anything smaller looked the same as a postage stamp.”
Wall and floor paint: White Heron, Benjamin Moore; runner: Pakistani Gabbeh, Weisshouse
Round the corner, a walnut sideboard pairs.
Pottery: Jonathan Adler
Door hardware: Barndoor Hardware; door paint: White Heron, Benjamin Moore; pendant lighting: Visual Comfort
“I wasn’t sure about a bedroom with no windows initially, but I have grown to appreciate it,” states Adamik. “It’s like a vault. It makes me feel protected and protected, particularly on cold and snowy Pittsburgh nights.”
By integrating elements such as an upholstered mattress frame and wooden side tables, the duo softened the lines and created masculine yet comfortable sleeping quarters.
Bed: Butler Bed, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams; dining table lamps: vintage
Food played a huge role in Adamik’s upbringing, and now, as the most important chef of the home, he still is affected by it. When it came time to design the kitchen, he devised a strategy to create the room more practical.
The galley-style space once opened into the living space, making furniture placement difficult. Adamik solved this by adding a dividing 5-foot-high wall that closes off the distance yet still enables interaction with guests in the living room.
Little vase: Tapio Wirkkala for Rosenthal Studio-Line (’70s vintage); crap can: Wesco, Williams-Sonoma
With upholstered cushions and ample back support, the vintage 1940s French chairs in the dining room make the room popular during celebrations. “A comfortable dining seat is important,” states Adamik.
A Marcel Duchamp lithograph hangs in a dual frame. The walnut-inlay framework was originally from a mirror that Adamik and Churney had hanging in their previous home. It had endured a drop that shattered the original classic silvered glass, and rather than trying to replicate the result, the few gave the framework a new intent.
Dining table: Ralph Lauren, Weisshouse; chandelier: Tilde 5L Wood and Iron Chandelier, Arteriors
A steel barrister houses Adamik’s library of design books and other finds, such as a miniature Eames La Chaise Chair from Design Within Reach.
An animal hide on tightly woven sisal covers the home office floor. “The room is an odd shape, so doing an area rug wasn’t going to function,” Adamik describes.
He admits the room is much more of a lesson in making things work, as opposed to deliberate layout. “Usually an office or guest room ends up with the leftover furniture that was edited from the rest of the home,” he states. “Ours did also. It was finding a common theme and combining it with colour that made it work.”
Armchair, ottoman: Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Weisshouse
For the work place in the office, Adamik and Charney chosen for luscious brown from Ralph Lauren Paints. A massive triptych of a horse hangs over the desk, paired with a habit Hickory Armchair by one of Adamik’s favourite artists, Thomas O’Brien.
Adamik, found here, credits Stacy Weiss, owner of Weisshouse, together with giving him inspiration. “She has encouraged me to take risks in regards to designing,” he states. “Shopping with her has helped me train my eye for finding those bits that really can add character to a room.”
More: Browse Tours by fashion