A Modern Classic Home in Pittsburgh

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Name: Lauren and Alex Chapin
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Size: 1,400 square feet
Years lived in: Owned 4 years

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Lauren, of Circle G Designs, shares this Pittsburgh home with her husband Alex. Though their tastes tend toward a more modern feel, Lauren believes in respecting the architecture of a house, so their home is a blend of their style and classic elements, the result of which is a simple, classic yet contemporary space.

Get the look! → Modern Classic Style

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Modern Classic

Inspiration: I have an undergraduate degree in Architecture and love modern style, but also really believe in honoring the style of a home. Our home is mid-century modern (built in 1964) but still has a lot of traditional elements. I wanted the interior to reflect that style, so I really practiced mixing modern and traditional pieces.

Favorite Element: The chalkboard spice wall in my kitchen is my biggest point of pride, even though it doesn’t always play nicely with our refrigerator door! My second favorite element would be all of the family accessories that we scattered throughout the house, many of which I found buried in storage trunks in my parents’ basement.

Biggest Challenge: Most people don’t realize that the majority of the furnishings and décor items in our home are secondhand. I helped my parents downsize during the recession and ended up with a lot of pieces from their house and both my grandparents’ homes, so it was a challenge finding ways to mix those in and make them feel like ours. We’re also young and on a budget, so we purchased even more secondhand from Craigslist! There are still pieces that I want to rework but I love how it’s coming together so far.

What Friends Say: My favorite piece of feedback from a guest was that our home was the “most beautiful yet homey” space that he had been in. Sounds like a place I’d like to be!

Biggest Embarrassment: Our home is always a work in progress, so I have a long running list of things I want to tweak or change. Right now, I think I’m most bothered by the brick on our exterior. It’s so dark—I would love to paint it! I’d also love to redo the bathrooms, remove all the oversized bushes in our landscape, and refinish some of the orange-y or damaged wood furniture throughout the house. The list goes on! I’m still holding out hope that we’ll win the lottery!

Proudest DIY: We did most of the kitchen ourselves and a good bit I did all by myself. I was completely terrified to do it but I’m so glad I did. There are a few things I would change (taking out the bulkhead, for example), but I learned so much and felt totally empowered wielding all those power tools. An equal tie would have to be our fraternal twins, due January 2017.

Biggest Indulgence: Our living room sofa (1960s Drexel Tuxedo-style) was a $50 Craigslist find, which we had professionally reupholstered. We didn’t realize when we brought it home that it had gotten wet at some point, so it had to be stripped all the way down to the frame and totally redone! We love it, but it was no minor expense! It might just be our sofa for life!

Best Advice: I spend most of my days working as a professional organizer, which includes time helping baby boomers and seniors downsize their homes. I know that most of the time, their children and grandchildren aren’t interested in taking much. So my advice to my fellow millennials – if you’re in a position to accept some things from your parents, don’t be afraid to take some meaningful pieces and reimagine them in your space! I think it can really go a long way in making your space feel like home!

Dream Sources: I would live in Crate & Barrel and West Elm if I had my way.

Get the look! → Modern Classic Style

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Lauren and Alex Chapin have owned their Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania home for four years. (Image credit: Kaela Speicher Photography)

Thanks, Lauren and Alex!

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