Blog by Beebe Cline

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Cheery and Breezy Pittsburgh Home

Inspired by their destination wedding in Key West, Florida, first-time homeowners Matt and Sara Bates brought the island's breezy color palette back to their Pittsburgh home. The two attorneys wanted their 1930s home to allude to the island's laid-back mood and signature conch houses. "Since Pittsburgh tends to have long, dreary winters, drenching our home with bright colors helps make us feel warm and cheery year-round," Sara says. The result is a refreshing, personalized storybook retreat awash with a soothing palette of pale blues and saturated pastels.

Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: Matt and Sara Bates
Location: Regent Square, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Size: 2,100 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms
Design challenge: With plaster walls built directly onto solid brick, hanging draperies and artwork came with a huge learning curve.
From a capiz shell chandelier to clay tile flooring in the kitchen beyond, the foyer sets the tone. "Our friends and family always comment that they immediately feel a little bit brighter upon walking into our home," Sara says.

Sara bought the golden peacock from a discount home store and spray painted it to match the sunny message above.

Chandelier: World Market; typography art: "Here Comes the Sun," Etsy
A lime green door injects the entryway with a playful contrast to the pastel walls. This shift in color can be seen elsewhere in the house, in textiles and wall colors.
The couple struggled with where to begin decorating with such an open floor plan. "We moved into this house from a one-bedroom apartment, and most of our furniture was left over from college living," Sara says. "We didn't have furniture in our living room for about six months, but learned to focus on the rooms where we spent the most time and not let the other empty spaces overwhelm us."

Sara and Matt's living room provides plenty of options for lounging, from napping in the sun-drenched sitting area to gathering on the sectional for cocktails.

Sofa, cocktail table: Arhaus
Patterned pillows abound. "I am generally drawn to bright colors and graphic patterns," Sara says. "Moroccan motifs just slip in here and there." Golds and greens create a fresh contrast with the pale blue walls, drawing the eye into the built-in bookshelves.

Accent pillows: T.J.Maxx and Arhaus
Delightful vignettes united by color or context are a special feature throughout the home. This peacock-adorned perfume bottle from Sara's mother adds personal warmth and charm to their living room bookshelf.

Glass dish: T.J.Maxx; paint: Sea Exposure, Valspar
Matching chairs and overstuffed ottomans create an intimate sitting area in the living room. A side table Sara inherited from her great-grandmother and painted bright red offsets the cool palette.

A glass console table from a local boutique helps divide this area from the main living space. A bowl of seashells from the couple's travels to Key West, Georgia and the island of St. Lucia sits on top.
Sara selected weathered wood accents such as the decorative mirror and coffee table for a rustic, beach-inspired aesthetic. She painted the backs of the built-in bookshelves in a darker hue to highlight family keepsakes.

Sunburst mirror: Ballard Designs
In the dining room Sara mixed vintage furnishings and budget finds with more capiz shells and Moroccan prints. "A Moroccan wedding blanket is high on my wish list, and I'd really love to use it as a throw rug in a light-traffic area," she says.

Sideboard: Furnish; dining chairs: Ikea; capiz chandelier, drapery: West Elm
Liquor bottles mix with art and mementos from Matt and Sara's wedding on a sideboard mini bar. Although the couple is currently searching for the perfect vintage bar cart, this area is one of Sara's favorite spots to decorate during the holidays.
This dining room gallery wall is one of many in the home and exhibits the couple's love of DIY projects. Sara painted a thrift-store canvas with chalkboard paint and set it into a gilded frame. It served as the menu board for their wedding and now acts as a canvas for ever-changing inspirations.

"Holla" sign: Etsy
Candles flicker in votives along the dining room windows, adding warmth even in daylight. "I also like a bit of glitz and glam. I like to bring sparkle into our home with mirrors, beads and gilded frames," Sara says.
The kitchen features sandy tones and a granite countertop and stone tile backsplash. For more color, the couple spray painted the pendant lamp hanging over the sink with a cheerful teal, Valspar's glossy Tropical Oasis.

Double pendant lights: Home Decorators Collection; sink light: Home Depot
Here's a closeup of the stone tile backsplash. Sara mixes everyday cooking elements with decorative glass bottles found from the local thrift store.
In the master bedroom, a DIY headboard project represents Sara and Matt's proudest homeowner moment. "We went from not being able to hang a picture on the solid brick walls in this house to being able to create and hang our headboard with no trouble at all," Sara says. She purchased the materials locally, and the project cost less than $100.

Lamps, drapery: Pottery Barn
Matt and Sara customized their 1980s dresser by sanding it down, priming it with an oil-based primer and then giving it three coats of paint and two coats of polycrylic, proving that a weekend's worth of elbow grease is well worth the effort. With new drawer pulls, this dresser now perfectly complements the couple's vivid design scheme.

Dresser paint: Ocean Slumber, Valspar Paints
Color is evenly distributed throughout the guest bedroom, creating a calm energy. The green cabinet provides a break in the scheme and gives the room a small dose of glitz.

Mirrored side table, rug: HomeGoods
The handmade quilt is a wedding gift from Sara's childhood friend. The blues, greens and purples are inspired by Sara's affinity for peacocks and provide the basis of the guest bedroom's color palette.
In the third-story den, Sara uses a picture board made from an old window frame to display wedding photos and mementos. "One of our favorite things to do when we travel is to look for keepsakes," she says. "In most cases we pick out what we like and then worry about how it will fit into our decor."

Fabric, clips, string: JoAnn Fabrics
The den has plenty of comfortable seating and a big-screen TV (not pictured). Whether it's game day or time to wind down with a good book, this is a destination for the couple to relax.

Lamps: Pier 1 Imports; ikat throw: Joss and Main
A lime-green front door gives passersby a hint of the home's sunny interior. Before buying the house, the couple toured about 50 different homes. "In the end, it was all the beautiful windows in the main living space that sold us," Sara says.

Door paint color: Japanese Fern, Behr
Matt and Sara in their living room, now the favorite room in the house.