Concrete for Sustainable Design in Pittsburgh

As we develop the relationship with the sister workshop Concrete Zen, we open doors for new innovative design solutions. The Custom projects Take Pride Construction & Design LLC. managed in the last year have been those which have integrated the renovation, restoration or remodeling with Concrete Design. This approach has invited new ways to see concrete’s natural versatility. The workshop is 15 miles from Pittsburgh and the design’s are hand made. The result is a unique design, that is locally resourced. We welcome the opportunity for our clients to be inspired by their research and engage as a project contributor. With our workshop, we can provide prototypes from our client’s imagination. We limit the exhausting reasearch and expensive results of defining the custom intent. Our future renovations will have an integration of Concrete Design that can work within a budget for our clients and allow them to have a genuine unique experience. The options include floor finishes with custom staining and concrete overlays. Handmade Tiles can be made any size and shape for floors, back splashes or accents. We can make custom fitting Concrete Panels, heated for Bathroom shower stalls, benches and custom shower pans. Furniture can be made with choices and styles to compliment the colors within the house or an outdoor living space. Concrete Countertops and Concrete Sinks can be fabricated to the style and shape that suits the clients taste. Planters can be made to accent interior decor or exterior landscape planning. The list goes as far as one’s imagination. We are inspired by the innovation at Concrete Zen and others in the concrete Design Industry. Take Pride Construction and Design LLC. encourages experimental or forward thinking inspirations and look forward to collaborating to achieve the final result. Please review our gallery pictures.

Upper Saint Clair Renovation in Full Swing

Take Pride Construction and Design is currently working on a first floor renovation for a client in the Upper Saint Clair area of Pittsburgh, PA.  Working in collaboration with Concrete Zen, the renovation will include new custom cabinetry and appliances in the kitchen, concrete countertops, custom concrete overlay with stencils, and a textured wall treatment.  Take Pride removed some of the old cabinets and the island, to install a newer, more functional custom island and cabinets to complement the existing ones.  Plumbing was also removed from the island and replaced by new gas lines for a new cook top.  Nicole Santella selected finishes and fixtures for the project. Click here to see photos of the renovation.

Concrete Fireplace and Hearth in Squirrel Hill

Take Pride Construction and Design LLC recently collaborated with Concrete Zen of Pittsburgh, PA to customize this fireplace area for a client in Squirrel Hill.  The right and left flanking cabinets, in addition to the firebox, were fabricated and set by a custom cabinet maker working on the project. The clients were looking for an old world feel in a modern environment.  Nicole Santella of Take Pride Construction and Concrete Zen took their vision and created sample boards with an erratic texture, but still smooth to the touch, similar to a Venetian plaster finish. The concrete stains used were made from a soy base from Eco Procote – SoyCrete selections, and were purchased at Artemis Environmental in Lawrenceville (Pittsburgh,PA). The hearth was made from 3/4″ GFRC Concrete to sit 3/16″ above the hardwood floor.  The graining pattern on the concrete hearth was also created from SoyCrete stains. Click here to see photos of the project.

Eco-Cities: The New Trend in Green Building?

An urban planning company called Surbana Urban Planning  Group is taking green building to a whole new level.  The company has designed a community being referred to as an “Eco-City”, in which several of the newest green technologies will be used to power the city including solar power, wind power, desalination of sea water, and rainwater recycling.  Tianjin Eco-City in China is a 30 square kilometer development that will house 350,000 residents.  The city will be divided into seven different districts for these residents to enjoy,  including the Lifescape, Solarscape, Eco-Valley, Earthscape, Eco-Corridor, and Urbanscape.  Public transportation will also be addressed, with the addition of a state-of-the-art light rail system to ensure an easy commute.  Click here to read more and see renderings of the innovative city.

Take Pride Construction just completed a complete remodel of a third floor attic space at a residence in Cranberry, PA.  The remodel included some help from an engineer because of the complex system of trusses used in the space.  The remodel featured show stopping mahogany floors with varying tones of gold and yellow to deep red.   Open to the second level, the space provides the privacy for a guest without the unnecessary walls to close the level. This look helps expand the space for comfort.  The remodel is made complete with the addition of custom maple trim stained to match the decor of the room.  All in all, another successful Take Pride project! Click here to see photos of the renovation.

Take Pride Construction and Design collaborated with Concrete Zen on a whole house renovation in the Shadyside area of Pittsburgh.   The area shown above was previously an enclosed green house, but transformed to fit the client’s needs of a recreation area for reading and gaming, as well as an open transitional area between kitchen, living, and dining rooms.  Take Pride tore out walls and replaced them with knee walls to expose the 24′ ceilings in the living room area.  Concrete Zen created custom finishes on a variety of surfaces for the renovation, including countertops and floors extending from the recreation area into the kitchen.  The floor is a concrete overlay with custom staining by Nicole Santella, and countertops are a concrete “custom color blend” by Concrete Zen.  In addition, the cabinetry was fabricated at the Concrete Zen workshop and the glass table was by Emerald Art. Click here to see photos of the renovation.

Take Pride Construction and Design strives to make eco-friendly design decisions in each project and endeavor we under take.  On a recent project in the Shadyside area of Pittsburgh, we used reclaimed lumber from the Arts and Crafts style home.  The wide oak planks gave a unique character and depth to the space that couldn’t be achieved with a new wood flooring product.  Each plank was installed using wood plugs, replacing the old slotted screws.  This was an extremely labor intensive project, but the outcome was well worth the extra effort given by the Take Pride team. Click here to see photos of the floor and the entire remodel.

go-greenI attended the free workshop on residential energy efficiency today in the East End of Pittsburgh and was made more aware of necessary steps needed for the process. Saving money in the long run, or ‘pay back‘ is one of the major motives for making your house energy efficient. An Energy Audit, made by companies who carry seals such as BPI, Resnet, and Energy Star is the first step in finding out just what exactly is going on in your home.  Infrared Photographs are taken to determine where the heat leaks are. The blower door test is another diagnostic assessment during energy audits. A great point was made that it is also very important to have an energy audit after the new work is completed to verify that the new construction actually did the job in making your home more energy efficient.  -West Penn Energy Solutions. PA Home Energy is another resource for supplying information on “reducing energy use and improving the environment by lowering carbon use.” There are incentives are available to homeowners who make the improvements:,, and keep on the lookout for the Home Star Program given by (a home energy loan program).

I spoke with the owner of USA Insulation, Mike Madden, who clued me in on the insulation that he uses which has an R-Value that is 45% better than fiberglass or cellulose! It is injected in the walls of homes and fills all of the voids. -Elizabeth E.

4412567262_a0a000c6d4_s1I had a great time at the Pittsburgh Home & Garden Show. I spent a few hours each of the 2 Friday’s with the ASID designers who had installations in the “Designer Showcase“. I gave two small presentations on concrete design and the function with the Concrete Zen workshop. A big thanks to all of you who spent time with me,and especially Nancy Speers! I appreciate all your help and the opportunity to sit in at the design table. Also Congratulations to Nancy Drew for feature in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette! -Nicole

Nicole at ASID function held at Le Tapisseur

Nicole at ASID function held at Le Tapisseur

Elizabeth and I were at the 1st meeting of the West PA Chapter of ASID held at Le Tapisseur. This meeting was a collection of design trends for 2010. We saw inspiring videos from Maison Objet, a trade show in Paris, that showcases the latest and most innovative designs of today’s home accessories and furniture. Le Tapisseur is an excellent source of  fabrics and wall coverings. They were showcasing new outdoor upholstery that is extremely durable. Paris 66 was responsible for the great food! -Nikki, Elizabeth

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