Team Members Archives

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.

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

Chatham University Green Trade Show 2010

Nicole and Elizabeth at Chatham Green Show 2010

Nicole and Elizabeth at Chatham Green Trade Show 2010

Chatham‘s Green Trade Show gave students a chance to get exposed to new eco-friendly products that are on the market. Among the representatives were Benjamin Moore paints, 3Form, Forbo, and Take Pride Construction and Design & Concrete Zen. Students gathered around our table as Nicole and Elizabeth discussed the methods and properties of our concrete production. Nicole discussed all of the attributes of GFRC as well as concrete staining techniques and integrated pigments within the GFRC. We also mentioned some possible uses of recycled parts, like glass, that can be added to the ad-mixture for a specific effect. Nicole stressed the fact that energy is saved in the manufacturing of Concrete Zen’s mixture due to the use of VCAS, a by-product of the Fiberglass Industry.-Elizabeth E.

Mosaic at Tile & DesignsElizabeth & Nicole joined the libations at three showrooms in the Shadyside area of Pittsburgh last night. Tile & Designs Inc., Le Tapisseur, and Weisshousewere the destinations. I asked Janelle of Tile & Designs to clue me in on details of the most durable, high traffic tiles that they had in the showroom. She was extremely knowledgeable of the different manufacturing processes of the tiles that they had on display and their appropriate uses. Le Tapisseur has a wide array of fabrics and wall coverings. Weisshouse has a great assortment of custom area rugs in their showroom in addition to their full design services. –Elizabeth E.

GAGI pre-party at the Shadow Lounge

img_0683 GAGI stands for Geek Arts Green Innovators. It is a great feat to bring people together who have differing backgrounds and common interests. Christine McCray Bethea is the fearless organizer who is coordinating events for the GAGI festival on April 2nd. The fun filled evening includes a fashion show, green innovation, robotics and more…Please see for detailed information about the event. Brian, Nicole, and Elizabeth joined the fun Friday, March 19th at the AVA Lounge and the Shadow Lounge talking with participants of the up and coming festival. Everyone who I spoke with had very interesting activities to share. It was inspiring to hear that environmental consciousness is widespread nowadays!–Elizabeth E.

Windows and Solar Power

Solar Dye in Windows

Solar Dye in Windows

Popular Mechanics covers a ground breaking story: “Within a decade, windows… could generate electricity”! MIT researchers started a company: Covalent Solar developed the “Organic Solar Concentrator” that uses “dyes [to] direct photons to solar cells at the edges”. This method of collecting light “could increase the efficiency of existing solar panels by as much as 50%.”- EE

Please see:

The Green Building Alliance of Pittsburgh is starting a group of young professionals who want to be at the forefront of green building initiatives. I represented Take Pride Construction/Concrete Zen. There were 12 attendees who all have different professions that have relevant connections to the green movement.-Elizabeth Edelstein

"Go Green"

"Go Green"

Net Zero Building

BedZed Zero Energy Housing in the UK

BedZED Zero Energy Housing in the UK


I attended the Net Zero Building lecture at Chatham University which was given by Robert Shelton, who is a Chatham University Interior Architecture instructor. I found it to be exciting that software is now being used by architects to develop energy efficient newly constructed buildings and existing structures during the beginning of the design phase. This technology eliminates the schematic portion of construction documents and simultaneously follows LEED guidelines. – Nicole Santella