Nicole Santella 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.

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.

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

Residential remodeling in Pittsburgh, PA

LVL Beams and New Floor Framing support & stabilize shift in bearing from the removal of certain truss systems. The area above this living space was reinforced and decked for a new storage area. The ceilings in both areas are 7’10″ each after the 2″x10″ floor deck was raised above the ceiling framing below. This was a totally unusable space!  The truss system spanned over 16′ of ceiling. All of the 2″x4″ ‘s cut out were stored for re-use in our workshop. Natural Stone tile in the Bath & Mahogany Floors will be a smooth design after this renovation is complete.- Photo: Rich stands in the area that will be the new 3rd level Full Bathroom… -Nicole Santella

The creation of additional living space

Full Bath & Living space in Attic

GFRC-Rainscreens & Cladding=Smart Building

GFRC Cladding for Building Facade

GFRC Cladding for Building Facade

Responsible building is becoming more and more popular,and so are creative solutions to help buildings perform efficiently. Nick Bajzek, Products Editor with Reed Business Information,highlights the use of Rain Screens and their positive impact on building envelope construction. December 11, 2009 at GFRC performing as an envelope component not only allows buildings look interesting, but increases energy efficiency. GFRC rain screens can help channel water into a reservoir while also functioning as a thermal break to wind and heat. Take Pride Construction and Design works with a local GFRC Manufacturer Concrete Zen and Ball Consulting.

sustainable-pictureMission statement from SASBE website: “SASBE(Smart and Sustainable Built Environment) 2009 will be the biggest event in the European region on sustainable building and development before 2011. With our motto we aim at a positive, proactive approach to sustainability in the built environment, via different disciplines and on different scales.
We invite everyone — academics as well as private and public parties from the market — to join us in presenting solutions rather than problems at SASBE2009. ”

The 3rd CIB International Conference on Smart and Sustainable Built Environments (SASBE2009), had taken place at the Delft University of Technology on June 15-19, 2009, had a great selection of speakers. These lived up to the expectations and inspired the delegates (250-300 registrations) under the credo of ‘building smartly in a changing climate’.