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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: DSIREUSA.org, pahomeenergy.org, and keep on the lookout for the Home Star Program given by keystonehelp.com (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

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:  http://tr.im/RvIM


Florida Solar Energy

Florida Solar Energy

Florida “reflects”on its ”Sunshine State” nickname as it becomes recognized as being the 2nd largest solar energy producer in the country. In an article posted March 5, 2010 by iStockAnalyst, Lawmakers have introduced a half-dozen alternative energy efficiency bills that aim to speed up initiatives to help fund alternative energy production and consumption methods.  Implimentation into current energy systems would require some investment on consumers’ part. The idea is to find balance with what consumers can handle financially to help front-load the changes necessary to move away from bio-mass fuel dependancy.  Several bills proposed would require utilities to pay renewable energy producers the same rate they get for; have 20 percent of their energy come from renewable resources by 2022; and levy a 25 cent monthly fee from customers for state rebates for people who use energy saving products.