Merit Award: Whole-House Remodeling: Letting There Be Light

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By rethinking the space and maximizing sun exposure, architect Mary Cerrone and remodeler Charles Fisher transformed this dark, cramped row house into a dramatic, coherent home.

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By rethinking the space and maximizing sun exposure, architect Mary Cerrone and remodeler Charles Fisher transformed this dark, cramped row house into a dramatic, coherent home. It is suffused with natural light, tied together visually and materially, and, with a central kitchen, suitable for entertaining and family life alike.

Gutted by fire and rebuilt by the previous owner during the 1980s, the circa-1915 structure was almost windowless on the main level, with close lot lines ruling out side windows on the original footprint. Cerrone prescribed gutting the house, and tearing off a small addition she likens to a “lean-to” and replacing it with a high-ceilinged family room that extends 24 feet and has abundant southern exposure. She also moved interior walls, creating striking archways to frame the three spaces and making space for a powder room at the top of the basement stairs.

Cherry casework, cut to length in the field, coordinates the trim, window and door casings, kitchen cabinetry, and island. Subtle gradations in color and ceiling height, and marble and glass-tiled details round out the “nice material selection” that won the judges over.

Category: Whole-house remodeling, under $250,000

Location: Pittsburgh

Contractor: Charles Fisher, Fisher Renovation, Oakmont, Pa.

Designer: Mary Cerrone, Mary Cerrone Architecture and Interiors, Pittsburgh