Small Flowers in Bloom – Pittsburgh Quarterly

Little Flower stands majestically where it has always stood, on a small cliff overlooking Woodland Road in Shadyside. Built in 1910 by Daniel Clemson, a steel executive who lived in Highmont on the corner of Fifth and Shady, it was a gift for his son, Ralph. With nine bedrooms and a large shed, the Tudor designed by Henry Crocker evoked the height of stately splendor. But what he lacked was an outdoor space.

Enter Scott Westwood, a brash and adventurous lawyer who bought the house the same day he saw it, even though it wasn’t officially on the market. Let’s say he made an offer that couldn’t be turned down after visiting the home with two of his three sons in 2011. divorced and wanted to leave Sewickley, where he had lived in two historic homes.

Westwood was not intimidated by the scale and formality and instead was enamored with the architectural details that abound in the residence. Originally named Oak Gables, it was remodeled in the 1920s by George Crawford, the founder of Columbia Gas & Electric and the father of socialite Sunny von Bulow (who spent 25 years in a coma and whose husband, Claus, has been notoriously accused of putting her there). Crawford took out the Tudor and opened up the house, creating a large room where two once stood and adding adornments including wood-paneled and limestone walls, a gilded staircase, and intricate moldings that remain. “To me it’s very French,” says Westwood, noting that Crawford took inspiration from the grand mansions of Newport but added some Georgian and Art Deco touches.

The house was renamed Petite Fleur in the 1950s by a devout Catholic owner who had five daughters – Petite Fleur was the name given to the young Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. The life they led there is undoubtedly a long way from what is happening today. Which brings us to the missing outdoor space.

“In the 1900s the air was so dirty that these big houses were built without outdoor living space because no one was going out,” Westwood says. “So I wanted to have an outdoor living space with a living room, a dining room, a kitchen and a swimming pool with adequate seating around. “

On a salmon fishing trip to Alaska, Westwood met architect David Tisherman, who turned out to be a renowned Los Angeles pool designer with famous clients in Beverly Hills, Newport Beach and elsewhere. He also turned out to be from Squirrel Hill (although he moved when he was 2), where his family owned the Tisherman Rye bakery.

“We became friends and I called him and said, ‘I want you to design a swimming pool.’ He said, ‘You can’t pay me.’ And I said, ‘I’m not going to pay you.’ Tisherman laughed and said, “So you have to take me to two Steeler games every year for the rest of my life and let me stay with you.” I said, “Okay! So he came and designed the pool, working with landscape architect Joel LeGall and builder Tim Lesko. Tisherman has returned every year since.

Westwood acted as the general field contractor as well as the design manager.

“I wanted the pool to be a work of art, a horizontal painting, so to speak. I wanted Beverly Hills and Miami brought to Pittsburgh, anchored in the house so that she didn’t look out of place, but I wanted her to have a little flair.

Tisherman originally took the pool colors from the brick tones and presented Westwood with 20 different color boards for the Sicis glass tile. Because Westwood is color blind, Tisherman secretly enlisted the help of Westwood’s mother, who helped her son design and furnish the interiors of the house with the help of Niecy and Michael Terral from Artifacts in the West End. . Westwood preferred a color he could see like orange, but deferred the choice of colors to his mother, and the pool’s luminous surface reflects a multitude of shimmering hues. Designer Betsy Wentz of Studio B put the finishing touches to the outdoor living and dining areas.

While most of the interior remains as Westwood found it, meticulously maintained by all previous owners, it has added a bar at the end of the lobby for the holidays. he loves having it, and he added a shower to the original Deco master bath. He found plenty of furniture in storage, including large oriental rugs and window treatments from every room in garbage bags in the shed and basement. The house is furnished for comfort, not for show, with a TV in the living room so the kids can relax and use the space. This became more important when Westwood’s partner, Susan DeSimone, moved in with her daughters. The “Brady Bunch” effect led to the most recent project: a state-of-the-art kitchen.

“The fault with the house, I always thought, was the kitchen. It didn’t match the rest of the house. Susan and I started researching kitchens and saw a photo on the internet or in a magazine of a similar old house that contained this marble island and really liked it. It was made by Caesar, an Italian company, and we flew to New York to visit Caesar’s showroom. There has been a great debate on the modernity of a kitchen to install. I care a lot about the integrity of the house. When you travel through Europe, you see beautiful old houses with modern kitchens.

“It has become quite a project. We started in January 2020 and took everything down to the posts and found that the marble stair landing was not structurally supported so we had to put steel beams. Then COVID came in and hit Italy first, where they were making the cabinets and everything was closed, so we didn’t have a kitchen during the pandemic. “

The effort and the wait were worth it. A 14 × 4 island of gray Saint-Laurent marble from Italy centers the room and everything in the island is electronically assisted. Knock twice on the door and the two Miele dishwashers open. The refrigerator opens with a simple push. There are no handles or knobs to detract from the elegance, not on the Gaggenau wall ovens or the induction hob. The adjoining butler’s pantry features a dishwasher designed to hold 30 wine glasses, wine fridge, ice maker and Sub Zero refrigerated drawers. The Phillip Jeffries wall covering with gold leaf squares and gold leaf glass tiles around the range glow in the Italian lights under the raised ceiling accented by moldings manufactured by Hyde Park. Add to all these three Samsung TVs The Frame.

“Maybe I was a little over the top with the televisions,” Westwood laughs. “They also function like our art when not turned on, displaying paintings that we select. Depending on whether we are cooking or eating on the island or in the cocktail area, I also wanted to be able to see a TV and use the kitchen in a modern way.

For this purpose, there is no kitchen table. A seating area with small beverage tables that can be easily moved is used for casual dining. “We didn’t want to have a kitchen table because our family is large enough to force us to use the dining room. If it’s just Susan and I, we sit on the island or in the living room. We also wanted to make the kitchen an entertainment space. Our inspiration for the lounge area was a very cozy cocktail bar.

The glamorous result makes it easy to raise a glass to that!

About Paul Cox

Paul Cox

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