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Norman Surrender

Regional Award Winner KDC 2006-2007

The historic charm of a Norman home in Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania is preserved, with a few added Contemporary and French details.

When designers Bill Kolano and his wife Brigette Pavlik acquired the 1920s Norman-style home that's known in their neighborhood as Windsor Castle, they saw themselves and their son living there much like one of the original owners: the Birchfields, an active family in the Pittsburgh community whose home was always bursting at the seams with guests. Kolano says that instead of imposing their modern lifestyle on the home, they tried to work with it. "We tried to figure out how the house wants us to live!" Kolano explains.

Patinas look healthily aged and include soapstone countertops, ochre-colored European plaster, parchment-like lamp shades on a chandelier that matches existing fixtures in the home, custom French toile draperies and a crackled tile backsplash above the Wolf range. An original cabinet discovered in the basement was reproduced for the kitchen cabinetry. The wood floor painted with a checkerboard pattern adds classic graphic appeal. "The previous owners had put that oak floor in the kitchen," Kolano confides, "but it did not match the oak floors in the rest of the house."

Today the L-shape space has separate zones for work and for guests to relax at the marble-topped island with Sub-Zero wine storage, and the glass and stainless finishes carry through a no-nonsense demeanor of a 1920s kitchen. Here the couple indulges in one of their favorite pastimes: experimenting with food, from an ongoing quest for the 'perfect' chocolate chip cookie recipe to employing different cooking methods when cooking the Thanksgiving turkey. "My wife really likes the combination oven, so something big can cook while the sides are cooking," Kolano says. "Six burners are a must and the sealed top is great — just pop the burners off and wipe it down. Since it gets used a lot, easy cleanup is really important!"

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