Consult the Design Center

If you live in one of Mt. Lebanon’s signature older homes, you’ll probably consider remodeling at some point. You might or might not hire an architect, but in either case, you’ll want to be sure your new windows, porch, landscaping or addition do not compromise the integrity of your Tudor, colonial, bungalow, Spanish eclectic, American Foursquare or other revival architecture.

It happens—colonial columns on a Tudor porch, slider windows without divider lights in a colonial façade, French provincial outdoor lighting on a mid-century modern ranch. These innocent mistakes can muddle the beauty of your home and devalue your real estate.

So, here’s a suggestion. When you have a major improvement in mind, call the nonprofit Design Center Pittsburgh and request a Design Consult. For a reasonable fee, a professional designer will provide advice that will help you make a well-informed investment in your property while preserving its intrinsic value.

Formerly called the Renovation Information Network, the program once was open only to city residents. Mt. Lebanon was the first suburb to which the program expanded, thanks to the efforts of our historic preservation board. Many local residents were matched with volunteer architects, landscape designers and other design professionals, some of whom were from Mt. Lebanon. Several stories in mtl magazine chronicled the good results.

The program has changed course several times, and Mt. Lebanon’s formal arrangement with the Design Center ended. But currently, the Design Consult program is open to any residential or commercial property owner within a 20-mile radius of Pittsburgh. That’s us.

The fee for the on-site consult, which can last up to two hours, is based on a sliding scale from $25 to $250; most Mt. Lebanon homeowners would pay $250. The fee for a commercial property is $250.

If you take advantage of the program, you’ll end up  with a one-page written action plan, and you can hire the professional to do the work, if you like. But there is no obligation to hire the consultant.

To request a consult, call 412-391-4144, x24, or email