One-stop renovation

The creative team at You-Neek Designs can help with all your renovation projects. From left: Trisha Kerstetter, Vicky Acerni, Emily Klapkowski and Brooke Rakowski. /Photo: Beth Hruby McCabe

Have you ever thought about renovating your home, but wished someone could handle all the legwork for you? You-Neek Designs could be the construction advocate you’re looking for. 

Owner and designer Emily Klapkowski, Carleton Drive, went to school for interior design and did commercial design work before working in the high-end design furniture industry.

Klapkowski describes herself as a construction junkie who always wanted to go out on her own as a renovation designer. 

After she and her husband bought a fixer-upper in Mt. Lebanon, she originally planned to flip houses while building up her design business. 

That was in 2016, which turned out to be one of the biggest years for flipping houses in Pittsburgh and she was constantly outbid.

Instead of flipping houses, Klapkowski worked on renovating her own home and a few others, before launching a website. Things just snowballed from there.

A renovation on Arden Drive. The window was enlarged and an exterior door filled in.

 “In Mt. Lebanon, people don’t want to move,” she said. “They love where they are. They just need more space.”

You-Neek Designs specializes in renovation design. Designers do furniture and décor, and architects focus on structure. Klapkowski’s thought was to fill the gap, focus more on the renovation and project-manage the design implementation so there are no surprises. “Our goal is to tweak these homes to work for the families of today.” 

Creating home offices, building pools, redoing outdated kitchens, and adding more square footage are all projects You-Neek Designs has tackled frequently since the pandemic. When lockdown happened, a couple of jobs froze off the bat, which became a little nerve-wracking for Klapkowski. “But about a week-and-a-half in, I think it took people 10 days to stay home, and my phone hasn’t stopped ringing since,” she said. 

What started as a home business has grown into a full-fledged operation with three employees and a new Painters Run Road location in Scott Township. 

“We’re the soup-to-nuts for design,” Klapkowski said. “From ‘What is this thing going to be?’ to ‘What’s it going to look like?’ all the way through to ‘Here’s your finished product,’ we try to manage all of it so it’s everything you’ve dreamed of and everything we worked through and there are zero surprises with the end product.”