3 Easy Space Saving Solutions for Your Small Kitchen

Spring cleaning season is finally here. Yes, dusting and tidying up is all worth the work, but what if that’s not the problem? Are you on a mission to save space in your kitchen this spring?

For renters, apartment kitchens tend to be more compact and saving-space takes some skill.

We rounded up a few quick and painless fixes to help get your small kitchen into tip-top shape. Your new-found efficiency will be worth the effort!

Tip #1 – How to disguise electrical cords

Coffee machines, toaster ovens, candle warmers, and even those adorable, light up signs that spell, “eat,” all have one thing in common…. an electrical cord.

Cords can be an eyesore when they are all bunched up together. The last thing you want in an already crowded apartment kitchen is a messy counter with cords sticking out everywhere. The simplest tip is to use twisty ties or velcro to help manage longer cords and lessen the mess.

Another really smart and handy tip comes from The Kitchn! They suggest hanging the cord from a discreet Command Cord Bundler and stick it to the back of the appliance.

We love this tip. What was once messy is now concealed!

Tip #2 – Crafty with counter space

Preventing electrical cords from getting in the way is one thing. But how do you create more counter space when you just don’t have much of it?

Introducing an amazing space-saving item – the kitchen sink cover! It’s typically a slab of wood or cutting board that goes over your sink and adds more counter space to your small kitchen. Plus, it adds a gorgeous, rustic feel too!

The cool thing is you can either make this yourself or there are also plenty of vendors who offer custom pieces on Etsy or Amazon. Just search, “Over the sink cutting board” or “kitchen sink cover.”

Tip #3 – One shelf, two shelves, red shelf, blue….

The right shelving can make a world of difference in a kitchen. Here’s a list of 5 organizers mentioned in Good Housekeeping that you should absolutely own.

photo from Good Housekeeping via the article

Looking for more ways to improve apartment living? From utilizing the magic of indoor plants to keep the noise to a minimum, check out 10 Ways to Improve Apartment Life.

Let’s Recap

We recommend these three space-saving techniques to transform your small kitchen,

Tip #1 – Get the clutter off your counter by hiding those electrical cords.

Tip #2 – Expand your counter space with a kitchen sink cover.

Tip #3 – Utilize different shelving units to help you save space.

Local Events and Shops with Unique, Vintage Treasures

Are you a fan of vintage items? There’s something special about treasures from the past and some people just can’t get enough of it.

Who can blame them? Some vintage markets have the most extraordinary items like retro T-shirts, unique decor, or even homemade items. Plus, these markets support local vendors so what better way to support your small businesses in Pittsburgh!

If that sounds like you, then definitely mark your calendar for these nearby vintage events!

Vintage Pittsburgh | Heinz History Center | Sat. March 23rd

This coming Saturday, get your shopping bags ready because Vintage Pittsburgh Retro Fair is back! Between 10 am through 3 pm, you’ll be able to shop unique, vintage items like clothing, home decor, vinyl records, and so much more!

See the Facebook page here.

*photo from Heinz History Center via the website

Pittsburgh Pickers | Ace Hotel Pittsburgh | Sun. March 24th

From noon to 6 pm, enjoy the many vintage items from 20 different local vendors and collectors. This event is hosted by Retro Gems and Zeds LLC. Did we mention admission is completely free?

Check out the vendor list through the Facebook page.

*photo from Ace Hotel via the website

Vintage Mixer Home Show | Teamsters Hall | Sat. April 6th

Just imagine two floors filled with unique and unusual pieces from over 30 local vintage sellers. Yep, you read that right. You’ll find authentic, vintage items and collectibles at the Pittsburgh Vintage Mixer Home Show!

Starting at 10 am (8 am if you have early bird access) to 5 pm, this vintage fair brings local collectors and small vintage businesses together to highlight, “community, creative inspiration, and nostalgia.” Tickets are only $5 for adults and free for kids under 12 years of age.

The event is being catered by Badamo’s Pizza, Espresso a Mano and The Allegheny Wine Mixer Inc!

Get all the details from the Facebook page here.

*photo from Pittsburgh Vintage Mixer via Facebook

Want to shop for more vintage pieces? Check out the several antique shops right in our backyard of Shadyside, Pittsburgh.

  • Kozloff and Meaders on Ellsworth Ave
  • Merryville Antiques on Ellsworth Ave
  • Lily’s Antiques on South Highland Ave

The Leading Women Behind the Businesses in Pittsburgh

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we wanted to feature some of the female business owners in our backyard!


Roberta Weissburg opened the doors to Leathers back in 1991 and has been selling gorgeous outerwear and accessories for men and women ever since. This shop is definitely one of a kind.

In the beginning, Roberta was working toward her dream by running Leathers from her apartment! Fast forward to 2008 and one major storefront renovation, Leathers now happily sits at 5415 Walnut Street.

Read about her story and the opening of Leathers here.

*Photo credit to Roberta Weissburg Leathers via the website


“Now I gotta cut loose. Footloose, kick off my Sunday shoes.” ?

Jill Rubinstein is the owner running the Footloose Shadyside Boutique on Walnut Street since its opening in 1987. When you visit this shop you’ll be immersed in designer footwear, chic bags, and stylish accessories for women.

Read more about this story behind Footloose Shadyside boutique here.

*Photo credit to Footloose Shadyside via the website

Gardell by Graciana

This local jewelry shop has been described as “Organic Elegance.” The owner and designer behind this beautiful shop is Graciana Rodriguez Fennell.

Her love and instinct for art swayed her from practicing medicine, and with a focus in jewelry design, she opened the doors to Gardell in 2006. Graciana’s influence from traveling the world makes her craft so much more special.

Visiting this local shop on Walnut Street should definitely be on your to-do list. Read more about Graciana here.

*Photo credit to Gardell by Graciana via the website


When looking for contemporary fashion, Pursuits is the Shadyside boutique with high quality, name brand items. Roberta Brody actually founded Pursuits back in 2002, but it has since changed hands.

After being an employee for years, Maria McManus became the owner in 2008 fulfilling a life long dream of owning a business. She’s made one successful career from the retail clothing industry. She’s been featured in Pittsburgh’s WHIRL Magazine, as part of the “Class Of 2010 Women In Business.”

Ask Maria about Pursuits and she’ll say, “We help women feel great one outfit/accessory/handbag at a time… without breaking the bank.”

Discover more about Maria here!

*Photo credit to Pursuits Pittsburgh via Facebook

Studio Chiz

Ellen Chisdes Neuberg has been making and selling her art since the 70s. She recently opened her very own studio in Shadyside where you can watch Ellen at work and even buy her pieces.

Her artwork has been featured all over Pittsburgh as well as galleries in New York, Florida, and Texas. Listen to Captured Pittsburgh’s Darkroom where Ellen is the guest star of the podcast episode.

*Photo credit to Studio Chiz via the website

Pam Eisner Design

Pam Eisner is the businesswoman behind this local jewelry shop! Pam designs and hand makes all of the gorgeous pieces in her shop. Just last Fall, Pam Eisner Design was featured in several high-end publications like the August edition of Vogue magazine – Jewelry Designer Profile

You’ll find this local jewelry store on Walnut street. Read more about Pam’s story here.

*Photo credit to Pam Eisner Designs via Instagram

Williams Sonoma

Williams Sonoma is a pretty well-known retail store around the US, but did you know the CEO and President is Laura J. Alber? She is a University of Pennsylvania alum and became an American businesswoman who has led this retail giant since 2010!

The retailer is known for high-quality products for your home. You’ll be able to visit this store on Walnut Street!

“Our customers love their homes, and we have a singular focus on helping make them a reflection of who they are” – Laura Alber

*Photo credit to Williams Sonoma via the website

Eureka Chocolates and Gifts

When you have a craving for chocolate, you have to visit Susan McGinty at Eureka! Susan has transformed her passion into a business by offering the finest products and personalized shopping experience.

Check out Eureka on Facebook

*Photo credit to Eureka Chocolates and Gifts via the website.

Lily & Val

Valerie McKeehan is the creative soul and businesswoman bringing hand-lettered chalkboard art to life through Lily and Val. First hustling as a small, virtual shop on Etsy, Lily and Val is now a boutique on Liberty Ave.

Learn more about the Lily and Val story here!

*Photo credit to Lily and Val via Instagram

Alex & Ani

Carolyn Rafaelian is the CEO and Founder of Alex & Ani. As an American-Armenian entrepreneur and businesswoman, she runs her business with a force of positivity! You’ll find this beautiful retail/jewelry store on Walnut Street.

“We are connected with each other through signs, symbols, and things that resonate to our core.” – Carolyn Rafaelian

See more about the Alex & Ani story here.

*Photo credit to Alex and Ani via Instagram


President and owner, Stacy Weiss, has spent over two decades leading her family business toward success. This local home furnishings shop specializes in high-end flooring, furniture, and kitchens. Elle Decor has even pegged Weisshouse as, “The best home furnishings store in Pittsburgh.”

Check out more of the Weisshouse story here and visit them on Highland Ave.

*Photo credit to Weisshouse via Instagram

Happy Women’s History Month!

Improve Your Space with these Amazing, New Interior Trends

The newest interior design trends for apartment living are officially in! We have the scoop on the styles that are sticking around during 2019 and others that you may want to kick to the curb. Looking at you, rose gold accents!

Plus, everything we mention should be A-okay with any landlord. Just make sure you double check your lease before doing anything drastic.  

Repurposed Materials

Rose gold is so 2018. Yes, the long popularity of rose gold accents may officially be over. There’s a new wave that’s embracing eco-conscious materials like bamboo, cork, wood, metals, and marble.

Elle Decor is calling biophilia the new fancy and we are loving this trend because it focuses on the “relationship between humankind and nature.” Here are some ways you can benefit from incorporating natural elements into your home.

  • Cork walls are all the rage since it also functions as an insulator against temperature and sound!
  • Bamboo adds peace and tranquility to any apartment. Besides, we hear bamboo plants bring luck.
  • There are endless ways to add natural wood into your home from wall art to coasters. Of course, furniture is the easiest way to add a little rustic, wooden flair.
  • Using metal in your apartment is definitely meant as an accent. Display a vintage, metal bin to bring out a rustic feel or use metal, geometric decor items for a more modern look.
  • Marble is a little trickier but works well as an accent. Use round marble containers to hold bigger cook wear, or use a marble tray in the center of your dining table.

A Centerpiece

No, we aren’t talking about the decorative centerpiece sitting on your dining room table this time. We’re talking about that one iconic piece every homeowner or renter should own. It’s the one item that stands out.

Your centerpiece could be a charming yellow chair, a unique piece of local art, or even a giant plant. Yes, Fresh Homes reports big, bold plants like a dragon tree or palm tree will become the most popular and captivating statement in 2019.

Did you know there are stores in Shadyside with amazing, unique items? Visit Penhollows, Weisshouse, Maser Galleries, Marcus Studios or Gallerie CHIZ to find your special centerpiece.

Artist Ellen Chisdes Neuburg was the former owner of Gallerie Chiz and has now opened her own studio! The bold, beautiful colors reflected in this Shadyside artist’s work may be just the one-of-a-kind statement piece you need in your apartment to snap you out of the big-box “same-old, same-old” funk.

Whatever centerpiece you have in mind, one thing’s for sure, get the item that starts all the best conversations.

House Plants

While we have giant plants and greenery on our mind, another way to bring nature inside is having multipurpose plants in your apartment. We aren’t talking about the bouquet of flowers you get yourself after a trip to the grocery store.

We’re talking red plants, blue plants, tall plants, and all plants. That’s how the Dr. Seuss rhyme goes, right?

Greenery and flowers do more than look pretty, which is why they are so appealing to apartment owners. Some plants like the Peace Lily or Snake Plants help cleanse the air. If you love to cook, growing your own fresh herbs could be your thing.

Toadflax, the Shadyside Nursery, and Alex’s East End Floral Shop are a few local shops you can visit to get gorgeous plants in Shadyside.

Multifunctional Furniture

We hate to break it to you, but apartments tend to have less space than your everyday house down the street.

One of the more wonderful things about Franklin West apartments is that many of our apartments are renovated Victorian homes! There’s a little more space than your average apartment building.

Since renters deal with smaller spaces, getting crafty with furniture and storage is a must. To keep space from becoming a problem, multifunctional furniture is a renter’s best friend.

Look for a storage ottoman or a sofa that pulls out as a bed. Though fair warning on that, sofas with built-in beds, can be very heavy. If a sofa bed isn’t something you’re interested in, think about adding a funky futon to your clean-lined, minimalist furniture mix.

Also, investing in containers or dividers to help organize drawers and closets will absolutely keep you from getting overwhelmed.

Check out our declutter checklist inspired by the Tidy Up queen herself, Marie Kondo.

Maintaining Balance

We talked about the many new trends you can add to your space like big, yellow couches to nature galore or even remove like saying goodbye to rose gold. The last concept we want to leave you with is about creating balance.

Freshome says visual weight is the “measure of force an object has on the eye, otherwise known as a measure of how heavy an object looks.” In short, when decorating your space make sure you have a balanced mixture of heavy or large items and smaller, accent pieces.  

When you successfully balance visual weight, you will have created one amazing space.

There you have it. Apartment trends that are adding a new spark to renters in 2019. To sum up, any time you can incorporate natural elements into your apartment, do it! Just make sure you keep things balanced.