Pittsburgh Magazine’s Ultimate House is a $2.65 million luxury terrace penthouse crowning a 17-story downtown residential development called Lumière.
Not just anyone would be asked to furnish all three bedrooms.
PerLora, a contemporary furniture and design store with locations in Pittsburgh’s South Side and Strip neighborhoods, was selected.
It’s not a job. It’s a gift.
The Ultimate House is a showcase that attracts paying guests. Reserved tickets for public tours, which run from Feb. 21 to March 1, are $20 each. A Dine & Design event Feb. 26 costs $35. All proceeds support the Free Care Fund at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital.
The project has raised nearly $280,000 in its first four years. Home Furnishings Association member PerLora, founded by husband-and-wife Perry and Lora Sigesmund in 1994, has participated since the second year. The Sigesmunds are proud of Children’s Hospital, which they view as Pittsburgh’s answer to the Shriners Hospitals for Children. The Free Care Fund covers all costs of treatment for children as well as their parents’ food and lodging expenses if they live outside the city. So, everyone involved with the Ultimate House wants to contribute their best work.
Furnishing all three bedrooms to ‘make a statement’
“Obviously, we’re furnishing it with furnishings that will complement the home,” Perry said.
For previous Ultimate Houses, “we’ve done a lot of master suites, bedrooms, a family room – all across the board,” Lora said. “We wanted to do all three bedrooms this time to make a statement.”
For one bedroom, that statement will be made with a high-end leather line from Italian manufacturer Gamma, Perry said.
“We take from a lot of our European brands that are exclusive to our store,” Lora said.
Lumière, in the heart of downtown, rises halfway between the Strip and South Side – just minutes from PerLora’s locations.
“It’s all just good exposure for us,” Lora said. “Years later, people will come in and say, ‘I liked that bedroom you did in that house.’
“It gives you the opportunity to meet people and share your story and your enthusiasm,” she added. “A room is a room, but you can bring it to life.”
Pittsburgh develops ‘amazing living spaces’
Lumière, a former Saks Fifth Avenue, is an example of Pittsburgh’s evolution.
“We’ve become a city with amazing living spaces,” Perry said.
Their store in the Strip, PerLora Leather, is near the Allegheny River on the other side of I-579 from the downtown Cultural District. Perry said he liked the space, but after it opened in 1998, “We were by ourselves for many years.” Lately, many of those amazing living spaces have been created all around PerLora Leather, and the area is booming.
“I wish I could say we were visionaries,” Lora admitted.
Meanwhile, PerLora’s original furniture store and adjoining Loft in South Side occupy notable East Carson Street. Visit Pittsburgh has said the street is “15 blocks of Victorian architecture and was named a National Historic District. Boutiques, restaurants, art galleries, theater and live music venues are all within walking distance. You can also get a tattoo, dye your hair purple and hoist a yard, making for some of the best people-watching around!”
The Loft opened in 2016 when the Sigesmunds purchased an empty historic building next to their store. They created a 4,000-square-foot retail space in an apartment and loft setting to offer furnishings in styles and at price points appealing to younger shoppers.
After tragedy, ‘focus on positive things every day’
Investing in interesting Pittsburgh neighborhoods is an easy decision for the Sigesmunds. While their business is thriving with the city’s successes, they’ve also grieved with the city in its heartache.
“Perry and I feel so lucky to be a part of such a special community in Pittsburgh,” Lora wrote on the PerLora website a few weeks after the October 2018 murders of 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue. Two of the victims were special to them. “Our city has been in the spotlight this year for many reasons. Having been personally touched by the Tree of Life Synagogue Shootings, it is important to us that we focus on the things that we appreciate each day. Our friends Cecil and David Rosenthal lived their lives that way. Always finding good in everything and everyone. We are going to take their lead and focus on positive things every day.”
One of Pittsburgh’s positives is its commitment to medical care for children. The Ultimate House is an ultimate statement.