Home cooking

Name: Brad Inserra

Occupation: Proprietor, chef, Brad's Swingside Caf鍊

Neighborhood: Fremont

Why do you live here?

Where I grew up, families with businesses lived above them, so living in a house on top of a restaurant seems natural to me—old-world ways.

How long have you lived here?

On and off for 10 years, full on for the last five.

How did you find this place?

It kind of just fell into my lap. I bought the business first, in July of 1990. A couple years later when the property became available, I couldn't afford it. A friend bought it thinking he might eventually have a little espresso museum there, but he got too busy to bother, so he sold it to me. I lived in the basement for about a year and leased the house to save up the money to buy it.

To what extent does this space reflect you, your personality, your tastes?

I haven't done much to the house. I remodeled the bathroom. The kitchen definitely needs a remodel. And I turned the backyard into an amphitheater as kind of a neighborhood thing and for concerts. The restaurant definitely does.

What would you say your "style" is, as shown by how you put your place together?

The restaurant just sort of evolved. The baseball and jazz stuff I'd always been interested in; I'd collected some great prints by Teeny Harris, the great black photographer for the Pittsburgh Courier, already. The religious artifacts relate to my Italian heritage, though I'm more into the imagery than the religion. And the shrine to ['60s Pittsburgh Pirates baseball star] Roberto Clemente sort of connects both interests.

What do you value most about this space?

Right now, because it's spring, the camellia and the sugar magnolia and the dogwood in the front yard, and the lilac is about to hit. But I've got to say it's this great oversized bathtub I installed, with all that tile and Spanish slate around it. The time I get in my tub and close the door is the best part of the day because it's the only time I get to relax.

What are the benefits to living in this area/neighborhood?

The distance to downtown; you don't deal with downtown kind of traffic, but you're just a couple minutes away because we're just blocks off Aurora. Also, Aurora is a disadvantage, because of the seedy activity over there at night.

What is your favorite feature inside your home? Favorite object?

My tub.

Where do you buy things for your home?

My prize possession I bought at Ballard Bookcase. It had been custom-designed for some Street of Dreams, but it fits perfectly underneath the bay windows in the dining room.

Do you ever worry that you'll have to move?

No, I don't worry. One thing, I own the property and I have a successful business. Two, I'm not afraid of change.

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