Last weekend I made one of my favorite discoveries in Pittsburgh since starting my blog: Little House Big Art. It’s an independently owned, totally free-spirited, kid-friendly art studio located in the Spring Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh (just above the North Side). I had heard great things about it from the wonderful Carrie Nardini, proprietress of the I Made It! Market, and I decided to take my 3 year old daughter there to check it out last weekend. We had an awesome afternoon and we will DEFINITELY be back. Possibly every weekend….
What is it?
Little House Big Art calls itself an “art studio,” but the label really doesn’t do it justice. It’s more like a haven of creativity for artsy folks (or wannabe’s like me). The studio has the tools and supplies for creative projects of all sorts: jewelry making, pottery, sewing, knitting, shrink art, melty beads, terrarium-building, painting, drawing, button-making, rainbow-looming, general arts & crafts (we’re talking stickers, markers, crayons, colored pencils, glitter, stamps, buttons, etc), and on and on and on. In fact, every little nook of space in this studio has something fun to check out (including an adorable cat who kept us company all afternoon!).
The owners of Little House Big Art are two incredibly laid back ladies who revealed how cool they were during the course of the afternoon in a few illustrative sentences:
“DEFINITELY bring your 2 year old next time. We WANT kids to make a mess here. That way you don’t have to worry about in your own house.”
And: “Little House Big Art is BYOB at all times. If it’s 11 AM and you want to drink a beer, that’s cool with us.”
And: “Feel free to make some of our tea or coffee in the kitchen. Some of our regulars even order pizzas and hang out here.”
And: “Feel free to bring your projects in and work on them here. There’s no charge to hang out in the space. And we might be able to help you out with whatever you’re working on, too.”
Maybe you get a sense of what I’m talking about now? I love these ladies.
Where is it?
Little House Big Art is located at 938 Haslage Avenue in Spring Hill. It is aptly named because it really IS a little house, buried on a residential street, in a quiet neighborhood of Pittsburgh. When you pull up to the house, you will see a steep flight of stairs and a brightly colored sign with the address written on it.
The house itself doesn’t have a commercial sign and you MAY get a sketchy vibe as you’re walking up to a random door and knocking on it. Fear not! It’s a legit business and you won’t be disappointed.
Inside, the house is everything it promises to be: a cozy little place where BIG ART can happen. The space itself is just wonderful. It’s colorful, warm, bright, full of plants, animals hanging out, interesting knick-knacks, comfy seating. It’s the perfect atmosphere to relax and get creative. Plus, I think it’s very non-threatening for kids since it just feels like a very cool HOUSE.
When is it open?
The studio’s normal hours are: Tuesday-Saturday from 11a-8p and Sunday from 1p to 7p. However, these can vary depending on whether they have a birthday party scheduled (BTW: only $25/hr for use of their space for a bday party!). Check out their Facebook page or their website to be sure they’ll be open.
How much is it?
As you may imagine, the pricing is complicated considering the sheer range of projects that can be done. Certain items such as canvasses and pottery pieces have clearly labeled prices. Most others don’t. The owner just looks over what you’ve done and comes up with a price for the supplies you’ve used. Let me assure you, though, it’s quite affordable. My daughter and I were there for 2 hours, made a bracelet, 4 Valentine’s, and a bunch of drawings using tons of stickers and other craft supplies and it cost us $6.
Important Things to Know:
A few important pieces of information for you:
1. The main entrance to the house (on Haslage Avenue) is not handicap or stroller friendly. You will have to climb a very steep staircase. If you need mobility assistance, you should call ahead because they can make accommodations for you.
2. The majority of the paint they use is acrylic. It will not stain skin; however, it will stain clothes. They also do not have smocks (because they’ve found the kids get their clothes messy anyway). Definitely put your kids in clothes that can get dirty.
3. Besides their open studio time, they also host a huge range of classes. They also occasionally offer a Parent’s Date Night, where you can drop off your child and have a couple of hours to yourselves!
4. You are welcome to bring any food or drinks you want.
5. If you have a young toddler, be wary of stray beads or other things they can put into their mouths.
I am eagerly awaiting the next time I can bring my kids to Little House Big Art. Here’s how I envision it going: I will get my children set up with one of their huge array of kid-friendly projects. I will then make myself a cup of Chai tea in their kitchen. Next, I will settle down on their totally cush couch to work on my new knitting project. From time to time, I will pet their kitty, chat with the ladies, and help my kids be creative. I can’t wait!
© Copyright 2014 Nadine Champsi, All rights Reserved. Written For: The Pittsburgh Mommy Blog