When the new end of a hip neighborhood seems to be producing enough vape shops for each smoker to have his or her own lifetime supply, a new, well curated boutique feels like a breath of fresh, non-strawberry-flavored air. In the case of the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA that fresh breath was Von Walter & Funk, a brick-and-mortar shop brimming with new and vintage goods for home, garden and apothecary, including a rustic farmhouse sink display I want to pry from the walls and somehow sneak off the premises.
The shop is owned by business/life partners Shawn Aversa and Jamie McAdams, and the royal-sounding name is a tribute to both of their grandmothers, Janet Irene (Von) Walter and Harriet Pauline Funk. Both of German descent, each woman instilled in her grandson a dedication to work, to family and to collecting, values that carried over into their home as well.
One day, while browsing every item in their dreamy collection, I couldn’t help but ask Shawn, “does your house look like this, too?” In other words, I invited myself over to what the couple jokingly calls “McVersa Manor,” and the answer is yes. Like their shop, McVersa Manor is just as much a mix of history juxtaposed with bright and bold, modern touches.
When searching for their home, Jamie and Shawn were looking for charm and that historic mix of high ceilings, big rooms and timeless accents to be a backdrop for entertaining. They also wanted to be in a historic neighborhood within walking distance of shops and restaurants. Shawn shares, “though we had to kiss a lot of frogs, we finally found the perfect house that we both fell in love with at first sight.”
Shawn and Jamie’s love was a Queen Anne Victorian in the Highland Park neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The house had all the charm they sought, plus plenty of space for their collections. Shawn explains, “We love so many periods and style genres that if you [were to] put everything in a pile in a room, you’d think [it doesn’t make sense], but we’ve curated each room and each piece to be both inspirational and functional — and we have to love it, ‘otherwise it’s just junk,’ as my grandmother would say.” —Quelcy