Laura Petrilla for The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal pays a visit to the remarkable residence of University of Pittsburgh planetary geologist Michael Ramsey, who has completely transformed a City of Pittsburgh building into his private home.

In the WSJ piece, From Office Building to Loft, the stunning images of Pittsburgh-based photographer Laura Petrilla capture the home’s metamorphis, taking viewers on a visual tour of both the interior and exterior spaces.

Laura Petrilla for The Wall Street Journal

Featuring the vision of architect Peter Kreuthmeier, of Pittsburgh-based firm Loysen + Kreuthmeier, the ambitious project turned a dilapidated two-story office building that once housed the Allegheny County Juvenile Court into a modern 5,000-square-foot loft.

Focal points of the light-filled Northside loft include a Japanese garden with a 1,330-pound metamorphic boulder—quite fitting for a geologist who travels the world studying volcanoes and regularly visits Japan—as well as stepping stones with ruby flecks.

To preserve part of the building’s past, the original concrete floors were ground down slightly and polished, while a black floating fireplace was selected for the living room because it is more energy efficient than stainless steel.

Laura Petrilla for The Wall Street Journal.

The sleek kitchen boasts bamboo cabinets, along with counters made from green ubatuba granite, quartz, mica and feldspar that Ramsey had flame-finished instead of polished to show off their intricate crystalline structure.

A Japanese influence can be seen throughout the home. Glass walls between the garden and the master bedroom let in natural light, while the master bathroom—located in the back of the building—is outfitted with slate walls, bamboo flooring and a Shoju screen covering the medicine cabinet.

The home’s orange walls are a nod to the color scheme of the building’s original decor.

See the slide show now.

Jennifer Baron

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator...