Category Archives: Home Tips

Tips For Your Spring Landscaping Project

Pittsburgh custom homesWith spring finally here, you can now get to work in your yard. Here are a few tips to create long-lasting curb appeal and beauty on your property.

Going Professional

Before you start any landscaping project, decide whether you want to hire a professional or do it yourself. If you enjoy outdoor work and don’t mind investing in the tools, building beds and planting shrubs and perennials can be done successfully with some advice from the nursery or a gardening or home improvement book or website. If you are looking to install hardscaping along with plantings, or you aren’t sure how to design your landscaping to best complement your house and property, you might want to find a professional.

Analyze Your Site

Whether you have hired a professional or not, you’ll need to sketch out the basic shape of your property and see what you have to work with in terms of topography, soil, sunlight, drainage, and existing trees and other features you’ll need to work around. Don’t forget to consider sight lines for any plantings you’ll be putting in, from inside your home as well as from the deck or patio.

Growth and Maintenance

It’s easy to get excited by photos of established landscapes in magazines or online. When you get to the point where you are shopping for plants and shrubs for your landscaping project, make sure that they will work for your region’s hardiness zone. You don’t want to lose a chunk of your landscaping investment over the winter because the plants weren’t able to withstand freezing temperatures. Pay attention to each shrub’s listed size at full growth, and space the planting accordingly so they have room to fill out. If you want a landscape that will look great with minimal pruning and other maintenance, also take note of each plant’s care requirements.

Extend the Season

Look beyond greenery and color, and think ahead to how your landscape will look in the fall and winter months. If you want to screen out a particular view, look for evergreen trees or shrubs. Incorporating large stones, arbors, or other sculptural elements can also extend the enjoyment of your landscape over the winter months.

Owning a home means you can be as creative with your landscaping as you are with your interior decor. Think about your lifestyle, and design garden space and landscape features for entertaining, relaxing,  or growing herbs for cooking.  With a well-thought-out plan, landscaping really adds to the value of your new home investment.



Getting the Most Out Of Your Closet Space

Home buyers rank closet space pretty high on the list of must-haves when shopping for a new home. If you decide to build a custom home, you can enjoy the process of adding lots of extra closet space, and not just in the bedrooms.

No matter what size or number of closets you have to work with, there are some things you can do to maximize their usefulness. If your home was built in a time when some bedrooms didn’t have ANY closets, you might be stuck adding a wall of freestanding wardrobes.  Whether built-in or separate pieces of furniture,  you still have a clothes storage space to organize. Once you have gone through your clothing and donated anything that’s not in rotation anymore, here are a few tips to get started. Continue reading

Mudroom Must-Haves

Spring has arrived, and whether that means rain or more snow (will winter ever end?), there will be mud. Mudrooms have their roots in rural living, back when country roads weren’t paved and everyone — not just farmers — came home dragging dirt on their heels. At the time, a mudroom was a simple, small vestibule area off of the kitchen. Around the 1980s, home designers gave new life and prominence to the mudroom as a much larger and organized space between the kitchen and attached garage.

Your family’s lifestyle plays the biggest role in deciding if you should include a mudroom in your new home and how big it should be. Do you have a dog or two? Love camping, gardening and other outdoor activities? Do you have kids involved in multiple sports that require a lot of bulky (and possibly muddy) equipment? Then a mudroom is just the thing to keep clutter and dirt from spilling into your living spaces. Continue reading

Granite or Quartz? Pros and Cons of Each Material

Granite and quartz continue to be two extremely popular choices for countertops in both the kitchen and bath. Both offer plenty of color variations, which means you can probably find something that works with the other finishes you’ve chosen and your overall design aesthetic.

But once you’ve decided that you want a certain look and color, what are the differences between granite and quartz? Here’s a short breakdown. Continue reading

Choose Flooring to Fit Your Lifestyle


Keep More Than Looks in Mind

If you are shopping for flooring for a new or existing home, you might be overwhelmed by all of the options. The room itself will help dictate the best type of flooring for that space — moisture resistant materials in a kitchen or laundry room, for example.

But you should also keep your family’s lifestyle in mind when it comes to what’s underfoot in your main living areas. Especially if those feet sometimes run through the house in soccer cleats. Continue reading

Tips to Keep Your Wood Floors Looking Like New

So you finally have the elegant hardwood floor of your dreams in your new Paragon home. Or you’ve saved up, shopped around, and had a new wood floor installed. And it’s lovely!

So lovely, in fact, that you might cringe when the kids walk over it with their shoes on, or when the dog comes indoors all muddy. And don’t even think about house guests in high heels – they’ll mark the floor, right? Your beautiful, elegant floor.

Don’t worry. We have some tips to keep your wood floor looking beautiful. Your source of pride in your home shouldn’t be a source of stress. We’ve got you covered. Continue reading

Safe Heating in Your Home

Extra Warmth Can Pose Risks

One major benefit of living in a newer home is energy efficiency. Your family is cool in the summer and warm in the winter, with no outrageous utility bills.

When it comes to home heating during frigid winter months, though, there are potential safety issues to keep in mind if you regularly use a wood burning fireplace, gas fireplace or a space heater in a corner of the attic, basement or garage that might not feel warm enough. Here are a few things to keep in mind. Continue reading

Get Fit in the New Year: Build a Gym in Your New Home

Convenience is Key to a Fitness Routine

We all know the benefits of working out — reduced stress, better health and hopefully a longer, more active life. But we also know how hard it can be to fit in a trip to the gym. Building a home gym can get your whole family on a path to better health in the New Year. Here are some tips and things to consider before you start shopping for a treadmill or weight bench. Continue reading

Selling Your Home During the Holidays

Holiday House Selling TipsGet it Sold and Still Enjoy the Season

As if the stress of shopping, baking and traveling weren’t enough, you might be in the position of trying to sell your house heading into the winter holidays. The good news about selling your home during the holiday season is that there is typically less competition, and buyers are often in a hurry to make a decision and get settled. Here are some ideas to help you both sell your home and maintain your holiday spirit. Continue reading