Category Archives: New Design Trends

Smart Technology in Your Custom Home

Pittsburgh custom homesOne of the most frequent requests we get from our custom home clients is how to incorporate smart home technology into their home building project. As Google, Amazon, and other companies refine and add to their voice activated smart home systems, other companies continue to develop new products to make daily living more convenient.

Here are some considerations when planning smart home features from the ground up. Continue reading

Our Most Requested Custom Home Features

Pittsburgh custom homesNew home design trends are always changing. We thought we’d share a few of the things that our recent clients have been asking about and/or including in their custom home projects. Watch this space in the coming months for more stories about other popular home features we are being asked to customize for homeowners.

Finished Basements

The finished basement never really went away, but homeowners are approaching this space much differently than the days when a pool table and a corner bar created a “rec room”. Today, clients are looking to build their lower level as a stylistic extension of the main living area, with similar materials and lighting.

Open concept layouts in the finished basement add extra light and spaciousness to lower level, if you are willing to visually divide the space into common areas for lounging, watching TV, or working out. Walk-out basements are very popular right now, and some homeowners intentionally work with the slope of their lot to make a walk-out basement with full windows possible. Adding a full, finished basement to your custom home project means that you can design the space for an unlimited number of uses — wine cellar or craft beer brewing space, soundproof office or music room, home theater, gym or yoga studio, or a full guest suite.

In-Law Suites

Along the lines of a guest suite, in-law suites are a new home feature currently in demand. Building new lets you add flexible space to your floor plan to accommodate grandparents, or to allow for a walk-out basement that gives relatives private access to a bedroom, bathroom and even a lounge space and kitchen. More working families are relying on the older generation for help with childcare or are themselves helping to care for an older parent. Incorporating additional living space into your home can add to both your quality of life and the value of your property.

First Floor Master Suite

A custom home is a big investment. And, ideally, once you start enjoying life in your new home you won’t want to leave. Many of our clients like the idea of a large master suite on the first floor so that they can extend their time in the home if and when mobility becomes an issue. We love working with clients to design master bedrooms, baths and closets that turn their bedroom into a true retreat.

When you work with us on a custom home project, we listen to your exact wants and needs, whether they are trendy or not. In the end, your home will be uniquely yours! Contact us to talk about the features you’d like to have in your new home.

Soaker Tubs Still in Style

Pittsburgh custom home builderIt used to be that everyone’s dream bathroom featured a jacuzzi tub of some sort, either a traditional rectangular built-in or a larger size tub as a focal point in the master bath.

Homeowners in recent years have moved away from bathtubs altogether in the master suite, opting instead for large, walk-in showers featuring steam, hydro massage, and other features. Spa-like showers aren’t going away any time soon in home design, but building new and customizing your master bath means that you can include space for a freestanding tub and really turn the space into a retreat. 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

She Sheds and Mom Caves are Now All the Rage

sheSHEDWe have all heard of “man caves” by now. But what about mom-caves or “she-sheds?” While some more .. shall we say … “traditional” folks may say that the entire home is a woman’s domain, times are a-changin’! Many women (if not most) work outside the home these days and could use a little respite after a long day’s work — just as working men always have craved. It’s only fair that if the guys get a man cave to dwell in when they need a break from family life, that the ladies do, too. Hence, she-sheds. Also called mom caves, they are not that awe-inspiring of a notion: what’s more awe-inspiring is that they weren’t on the radar until as of late.

Perhaps it is the fact that feminist issues have more of a voice nowadays with the internet and social media. Perhaps it is the fact that women are making more money and can “splurge” on treating themselves. Perhaps it’s just because women deserve it as much as her kids with their playhouses or game rooms, or spouses with their sports-themed basements or bars. No longer are the ladies of the house confined to stereotypical home spaces: the kitchen, the garden, the laundry room, a bubble bath. No, no, no. We want MORE.

Give us prettily-decked-out sheds where we can knit, or write, or rock out on our guitars. Give us little huts in the backyard where we can sip on some tea, or wine, and practice yoga. Or nap. Give us a little bungalow where we can catch up on trashy reality TV shows in sweats without judgment or distraction. Give us meditation spaces. Give us a craft room or a gift wrapping space. A dressing room. A reading nook.  A tipi. Give us “mom caves” complete with whatever our heart desires. Maybe that includes our family members or pets. Maybe it doesn’t.

It’s archaic and outdated to assume that women — especially mothers — don’t want or need a space of their own. While many times women are the heart of a household, it doesn’t mean that their household is ALL that they are.

So take a look at these rockin’ she-sheds, mom-caves, and lady-spaces … and tell us: would you like one of your own?



Paragon Homes has been building custom homes in the Pittsburgh area for nearly 25 years.  In that time they have come to be recognized as one of the premier custom home builders in Western Pa.  In fact they have been honored to receive over 25 Housing Excellence Awards from the Builders and Realtors Associations of Metropolitan Pittsburgh and the Washington County Builders Association including several for New Custom Home of the Year designations. You can reach Paragon Homes at 412-787-8807, or visit us online at

Ashley Boynes-Shuck is a well-known blogger, published author, and social media professional from Pittsburgh, PA. She was voted Best Blogger in Pittsburgh and Who to Follow on Twitter 2010, one of Pittsburgh’s Top 40 Under 40 for 2011, a 2012 Woman of the Year and Athena Young Professional awards candidate, one of Pittsburgh’s Most Influential Twitter Users by the Pittsburgh Business Times, and happily lives in a suburb of Pittsburgh with her husband, dogs, frogs, and cats!  In her free time she focuses on advocacy and volunteer work, as well as rooting on the Pittsburgh sports teams!

Mild winter has Pittsburgh homeowners looking to synthetic ice

With area ski resorts closing early and Spring clearly here, many homeowners are considering synthetic ice to enjoy their winter activities year-round, especially in the Pittsburgh area. Paragon Homes checks out the hottest new thing in home sales, without melting the ice.

Synthetic Ice

In over 25 years as one of Pittsburgh’s best new home builders we have put some wild custom features in our luxury homes. There were 20 seat movie theaters complete with concessions stands and ticket booths, in Peters Township, homes overlooking the fairways of Nevillewood in Collier and multi story hot tub decks in Robinson but even in our homes that housed future Penguin coaches we never had the opportunity to install a skating rink.

Although synthetic ice has been in existence for 50 years, recent breakthroughs have now made it mimic natural ice better than ever before, up to 90% the glide factor of regular ice! Imagine lacing up the skates to get some extra stick work or sure up your form in goal regardless of the temperature outside.

So how does it work? Synthetic ice is made in individual panels made of a plastic polymer that link together to make a court. This way, an arena can be placed in a backyard or basement to suit any size. Now your son or daughter can practice their moves all year without time consuming and expensive trips to the ice rink.

Synthetic ice recently made headlines at the 31st Annual Duquesne Light Pittsburgh Home & Garden Show where a 2,000 square foot display was set up to show off the non-melting wonder. It created the most buzz out of the entire show and is clearly something this burgeoning hockey town is interested in bringing to their homes.

Custom homes as extravagant as these might not be for everyone and you don’t need to spend like a millionaire to afford a Paragon Home. Our new homes are designed to meet the needs of each and every home buyer that comes to one of our communities whether they are looking for the height of luxury or simply a well built energy efficient home at a great price. Each home buyer has the chance to meet with us and custom design their dream home be it modeled after a home from our vast library, a sketch of their own or an idea they saw in a new home magazine. You can have a new Paragon home starting as low as $300,000 in one of our communities or on you lot.

Whether you’re contacting us about synthetic ice rinks or just the best custom homes in Pittsburgh, the only place to go is Paragon Homes.

Paragon Homes has been building new homes in the Pittsburgh area for over 25 years. In that time they have come to be recognized as one of the premier custom home builders in Western Pa. In fact they have been honored to receive over 25 Housing Excellence Awards from the Builders and Realtors Associations of Metropolitan Pittsburgh and the Washington County Builders Association including several for New Custom Home of the Year designations. Communities are currently available in Robinson, Collier, South Fayette and Peters as well as offsite or your lot.