Category Archives: Home Tips

Unique Ways to Repurpose Household Items

When it comes to the function of most household items, our thinking is typically pretty linear. But, Paragon Homes asks you: what if it doesn’t have to be?

 We encourage you to get creative and have fun with decorating your Home. Think outside the box! Upcycling and repurposing are both fairly new trends when it comes to recycling and reusing home goods and more.

 Many of us want to be unique in some way, and some of us even wish to have parts of our home that are special or different from the norm. Now with the concept of repurposing, you can stand out and have customized items that are personalized to you and your family. You can get one-of-a-kind décor without breaking the bank – and you can utilize many useful “life hacks” to get the most out of everyday household items, while you’re at it.

 Some examples of repurposing / upcycling include:

  • Manipulate old forks and knives into hooks to hang stuff on, or hang them as unique décor in the kitchen … a great, easy way to repurpose!
  • Use an old metal colander as a pot for a hanging basket outdoors. Paint it a bold color for extra customization.
  • Use an old kettle or teapot as a flower planter, either indoors or in the garden.
  • Empty and clean out cans of tuna or cat food. Remove the label and put them in drawers to organize items such as paper clips, staples, push pins, loose keys, rubber bands, and so forth.
  • In a similar fashion, you can wrap pretty paper or fabric around old soup cans and use them to store pens, pencils, markers, etc.
  • Use antique/vintage suitcases as a stylish storage option out in the open.
  • A wheeled (portable) tool cart can work in the kitchen as well as in your spacious Paragon garage. Add a slab of butcher block to the top to make it extra useful!
  • Hang an old wooden ladder (or part of it) on the wall for an instant book shelf or knickknack rack.

 For more information on repurposing, keep your eye on the Good Housekeeping, Martha Stewart, and HGTV websites. There’s also a great website called UpcycleThat.com where you can find even more unique inspirations!

 

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 http://www.visitparagonhomes.com


Ashley Boynes-Shuck is a well-known blogger, author, and social media pro 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, pug, doberman, frogs, and cats!  In her free time she focuses on advocacy and volunteer work, as well as rooting on the Pittsburgh Steelers!

Home Organization for the New Year

Most of us could use some help when it comes to more organized living, and Paragon Homes wants to help with these useful home organization tips. If you’ve resolved for better home organization in the new year, here are some ways to help you stay better organized in your Paragon Home.

  • Tackle that junk drawer! We all have one … don’t neglect it. Organizing it will be an easy first step in what can become an overwhelming process!
  • Hang it up! Look into different types of hangers. Nowadays, there are special hangers for special garments AND all of your other items from scarves to belts, handbags, and other accessories. This will help your closet to be more organized and easy to access.
  • Store instruction manuals in a 3-ring binder. This will help prevent clutter, and they’ll be easy to find when you need one. In fact, binders and color-coded folders can be a great way to store everything from tax documents to report cards, medical records, and more.
  • Repurpose shoebox lids or cardboard as drawer dividers.
  • Use plastic bins or collapsible storage bins rather than stacking clutter out in the open.
  • Shrink-wrap sweaters and other bulky clothing in a Space Bag or other space-saving storage bag.
  • Designate spaces in your home for specific purposes. Sounds simple, but may be easier said than done. When all else fails, get creative and think outside the box when it comes to storage and organization.
  • Invest in a magazine rack or another way to store magazines and newspapers, rather than having them strewn about your home.
  • Use a pill organizer for medications, or, group medications by category (stomach, allergies, pain relievers, prescription drugs, etc.) so that they are easy to access when needed. Also, throw away expired drugs.
  • Likewise, clean out your refrigerator often, making sure to throw out foods and beverages that are past their expiration date.
  • Toolboxes, makeup boxes, and the like are not just a waste of money. Buy them or make your own so that everything has a place.

What other ways can you think of to better organize your home?

Pet-Friendly Paragon Homes: For the Animal Lovers in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is a great place for animal-lovers, and Paragon knows that they are important members of the family.

Owning a pet can be a rewarding and enriching experience — but sometimes, just sometimes, they can … well … practically destroy our homes.

That doesn’t have to be the case, though. In fact, you can have a house that’s both chic and pet-friendly with these tips for functionality and fabulosity as a pet owner.

Here are some ways to make yours a pet-friendly home:

  • Get your dog or cat their own bed. You can find pet beds that are stylish and comfortable, and that won’t be an eyesore. Giving them their own spot may also prevent pet hair in your bed or on your living room furniture.
  • Better Homes and Gardens suggests building a “pet den,”  stating: “Dogs do very well in crates or cozy closed-in spaces. The way you feel in your den is the way your dog feels in his crate: safe and relaxed. Push the crate under a table in a kitchen nook or in the basement—or build a little pet hideaway—and it won’t fight with your decor.”
  • Chic storage. Use a pretty basket or a cute bin to store pet toys.
  • Store smart. Keep glass vases, picture frames, and collectibles away from your pets. Be logical. An antique vase on the coffee table that your cat walks all over or a valuable sculpture that your Great Dane can knock over with the swipe of his tail isn’t smart storage or display.
  • Go natural. Opt for cleaners that have minimal or no chemicals. Try vinegar and water or all-natural cleaners instead of bleach.
  • Scratching posts. If you have a cat, buy a scratching post so that they don’t shred your furniture. In the meantime, aluminum foil on no-scratch-zones is a good way to discourage clawing.
  • Built-in pet dishes. Did you know that you can build your dog or cat’s food bowls into a drawer? Smart and less clutter!
  • Be cautious. Do your homework and research if houseplants and plants/flowers in your yard are poisonous to your pet.
  • Cut the cord. Hide or cut cords and tassels that hang from blinds, curtains, drapes, and blankets. Your dog or cat could get tangled up and put themselves in a dangerous position.
  • Make sure windows are secure. You don’t want your dog or cat leaping out an open window or jumping through a screen.
  • Build an attractive dog gate. A custom dog gate that you build yourself will match your home decor and look nicer than most sold at pet stores or chain retailers — plus, it may be more sturdy, too.
  • … or build an attractive crate. Who says dog crates have to be ugly metal and wire?
  • Build a pet agility course in your backyard. It’s fun for them, exercise for you both, and a great chance for you to bond!
  • Fence your yard. A fenced-in yard is a great option for pet owners.
  • Vacuum regularly to sweep up that pet hair.
  • Bathe and groom your pet regularly to help prevent shedding and odor.
  • Choose furniture wisely. Stain-resistant fabrics and material to which pet hair won’t cling are a great option!
Can you think of any other ways to make your home a pet-friendly household?

Enhancing Your Outdoor Living Space | Paragon Homes

Our outdoor living space can be a huge asset to our home and property. The way we care for our yards, our landscaping, and our outdoor lighting and furniture can really make a difference. From curb appeal to entertaining, relaxing, and more, our outdoor living space should be treated as a part of our home.

 

Planting flowers, shrubs, and greenery can really spruce up your yard and accentuate your gorgeous Paragon Home. Making sure to keep your grass cared for and trimmed is another must, as is caring for any trees and plants surrounding your new home.

 

If you’re into entertaining, you’ll want to consider your outdoor living space as a part of your home.

 

What kind of lighting do you want outside? What about furniture, hammocks, a pool, or a bar? Do you want a basketball hoop or a maybe a fire pit could come in handy as summer turns to a chilly Pittsburgh fall.

 

There are many questions to consider in creating custom outdoor living space. Think about your family’s individual needs: are you into gardening? If so – vegetables, or flowers? You can eat fresh veggies right from your garden or you can create beautiful indoor centerpieces with flowers you’ve grown, too.

 

Depending on your style, you can also think about yard décor. Do you like the kitschy fun of a yard gnome? The retro feel of a gazing ball? Or, do you prefer simpler things like solar lights, tiki torches, white twinkle lights, or subtle statues of angels or animals?

 

Whatever your style is, keep it true to you and yours. You want your yard, patio, and deck to be like an extension of your home, and so you should care for it as such.

 

Be sure to check out Paragon Homes for our unique custom home designs.  You can choose a home plan as is, work with our team to make any custom changes you like, or we can design a custom plan around you from the ground up. Don’t forget to check our blog often for more Pittsburgh custom home and lifestyle tips.

 

From Home Building to Body Building: Staying Fit and Healthy with Paragon Homes

Is your home a healthy home?

heathly-300x278

Do you have a devoted workout space in your house?

If you have a new home, you probably do, but ultimately, you do not even need a lot of extra room in your home to exercise and stay in shape.

 

Sure, a home gym is wonderful, but, there are plenty of creative options, too.

 

Here are some tips from Paragon Homes that should be useful whether or not just built your dream home or are just looking for a homebuilder:

 

  • Choose exercise equipment and accessories that are portable, versatile, and easy to store. For example: resistance bands, yoga mat and blocks, small weights, jump ropes, kettle bells, suspension training systems such as TRX, etc.
  • If your item is harder to store, such as a large piece of equipment (think: treadmill, stair-climber, rowing machine, stationary bike, elliptical, or other total-body or weight machines) consider moving it to a space that isn’t frequented by guests, such as a spare bedroom, basement, or home office.
  • Choose treadmills and other machinery that folds up for easier storage.
  • Keep a balance ball in your garage or basement that is out-of-sight most of the time, but that can be easily pulled out for a quick workout.
  • Try exercise DVDs and/or Exercise TV. Most cable providers have exercise, sport, and fitness channels that feature OnDemand workouts…and if not, you can find many exercise routines on YouTube to follow along with.
  • Consider your kitchen to be part of your fitness regimen. Your Paragon home comes with the kitchen of your dreams, so why not put it to good use and make nutritious, wholesome, healthful meals for you and your family? Use fresh produce and organic foods when possible.
  • Keep houseplants in your home – they clean and purify the air!
  • Use your home! Yes, that’s right – your house can be part of your physical activity for the day. Cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry all burn calories. Plus, who says you need a step-machine when you can walk or jog up and down your own stairs at home? Use your couch arm to do modified push-ups. Use a gallon of milk to do bicep curls. Try chair yoga. You can make everyday items extraordinary with a “fit” frame of mind!
  • Don’t forget that many exercises don’t need any equipment at all:  yoga, Pilates, stretching, jogging in place, crunches, sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks, squats, and planks are just some examples of things that can be done in any room of your house…or anywhere, really!
  • Get outdoors! Take your dog for a walk. Play ball in your backyard. Have a pool? Take a swim. Go for a hike. Ride a bike. Whatever you can do to stay active, do it!

Whether you’re a body builder or a home builder, Paragon Homes has communities that are a great place to live, work, and play….and to stay healthy and fit!
~~ Ashley Boynes-Shuck

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 http://www.visitparagonhomes.com

Ashley Boynes-Shuck is a well-known blogger, author, and social media pro 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, and happily lives in a suburb of Pittsburgh with her husband, pug, frogs, and kitten!  In her free time she focuses on advocacy and volunteer work, as well as rooting on the Pittsburgh Steelers!

 

Organizing Your House: Tips from Paragon Homes

 

Sometimes, it is hard to keep a clean, organized home in this busy and hectic day and age. But, we’re here to offer some housekeeping and organizational tips to minimize clutter and maximize space in your new custom built Paragon home.

 

Some tricks and ideas for organizing your house:

 

  • Footwear in the foyer can get messy. Shoes can be kept on a mat or better yet, on a movable rack, so that you can clean underneath on a regular basis. Shelving or a space inside the coat closet would be an even better option.
  • With another Pittsburgh winter coming up getting the coats out of the way can be tricky.  If your home doesn’t have a coat closet, have a standing wardrobe specifically for coats, or, a coat and hat rack.
  • Keep your keys from getting lost by giving them a specific place where they go the minute you walk in the door.
  • Create focal points to distract from clutter. For example, Good Housekeeping suggests using a flat surface as a showcase area, with one central display like a vase of flowers or a bowl of potpourri.
  •  Home office? Organize your desk space. You should have enough room to work comfortably without knocking things over or bumping into your computer monitor. There are so many office space storage options available to aid in your office organization.
  • Bundle cords together or use a cord organizer.
  • Have a special spot where mail goes immediately. Sort and open it daily instead of letting it pile up.  If your builder included a mail shelf in your home design you are ahead of the game, but if not these recessed shelves can easily be added to existing homes.  Just be sure to check for any plumbing or other systems behind the walls.
  • Throw pillows are pretty, but keep them to a minimum to avoid your living space looking too cluttered.
  • Ideally, the top of the nightstand should hold a book, a light, and an alarm clock, but it should not become another catchall space of clutter within your home.
  • Store items under the bed in marked bins.
  • Hang seasonal clothing in your closet, and store out-of-season items in bins that are put away elsewhere.
  • All the clothes you keep in the dresser should be neatly grouped by type.
  • Keep jewelry in a jewelry box, and makeup in a cosmetics case. Don’t just leave things laying around.
  • Have a hat rack or a large pull-out drawer devoted to hats.
  • If you have children, store toys in a toy box instead of having them laying all over the house.
  • If you share your home with pets, keep their toys in a basket where they can access it, but where it is out of the way.

Good Housekeeping suggests having a workstation for cooking “Clustering basic implements and ingredients you regularly use in cooking can make meal preparation quicker. Self-contained units do the trick here. Keep often-used utensils on a lazy Susan, with compartments for cooking oil, salt and pepper, and basic condiments. Position commonly used staples such as garlic and onions next to the food-prep work station. Be sure to leave plenty of surface area for chopping, cutting, and other types of recipe preparation.”

 

  • Have distinctive areas for certain types of food in your refrigerator.
  • Don’t clutter up the outside of your refrigerator too much, as tempting as it can be.
  • Even if you have a “junk drawer,” try to keep it organized by cleaning it out frequently and/or using dividers.
  • The garage is a space that many people may not see, but there are lots of options for keeping it tidy – consider building shelves or adding hooks, containers, tool boxes, and so forth.
  • The laundry room also has lots of options for better organization. Southern Living suggests hiding infrequently-used supplies, and designating spaces for sorting, folding, ironing, etc.
  • Keep your bathroom organized by utilizing the space to the maximum capacity without overcrowding. There are many options available for hanging and storing health and beauty items in the home.
  • Your pantry items should be grouped by type, neatly, on shelves. Every so often, clear it out and get rid of expired goods, or de-clutter by finding items to donate to a local food back.

So, do you have any other home organization tips to share? De-cluttering and organizing your home can actually minimize stress, so it’s worth a try, don’t you think? At Paragon  Homes we want our home owner’s lives to be as stress free as possible whether it’s something we can to or something long after we build their new home!

 

~~ Ashley Boynes-Shuck

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 http://www.visitparagonhomes.com

Ashley Boynes-Shuck is a well-known blogger, author, and social media pro 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, and happily lives in a suburb of Pittsburgh with her husband, pug, frogs, and kitten!  In her free time she focuses on advocacy and volunteer work, as well as rooting on the Pittsburgh Steelers!

Color Infusion: Choosing Paint Colors in Your Custom Paragon Home

Paragon Homes - Choosing Paint Colors

Choosing paint colors in your new custom home may seem like a pretty daunting task.

However, the beauty of it is this: paint colors can always be changed!

While you shouldn’t just paint your great room neon green on a whim, if there is a trend that you want to try or a color that keeps speaking to you, there’s no harm in trying it out. After all, you want to personalize your space, reflect your personal style, and make your home your own.

According to HGTV, “Color—whether architectural or in products—accounts for 60 percent of our response to an object or a place.

The “buzz” about color is usually called “color psychology.” But the effects of color are Infusionsubtle and significant; physical and psychological. Color use is not something that results in a definitive equation between “color and our moods,” as is a currently popular expression. Wherever we go we respond to color, but the importance of color is often underestimated. Color use is important to us personally in our homes and in the places where we work.”

So, if color is so important to us as human beings and if it can affect our moods and emotions, why not put some thought and effort into mindfully choosing the right shades for our home?

Here are some tips:

  • Always think about your favorite colors. You’ll want to incorporate them somewhere in the house – if not on the walls, then perhaps as a throw pillow or other home décor accent.
  • Consider the “mood” you want to convey and the style of the room. Is the room modern and simple, dramatic, artsy, traditional, or cozy? Is it a room that is meant to be calming, serene? Or should it be bright and cheery? Think about this as you mindfully choose paint colors.
  • Should the room appear social, inviting, and stimulating? Try warm, bright colors. Think yellows, oranges, and reds. Should the room be more formal, quiet, and subdued? Go for neutrals. Black and white is always a modern choice, and beiges, browns, and tans look subdued. Should the room’s mood be serene and relaxing? Try hues of blue and green, or even a calming gray or lavender.
  • Think about lighting. Stores often have different light boxes for you to test the paint samples. Natural daylight shows the true version of the color. Fluorescent lighting can add a blue or green tone, and incandescent or muted lighting can add warm tones, brasses, and yellows to the shade.
  • Walk into another room. According to HGTV, you should,Consider walls as planes of color, and see how they interact when viewing one next to the other in adjacent rooms. Approach it like a composition: You’re in one room, but you’re going to see a piece of another room through it.”
  • Use a color wheel for inspiration when considering paint colors for your custom built Paragon home.
  • Ask a decorator for their opinion. They are a professional for a reason!
  • Have decorating ideas in mind. What good is a lilac wall if you don’t know what to do with the rest of the room?
  • Consider the size of the room you are painting.  Some shades will make the room appear larger, others may make it look smaller.
  • For added interest, consider different finishes to add some depth and texture to your walls.
  • Always test your paint color on an area of the wall or even a poster board.
  • Consider if you’ll want to “be stuck with” a certain color theme. Black-and-gold may sound like a good idea for the diehard Steelers fans here in Pittsburgh, but will you think so once it’s painted that way?

 

Last but not least, when choosing paint colors, you should go with your gut. After all – it isn’t permanent and a fresh color of paint can make a world of difference in your new custom home. We can help you make the right choices: call Paragon Homes at 412-787-8807, or visit us online at http://www.visitparagonhomes.com


~~ Ashley Boynes-Shuck

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.

Ashley Boynes-Shuck is a well-known blogger, author, and social media pro 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, and happily lives in a suburb of Pittsburgh with her husband, pug, frogs, and kitten!  In her free time she focuses on advocacy and volunteer work, as well as rooting on the Pittsburgh Steelers!

How to Feng Shui Your Paragon Custom Built Home

Stock Art: Feng Shui Living Room

So — what is feng shui?

Feng shui  (prounounced, fung schway) is the Chinese art that is “considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy, and whose favorable or unfavorable effects are taken into account when siting and designing buildings.”

Whether you believe in the traditional laws of feng shui or not, some of its principles may be helpful to you when arranging your furniture, choosing interior paint colors, and in decorating your custom built Paragon luxury home.

Feng shui is all about open spaces and cleanliness. When practicing feng shui in the home, your goal is to simplify, and to be mindful of where you place windows, doors, and pieces of furniture.

For example, you should not have anything blocking windows or doorways, so that ‘positive energy’ can flow accordingly. You also should “de-clutter” your home – and whether you believe in feng shui or not, this is a good place for many of us to start, as it has been shown that clutter causes stress!

Airy, open spaces and calming colors are part of the feng shui lifestyle, too. Think “soothing” when choosing paint colors (think neutrals, blues, greens) and try to create an air of serenity in your home by avoiding crowdedness and by playing relaxing music to increase ambiance.

Consider adding aromatherapy to your home, too. Relaxing fragrances throughout your home in the way of candles or scented oils can really set the atmosphere, and it is shown that smells can even alter our mood!

You also want to make sure that any repairs that made need made to your home are made. Safety first!

A new architectural principle called Universal Design borrows ideas from the ancient notion of feng shui. Universal design refers to a broad-spectrum solution that produces buildings, products and environments that are usable and effective for everyone.

You can rest assured that Paragon Homes strives to keep your home as comfortable, livable, usable, and efficient as possible, and will work with you, mindfully, to make sure that your home – feng shui’ed or not – is a safe haven where you can relax at all times: mind, body, and spirit.

Call us today for a consultation at 412-787-8807 if you are interested in learning more about Paragon custom built luxury home.

 

~~ Ashley Boynes-Shuck

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.

Ashley Boynes-Shuck is a well-known blogger, author, and social media pro 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, and happily lives in a suburb of Pittsburgh with her husband, pug, frogs, and kitten!  In her free time she focuses on advocacy and volunteer work, as well as rooting on the Pittsburgh Steelers!

 

“Greening” Your Custom Built Pittsburgh Home!

We are a builder who focuses on details. We make sure that your home is as efficient as it is marketed to be. At Paragon Homes, we only build a few homes per year and have a thorough system in place to ensure that your home is constructed as it is supposed to be, providing a level of supervision and customer service you just can’t find at a big builder. So if you’ve purchased one of our custom built homes, no worries – you’re already on your way to saving money and helping to green your home and the environment.

So, you’ve settled into your new custom built house in Pittsburgh.  You’ve decorated each room with your personal style, customized your outdoor living space, and even put up some seasonal décor. You and your family are settled in to your lovely new place of residence, and you start thinking: what else can you do to help make your home a “green” one?

No, we’re not talking about a paint job already! We are talking about simple tips to make your household an eco-friendly one!

  • Save water! Don’t waste water – monitor showers and other water-guzzling activities.
  • Recycle!  Many communities offer recycling pick-up, and if not, you can always gather recyclable goods to take to your local recycling facility on your own.
  • Clean green! Many cleaning product lines now carry “green” product selections – Green Works, Simple Green, Bio Green Clean, and  Martha Stewart Clean are just some examples of eco-friendly brands.
  • Try Upcycling! Pennsylvania native Danny Seo is a green living expert who comes up with crafty ideas for everyday living, including up-cycling, which involves restoring old products into chic new home accessories and housewares instead of throwing them away.
  • Watch the temperature! How high do you really need the heat? How low does that AC have to go? Not only will it save you on utility bills, but it is also a plus for the environment! In fact, Paragon Homes is proud to be an ENERGYSTAR partner. In fact, our most recent ENERGYSTAR home was rated as 15% more efficient than ENERGYSTAR standards, making it more that 30% more efficient than other homes.
  • Buy recycled paper and other recycled goods when possible.
  • Buy produce from local farmers and aim for all organic when possible.
  • Consider utilizing reusable shopping bags for your grocery runs.
  • Plant a tree! Or a few!

“Going green” doesn’t have to be an extreme lifestyle makeover. But, with a few tweaks, any home can be eco-friendly!

Energy efficient and green building technologies have progressed so significantly in recent years that our typical new homes can be 30 to 50 percent more efficient than homes built even a few years ago. Even better? Today, a net-zero home (one where your home literally makes as much or more energy than it consumes where you could actually have no utility bills) are a real – and affordable – possibility.

So, with Paragon, not only will you be doing the environment some good by “living green,” but you’ll also have the potential to save money on heating as the winter months grow cooler, with our energy-efficient homes.

 ~~ Ashley Boynes-Shuck

 

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.



Ashley Boynes-Shuck is a blogger, aspiring author, and social media pro from Pittsburgh, PA. She was voted Best Blogger in Pittsburgh, Who to Follow on Twitter 2010, and one of Pittsburgh’s Top 40 Under 40 for 2011. She lives happily with her husband, pug, frogs, and kitten!  In her free time she focuses on advocacy and volunteer work, as well as rooting on the Pittsburgh Steelers!

Tips from a Pittsburgh Luxury Home Builder: Make Your Outdoors Great!

One great thing – among many! – about living in Pittsburgh is that we get to experience the beauty of all four seasons. While many homeowners put a lot of thought into the interior of their houses, many people fail to consider the outdoor space that is also a part of their “home sweet home.” Enjoy the Pittsburgh environment and weather by making sure the outside is as fabulous as the inside!

Paragon offers luxurious custom homes to suit your tastes and help make your dreams a reality! So how can your “outdoor living space” complement your gorgeous new home?

Here are some simple tips on how to make sure that the outside of your home reflects the beauty that is housed within.

  1. Choose plants and flowers that are appropriate for the climate and make sure that you are aware of whether they need shade or sunshine, are annual or perennial, how much water they need, etc.
  2. Consider “hardscaping” if you aren’t into landscaping. Hardscaping is a new trend to enhance your outdoor space via bricks and stones instead of grasses and plants. It will lend a more expensive look to your home, and can be just as pretty as a lush garden.
  3. Think about an option with a nice deck or porch. These “outdoor living spaces” can be virtual extra rooms to your home – adding to the entertaining space of your house and enhancing both looks and comfort.
  4. Add a pool or a private-bathing space for summer. A chic, fast-growing design trend is integrating a spa-like experience into one’s back yard via a cedar soaking tub or a small outdoor shower. Of course, a traditional swimming pool or hot tub works, too!
  5. Waterfalls and fountains can be luxe additions to your landscape
  6. Outdoor lighting can set the mood and add to the ambiance of your abode. Rope lights, twinkle lights, lamp posts, paper lanterns, tiki torches, fire pits, solar lights, and other outdoor lighting are excellent sources.
  7. Personalize your home exterior by adding fun and unique outdoor furniture that suits your taste and personality. It can complement your Paragon home in ways you’d never imagine!

It is important to accentuate your home when you have such a beautiful house! Paragon homes are gorgeous, quality houses that deserve these appealing outdoor spaces.

~~ Ashley Boynes-Shuck

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.

Ashley Boynes-Shuck is a blogger, aspiring author, and social media pro from Pittsburgh, PA. She was voted Best Blogger in Pittsburgh and Who to Follow on Twitter 2010 and happily lives with her husband, pug, frogs, and kitten!  In her free time she focuses on advocacy and volunteer work, as well as rooting on the Pittsburgh Steelers!