Category Archives: New Home Design

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

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

How to Choose the Right Size Floor Plan

Pittsburgh custom homesThe average size of new, single family homes built in the U.S. continues to measure about 2,600 square feet. When you decide to build a new home and start looking at floor plans, it can be difficult to imagine living in the spaces as they are drawn on paper or depicted on a computer screen. The measurement of  a room doesn’t always mean it will be a good fit for how you will use the room. So how can you make sure that you are getting the perfect size home for your budget and lifestyle? Here are some things to consider. Continue reading

Paragon Homes has earned two 2017 Housing Excellence Awards.

award winning custom builderIt always feels good to be recognized for a job well done. Paragon Homes has earned two 2017 Housing Excellence Awards from the Builder’s Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh (BAMP) against the largest field of applicants in the history of the awards. View photo gallery.

For our clients, the Mowreys, we created a custom floorplan that features a big, open living area with tons of natural light, a custom kitchen and his-and-her private studies, since both spouses work from home. Upstairs, the master bedroom has a spectacular shower, double vanities with a makeup table, and double walk-in closets for lots of storage. Two additional bedrooms have their own walk-in closets, and there is a spare bedroom for guests or crafts. The family requested a second-floor laundry and designed custom storage spaces above the garage and on the lower level.

Outside, both homes boast ample space for relaxing and for the kids to play. It’s important to us that our clients not only get a beautiful home, but one that stands the test of time. Some examples of our high-quality construction practices in this home are premium grade lumber and other building materials, upgraded fixtures and hardware, 16-inch stud spacing interior and exterior with 2×6 exterior walls, solid core doors and real wood windows.

Paragon Homes Housing Excellence Award winnerThe other winning home was built for the Schmitz family, their award-winning custom dream home is an elegant, modern retreat for the parents that also grows with the family as their needs change.

As you enter the home through the 4-car attached garage, you pass through a long hallway of custom-built lockers and drop zones to help keep things organized. The interior then opens into a great room, kitchen, and sunroom area where the family intends to spend most of their time. Elsewhere are the first floor are a formal living room and a large formal dining room for dinners with extended family and friends.

The home’s second level has a large laundry room, a spectacular overlook of the foyer, a master suite with dual master closets, and three additional bedrooms, one with a private bath and two that share a Jack & Jill bath. A third-floor loft includes two additional bedrooms, a full bathroom, and a movie room.

Thanks so much to BAMP for the honors as well as all our suppliers and craftsmen, and even bigger thanks to the Mowrey and Schmitz families for trusting Paragon Homes to build your perfect custom home!

Build your own Award Winning Home with Paragon Homes! Get started today.

The Pros and Cons of Open Concept Floor Plans

Consider Your Day-to-Day Lifestyle

Almost every real estate or home renovation reality TV show involves the quest for an open concept floor plan. Open concept design, which means common areas in a home have no walls or only partial walls, grew out of mid-century modern architecture in the 1950s.  And although there’s already some buzz about “retro” home design favoring enclosed living rooms and kitchens, open concept isn’t going away. Continue reading

A New House For Your New Family

Keep Children in Mind When Looking For a New Home

Tuesday Tips from a Pittsburgh Custom Home BuilderA new baby brings overwhelming feelings of joy — and sometimes an immediate yearning for more space. Whether you have already welcomed a new family member or are planning to have kids a few years down the road, there are lots of things to consider if you have decided to buy or build a new house.

Overall house size is usually tops on everyone’s list, and there is no question that it’s a biggie.  An extra bedroom or two will be helpful when grandparents come to visit or if one parent is working from home and needs extra office space.  But you should weigh more than just the number of bedrooms and total square footage in a house. Pay attention to features in the house that could affect your ability to keep an eye on your little one or make it harder for you to keep a fast-moving toddler out of trouble.

When you are searching for or designing a house, new or expectant parents might want to look for or include the following:


  • An enclosed room or another area on the first floor that can be used as a playroom when your kids are younger and a den or media room when they are older. Open floor plans are appealing as far as giving toddlers room to move around, but it’s good to have a safe spot for them if you need to step away for a moment.
  • Roomy garage or other storage space that makes it easy to store/hide larger kid toys and bikes.
  • Fenced in outdoor space that is free of safety hazards such as standing water and retaining walls that young children could climb.
  • Lots of flexible indoor storage for kids’ toys and other gear. Large closets are essential, but don’t forget about entryway closets and cubbies, laundry room storage, and window seats and other built-ins for fast clean-up in each room.
  • Placement of inside staircases, railings and loft spaces. Look at interior home design through the eyes of a crawling baby. Architectural features that are impossible to baby proof might not be worth the headache and worry, even though the baby/toddler phase seems to fly by.

Whether you are looking at an existing new home or shopping for a lot to build on, one of the best things to consider as far as suitability for your young family is how many other young families you see in the neighborhood. Seeing kids outside in strollers or on bikes means you and your children will not only enjoy the new house, but could make a lot of new friends.

What is a Custom Home?

What is a custom home? Paragon Pittsburgh BuildersCustom Does Not Always Mean “Custom”

Does it seem like everyone has artisan bread these days? Or artisan something. If you are looking to build your own home, you might find that the term “custom home” has become the artisan bread of the construction world – it is used very broadly and could mean any number of things.

Generally, there are three different types of new home building.

Production Homes

Also called tract houses, this type of development offers the least amount of choice for homebuyers. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing if you are easily overwhelmed. These builders may let you make minor changes to a set list of floor plans, but your house will end up looking very similar to others in the neighborhood.

Semi-Custom Homes

These homes also begin with a basic floor plan from the builder, and these builders allow you more flexibility to add a room or change a little bit. Buyers in these neighborhoods often appreciate the added choices they get, but these homes fall short of providing the truly unique neighborhood many buyers are looking for.

Custom Homes

A true custom home is all about choice, from the ground up.  A custom builder may show you some floorplans to get the creative juices flowing, but always lets you make as many changes as you like or start fresh with their architect and a clean sheet of paper. Many buyers choose a popular design and fully customize certain areas of the home but not others.  Either way, the Paragon process is designed to make buying a new home as easy and enjoyable as possible so that you can get the new home that has every little feature and detail that you dreamed about.  Working with a custom Pittsburgh home builder also gives you the opportunity to incorporate Energy Efficient or Green Building techniques, create accessible design elements or custom spaces to suit your religion, family size or even your favorite hobby, and with a good builder, design all of that in a way that is flexible so you home can adapt to your family’s needs in the future just as it does now.

Steps to New Home Construction

Steps to New Home ConstructionBuilding Your Dream Home?

Prepare for your new home build with these 6 steps

Building a new home can be exciting, exhilarating, overwhelming, and at times, unpredictable. You’ll need vision, focus and planning as well as a hefty dose of fortitude.

Thinking about building a house and need some tips to get started? Let’s go over some of the steps to help give you a general understanding of the process. Talk to your builder when it’s time to discuss specific processes for your custom build. Most of these steps can be handled by your builder, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your dream home. Be sure to choose your builder wisely.

Step 1 – Determine your budget

How much house can you afford? Financial and lender websites offer online calculators that do the math around monthly income versus expense and debt. But what is your personal preference? For personal, investment or lifestyle reasons – some opt to live beneath their means instead of within their means. No matter how you work the margins, discuss loan options and qualifying requirements with a custom home builder that will allow you to choose from multiple lenders.

Step 2 – Find a location and pick your lot

Location is so important! Not only does it determine property values, your family will most appreciate a home site that is close to work, favorite amenities, and the most desired school districts. You will also want to investigate zoning issues to uncover any proposed developments or upcoming projects in the area, as well as determine any restrictions you may face during the construction phase.

Step 3 – Enlist a team

Constructing a home takes a team of professionals. The ‘who’s who’ in home construction will likely include a developer (land), architect (plan), builder (construct), design consultant (stylize), construction manager (project manage), contractor (install), and inspector (approve). Select professionals that understand your goals and have a portfolio of work that complements your own needs and wants. Research custom home builders in your area, there are many that serve as a one point of contact that will help you through the process, often working with a list of architects and other professionals local to your area.

Step 4 – Decide on a blueprint

Start from scratch and sit down with an architect, purchase a pre-drawn plan from a reputable design firm, or opt for something in between the two and modify an existing plan to better suit your unique and specific needs. Consider your must-haves and don’t wants in advance, and make a list. The more you plan, the smoother the process will be once you break ground.

Step 5 – Stay sane through the build process

Building a new home is an involved process that can take 6 months to a year – sometimes longer, depending on the home size, design complexity, and even weather conditions. Having choices leads to the custom home that you love, but sometimes the decisions can feel overwhelming. Choose a custom home builder that can help you through the process every step of the way and help alleviate some of the stress.

Step 6 – Enjoy your new home!

Congratulations! Starting with an idea and the turn of a shovel, you created a home of your dreams. The new home build endeavor gave you stories to tell before you even moved in. You already have a special sentimental connection to this space. Settle in, enjoy and continue to make memories in only the way you can.