Design Your Home

  1. 7 Excellent Reasons to Buy A New Construction Home

    It’s a great feeling to buy a new house. Even if it’s not your first. But purchasing a brand new home, not just one that’s new to you, is even more exciting. You get to customize it just the way you like. It’s modern, safe and has all the walk-in closet space you could want.

    The best part? You won’t be painting over marks on the wall from when Cindy was 4 feet tall or replacing ceiling fans from the 60s. Oh, no. These rooms aren’t filled with another family’s memories. They’re waiting to collect your memories.

    Of course, there are many more reasons you might want to consider new construction.


    Everything is under warranty

    This is the best thing about buying a brand new house! You know that everything is under warranty and that you won’t have to replace a single thing for years. You’re guaranteed to be moving into a home that’s decked out with the latest appliances and building materials, making your new abode a low-maintenance paradise.


    Energy efficiency

    New construction homes are much more energy efficient than homes build just a few years ago. If you buy a home that’s 10 years old, you might be saving money with the purchase but will probably even out with the utility bills. But a newly built home will have thick double-, sometimes triple-paned windows that will keep your home from getting drafty and help you save money over the years. You can also use the time you would’ve spent on maintenance doing more exciting things, like golfing, traveling or shopping.


    Customize it

    When you work with a custom builder, you get all of the features you want in a home. You don’t have to home shop for months to find what you want. Interested in marble counter tops, hardwood flooring, and Delta satin nickel bathroom faucets? Done. You get to customize all of the important areas the way you want them.



    Buying a brand new home is safer for three reasons:

    1. A safe neighborhood. The newly developed community is designed for you to take daily strolls or sit and enjoy the greenery.
    2. Equipped with State-of-the-art circuit breakers, alarm systems and environmentally friendly paint and carpet.
    3. Always built to conform to the latest code regulations.


    Modern design

    modern home design

    You won’t have to worry about replacing shag carpet or vintage wallpaper. When you find a builder to design your house, you’ll get the most contemporary layouts like open floor plans and high ceilings, which are perfect for family nights or entertaining guests. New houses also have three times the closet space and twice the bathroom space of an older home. Decks and porches are also built into the living design to ensure you have all of the space you need to live comfortably.


    Extra rooms

    Forget about an additional dining room! In a new house, you’ll get useful extras like game rooms and office space. Some of these rooms can even be dual-purpose. For example, your office can also double as a guest room.


    Outdoor space

    ourdoor activities

    When you buy a newly constructed home, you’re also buying extra space. Housing developments are typically built in the suburbs, so you have room for a garage big enough for your boat and 2 cars, a back yard big enough for a pool and space to play with your kids. You no longer have to worry about listening to busy streets and fighting traffic to get to the grocery store. You’ll only be driving into the city when it’s necessary.


  2. 5 Inspirational Luxury Bathroom Trends for 2016

    Are you looking for a new luxury home? Or maybe you’re planning a bathroom renovation in the home you already own? Either way, we’ve compiled a list of five of the year’s best luxury bathroom trends for your home décor or renovation inspiration!

    1. Walk-In Showers

    walk-in showers

    Long gone are they days when you need to step over the side of your bathtub to get into the shower, thankfully. Many luxury homes don’t even contain standard bathtubs anymore. Walk-in showers offer a variety of spa-inspired designs and features to add a more relaxing dynamic to your bathroom that improves the atmosphere and use of space. We especially love the frameless doors in front of that beautiful tile work that make the the shower appear much larger.


    2. Freestanding Bathtubs

    freestanding bathtub

    The luxury home owners who still have bathtubs have transitioned to freestanding tubs. They add to the spa-like atmosphere and make the room look bigger and more enticing. It’s almost likely adding an eye-catching sculpture to your bathroom. Install a ceiling-mounted bath filler for an extra special spa experience.


    3. Double Shower Heads

    double shower heads

    Why only have one shower head when you can have two? If you crave a customized shower experience, you definitely want two. With multiple streams of water coming at you from different directions, you can enjoy a relaxing mini get-a-way and squeaky clean results!


    4. Additional Storage

    bathroom vanity storage

    The past few years have seen an increase in minimalist home design. It’s no surprise that this year, we’re seeing more storage options. People are realizing that, as intriguing as minimalist design is, it doesn’t always fit their lifestyles.

    Enter additional storage space. Some storage is coming in the form of floating bathroom shelves and we’re seeing some resurgence in vanity cabinets. If you want to take the time to clean your shelves and their contents, go with the floating options. If you prefer to keep your toiletries hidden, cabinets are the way to go.


    5. Unique Patterns

    uniquely-patterned walls

    Forget about the mass-produced decor. This year, luxury home owners are customizing everything from their painted walls to their shower tile patterns. Whether they’re confident enough to design it themselves or choose to hire a professional, people are enjoying the imperfections of handmade décor.

  3. The History and Resurgence of Carriage Homes

    What is a carriage house? Picture a two-car garage with an apartment above it. That mental image closely resembles a carriage house, also known as coach houses. Originally, they were built to shelter horse-drawn carriages. The living space above it was designated for the caretakers and the garage space below was used to protect their transportation.

    Since we no longer use horses to get around, we’ve modified the carriage house to meet our current needs. It is used in one of several ways.


    Single-Family Home

    Today, this type of home is better known as a single-family home. They are built for a single family (hence the name) and consist of one or two floors with a portion of the top floor extending over the garage. Single-family homes are most common in suburban and high income areas.

    carriage house single family home


    Guest House

    Not all carriage houses became single-family homes, though. In this case, the carriage house was detached from the main structure and used as a rental or a guest house since there was extra space above the garage.

    garage apartment

    Figure 1 Photo by Abe Ezekowitz


    Reclaimed Homes

    Recently, there’s been a movement in reclaimed homes and tiny (under 500 sq. ft.) living. Along with that movement came the recycling of materials for new housing and the conversion of non-residential buildings into houses and apartments. Carriage houses were some of the first to be reclaimed as permanent living structures.

    Some carriage houses were completely reinvented. Residents modernized the interior with skylights, stainless steel appliances and contemporary furniture. Others appreciated the structure’s origins and left the exposed wood and brick for a cozy experience.


    Million Dollar Carriage Homes

    Those who prefer to go big took the carriage home up a few levels. Here are a few examples of reconstructed carriage houses selling for at least one million dollars.

    In Clinton Hill, NY, there are twin carriage houses measuring 6,400 sq. ft. and selling for about 3 million dollars (for the entire building). Both are lined with beautiful red brick and have 13 ft. ceilings. One is a four-bedroom unit with a basement and the other is a two-bedroom loft style studio.

    There are plenty of celebrities and artists who have lived in million-dollar carriage homes, too. For example, Jonny Depp and Kate Moss lived in a cozy carriage house in the 90’s. This brick-clad 1820s home is part of a historic building in Greenwich Village worth 14.9 million dollars. The carriage house section that Depp and Moss lived in is currently being rented out for $19,000 a month.

    You’re familiar with the beautiful Cobble Hill carriage house from the movie “Eat, Pray, Love”, right? The home comes with a secret garden, second-floor terrace, greenhouse and exposed wood beams. The lucky owner of this lovely establishment is singer, Norah Jones. She bought it for 16.25 million dollars.


  4. How to Turn Your Home into A Smart House for Under $1000

    high tech home

    Technology has transformed the way we communicate, travel and even drink our coffee. Why not take it a step farther and upgrade your humble abode?

    Check out this list of gadgets that will help you transform your villa into the smart house you’ve always wanted.


    Smart TVs and Connected Devices

    smart TV

    A smart TV is basically a TV with your phone and computer built into it. It allows you to browse the internet, view apps, stream media and play games right on the screen. Depending on the smart TV you choose, you can control it via remote, app or touchscreen.

    Do you love the TV you have now? You don’t have to replace it to make it smart! You can buy a set-top box, which allows your TV to talk to the internet, enabling it to access all of those smart features. Here are a few of the top options for 2016:

    Roku 3 for $100

    The Roku 3 includes voice search, making it the best video streamer in its price class. It has a ton of channels available, and works with 1,000s of services like Netflix, Pandora, and Amazon Prime Video. If someone in your household enjoys video games, the Roku 3’s remote can double as a gaming controller, too!

    Google Chromecast for $35

    This pint-sized, USB-powered stick, known as Chromecast, plugs directly into your TV. It inconspicuously hides behind your entertainment center while letting you stream media to the biggest screen in your house via phone, tablet or laptop.

    Apple TV for $149

    If you already own a Mac, iPhone or iPad, the Apple TV is probably the best way to go. Unsurprisingly, it works seamlessly with Apple brand products. Apple TV enables you to wirelessly connect to any Apple device to stream and store media. It has apps available for Netflix, Hulu and many other services as well. It’s like having the entire app store in your living room.


    Smart Lighting

    Light bulbs are great, but did you know that they account for up to 30% of a home’s energy consumption? If you installed smart lighting, you could have infinite control your lights with a single control panel, not the type you have to walk across the room to access, but from an app on your phone.

    Motion sensor lighting is great in terms of efficiency. You can program your smart lights to turn on when you come home at night and it’s dark outside, turn on when you walk into a room and slowly brighten to wake you up in the morning.

    Smart lighting can be programmed to notify you of events, too, like when your teenager pulls into the driveway at 2am or when your toddler gets up in the middle of the night.

    family room lighting

    Philips Hue for $200

    The Philips Hue wireless system not only allows you to control your lighting; it helps you set the mood for every room in your home. From waking everyone up a 6am during the week with bright, morning lights to adding some character to your next party with with flashing colors. You’ll be able to control all of your lights from an app on your phone or tablet.

    belkin wemo smart light bulbs

    Photo by Scott Lewis

    Belkin WeMo Smart LED Lighting for $50

    Belkin offers the WeMo Smart LED Starter Set which contains WeMo light bulbs (which last for up to 23 years) and a WeMo Link, to control, automate or dim your lights from anywhere with your app, which gives you the ability to work your lighting as a group or individually.


    Multi-Room Speakers

    home theater room

    If relaxing with family and entertaining friends is on your high-priority list, you could benefit from installing a home speaker system. It’s a great way to keep music comfortably streaming through your house, or to make sure no one misses a single line of the movie you’re watching in the theater room, even if they’re taking a bathroom break.

    Built-in speakers for $250-$300

    Built-in speakers are inconspicuously mounted on your ceiling to keep volume at a consistent level throughout the house. Check out Polk Audio 265-RT ($300), Bose Virtually Invisible ($300) and Polk Audio RC60i In-Wall ($250) speakers.

    Wireless Speakers for $25-$250

    If you prefer portable speakers, there are a variety of small, yet powerful, wireless options that can easily become another décor element on your living room bookshelf or office desk. Some options to consider are Beats Pill ($230), HDMX Stream ($60) and Sonos Play ($199).


    Remote Home Connection Hub

    All of these tech gadgets are great, but having an app for each one could get messy. Enter the remote home connection hub. The beauty of the hub is that not only does it communicate with your gadgets, but it enables them to communicate with one another.

    Thanks to hub systems like SmartThings ($99), Staples Connection Hub ($80) and Wink Hub ($89), you can connect and control technology, like the above mentioned gadgets and devices, in your home with one single app. And you don’t even have to be at home to do it!

  5. 8 Home Design & DIY Instagrams You Need To Follow

    candle gold animal


    gold pots


    8 Home Design & DIY Instagrams You Need To Follow

    Summertime provides people with with the perfect weather to complete lots of activities and projects. From catching a tan outside (don’t forget sunscreen!) to finally finding time to finish up that one project outside, the options are endless. If you find yourself itching to start a new project or in need of some doses of inspiration, check out the Instagrams below.  Unfamiliar with Instagram?

    Instagram is a simple way to capture and share the world’s moments. Transform your everyday photos and videos into works of art and share them with your family and friends.

    The following accounts stray from the more popular design accounts, which will hopefully show you some fresh, unseen ideas for home decor and interior design ideas, wall decor inspiration and home design projects!

    From Do-It-Yourself projects, interior design ideas and inspirational quotes, the following Instagram accounts will add creativity and life to your Instagram feed!


    This decorator on a budget incorporates a hint of fresh green into almost every post, which causes her Instagram to pulse with life. Her blog includes more details about her posts; there’s even a kid’s craft to make cacti out of rocks!

    A photo posted by Annie (@zevyjoy) on

    Are you into upcycled and repurposed pieces? If so, then you should definitely give this account a follow! This Instagrammer focuses on repurposed items, which may give you ideas on what to do with that old frame you have sitting in your basement…

    This account strays a bit from decor but makes up for it in how it infuses DIY, entertainment and food into each post. One of her most recent posts is a recipe for blackberry raspberry sangria popsicles- YUM! Check it out on her blog along with other fun printables, color palettes and DIY’s!

    This account explodes with cute and quirky posts! The pictures are fresh, playful and colorful and inspire tons of creative projects. Their blog also provides more information, which includes an entire archive of DIY projects if you’re feeling crafty!

    Note to self: create gold + copper leaf succulent table runner for next dinner part

    A photo posted by Chelsea Foy (@lovelyindeed) on

    Based in Sweden, this designer infuses her account with interior decor, DIY’s and tons of inspiration and is the perfect addition to anyone’s Instagram feed. She posts gorgeous bedroom, bathroom and kitchen decor ideas to spark creativity.

    A photo posted by Emmy♡ (@rolfsdotterdesign) on

    If you have a liking for luxurious and simple designs then this account is a great one for you to follow. From high ceilings and indoor decoration ideas to outdoor patios, this account features a little bit of everything. You can also keep up with them on Facebook!

    Located in Sweden, this well-known blogger posts gorgeous interior design inspiration. You can find more on her blog too; we especially love her IKEA hack on how to upgrade a wall mirror!

    El Peterson posts absolutely stunning rooms! What also makes her account so great is the DIY home decor aspect of it!  Are you a coffee-addict? Peep her DIY Coffee Station post on her blog, it’s every coffee lover’s dream.

  6. Interior Design Tips for Your New Home

    Interior design advice from Heartland Homes in Pittsburgh

    The moving trucks have left, the boxes have been unpacked and the space is finally beginning to feel like yours. It’s now time for some new home interior design advice from some of the city’s most gifted designers. This collection of DIY articles and design advice is for homeowners who need transfer their personality to white walls and new living spaces.

    This is your home. Let’s make the place feel like it.


    Working with Color


    Adding color is usually the first step. Here are several videos with advice from Dee Schlotter, the National Color Brand Manager for PPG Pittsburgh Paints. Not surprisingly, this is some of the most popular content on our website.

    Painting the powder roomPainting the Powder Room (VIDEO)

    This video discusses trending colors and ways to make a little color go a long way. Her best tip, however, is how to take “dangerous” colors like red or black, and use them to add contrast without interfering with the rest of the home.

    Choosing Paint Colors for a Bedroom (VIDEO)

    It is important to remember that bedrooms are for sleeping. Will bright orange or fluorescent green help that? Probably not. Dee’s secret is to put big colors away from the bed so you get the personality without the distraction. Great advice!

    open-spaces-colors-heartlandThe Right Colors for Open Spaces (VIDEO)

    If you have high ceilings or a spacious family room, why not take advantage of them with colors that fill the home. Big canvases tend to inspire neutral, safe colors. But, as Dee explains, there are ways to add bigger shades without going too far!

    Selecting Trim Paint (VIDEO)

    This is another place where people tend to play it conservative. We see shades of white and not much else. This video shares ways to use exciting accent colors that add depth and variety to a home.

    Transition colors in a homeHow to Transition Colors in a Home (VIDEO)

    Have you ever been in a home where each room feels like a different museum exhibit? “To the right, you’ll see the East Asia collection. After that, you’ll enter the Renaissance room.” That’s what this video helps you avoid patchwork by using one color kind of flow through the home.

    Pick a Paint to Match the Wood (VIDEO)

    You invested in beautiful cabinetry that would look great with bare walls. But what if you want to add color that accentuates without detracting from the craftsmanship? This video has the answers



  7. Making New Memories in the Morning Room

    The morning room is where memories are made. Maybe you don’t have a morning room, or maybe that’s not what you call it, but some of our favorite homes have a casual place for families to congregate around a table. Birthday cakes, vacation planning and midnight snacks all tend to be found in the morning room.

    It should be easy to see why we like it so much.

    That’s why the morning room was an area of focus when Heartland Homes decided to standardize luxury features for every new house. We wanted the morning room to evoke the same warm-fuzzies in your home as it does in ours. And we think it will with these features.

    Our Favorite Morning Room Features

    • Wood floors with 4.5-inch baseboards look as sleek as they functional. Anybody who has ever had linoleum or carpet (cringe) under a kitchen or dining room table is likely knodding in agreement.
    • 9-foot ceilings and Ply Gem windows create a wonderful blend of space and efficiency. High ceilings give the home an elegent feel while the energy-saving windows preserve a comfortable (and affordable!) atmosphere.
    • Crown moulding and two-tone paint add character to a new home and help its personality match yours. Plus, it will look great in those birthday party photos!

    Other Rooms with Standard Luxuries


  8. Building the Perfect Luxury Family Room

    The perfect family room must play different roles in different situations. One day it is lively during a Super Bowl party. The next it safe and secure during a scary movie. And don’t forget about being playful (and durable) during toddler play dates.

    It’s not an easy job, but family rooms need to versatile and look great no matter what they do or who they host.

    That is why Heartland Homes is happy to announce standard family features that really can do it all. Watch the video to see if you can imagine a family room like that one hosting your family.

    New Standard Family Room Features

    • Vinyl double-hung Ply Gem windows might be a mouthful to say, but their advantages—efficiency, longevity and security—are worth every syllable.
    • Heat-n-Glo gas fireplaces are easy to use and maintain year after year. Pittsburgh winters are making a habit of overstaying their welcome, which makes a fireplace very handy.
    • An elegant yet welcoming atmosphere with two-tone paint and 4.5-inch baseboards that can be posh for cocktails or casual on a lazy Sunday.

    After oohingandawing at the family room photos below, explore luxury features in other areas of the house:


  9. Questions to Ask When Building a House in Pittsburgh

    Practice makes perfect is something that many of us heard often while growing up. Our multiplication tables, free throws and kissing were all things that luckily got easier with practice.

    The rule also applies to building a house, but most of us do not build enough times to learn as we go. When building our dream home, we typically get one shot. That’s why we generated a list of important questions (with helpful hints) to shorten the home building learning curve.

    Lifestyle Questions

    building a dream home image

    Where do family members spend most of their time?

    If your family tends to congregate in the kitchen, investing in an island with stools or an open floor plan with room to move might be wise. Or maybe you are movie lovers, and the perfect home theater is a top priority. Make sure that you do not have to completely change your lives and relationships with each other to live in your new home.

    How will those habits continue or change in your new home?

    Your house’s current layout often leaves something to be desired—after all, isn’t that why you are building? Just because you are not a sit-around-the-fire family today doesn’t mean that you won’t be in your new house. Think about how your new home will add to your daily life and make you a stronger, closer, happier family.


  10. Luxury Bathrooms for Every New Home

    I like to call them whoa-moments. During a visit to one of our furnished models, a family member strays from the group and throughout the house you can hear:

    Whoa!  Hey, come check out this room!”

    It’s my favorite part. Sometimes I even keep a mental tally. Kitchens usually collect a few whoas. A home theater always scores a few, too. But which room in the house gets the most whoas?

    The answer might surprise you at first. The master bathroom almost always wins. Nothing says luxury like a beautiful master bath with ceramic tile, granite counters, a big showerhead and a deep tub. That’s luxury!

    We are happy to announce that luxury bathrooms are now a Heartland Homes standard. Watch the new video and see why our bathrooms are definitely whoa-worthy.

    New Bathroom Features Include:

    Granite countertops make a room, especially a bathroom. All practical benefits aside, granite is wonderfully elegant. It is something you have to see to believe. Consider visiting one of our upcoming open models.

    Ceramic tile on the floors and in the shower is easy to clean and always durable. Anybody who has ever suffered through old linoleum—curling at the corners—will feel even more comfortable with tile below their toes.

    See Standard Features in Other Rooms:

    Now on to the most important part—the photos!


    The Monticello II


    The Chapel Hill


    The Abingshire


    The Remington Place

    *See a sales & marketing representative for details.  Townhome features may differ.

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