Interior Design

  1. 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



  2. Best DIY Home Improvement & Design Blogs in Pittsburgh

    It’s your home.  You live, play and sometimes even work in it.  That’s why it has to be our own.  It has to complement our lifestyles and personalities so it is the most comfortable (or inspiring or welcoming) place in the world.  There are several fantastic DIY and design blogs in Pittsburgh that illustrate how every family can construct an atmosphere that fits them.  Here are some of our local favorites.

    DIY Show Off

    Picture of DIY blogger from DIY ShowoffDIY Show Off is maintained by a self-proclaimed DIY addict named Roeshel, who credits her own motivations as being the owner of a big old farmhouse in need of lots of TLC, having a strong desire for creativity and possessing a love of shopping and planning.  For the frugal consumer in all of us, Roeshel shares low-cost, easy projects that will add some zest to any home and make it better-organized.  Even better, her blog provides actual tutorials for the “noobs” of DIY.

    Roeshel was proud to share a few details of one of her upcoming projects, adding that there’s always something in the works.  Next she will begin a handful of fixes, including an open pantry as well as installing built-in shelving in her own family room.  Check back soon; she will surely post about it!

    Rocket City Digs

    Photo of the DIY blogger from Rocket City DigsRocket City Digs is a DIY blog run by a San Franciscan-turned-Pittsburgher mother of two who loves to share her myriad of craft and home projects with others.  Jody was first inspired to blog about her DIY adventures upon realizing that her former 680-square foot apartment in California would be a challenge to renovate while maintaining its get artsy flair.  Luckily for Jody, her husband (often referred to as RocketMan on the blog) and children found a larger abode in Pittsburgh a year ago with a bit more room to move.  Her blog shares everything from cooking adventures to baby product reviews to easy and affordable DIY projects.

    Jody’s most recent, ongoing project is a family effort, involving not only Jody but also RocketMan and his father.  Unhappy with the large slab of an island in the kitchen, the family has been renovating it, or as Jody says, “Prototyping.”  More details about the new island are already available on Rocket City Digs, and Jody says the next phase will involve getting her hands on the right materials to coordinate with her unique vintage steel cabinetry.

    Nancy Barsotti

    Photo of the interior design blogger from Barsotti BuildingRun by a professional interior designer, the Barsotti website and blog features a treasure trove of knowledge for design pros and novices.  Nancy Barsotti has undertaken design projects of every size and scale, from in-home renovations to commercial improvements to staging.  She operates two design locations in New York and Pittsburgh, and is able to lend a professional point of view to home owners seeking a change.  Visiting Nancy’s site gives readers the option to either hire her for design services or gain useful project tips via the blog.  As to why she loves interior design and sharing her expertise with readers, Nancy simply says, “You should be proud of your home and you should endeavor to make it proud of you.”  Her favorite projects include working on older homes, as she enjoys the dual challenge of creating a modern livable space and preserving a home’s original design.

    Nancy, an active interior designer, has several projects in the works right now.  Focusing in on her in-home endeavors, she told us about refurbishing a modern North Hills home, renovating furnishings for a spacious abode in the South Hills and fixing up the game room, kitchen and bathroom in a mid-century home.

    Did this satisfy your hunger for DIY and design?  Now is the best time to think about home improvement projects, as spring is nearly here—giving us a much-needed energy boost—and the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show just happened, undoubtedly getting the wheels turning in the minds of countless Do-It-Yourselfers in Pittsburgh.  So stretch those creative muscles and find a new home project!


  3. Grand Release of Our New Tablet Tours

    Summerbrooke New Haven Model
Saturday, March 23rd

    With digital tablets and iPads being of second nature to many, we have designed new and improved interactive digital tablet tours for our model homes!  Virtually walk through our beautifully crafted homes 24/7 from the comfort of your own home with a nice hot cup of coffee in hand.

    Tablet Tour Grand ReleaseScroll through stunning photography, read ­about our thriving new communities, watch community videos, save your favorite features, customize your dream home and get new ideas!  Our custom “hot spots” are strategically placed throughout each room that hopefully will answer any questions you have – whether it be about a paint color, light fixture family, hardwood finish, plumbing feature or color of granite countertops.

    The unveiling of our new tablet tours will be held on Saturday, March 23rd at Summerbrooke’s New Haven model home from 12pm – 3pm.  Come join us for an afternoon of fun!  You will have a chance to walk through our model, favorite items you like, play our “Hot Spot” treasure hunt, win great prizes and enter to win the grand prize!

    Summerbrooke CollageFor more information on this event, please call Jodie McCormick at 412-945-1316 or email her at [email protected].

  4. Best Bedrooms for Kids: Decorating the Perfect Room for Children

    Kids Play Room Under StairsNot every room for kids can look like this. But that doesn’t mean that decorators are limited to pastels and stencils—even if the decorators are mom and dad. Decorating a child’s room can be a great experience for everyone and, just like any other room theme in the home, many aspects go into planning the look and feel so it is as special as can be. After all, it will probably be your child’s favorite place in the whole world!  Here are a few things in mind.


    One of the first things we think of when decorating any room is what color we want it to be. Therefore, our minds turn to paint. Firstly, if your child is old enough to voice preferences, ask what he or she would like (within reason). This will keep the child involved in the decorating, as well as allow for an opportunity to express their personality.

    Some color suggestions include using relatively neutral colors, or at least cool ones. Blue or yellow (or even combinations of the two) are pretty safe options to consider, as well as red. To make these colors less intimidating, create different shades by adding white to the paint mixture. This is not to say that darker colors like greens and purples cannot be used, however, darker colors are both more intense and make the space look and feel smaller. Reserve use of these bold colors, as well as blacks and grays, for accent coloring.


    Next, we wonder what to fill this adorable space with. Now’s the time to begin searching for furniture. Generally speaking, lighter-colored wood furnishings are better because they blend with a myriad of colors within a bedroom. Dressers and nightstands painted white or in light oak work well.

    Interior decorating pros recommend rounded or at least soft-edge furniture in a youngster’s room, as this is safer in the case that the child bumps into a given item. Nightstands provide a surface for a child to set things on, as well as give a few drawers to put things in. Desks, too, are becoming increasingly necessary in the bedrooms of school-age children, as much time is spent on homework. Luckily, various sizes and styles are available both to mesh with and fit comfortably inside the child’s room.

    Of course all children need their growing sleep. It’s best to be practical with this. After all, even if your little boy bleeds black and gold as a teenager, he’s not likely to want a bed with a football-shaped headboard beyond a single-digit age. Keep in mind the same flexible wood colors as you did with other furniture, and go with a bed that the child can grow in. A standard twin bed may accommodate a child until their very early teens.


    Storage options are essential with any kid. Toys, seasonal clothes and more should be stowed away well.  Toys especially accumulate rapidly for little kids. In this case, consider sorting your child’s toys into like types and sizes and putting them in plastic boxes. Keep dolls in one box or action figurines together, for example, as the child will be better able to find and put these items away. If a given toy is part of a set, keep it with the other parts!

    Similarly, older kids may have accumulated a good bit of clothing. One way to sort this is to keep items related to the current season (i.e. winter sweaters) inside dresser drawers and those that are not in season (i.e. summer shorts) in containers or the closet.


    Many of us might already deal with eyestrain (as you read this article on a bright monitor, for example), and even little kids feel these effects. You should therefore place adequate lighting inside a child’s bedroom, including overhead lighting (i.e. fan with light) and lamps mounted above a nightstand or sitting on a desk.


    Decorations within a child’s bedroom should be in line with the rest of the room’s theme and feel. If your child chose light purple as the primary paint color, for instance, consider a shade of purple bedding or a light blue coat hook.  Let the child’s passions show through in the decorations as well. If your son loves superheroes, put up a picture and lamp light of a hero and their logo, or if your daughter likes kittens get her a kitty wall calendar or accenting stuffed animals/figurines.  Also consider their hobby, which might be the beginning of the passions that define them later in life. (We’re looking at you, Olympians!) Regardless of their pending professional sports careers, they’ll enjoy displaying items related to it (which also gives relatives gift ideas later).

    Similarly, it’s great to see parents honor children’s all-out collections. If your son or daughter collects memorabilia or shells or pet rocks, think about making a space to show them off. A shelf or case would work nicely.

    These are some of the biggies to consider when decorating a child’s bedroom.  In the end, it will be a balance between what makes the child comfortable and happy and what does the same for you.

  5. How Not to Hang a Picture Frame

    How to Correctly Hang a Frame

    Oh, Bryan.  Did you choose the wrong spot to hammer that many times?  Super glue?  Really?  Oh, boy.  It looks like Bryan needs some tips on how to hang a picture frame, and you could benefit too!  Don’t make the same mistakes he did!  Follow these steps and you’ll have some beautiful wall art to admire in no time.

    • Measure the Wall.  Always know where you want your piece to hang ahead of time, and measure that space.  It is usually ideal in terms of viewing pleasure to hang picture frames at eye level, though that’s up to you.  If you want to follow this rule of thumb, note that the average eye height is 57”.  Measure from the ground up, keeping the tape as vertical as possible.  When you reach the desired height, make a light pencil mark on the wall to reference where the screw or nail will go.  Your picture will eventually hang centered from this point.
    • Measure the Frame.  Assuming that you want pictures to hang straight on the wall, it’s a good idea to measure the picture itself.  Take your measuring tape or ruler and measure down the piece.  Whatever that measurement is, divide it by 2 and that will give you your center point (if the picture measures 20”from top to bottom, for instance, your center point is 10” and the picture should hang from that spot).
    • Measure from the Top to the Wire.  Take your tape and measure from the top of the picture frame to the wire that is already attached to the back of the frame.  This wire will hold the piece onto the nail you put on the wall.  Take note of how many inches this difference is, as it affects your next step.
    • Measure from the Original Wall Mark.  How many inches was the difference between the picture top and wire in the previous step?  Whatever that number is, go back to your original pencil mark on the wall and measure from the mark up or down that many inches.  We say up or down because you may find that you wish to adjust the height (Example: you choose the standard 57” for the hanging position and realize that the picture will drop to 55” when hung.  You’d rather have it higher, so measure up).  Make another light mark on the wall where that measurement hits if you would like, again keeping the tape vertical.  This will tell you where the picture will sit when it is hanging from the wire.
    • Drill, Drill, Drill.  Get out your drill or hammer and put the screw or nail in the wall.  Your target height with the pencil mark is exactly where the screw should go.  Remember that this is just where the wire will hang from and that your picture should drop down a few inches.
    • Make Adjustments.  Now that your piece is on the wall, if you find that it tilts slightly, adjust it for perfect balance.  No one likes crooked pictures on the wall!

    Now you know how to hang a frame correctly.  Additional steps may be needed if other hanging devices are to be used, but this can be done fairly simply.  Don’t be like Bryan and muck up your walls with unneeded nail marks, and NEVER put glue on the wall (it’ll ruin the paint).  Follow the guide and display your pictures proudly!

  6. PPG Pittsburgh Paint’s Tool to Help Customers Choose Their Paint Colors (Video)

    Today, Dee Schlotter, the National Color Brand Manager for PPG Pittsburgh Paints, shows off Heartland’s model home in the North Hills Community of Pinecrest and discusses PPG Pittsburgh Paint’s program, “My Voice of Color” where customers can have interior designers come to their home, see their lighting and furniture and help them decide on the paint colors to use in their homes.



    PPG Pittsburgh Paint’s Tool, My Voice of Color

    Let’s say you have been in your house for about a year, maybe eighteen months and you decided to buy some new furniture, or some new bedding for a bedroom. And you’re looking to repaint the wall and change it up a little bit. We have a program at PPG called, “My Voice of Color.” You can go to

    We have interior designers that will come into your home for one hour, its seventy five dollars; you get a fifty dollar gift certificate for paint. And they are able to come into your home, see your lighting see your flooring see, your furniture, every piece that’s in the space that you want to paint, to help you choose the paint colors for that space.

    Typically in an hour they can get through one or two rooms and maybe a hallway, so that you’re able to actually make sure all the colors flow together as well.

    It’s a great program! You get to go online to choose you own designer, schedule the appointment directly with them, and like I said they come to your home and they’re able to help you pick the paint colors and update the space with your new furniture and your new bedding.

  7. Choosing Paint Colors for a Bedroom (Video)

    Today, Dee Schlotter, the National Color Brand Manager for PPG Pittsburgh Paints, shows off Heartland’s model home in the North Hills Community of Pinecrest and discusses how to choose paint colors for the bedroom, and warns that bright paints aren’t appropriate for you to be able to sleep.

    Share this video on your site or blog! Just copy the embed code below:


    Choosing Paint Colors for a Bedroom

    For your bedrooms there are all kinds of great colors. There are colors to avoid in a bedroom. Colors that are very energizing like oranges and yellows, you don’t want to put into a bedroom because it would be very hard for you sleep.

    So if you choose a bigger color for an accent wall in the bedroom, that you’re not facing when you’re in the bed, you can go with a little bit deeper and darker of a color. But the rest of the walls should be a tranquil almost spa-like color. For the master bedroom behind me, that sage green is a very restful color. Green is one of the best colors you can use anywhere, because it reminds you of nature and you’re very familiar with those colors. Those nice, soft greens look great!

    But, if I would change that green to a very big bright, yellow-green; which is one of our colors called, “Lichen.” It’s in my family room, family rooms are fine, because it’s meant for energy and fun but in a bedroom it would not be good.

    For little girls’ rooms they don’t always have to be pink. They can be again softer pastels, but creamer pastels you can go with a very nice like green, light blues, light yellows very nice soft colors.

  8. Painting the Ceiling with Color (Video)

    Today, Dee Schlotter, the National Color Brand Manager for PPG Pittsburgh Paints, shows off Heartland’s model home in the North Hills Community of Pinecrest and discusses how to choose paint for the ceiling, and warns that paint samples are not realistic, paint intensifies when actually used on a wall.

    Share this video on your site or blog! Just copy the embed code below:



    Painting the Ceiling

    We talk about the ceiling a lot. Think about it, when you look at the ceiling, what you would like to see? We see a lot of people painting babies’ rooms blue because looks like the sky. It’s just an opportunity to again engage your baby, when it’s little, with color. Again keep the colors soft!

    In a boys room we typically go to blue (for a ceiling). It doesn’t always have to be blue; again it’s just a color that they like. It can be a green, it can be blue. My son’s black and gold for the Penguins, he wants to pull in a lot of color.

    One of the recommendations they give for parents, if you’re letting your child pick the color, is when they go on those stripe cards and look at all the different colors and they’re way down here and it’s a really bright purple, or a very very bright blue, just go about two or three shades up. They’ll never know the difference, because color magnifies when you put it on the wall.

    So any color you choose, that’s down here it’s going to look way bigger and way brighter and way darker on the wall (or ceiling). So if you go up a couple they’ll be fine with those choices and you’ll like it much better too.

  9. Painting the Powder Room with Color (Video)

    Today, Dee Schlotter, the National Color Brand Manager for PPG Pittsburgh Paints, shows off Heartland’s model home in the North Hills Community of Pinecrest in Pine Township and discusses how to test and see the affects natural and interior lighting can have on your paint choices, before you paint your home’s walls.

    Share this video on your site or blog! Just copy the embed code below:


    Interior Lighting Can Change Paint Color’s Appearance

    Another great place for color in the house is the powder room. A lot of times we tell people if you want experiment with paint color or wall color, choose a huge color for the Powder Room. Really have fun with it! Like, why not? Paint is the least expensive way to completely transform a room.

    Every time you see those home improvement shows, where you see the before and after, it’s always the wall color which is like, “Wow!” They just might have changed it just a little bit, and it makes a big difference or they change it a lot and it makes a huge difference.

    Powder Rooms are amazing. One of the biggest colors we see in Powder Rooms right now is a medium to dark silver grey, with very pretty chrome silver fixtures it looks fantastic. You can choose reds or black, a lot of people get nervous with that color, but if you use a flat or an eggshell again in the bathroom you can do that these days, because of the technology in the paint. So powder rooms are a great place for big color.

    Another great place for color that people don’t even think about is your garage. You know we sometimes call it the, “man cave” if guys have things set up in there a refrigerator and all kinds of things for them to go to and hang out. But why does it have to be off white? Why not a color in your garage? Pull into some color every day! It can have a great effect on you.


  10. Green Decorating Tips for New Kitchens

    Natural bamboo flooring for green kitchens

    Going green doesn’t require you to give up as much as it used to. Whatever your personal style, you can be good to the environment while satisfying your tastes in home décor. Perhaps you’re hesitant or you’re just looking for new tips for green design and decoration. Check out these 6 ways to incorporate green decorating into your new kitchen.

    1. Look for cabinets made with sustainable woods such as eucalyptus or bamboo. The eucalyptus is tree grows incredibly fast and can be chopped at the root to grow back again. Because of its quick growing cycle and ability to re-grow from the roots, it is an excellent choice for “green” cabinetry. Because of its lovely natural luster that will last for decades, eucalyptus is an especially beautiful wood to use for wine cellars.
    2. Shop for recycled hardware at flea markets or second hand shops. Those great finds can add distinguished character to a modern kitchen.
    3. Look for tiles made from recycled glass. You can spot recycled tiles due to their translucent in appearance. Tiles with lower percentages of recycled glass tend to be cloudy, while tiles made from 100 percent recycled glass are completely translucent. Usually recycled tiles have a matte finish, but it is possible to find very glossy styles. A professional will be able to identify whether or not the tile in consideration has been recycled. If you’re in doubt, ask your professional craftsman.
    4. Buy ENERGY STAR appliances. ENERGY STAR is the trusted, government-backed symbol for energy efficiency that helps us all save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices. ENERGY STAR was established to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants caused by the inefficient uses of energy. The big blue stickers make it easy for consumers to identify and purchase energy-efficient products.Bamboo flooring for green decorating
    5. Install natural bamboo or cork flooring. Both are renewable, recyclable and biodegradable, and are recognized as principle components of modern sustainable architecture. Natural bamboo is being recommended more and more often in response to rising concerns about indoor air quality, allergens, off-gassing that are often associated with traditional building materials. In comparison to other wood varieties, natural bamboo is 27% harder than oak and 13% harder than maple. It is also composed of complex fibers that do not absorb moisture as easily as the others, ensuring long term kitchen shades
    6. Dress your windows with energy-efficient shades. Hunter Douglas Energy Efficient Duette Architella Honeycomb Shades use a patented honeycomb-within-a-honeycomb construction provides superior energy savings in both warm and cold climates. All Architella fabrics reduce energy consumption and are GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified. They are also available in six distinctive fabric styles so their esthetic appeal is as nice as their financial one.

    If you have any questions (or things to include) about these 6 green decorating tips, contact Heartland or NestExpressions on Twitter @heartlandhomes and @nestexpressions. Best of luck with your green kitchens!

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