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  1. 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!

  2. Save The Date | New Phase Preview & Model Sneak Peek in Upper St. Clair

    Bedner Estates is the premier neighborhood where affordable luxury and everyday convenience meet. Tucked away in Upper St Clair with easy access to I-79 and Route 19, Bedner Estates is just minutes away from the Galleria of Mt. Lebanon, South Hills Village Mall and a plethora of options for both work and play. Aside from Bedner Estates being one of the most desirable communities in Upper St. Clair, the highly coveted Upper Saint Clair school district boasts top performance rankings year in and year out.AJ 150116 Heartland Falling Water011crx_lowres

    On Saturday, October 24th, from 12pm – 4pm, Bedner Estates will hold a sneak peek of the Remington Place II model home and also a preview of the new phase of home sites.  Available floorplans and pricing will be released to those in attendance – The event is open to the public.

    The Remington Place II model home is located at 1687 Scarlett Drive, Upper Saint Clair, PA 15241.  The model home is also available for purchase as an investment.

    Anyone interested on attending the new phase preview and the model sneak peek, can visit the Bedner Estates webpage and complete the VIP form to receive an invitation to the event.  Call 724-871-1713 for further information.

  3. 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.

  4. 11 New Cul-De-Sac Home Sites Being Released in Southpointe

    The Overlook at Southpointe community is located in a tranquil wooded setting, offers a premium Southpointe location and has easy access to I-79 & the Rt. 19 amenities. The community itself has sidewalks, amazing views, spacious home sites and the homes include brick fronts.Web_Heartland_Overlook_4724crx

    The community recently opened a new decorated Olsen model home. The Olsen features 4,610 square feet of living space, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, 3-car garage, morning room with kitchen hutch, a finished basement and an owner’s suite with roman shower. Visit the model and take a tour today or during the release of the 11 new cul-de-sac home sites.

    The official release of the 11 new cul-de-sac home sites will take place Thursday, July 16th from 5:30pm – 7:30pm. Stop by and visit with Angela, Meagan & Justin to learn more about these home sites and the community.

    Olsen Model Home | 1000 Coldstream Drive, Canonsburg, PA 15317

  5. Things To Do In Pittsburgh Summer 2015

    June 21 marks the official start to the summer season so if you’re asking yourself, “What can I do in Pittsburgh this summer?” then you’ve come to the right place. Summertime means festivals, concerts, food and drinks (includes outdoor eating), which are all things we have listed below. We have even included an ETC. category for even more things to do!

    Whether it’s a trip to Phipps Conservatory, a cooking class or a Pirates game, there’s always something to do in Pittsburgh and the lists below will help you with your decision.


    Spin the wheel









    What: Jam on Walnut
    When: 7 p.m. on June 27, July 25, and August 22
    Where: Walnut Street
    Why: It benefits Western PA’s Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and artists include Chris Higbee, Dancing Queen, and Radio Tokyo.


    What: Silk Screen Film Festival
    When: July 10- 19
    Where: Click here for details and tickets
    Why: Join them in celebrating their 10th year anniversary with 30+ international films and shorts that have never been screened in Pittsburgh before.
    WYEP Summer Music Festival

    What: WYEP Summer Music Festival
    When: 3 p.m. Saturday, June 27
    Where: Schenley Plaza, Oakland
    Why: There are local openers such as Brightside and headliners include Kopecky, The Lone Bellow, and Martin Sexton.


    What: EQT Pittsburgh Regatta
    When: July 3-5
    Where: Downtown
    Why: Not only is it free but it was also revealed in an article from the Trib that there will be a nine-story “Wheel of Lights,” which will showcase a musical light show downtown.


    What: South Side Works Exposed
    When: July 11- 13
    Where: SouthSide Works, South Side
    Why: From food trucks to live music to 70+ artist market tents, there is something for everyone!

    Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix

    What: Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix
    When: July 10- 19
    Where: See their website for event details
    Why: It’s the country’s largest vintage street race!


    What: Pittsburgh Blues Festival
    When: July 24- 26
    Where: Hartwood Acres
    Why: It helps to raise over $2 million a year and your entry is free if you bring in a bag of canned goods!


    What: Allegheny County Hometown Music Fest
    When: See their website for specific dates
    Where: South Park Amphitheater and Hartwood Acres Park Amphitheater
    Why: Artists include Paul Luc, Eve 6, Blue Öyster Cult and Field Report









    Who: The Rolling Stones with AWOLNATION
    When: 8 p.m. June 20
    Where: Heinz Field


    What: Vans Warped Tour
    When: 11 a.m. July 9
    Where: First Niagara Pavilion


    Who: Kid Rock with Foreigner
    When: 6:45 p.m. June 28
    Where: First Niagara Pavilion


    Who: Train with The Fray and Matt Nathanson
    When: 7 p.m. June 30
    Where: First Niagara Pavilion


    Who: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
    When: 7 p.m. June 30
    Where: Stage AE


    Who: Fall Out Boy & Wiz Khalifa with Hoodie Allen
    When: 7 p.m. July 2
    Where: First Niagara Pavilion


    Who: Three Days Grace
    When: 6 p.m. July 9
    Where: Stage AE


    Who: Colbie Caillat and Christina Perri
    When: 6 p.m. July 12
    Where: Stage AE


    Who: Foo Fighters with Royal Blood
    When: 6:30 p.m. August 25
    Where: First Niagara Pavilion


    Who: Luke Bryan
    When: 7 p.m. July 31, Aug 1
    Where: First Niagara Pavilion



    Who: Hozier
    When: 6:30 p.m. July 28
    Where: Stage AE


    Who: One Direction
    When: 7 p.m. August 2
    Where: Heinz Field


    Who: Nicki Minaj with Meek Mill
    When: 7 p.m. August 8
    Where: First Niagara Pavilion


    Who: J Cole & Big Sean with YG
    When: 6:30 p.m. July 30
    Where: First Niagara Pavilion


    Who: Los Lonely Boys
    When: 8 p.m. June 21
    Where: Altar Bar









    What: 3rd Annual Pittsburgh Summer Beerfest
    When: July 17-18
    Where: Stage AE

    What: Pittsburgh Restaurant Week
    When: August 10- 16
    Where: Click here for the list of restaurants involved.

    What better way to celebrate the summer season in Pittsburgh than eating outside? Here’s a list of must-go-see restaurants in the area for foodies.

    Andora Restaurant
    Winner of OpenTable’s Diners’ Choice 2015 Award, this restaurant has three locations with beautiful outdoor seating.
    Menu Must-Try’s: shrimp bisque and the Andora burger

    Double Wide Grill
    Double Wide Grill
    With vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian options, this restaurant is a hot spot during all summer holidays.
    Menu Must-Try’s: pineapple chicken wrap, salmon avocado BLT

    Andy’s Wine Bar
    Not only do they offer seating outdoors and a wide wine selection but they also serve house smoked BBQ every Friday during the summer and live jazz music Wednesday-Saturday.
    Menu Must-Try’s: truffle blue cheese fries and Cherries vs. Chocolate

    Smallman Street
    Eleven Contemporary Kitchen
    Eleven’s location provides Strip District-goers with the perfect escape from the bustle of Penn Ave.
    Menu Must-Try’s: sea scallops and the chef’s tasting menu
    Open Bottle Bistro
    Located in the heart of Shadyside, this bistro is winner of the OpenTable Diner Awards for Notable Wine List, Neighborhood Gem and Outdoor Dining.
    Menu Must-Try’s: filet mignon slices flatbread and the champignon


    Café @ The Mattress Factory
    Supplied from Coca Café on Butler Street. Visitors please note: museum admission is not required to dine.
    Menu Must-Try’s: tea-smoked salmon and melted brie wheel
    Cafe at the Frick

    Café @ The Frick
    The Frick grounds yield the perfect backdrop for lunch and tea service (served daily after 2:30 p.m.)
    Menu Must-Try’s: potted shrimp and carrot dumplings


    The Porch @ Schenley Plaza
    This list would not be complete without this restaurant’s presence. With an extensive menu, this spot has something for everyone.
    Menu Must-Tries: farm bread salad and cinnamon raisin brioche French toast






    Mattress Factory






    The Mattress Factory

    Check out the museum’s new exhibition, Factory Installed featuring art from Anne Lindberg, John Morris, Julie Schenkelberg, Jacob Douenias, and Ethan Frier.

    “Eight artists have been chosen to present work in Factory Installed, a two-part exhibition opening at the Mattress Factory in 2015. Artists were chosen through an open submission process, and were selected from a pool of over 500 applicants from 27 countries and 35 states within the US… Each artist will create a new room-sized installation that will demonstrate a uniquely different approach to the creative process.” – Mattress Factory


    The Andy Warhol Museum
    There are two new exhibitions that are gracing the museum this summer! One is from German/Dutch artist Stefan Hoffmann called Glycerine and Rose Water, which showcases his vertical silkscreen talents. The other is Pearlstein, Warhol, Cantor: From Pittsburgh to New York, which presents the young artists’ works while they were students at CMU.


    City of Asylum
    International free speech and literary rights champion, City of Asylum, hosts a series of events all summer long on Pittsburgh’s North Side. Check the events calendar for upcoming jazz concerts, poetry readings, and dance performances.



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  6. New Phase Release in Morgantown

    Stretching along the beautiful banks of CCheat Lakeheat Lake, Falling Water offers luxurious estate homes in a quiet, serene lakeside setting. This wooded oasis offers the perfect combination of peace and tranquility within the convenience of everyday living in Morgantown. Drive a short two miles from your wooded home site to the Lakeview Resort and Golf Course, Sunset Beach Marina or Archies Lakehouse for a day of relaxation with friends or family fun on the lake. Or take a leisurely stroll down the lamp lit city sidewalks strategically placed throughout the community.

    All new homes built in Falling Water include concrete driveways, 10’ ceilings on the first floor, 9’ ceilings on the second floor and lower level, maple kitchen cabinets, granite kitchen countertops, gourmet style kitchen island, built-in GE stainless steel appliances, oversized fireplace in family room, luxury owner’s suite with spa-like baths, ceramic tile floors, hardwood floors in foyer, kitchen, powder room and first floor hall – and much more! Six floor plans to choose from, starting in the low $390s.


    10 highly sought-after home sites are to be released in this prime real estate. The New Phase Release will be held Saturday, May 30th from 1pm to 4pm at Falling Water’s Remington Place II decorated model home. The model home is located at 101 Falling Water Lane – Morgantown, WV. Be the first to reserve your perfect home site!

    1ExteriorRecently unveiled at Falling Water was The Cavanaugh – a new unprecedented floor plan premiering in Morgantown. The Cavanaugh’s convenient and compact design offers the best in one-level living while still giving ample space for today’s lifestyles. This first-floor owner’s plan offers unparalleled high-end features such as 2,582 square feet of living space (up to 3,160 square feet), masonry front with Hardie Plank sides, 3 to 5 bedrooms, maple cabinets with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, open concept kitchen with dinette and breakfast bar, spacious open loft on the second floor – and much more! Visit to view photos, elevations, floor plans, interactive floor plans and a 360° virtual tour.

    For more information on the Falling Water community, Cavanaugh home design or the New Phase Release – call 724-871-1727 or email our new home specialist, Jodie at [email protected].

  7. This Is What Pittsburgh Will Look Like In 10 Years

    PNC Tower Pittsburgh Skyline

    With help from the city’s government and like-minded supporters, the once post-industrial city of Pittsburgh has shifted its focus from manufacturing to education and innovation and has started multimillion dollar initiatives to make improvements.

    So what will Pittsburgh look like in ten years?

    A Pittsburgh-based initiative called P4 (People, Planet, Place and Performance) aims to transform the Steel City into a Sustainable City with plans to become a model for the rest of the world.

  8. The History Of 5 Pittsburgh Street & Community Names

    Pittsburgh is a city that is gifted with history. Every building, street, and community seems to have a story. What about the names of the streets we regularly travel on and the communities we live in? Negley Avenue, The Boulevard of the Allies, and Lawrenceville are all names that the residents of Pittsburgh are quite familiar with, but where did they come from? Who, or what, are they named after? We’ve explored the history of Pittsburgh to discover the stories of individuals whose names remain very present in the minds of the residents of our city.

    The Boulevard of the Allies

    Boulevard-of-the-alliesThis (mostly) four lane road that connects Downtown with Oakland is frequently travelled. It was dedicated in 1921 and was the most expensive road in the world at that time. After repeating a name or any word many times it has a tendency to lose its meaning. It could be assumed that The Boulevard of the Allies stands for nothing more than the road itself to many. This was not so for the men and women who chose the name in 1921, as World War I had come to an end just three years earlier.

  9. Can You Identify Famous TV Houses?


    You’ve seen reruns of your favorite show on TV countless times, but how much do you really remember? In TV, it’s common to use an “establishing” shot to set the beginning of a story. This might be a 3 or 4 second exterior shot of the main characters’ house or the outside of some other key location in the ongoing story of the show. In many TV shows, this is the viewer’s only shot at catching a glimpse of the exterior of their beloved characters’ home. Some less observant viewers might not even think twice about what the house looks like. We, as homebuilders, just can’t help ourselves!

    It’s time to put your TV knowledge to the test. If you’re a Netflix binge watcher, this might be the quiz for you. Some questions are more difficult than others, so take your time and dig deep into your memory! We know you’ve seen most of these shows, but what did the house look like?

  10. Pittsburgh Museums Guide

    Soldiers and Sailors Museum

    Museums are a mainstay of any city’s cultural scene, and Pittsburgh is no exception. No matter your niche or budget, Pittsburgh has you covered. But with so many options, it can feel overwhelming. Which museum costs the least? Which museum will adequately tickle my itch for preshistoric critters or modern art installations? If these are the questions that keep you up at night, know that you are not alone! Our Pittsburgh museum guide breaks down the best museums in the city so you can find one that will quench your thirst for knowledge. We’ve listed each museum in Pittsburgh alphabetically with an overview of what they offer, when they’re open, and how much they cost to visit.

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