Elements of Kitchen Island Design



Fads come and go and trends change, but some kitchen additions stand the test of time. Kitchen islands are one such design essential. According to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders, more than 70% of buyers want an island in their kitchen, and of those, 50% consider it a must-have.

A carefully planned kitchen island brings guests, family members, and the cook together. The cook no longer must be secluded in their tasks while guests mingle elsewhere. Parents can balance the duties of meal preparation while children congregate to complete homework or create crafts. The island is the reason why the kitchen has become one of the favorite and most-used rooms in the home.

Using an experienced kitchen designer or architect will ensure that the function is maximized and convenience is enhanced. As you explore the many possibilities for your kitchen island, ask these 6 key kitchen design questions:

Kitchen Island Essentials

1) What’s the purpose of my kitchen island?

The fundamental reasons for the island will drive most of the design decisions. Kitchen islands can be used for a combination of functions such as: prep work, cooking, storage, entertaining, homework and crafts, and dining.

Consider the opinions and behaviors of the entire family. Understand that as time progresses over the next decade or two, the uses of your kitchen may also change.

2) What layout is best for my kitchen island?

After defining the main purposes for your island, layout requirements will emerge. Many kitchen islands will become part of the kitchen triangle, locating the cooktop, refrigerator, and sink in convenient proximity. Likewise, adjacent areas such as living rooms will influence the location of seating areas within your kitchen island.

Islands will drastically range in shapes depending upon their function and will be impacted by the surrounding kitchen. Working sides of the island should have approximately 42”-48” to allow room for opening larger appliances and storage, as well as room for two people to easily pass by. Islands can range from simplistic rectangles to multi-sided and asymmetrical.


3) Which appliances will be included in my island?

Appliances and sinks will require a larger island for the most part. An island can include cooktops, ovens, sinks, dishwashers, or even small refrigerators. When considering your overall kitchen design, choose the top items to include in your island, as not all may fit.

Adding a cooktop in an island will require an overhead vent hood to be installed. Incorporating a sink into an island will require some additional plumbing for the water source, drains, and air vents. Your kitchen designer will help guide you through these choices and explain how they may influence your overall cost.

4) How can my kitchen island provide storage solutions?

If the space permits in good proportion, kitchen islands can house many items behind doors, in drawers, or on display. A large island could include two standard 24” cabinets back to back, stowing away a multitude of lesser-used small appliances, containers, cookware, trash receptacles, linens, or serving dishes.

Kitchen islands may also conveniently store cooking utensils and serving dishes nearby for easy access. Some home gourmets also love to display cookbooks, wine bottles, or stemware on exterior shelves or overhanging racks.

5) How high should the surface of the island be?

Kitchen island surfaces used for traditional counter space or prep work are typically 36” in height, similar to adjacent counters. However, if your kitchen island will also serve the functions of entertaining guests or have part of its surface used for dining or seating, consider a second, higher tier of 42”.

Separating these two surfaces will easily define the different areas of the same island. Taller bar stools can be used with the higher counter allowing guests to have their own space while enhancing the look of your island. The counter overhanging these seating areas should allow for a 15”-18” offset to give legroom and a space to slide stools underneath when not being used.

6) Will my island match or accent the rest of my kitchen?

Originally, kitchen islands matched the surrounding countertops and cabinet stains and paints. However, modern trends have used kitchen islands not only as a utilitarian addition but also as an aesthetic enhancement.

Since islands are central to position and usage in the kitchen, they can be a great opportunity to create a gorgeous focal point. Whether bold or subtle, using a different cabinet color and/or countertop material can draw guests into the kitchen and unite other accents in the surrounding room.

A well-thought-out kitchen island will make your kitchen truly unique as it becomes the heart of your home. The five senses of your family and guests will be excited as they gather to eat, drink, and be merry together for years to come!



Choosing a Vanity & Sink for Your Master Bathroom Reno Project

Of every fixture and piece of furniture that you place in your bathroom, the vanity and sink are probably the most crucial. These fixtures can impact your comfort and overall satisfaction with your bathroom, so it’s important to consider a variety of designs and styles.

Size, materials, color, height and shape can all have an impact on the appearance and functionality of your vanity and sink. But before you can make a choice, you first must know how those choices differ from one another. Knowing what to look for can help ensure that your selection is more satisfying.

Sink Selection

vanity-and-sink-timberframe-homeMost consumers are surprised to discover that sink styles can vary wildly. Gone are the days of few choices, colors and materials. These days, homeowners must ask themselves: two sinks or one? Drop in, undermount, integrated or vessel? Made of stone, ceramic or metal? Which color? Which shape?

Sink Type

The traditional bathroom sink is the drop-in variety, easily identified by a lip that hangs over the edge of the counter to secure the sink in place. In contemporary homes, however, new sink types have surfaced.

  • Vessel. Perhaps the most striking of all the sink types, vessel sinks look like bowls mounted to the top of the vanity. This is the perfect selection for homeowners who like modern fixtures.
  • Undermount. To picture an undermount, imagine a drop-in sink, without the obvious lip that hangs over the edge of the counter. Undermount sinks are seamless, understated and elegant.
  • Integrated. Integrated sinks are physically a part of the countertop, and cannot be removed or changed. Often, integrated sinks are the easiest to clean.

Double or Single

Many homeowners choose a double sink if they have space, or a single space if they do not. Perfect for a master bath, the double sink gives homeowners options.


Traditionally, sinks have been made from ceramic, but newer sinks can be made from engineered stone, metal, or a variety of natural or synthetic materials.


The vanity is the workspace of the bathroom, containing drawers and counter space for soaps, cleaning products, makeup and other bathroom tools.

Size and Shape

A typical vanity will be around 36 inches tall. Still, homeowners are not beholden to this standard for any particular reason. Sometimes, a taller or shorter vanity can make sense. Short homeowners might be attracted to shorter fixtures, while a taller vanity may have the advantage of including more storage space.

It’s common for a vanity to be rectangular in shape, but this doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, many homeowners with small bathrooms opt for a vanity of a non-traditional shape. A triangular vanity or even an oval vanity can fit nicely in a corner, leaving extra space in the rest of the bathroom for movement.


Often, a vanity will take the form of a cabinet or will sit on legs that touch the floor. Cabinet-style and legged vanities are most common in large bathrooms. In recent years, wall-mounted vanities have become more common in smaller bathrooms. While these vanities actually offer reduced storage space for the user, mounted vanities take up less room visually and can contribute to a feeling of spaciousness, making a small bathroom seem less crowded.

Contact Us

Remodeling a bathroom can be a challenge. Get help from a pro! As your design-build team, we can help you choose the right fixtures, layout and features for your bathroom. Contact us to talk further!

13 Kitchen and Bath Design Trends from Industry Pros

Every year, the National Association of Home Builders and the National Kitchen and Bath Association team up to bring industry professionals, like our company, a top-notch tradeshow. Over 100,000 builders, remodelers and design professionals from across the global come together for a three-day event, Design and Construction Week™ new products are available to see, and we can learn about what’s trending in home design.

One education session that is always popular is “60 Design Ideas in 60 Minutes,” and from this session, we’ve created our top 13 design trends for kitchens and bathrooms – as suggested by some of the top industry pros.

Kitchen Design Trends

Kitchens have a new meaning in our lives. People continue to want to stay connected to their friends and family and use the kitchen space in that fashion. Today’s kitchen trends are about convenience and functionality.

Timberhaven kitchen interior, featuring a participation island.

Participation Island: Islands are getting bigger – much bigger. Kitchen islands need to be able to handle multiple functions at the same time, such as two chefs preparing food while still having space for friends to congregate.

The Morning Kitchen: This is a separate space in the kitchen where you tuck the breakfast-prep items, such as the coffee maker, smoothie machine and toaster. It can also accommodate shelves and the microwave drawer, so children can get their own breakfast in the morning.

Dining Rooms & Breakfast Nooks: People are forgoing traditional dining rooms to dedicate that square footage for home offices, dens or playrooms. As a result, they are creating more seating space around the island and larger breakfast nooks.

Storage: There can never be enough of it, and kitchen cabinetry is becoming quite versatile with storage options. From pull-out corner trays and spice rack drawers to pull-down racks and kick drawers, there truly is no limit to how organized and functional a kitchen can be.

Collector Cabinets: Free-standing curio cabinets are in the past, and lighted, built-in collector cabinets are in. This is the perfect spot to display family collectibles and beautiful glass pieces and heirlooms.

Beverage Center: This separate area dedicated to beverages features a small second refrigerator where both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, like sparkling water, are stored. This is the perfect spot for friends to grab a cold drink without disrupting the chef’s meal preparation.

Natural Elements: Natural elements, like stone, brick and wood, are being tastefully designed into all of the spaces of the house, including the kitchen.


Pantries: No longer a second-thought closet, the pantry has been upgraded to one of the main features of the kitchen – with plenty of storage, counterspace and light.

Technology: Technology is playing an even bigger role in the kitchen. Wireless speakers, charging hubs, smart appliances and voice-activated assistants are all becoming a requested feature in our kitchens.

Bath Design Trends

Bathroom RemodelThe bathroom, particularly the Master Bath, remains one of the most requested renovations today. Today’s bathrooms are still about designing a clean, fresh oasis for homeowners to find a bit of comfort and tranquility in their lives.

Showers & Tubs: Beautiful, tiled walk-in or seamless glass showers are still a must-have, and they are getting bigger – meaning more square footage is dedicated to showers. Roomy soaking tubs remain a hot trend with no signs of changing anytime soon.

Lighting: Lighting options continue to abound in the bathroom – chandeliers, sconces and even back-lit mirrors are all being added to this space.

Aging in Place Gracefully: A concern for many is aging – either being able to stay in your home longer or taking care of an older relative within your home. As such, a whole new era of accessibility features, such as decorative grab-bars, have come into vogue.

Wood Vanities: More homeowners are opting for wood vanities – which often mimic a freestanding piece of furniture. They bring the outdoor elements into the home, and give the bathroom a clean, natural look.


The “buzz word” at this year’s tradeshow was flexibility. Creating flexible spaces – either temporarily or long term – within our homes. Many of the design ideas we’ve shared with you can be modified down the road, should that be what you need or want.

As your design-build professional, we want to create flexible spaces that you can enjoy for years to come. Contact us to talk further!


Photos used in this article are from our homes.

Our Timberhaven Log & Timber Home Story

Earlier this year, Prime 1 Builders became a Timberhaven Log & Timber Homes representative serving southwestern PA, and it has been fun and exciting to be able to bring log home construction to our clients! Here’s a Q&A with our president, Dan Meade, as to why we chose Timberhaven and what customers can expect.

Why did you decide to get into building log and timber homes?

My project manager introduced me to it. He used to build log and timber frame homes when he had his own company and told me of the interesting nature of this style of home building. I like the uniqueness of the log and timber style. This is a growing segment of the new home industry, and I believe we can serve it well.

Where do you build?

Prime 1 Builders is a representative of Timberhaven and serves the Pennsylvania counties of Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Washington and Westmoreland.


What excites you about this venture, and building log and timber homes?

It is not something you find too often – a log home builder ­– so I like the opportunity to serve a niche segment of the market. There is something truly alluring about the look of an all-wood structure. I feel that we can grow this segment of our company and expand into new services, all while still providing traditional building services. There are over 300 plans to choose from on the website [see some of the most popular log and timber home designs], or Timberhaven will custom design a plan just for you.


What should people know about building a log or timber home?

Log homes can be any shape and size and include many features found in traditional homes – most often have an open floor plan as a basis for the design. The process of building a home can include the owners’ efforts if they are willing and able. Some owners will have us complete the entire package ready to move into. Others will only have us erect the shell and they complete the rest, and there are still some that want to build the entire structure themselves, and all we do is furnish the log home materials package.

Why did you choose Timberhaven?

Quality is an integral part of Timberhaven Log & Timber Homes, and because quality construction is so important to us, this is one of the biggest reasons why we chose to become a Timberhaven representative.

Timberhaven offers kiln-dried logs as a standard process. You can find many sizes and shapes, and you can choose your corner details from four styles. The Timberhaven logs come in two types as well: Solid logs are kiln dried to an average moisture content of 19%, which is similar to the moisture content that most framing lumber is dried to. This is for the traditional log enthusiast. Premium engineered logs are dried to an average moisture content of 9%, which is similar to the moisture content that furniture wood is dried to. Either way, there is no price difference and no need to have jacks and slide rails for seasonal log movement, which is sometimes required for air-dried logs.


What are some of the factors that go into the price of building a log or timber home?
The items that go into pricing a log home are similar to those of a traditionally built custom home:

  • Land costs
  • Excavation
  • Foundation/masonry/stone work
  • Labor to construct the logs, roof and install the windows (This is called “shelling it in.”)
  • Electrical, including the service, wiring and fixtures
  • Plumbing, including piping and fixtures
  • Water/well
  • Sewer/septic
  • HVAC
  • Cabinetry and countertops
  • Finished flooring – wood/tile/carpet

We can sell you the components and you build it yourself, or we can give you a complete ready-to-move-into package – or somewhere in between. You decide. We will help you with the process either way.

Ready to learn more about log home construction? Contact us.

Laundry Room Design


Laundry rooms are getting a lot of attention and for good reason.

For starters, on average, women spend 17 minutes a day on laundry – that’s nearly 2 hours a week! Laundry ranks third in household chores, just behind interior cleaning and cooking.

Secondly, laundry rooms are one of the top renovation spends, according to the Houzz and Home Survey, released September 2017. The survey states that the average amount spent on laundry room remodels grew 24% from 2016. That’s a significant increase for such a small space.

Finally, laundry rooms are all over the Internet. You cannot browse Houzz, Pinterest or Instagram without seeing at least one beautiful laundry room pic.

With this in mind, we’d like to offer some practical information for approaching your laundry room renovation – should one be on the top of your mind (like it is for so many of our clients).

Laundry Room: Functionality First; Design Elements Second


We admit it – laundry rooms have turned into a fun space to design! If you want to experiment with fun, geometric-shaped tiles, colorful appliances or bold wallpaper, this is the space to try it on for size. But before you get too invested in the many fun design elements of this space, first consider the functionality of the laundry room and what it must do for you and your family.

  • Sorting
  • Prep
  • Drying
  • Ironing & Folding
  • Storage

Sorting – Ideally, you’ll want space to sort your clothing. Some functional options include a place for baskets to separate your items and keep laundry off the floor. If space is available, tip-out or built-in hampers can keep your dirty laundry sorted and your space tidy.

Prep – You’ll also want an area on which to work, such as a countertop, so you may apply fabric treatments. Consider plumbing in a small sink for pre-soaking stained items.

Drying – For delicate and hand-washed items, you’ll want space to line dry. The market offers a few nice options, one of which is sure to fit your needs and space:

  • A rod can be placed between two cabinets for hanging clothes.
  • Retractable, wall-mounted clotheslines are available in single or multiple lines.
  • A slide-out or tip-down clothes drying rack can be installed, or for a nice upgrade, consider a drying cabinet.

Folding & Ironing – You’ll want lots of counter space for folding laundry at a comfortable height (typically 36”) that doesn’t strain your back. You’ll also want a spot to store your folding ironing board, or upgrade to a pull-out ironing board drawer.

Storage – To get as much storage as you can in this space, consider upper cabinets that go to the ceiling, baskets, pull-out drawers and shelves. Once you have storage integrated into your laundry room, you’ll wonder how you managed without it.

Lighting – Never underestimate the amount of lighting you’ll need for this space. Make sure there is plenty of overhead lighting and countertop task lighting to see what you are doing. If you want to pretty the space up, consider hanging a beautiful chandelier as a focal point.


Master Bathroom Design Trends

We are often looking for new inspiration: new ways to organize, new ways to become healthy and new ideas for the home.

Top renovations continue to be kitchens, living rooms and the master bathroom, and it is here where homeowners are seeking to personalize this space to match their needs and style. We’ve organized a few of the top master bathroom design trends to watch in 2018, and while some may not be entirely new, all have a varied twist or application to them.

Continue reading “Master Bathroom Design Trends”

The Rising Costs of New Home Construction Materials




The costs of materials used in new home construction are rising, thanks to a few key factors including U.S. tariffs, Canadian rail delays and hurricane rebuilding efforts. Let’s take a closer look at each of those factors.

Lumber tariffs from Canada

In November 2017, a 20.83% tariff on shipments of softwood lumber from Canada was imposed – a move that is impacting the cost of single-family new home construction. The United States does not produce enough lumber to meet demand, and builders rely on the Canadian supply of softwood lumber to fulfill needs.

“The prices on softwood lumber imports skyrocketed after the 2017 hurricane season and were up 30% from the four months leading to January 2018. By April 6, the Random Lengths Framing Lumber Composite price hit $492, up from $414 a year earlier.

“A study by NAHB economists shows that the increase in the cost of lumber since the beginning of 2017 has been enough to drive up the price of an average new single-family home by $6,388, and the market value of an average new multifamily housing unit by $2,430.” (Source: NAHB Now)

Source: NAHB Now

Canadian Transportation Woes

Harsh winter conditions and an increased demand has caused a shortage of rail capacity in Canada for many industries, including timber. According to a Transport Topics article, “A shortage of rail capacity cost Vancouver, British Columbia-based lumber producer Canfor Corp. $20 million (US$15.6 million) in the first quarter and led to a pileup of inventories left sitting at the company’s sawmills and pulp mills.”

The lack of adequate rail transportation along with the tariffs is adding to the price of lumber. This ultimately affects new home construction, as builders typically get more than a quarter of their lumber needs from Canada. (Source: Lumber Prices Soar on Tight Supply, Trade Tariffs)

Hurricane Rebuilding Efforts

2017 was one of the most devastating hurricane seasons for the United States and our territories. Hurricane Harvey hit coastal Texas and the greater Houston area late August, and damaged or destroyed thousands of homes and commercial properties. Houston is the fourth largest city (population wise), with 2.3 million residents, as of 2016.

Two weeks later, on September 10, Hurricane Irma made landfall on Cudjoe Key of the Florida Keys and also struck Marco Island. Ten days later, the eyewall of Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, which caused catastrophic damage from which the territory is still trying to recover. Power took months to restore, and according to a PBS article, 40,000 residents have been without regular power since the Hurricane hit.

Rebuilding these areas takes time and building resources, especially lumber.

Potential Impact: Tariff on Steel and Aluminum

The current administration is considering imposing a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on imported aluminum from Canada (the largest supplier of steel and aluminum), Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and the EU. If approved, this would affect new construction, particularly apartment buildings and condos; however, steel is used in concrete flooring and foundations of most single-family homes, too.


Our East End job has Rob and his team moving along on the two story addition (May 2018)

Why are the rising costs of new home construction materials important?

As a new home buyer (or homeowner considering a renovation), the rising cost of materials affects the price of construction. Lumber has gone up 66% in the last 12 months! It’s Economics 101 – supply and demand. There is a greatly reduced supply of lumber, yet the demand for new home construction is the best its been since the recession.

How it affects your construction project depends on:

  • the timing of your project and
  • the builder you select.

While we cannot speak for anyone else, our team at Prime 1 Builders works hard to keep our construction prices fair for the high-quality project you receive. We work closely with our custom build clients to understand their needs and match those needs with their budget.

When choosing a builder, don’t only think about the house you are getting as the finished product, but select a builder who can professionally guide you through the entire design build process

4 Key Factors that Affect Home Construction Costs



“What are the factors that affect home construction costs?” is a question we get a lot from potential clients. While there are dozens of items to consider when building a home, those that affect the cost of building a home can generally be divided into four main categories: location, home design, materials and schedule.

Location of Lot & Site Condition

If you’ve been house-hunting for any length of time, you’ve noticed that the cost of the lot is a key factor in the overall price of the home. Acreage is certainly one element to determining lot prices, but that is only a part of what makes up the overall land price. Other considerations include where the lot is located and the condition of the site. If the site is located near a wetland, with conflicting utilities, where endangered species are known to live or the site is rocky – which is often the case in the Pittsburgh area – the costs associated with getting the site ready to build may be higher.

Home Design & Architect

The square footage and style of the home you want to build will also affect the cost. For example, a ranch-style home is fairly straightforward to design, therefore it will be less expensive than a Mediterranean-style home. Additionally, if you select a floor plan from a pattern book that only needs a few adjustments, it’s going to take less time than designing a custom home from scratch.

Many builders, like Prime 1, are design/build firms. This means that they can design and build your home: a one-stop shop. The other option is to work with an architect to design your home, and if this is the option you choose, we have a few talented architects we work with on a regular basis.

what-affects-home-construction-costMaterials & Selections

The components that go into building your house – the raw materials and the selections of finishes/features – also play a large role in determining the home building cost. The cost of raw materials will be more if the location of your home site is farther away from suppliers because it is harder to deliver to rural areas. If you’ve seen an episode of HGTV’s Living Alaska, you are familiar with how much materials cost because delivering materials to the construction site is difficult. While Pittsburgh isn’t nearly as remote as the Alaskan frontier, some construction sites are a bit more difficult to access than others.

Additionally, the selections you make for the finishes and fixtures that go into your custom-built home – cabinetry, flooring, kitchen and bathroom fixtures, tile, lighting – will also factor into the overall construction cost. That’s why it’s important to have an honest conversation with your builder about your budget. He will ask you a host of questions, but all of those will guide you both in developing a construction budget that you can stick to.

Project Schedule

The time the builder is given to complete the project will also affect the cost of new home construction. For instance, if you are under a tight timeframe and are asking the contractor to rearrange his schedule to accommodate your project, expect to pay more. Additionally, unpredicted delays that prolong the project, such as a change in design once construction is in progress, could also raise construction costs.

While these are the key factors that affect the cost of constructing a home, don’t let this deter you from undertaking the amazing and fun experience of building a custom home. With a professional builder guiding you through the process of designing and building your home, you’ll be able to make smart decisions that will give you a quality home within your budget and allow you to enjoy it for years to come.

Are you interested in building a custom home in the Pittsburgh area? Contact us.

Spec Home vs. Custom Home: Pros and Cons


Building a home involves a lot of big decisions. Luckily, prospective new homeowners have options. While many people opt for custom builds, choosing a spec home is also a valid and popular choice.

What Is a Spec Home?

A spec home is a property that has been designed with no buyer in mind. A builder first purchases a lot and then designs and builds a home with the intent of selling it once completed. Sometimes the home is sold during construction, but more often than not, these homes will be completed before they are sold.

Custom builders like to build spec homes because it’s a way to showcase their craftsmanship in a real-world environment. Larger builders have entire communities, sales centers and model homes, so in a way, a spec home can be viewed as the smaller, custom builder’s “model home.”

Who Builds a Spec Home?

Building a home “on spec” simply means that a builder is speculating that the up-front investment he’s making on the home (for land, design services and materials) will eventually sell.

There are several types of builders in the industry – custom, tract and spec – and often times, builders that build custom homes may also build spec homes. In fact, if you are familiar with Pittsburgh’s Festival of Homes, then you’ll have a better understand of what a spec home is – as some of those homes entered by custom builders are built on spec.

What Are the Advantages of a Spec Home?

The main difference between custom and spec homes is that the design of a spec home is largely decided by the builder, before they even break ground. By contrast, a custom home design will be tailored to the request of the homeowner. This fundamental difference gives spec homes three main advantages:

It’s ready almost immediately.

Spec homes are usually up for sale just before the building is completed, which means a buyer can move in quickly – with the biggest hold up being the paperwork. A spec home is a great option for someone who needs to find housing rather quickly – such as when relocating to the Pittsburgh area.

It’s brand new.

Who doesn’t love a newly built house? The excitement of getting a brand-new home is great. As builders have invested a lot up front, they will be keen to make a sale soon after the build is complete. While not always the case, depending on how early you express interest in purchasing the spec home, you may even have the option of choosing a few of the fixtures and finishes – to make the home a bit more customized to your tastes.

You can check it out before buying.

Building a home is stressful, no matter how easy the builder makes it on you, and it’s hard not to worry about or micromanage a custom build. A ton of decisions that need to be made and you need to give the project a lot of energy and attention. On the other hand, spec homes offer you the chance to explore and inspect every nook and cranny of the home before you ever strike a deal. You get all the benefits of a newly crafted home without the time commitment that is required during a custom-built home project.

What Are the Downsides of a Spec Home?

Having looked at the benefits of building a spec home, let’s look at some of the downsides.

With custom homes, you can design and plan the build to match your vision. With spec homes, most of the big choices will already be made by the time that you see the home – such as architectural style, interior layout and room configuration. Other items such as finishes, fixtures, flooring choices and paint colors may have also already been selected by the time you come across the home. If that’s the case, simply have a conversation with the builder to see what, if anything, you can change.

Spec Home vs. Custom Home – Which Is Better?

The decision between a spec home and a custom build is entirely personal, depending on your lifestyle and preferences. If you’d prefer to be involved in creating your dream home, perhaps custom is the route for you.

However, if a quick and easy move into a brand-new home sounds better, then a spec home can offer you a great bargain. You might not get to make many decisions, but there will be less time involved.

Both have their advantages. The choice is yours.

Prime 1 Builders is currently building a spec home in Upper St. Clair on a 1+ acre lot. Read more about this beautiful spec home >>

Are you interested in building a custom-built home in the Pittsburgh area? Contact us. We’d welcome the opportunity to talk about designing and building a home just for you.

5 Key Considerations When Building an Energy Efficient Home


One of our custom-built homes in the Pittsburgh area.

Building an energy efficient home isn’t just a trendy concept: it is the new norm. The choices you make when designing your custom home will go a long way into determining your carbon footprint, the money you save (or spend) on utilities and how comfortably you live within the space.

Here are five important considerations when building an energy efficient home.

Continue reading “5 Key Considerations When Building an Energy Efficient Home”