Real Estate

Rethinking the basement for living space

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press Basements can be cold and dark, and often get much less decorating attention than the rest of the house. But you can gain new, useful and stylish living space by upgrading that subterranean space. Step one is addressing any risk of flooding or water ...

Garage trend? Think versatility, not parking

By Katherine Roth Associated Press The American garage is world famous. But not necessarily for cars. Silicon Valley started in the Palo Alto, California, garage of the Packard family, where Hewlett-Packard was founded, according to the National Register of Historic Places. Steve Jobs ...

Ask a Designer: Tips on making a room feel bigger

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press As the weather gets colder and we come indoors, it’s easy to wish your indoor space had some of the open, airy feeling of the outdoors. It is possible to make a room feel larger than it really is: Choosing the right colors and finishes and arranging ...

Open and shut case: Choosing and hanging shutters

By Melissa Kossler Dutton Associated Press Although glass and screens have eliminated the practical need for shutters, they’re still popular for decoration. “They add another layer of thoughtful detailing to a house,” says Ted Cleary, a landscape architect in Charlotte, N.C. But to ...

Staircases can be the showcase of a home

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press We give lots of thought to decorating rooms but often overlook the staircase, despite the fact that in many homes it’s the first thing people see when they walk in the door. Staircase areas can be “a great spot to introduce your personal style,” ...

Regular maintenance critical for chimneys

Dear Jim: We use our wood-burning fireplace for heat. It has not been cleaned out for year and we noticed bad spots on the outdoor chimney brick. What maintenance steps can we do ourselves? - Michelle B. Dear Michelle: There are some maintenance items you can do yourself, but you must first ...

US home sales hurt by Harvey and low supply

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home sales fell 1.7 percent in August, pulled down by the effects of Hurricane Harvey and a worsening shortage of available properties. The National Association of Realtors said sales of existing homes sank last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 ...

‘Super pantries’ frequent many kitchen wish lists

By Melissa Kossler Dutton Associated Press Teresa Keller used to joke that she was pantry-challenged. She often relied on a flashlight to search the deep, dark cupboard that held her canned goods and other food items. When she and her husband, Dave, decided to build a home in Sunbury, ...

Sales of new homes fall by 3.4 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of new U.S. homes slumped 3.4 percent in August, the second straight monthly decline. The Commerce Department said sales dropped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 560,000. This followed a 5.5 percent decline in July. Still, sales gains earlier this year mean ...

Saving on utility costs for fall and winter

By The Associated Press There’s a chill in the air, but that’s no reason to feel the heat in your utility costs. Here are a few tips on how to keep your utility expenses under control during these winter and fall months: DO AN AUDIT: Consider having an energy audit done to find out where ...

Dark florals move from runway to rooms

By Kim Cook Associated Press We know that what brews in fashion percolates into decor. This fall, it’s floral prints loaded with depth and drama. Anna Sui’s fall 2017 show was replete with deep, moody florals on velvet, silk and chiffon. Recent collections from Dolce & Gabbana, ...

Homebuilder sentiment falls in September

By Alex Veiga AP Business Writer U.S. homebuilders are feeling less optimistic about their sales prospects, reflecting concerns that rebuilding efforts following hurricanes Harvey and Irma will drive up costs for construction labor and materials. Even so, builders’ overall view of the ...

Living room, dining room, kitchen … brew room?

By Melissa Kossler Dutton Associated Press The first time a batch of beer boiled over in his kitchen, Steve Clemens started thinking about creating a dedicated brewing space somewhere else in his home. “That pretty much solidified it,” said Clemens, of Lodi, Wis., who is one of an ...

U.S. housing starts fall 0.8 pct., a second straight monthly drop

WASHINGTON (AP) — Homebuilders slowed their pace of construction by a sharp 0.8 percent in August, the second straight monthly decline. A steep drop in multifamily construction more than offset a gain in single-family-home building. The overall drop occurred even though would-be ...

Right At Home: From scrap heap to style file

By Kim Cook Associated Press Recycling has become the norm in many communities. The detritus of our daily lives — plastic, glass, metal and paper — makes its weekly trek to processing plants across the country. Much of it gets made into new versions of itself: Your empty corn tin might ...

‘Life-changing magic’ of decluttering

By Katherine Roth Associated Press Just when it seemed Marie Kondo had spread her gospel on the “life-changing magic” of decluttering as far is it could go, the author — whose two previous books remain international best-sellers — is back with a different audience in ...

‘Super kitchens’ have more than stove and fridge

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press American kitchens have always served as more than cooking and eating spaces. Generations of kids have done homework at kitchen tables. Parents claim counter space to organize family miscellany, tap out work emails on laptops or install a television. But ...

New Traditional home decor blends classic, modern looks

By Kim Cook Associated Press In decor, “traditional” tends to conjure up images of matched furniture sets, prim patterns and buttoned-up formality. But there’s been a revamp, and what’s now being called “new traditional” is a fresher, freer look that honors the classics. The ...

A look at durable roofing alternatives

Dear Jim: The old dark shingle roof is leaking again. I prefer to install a longer-lasting roof this time even if it costs a little more. Other than metal, what durable roofing is available and which is environment-friendly? - Ron F. Dear Ron: There are many nonmetal roofing options which ...

Courtyard ‘outdoor rooms’ get a new look

By Melissa Kossler Dutton Associated Press The trend toward outdoor living, which uses comfy seating, bright rugs and weatherproof art to extend the al fresco season at home, is bringing new attention to a centuries-old architectural feature: the courtyard. “It’s the original outdoor ...