Real Estate

New Year’s resolutions for new homeowners

By Beth Buczynski NerdWallet We all make New Year’s resolutions, but let’s be honest: Most are wishful thinking. By February, that “lose 20 pounds” or “learn Spanish” resolution has gone right out the window. But not for you, new homeowner. This year is different. Your first ...

Using trendy ‘Ultra Violet’ hue in decor

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press When the Pantone Color Institute recently announced its color of the year for 2018, the vibrant “Ultra Violet,” it might have seemed a natural fit for fashion and cosmetics. “Ultra Violet is a color that’s almost like a neutral in fashion ...

Construction spending hits record high

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. builders spent 0.8 percent more on construction projects in November, the fourth consecutive monthly gain. November advance follows October’s revised 0.9 percent gain, the Commerce Department said. The increase brought total construction spending for the month to a ...

Smart homes: Not just for tech geeks anymore

NEW YORK (AP) — Internet-connected lights, locks and laundry machines are close to becoming everyday household items, thanks in part to voice-activated speakers such as Amazon’s Echo and Google Home. Market research groups are seeing increased sales of lights that turn off when you say ...

Pending home sales rose a slight 0.2 pct

WASHINGTON (AP) — Slightly more people signed contracts in November to buy homes — with pending sales rising just 0.2 percent as the housing market copes with a dwindling supply of properties on the market. The National Association of Realtors said its index of pending home sales was ...

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 ...

Right At Home: New ways to use old rugs

By Kim Cook Associated Press As part of the red-hot globalism trend, “tribal style” — exotic, eclectic and influenced by travel — has spread from fashion to home decor. There’s a caravan of interesting furniture and accessories that work in any space, from the sleek and ...

US housing starts increase 3.3 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Construction of new homes increased 3.3 percent in November — with the gain largely coming from single-family houses being built at the strongest pace in more than a decade. The Commerce Department said builders broke ground on homes last month at a seasonally adjusted ...

No strife, no food allowed in the woman cave

NEW YORK (AP) — When people find out that I’m an empty nester with a “woman cave” in my New York City apartment, they seem to have a lot of questions. So I recently created this FAQ about it for Facebook friends, which led to a whole other round of comments and questions. If you’re ...

Kitchen backsplashes get sleeker

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press The kitchen backsplash — that surface behind the stovetop or sink that protects the wall from damage during cooking and dishwashing — has long been used to add color and beauty to an otherwise utilitarian space. But dramatic, ornately patterned ...

After the lights dim, Rockefeller Christmas trees still give

NEWBURGH, N.Y. (AP) — Old Rockefeller Center Christmas trees never really die, they just get built into the wall frames and floor supports of affordable homes. For the past decade, the ornament-laden trees that have been lit up with glitz, songs and dancing Rockettes have gone on to be ...

Home downsizing tips from the pros

By Katherine Roth Associated Press For empty nesters, seniors and others who find themselves moving into a smaller space, downsizing can feel emotionally and physically overwhelming. But careful planning and perspective can make it easier. It helps to keep your eyes on the prize, experts ...

Pantries gaining more attention in home design

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, ...

US construction spending up a strong 1.4 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. construction spending surged 1.4 percent in October, the best gain in five months, with all major categories of building posting gains. The October spending increase was the third monthly gain after more modest advances of 0.3 percent in September and 0.5 percent in ...

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 ...

US new-home sales jump 6.2 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans bought new homes in October at the fastest pace in a decade — a 6.2 percent monthly increase that reflects both the underlying strength of the economy and the worsening shortage of existing homes for sale. The Commerce Department said new-home sales last month ...

Snazzy staircases are home’s centerpiece

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,” ...

Larger houses on smaller lots lead to scaled-down plants

By Dean Fosdick Associated Press Urbanization is transforming landscape design in many places: Larger houses and smaller lots are driving the development of scaled-down plants. Plant breeders are introducing plants — everything from shrubs and trees to flowering perennials — that ...

US home sales increase in October

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans bought more homes last month, as sales snapped back in hurricane-hit Texas and Florida. Yet the market is still suffering from a dwindling supply of available homes. Sales rose 2 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million, the ...

Versatility’s the key in the modern rec room

By Melissa Kossler Dutton Associated Press When asked to build a luxury home for a house tour this year, designer Kenyon Woods opted to include a rec room — but not the rec room of his childhood. Unlike old-time rec rooms with their wood paneling, ceiling tiles, box TVs and cast-off ...