Real Estate

Serious decor with a fun, playful edge

By Kim Cook Associated Press Dorothy Draper once said of her decorating projects, “I always put in one controversial item. It makes people talk.” The influential Manhattan interior decorator was known for her exuberant use of color and pattern, such as bold, black-and-white ...

What the government shutdown means for your mortgage

By Holden Lewis NerdWallet The partial federal government shutdown is complicating the already complicated process of getting and managing a mortgage. For one thing, the political storm is like severe weather at a major airport: You can expect minor delays or worse. Also, it could mean ...

Home items are getting smarter, like it or not

NEW YORK (AP) — One day, finding an oven that just cooks food may be as tough as buying a TV that merely lets you change channels. Internet-connected “smarts” are creeping into cars, refrigerators, thermostats, toys and just about everything else in your home. CES 2019, the gadget show ...

Espalier pruning has artistic and practical benefits

By Dean Fosdick Associated Press Espalier design is an ancient pruning practice that fashions fruit trees, vines or flowering shrubs into artistic, two-dimensional forms. This lateral shaping makes it easier to harvest and mow, maximizes sunlight, and helps trees fit into tight ...

Now’s a good time to savor the subtle beauty of trees’ barks

By Lee Reich Associated Press Autumn’s fiery-colored leaves have fallen, so now let’s look for more subtle beauty in trees and shrubs. Like a developing photographic image, the textures and colors of bark come into view in the increasingly stark winter landscape. Paper birch isn’t ...

Small touches create a great master bathroom

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press It’s easy to design a gorgeous master bathroom if you have a huge budget. But with the right choices, says interior designer Gabriel Anderson, you can have an exceptional master bath without overspending. “Having huge expanses of marble is amazing ...

Right at home: Black walls make a quiet comeback

By Kim Cook Associated Press There was a time when black walls were mostly the purview of goth teens and indie movie theaters. But the color has been quietly cultivating a broader following among designers and homeowners who want a cozy, enveloping ambiance that’s still got theatrical ...

US home price growth slowed in October

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home price growth slowed in October, a likely consequence of higher mortgage rates having worsened affordability and causing sales to fall. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 5 percent from a year earlier, down from an annual gain of 5.2 ...

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 ...

Don’t forget sconces in your lighting plan

By Kim Cook Associated Press Lighting a room seems simple: Plug in a lamp or flip a switch. Not so fast. “Nothing enhances a space more than a thoughtful lighting plan,” says interior designer Michael Wood of New York City. Many buildings in the city don’t allow channeling into ...

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 ...

Right at Home: Sellers, give every room a role

By Kim Cook Associated Press Many of us have one room in the house that doesn’t really have a job. Maybe we set it up with an air bed once in a while for guests, or shove out-of-season clothing boxes in there, or use it as a holding zone for stuff we’re not sure what to do with. But ...

Remember the ceiling when decorating a room

By Sarah Wolfe For The Associated Press Ceilings are the Rodney Dangerfield of homes. They get no respect. But there are plenty of easy ways to make over this oft-overlooked area, from the quirky charm of Victorian-era, pressed-tin tiles and beadboard to a simple splash of ...

How to plan a smart home – and weigh privacy risks

NEW YORK (AP) — You might have heard of lights that turn off with an app or voice command. Or window shades that magically rise every morning. Technology companies are pushing the “smart home” hard, selling appliances and gadgets that offer internet-connected conveniences you didn’t ...

Ask a designer: Stylish decor, pets can coexist

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press It’s gotten easier to have a house full of pets without sacrificing the home decor you want. Interior designer Vern Yip, a judge on HGTV’s “Design Star” and a dog person, says new technology has led to a variety of stylish AND pet-friendly ...

Tips to save energy and manage heating bills

DETROIT — As cooler temperatures signal the start of another heating season, DTE Energy suggests customers prepare their homes and their budgets for winter. Steps taken now can pay big dividends. DTE Energy offers the following tips to help manage winter energy costs and save money on ...

For energy savings, address those drafty windows

By Tracee M. Herbaugh Associated Press There are plenty of reasons to fix or replace windows, but wintry temperatures push many homeowners to get the job done. Besides the discomfort they cause, drafty windows can add hundreds of dollars to your energy bill over the course of a ...

Storage gets creative thanks to changing decor trends

By Melissa Kossler Dutton Associated Press Storage pieces are not what they used to be. Changes in home design and technology mean that boxy, old-fashioned armoires, dressers and china hutches are being repurposed or are making room for cabinets, shelving and sideboards in a wide variety of ...

Traditional fence or borderline hedge?

By Dean Fosdick Associated Press Consider a hedge if you’re in need of a fence. When managed properly, hedges cost less, outlast wooden fences, are more attractive than most walls, and produce wildlife- and pollinator-pleasing berries and blooms. But decide just what it is that you want ...

Porous paving options catch on, one driveway at a time

By Katherine Roth Associated Press One driveway at a time, many green-minded homeowners and communities are opting for permeable paving options instead of traditional asphalt. “It’s much better for the environment because it helps cut down on storm runoff, which picks up motor oil and ...