Real Estate

Right at home: Stylish and savvy wastebaskets

By Kim Cook Associated Press When decorating a room, we don’t tend to give much thought to the waste receptacle. But the decorative details can be important. “They can make or break your best efforts,” says Diane Henkler, a decorator in Lake Murray, South Carolina. “The details are ...

Curtain’s up: Fall decor takes the style stage

By Kim Cook Associated Press Theatrical silhouettes. Stirring colors. Compelling patterns. This fall, we’re seeing decor that confidently takes the spotlight, and the story’s got something for everyone. “It’s like midcentury modern has met Sophia Loren,” laughs New York-based ...

Virtual tech helps plan landscaping

By Katherine Roth Associated Press Just as virtual technology has become a common tool for anyone planning to repaint or redecorate a home, a growing array of apps can make landscaping easier too. But know when to use them, and when it would be easier to pull out an old-fashioned pencil ...

Multipurpose furniture: When a couch isn’t just a couch

By Katherine Roth Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — It’s not always enough for a couch to be a couch. Sometimes, especially when space is tight, it helps if the couch can double as two armchairs and a coffee table, and even storage shelves, as is the case with one Japanese camping couch ...

Home for sale comes with mammoth bones

SUMMIT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A house that will soon be up for sale in southern Michigan may have mammoth or mastodon bones at the bottom of its backyard pond. Steve Dodge found the bones and ivory tusks of a giant elephant-like animal after excavating his backyard to build a pond 10 years ...

Pending home sales improve

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans signed more contracts to buy homes in June, snapping a three-month decline in pending sales. The National Association of Realtors said Monday that its pending home sales index rose 1.5 percent in June to 110.2. The gain still puts the pace of contract signings ...

Home decorators embrace big, bold wall art

By Kim Cook Associated Press Not long ago, the only homes in which you’d see big, bold art hanging on the walls tended to be those of serious collectors. For everyone else, filling up a blank space meant going with something attractively innocuous that didn’t jangle with the sofa ...

Ready for 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 ...

Construction spending falls in June

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. construction spending declined in June for the second time in three months, as spending on government construction projects plunged by the largest amount in 15 years. Construction spending fell 1.3 percent in June, the biggest drop since a 1.8 decline in April, the ...

US home prices reach record high

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices reached a new high in May for the sixth straight month, which may raise fears of another housing bubble roughly a decade after a previous one burst. The Standard & Poor’s CoreLogic national home price index, released Tuesday, increased 5.6 percent in ...

Using solar ovens saves on cooling costs

Dear Jim: I want a solar cooker to help keep my kitchen cooler and save energy. It would also help in case of a power outage or emergency. Can I make one that really works or should I buy one? - Rhonda G. Dear Rhonda: It is wise to try to do some of your baking and cooking outdoors in a solar ...

A brand new look for the old breakfast nook

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press The term “breakfast nook” sounds hopelessly trapped in the 1970s, but modern homeowners are embracing the style and practicality of built-in seating in the kitchen.† “The idea of the built-in, with the kids piled in it and the pillows” can ...

Coming up with a furniture plan that works

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press Sometimes the way to improve a room isn’t to buy new furniture: It’s to rearrange pieces you already own. Interior designers can spend hours creating the best furniture plan for a room, balancing practical considerations and creative ...

The old breakfast nook has been updated

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press The term “breakfast nook” sounds hopelessly trapped in the 1970s, but modern homeowners are embracing the style and practicality of built-in seating in the kitchen.† “The idea of the built-in, with the kids piled in it and the pillows” can ...

Bring natural light indoors to reduce electric use

Dear Jim: I want more natural light indoors to reduce electric usage for lighting. Also, I see better in natural light. I thought a tubular skylight would be the easiest to install myself. Does this make sense? - Jen H. Dear Jen: Even though a tubular skylight does penetrate the attic ...

Ask A Designer: Stylish decor and 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 ...

‘Magical island’ is for sale for $8M

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A private island replete with a mansion, two guest houses and a barn with workers’ quarters is on the market in Maine for $7.95 million. Developer John Cacoulidis (kack-uh-lee-dus) bought the 86-acre (0.13-square-mile) Hope Island in 1993 for $1.3 million. The real ...

Designing a functional, stylish mudroom

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press Mudrooms have been a staple of large houses, especially in climates with plenty of rain and snow. But increasingly, a mudroom has become a design essential even for apartment dwellers and those with small homes. “Just like the kitchen has become so ...

Whole-house generators a plus during outages

Dear Jim: It’s inconvenient when the electric goes off during storms. I want to get a generator. Is it expensive to operate a whole-house generator during outages? If not, why not always use one? - Cindy H. Dear Cindy: Many homeowners install large whole-house emergency backup generators ...

New Traditional decor blends classic, modern

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 ...