Real Estate

US home prices rise even as sales slipped

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices rose sharply in August from a year ago, a trend that is thwarting many would-be buyers and potentially slowing sales. The Standard & Poor’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index increased 6.1 percent in August from a year earlier. That’s ...

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 ...

Right at Home: New doorbells have lots of bells and whistles

By Kim Cook Associated Press Before electricity, doorbells rang via a complex rigging of mechanical pulleys. Visitors pulled a rope or turned a key-like affair — think Downton Abbey’s elaborate system to summon staff, but on a smaller scale for the masses. The electric doorbell was ...

Solar sunrooms help with heating costs

Dear Jim: I want to add a solar sunroom for inexpensive extra living space and so it will help heat our house. I would like to build a kit myself or to make one from scratch. What things should I consider? - Mike F. Dear Mike: A sunroom can provide wonderful living space for your family. ...

New home sales hit highest level in decade

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of new U.S. homes jumped last month to the highest level since October 2007, a sign that Americans — unable to find existing homes — are turning to new construction. Damage from last month’s hurricanes may have also inflated the data. New home sales leapt 18.9 ...

Less drama: 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 ...

New decor with a lighter, airier look

By Kim Cook Associated Press There’s been a subtle shift in contemporary dÈcor; it started to emerge at this year’s furniture and design shows, and continues to gain ground in retailers’ fall and winter collections. It’s a shift of light, in color and design. Hues are soft yet ...

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 ...