Real Estate

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 ...

Is air conditioner upgrade the right move?

Dear Jim: I should replace my noisy, old central air conditioner with a more efficient one. I want steadier room temperatures and humidity along with cleaner indoor air. What type of system do you recommend? - Cyndee O. Dear Cyndee: Your old central air conditioner probably has a SEER ...

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 ...

US pending home sales decline

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans signed fewer contracts to buy homes in May, the third straight monthly decline and evidence that a shortage of homes for sale has suppressed home-buying. The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that its pending home sales index fell 0.8 percent in May ...

Ask a Designer: Chic plus comfortable equals relaxed style

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press It’s a difficult compromise: Many of us want our homes to look as stylish and carefully designed as the ones we†see in decorating magazines. But we also want them to be comfortable and easy to enjoy. “A relaxed lifestyle is something people want ...

New look in floral arrangements: wilder, seasonal, local

By Katherine Roth Associated Press Like a tiny green sprig reaching upward, it happened slowly at first. And then, suddenly, it was everywhere. A wilder, more seasonal and local look in floral arrangement is replacing the stiffer, more formal arrangements of a decade ago. Bouquets ...

Ever wanted to live in 2 nations at once?

BEEBE PLAIN, Vt. (AP) — For sale: A 1782 fixer-upper with thick granite walls, 1950s decor, and armed 24-hour security provided by both Canada and the United States of America. The just over 3,000-square-foot house, cut into five currently vacant apartments, is on a lot of less than a ...

Use efficient lighting for bathroom projects

Dear Jim: I plan to remodel my master bathroom/dressing area and my young kid’s bathroom myself. The previous lighting in there was terrible. What is the best and most efficient lighting to use for these projects? - Judi L. Dear Judi: People don’t often think about lighting and efficiency ...

A little 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 ...

Stools are a versatile player in decor

By Kim Cook Associated Press A stool is one of the most versatile pieces of furniture you can get. It slides neatly under or up to a counter, takes up little real estate and can provide a handy perch in any room. New York interior designer Kati Curtis finds herself employing stools a lot ...

Indoor plant displays: built-ins, wall pockets and more

By Solvej Schou Associated Press Imagine stepping into a bathtub, and instead of bathroom tiles lining the wall next to you, there’s a fresh vertical garden, lush with bright green ferns, lavender, baby’s tears, mint and other fragrant plants. San Francisco-based design studio Siol ...

City approves permit for US’ 1st all-wood high-rise

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Officials in Oregon have approved construction permits for the first all-wood high-rise building in the nation. Construction on the 12-story building, called Framework, will break ground this fall in Portland’s trendy and rapidly growing Pearl District and is ...

Right at home: Relaxing water-themed decor

By Kim Cook Associated Press Summer for many of us means reconnecting with water — lakeside hikes, paddles in the sea, luxuriant floats in some relaxing pool. And that connection isn’t confined just to the outdoors, either. Watery hues and motifs are all over home decor. “Water ...

Home prices rising 2 times faster than wages

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices climbed in March at the strongest rate in nearly three year as a dwindling supply of houses for sale is causing prices to significantly outpace income growth. The Standard & Poor’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 5.9 percent over ...

Home sales on decline

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans pulled back their pace of home-buying in April, as the shrinking number of houses for sale and rising prices are putting them in a bind as their options dwindle. The National Association of Realtors said that sales of existing homes declined 2.3 percent last ...

Solar sunrooms create extra living space

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 decor gives homes 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 ...

Right at home: New nursery decor with style

By Kim Cook Associated Press When it comes to creating the perfect sleep space for little ones, there are more fun options than ever. Styles range from haute to homespun, vintage to vanguard. A look at some of the best: ——— BLURRING THE LINES Traditional parameters like ...

New home sales drop

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. sales of new homes last month registered the biggest drop in more than two years. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that new home sales skidded 11.4 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 569,000. It was the biggest monthly drop since March 2015. ...

A fresh take on shaggy-chic fringed decor

By Kim Cook Associated Press Like coquettish long eyelashes or chic bangs, fringe has a beguiling style that draws it every so often back into the trend orbit. Now is one of those times in fashion and home decor, thanks perhaps to our current flirtation with eclecticism and our ongoing ...