Real Estate

Three pros discuss creating an outdoor room

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press Designers often talk about the perfect “outdoor living room” — a deck or patio that combines the comfort and style of indoor decorating with the pleasure of relaxing outside. But what separates these outdoor entertaining spaces from more typically ...

Ask a Designer: Rethinking the basement

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 ...

Pending home sales fall 1.3 pct

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes in April, reflecting the dearth of properties being listed for sale in the U.S. right now. The National Association of Realtors said its pending home sales index fell 1.3 percent in April to 106.4, after rising for two ...

Don’t let a down a payment scare you off

By Brianna McGurran NerdWallet “Ask Brianna” is a column from NerdWallet for 20-somethings or anyone else starting out. I’m here to help you manage your money, find a job and pay off student loans — all the real-world stuff no one taught us how to do in college. Send your questions ...

New technology is making gardening easier

By Dean Fosdick Associated Press New technology is easing the way we garden, store equipment, monitor watering and re-shape landscapes. And some of those tasks can be done remotely, using phones or tablets. The innovations extend well beyond downloading a few apps. New to the horticultural ...

For-sale signs vanish and March home prices jump 6.8 pct

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices climbed in March with buyers paying a premium for ownership as the number of properties up for sale declines, and mortgage rates increase. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index increased 6.8 percent in March from a year earlier. The ...

Right at Home: Bold, black kitchens serve up style

By Kim Cook Associated Press The kitchen’s often a room to experiment — with decor, as well as food and drink. Over the years we’ve seen yellow, turquoise, avocado green, greige and white take their turn as favored hues. But right now, black is back. “It makes perfect sense, ...

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 ...

Swimming-pool landscaping: pretty with a minimum of debris

By Dean Fosdick Associated Press Landscaping around an outdoor swimming pool requires no-muss, no-fuss plant selections. The pool can be a flowery focal point, but don’t open it to litter from leaves and limbs. “Both in- and above-ground pools offer unique design challenges and ...

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 ...

Fashion-forward tile for walls and floors

By Kim Cook Associated Press One of the oldest materials in home design is now trending like a hot newcomer. Shelter magazines, design blogs and home renovation stores are featuring tile for surfacing floors and more: Designers are opting for a high-impact effect by cladding stair risers ...

Builder optimisms bounces in May after 4 month slide

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. homebuilders are feeling more confident about their sales prospects, reflecting strong demand for newly built homes with existing homes in short supply. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index rose two points to 70 this month. ...

For spring, window treatments with flair

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press Even the simplest window treatments have an important role to play in the look of a room. “They really soften and furnish a space much more than most people imagine,” says interior designer Betsy Burnham of Los Angeles. Yet she often has to reassure ...

Is it art or is it decor?

By Katherine Roth Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — The furniture, drapes, wall coverings, ceramics, textiles and other works by London-based artist Marc Camille Chaimowicz are as cross-disciplinary as they are distinct. They reflect and draw inspiration from the home, but are closer to ...

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 ...

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 ...

Construction spending drops 1.7 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. construction spending dropped 1.7 percent in March, the biggest setback in 11 months, with weakness in a number of sectors including the biggest plunge in home building in nine years. The March decline was the first monthly drop since last July and the biggest ...

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 ...

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 ...

Homes that can adapt, change with us

By Katherine Roth Associated Press Most housing is designed for nuclear families, but most U.S. households don’t meet that description. That’s why flexible floor plans — and innovations including moveable walls, smart technology, multifunctional furniture and space-saving features ...