Real Estate

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 ...

Encourage energy savings with smart thermostats

NEW YORK (AP) — As temperatures drop and winter looms, homeowners and property managers are sweeping chimneys, insulating pipes and swapping screens for storm windows. They’re also going beyond traditional winterizing by installing smart thermostats and home energy monitors aiming to ...

US home sales rise 1.4 percent, snap losing streak

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home sales rose in October, breaking a six-month losing streak. But sales are still down from a year ago, hurt by rising interest rates. The National Association of Realtors said sales of existing homes climbed 1.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.22 ...

Low profile kitchens that go with the flow

By Kim Cook Associated Press Kitchens tend to be designed as star players on the residential stage. Their role is often aspirational — pro chef’s lair, for example, or the country kitchen from that Italian movie you loved. But there’s a different story being played out by some ...

Holiday decor offers sweet hues

By Kim Cook Associated Press Amid a seasonal sea of red and green or silver and blue, there’s a sweet, alternative palette in holiday decor. Think of fresh fruits and delectable candies, and you’re on the right track — it’s an enticing, enchanting array of sugarplum hues that home ...

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 ...

‘Super pantries’ on 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, ...

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 ...

Creating a perfectly cozy place to read

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press We decorate our homes in order to enjoy them. For book lovers, adding a cozy and well-lit space dedicated to reading can be the perfect finishing touch. Most homes, of course, don’t have a spare room for use as a library. But interior designers often ...

US construction spending rose 0.1 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Spending on U.S. construction projects ticked up 0.1 percent in July, led by an increase in homebuilding and the publicly funded building of schools and highways. The Commerce Department said the slight July increase brought total construction spending to a ...

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 ...

Fall decor: stylish, functional, comfortable

By Kim Cook Associated Press Unfettered from dated conventions that urged us to pick a decor style and stick to it, more and more designers and retailers this fall are blending decorative elements and playing more loosely with the color wheel. In some cases, the result is a polished, ...

Low profile: kitchens that go with the flow

By Kim Cook Associated Press Kitchens tend to be designed as star players on the residential stage. Their role is often aspirational — pro chef’s lair, for example, or the country kitchen from that Italian movie you loved. But there’s a different story being played out by some ...

Right At Home: 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 ...

US home prices march higher in May

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S home prices rose rapidly in May, a trend that is thwarting some would-be buyers and pulling down home sales. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 6.5 percent in May from a year earlier. That’s down slightly from April, but is still more ...