Real Estate

Clear favorite: Acrylics a versatile furniture option

By Melissa Kossler Dutton Associated Press Clear the way for acrylics. Furniture makers are using the see-through material for everything from couch legs and bed posts to tables and footstools. It’s a way to add drama to a room without overloading it, said Sheila Schmitz, an editor ...

New home sales rise despite higher mortgages

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans responded to higher mortgage rates by snapping up new homes in February at the fastest pace since July. New-home sales rose 6.1 percent month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 592,000, the Commerce Department said. That sales pace is nearly 13 ...

Embraced by Baby Boomers, recliners get makeover

By Melissa Kossler Dutton Associated Press Including recliners in home decorating projects used to be an interior designer’s nightmare, says Bonnie Lewis, founder of 55+ TLC Interior Design in Scottsdale, Arizona. But the easy chair has gotten a face lift, thanks largely to Baby ...

US housing starts rose in February

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. builders broke ground on new homes at a faster pace in February, a sign that developers expect solid sales growth this year despite higher mortgage rates. Housing starts rose 3 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.3 million, the Commerce ...

Getting creative: Rooms and spaces that inspire

By Katherine Roth Associated Press Spaces where creativity happens are utterly unlike other rooms, artists and designers say. Whether at home or elsewhere, these deeply personal spaces often feel like they’re in flux, with interiors more curated than decorated. They often feature natural ...

Raising the ceiling can change a room

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press Architects tend to look skyward: The ancient Greeks built coffered ceilings in their temples. Romans introduced the barrel vault. Medieval builders constructed Gothic arches and Renaissance domes to inspire the masses. Centuries later, the impact is the ...

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 ...

Rolling shutters offer protectijavascript:;on

Dear Jim: I want a strong window shutter for security and storms, but I don’t want it to block my outdoor view. Is a rolling shutter strong enough and will it improve the efficiency of a large window? - Celeste N. Dear Celeste: Installing rolling shutters can protect your windows and ...

Comfy, cushioned cubby is an inviting workspace

By Beth J. Harpaz Associated Press It’s a quiet but cozy workspace, designed to promote focus and creativity while providing an alternative to a traditional desk or office. It’s also a bright pink cubby covered in comfy cushions. The pink seating is the brainchild of Karen Bala, Jen ...

Decor trends loving Africa

By Kim Cook Associated Press Trek through home decor stores these days and you’ll probably see goods from around the world — India, the Far East, South America. And Africa. Just as fashion houses like Celine, McQueen, Valentino and Missoni have referenced African prints and hues over ...

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 ...

The pros and cons of using a generator

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 ...

Rooftop decks: Sky’s the limit for entertaining

By Kim Cook Associated Press Backyards and balconies are great places to enjoy an al fresco meal or a sun bath, but to really elevate your outdoor lifestyle, consider going up. To the roof. Rooftop decks were fairly common in early 20th century Craftsman and modernist homes, particularly ...

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 rise in sign of housing market health

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans bought more new homes in January after a steep fall-off the previous month, a sign the housing market is healthy despite higher mortgage rates. New home sales rose 3.7 percent to a seasonally-adjusted 555,000, the Commerce Department said. That is 5.5 percent ...

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, ...

Ideas for a primp-perfect bathroom

By Kim Cook Associated Press What makes a great bathroom, one perfect for prepping and primping? A well-considered combination of fixtures, lighting and amenities — the kind we often first experience in a really nice hotel. “Bathrooms are the most private parts of our homes. ...

Simple ways to cheer up your home in winter

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press During these chilly and gray days of mid-winter, many of us look to our homes as sanctuaries. The standard advice for cheering up your living space is to add a few splashes of bright, happy color, says designer Maxwell Ryan. But while that may seem ...

Pick efficient appliances

Dear Jim: I am looking for a new dishwasher. My very old one is noisy, has only two cycle settings and does not clean well. What features should I look for in a new efficient model? - Kathy K. Dear Kathy: Even the least expensive new dishwasher will be more efficient and quieter than your ...

Concrete gains ground as decorative material

By Kim Cook Associated Press The Pantheon. The Panama Canal. The Hoover Dam. When you think of concrete, you might imagine great feats of engineering, or at least highway overpasses and other sturdy, stolid structures. But concrete has become a stylish medium in the home, thanks to ...