Real Estate

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, ...

Home construction falls after surge

WASHINGTON (AP) — Builders pulled back on constructing homes in November, after ground breakings surged in October to the strongest pace in more than nine years. Housing starts fell 18.7 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted 1.09 million, the Commerce Department said Friday. The ...

Pros, cons of radiant infloor heating

Dear Jim: We are adding a family room and a bedroom to our house. We are considering electric radiant infloor heating. Is it costly to operate and does it work well with carpeting? - Anne V. Dear Anne: Electric infloor heating is one type of electrical resistance heating. Resistance heating ...

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 ...

Kitchen trends and innovations for 2017

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press Americans briefly scaled back the scope of home renovation projects after the recession began nearly a decade ago, says interior designer and “HGTV Design Star” judge Vern Yip. But even during the peak of that focus on smaller, more sustainable ...

Harnessing the riches of online design sites

By Sarah Wolfe Associated Press There’s Houzz. Remodelista. Home design Twitter feeds. Tumblr accounts. And of course, the granddaddy of all online decor depositories — Pinterest. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by online resources when remodeling or redecorating. Where should you ...

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 ...

Nature’s noise blocker? Trees

By Dean Fosdick Associated Press Landscape designers in cities are creating quieter living spaces by using trees to mute loud noises like sirens and air brakes. It’s called “soundscaping,” and it aims to restore peaceful, natural sounds like wind whispering through leaves, birds ...

Home prices surpass pre-recession peak

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices have fully recovered from their steep plunge during the housing bust and Great Recession, according to a private measure. The Standard & Poor’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index is slightly above the peak it set in July 2006, after ...

How to get the most from your fireplace

Dear Jim: I added a blower and will use my fireplace often this year. I have had a problem getting fires started. What is the best way to lay a fire and get it started without filling the room with smoke? - Yvonne B. Dear Yvonne: There are some fire-building basics, but if you ask ten ...

Construction spending increases 0.5 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. builders boosted spending on construction projects by a modest amount in October, helped by big gains in spending on home construction and the biggest increase in government projects in 10 months. Construction spending rose 0.5 percent in October following no change ...

Decorators’ tips for a cozy winter bedroom

By Melissa RayworthAssociated PressDecorating a bedroom is about creating a peaceful retreat, and in winter that means making it as cozy and welcoming as possible.For some people, "cozy" requires the physical warmth of thick flannel sheets and soft quilts, says California-based designer Kathryn ...

Smart locks let you in without keys

By Diana MarszalekAssociated PressWhen Christy and Joe Affrunti bought their Long Island, New York, house last year, one of their first projects was replacing the traditional front-door lock with one that opens using a pass code. They were tired of the hassle of "jiggling with a key."Now, when ...

Right at home: New nursery decor with style

By Kim CookAssociated PressBaby, it's a brand new year. And 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 LINESTraditional parameters ...

Home prices rise, lifted by dwindling supply

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. home prices climbed at a solid pace in August as more home buyers competed for fewer available properties.The Standard & Poor's CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 5.1 percent in August, after a 5 percent gain in July. Portland, Seattle and Denver ...

Home sales rebound despite tight supply

WASHINGTON (AP) - More Americans bought homes in September, many for the first time, despite a persistent shortage of properties for sale.The National Association of Realtors said sales of existing homes rose 3.2 percent from August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.47 million, the ...

Old West Michigan home restored in renovation

HART, Mich. (AP) - Artists put the finishing touches on Hart House Bed and Breakfast on Tuesday when they installed beveled, faceted glass windows.The brick-and-stone home was a gift from George Bates to his wife Estelle Moore Bates in 1904. It features a blend of Tudor and Craftsman ...

Exhibit explores roots of modern interiors

NEW YORK (AP) - In the chaotic aftermath of World War I in Europe, a small group of enterprising designers, artists and architects - many of them women - stepped forward with groundbreaking ideas for how to improve the quality of life through architecture and design.Their efforts eventually ...

Ask a Designer: transitioning outdoor spaces for fall

By Melissa RayworthAssociated PressOutdoor decorating often focuses on turning decks, patios and porches into summer destinations. But some people love their outdoor entertaining space even more when the weather turns colder."Being outside with friends and family on a slightly chilly evening is ...

US construction spending falls

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. builders trimmed spending on construction projects in August for a second straight month with housing, non-residential and government activity all seeing declines.Construction spending dropped 0.7 percent in August after a 0.3 percent slip in July, the Commerce Department ...