Real Estate

Bring natural light indoors

Dear Jim: I want more natural light indoors to reduce electric usage for lighting. Also, I see better in natural light. I thought a tubular skylight would be the easiest to install myself. Does this make sense? - Jen H. Dear Jen: Even though a tubular skylight does penetrate the attic ...

Spring cleaning’ is a chance to update decor; some trends

‘By Kim Cook Associated Press For some people, spring cleaning entails not much more than a good shake of the carpets. For others, it’s an excuse to update room dÈcor. Here’s a sampling of this season’s new palettes, patterns and styles: ——— COLORS Neither boring nor ...

US housing starts fall 2.6 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Construction of new homes fell for a second straight month in April, pushing activity to the lowest point in five months. Housing starts fell 2.6 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.17 million units, the Commerce Department reported. That followed a ...

Retractable screen doors easy to use and durable

Dear Jim: I like screen doors for natural ventilation, but they expensive, inconvenient and don’t look really good. Are hideaway retractable screen doors easy to operate and durable? - Dan J. Dear Dan: Natural ventilation is obviously more efficient than using fans or air-conditioning. Just ...

Backyard playhouses: Hobbits, dragons, pirates, oh my

By Cedar Burnett Associated Press Many a kid (and grown-up) has dreamed of having a magical playhouse. If you’ve got more cash than carpentry skills, there are creative entepreneurs who specialize in bringing those storybook flights of fancy alive with Hobbit holes, treehouses, castles and ...

Curb appeal wins in housing resale wars

Most homeowners lavish attention on the interior, thinking buyers will warm to neutral colors, updated appliances and spic and span closets and floors. But if the outside looks so-so, buyers and their real estate agents may turn up their noses and move on to the next property. At this point, ...

How to decorate with antiques and heirlooms

By Katherine Roth Associated Press In this age of minimalism and decluttering, the common response to an offer of a family heirloom or antique might be, “I don’t have space,” ‘’It’s not my taste,” or simply “No thanks.” Well, “pull yourself out of that as fast as you ...

Christie’s: Global sales of luxury homes cooled in 2016

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Global luxury home sales cooled off in 2016 for the second consecutive year, even with a record number of homes selling for more than $100 million. A report released Wednesday by Christie’s International Real Estate shows that sales of homes priced at $1 million or more ...

New pedestal sinks are perches with panache

By Kim Cook Associated Press If you’ve got a powder room, chances are there’s a pedestal sink in it. The lavatory perches have long been the go-to option for small bathrooms, and even for full-size spaces where a less imposing fixture is desired. The simple bowl-on-a-stick concept has ...

Open and shut case: Choosing 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 ...

‘Super pantries’ frequent 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, ...

Fewer people sign contracts to buy homes in US

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer consumers signed contracts to buy U.S. homes last month as the spring buying season revs up with stiff competition for homes amid lagging inventory. The National Association of Realtors said that its pending home sales index slipped 0.8 percent to 111.4 in March, ...

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 ...

Today’s wood walls make a modern statement

By Kim Cook Associated Press The phrase “wood walls” should no longer conjure up images of gloomy paneled basements or cabins sheathed in dated, knotty pine. Today’s wood walls are riding high on the decor trend curve. Some pay homage to wood walls’ early or midcentury roots. ...

Jazz Age design shown in textiles, furniture and more

NEW YORK (AP) — A multisensory blockbuster of a show at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum here invites visitors to explore Jazz Age design in all its glittering, decadent and innovative glory. Edgy furniture and tableware; textiles and wallpapers in rich oranges and teals; odes ...

US homebuilder sentiment slips, but overall outlook is positive

By Alex Veiga AP Business Writer U.S. homebuilders are feeling slightly less optimistic about their sales prospects, even as their overall outlook remains favorable. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index slipped to 68 this month. That’s down three ...

US housing starts fell in March; still stronger than in 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. builders broke ground on fewer homes in March, but the pace of construction so far this year remains stronger than in 2016. Housing starts fell 6.8 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.22 million, the Commerce Department said. The setback came ...

Virtual technology can make landscaping easier

By Katherine Roth Associated Press Just as virtual technology has become a common tool for anyone planning to repaint or redecorate a home, a growing array of apps can make landscaping easier too. But know when to use them, and when it would be easier to pull out an old-fashioned pencil ...

Go cordless for lawn care alternative

Dear Jim: I am tired of the maintenance for my old gas lawn mower. I might buy a rechargeable cordless mulching one. Are they powerful enough for a normal yard and what features are best? - Marcia H. Dear Marcia: I have used cordless lawn mowers for many years and I would never switch back to ...

Ask A Designer: The breakfast nook has been updated

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press The term “breakfast nook” sounds hopelessly trapped in the 1970s, but modern homeowners are embracing the style and practicality of built-in seating in the kitchen.† “The idea of the built-in, with the kids piled in it and the pillows” can ...