Real Estate

Ask a designer: Rethinking the basement for spring

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 leakage. Bring in a professional to assess ...

With rooftop decks, sky’s the limit for outdoor 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 ...

What are the costs 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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

US home construction jumps 9.7 percent in January

WASHINGTON (AP) — Groundbreakings on new homes jumped 9.7 percent last month to the highest level since October 2016, welcome news for a housing market struggling with a shortage of homes for sale. The Commerce Department said housing starts came in at an annual pace of 1.33 million in ...

Decor that’s perfectly imperfect

By Kim Cook Associated Press “Perfect imperfection” is a trend in furnishings and decor. “It’s a return to the artisanal and the crafted, with narrative and meaning to objects,” says Caroline Till, co-founder of the London design studio FranklinTill. “Fingerprints of process ...

Whole-house electric surge suppressor tips

Dear Jim: With all the electronic items I have, I thought about installing a whole-house electric surge suppressor. What are the various types, how can I compare the various models and do they save energy? - Ricki J. Dear Ricki: Today’s homes have more sensitive electronic devices than the ...

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 like ...

Artistry on the floor

By Kim Cook Associated Press There was a time when designers and decorators considered floor coverings to be background elements in a room. Rugs and tile were meant to be practical, not attention-getting. That’s changed. Now, the floor is often one of the strongest elements in a space. ...

For the winter doldrums: small design moves with big impact

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press Holiday decorating season is long over, yet spring is still far off. It’s cold in much of the country, and still getting dark early. A lot of us could use some kind of visual pick-me-up. Brightening your home can definitely boost your mood, but this ...

Travel becomes inspiration for decor

By Melissa Kossler Dutton Associated Press When Melissa Smuzynski learned that she was expecting, she wanted a nursery that reflected her family’s love of travel. But when she and her husband, Damon Lane, went shopping for appropriate decor a few years ago, they didn’t find much. So ...

US home prices post 6.2 percent increase

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices rose a sharply in November, lifted by a shortage of homes on the market. Standard & Poor’s said its S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index increased 6.2 percent in November from a year earlier after climbing 6.1 percent in ...

US new home sales tumble 9.3 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans cut back their purchases of new homes in December as harsh winter weather dampened demand. The Commerce Department said new-home sales skidded 9.3 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 625,000. It was the biggest drop since August 2016. ...

New Year’s resolutions for new homeowners

By Beth Buczynski NerdWallet We all make New Year’s resolutions, but let’s be honest: Most are wishful thinking. By February, that “lose 20 pounds” or “learn Spanish” resolution has gone right out the window. But not for you, new homeowner. This year is different. Your first ...

Using trendy ‘Ultra Violet’ hue in decor

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press When the Pantone Color Institute recently announced its color of the year for 2018, the vibrant “Ultra Violet,” it might have seemed a natural fit for fashion and cosmetics. “Ultra Violet is a color that’s almost like a neutral in fashion ...

Construction spending hits record high

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. builders spent 0.8 percent more on construction projects in November, the fourth consecutive monthly gain. November advance follows October’s revised 0.9 percent gain, the Commerce Department said. The increase brought total construction spending for the month to a ...

Smart homes: Not just for tech geeks anymore

NEW YORK (AP) — Internet-connected lights, locks and laundry machines are close to becoming everyday household items, thanks in part to voice-activated speakers such as Amazon’s Echo and Google Home. Market research groups are seeing increased sales of lights that turn off when you say ...

Pending home sales rose a slight 0.2 pct

WASHINGTON (AP) — Slightly more people signed contracts in November to buy homes — with pending sales rising just 0.2 percent as the housing market copes with a dwindling supply of properties on the market. The National Association of Realtors said its index of pending home sales was ...

Open and shut case: 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 ...