Real Estate

US housing starts increase 3.3 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Construction of new homes increased 3.3 percent in November — with the gain largely coming from single-family houses being built at the strongest pace in more than a decade. The Commerce Department said builders broke ground on homes last month at a seasonally adjusted ...

No strife, no food allowed in the woman cave

NEW YORK (AP) — When people find out that I’m an empty nester with a “woman cave” in my New York City apartment, they seem to have a lot of questions. So I recently created this FAQ about it for Facebook friends, which led to a whole other round of comments and questions. If you’re ...

Kitchen backsplashes get sleeker

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press The kitchen backsplash — that surface behind the stovetop or sink that protects the wall from damage during cooking and dishwashing — has long been used to add color and beauty to an otherwise utilitarian space. But dramatic, ornately patterned ...

After the lights dim, Rockefeller Christmas trees still give

NEWBURGH, N.Y. (AP) — Old Rockefeller Center Christmas trees never really die, they just get built into the wall frames and floor supports of affordable homes. For the past decade, the ornament-laden trees that have been lit up with glitz, songs and dancing Rockettes have gone on to be ...

Home 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 ...

Pantries gaining more attention in home design

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, ...

US construction spending up a strong 1.4 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. construction spending surged 1.4 percent in October, the best gain in five months, with all major categories of building posting gains. The October spending increase was the third monthly gain after more modest advances of 0.3 percent in September and 0.5 percent in ...

Right at home: From scrap heap to style file

By Kim Cook Associated Press Recycling has become the norm in many communities. The detritus of our daily lives — plastic, glass, metal and paper — makes its weekly trek to processing plants across the country. Much of it gets made into new versions of itself: Your empty corn tin might ...

US new-home sales jump 6.2 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans bought new homes in October at the fastest pace in a decade — a 6.2 percent monthly increase that reflects both the underlying strength of the economy and the worsening shortage of existing homes for sale. The Commerce Department said new-home sales last month ...

Snazzy staircases are home’s centerpiece

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press We give lots of thought to decorating rooms but often overlook the staircase, despite the fact that in many homes it’s the first thing people see when they walk in the door. Staircase areas can be “a great spot to introduce your personal style,” ...

Larger houses on smaller lots lead to scaled-down plants

By Dean Fosdick Associated Press Urbanization is transforming landscape design in many places: Larger houses and smaller lots are driving the development of scaled-down plants. Plant breeders are introducing plants — everything from shrubs and trees to flowering perennials — that ...

US home sales increase in October

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans bought more homes last month, as sales snapped back in hurricane-hit Texas and Florida. Yet the market is still suffering from a dwindling supply of available homes. Sales rose 2 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million, the ...

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 ...

Saving on utility costs for fall and winter seasons

By Sarah Skidmore Sell AP Business Writer There’s a chill in the air, but that’s no reason to feel the heat in your utility costs. Here are a few tips on how to keep your utility expenses under control during these winter and fall months: DO AN AUDIT: Consider having an energy audit ...

Home construction at strong pace

WASHINGTON (AP) — Construction of new homes climbed 13.7 percent in October, the biggest jump in a year as builders broke ground on more apartments and single-family houses. The Commerce Department said the monthly gain put U.S. housing starts at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.29 ...

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 like ...

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 ...

Rethinking the holiday dining room

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press There’s a lot of home decorating advice out there on how to create the perfect kitchen. But what goes into designing a truly great dining room? As the holiday entertaining season approaches, it’s worth re-examining the dining area. In homes that ...

Designing a functional yet stylish mudroom

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press Mudrooms have been a staple of large houses, especially in climates with plenty of rain and snow. But increasingly, a mudroom has become a design essential even for apartment dwellers and those with small homes. “Just like the kitchen has become so ...

New Traditional decor blends classic, modern styles

By Kim Cook Associated Press In decor, “traditional” tends to conjure up images of matched furniture sets, prim patterns and buttoned-up formality. But there’s been a revamp, and what’s now being called “new traditional” is a fresher, freer look that honors the classics. The ...