Real Estate

Tips to save energy, money this winter

DETROIT - As cooler temperatures signal the start of another heating season, DTE Energy suggests customers prepare their homes and their budgets for winter.Steps taken now can pay big dividends. DTE Energy offers the following tips to help manage winter energy costs and save money on energy ...

Tips on making a room feel bigger

By Melissa RayworthAssociated PressAs the weather gets colder and we come indoors, it's easy to wish your indoor space had some of the open, airy feeling of the outdoors.It is possible to make a room feel larger than it really is: Choosing the right colors and finishes and arranging furniture ...

Setting up home just a click away

By Kim CookAssociated PressIn a connected world, nesting's a lot easier than it used to be. There are apps and websites that streamline many aspects of setting up and dismantling a home.Whether you're trying to get rid of old stuff, buy new stuff, move stuff or find ways to use your stuff, ...

US construction spending drops 0.6 percent in June

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. construction spending fell for a third straight month in June with spending on nonresidential construction dropping by the largest amount in six months.Construction spending fell 0.6 percent in June following declines of 0.1 percent in May and 2.9 percent in April, the ...

Downsizing tips from the pros

By Katherine RothAssociated PressFor 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 say. ...

Today’s wood walls make a modern statement

By Kim CookAssociated PressThe 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. Wainscoting, that ...

US homebuilder sentiment slips in July

By Alex VeigaAP Business WriterU.S. homebuilders are feeling slightly less optimistic about their sales prospects this month, though their outlook for the new-home market remains positive overall. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Monday fell ...

Get more consistent heating and cooling

Dear Jim: Our furnace and air conditioner work fine, but some rooms are always too hot or too cold. They change when heating or cooling. What can we do to get more constant temperatures in all the rooms? - Gina H.Dear Gina: It can be difficult to keep all the rooms comfortable summer and ...

‘Micro’ apartments challenging minimalist living

NEW YORK (AP) - New York City's first "micro" apartment complex is open for business, challenging the limits of minimalist living. What the tiny dwellings lack in square footage, they try to make up for in amenities.Carmel Place, a 55-unit complex that opened June 1 in the Kips Bay neighborhood ...

Pending US home sales slumped

WASHINGTON (AP) - Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes in May, with the year-over-year pace of pending sales sliding for the first time in nearly two years.The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index fell 3.7 percent last ...

Outdoor art celebrates iconic Glass House

NEW CANAAN, Conn. (AP) - Philip Johnson's Glass House, built in this leafy corner of Connecticut in 1949, was always about more than architecture. While Johnson and his partner David Whitney lived in the house, they turned it and the grounds into a haven for avant-garde art.Artists like Andy ...

Ask a Designer: Creating snazzy staircases

By Melissa RayworthAssociated PressWe 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," says Brian ...

US home construction down slightly

WASHINGTON (AP) - Construction of new homes nudged down slightly in May, with builders pulling back in the Northeast and Midwest.Housing starts ticked down 0.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.16 million units, the Commerce Department said.The government's residential ...

Window films offer heat control

Dear Jim: I need to block the sun's heat and fading rays coming in my windows. They are just single-pane, but are in good condition. Is it hard to install a heat-control window film myself and does it work? - Cole H.Dear Cole: I often recommend double- or triple-pane, low-emissivity replacement ...

Right at Home: decor with a West Coast vibe

There's no single definition of California style: The state's design sensibilities are as varied and interesting as its geography and climate.You can get a Cali vibe going in lots of different directions.For instance, moody colors and a connection with the temperate, coniferous forests of ...

A good entrance gate makes a good garden

By Lee ReichAssociated PressVisitors always admired the entrance gate to my vegetable garden, more than I ever did.Built from cedar branches, it did have rustic charm. But it really was too flimsy for its size and, as it sagged with age, it had to be muscled open and shut.That gate, which I ...

Savvy ways to keep your home cool this summer

By Katherine RothAssociated PressAs summer temperatures - and utility bills - rise, there are some easy ways to keep cool that are cheaper and greener than air conditioning.A little savvy about when to open windows and when to keep them closed with curtains drawn goes a long way toward cooling ...

Rising home prices lift US wealth, even as stocks fall

WASHINGTON (AP) - Americans' household wealth rose in the first three months of this year as home values increased, offsetting a drop in stock prices.The Federal Reserve said that U.S. household net worth increased 1 percent to $88.1 trillion in the first quarter. Americans' stock and mutual ...

Right at Home: Sellers, give every room a role

By Kim CookAssociated PressMany of us have one room in the house that doesn't really have a job. Maybe we set it up with an air bed once in a while for guests, or shove out-of-season clothing boxes in there, or use it as a holding zone for stuff we're not sure what to do with.But when your ...

Report: US construction spending tumbled in April

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. construction spending fell in April by the biggest amount in five years, dragged by declines in housing, commercial construction and spending on government projects.Construction spending dropped 1.8 percent in April after a 1.5 percent gain in March, the Commerce ...