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Real Estate

Right at home: Look of hand-drawn art is hot in decor

By Kim Cook Associated Press Hand-crafted is popular these days, and many home decorators are looking for unique textiles and other furnishings that feature the look of hand-drawn art. Items like the eclectic, playful wallpapers of Brooklyn-based artist Aimee Wilder , who designed for ...

Tips on making a room feel bigger

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press As 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 ...

The ‘good enough’ home may be just perfect

By Barbara Marquand NerdWallet Constructed from aspirational Instagram feeds and reality TV, the dream home floats in the imagination like a castle in the sky but dissolves in the rain of hard numbers. Chasing the dream can lure buyers to overextend themselves financially. Or the high ...

Choosing the right rug for the room

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press A warm, cozy rug can make a room look and feel more appealing on even the chilliest fall night. And the right rug can be a source of comfort year-round. “They’re also great in the summer, if you think about it, because your shoes are off, you’re ...

From Zen to zany, backyards with style and personality

By Kim Cook Associated Press For some people, backyards aren’t just backyards anymore. “We’re seeing everything from Zen retreats for al fresco yoga to whimsical children’s spaces that go way beyond the typical swing set,” says Jennifer Bringle, editor in chief of Casual Living ...

Ask a Designer: Creating closet organization that lasts

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press Most people don’t start out with a messy closet. Even when a closet is carefully organized at the beginning, however, it might not take long for order to turn to chaos. “It’s common for clients to struggle with keeping the momentum going,” says ...

Wanderlust woes? Decor ideas for the housebound traveler

By Kim Cook Associated Press If your actual travel plans are on hold, you can soothe your wanderlust with a few home décor change-ups or additions. Whether you’re wishing you were at a wilderness cabin, the beach or an exotic passport destination, designers and retailers are offering ...

Make a home down payment without wrecking your finances

By Barbara Marquand of NerdWallet Maximizing a home down payment can make sense: The bigger the down payment, the lower the monthly mortgage bill and the better the chance of building equity more quickly. But putting too much down could leave you without enough cash for home maintenance ...

Interior doors can add light, personality

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press Clients are sometimes surprised when home builder and designer Marnie Oursler starts talking about bedroom doors. They expect to discuss things like windows, wall colors and where a built-in bookcase might fit best. But many of Oursler’s clients ...

April construction spending falls 2.9% as virus upends work

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. construction spending fell 2.9% in April, the largest drop in 18 months, with broad declines across all building activity as shutdowns hobbled projects and workers were told to stay home. The Commerce Department said that the April decline was the biggest monthly ...

So you want a new kitchen? Tips for starting

By Katherine Roth Associated Press So you want a new kitchen? Whether you’re considering designing a kitchen using your own architect, a kitchen planner hired through a store like IKEA or Home Depot, or an online planning service, professionals suggest keeping a few things in mind. PLAN ...

Right at home: New doorbells have lots of bells and whistles

By Kim Cook Associated Press Before electricity, doorbells rang via a complex rigging of mechanical pulleys. Visitors pulled a rope or turned a key-like affair — think Downton Abbey’s elaborate system to summon staff, but on a smaller scale for the masses. The electric doorbell was ...

US home price gains quickened in March

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices accelerated in March even though sales plummeted, as those Americans still house shopping were forced to bid for a sharply diminished supply of homes. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 3.9% in March, the largest gain in more ...

Right at home: Artistry finds home 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. ...

Choosing the perfect sofa for your space

By Kim Cook Associated Press Ask interior designers what the most important element in a room is and many will say that — after wall color — it’s the sofa. So how do you choose this crucial piece of furniture? Should you go for one big sofa or two love seats? What about materials, ...

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 ...

RIGHT AT HOME: Pro-style kitchens for the home cook

By Kim Cook Associated Press Avid home cooks often want to outfit their kitchens with the kind of high-end appliances and gear used by professional chefs. There’s that aspirational notion that somehow having the right equipment will lead to better food. So what’s in a pro kitchen that ...

Four simple steps toward a healthier home

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press Can your home help you get healthier? Interior designers say clients don’t just want help creating a more beautiful home anymore. They want to create living spaces where they will cook healthier foods, breathe healthier air and improve overall ...

‘Super pantries’ on many 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, ...

New technology is making gardening easier

By Dean Fosdick Associated Press New technology is easing the way we garden, store equipment, monitor watering and re-shape landscapes. And some of those tasks can be done remotely, using phones or tablets. The innovations extend well beyond downloading a few apps. New to the horticultural ...