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Real Estate

Right at home: Terracotta makes a color comeback

By Kim Cook Associated Press There was a time not that long ago when designers were tearing out anything terracotta-colored, whether it was tile, painted walls or upholstered furniture. A darling hue of the ‘80s, the brownish orange — evocative of terracotta earthenware — was ...

Natural light sets nice mood, builders seek more

By Melissa Kossler Dutton Associated Press The first year that Bob Webb Homes used transom windows in the showcase house the company built for a home tour, visitors described the house as bright, warm and inviting. While few mentioned the windows, company representatives said tour ...

5 ways the right lighting can elevate your home

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press When you shop for a new sofa or another piece of furniture, it’s not hard to envision how it might look in your living room. And if you’re considering a new wall color, you can test pretty simply with swatches. But shopping for lighting can be more ...

Moody blues: Inky hues saturate home decor

By Kim Cook Associated Press In fashion, it’s replaced black as the new dress-up color. And it’s riding a wave of popularity into home decor, too. What’s the buzz about? The color blue. And while all blues, from baby to sky, are popular, it’s the deep, inky ones that are exciting ...

Fall decor’s style song: feel-good vibes and personality

By Kim Cook Associated Press For keen serial redecorators, it’s time to start thinking about an autumn refresh. This fall, interior designers say there’s demand for eclectic styles, interesting prints, rich hues and warm textures. STYLE SENSE The trim, tailored lines of midcentury ...

Creative spaces are often works in progress

By Katherine Roth Associated Press How do you create a space conducive to creative thinking? A number of recent books explore the working environments of creative people in search of hints and inspiration. “They’re not highly produced spaces. They are spaces that reflect the real ...

US home sales rose 2.5% in July, aided by low mortgage rates

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home sales increased 2.5% in July, a sign that lower mortgage rates have produced a spurt of home-buying. The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday homes sold last month at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 5.42 million units, up from 5.29 million in ...

Creativity, functionality matter in playroom decor

By Kim Cook Associated Press Go bold. Stay practical. Think long-term. These are among the tips offered by interior decorators for creating a fresh, fun — even inspiring — playroom for kids. ——— FOSTER CREATIVITY “I love bold choices in a playroom,” says Mel Bean, a ...

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 ...

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 ...

Remember the ceiling when decorating a room

By Sarah Wolfe For The Associated Press Ceilings are the Rodney Dangerfield of homes. They get no respect. But there are plenty of easy ways to make over this oft-overlooked area, from the quirky charm of Victorian-era, pressed-tin tiles and beadboard to a simple splash of ...

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 ...

Designers look skyward for inspiration

By Kim Cook Associated Press Designer Lee Broom was vacationing at a friend’s house in the Cotswolds, an idyllic bit of rural England. “I’m a city boy, brought up in the Midlands and living in London for the past 25 years, so had never really experienced that intense blanket of stars ...

Home decorators embrace big, bold wall art

By Kim Cook Associated Press Not long ago, the only homes in which you’d see big, bold art hanging on the walls tended to be those of serious collectors. For everyone else, filling up a blank space meant going with something attractively innocuous that didn’t jangle with the sofa ...

US home construction slips 0.9%

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home construction slipped last month as an uptick in the building of single-family homes was offset by a big drop in apartment construction. The Commerce Department said construction was started at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.25 million in June, down 0.9% ...

Ask a designer: Outdoor kitchens keep evolving

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press Since the basic backyard barbecue began evolving into the outdoor kitchen, the trend has only grown. Some of today’s outdoor cooking areas can seem almost like full kitchens, with more appliances and food prep space. Even walls, ceilings and ...

Upbeat hue should be used right

By Kim Cook Associated Press If ever a color were to be associated with an emotion (OK, blue, we see you), it’s got to be yellow. Upbeat and welcoming, it’s a hue that’s easy to love. But it can be tricky to use when decorating. Bold yellows are eye-catching, but color experts advise ...

Squeezing the most out of small outdoor spaces

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press As herb and vegetable gardens, composting and other aspects of green living become more popular, many people with limited outdoor space are looking for ways to squeeze the most out of it. “A client in a modern high-rise in downtown Chicago did not ...

All-green woodland gardens can provide serenity

By Dean Fosdick Associated Press All-green gardens are becoming popular again as the centerpieces of monochromatic landscaping. The designs are appealing and restive, driven as they are by massed ferns, moss, leaves, bark, berries, rock and foliage combinations. They serve some practical ...

So you want a new kitchen? Tips for starting the process

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 ...