Articles filed under Home & Garden

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  • Condo board asked to improve building’s accessibility Mar 21, 2015 12:00 AM
    Q. The elevator in my five-story condominium building stops at the first-floor lobby. However, there are three steps that must be navigated to get to the apartments on the first floor.

  • Break ground with the right tools Mar 21, 2015 7:00 AM
    The right tools for the job can be the difference between an interminable landscaping project and one that goes smoothly and efficiently. Aspiring landscapers probably have a few shovels and rakes hanging in their garages and sheds for basic landscaping work.

  • Chicago Home Show about more than just remodeling Mar 21, 2015 8:00 PM
    The Chicago Home Show returned to the Kane County Fairgrounds in St. Charles Saturday to help homeowners gather ideas and jump-start new projects. “I like to have a surprise around every corner,” said Peggy Ruh, president of The Home Shows Inc.

  • Water dripping from furnace flue pipe Mar 20, 2015 12:00 AM
    Q. We purchased a home that was built in the 1960s. The forced air furnace is new, but the metal flue pipe from the furnace is connected to the original concrete flue pipe that extends up through the roof. Whenever the furnace is turned on, water drips from the flue pipe onto the top of the furnace. The contractor who installed the furnace said that this is not a safety problem and won’t damage the furnace. We checked with another heating contractor, and he said the same thing. But this doesn’t seem right to us. What do you think?

  • Congress inches closer to extending tax break for ‘underwater’ sellers Mar 20, 2015 12:00 AM
    Lawmakers are hoping to extend a recently expired rule that allows homeowners who sell at a loss to avoid thousands of dollars in federal taxes.

  • Color conundrums and design dilemmas Mar 20, 2015 12:00 AM
    Q. My condo’s tiny, windowless galley kitchen has a black granite counter and backsplash with white cabinets and appliances. There’s one wall that is crying out for a pop of color. Any suggestions to brighten things up?

  • Some say leased solar panels become a headache Mar 20, 2015 12:00 AM
    Can going green by leasing solar panels for your roof cost you money — or headaches — when you go to sell the house?

  • Birders should stop ‘trash’ talking Mar 17, 2015 3:08 PM
    Every hobby has its lingo, its insider jargon, and bird watching is no different. But our Jeff Reiter says some terms birders use without thinking may be discouraging those new to the hobby. What an experienced birder with a long life list might consider a "trash bird" might be a new bird watcher's treasure.

  • Bathroom tricks gleaned from fancy hotels Mar 16, 2015 6:00 AM
    You haven’t used a small bathroom until you’ve showered on a boat or in a motor home. European hotels often offer tiny bathrooms when compared to the typical hospitality suites in the U.S.

  • Duo designed their house around wife’s artist studio Mar 16, 2015 12:33 PM
    Artist Jackie Hoysted and her husband, information technology specialist Prem Singh, both 53, like a short commute. From bedroom and kitchen, they trek only several feet to their respective work spaces — a tall painting studio for Hoysted and a second-floor office for Singh.

  • Staples may be a good alternative to some adhesives Mar 15, 2015 12:00 AM
    Q. I put plastic lattice under my outside deck to dress it up. I tried to glue window screen on the back of the lattice to keep flying insects out, but the screening keeps coming loose.

  • The environmental consequences loving your lawn too much Mar 15, 2015 7:00 AM
    According to the U.S. EPA's New England Regional Laboratory, 40 percent to 60 percent of the nitrogen that people put on their lawns through fertilizer winds up in “surface and groundwater.” Take the case of the Chesapeake Bay: A significant part of the nitrogen and phosphorous that is keeping the Bay polluted comes from urban sources, according to the EPA.

  • In-laws have ‘lifetime right’ to son’s home Mar 14, 2015 12:00 AM
    Q. My husband and his parents inherited his aunt’s home when she passed away in 2002. We have lived in this house for 11 years. We have always paid the taxes since the deed was transferred over to my husband, but his parents have a “lifetime right” to this home.

  • Committee appointments belong to association board Mar 14, 2015 12:00 AM
    Q.In our townhouse association, it has been our practice for the committee chairman and the committee itself to appoint members to serve on a particular committee. Members of the board are trying to force one of our committees to accept a member who the committee does not want.

  • Selecting the type of mortgage that best meets your needs Mar 14, 2015 1:00 AM
    Perhaps the most important decision a mortgage borrower makes is the type of mortgage: whether fixed rate (FRM) or adjustable rate (ARM); if it is fixed, they decide the term, if it is adjustable they decide the initial period until the rate adjusts.

  • Creating characterful interiors with hardwood molding Mar 14, 2015 12:00 AM
    Today’s newly built houses often lack any sort of carved-wood ornamentation. Many older homes have lost their traditional decorative details through successive modernizing renovations.

  • Today’s top model homes reveal newest design trends Mar 13, 2015 6:00 AM
    What’s happening in the world of interior design? You’ll see exciting and creative interiors with lots of pizazz in today’s new homes. Gray still reigns as the new neutral.

  • Buyers shouldn’t deal with obstinate sellers Mar 13, 2015 12:00 AM
    If a seller is stubborn or deceitful from the very start, a buyer’s best bet is to look for another property.

  • Contractor who left house a mess is not a true friend Mar 13, 2015 12:00 AM
    Q. I had a so-called friend build my house. What a costly lesson it has been. After moving in, there was one defect after another. The worst thing is a pool of standing water under the house, nearly a foot deep.

  • Will help arrive for underwater homeowners in 2015? Mar 13, 2015 12:00 AM
    Although most real estate markets have rebounded from their recession lows, this harsh fact remains: About 7 million homeowners continue to be stuck in the tar pit of serious negative equity, with mortgage debt at least 25 percent higher than the value of their property, according to research firm RealtyTrac.

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