Articles filed under Home & Garden

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  • 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.

     
  • 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.

     
  • See how you can go local with landscaping Mar 12, 2015 12:36 PM
    The snow isn’t going to last forever. Start thinking about this year’s gardening plans at “Landscaping with Native Plants,” CFC’s March Community Education program.

     
  • Start coleus cuttings now for transplanting in spring Mar 10, 2015 6:00 AM
    A Chicago Botanic Garden horticulturist tells you what to do in the garden this month: start coleus cuttings, prune large tree limbs or prune your raspberries.

     
  • Floor lamps with bright futures Mar 10, 2015 6:00 AM
    There are a few basic rules to lighting: Make sure each room has three or more sources of light, place light at various heights and ensure all tasks are well lit. These rules exist to make sure rooms have enough light so occupants can see, but also so there's enough of a warm glow that you want to be seen in them.

     
  • Clear-bottomed mug allowed no surprises Mar 9, 2015 5:01 AM
    Q. Enclosed is a photo of a heavy mug that has a bronze finish and a clear glass bottom.

     
  • Dealing with electrical surges Mar 8, 2015 12:00 AM
    Q. I have had a couple of electronic items burn out from lightning during thunder storms. Other items don’t seem to last as long as they should. Will a whole-house surge suppressor protect them?

     
  • When renovating, be sure to properly upgrade insulation Mar 8, 2015 12:00 AM
    Q. We have a family room, originally a porch, that we now use year-round. It is a 3½-inch step down from our kitchen. We are thinking of raising the floor to be even with the kitchen, having insulation sprayed in, installing a subfloor and hardwood floor, and putting in high-efficiency baseboard heat. We seem to have heat loss from the windows.

     
  • Closet organization begins with a purge Mar 8, 2015 7:00 AM
    Some people are very disciplined in how they treat their closets, but I'm a dismal failure. I toss, pile, hang too much on the hooks on the back of the door and often pile recent purchases in store bags on the floor. I would not invite any of you in for a look-see.

     
  • Designer doesn’t ignore husband with decor for ‘new’ 1904 home Mar 8, 2015 12:00 AM
    Anna and Brian Matthews moved from an English basement to a 1904 rowhouse a few blocks away in Washington, D.C., with just one good sofa and Brian’s bachelor furniture. Because Anna is a designer, compromise and collaboration had to be woven into every room of their three-story Capitol Hill home.

     
  • Rose gardens to be featured at Chicago Flower & Garden Show Mar 8, 2015 7:00 AM
    Stepping into the “rose room of your dreams” at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show March 14-22 may feel like stepping into he British television series, “Downton Abbey.” A highlight of the flower show’s Classic Rose Garden will be Anna’s Promise, the first in a series of garden roses from Weeks Roses, inspired by the Golden Globe Award-winning program on PBS.

     
  • Buying a new house before selling the old one Mar 7, 2015 12:00 AM
    Homeowners buy their second or third homes for a variety of reasons. They may be trading up to get more space and amenities; they may be downsizing because they don’t need as much space and want to cut expenses. They may want to relocate to get closer to their place of employment or their children, or to enjoy a more attractive climate.

     
  • ‘Six-month’ rule to recover fees, assessments is confusing Mar 7, 2015 12:00 AM
    Q. There is a lot of confusion at our condominium association as to the amount of assessments and expenses, like legal fees, our association is entitled to recover, under the “six-month rule,” from the purchaser of a unit at a foreclosure sale.

     
  • Low inventory results in sluggish home sales Mar 7, 2015 1:01 AM
    Pending home sales are dropping, despite mortgage interest rates being at near record lows, the National Association of Realtors reported. Those mortgage rates have finally started a slow upward trek after many weeks of declining.

     
  • Master bedrooms have grown in style and stature Mar 7, 2015 7:00 AM
    Once a simple place to sleep, the master bedroom has evolved into a luxury suite where owners can get away from it all for some private time and a little pampering. Today the master suite is plush, comfortable and full of luxury. It often comprises a good-sized bedroom, his-and-hers closets, a reading or sitting area and a spalike bath. If homeowners desire, the suite can include all the amenities of a five-star hotel.

     
  • New concept in solar energy has bright future in U.S. Mar 7, 2015 1:42 PM
    The gardens feed electricity to the local power grid. Customers subscribe to that power and get credit on their utility bills, with contracts that typically lock in for 25 years and shelter against rate increases. Some developers say customer bills will drop below regular retail rates within a few years; others say the savings begin immediately.

     
  • Most people need not worry about income taxes on home sale Mar 6, 2015 12:00 AM
    Spouses who recently split up have options when it comes to declaring the profits from the sale of a home.

     
  • Homeowner’s asbestos inspection was incomplete Mar 6, 2015 12:00 AM
    Q. We own a home that recently flooded. Now the interior must be stripped to the framing and rebuilt. An environmental inspector was hired to determine if there is any asbestos.

     
  • Rent payments can improve your credit score Mar 6, 2015 12:00 AM
    It’s the great credit divide in American housing: If you buy a home and pay your mortgage on time regularly, your credit score typically benefits. If you rent an apartment and pay the landlord on time every month, you get no boost to your score — zip.

     
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