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  • Robust secondary market needed to replace Fannie, FreddieApr 19, 2014 12:00 AM
    Last week, I discussed a major weakness of the draft proposal recently released by the Senate Banking Committee to replace Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The proposal is critically dependent on attracting private capital from “guarantors” who would operate as a buffer against loss to the government.

  • A carefully composed wall arrangement is a key decorative element in a relaxed, inviting dining room.

    Go hang! Here’s howApr 19, 2014 12:00 AM
    Q. I need help arranging pictures to hang on the wall. There are four the same size and a big one that has a different frame. Is it OK to hang them together anyway? And how high should I hang them?

  • Save space with smart doorsApr 19, 2014 12:00 AM
    Doors often take up a lot of precious space. Door style design is not often acknowledged as a practical way to gain space, so let’s examine a few ideas.

  • Mount Prospect residents Amy and Scott Bell “love the finished product” that is their new pondless waterfall from Aquascape Designs of St. Charles and Lisle.

    Lucky homeowners get landscaping makeoversApr 19, 2014 12:00 AM
    Last summer six readers were chosen as winners in our “Get Your Summer On” outdoor makeover contest. Now, you can see the results of their winnings, with the prizes from the contest sponsors in place in their yards.

  • The Sierra Club says businesses waste $1 billion worth of electricity a year.

    You can be green at work, tooApr 19, 2014 12:00 AM
    If you spend much of your week in your workplace, whether it’s in a cubicle or a corner office, you’re using costly and environment-affecting energy and resources every hour you’re at work.

  • Being green when you clean can be complicatedApr 19, 2014 12:00 AM
    Spring cleaning season is upon us. For those who care about the environment, the allure of using “green” cleaning products is more powerful than ever — from toilet bowl cleaners laced with lavender oil to window detergents that feature green tea and coconut.

  • Appellate court ruling on Palm is informativeApr 19, 2014 12:00 AM
    In the recent case of Palm v 2800 Lake Shore Drive Condominium Association, the Fifth Division of the First District Appellate Court of Illinois issued an order concerning the validity of many common association practices.

  • Tips to keep a clean and efficient refrigeratorApr 19, 2014 12:00 AM
    Your refrigerator may be wasting a lot of energy and causing your home energy bills to soar. If your current refrigerator was made prior to 1993, it uses twice the amount of energy used by new models

  • Green up your fridge How to waste less food in your home Apr 19, 2014 12:00 AM
    How much food do you throw out each week? Do you cringe when you have to scrape half a tray of week-old lasagna into the trash or vow to “do better” when you’re tossing out moldy packs of pricey organic blueberries or strawberries?

  • The color gray is beginning to come into its own in the decorating world.

    Fifty shades of beige and grayApr 19, 2014 12:00 AM
    Ask any designer which colors are the most basic and adaptable to any decoration scheme, and you're likely to hear beige and gray. These colors are tried and true base colors that allow other colors to shine.

  • The Robie model at Prairie Park features a kitchen, left, and a multipurpose room, right, off the main living area.

    Robie model opens at Prairie ParkApr 18, 2014 12:00 AM
    A new model home — The Robie — steps into the spotlight at Prairie Park, an upscale condominium community where several other models are also on display. “People can have a luxury lifestyle at an affordable price in this multifunctional unit,” said Nick Blackshaw, sales rep.

  • St. Charles has had some iconic success along its portion of the Fox River. The Hotel Baker and part of a major downtown development called First Street are the major, non-festival river draws for the business area.

    St. Charles boasts iconic riverfront buildings, beautiful viewsApr 18, 2014 12:00 AM
    More than a decade ago, a group of residents with a passion for the Fox River joined with St. Charles officials to create a master plan that would transform the city from a place by a river into a place where people flock to enjoy the river. But today, when residents associated with that plan talk about it, their voices are laced with frustration.

  • Neighbor upset with agent’s low-cost dealApr 15, 2014 12:00 AM
    Q. One of my neighbors is quite elderly and he and his wife (who has Alzheimer’s disease) moved across the country to live near relatives. He listed his move-in condition house with another neighbor at about $20,000 below market value. An agent in that firm bought it immediately, and she is renting it out.

  • Consider use of old doors, wrought iron gates or sections of fencing as a headboard. Dress them up with a stencil drawing, or consider stenciling a pattern right onto the wall itself.

    Space-saving headboard ideasApr 13, 2014 12:00 AM
    There is an unfailing way to save space in a bedroom: Slim down your headboard and bedding ensemble.

  • Air flow, not gutters, is to blame for ice damsApr 13, 2014 12:00 AM
    Q: We have lived in Rolling Meadows for over 40 years and have always had problems with ice dams. All the articles we have read regarding ice dams state they are caused by water freezing and thawing, running down and backing up against the gutters. We have no gutters — and haven’t had any for 40 years.

  • Buy wisely, and white can be the just-right color for a calm, sophisticated living room.

    Dare to go all white in your living room?Apr 12, 2014 12:00 AM
    Q. I’ve always wanted an all-white living room but just had to wait until the grandchildren had grown old enough! My question is about buying white carpeting. Would doing so be a mistake?

  • Senate committee’s proposal for replacing Fannie Mae, Freddie MacApr 12, 2014 12:00 AM
    Legislators agree on the need for a plan to pahase out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, once the twin kingpins of the home loan market. There now is at least a preliminary game plan, which is contained in the draft on housing finance reform recently released by leaders of the Senate Banking Committee. The draft has received a positive response in some quarters as evidence that bipartisan cooperation is still possible.

  • Don’t gang up on mother demanding home renovationsApr 12, 2014 12:00 AM
    Q. I am one of five siblings, and we are all over 50. Four of us are married and have families, while one brother who is single lives with Mom. My mom is a widow, 82 years old, and she owns her home, but over the years it has come into disrepair. It has been tuck-pointed and re-roofed, and we put in a new garage, furnace and AC, but the interior needs upgrading. The original electric and water need to be replaced, as well as remodeled kitchen and baths.

  • Discount on assessment for board members needs owner approvalApr 12, 2014 12:00 AM
    Q. The members of the board of our condominium are not paid. However, the board members receive a discount on their assessments. Is this permitted?

  • Craig Duchossois is the CEO of The Duchossois Group which is buying four Oak Brook Buildings.

    Duchossois spends about $18m on 4 Oak Brook buildingsApr 11, 2014 12:00 AM
    Duchossois Real Estate LLC has purchased four buildings in Oak Brook to as develop corporate office space. Duchossois finalized two transactions on March 31. One deal includes three buildings on Windsor Road for a total of about $10.2 million. The second deal is the former Follett building on Swift Road purchased for about $7.7 million. Follett, a college bookstore and an online educational firm, has moved to Westchester.

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