House To Home

US home construction tumbles 8.2 percent

WASHINGTON — Groundbreakings on new homes fell 8.2 percent in December, with builders ending 2017 by slowing down their construction of single-family houses. The Commerce Department said Thursday that the monthly decline put U.S. housing starts at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.19 ...

Latest HOME survey shows dip in buying, listing confidence

The start of the new year is a time when many people reflect on their goals and pledge personal resolutions for the next 365 days. Whether optimistic about or hoping for changes in the year to come, switching over the calendar also allows an opportunity to reassess one’s housing situation, ...

Rain gutters cause many home drainage problems

The person who coined the phrase “saving for a rainy day” must have been a property owner with home drainage problems. The financial costs of poor drainage can be substantial, and the human health costs significant too. Prevention is important, and many clues exist for predicting ...

‘Memory books’ can help older loved ones recall their past

Family photo albums can help jog an elderly friend or relative’s memories, but consider taking the photo book idea one step further: Create a “memory book” that combines personal photos with brief family stories and historical information. These can be used to help people struggling ...

Q&A: Samsung’s Alex Hawkinson on smart-home evolution

NEW YORK — Many everyday appliances are connecting to the internet these days, allowing people to control them with apps and voice commands. More homes are embracing this, especially as people get comfortable using smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home. For five years, ...

Start the presses

CASTELBUONO, Sicily — Our first grueling, knee-killing, bumbling and comically great olive season finally feels like it is over. We are rich in a new way: More than 70 liters of dark green, corpulent and peppery olive oil has been produced, and is ready to pour onto salads, bread, pasta, ...

Intel underfoot:

MILWAUKEE — The next phase in data collection is right under your feet. Online clicks give retailers valuable insight into consumer behavior, but what can they learn from footsteps? It’s a question Milwaukee-based startup Scanalytics is helping businesses explore with floor sensors that ...

How to keep evergreens green in winter

Did you notice browned areas on your evergreens at the end of last winter? You may still be able to do something to prevent a repeat performance of this condition, winter burn, which happens when evergreen leaves lose too much water in winter. No need to worry about deciduous trees and shrubs ...

Creative design for the disabled — and everybody else too

NEW YORK — From snazzy canes to tremor-proof spoons to a racing wheelchair, a new exhibit at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum highlights a surge in designs for and by those with a wide range of disabilities. “The show really celebrates this proliferation of designing today for ...

Rooms with ‘good bones’

Edith Wharton, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author famous for novels set in the late 19th century, also wrote an influential book on interior design, long considered a sort of bible of American decorating. “The Decoration of Houses,” written before any of her novels, was radical when ...

Man seeks to preserve pre-Revolutionary War home

HACKENSACK, N.J. — For a month, Henry Kip and his brother Peter stood sentinel, alone. Abandoned by George Washington, whose broken army fled Hackensack for Pennsylvania so quickly that many of his soldiers marched without shoes, the Kips were members of a ragtag militia that walked Polifly ...

Prevention is the best way to manage greenhouse weeds

Weeds can be especially troublesome in greenhouses. They starve plants of nutrients, water and light. They also protect insects, mites, rodents and other pests. “Not only are weeds a problem in and of themselves ... (but) many greenhouse weeds harbor other pests, including white fly, and ...

6 New Year’s resolutions for new homeowners

We all make New Year's resolutions, but let's be honest: Most are wishful thinking. By February, that “lose 20 pounds” or “learn Spanish” resolution has gone right out the window. But not for you, new homeowner. This year is different. Your first 12 months of homeownership set the ...

‘Ultra Violet’

When the Pantone Color Institute recently announced its color of the year for 2018, the vibrant “Ultra Violet,” it might have seemed a natural fit for fashion and cosmetics. “Ultra Violet is a color that's almost like a neutral in fashion now,” says New York-based interior designer ...

Program helps homeowners facing foreclosure get relief

LANSING — Nearly 2,200 Michigan homeowners in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure because they fell behind on their mortgage, property tax or condominium fee payments will be able to stay in their homes this year after receiving more than $15.2 million in financial assistance from the ...

Do you know your soil by name?

“Soil don't get no respect,” Rodney Dangerfield might have said (but didn't). Perhaps you know your state bird or flower, but do you know your state soil? Well, in recent years soil has begun to get more respect. Since the celebration of the Soil Survey Centennial back in 1999, each state ...

Growing citrus indoors takes patience, pays off handsomely

When Heather Rhoades bought her first indoor orange tree nearly 20 years ago, she had to order it from a specialty online retailer. Now, it's not uncommon to find citrus trees at local gardening centers or big box stores, said Rhoades, owner of Gardening Know How , an online resource based in ...