Sensible Home: Tubular skylights provide efficient natural illumination

Q. I like natural light and thought I could save some electricity on lighting by installing either a traditional or tubular skylight. Which type is better? A. Although the amount of electricity used for lighting in the typical house is only a fraction of that for heat, cooling and water heating, lighting still constitutes a … Read More »

About Real Estate: Homeowners should be wary of ‘beware of dog’ signs

A simple sign that suggests a dog may bite can land the homeowner in legal trouble. Q. We have two small dogs that we often let run around in our fenced yard. We also have “Beware of Dog” signs posted on the fence and on our front door, but a friend said those signs could … Read More »

House to Home: Living walls bring beauty of nature to interior spaces

We don’t question the feeling of well-being that comes with taking a walk in the woods or sitting in the garden under a tree. It’s instinctive. Being surrounded by the natural world helps us to relax, breathe and become more connected with our senses and feelings. Plants fulfill an ancient, profound need. Love of living … Read More »

House to House: Home Energy Scores impact real estate markets across U.S.

This week’s column was written by Tim Miller, CEO of Enhabit, a nonprofit based in Portland, Oregon, that seeks to create social impact through better living spaces. Enhabit’s programs are designed to help families at all income levels improve the efficiency, health and resilience of their homes. We’re all familiar with measures that assess the … Read More »

House to Home: Today’s outdoor furnishings, lighting offer flexible style

Q. This summer, we want to reinvent our large property, which backs onto a lake, to accommodate more outdoor entertaining. A traditional setting with a modern edge is what we like. Any ideas are appreciated. A. You are fortunate to have lots of room to spread out and enjoy life under the sun and stars. … Read More »

About Real Estate: Ceiling fans among top home amenities desired by buyers

Q. We are selling our home, but it doesn’t have central air conditioning like some of the other local homes do. Our real estate agent suggested that we install at least one or two ceiling fans to make the home more marketable, but we think it would just be a waste of money. What are … Read More »

House to House: Consider these factors when buying a home this year

This week’s column was written by Hannah Whittenly, a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, California. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake. When you’re ready to buy a home, it’s important to take every factor into consideration. Changes in the market from year to year can have a major impact … Read More »

House to Home: Tips for successfully decorating with a dark color palette

There are a few bold decorating steps that take an adventurous spirit and a decidedly personal sense of style to execute. One example is moving to a dark palette — layering walls, floors and ceilings in deep, rich hues and including furnishings that share the same shadowy nature. It’s daring, but it also presents an … Read More »

About Real Estate: Rise in mortgage rates makes 15-year loans more attractive

The slow but steady rise in 30-year mortgage rates suggests that many borrowers should opt for a 15-year loan instead. Rates on “quick-pay” mortgages are lower and allow buyers and home refinancers to cut their loan term in half while saving thousands in finance charges. Q. We are planning to buy a new home, so … Read More »

About Real Estate: Recent nationwide survey ranks best states for retirement

There’s a lot more that older folks need to consider when picking a state to live in during retirement than just home prices and income taxes. Q. You recently listed the 13 states that tax the Social Security payments that retirees receive. But are you aware of any recent reports that rank the best states … Read More »