Published January 13, 2016

METRO DETROIT — A simple test, available at a discount from local county health divisions this month, can assure residents that their homes are free of a potentially harmful gas.

Radon, a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless gas that is usually harmless outdoors, can be a health hazard when trapped in a building or home, according to health officials. 

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Published December 22, 2015

METRO DETROIT — More granite suppliers worldwide and increased local competition have lowered the price of the popular kitchen countertop material. 

“A lot of suppliers from India came up in the market,” said Charmain Fazzalari, general manager of Preferred Marble and Granite in Fraser. “I’ve been doing this for 23 years. Over the years, the prices have come down.” 

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Published December 16, 2015

METRO DETROIT — As the temperatures outside continue to drop in Michigan, homeowners across metro Detroit are looking to keep the temperatures inside at comfortable and warm levels.

Much of that work falls on a home’s furnace, but if the furnace isn’t maintained properly, it can result in high energy bills, low heating efficiency and, ultimately, replacing a furnace before the end of its intended life span.

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Published December 9, 2015

METRO DETROIT — As 2015 is winding down its final month, local Realtors are reflecting on the previous year in real estate, which was strong for people selling their homes.

Jan Hays, of Max Broock Realtors, said it was a very active market for all concerned in the housing market, but there was a shortage of inventory for buyers. 

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Published December 2, 2015

METRO DETROIT — The winter blast has already arrived in metro Detroit, one month before the actual season commences, and where there’s snow, there’s an individual trying to do away with the mess.

Many experts seem to agree on one thing: As long as you rid your property of snow, it doesn’t really matter how you do it.

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Published November 24, 2015

METRO DETROIT — Experts say it’s “back to basics” when it comes to decorating for the holidays, both inside and out of the home.

Minimalistic décor featuring natural elements like pine cones and live greenery, and rustic fabrics like burlap and plaid, are popular. Many people also are opting to purchase pre-decorated, grab-and-go items to add instant flair without the hassle.

“Less is more,” said Corie Conroy, president of First Impression Home Staging and Interior Design.

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Published November 18, 2015

METRO DETROIT — With Americans doing more shopping online, as evidenced by the advent of Cyber Monday, the holidays are an especially busy time for package deliveries.

But one of the difficulties for online shoppers is knowing that their packages may arrive on their porches when no one is home, leaving those packages vulnerable to thieves.

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Published November 11, 2015

METRO DETROIT — In almost any room of the house, a feature wall delivers major impact as a contemporary addition to a remodeling project.

Design manager Dean McQuade, of Transitions Remodeling, received a gold award from the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan for a recent whole-house remodel in Canton.

“We did lots of feature walls,” McQuade said. “In the bathroom, we did one whole wall in slate tile with an embedded mirror and glass shelves. The other walls were just painted. It was very cool.”

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Published November 4, 2015

METRO DETROIT — The brown marmorated stink bug really does stink, but the feared impact of its continued invasion goes much further than olfactory repugnance. 

“There is a major concern over the damage that the brown marmorated stink bug could do to our agricultural production, as well as concern for the damage to backyard gardens,” said Mary Gerstenberger, a consumer horticulture educator with the Michigan State University Extension in Macomb County. 

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Published October 28, 2015

METRO DETROIT — Saving on energy usage at home does not necessarily require a whole lot of new gadgets and appliances.

October is National Energy Awareness Month, and there are a lot of appliances around the average household that people do not think about powering down as a way to save energy, DTE Energy Insight App Program Manager Joel Miller said.

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Published October 21, 2015

METRO DETROIT — The Halloween holiday is notorious for people of all ages who enjoy taking on the persona of someone or something else.

With an ever-present eeriness always associated with Oct. 31, it’s the time of year when ghouls and goblins are welcome with open arms.

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Published October 14, 2015

METRO DETROIT — There are few better ways to gear up for Halloween than attending a haunted house. 

The spooky music, the dark and the fear of the unknown — was that your friend or a creature of the night breathing on your neck? 

A haunted house is sure to get you in the mood, and quickly.

Local venues offer the Halloween gamut, from over-the-top mayhem and panic to family-friendly entertainment and fun.

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Published October 7, 2015

METRO DETROIT — Spending a small amount of money to stage your home for sale can deliver big returns, according to local real estate professionals.

“Statistics have shown if a seller invests 1 percent (of the home price) on staging, they will get 8 to 10 percent of their money back and sell their house 75 times faster,” said Corie Conroy, owner of First Impressions Home Staging in Bloomfield Hills.

Staging is mostly a matter of decluttering and making your home look its best.

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Published September 30, 2015

METRO DETROIT — The fall chill is in the air, which means Old Man Winter is right around the corner.

Now, experts say, is the right time to get your home prepared for the colder weather.

“This is our busy time of the year, getting geared up for the winter, replacing windows or replacing doors,” said John Palazzolo, president of American Door Systems Inc. in Rochester Hills. “Everybody’s trying to get it done before the cold and winter snow starts coming in.”

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Published September 23, 2015

METRO DETROIT — Home designers and an antique collector talked about how to combine the old with the new and different textures and metals to create the home of your dreams at the Michigan Design Center in Troy Sept. 10.

Julie Byrne, of Julie Byrne Interiors in Birmingham, presented a program titled “Quick Fix Design Trends” as part of the Art of Design program at the center.

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Published September 16, 2015

METRO DETROIT — The Michigan State Housing Development Authority recently announced nine steps for a smooth transition into a new home for first-time homebuyers through its MI First Home program.

MSHDA spokesman Darren Montreuil said the nonprofit organization is bolstering its efforts to educate individuals on the whole process, including factors besides the mortgage purchase, so they remain on budget and do not miss key opportunities.

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Published September 9, 2015

C&G Newspapers

METRO DETROIT — After a strong summer, the housing market in metro Detroit shows no signs of regressing heading into the fall, although buyers and sellers both could take extra precautions in getting in or out of a house.

For the buyer, real estate agent Jan Hays, with Max Broock in Birmingham, said the market will still look to be a sellers market in the fall, so buyers should be ready to make a bid when going to look at a house and not be afraid to make the call.

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Published September 2, 2015

WARREN — It seems like only yesterday that we were worried about protecting our tender tomato plants from frost, thinning rows of lettuce and carrots, and getting our annuals in the ground before Memorial Day. 

But alas, the days are growing shorter and the nights are getting cooler as the calendar flips from August to September. For some, that means it’s time to plant again. For others, it’s time to maintain.

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Published August 26, 2015

METRO DETROIT — With a new school year approaching, it’s time to get back into the groove of studying and doing homework.

Several local educators have offered tips to help create the ideal workspace for students to do their homework at home.

A number of Macomb County educators through the Macomb Intermediate School District suggested that students should have a consistent place to study that the student and family members agree upon. That could be the bedroom, kitchen, basement or home office area.

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Published August 19, 2015

METRO DETROIT — Farmington Hills resident Chris Britts’ green thumb blossomed as a child growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her mother in their garden at home.

“I did things with her, and every place we’ve lived, I’ve worked on plants one way or another,” the 71-year-old said, adding that her English grandfather instilled a love of gardening in her mother.

The longtime Farmington Hills resident said that her love of gardening has come with highs and lows, such as nature’s pets munching on her plants.

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