Homes

Published March 11, 2015

METRO DETROIT — They have a certain austere beauty and create remarkable sculptures when they begin to thaw and refreeze around trees, bushes or just the ground, but those large icicles growing from your roof could be an indication of a larger problem — ice damming on the roof.


An ice dam is a buildup of ice on roofs caused by melting snow that refreezes around the eaves of a house; it is usually quite easy to spot, experts say, because of the large icicles and pieces of ice that form on the edge of the roof of the house.

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Published March 4, 2015

Right now, there are likely several inches of snow piled up on at least a portion of your deck or patio.

But what will you find when it melts?

Flaking paint chips and nail pops on your wooden deck, moss and weeds starting to grow between brick pavers, or worse.

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Published February 25, 2015

NOVI — Coming in on the heels of the Detroit Boat Show, the eighth annual Cottage and Lakefront Living Show taking place this week in Novi will reinforce the belief of many Michiganders that the state’s spring and summer months are the best in the country.

The Great Lakes State offers almost unending choices of outdoor recreational activities during the warmer months — though ice fishing during the winter also has a huge following — and that especially holds true for those who live or own a cottage on one of those great bodies of water.

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Published February 18, 2015

In the last decade, Safe Kids Worldwide Director of U.S. Programs Tareka Wheeler said that there has been a 31 percent increase in the number of children who have been killed or injured by TV tip-overs.

“We know we can prevent these things. Many families just don’t think about it. It’s an emerging issue — we call it a hidden hazard — in homes, but there are simple things families can do,” Wheeler said.

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Published February 4, 2015

METRO DETROIT — Many adults probably remember coming home from school in their youth, slinging their backpacks on the kitchen table and then getting a start on their homework.

While some children and adults still do that today, it’s not as prevalent as it used to be.

It really comes down to how a house is divided. Older homes are notorious for not offering the abundance of space that new homes today have, especially in the form of cabinets and countertops.

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Published January 28, 2015

Radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers, and high levels of the gas in a house meet the equivalent of smoking eight cigarettes a day, say World Health Organization officials.

Radon gas invades homes and buildings through foundation cracks and openings, and is invisible with no scent. If a test kit determines high levels of radon in a home, simple fixes can lower health risks.

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Published January 21, 2015

If you’re house hunting in metro Detroit, you’ll inevitably come to a point where you need to make a major decision — what means more to you, having a big house or living near Woodward?

That was the question Royal Oak native Karly Wingart had to ask when she started shopping for a home.

“We bought our house in September. We had only been looking for a couple of months, maybe three months,” she said.

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Published January 14, 2015

METRO DETROIT — Now is a great time to add bird feeders near your home or garden to provide color, song and activity during the drab winter months. Bird feeders also provide a sure food source during a period when birds’ normal fare, such as insects and berries, is scarce.

Kim Sherwin, a park interpreter at the Stony Creek Metropark Nature Center, said that feeders are a relaxing way to enjoy nature while not having to leave the comfort of your home.

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Published January 7, 2015

Feeling blue?

A person’s emotions can be directly affected by the colors expressed in a room, according to Dr. Howard Belkin, a psychiatrist affiliated with William Beaumont Hospital.

And although Belkin could not reference related studies, anecdotally, he said, people are responsive to their environment in ways that cannot necessarily be measured.

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Published December 17, 2014

With Christmas just days away, design experts want you to make the most out of your guest bedroom for visitors to enjoy this holiday season.

Christine Jackson, owner of Birmingham-based bedding store Scandia Home, who designs and makes decorations, said making guests feel pampered is one of many great ways to welcome them in holiday style.

“If you have people coming in and they’ve been traveling, by the time your guests get to you, it is nice to have a room that will facilitate a good night’s sleep,” she said.

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Published December 3, 2014

METRO DETROIT — Many things can go wrong inside a house.

One of the scarier potential problems is carbon monoxide. It consists of one carbon atom and one oxygen atom, and is also known as CO.

Carbon monoxide causes fear because people don’t know it’s around in the first place. It is a colorless, tasteless and odorless gas that poses toxic effects when it goes undetected. The gas becomes prevalent in areas when fuel doesn’t burn as intended.

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Published November 12, 2014

METRO DETROIT — A natural woodland holiday theme brings the outdoors inside for a cozy, charming and modern effect.

“Each year, when we go to the buyers shows, we look for new trends,” said Casey Thomas, vice president of Sherwood Forest Garden Center in Oakland Township. “New this year are more natural looks with a woodland theme.”

The popular movie “Frozen” has also become a decorating trend, Thomas said.

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Published March 5, 2014

Starting plants like marigolds and tomatoes indoors from seeds helps beat the winter blues.

“It is nice to see things grow,” said Joni Makowski, store manager of Allemon’s Landscape Center in Detroit. “It is a good activity for the family. The longer the winter, everybody thinks about it. I have four kids. We always plant different seeds in eggshells.”

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Published July 3, 2013

For many homeowners, remodeling their kitchen is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“People are really thinking it through,” said Barb Baker, of Elder Living Construction in Farmington Hills. “They are investing in a little higher quality. They are taking the time to understand the different wood qualities, and they are spending the money to make upgrades.”

Baker said her customers want new cabinets that will look good and last for a long time. They are also looking at new ways of hiding electrical outlets for a smooth, uninterrupted backsplash.

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Published May 29, 2013

Impatiens, a top choice for homeowners planting colorful annual flower displays, will not be available at most nurseries this year.

“There is a downy mildew problem with impatiens,” said Carl Eckert, owner of Eckert’s Greenhouse on Ryan in Sterling Heights. “We didn’t grow them this year, and most other nurseries also didn’t.”

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Published March 27, 2013

With spring here — at least according to the calendar — many homeowners look to the state of their houses after the long, dirty winter and aren’t happy with what they see.

Carpets are soiled by salty boots; driveways start cracking from the months-long freeze/thaw cycle; and muddy messes are exposed in backyards that will be used for entertaining, come summer.

Now is the time to fix those problems, according to local contractors, before warm-weather fun beckons and the summer home- improvement rush begins.

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Published February 1, 2011

The right neighborhood. The right price. The right layout, lot and size. It’s the perfect home — or not.

There are a number of major issues that could be lurking under the cosmetically pleasing surface of a home, many of which can be very costly.

That — and liability issues on the seller’s end — is why getting a home inspection has become an essential part of the home-buying process since the late 1970s nationally and the early ‘80s in Michigan, according to Jon Ormiston, president of All Points Inspection in Rochester.

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Published January 5, 2011

“Tough” is an understatement when describing the local housing market since 2005.

The ripple effect that unemployment and the ensuing foreclosure crisis has left — and is expected to continue leaving — an unprecedented number of homes on the market, crippling home values and sales across the state.

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