Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in wp-settings.php on line 472

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in wp-settings.php on line 487

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in wp-settings.php on line 494

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in wp-settings.php on line 530
BusINess » Home

Posts Tagged ‘Home’

Third-generation clock man makes house calls

Prime Time Clock Repair owner Jack Laninga works in his Crown Point store. Not only does Laninga repair clocks in the shop, he makes house calls. (Photograph by Damian Rico/The Times.)

Prime Time Clock Repair owner Jack Laninga works in his Crown Point store. Not only does Laninga repair clocks in the shop, he makes house calls.
(Photograph by Damian Rico/The Times.)

It was noon on a Monday and the magical, musical sound of chimes filled the air as the man and woman brought in their German-made cuckoo clock to Prime Time Clock Repair.

“It doesn’t chime, and the weight doesn’t work,” they told shop proprietor Jack Laninga.

They were expecting to leave it for repair. In less than two minutes, Laninga, who calls himself a third-generation clock man, had it running and chiming. This repair was as simple as moving a button.
Read the rest of this entry »


Cool Ranch: The one-story home makes a real estate comeback

Ranch-style houses, sometimes referred to as ramblers or ranchers, are considered a native architectural genre.

Originally constructed in the 1920s, they gained more fans in the post-war years as suburbs burgeoned and the format could be affordably constructed. They were easy to live in, furnish and maintain with fairly open, modern yet modest layouts.

But like many other housing styles, they fell out of favor when homeowners sought traditional, two-story homes and, later, McMansions. Now, they’re the comeback kid for multiple reasons.
Read the rest of this entry »


Home sales slide stops in December

A home for sale in Portage had its price reduced. Sales of existing single-family homes fell just 4.3 percent in December as compared to December 2009 in the five counties covered by the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors. In some markets, sales were up, such as in Porter county, where 20.5 percent more homes were sold in December. (Photograph by Jon L. Hendricks, file/The Times.)

A home for sale in Portage had its price reduced. Sales of existing single-family homes fell just 4.3 percent in December as compared to December 2009 in the five counties covered by the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors. In some markets, sales were up, such as in Porter county, where 20.5 percent more homes were sold in December.
(Photograph by Jon L. Hendricks, file/The Times.)

Home sales in Northwest Indiana leveled off in December following five straight months of plummeting sales numbers, giving rise to hope the long-awaited housing turnaround may be just around the corner.

Sales of existing single-family homes fell just 4.3 percent in December compared to December 2009 in the five counties covered by the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors. In some markets, sales were up, such as in Porter County, where 20.5 percent more homes were sold in December.

“I think it’s just that more people are feeling better about things,” said Minakshi Ghuman, a Realtor with Century 21 Pace Estates in Valparaiso. Read the rest of this entry »


Burns Harbor poised for growth in 2011

A rendering of the proposed Manor Homes in Burns Harbor. (Rendering provided.)

A rendering of the proposed Manor Homes in Burns Harbor. (Rendering provided.)

In early December, the Burns Harbor Advisory Plan Commission gave the green light to The Village developer Cliff Fleming to add additional units to his original plat, which Fleming says will fulfill a vision of building up the town.

The addition is planned for the 30-acre parcel just to the east of The Village and will include what Fleming calls Manor Homes. They are two-story buildings composed of eight units with between one and three bedrooms each, some with an attached garage, some with an external garage.
Read the rest of this entry »


Helping customers save energy

USA Insulation employee Robert Cagleon uses a small camera to look for insulation through pre-drilled holes on a house in Calumet City. (Photograph by Jim Bis/The Times.)

USA Insulation employee Robert Cagleon uses a small camera to look for insulation through pre-drilled holes on a house in Calumet City. (Photograph by Jim Bis/The Times.)

As another cold winter quickly approached, Jim Waters, a pipefitter for 18 years, decided it would make a great time for opening a USA Insulation franchise.

“It’s better to work for yourself than someone else,” Waters said. “My friend bought a franchise, so I studied this for a year before making the move.”

USA Insulation was established in 1977 in Chicago and since then has insulated more than 20,000 homes. Franchises typically cost about $200,000, with royalty fees of 5 percent.
Read the rest of this entry »


NIPSCO gas bills to be 79 percent higher, but still relatively low

A typical NIPSCO residential customer’s gas bill for the winter heating season will be about 79 percent higher this winter as compared to last, but still lower than any other year in the past 10, according to the utility’s annual winter bill projections.

NIPSCO forecasts a typical residential customer using 640 therms of natural gas can expect to pay about $519 in gas bills for the winter heating season, which runs from November 1 to March 31. Last winter that same customer paid $289 for those five months.

A rapid fall in gas prices early in 2009 resulted in customers in effect receiving a large credit for past overcharges in their 2009-10 winter bills, according to NIPSCO CEO Jimmy Staton. The lack of any such credit this year, due to largely stable gas prices, accounts for most of the increase customers will see in their winter gas bills.
Read the rest of this entry »


Heating costs cool, giving homeowners some relief

Most U.S. homeowners should get some relief on their heating bills this winter.

The price of natural gas, the fuel that supplies 70 percent of the nation’s heat, is relatively low for the second year in a row, and falling. Also, forecasters predict a warmer winter across much of the country—especially in the Southeast, which suffered through a historically cold winter last year.

But those who rely on heating oil, and residents of the Pacific Northwest, may need to bundle up. Unlike natural gas, crude oil prices have risen sharply from their recession lows, pushing up the price of heating oil 16 percent over last year. And forecasters are predicting a cold and snowy winter in the Northwest.

Energy prices of all types rose sharply in the years leading up to the financial crisis, then all collapsed with the economy. Even as the economy has started to recover, natural gas prices have stayed low because supplies are ample and growing, says Jen Snyder, head of North American gas research at the consulting and analysis firm Wood Mackenzie.
Read the rest of this entry »


Designing woman—New flower shop opens with a ‘wow’

Marilyne Hamstra is the owner of Dutch Girlz Dezign, a floral and antique shop and interior design center in Crown Point. (Photograph by The Times.)

Marilyne Hamstra is the owner of Dutch Girlz Dezign, a floral and antique shop and interior design center in Crown Point. (Photograph by The Times.)

The name Dutch Girlz Dezign takes a bit of explaining, but the shop’s wares speak for themselves.

Marilyne Hamstra opened Dutch Girlz Dezign to use her talents as a veteran interior and floral designer.

“I’m not typical florist,” she said. “Mine is a unique decorating experience. I’m not just out to sell a product. I have to sell myself so people trust me. I’m here to provide a service by giving people something unique, something unbelievable, something unexpected.”

Hamstra had owned and operated a flower shop in Lowell for 15 years before beginning a freelance home and interior design business, then being employed by the development company.
Read the rest of this entry »


Some communities set standards for residential construction

The Village at Burns Harbor has won design awards for its urban design, developed by Cliff Fleming. Fleming thinks developers can build attractive communities even if the homes sport a similar style. (Photograph by The Times.)

The Village at Burns Harbor has won design awards for its urban design, developed by Cliff Fleming. Fleming thinks developers can build attractive communities even if the homes sport a similar style. (Photograph by The Times.)

Some municipalities in Northwest Indiana want more variety in new neighborhoods.

Design guidelines in the works for new residential developments in Merrillville could prohibit the use of a single design for all homes in a subdivision, Merrillville Plan Commission President Brian Dering said.

Town Councilman Lance Huish said the town has multiple neighborhoods where all of the homes bear the same look. He said mixing up the styles can improve the appearance of the community and increase property values.
Read the rest of this entry »


Visclosky celebrates ‘Emerald’ home

The Gem, built by Treasure Homes in the Village in Burns Harbor, is the first building in Indiana to be awarded an "Emerald" level certification. (Photograph by The Times.)

U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Ind., and others made a house call to the Village in Burns Harbor on Tuesday to celebrate the first home in Indiana to receive Emerald certification by the National Association of Home Builders.

The Gem, built by Treasure Homes, Inc., is one of only 22 homes nationwide to receive the Emerald certification—which means it reached the highest level of sustainable “green” building incorporating energy savings of 60 percent or more.

Sarah Oudman, president of Treasure Homes, said homes of this type contribute to the economic, social and environmental stability of the region.
Read the rest of this entry »