Posts by Claudine Zap

  • Cut your cable costs with a basic cable TV package

    Claudine Zap at ConsumerReports.org 1 yr ago

    These basic cable packages include the major networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and PBS) and a handful of other channels, including home shopping, educational, government, and public-access channels. You’d be giving up dozens of cable channels—CNN, HGTV, TNT, and so on—though you could catch some of that programming from streaming services, possibly a season or two behind.

    You might have to pay several dollars a month for a set-top box or adapter for each TV since the FCC now allows cable companies to encrypt all transmissions.

    [Want to reduce your TV costs? Click to get quotes on TV plans from providers in your area now.]

    It took a little searching to find the basic offering from Cablevision’s Optimum TV service. Its broadcast basic programming costs $15.62 a month, plus $6.95 for the required cable box and remote.

  • Architect may have to tear down his new home because it's too modern

    Claudine Zap at Spaces 1 yr ago

    Modern monstrosity or historic homage? A controversial new home going up in a historic district in Raleigh, N.C., faces an uncertain fate: Complaints that it doesn't fit in with the neighborhood have led to a halt in construction, even though the home is mostly built.

    The unlikely set of circumstances began last year, when the couple, Louis Cherry, a local architect, and his wife, Marsha Gordon, applied for building permits and received the go-ahead to construct a house on an empty Euclid Street lot in the historic Oakwood district.

    (Click here or on a photo to see a slideshow with pictures of the home and its surroundings.)

    The process included approval from the Raleigh Historic Development Commission, and construction began in October.

    He added, "In 50 to 100 years, our house on Euclid Street will be historic too."

    Follow Claudine Zap on Twitter (@zapkidd).

  • New York photographer reshoots century-old scenes for armchair time travelers

    Claudine Zap at Spaces 1 yr ago

    Photos capture memories. Jordan Liles has used images to connect to the past – and, he hopes, to help him remember the present in the years to come.

    His George Bradford Brainerd Project shows scenes from across New York City, photographed in the 1800s by Brainerd and then painstakingly rediscovered in the modern day by Liles himself. On Liles' site, you can toggle back and forth between each view: First you see how it looks now, and then you either touch (on a mobile device) or mouse over (on a desktop) the image to be taken about 140 years into the past at the same spot. Click here or the image above to see bigger versions the now-and-then images on Yahoo Homes.

    "This project is my way of giving back to the city that has given so much to me," Liles, 31, told Yahoo Homes.

    Liles, who had done several series of abandoned places, comparing their present state with historic photographs, decided he had found his next subject.

  • Refinancing? Why Your Bank May Not Be the Best Deal

    Claudine Zap at ConsumerReports.org 1 yr ago

    Planning to refinance your house? Figure you’ll make it easy by opting to refinance through your current mortgage holder? If yes, beware of offers too good to be true. Here’s what you need to know about your mortgage holder’s offer.

    Those who have refinanced or bought a home since 2008 know all too well what it’s like to get a mortgage. The questions, and the need document every aspect of the credit, debt, income and assets, while all very important, nevertheless make the process challenging.

    You’ll Still Need Documentation

    [Want to refinance your mortgage? Click to compare interest rates from multiple lenders now.]

    You’ll Still Need an Appraisal (Probably)

    A Decision-Maker Will Still Be Involved

    A Level Playing Field for Rates & Fees

    When to Refinance With Your Current Bank

    Why a Second Opinion Can Help

  • The tale of one woman's radically simplified 'built-it-myself' life

    Claudine Zap at Spaces 1 yr ago

    Ask for a tour of Dee Williams's house, and it won't take long. The 84-square-foot space is no bigger than a parking spot.

    There's no running water, no Wi-Fi, the fridge is a cooler, and the toilet is compostable. Williams knows how extreme this sounds. Before she downsized, she used to worry about the mortgage on her three-bedroom home, how to outfit her kitchen with matching appliances, and the endless string of home repairs.

    But in 2003, after suffering congestive heart failure in her early 40s, Williams decided to simplify. She shed most of her belongings and sold her home in Portland, Oregon.

    While hard numbers are difficult to come by, Williams estimates that there are hundreds of tiny houses around the country. She notes that since she built hers in 2004, "interest in building tiny houses, particularly from the DIY market, seems to have redoubled every year." She adds that workshops that once drew a couple of people are now routinely sold out.

    By the way: They don't have to forgo running water, Wi-Fi, and flush toilets. "But I don't regret my own choices," Williams told Yahoo Homes.

  • Superrich Car Lovers' Dream Home: Porsche Design Tower

    Claudine Zap at Spaces 1 yr ago

    The posh Porsche building is set to open in 2016. Not surprisingly, automobiles are a focus. The design features three glass elevators that will take residents to the door of their apartment without the need to exit their vehicle. Residents will park in “sky garages” right next to their living quarters.

    Owners will be able to feast their eyes on their four-wheeled babies right from the living room. And, bonus, never have to worry about forgetting where they parked. (Click here or on the images above to go to a slideshow.)

    Other luxe features to the beachfront property include plunge pools and outdoor kitchens on most balconies, sweeping views of the Sunny Isles location, two- or four-car garages, a resort-style spa, a movie theater and a car concierge, “who will tend to a resident’s vehicle, by assisting with regular maintenance, tire rotations, washing and other services,” notes the website Dezeen.

    Also on Yahoo Homes:

  • For sale: NYC $114 million mansion inspired by Versailles and Queens (N.Y.)

    Claudine Zap at Spaces 1 yr ago

    For that special someone who has everything, how about a $114 million mansion inspired by the Palace of Versailles?

    The astronomically priced townhouse on Manhattan's Upper East Side is on the market, and even comes gift-wrapped for the holidays — the façade has been adorned with a bright red bow.

    The interiors are fit for royalty: They feature astounding rooms inspired by the French palace, Italian castles, and even Queens (not Marie Antoinette, but the actual New York City borough; more on that in a moment).

    The 40-foot-wide building is a full six floors high and covers about 22,000 square feet, with a 2,000-square-foot roof deck, according to the real estate firm Corcoran Group, which recently listed the property. Corcoran's website also touts the building's "Central Park views, soaring 12-32 foot ceilings, palatial entertaining space," and "the finest European-imported materials."

    "Between the pizza oven and the pool, the phenomenal roof deck, and views of Central Park, there's no reason to leave the house," she added. "It's fabulous in every way."

  • Architect’s big idea: Tiny, $11,000 house

    Claudine Zap at Spaces 1 yr ago

    Architect Macy Miller had a big idea: Build a tiny house.

    After dealing with a messy foreclosure, the 30-year-old sought a way to have a place of her own while avoiding the mortgage trap. Her solution: Build a micro home.

    "I wanted a way to escape dependency on banks without being a 'renter,'" the Idaho resident told Yahoo in an email. "I like having my own space to make my own, which is difficult to do without taking out a large mortgage."

    Miller began to build a 196-square-foot house in 2011, right on a flatbed truck. The cost: $11,400. The handy Miller did most of the work herself, with advice from her friends and father as needed.

    Miller did need some extra help last August: While working on her roof, she fell and broke her foot and her back in two places. She says she has since recovered from her injuries.

    Miller is settling in for her first winter in the cozy home with her 100-pound Great Dane, Denver, and her baby-to-be: She is pregnant and due in March.