HUD moving forward on proposed fair housing changes

boise-hud-homes2WASHINGTON – Aug. 22, 2018 – In the wake of a federal court decision upholding the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s approach to rulemaking, HUD Secretary Ben Carson today announced that HUD intends to move forward in amending its 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulations.
14931652922_d93d9c4977_bLast week, Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, dismissed a lawsuit against HUD related to the Department’s decision to suspend the use of a computer tool to be used by local governments in meeting their fair housing obligations to ‘affirmatively further fair housing.’ Rather than helping local governments, HUD claims that the tool proved confusing, difficult to use and frequently produced unacceptable results. Read the Court’s ruling.
HUD Secretary Carson said he was “tremendously gratified that the Court agreed with HUD on all its legal arguments.”
On Aug. 13, 2018, HUD published a notice inviting public comment on amendments to the Department’s AFFH regulations. Specifically, HUD says it’s seeking public comment on changes that will:

  1. Minimize regulatory burden while more effectively aiding program participants to meet their statutory obligations
  2. Create a process focused primarily on accomplishing positive results rather than on analysis
  3. Provide for greater local control and innovation
  4. Seek to encourage actions that increase housing choice, including through greater housing supply
  5. More efficiently utilize HUD resources

HUD plans a number of informal listening forums across the country to hear directly from interested stakeholders, including civil rights advocates, public housing authorities, and state and local planners.
Information on how to comment is posted online in HUD’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
© 2018 Florida Realtors®

Impressive Tiny Houses

These tiny houses prove size isn’t everything.
Tiny houses are popping up around the country as more people decide to downsize their lives. While the structures often measure less than 300 square feet, the tiny house movements isn`t necessarily about sacrifice. With thoughtful, innovative designs, some homeowners have discovered a small house actually leads to a simpler yet fuller life, connecting them with family, friends, and nature while freeing them from mortgages.
Reclaimed Wood Cabin on Stilts
Inside this treehouse-inspired tiny cabin, you’ll find salvaged church windows, reclaimed wood, and a funky dining table set crafted from old boats.
Tiny House Hotel
Try scaled-down living on for size at Live a Little, a collection of three mini retreat, including the Old Blue Chair shown here, surrounding a central fire pit on a scenic mountaintop property just outside Chattanooga, Tennessee. Rates from $142 per night.
Adorable A-Frame Cabin
Plans from $30
Pump It Up
This tiny house is a musician’s dream: it houses a giant working amp and the deck even doubles as a stage.
A Greenhouse and Porch Swing
Tiny But Mighty
In only 100 square feet, this tiny house known as the Nugget fits a kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping area.
Quaint Little Cottage
From $62,950
Dreamy Treehouse
Tiny: A Story About Living Small
Pop-Out Porch
The sleek design by New Frontier Tiny Homes features a farmhouse sink, shiplap and subway tile squeezed into 200 square feet. Best of all, though, a sliding glass garage door reveals a deck that pops out from the home, making al fresco dining a cinch.
Modern Tiny Farmhouse
From $72,950
“Bestie Row”
Four couples in Texas created “Bestie Row,” a mini neighborhood where they could all live in houses lined right up next to each other. Each tiny house boasts a bedroom, living room, and bathroom, and was constructed with a minimalist motif—think concrete floors, grained plywood, and a metal exterior.
Pequod House
The Pequod, named for the ship in Moby Dick, is a marvel of modern amenities and upscale materials, all cleverly maneuvered into one tight squeeze. It measures 26 feet long and weighs 11,500 pounds.
Minimalist Living
This 196-square-foot house near Boise, Idaho, is home to Macy Miller, her partner James, their daughter Hazel, and their Great Dane, Denver. A 27-year-old architect, Macy designed the home from scratch and built it on a 24-foot flatbed with help from friends and family. Clad in siding made of recycled pallet wood, the minimalist home is flooded with light and feels spacious despite its size. Hidden storage under the bed, above the pantry, and behind the fridge are contrasted with open shelving in the kitchen to make the space feel bigger. In total, Macy spent about $11,000 on her tiny house and is now able to live rent- and mortgage-free.
Enviresponsible Shelter
Designed by Broadhurst Architects, this prefab corn crib-inspired structure takes its basic form from traditional American corn cribs, which were common farm buildings that served to store and dry corn. The chic, modern 250-square-footstructure is delivered and assembled on-site, and includes a sleeping loft, an expandable kitchen wall, a bathroom, and living room. An insulated glass garage door opens to a small deck, connecting the interior space to the landscape beyond. Made of sustainable and recyclable materials, the structure can be dismantled and relocated to another site.
Dream Bungalow
The 204-square-foot “Wind River Bungalow” is the Chattanooga, Tennessee, home of tiny house enthusiasts Travis and Brittany Pyke, who started Wind River Custom Homes to help others fulfill their dreams of living simply in mini dream homes. Constructed of rain-screen cedar and hardy siding for extreme durability, the bungalow is full of custom features, including a pine and cedar interior, polymer concrete counters, and a loft ladder integrated into the shelving system.
Living Large With Less
$16, The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir
This is the Olympia, Washington home of tiny house pioneer Dee Williams, author of The Big Tiny, a memoir that details her decision to downsize to an 84-square-foot house that she built from the ground up after a near-death experience. Constructed atop a metal truck trailer, the super-small pine-and-cedar bungalow houses a kitchen counter with a propane one-burner, a sleeping loft, solar-powered lights, a composting toilet, and a sink (but no running water). To help others realize their tiny house dreams, Dee also founded Portland Alternative Dwellings, a tiny house education, resource, and consulting company.
Floating Tiny House
This floating 240-square-foot cabin is an off-the-grid summer escape for Maine couple Foy and Louisa Brown. Assembled onshore, a foundation of plastic floatation tubs, Styrofoam, and pontoons was then towed to sea, and the cottage was built above it, using mostly pine shiplap. Louisa carries water out daily via canoe for a tank that fills the shower and kitchen; at night, candles, oil lamps, and solar lights illuminate the home.
Mobile Ski Chalet
This 112-square-foot mobile cabin belongs to extreme skier Zac Giffin, the host of FYI’s Tiny House Nation, a show that features people from across the country who are living the tiny house lifestyle. The tiny abode is home to Giffin and his girlfriend, skier Molly Baker. Built on a trailer, the house features a little wood stove, living space, and a lofted guest bedroom and storage area accessed by a floating staircase. Built by Giffin for almost $25,000, the structure took seven weeks to complete.
Country Shack
Designed by Broadhurst Architects as a weekend retreat for a family from the suburbs of Washington, D.C., The Shack at Hinkle Farm sits on the southern slope of South Fork Mountain in West Virginia. With no electricity, the family relies on oil lamps for light and a small wood stove for heat; rain water is collected from the roof for the outdoor shower. An aluminum and glass garage door opens to a cantilevered wooden deck, where a removable canvas awning offers shade and shelter.
Tiny House Hotel
One of six tiny houses—each built on wheels and outfitted with a bathroom, kitchen, and sleeping loft—at Caravan Tiny House Hotel in Portland, Oregon, the Skyline cabin is one of the newest additions to the hotel. The 160-square-foot structure is constructed of mostly salvaged materials and houses two queen beds. Rental rates are $125 per night.
Wild West Wagon
Located near Watergate Bay in Cornwall, England of all places, the Sundance, a Wild West-themed wagon-style dwelling, is available to rent through Unique Homestays. Decorated with a “saloon chic” aesthetic (think wagon wheel art and sheepskin throws), the quaint interior features a wood-clad master bedroom, a bathroom with a walk-in rain shower, and a full kitchen. After a day riding horses on the nearby beach, relax with a glass of wine while sitting in a rocking chair on the lantern-lit front porch. Rental rates are about $800 for a three-night stay.
Luxury Treehouse
With its 1920s cabins and vintage Boy Scout tents, Camp Wandawega, located in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, evokes the set of Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. But the camp’s most charming feature is its three-level treehouse, built around a massive elm tree and outfitted with Pendleton blankets, tree swings, and Mason jar light fixtures. Used as a common space, guests can read a book in the treehouse’s library on a rainy day or spend a lazy afternoon on the bottom-level hammock.
Hidden Storage
The “Writer’s Block” cabin designed by Cheng + Snyder features storage for a canoe under its bed and workbench space. Located in Westport, Maine on the banks of the Sheepscott River, the 190-square-foot hideaway features windows arranged to maximize views and allow for passive heating and cooling.
This fully restored 1920s sheep wagon sits on the 30,000-acre Heward family ranch in Shirley Basin, Wyoming. The tiny wagon is outfitted with a full-size bed, two built-in cold boxes, a folding table, and a wood burning stove. Accommodating up to four people, the wagon can be moved around the property depending on the renters’ recreational interests (fly fishing, stargazing, and hiking are just some of the many options). Rental rates are $100 per night.
Countryside Hideaway
Surrounded by peaceful, bucolic farmland in Somerset, England, the Shepherds Hut Retreat is comprised of four tiny “huts” available for rent. Each structure overlooks a nearby pond, and includes its own private deck and fire pit. Inside the 20- by eight-foot huts, you’ll find a fully functioning kitchen, a bathroom, a dining area, and a built-in bed. Rental rates start from around $243 per weekend.
Refined Woodland Cabin
This 400-square-foot cabin with a refined decor sits nestled among fir, cedar, and madrone trees on the East Sound of Washington state’s Orcas Island. Designed by architect David Vandervort, the cross-shaped floor plan creates distinct alcoves for the kitchen, dining room, and bathroom, while a ladder provides access to the loft bedroom above the central living room. French doors lead out to a patio of flagstone, which is also used at the cabin’s entrance. (Building plans of a prototype of this cabin are available for purchase from Vandervort.)
Agricultural Architecture
The Yolo County Cabin, designed by Butler Armsden Architects, sits on a 400-acre farm in the rural Northern California town of Winters. With a structure inspired by the local water towers and lean-to sheds that dot the area’s surrounding agricultural landscape, the home’s elevated viewing terrace offers a 360-degree view of the land.
Victorian Farmhouse

Leadership Academy 2018

39210999_10156670789098385_4249706355109134336_nWhat an amazing experience I had the privilege to attend the Leadership Academy last few months with the greatest bunch of Real Estate agents, and the wonderful sponsors Current President Donna Guido, President-Elect Josh Burdine, Past President Jason Jakus, Broker “JJ” Jones, Realtor Lisa Baez, Realtor Jerry Sider, and Andrea Davis. From our first day at the ‘Ropes Course’ to visiting Florida Realtors Office and the FREC meeting in Orlando to The Florida Realtors Convention to our last day visiting “Wink News”, the Lee County Economic Development Office, and the Lee County Commissioners Office and meeting Commissioner Brian Hammond. What a wonderful Journey and to say thank you is not enough, High Five and the greatest of gratitudes, a fun and humbling learning experience. I can’t forget to Also extend my Thanks to Our Local Association Board and all of it’s members.
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Landscaping with Rocks and Boulders

Landscaping with rocks and boulders is such an easy way to not only instantly improve your home’s curb appeal but it’s also a very smart way to prevent erosion and help to retain moisture in garden beds.
Boulders and rocks can greatly enhance a flower bed or yard because it adds texture, height, focal interest and the best part is that rocks are organic and natural. Mixed with different levels and colors grasses, flowers and plants, the combination is natural and interesting.
Larger boulders/ rocks mixed with trees and shrubs can be used as a privacy screen in addition to enhancing curb appeal and adding natural beauty to a yard.
This rock garden bed below incorporated smaller rocks instead of mulch, which is another option.
Creating garden beds in your yard either by lining or simply mixing in the rocks adds beauty and breaks up the yard with more focal interest. Better yet, less mowing is needed and these rock beds can look pretty even in the winter when the grass is dead.
For example, this home below just buried a few larger rocks about halfway into the dirt and plants were sporadically planted. The rocks add interest and also help to hold in moisture for the bed.
This home below used a lot of rocks and boulders in their landscape using a combination of burying rocks partially, mixing in ground cover flowers/plants and strategically planting trees at different points in the landscape. On the right side, the boulders were stacked and used to prevent erosion as there is a change in elevation.
This is a fantastic way to make your yard more organic and natural instead of just an all grass yard. This is also a great way to address changes in yard elevation.
The home below doesn’t have a change in yard elevation but the homeowners took it one step further and used the rocks, boulders, dirts and grasses by building the bed up to create an illusion of a change of elevation. Absolutely beautiful idea to enhance this home’s curb appeal!
Even just adding a rock grouping in a bed can is a beautiful way to add natural interest and height in a garden bed.
If you have a significant or even minor change of elevation in your yard, large boulders are a beautiful alternative to retaining walls.
Boulders and rocks are simply stacked and positioned between the change in elevation serving and can also serve as a border for a garden bed. Boulders are positioned and stacked in the dirt and smaller gravel can be added to fill in at the sides.
Here’s the start of a garden bed in a new home that has a change in elevation.
In yards with a very slight change in elevation, a single row of boulders may be all that’s needed. Another option is to have a single row of boulders/rocks and stair-step up with a garden bed and then another row of boulders/rocks as was done below:
In yards with severe changes in elevation that will be prone to erosion, boulders/rocks can be buried and positioned into the dirt and stacked. Filling holes with gravel and planting grasses and ground cover will fill gaps.
There are so many different options when it comes to incorporating rocks and boulders into a landscape and gardens. It’s such a beautiful and more natural look and again, if you want to do this in your own yard, you can start by contacting your local landscaper or gravel/stone yard to find out where to find boulders/rocks in your area.


With shades to set any vibe, this lively color is the perfect home refresher.
Add a little or a lot, go bright and bold or warm and cozy. Orange is a beautiful and contemporary color that can help you achieve your design goals across all styles and rooms. The color is known to promote general wellness and can have both calming and energizing effects, making it the perfect home mood-setter.
In this earthy, neutral-toned living room, autumnal orange striped chairs elevate the space without feeling out of place.
An easy way to weave orange into your home is through pieces that can easily be moved around for an instant pop of color. In this Fifth Avenue dining room, orange chairs complement the green glazed walls.
Enliven a bathroom’s minimalist foundation with a geometric wallpaper.
In designer Ken Fulk’s Cape Cod library, the walls and ceiling are painted in Benjamin Moore’s Dash of Curry. The warm, saturated orange contrasts with the blues of the room and the view of the ocean, while its extension to the ceiling is a chic, understated detail.
This sleek office is enlivened with creamy pops of orange.
In Antonello Radi’s 16th-century Umbrian home, a vintage vibe was achieved through burnt orange walls and ornate decor. Velvet chairs and antique mirrors and portraits create an understated glamour that complements the 19th-century mantel.
Wooden accents create a sultry vibe in this oceanfront apartment, while the dim, warm lighting adds coziness to the ultra-modern space.
When it comes to patterns, this home is proof that more is more. In Christina Juarez’s apartment, the walls and vintage sofa in the home office are covered in a matching Elizabeth Hamilton fabric from John Rosselli.
The glow of the fire in this cozy living space is complemented with peachy orange furniture and deep yellow walls, while natural light subtly brightens the room.
The carrot-colored wallpaper in this children’s room has a delicate texture, making the bold color appear softer and more welcoming.
A great place to use orange is in your bedroom. The color is known to promote happiness and energy, so why not wake up to it every morning? This Ibiza bedroom is complete with a custom bench, bedding, and curtains.
While you may be inclined to scatter orange accents throughout your space, a unique alternative is to keep the pops of color together. The couch, pillows and ottoman are kept in close vicinity to draw the eye in.
This simple bathroom was given life with a vibrant floral wall. If you don’t want to commit to a fully orange room, a statement wall is a great way to start.
Dark walls in this moody London home put a spotlight on the statement orange couch that sits at the center of the room. By opting for darker surrounding decor, orange accents are sure to shine.
The banquette in this Manhattan townhouse adds energy to the space with warmth and coziness. The olive green walls provide a refined backdrop for the statement furniture

How to to Throw a Better Backyard Barbecue

Steal these fast, fresh tips for your next outdoor affair.
Make DIY S’more Pots
What’s an outdoor party without some s’mores? Guests will love these adorable, individual desserts.
Let guests know what’s on the menu
Coat a tall piece of plywood with black chalkboard paint for a professional-looking board. Blogger Nan used an overhead projector and white acrylic paint to add the “menu” graphic.
Dress up bottles in one minute flat
Sparkling water and lemonade, jars of pickles, even soda bottles become part of the decor when wrapped in patterned paper secured with double-sided tape. Use scraps of gift wrap or wallpaper that match your color scheme.
Anchor tablecloths with rails of posies
Skip store-bought weights and make your own by filling tiny buckets with wildflowers and a half inch of water. Just suspend the bouquets from your tablecloth using a clip and fishing line or skinny ribbon. Tie and knot one end around the handle of the bucket and the other around the clip.
Let the games begin!
There’s no better solution for early arrivals and the post-lunch slump than a collection of no-skills-required lawn games. Set out a basket of Frisbees, Wiffle balls, and badminton rackets — along with a croquet set—all within view of the picnic table.
Help guests keep their cool
Battle scorching sun, aggressive mosquitoes, and stifling temperatures with a few thoughtful amenities your friends will appreciate. Buy a supply of fans, plus sunblock and bug spray, and have everything at the ready when company comes.
Turn holiday lights into summer sparklers
With a little embellishment, Christmas lights become twinkling flowering vines, crawling along a porch post and railing. To make these blooms, puncture the bottoms of paper muffin cups in the center and slide one over each bulb.
Hang lights wherever you want
You don’t need a pergola or porch to add twinklers. Stylist Emily Henderson creates posts for string lights by filling buckets with rocks and anchoring bamboo polls in them.
Set a pretty tablescape
Set a pretty outdoor table with some of our favorite finds.

Watermelon home décor

These bright ideas, inspired by your favorite summer fruit, are anything but seedy.
Punchy Palette
This dining room by designer Alison Kandler is a perfect blend of rind green and juicy pink.
Fruit Forward Fabrics
This gingham fabric lends a vibrant, on-trend kick to a plush chair.
Bright Front Door
Roll out the “mel”-come mat for summer houseguests with a printed doormat.
Make your home feel like a one-in-a-rind space with this vibrant watermelon wallpaper.
When life gives you melons, invite your friends over for a big summer bash and greet ’em with this cute mat.
String Lights
Brighten up your summer celebrations with these adorable little melon lights.


Hello, sunshine! Summer is upon us and it’s time to lighten up—in lots of ways. If your home is feeling out of season, read on! These simple summer decorating ideas are a breeze!
Nothing says summer casual quite like white slipcovers. Now, before you say, “no way” to white, think again. These comfy coverings are stain-resistant, durable, and easy to remove for cleaning. Still not sold? Sandy-hued neutrals can capture that easy summer vibe too!
The Dylan slipcovered sofa epitomizes summer’s relaxed attitude with a laid-back style and easy-to-clean white cotton twill fabric.
Always fun to decorate with, pillows are an instant game changer. Swap out richly colored styles for light, bright, and whimsical ones. Our designers suggest mixing it up with florals, stripes, coastal, and botanical motifs.
With its subtle shine and soft texture, the Metallic Pillow in blush adds sizzle to your summer style.
Looking for something more casual? Outdoor pillows offer chic, colorful looks that work beautifully for the indoors, too, and are super easy to clean.
What’s summer style without a nod to the shore? Coastal accents make perfect summer room décor. Create beach-inspired style with pieces that reflect what you love about the sea and sand. Does sailing make you swoon? Say it with art. Fascinated by sea life? Show your appreciation with chic coral décor pieces, or a unique coastal accent!
Our fanciful Crabs in Glass Cloches are handmade replicas of Maryland blue crabs, and look like finds from a walk on the shore.
Vintage Swimsuit I paper art is a whimsical bathing beauty; the swimsuit is hand-cut from a copy of a vintage map of Montauk.
Trays are a must for summer soirees. They should be large enough for your needs, light enough to carry when they’re loaded up, and made with well-secured handles or comfy hand-holds. Reflective styles that catch the natural daylight will serve up your tasty thirst quenchers with dazzle. These trays also work beautifully as coffee table accents or as places to organize toiletries in summer guest rooms.
The curvy Colette Tray in clear acrylic brings a dazzling modern vibe to the party!
It’s garden season—make the most of it! Plant your favorite flowers and greenery in containers for beautiful, always-fresh summer room décor indoors or out. Our designers love urn-shaped planters for an unmistakably elegant statement at an entryway, on a deck or patio, in a sunroom…you get the picture!
Handcrafted in a 400-year-old atelier de poterie in the south of France and glazed in an antiqued ivory, our Anduzeterra-cotta planters evoke a classical vibe that’s also bright and fresh.
If you can’t have (or don’t want) fresh flowers in your home, grab a well-made arrangement of faux summer blooms to liven up your room. Keep in mind: Quality is the difference between tacky and tasteful, here. You want it to look just like the real thing.
Exquisitely handcrafted, the Tall Pink Peony Watergarden offers true-to-life summer blossoms for anywhere you need a touch of color.
Switch out heavyweight bedding for lighter styles in breathable, cozy fabrics. Colorful floral print duvet covers in lustrous cotton sateen are always fashionable this time of year, as are matelassés and block-print quilts. This simple switch makes a big impact—especially when you dress your bed like a design pro! Discover our secrets on how to make your bed.
The Arcelia Printed Duvet and Giorgina Embroidered Quilt have it all: a shimmery sateen, a soft palette, and a cool, understated block print.
Looking for some outdoor decorating ideas for summer, too? Check out these photos of real outdoor rooms shared by some of our clients, then head here to find all the outdoor rugs, pillows, and furniture you need to create your own oasis.