Archive for the ‘Interior Design’ Category

5 Top Tips Towards Creating Your New House Extension

Friday, March 18th, 2011

What To Consider When Thinking About Adding A New Extension

To Your Home !

Whether you are looking to add a great new space to your home or to add value to your home, we have some great tips to keep in mind when pursuing this project. So where to start? When planning a big new build there are a lot of things you need to keep in mind.

Top Tip 1: Decide what you want! We understand that there may be many things running around in your mind, but to avoid sleepless nights, ideally decide what you want as soon as possible. Indulge in some internet research or pick up a few house improvements magazines for some ideas. This will be the biggest decisions you are likely to make along your journey, so we encourage you to make the right decision for yourself. A single storey build to the rear of your property is what a lot of people decide upon, but you might have a side extension in mind? Also there is the option of a double storey build to add more than one room to your home, maybe a kitchen as well as an en-suite? Whatever you have in mind, make sure you feel comfortable with the plans.

Top Tip 2: The next important stage is the costing. Please don’t be disheartened by money costs, you may be pleasantly surprised by how much the build may not cost. We urge you to look around for different quotes from different builders, go for a builder who has a recognised name or has a selection of past testimonials to prove they are who they seem. It may be a good idea to construct a plan before starting any work, to set out a budget to the amount of money you want to spend and an emergency fund in the case of an emergency. Architecture project

Top Tip 3: The design needs to be taken into consideration. Although you may have already thought about this in the first tip, we would like to support you in making the right decision for the outside look of your extension. Do you want an ultra-modern look to your new extension or would you want it to blend in with the rest of the house? There may be different costs depending on what look suits you. Also we would like to remind you to remember to take into account the windows you want to include in your extension. Do you want them to match or something to modernise the look. Again we encourage you to shop around for different quotes.

Top Tip 4: Choosing an architect can be a difficult shop around. It will become apparent when your extension is built to what architect you chose. We persuade you to choose the right architect for what type of build you require. Many architects might have a modern feel for extensions or others more original. A great place to start is The Royal Institute of British Architects or The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists. These architects will then know if your plans are likely to be passed through planning permission and have contacts in that area of expertise. Please don’t be disheartened if you have to change your original plans a little. Once you’ve chosen the right architect you should be able to trust them but don’t be afraid to share your opinions after all your paying.

Top Tip 5: Last but not least, try and take into consideration many different gadgets you could include into your project. What we mean by this is recyclable materials, ways to save energy in the long run, possibly solar panels? There are many companies to contact who can assist you further. Think about the amount of light that will enter your property. If the extension will be facing the sun throughout the day, it could be extremely beneficial to fork out the extra money for solar panels that will save you money in the future. Although these are far from a necessity but we would like to encourage you to keep them in mind, especially if you are going for the modern look, they can add the finishing modern touches.

We would now like to wish you the best of luck in your new build and hope these top tips help you on your way to a stress free house extension.

If we can help in any way please feel free to contact us here.


Five TOP TIPS to make sure your loft conversion adds value to your home

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Add Value To Your Home With a Loft / Attic  Conversion

In the current climate, there are plenty of people looking for more living space who can’t afford to move and almost as many who can afford to move but are trapped because they can’t sell their home!  This is quite a dilemma and the solution is more often than not found just under the roof.

As well as providing extra space, a loft conversion, if done properly is pretty much guaranteed to add value to your property as well as giving you the opportunity to experiment with your interior design skills.  To help you make sure your loft conversion project adds value to your home, we’ve put together our five TOP TIPS:

Think medium to long term. If you’re thinking of a loft conversion to help sell your house in the short term, think again.  While a loft conversion iStock_000010600743XSmallmight be just what’s needed to get your house noticed in this competitive marketplace, investing purely to sell is a risky strategy.  The best way to think of a loft conversion, like any other investment, is to think in terms of a 3 to 5 year return.

Add living accommodation. Developing any property involves an element of risk, but generally speaking, if you’re making a 3 bed, 1 bathroom home into a 4 bed, 2 bathroom home, it’s pretty certain you’re going to add value.  By adding an extra bedroom and a bathroom, you’re effectively taking your property into a higher price bracket, simply by making it bigger and by increasing the sleeping accommodation.   A word of warning on this point though: don’t skimp on the finish.  Make sure the rooms you add are at least of the same quality finish as the rest of the house and have all the features you’d expect for their purpose.  Finally, it’s important to make sure that your loft conversion respects the style and architecture of your property.  This doesn’t mean that you can’t experiment: a clever blend of old and new works really well, particularly in period loft conversions.

Invest in a proper staircase.
If you choose not to install a proper staircase, you risk your loft conversion not being considered part of the house.  It’s really important to plan the access to the loft conversion and as far as possible to make the new staircase seem like a natural continuation of the original one.  While this will add to the cost of the conversion, it’ll certainly make a difference when the time comes to sell.

Get an estate agent involved.
Any property development project needs to make financial sense.  One good way of checking to see if your planned loft conversion will add value to your property is by asking the opinion of a trusted local estate agent.  The secret here is not to over-develop.

Work with a reputable company. Even for the most ardent DIY-er, a loft conversion is not generally something worth dabbling with.  Working with a reputable company on your loft conversion will help you, amongst other things: to make sure you respect all the rules and regulations; to make sure you have a good architect and structural engineer on board; to minimise the hassle and real cost of your project and of course to help you get a great end result.All in all a simple loft conversion can provide answers to numerous scenarios and can also add value as well as extra space to your existing property. However, if you ever consider having a loft conversion, remember to choose an established, reliable builder who can provide testimonials of their work. This will help to ensure that the project runs smoothly to help you realise your dreams in a relatively stress free way.

For a Free Quote or Advice Call Us At Any Time



How to increase your living space without moving home

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

With the housing market being in such decline during the current recession more and more people are choosing the cheaper option of increasing their living space by adding rooms to their current homes. This not only achieves adding more space but also potentially increases the value of your existing home in preparation for when the housing market improves.

One of the cheaper ways of adding space to your home is by creating a garden room. This can be achieved by simply installing a terraced area with an overhead canopy or awning or by having a more permanent veranda fitted using either wood or glass. A veranda can help to blur the boundary between the home and the garden providing an outside room perfect for relaxing and entertaining. This area could be maximised by having built in seats with hidden storage space.

Underground storage could prove a perfect place to store items such as a lawnmower removing the need for a shed. If cost is an issue a simple pergola can add extra seating whilst also providing shade and privacy from neighbours.

If a more permanent room is required then an extension or conservatory would provide an excellent extra room whilst linking the home to the garden. Glass walled extensions are becoming more popular and help you to enjoy the outdoor space all year round especially when the doors are left open. These extensions can be better than conservatories as it easier to regulate the temperature in them. They are warmer in the winter than conservatories especially if under floor heating is installed and can be cooler in the summer if a tiled or flat roof is used instead of glass. Having the appropriate window dressing such as venetian blinds can also help. It is also important to use lead flashing if the extension joins the main walls of the house in order to prevent leaks.

It is important to comply with the building regulations enforced by the council’s Building Control Department when planning such projects. It is also necessary to check with the planning department whether planning is required.

Another popular way of increasing living space at the moment is by extending the basement. This option can be more expensive but can maximise space .It is possible to build an entire new floor under your existing home creating up to as many as three extra rooms. These rooms could be insulated to provide a music room or utility room. The big advantage to this option is that you won’t have to witness the mess being made as all the work will be happening on a different level of your house while you continue to live as normal upstairs.

The important thing to remember if choosing this method of extending is to ensure that you hire a reputable basement company with lots of experience. It is also necessary to ensure that you have a party wall agreement with your neighbours prior to commencing works.

Loft conversions are another excellent means of creating extra space. This option is cheaper and quicker than building an extension or digging out the basement. Again it is necessary to check that a party wall agreement is in place especially if the work affects a wall shared with a neighbour. Most applications don’t now need planning but it is still advisable to check beforehand.

Most houses have lofts that can be converted and those built prior to 1960 especially Victorian properties are easier to convert as the roofs were constructed with a steep pitch with plenty of room between the rafters.

Loft conversions can be used for many uses. If it is being used as a hobby room or for storage a loft ladder is sufficient. However if the room is to be used for uses such as a bathroom or a bedroom then a permanent staircase is required. It is always advisable to try to match up the windows and brickwork with the existing as this will be more appealing if you decide to sell the property at a later date.

If you don’t want to extend your existing property then a summerhouse or chalet could be erected in the garden. These can be ideal for storage, a sitting room, playroom or an office to work from home.

A garden office constructed separate from the main property is a practical and cost effective way of working from home. This is particularly appropriate during the current credit crunch when there is g demand for ways to lower overheads by reducing office space and the need to commute to work.

This working space also has the advantage of separating family and working life.

Generally there is no planning permission required for this type of building provided that it is less than 4m tall, over 5m from the home and uses less than half the garden space. Again as with the other options it is always advisable to check with planning before carrying out any work.

All in all extending or adding any rooms to your home will provide extra space without the upheaval and expense of moving. It can also more importantly add value to your home which will prove beneficial should you decide to move home when the housing market improves.

The important thing to remember to make the experience a happy and stress free one is to always check planning requirements, ensure that you comply with building regulations and more importantly to hire a well established, experienced builder who should preferably be an associate of the Master Federation Of  Builders and be able to offer testimonials of their work. This should all help to ensure that the experience is an enjoyable and successful one.


Inject new life into your home by adding a splash of colour

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Are you bored of looking at the same decor in your rooms but can’t afford a major overhaul during the current credit crunch? Below are some simple tips on how to add new energy into your home and provide some much needed change of scenery without having to spend too much money.

Contrast with some colour

Adding colour can provide an instant tonic for a tired room. It is however important to select the correct colour to provide the appropriate ambience required for that particular room. For example primary colours are better suited to a children’s playroom rather than a living room and bright colours like pink or yellow would not be restful in a bedroom. It is better to use calmer shades for bedrooms and living areas like pale pink or blue to help create a relaxing calm in that room.

Bold colours are better used in a dining room or kitchen particularly if your kitchen looks out onto your garden. Colours that work particularly well in the kitchen are bright lime green or orange. Bright splashes of colour can be added effectively through linen and kitchenware.

Create a feature wall

A great way to make a statement in a room is by creating a feature wall. This can be achieved by painting or wallpapering a wall in a bold paint or pattern to create a dramatic effect. Horizontal stripes can give a striking new look to a room whereas painting the wall behind your bed in a vibrant colour like red could suddenly make your bed the focal point of the room.

Add a touch of Autumn

It is important when choosing colours for a room that you select colours that will be appropriate for both warm summer evenings and dark winters nights. One easy way to achieve this would be to keep your colour scheme within the rooms neutral and accessorise to accommodate the different seasons. This can be achieved by using soft coloured contrasting cushions and vases for the summer. Whereas in the autumn the cushions could be changed to darker cosier colours such as russet. This look could be further enhanced by using rugs and throws in warm colours. A scented candle could also be lit to provide a warm glow which can be very welcoming to guests particularly when placed in a hallway.

You could also update any bright white furniture with a coat of paint in a soft shade of cream for a cosy autumn revamp. You could even enlist nature’s help by using colourful foliage from your garden such as berries and place them in a glass jar or vase to create extra colour saving on the expense of having to go to the florist.

Keep up with the latest fashion

Accessories can be useful and cost effective in helping to keep your rooms up to date with current trends. For example to comply with this season’s coastal theme a few bottle vases or rush oval baskets could be used. Or if you want to keep up with the current  season’s colours dark grey and black work well together to make a grand statement whereas silver and white team up well with this season’s light grey all of which  help to create sophistication. These combinations can be achieved by using any number of accessories including introducing these colours as part of your of table setting.

Even a stairway could be transformed merely by having the stair runners wallpapered in a wallpaper of your choice. You could also add fun and a colourful element to your bathroom simply by choosing towels and accessories in exciting new shades.

There are endless ways available to cheaply transform any room on a budget simply by painting a wall a different colour or by merely accessorising wisely. One point to always remember is that it is better to limit colours to soft furnishings or walls and not both. It is also wise to choose colours wisely and to choose a last able colour and not merely a fleeting seasonal fad. This will ensure that you get value for any money spent.