Category Archives: Home and Family

Tiling With The Colour Of The Year: Heart Wood

The colour of the year for 2018 has been revealed so don’t be surprised if you start to see plenty of Heart Wood cropping up in the interiors world. Heart Wood is a gorgeous colour that combines purple, mauve with some softer brown undertones. This beautifully rich colour is perfect for all year round offering a cosy warmth in the winter and a fresh contemporary look come summer. With this set to be next years hottest colour, how can you incorporate Heart Wood when it comes to tiling you kitchen or bathroom?

The colour of Heart Wood has a very neutral base meaning that it can be paired harmoniously with beiges and creams for a softer and delicate design. This makes it ideal for Scandinavian aesthetics as it emotes a calm and peaceful atmosphere. Similarly, the muted and warm undertones of Heart Wood make it ideal for Hygge interiors as well. While it looks incredible when paired with other similar earthy tones, the best thing about Heart Wood is its versatility. Surprisingly, it works just as well with darker colours such as grey and blues for that stark contrast between delicate and industrial. Something we’ll explore later. With that in mind, lets take a look at how you can use Heart Wood when tiling.

Neutral Palette

As previously mentioned, Heart Wood marries well with neutral colours. So when looking at tiling your bathroom why not combine these colours for a seamless blend of tones. If you choose to paint or tile a feature wall using a Heart Wood colour, try to find accompanying tiles in beiges, creams and whites for a gentle, toned down look. The best thing about working with these colours is their adaptability. If you want to redecorate in the future, you can keep your same great neutral tiles and work around them for different designs. They also have a wider appeal when it comes to selling on your property when the time comes. If you like the idea of a stripped back palette but don’t want to opt with the typical beiges and creams, try instead a duck egg blue tile for a pop of colour.

Darker Palette

If subtle just isn’t your style, try instead mixing up your designs with darker colours. We talked about it earlier, but Heart Wood works beautifully with contrasting colours such as gun metal greys and navy blues. The stark contrast between delicate and harsh gives a stunning, trendy effect. Try combining these colours when tiling as well as working with different finishes. A gloss finished Heart Wood tile paired with a matt grey will show even more of that soft and industrial contrast, something that is very much popular with homeowners.

 

Surprising Matches

If you’ve gotten this far and still not read anything that takes your fancy, you might be surprised to learn that Heart Wood actually matches beautifully with brighter colours such as mustard yellows and greens. These combinations offer a complimentary blend of spring time colours that can liven up a room instantly. Use these bolder colours sparingly so not to distract too much from the beautiful purple of the Heart Wood.

And there you have it, a few easy ways to incorporate next years hottest colour in your bathrooms or kitchens.

Tips To Getting A Scandi Home

If you’re looking for a neutral home with a hint of industrial chic, than the Scandi look is perfect. Having taken off massively in the past few years, Scandi homes have become a staple piece with homeowners thanks to its neutral tones. Think exposed woods and distressed furniture coupled with soft accessories for a stark contrast between cosy and stylish. The Scandi look is perfect throughout the whole home, but works particularly well in rooms like lounges and bedrooms where you are most likely to kick back and relax. A great way of starting your journey towards a Scandi home is with a rug. Rugs offer that beautiful texture and warmth that the Scandi look requires.

Colour

As previously mentioned, the core colour palette to follow is that of neutral tones. This comes from the minimalism ethos of the Scandi design. This doesn’t mean you need everything in your home to be white, instead think of using a mix of creams, browns and even delicate greys that have warmer purple undertones. This muted palette allows you to work with a whole variety of rugs. Rugs help to tie a room together, so try to match your accessories to your rug to build strong accent colours that will give your home that professional finish.

Light

One of the key elements of a Scandi home is the use of light. The whole scheme focuses on natural elements, so try to work with the natural light you already have in a room. A good tip is to use mirrors where you can, preferably directly opposite windows. This will bounce that gorgeous natural light as well as helping to make a room feel larger by creating the illusion of more blank space. Couple these mirrors with a lighter coloured rug and you’ll immediately open up a stunning neutral space in your room. Rugs are perfect for adding comfort to your floors and look beautiful when laid on top of a wood floor for that authentic mix of materials. When it gets dark outside, light some scented candles to give your room a warm orange glow and comforting aroma.

Natural Materials

A key identifier of a Scandi home is the use of mixed materials. Instead of opting for a generic beige paint, try instead to expose natural floorboards, timber posts or stone for a more rustic finish. If you live in a more modern property, you can achieve this look with new floors or countertops for example, depending on how large your redecoration project is. Couple these materials with softer furnishings such as a shaggy rug for that harmonious blend of new and old. A shaggy rug is perfect for creating sophisticated layers in a room as well as feeling beautifully soft underfoot.

Texture

Since the Scandi look relies so heavily on simplicity, it therefore makes up for its minimalism with the use of textures. To achieve this, build layers such as blankets and cushions to bring back that comfortable aspect of your home. As previously mentioned, shaggy rugs are great for this. But if you want something even more rustic look instead at a sheepskin rug. Sheepskin rugs offer you an incredibly natural look that has an incredible feel to the touch. The main advantage of a sheepskin rug is its versatility. Some sheepskin rugs has soft undersides which means you can use them as blankets or throws as well as on the floor.

Scandi homes are undeniably on trend right now and will breathe a new lease of life to your home. No true Scandi look would be complete without a rug to bring the whole scheme together, so don’t overlook the importance of this key piece of furniture!

Winter Floors

With Summer officially over it’s time to think about the colder months, the darker nights and maybe the heating bill! So how can you prepare your home ahead of Winter? Well, there are certain interior design tips that can help make your home feel a bit cosier during the latter end of the year. The first step should always be the foundation of your home; the flooring. But how do you achieve a warmer look from the floor alone? The key thing to achieve is a perception of a warmer temperature in the room, with that in mind it pays to stay away from lighter boards as they can create a cold and airy feel in the room. Darker, richer colours will help to inject that warm and cosy feel into your living room…

Rustic/Natural Grade Floors

This style of flooring has proven incredibly popular over recent years and it’s not hard to see why. There’s something really charming about natural and rustic grade floors, they ooze character and can help bring a real country feel. This type of flooring  can immediately transform any room that it is installed in.  This style of flooring also helps to bring an air off nature into your home as well as compromising the modern rustic vibe that is so on trend right now. If you want cosy then look no further than rustic floors and creating your own little log cabin getaway!

Smoked wood

Colour can be a defining factor when it comes to achieving a warmer look in your room, as can the finish of a floor. The smoked effect will not only give your floorboards an aged appearance, but it will also appear quite grand too. These types of floor boards will help to create a unique and cosy environment wherever you decide to install them as well as giving off an air of elegance too.

Herringbone

This style of flooring has been a huge hit in the world of interior design over the last 18 months. This floor as a rich history and dates back to the early 16th century, although recently it has enjoyed a massive revival thanks to the likes of the shabby chic movement. This floor can bring a depth of warmth to any room, especially due to its familiarity from the likes of school and church halls. The herringbone layout presents the wood in a ‘broken’ zigzag position, which is why this style is often confused for its Chevron counterpart.. not the same! Chevron floors are where the ‘v’ meets in the middle, herringbone floors do not. Fun fact; Herringbone flooring is actually named after the Herringbone fish due to the similarity between the fishes spine and the pattern of the floor.

It’s not only your floor that can make the difference when it comes to make your room as snug as a bug for winter, there are a few accessories that can help you to do the job too. Lets start with the basics; is there anything that a couple of candles can’t fix? Turn down the lights, put the fire on and light some candles to scatter around the room, you’ll feel cosier in an instant. As well as candles why not invest in some heavy knitted throws and blankets, get yourselves wrapped up in front of the box while the gloomy weather rolls on outside.

So there you have it, just a couple of ways that you can bring the heat into your home this winter.

The perfect sun rooms

Within certain parameters it is possible to spend almost as much or as little on your conservatory as you want. It entirely depends on your budget, the look and specifications you are going for and the size that you would like. The options are almost endless and the extras you can add can push up the price significantly – even after the initial build is done. So getting to the average conservatory price is tricky, but it is certainly possible to estimate based on your particular needs.

 

Low budget conservatory

If you don’t have much money to spend and are handy with a drill and spade you can buy an off the shelf conservatory for around £2,500 from any one of the larger High Street DIY stores. This does not include the ground works which will involve digging out foundations and preparing a concrete base. You should allow a few hundred more to do this. But to get you to a basic stage you could certainly have your conservatory in place for less than £4,000.

 

Standard conservatories

Most companies will quote around £6,000 to £10,000 for a standard conservatory that fits into their bulk window size ranges. If you can keep it under the right size to avoid planning permission these types of conservatories can go up quickly. If you choose to have a brick dwarf wall built, the price will be at the upper end of this range, while full glass will be cheaper.

 

High end conservatory

If price is no object, you can easily spend £20,000 + on a large and detailed conservatory for your home. You can opt for a full timber framed building with beams and wooden sash type windows or you might want one that is structured in such as way as it needs many different made to measure windows. These look amazing and it really is possible to see where the money has been spent. At this end of the market you are getting an additional room to your home, rather than an extension that may not be suitable for year round use.

 

The extras

While you may be able to afford the building and construction of your conservatory, it is worth noting that the costs don’t stop there. You are likely to need most if not all of the following additional extras:

  • Flooring – wood, tiles or even carpeting
  • Heating – radiators involving extra plumbing work or underfloor heating
  • Electrics – this needs to be done professionally
  • Furniture – a conservatory needs to be carefully furnished with items that do not mind the changes in temperature

Pretty house with double glazing

Double glazing has been a feature of our homes for more than 40 years now and it is pretty rare to see a home that doesn’t already have it. But there are some and they may have decided to keep their single glazing for very good reasons. Perhaps they:

  • Live in a conservation area and must have expensive double glazing units such as sashes that they can’t afford. Many homes in conservation areas are more than 100 years old and will have sash type windows. These would need to be replaced like for like and this can be more expensive.
  • Work hard to maintain the wood, paint it every year and regularly treat it so their windows are in good shape. Wooden windows need regular maintenance and should be filled, sanded and painted at least every few years. If the wood starts to rot, your window panes could simply fall out.
  • Live in a listed home and simply are not allowed to change the windows. Some properties are not allowed to have double glazing units, but could have replacement wooden units that would be better. You would need to check with your planning officer.
  • They cannot afford to spend money on new double glazing. Some councils will help with new windows and some manufacturers and installer offer payment schemes or special deals to make it easier.
  • They live in a flat and need to wait until the council or the leaseholders agree to getting new windows. This can be a long process but even the tallest buildings can have new windows installed.
  • They like the look of the single glazing. Some old style windows do look better especially if they have been painted more interesting colours. It is true that white can look boring – but there are many different UPVC window colours now available.
  • They just don’t like double glazing because they fear it might condensate or cause damp issues. These issues are almost always because the double glazing unit is poor quality. If you buy well it shouldn’t be a problem.

Are you looking for a new front door

Your front door is the first impression that you get to make when someone visits your home, which means that many of us want to choose the most attractive door possible, to cast your house in the best light. Should you however be basing your choice on how the door looks, rather than how it performs? The short answer is no, because choosing a front door purely on looks, might be something you regret in the long term when it fails to meet it’s functional requirements. We’ve put together some guidelines below on how to buy buy the best exterior doors for your home, to help you to choose a door that will meet your practical as well as aesthetic needs.

 

Material

This factor is probably the most important of all considerations when buying your new door. While a solid wood door may look lovely you should be aware that if it gets wet, it is at risk of swelling and then subsequently shrinking as it dries out. A well designed and professionally fitted door will need to be carefully installed to ensure that the gap between your door and it’s frame is a consistent size, ensuring a snug but not tight fit between the door and the door frame. The constant expansion and contraction of a wooden door, that can be caused by it getting wet, will mean that it the door is more likely to become stuck on the frame, or to develop gaps which will let in air.

With the above in mind, our advice would be to only install a solid wood door in areas that are very much under cover, so that they won’t get excessively wet, or cold. If your door isn’t covered, then an alternative to a real solid wooden door, would be to go for a composite door which will have fewer of the issues that can be caused by damp and cold. A composite door will still look great, however it will need very little maintenance, unlike wood. A UPVC door will suffer even less than a composite door from issues surrounding damp, however they can be unattractive, with none of the rustic appeal of a wooden door.

 

Glazing

Do you want your door to have any glass? This is the next consideration to bear in mind when selecting a new door. You should be aware that any glazing will inevitably mean that you more draughts around the door, however glazing can be very practical for seeing who is outside and importantly for letting in light. You may prefer to have double glazed windows to each side of the door and a peephole instead. This is certainly down to preference as the best doors are still very secure even with glazing. A good compromise between the translucent benefits of clear glass, and the privacy aspect of a non-glazed finish, can be to install frosted glass that will still let light in, but won’t allow anyone to see into your home.

 

Security

No matter what type of door you choose you need to ensure that it has excellent security features. That means installing a good lock (even a double lock if necessary) or choosing a door that comes with the best lock you can afford. Some of these will have bolts that are at the top and bottom and some will have self locking mechanisms. Be aware that some doors can be manipulated through the letterbox to be opened from the outside unless you double lock them. Not only will a high quality lock give you peace of mind that your home is secure – having locks that reach a high standard can even save you money on your home insurance premiums. Generally a five lever mortice deadlock conforming to BS 3621 will be the minimum standard required to get a discount on your home insurance premium.

 

Colour

The colour that you choose for your door is of course down to personal preference. You can choose almost any colour for your door regardless of the style or material you choose, however one advantage of going for a wooden door is the fact you can repaint it any time you like, without having to replace the door. Many of the plastic or composite doors are made in white which is a very safe option, but for an attractive look to the front of your home, try a colour such as green or red. Your front door is highly visible, and therefore an important centrepiece when it comes to defining the style of your home. In summary, don’t go for the best quality door possible that will suit your needs – choose well and it should last as long as your home does.

Combi boilers is need on you home

If your home doesn’t already have a combi boiler, you may have considered replacing your current boiler for one – especially if you have heard good things about them. But do you really understand the full benefits? Here is the definitive list of reasons to buy a combi-boiler.

 

No need to store hot water

A combi boiler eliminates the need to have any storage of hot water and so you can get rid of that hot water tank that is taking up space in your loft or hallway cupboard. This can free up the space for other things. Pipework and cold water storage is also minimised.

 

Small unit

A combi boiler is usually a smaller and more compact unit so it can easily fit inside your kitchen cupboards. This more streamlined look makes it a more attractive option for smaller kitchens.

 

Incredibly efficient

A combi boiler is highly efficient – you are only heating water as and when you need it, so this will save you money in the long run. Combi-boilers are usually A-rated and will therefore offer huge monetary savings compared to any boiler than is more than 10 years old. It is estimated you could save up to £300 per year by replacing your old boiler with a combi boiler.

 

No more cold showers

Because the water is heated as it is used, it isn’t affected by other factors such as the water being used up previously. Combi boilers will also often have thermostats included that will keep the water at the temperature you choose. The water pressure is usually very stable due to the water coming directly from the mains feed however if you have a number of bathrooms the pressure may drop if they are being used all at once.

 

Cheaper to install

Because of the simplicity of a combi boiler system, there is less work to do to install one. In particular the pipework and tank system is very simple. However you will need to remove or disable the old system and tanks. The ongoing costs are likely to be less too as there are fewer parts to keep an eye on or to go wrong.

Double glazing for your home is great ideas

There are so many reasons to get double glazing: the improvement in energy efficiency, the better looking home, the lowered maintenance and improved home value. But some homeowners are still a little reluctant to take the plunge and invest in double glazing perhaps because of the myths that they may have heard. If you have been put off buying double glazing, take a look at the following and see if we can put your mind at rest.

 

You need planning permission

The only time you will need to get planning permission for double glazing is if your home is listed or you live in a conservation area. In this case you should speak to planning officers, but an actual planning application may still not be necessary. You should also speak to the leaseholder if you live in a flat.

 

White UPVC windows go yellow eventually

The new style of UPVC windows use much better technology than the older ones and therefore are designed to retain their colour. This high quality material will stay white (as long as you keep them clean!)

 

Double glazed windows are more easily broken into

Some double glazed units are built with the beading on the outside allowing would-be burglars to pop out the window and enter your home. All you need to do to avoid this is to choose windows that have indoor beading. Most modern windows are built this way now.

 

Secondary glazing is just as good

Studies have shown that secondary glazing is not as efficient as double glazing. It will work to keep your home warmer but is prone to condensation and other issues.

 

It is impossible to find decent double glazed sash windows

These days there are specialist manufacturers who are making excellent double glazed sash window units. These look almost the same as the real thing and will allow you to keep your Victorian or Georgian home toasty warm. You may pay a little more, but they are worth it.

 

Double glazing windows will just condensate

You can expect to get condensation on most windows in the winter time but with double glazed units there is often a trickle vent included and this allows a small amount of air to enter reducing condensation to almost none. You may eventually find condensation inside the window between the panes. This is easily fixed by replacing the window pane. This only happens after many years.

As you can see there are a number of misconceptions going around when it comes to double glazing. But most of them really are nothing to worry about. If you have any further concerns just talk to a double glazing expert and they will be able to set you straight.

The reason of home improvements can be so expensive

But they are much cheaper than moving house. With estate agents charging anywhere from 1% to 5% of the sale price of your home and stamp duty a huge chunk of money, the cost of moving house can easily reach above £10,000. For that you can have a small house extension, a new kitchen and bathroom or a new conservatory or garden room. Even if you need to add to your mortgage, at today’s interest rates the cost is very low.

 

The planning process is so long

But planning permission is not always needed. In the vast majority of cases you won’t need to apply for planning permission at all. As long as your extension, loft conversion or conservatory is within permitted development for your area then you can carry on without telling anyone (except for building control). The rules may be different if your home is listed or in a conservation area so always do your homework, but for that extra space you need the process could be very simple. If you do need planning most councils will approve within 12 weeks, so not a huge amount of time to wait.

 

There are so many cowboy builders out there

But there are many who are not. Don’t be frightened by the stories you see on TV – most builders are doing good work and have excellent reputations. It is up to you to take the right steps to find the right builder for your job. That means taking the quotation stage seriously and doing your homework on the builder – including visiting their clients and following up recommendations. If possible talk to neighbours and friends who have had work done to find out who they used.

 

Building work takes so long and is really messy

But a good builder will minimise this for you. The building process can be time consuming if it is done correctly, so be reassured that no shortcuts are taken if it seems to be going on longer than you thought. Also, get a timetable from your builder of how long they expect it to last. They should also be able to tell you to what extent you will be affected in terms of mess and access to your kitchen, bathroom and if electricity or water will be turned off. If you know in advance, it is much easier to deal with.

Consultation Scheme

The vast majority of conservatories and small extensions built these days will not require planning permission due to the permitted development rules. However those that are larger than average will need to go through the planning permission process. To give a little more breathing space to builders and homeowners the government has introduced the Neighbour Consultation Scheme in a bid to allow larger extensions without the need for planning.

The Neighbour Consultation Scheme was introduced as a sort of interim measure for rear extensions to be built that are larger than those currently allowed under permitted development, but without homeowners needing to get full planning permission. It is in place for a period of six years only from 2013 and work must be completed by 30 May 2019.

Size restrictions

The current permitted development rules state that rear extensions can be up to 4m – but these new rules have doubled that to 8m for detached houses and from 3 to 6m for terraces and semi detached buildings. Obviously this applies to homes where no extensions have previously been built.

The maximum height is 4m and maximum eaves height must be a maximum of 3m if the construction is within 2m of the property boundary.

Other restrictions

There are already a number of restrictions in place under permitted development and your extension will need to comply with those too.

  • Your extension cannot cover more than half the land surrounding the house when it was built. Remember that this includes any extensions or additions added since it was built
  • The materials used should be similar to those used in the existing house – or in the case of conservatories, it should be sympathetic
  • No verandas, platforms or balconies are allowed – you will need separate planning permission for these
  • No chimneys, flues soil pipes or antennae are allowed on the building
  • Your home should not be in a conservation area or be listed – these homes will need planning permission

The Neighbour Consultation Scheme Process

If you choose to have one of these larger than average extensions built and you want to avoid full planning permission, you must follow the recommendations regarding neighbour consultation. This process is quite detailed but is less onerous than the planning process which can be lengthy and expensive.