Month: October 2018

Roofing – Why It Makes A Difference

We have been focusing recently on how to improve the external look of your home. Today, we are focusing on something that will certainly improve the exterior of your property but it will also make a significant difference to the inside of your home too. We are going to be talking about the importance of a decent roof.

Considering a new roof is probably not the most exciting prospect in the world and depending on the age of your home it may be something that is not required. However, if your home is over 30 years old and it has never had so much as a tile replaced it may be a good idea to at least get someone in to take a look. We recently asked a trusted roofer in Liverpool to take a look at one of the properties we manage in the city and what we were told was staggering. There were actually 3 small leaks that we didn’t know about and the house was so poorly insulated it was costing us in excess of £300 in energy costs each and every year.

So, we got to thinking about the benefits of a new roof and this is what we found:

Energy Savings

As we have already stated, the energy savings can be astronomical when you add them up over the years. Even a modest £100 saving a year over 10 years adds up to £1000 and when you consider a new roof will probably cost you anywhere between £3000 and £5000 it is not a bad investment to make. The likelihood is that you will save much more than £100 each year if you have a roof that is 40 years old or more so it could almost pay for itself.

Opportunity For Solar

You may even be able to get money back if you invest in solar panels at the same time as having your roof updated. It does not make sense to add solar panels to an old roof but a new roof is perfect for adding these energy generating panels to. You could find all your electricity costs covered by a few solar panels and depending on how many people are living in your home you may even be able to sell some of your surplus energy back to the energy company as part of a feed in tariff.

Adding Space

If you have considered a loft conversion to either add space or value to your home (and it is great for both) then considering doing this as part of re-roof could be a good idea. By going further than simply re-tiling or re-slating your roof you could increase the height or the pitch of the roof to add more space. You may even want to add a dormer window at the same time. Over time, a re-roof and loft conversion will probably end up costing you nothing as the re-sale value will pay for itself.

Improving The Appearance

You have probably noticed some of your neighbours have lovely new roofs if you live in a street that has older houses. You will also have noticed the significant impact this has on the overall look of the house. A new roof will not only keep you dry and well insulated, it will also add heaps of kerb appeal to your home and help you to keep up with the Jones’.

How Block Paving Can Add Real Style To Your Home

When it comes to adding real style to your home there are many options. You could almost spend an unlimited amount of money on keeping your house up with modern styles so when an opportunity comes along for a style that is almost timeless, it is perhaps something that has to be considered.

Today we are looking at a type of home renovation that has been around since the 1970’s at least but it is one that has stood the test of time. Whilst fashions have changed a little over the decades, even older versions of this kind of home decor still look the part today – so long as they have been well maintained.

We are of course talking about block paving driveways. From as little as a few thousand pounds you can transform the entire frontage of your humble abode to scream sophistication and ooze style – just thanks to a few neatly positioned paving stones.

Times have moved on from the 1970’s and 1980’s though as there are now much more elaborate designs and styles that can be used. Indeed, entrance patters (as they are known in the trade) are all the rage and mean you can add pretty images, icons or even letters in to the pattern of your driveway using different coloured bricks. We might urge caution when using letters such as your own initials as this could be problematic should you wish to sell the property – but a pattern certainly adds something a little different.

You may have heard of problems when using block paving that arise from weeds growing between the stones, but if you keep it well sanded and use appropriate bonding materials to keep it well maintained then you can enjoy a driveway that will stand the test of time for years and years – most likely decades.

Why Invest In A Driveway?

You may think that spending a lot of money on a new driveway is a cost you could well do without – and while it is true that there are probably a million and one other things you could spend your money on, it is also a wise investment.

Housebeautiful.com have reported that adding kerb appeal to your property can increase the value of your home by up to £55,000! That is astonishing and whilst a driveway alone may not add that much value it will certainly go some way to generating more interest in your home should you wish to sell.

If you have a large grassy area that looks unkempt or your have a tired old tarmac driveway that could do with some TLC then it could be the perfect investment. You may well find that choosing a block paving driveway will also save you time as it will be time saved on weeding the flower bed or mowing the grass. Opting for low maintenance borders with bark or decorative stones is a great way to save time on the upkeep on the front of your house. You can even use block paving in the rear garden to create a lovely patio area and if you have a path joining why not give a great flow from front to back by using it for your path too.

We think that investing in your drive is a great way to add value to your home and improve that kerbside appeal.

Creating Mood With Lighting

lighting

When it comes to creating mood or atmosphere in our home and garden there is nothing quite so effective as lighting. Choosing the right lighting design for your home is crucial to creating zones that feel how you want them to.

You may have rooms that you like to have a certain feel such as a cosy wintry room or you may have rooms that you want to feel a little bit lighter for those summer months or for entertaining. Whether you choose to have lighting effects that can be changed with your mood is one option if you are undecided and that can be achieved simply through the use of colour or soft vs harsh lighting.

Adding A Splash Of Colour

Whether you want to add a splash of colour to your lighting will largely depend on your decor but if you have quite plain neutral tones within your paintwork then adding colour to your lights can really liven up a space. It can also have the opposite effect depending on which colour you choose and what you want impact you want to achieve.

Adding blues will naturally make a room feel colder whereas reds and oranges can create a lovely glow in winter months. If you have rooms that you use at certain times of the year then you can go all out on your colours whereas if your rooms are used all year round you may want to choose colour changing bulbs so you can create different moods for the various seasons.Colour changing bulbs and lighting fixtures can be purchased from online lighting shops or showrooms.

Uplighting

If you are looking for something a little more dramatic then up-lighting can have a huge impact. Up-lighting is particularly spectacular when used outdoors but it can also be used indoors when applied in right manner. If you have a large space and want to light a piece of artwork or perhaps a large statue or ornament then an upward facing light can really have an impact.

This type of lighting should not be overused and if using indoors it is best used in larger spaces.

Table & Free Standing Lighting

To add warm hues and glows to those winter months, table and free standing lamps are particularly effective. They almost blend in to the decor in the summer months but they spring to life on those darker nights and can even start to take centre stage.

Again, colour changing bulbs can be used to create different feelings and shades and bulb types can really create different moods. Try vintage bulbs with warm yellowish glows to create warm winter effects and direct the light in to less intrusive areas with well positioned shades.

No matter what mood you are trying to achieve there are a range of products out there to help you when it comes to lighting – and without doubt, lighting is something you need to consider when looking at the decor within your home.

Garden Makeover Tips

It is getting to that time of the year when we start to spend more time indoors than out, but that doesn’t mean we have to neglect our outdoor spaces such as the garden. In fact, the garden can be fabulous in Autumn and even Winter with the right amount of tender loving care.

The garden can be enjoyed all year round and we hope that these garden make over tips will help you to enjoy it in all seasons.

The autumn and winter months are ideal to prepare for a stunning Spring garden so make sure you don’t hibernate during these months.

Out with the old and in with the new

Autumn can feel like a difficult few months in the garden with what feels like a never ending supply of leaves falling from the trees and plants in the garden. Even if you don’t have any large trees of your own you will find lots of brown stuff floating in to your garden.

It is best to keep on top of this as much as possible and use as much as you can for mulching purposes.

While clearing away, start to think about what you are going to add to your garden or what you want to be flowering in Spring as this will help keep you motivated.

Tree maintenance

Autumn is the perfect time of year to carry out a little tree maintenance. Trimming trees back for the winter – especially evergreens such as conifers. They will have grown so much over the summer but you may not realise quite how much as the process is gradual. Trimming back for the winter is perfect as there will be little growth between now and mid-Spring.

If you can’t do this yourself then find a local tree surgeon to help with the bigger tasks and if you need a tree felling it has to be a job for the professionals.

Winter bedding plants

Winter bedding plants such as pansies are the perfect thing to consider as the nights draw in. The garden can look beautiful as the colours fade from lush greens to golds and browns but a splash of colour can really liven up the garden and give it a second lease of life.

Deep blues and purples work well and darker reds will complement the golden hues perfectly.

Adding the nutrients back

The summer will have taken a lot out of the garden and it could be telling in its appearance. Whether the garden looks tired or not there will be a huge need for replenishing the nutrients in the ground. The grass will be in need of regular feeding and your flower beds will also need some TLC.

If you have a vegetable patch then think about your crop rotation and be sure to add nutrient rich compost to your beds to allow them to replenish and be ready to go again for when you are ready to sow.

Above all, don’t hibernate through the winter and ignore your garden. Get out, enjoy it, drink hot drinks and spend time preparing for the better months ahead.

New Builds Vs. Traditional Home Building Styles

new build property in solihull

When it comes to finding a home you are looking for more than just a house. It is a place to eat, sleep, love, entertain, relax and so much more. It is a place where you will create memories and reminisce over existing ones. It is for this very reason that when you choose a new house to buy you need to ensure it has the ability to be a home for you.

What is right in a home for one person may not be the right fit for someone else and of course the needs of the entire family also have to be considered.

We often hear the question being asked about whether a new build is better than a traditional pre-existing property and this is a very difficult question to answer. Some people love the blank canvas of a new build whereas others love the character of an older house.

For first time buyers, new builds can be a good step on to the property ladder thanks to some excellent offers that help with deposits – but is this really worth it if the house isn’t right for you – the short answer is no – although there are too many variables to consider to give an absolutely true answer.

Let’s take a look at some of the styles of properties and how you can add your own styles to them:

New Build Styles

New builds are typically built on smaller plots than older houses as developers look to maximise the land they are building on. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t spacious, it just means that the overall plot will typically be smaller. If you dream of a huge garden then you are much more likely to find this in a more traditional property – however, corner plots on new builds may have larger gardens than the standard.

New build properties typically get bought from plan. The initial 50-75% of new builds certainly do. This means you either need to get in early to really maximise your options or you can employ your own new home builder.

When going through the purchasing stage you can ask for pretty much anything you want in terms of final decor – from tiles, carpets, cupboard types, windows etc. – you can really personalise your home and don’t need to be walking in to a magnolia spattered house when you move in.

Expect square-ish rooms, lower ceilings, en-suites and smaller than average gardens from your new build. We looked at new builds in Solihull and the majority fit this criteria.

Traditional Styles

Older homes will already have gone through almost every fashion cycle you can imagine and if they have been around for more than 50 years then you they have even survived the 1970’s and come out the other side unscathed. Anything goes with an older house in terms of decor and style so don’t be too put off by the appearance of a home when you first view it. The chances are that when you buy an older home there are going to be numerous aspects of it that don’t sit well with your own style. This is fine as you can really make the home how you want it when it comes to decoration and maybe even some light structural work.

Traditional homes will have more scope for extensions – with loft conversions being one of the best options in terms of value and space.

Gardens are typically bigger, as are room sizes. But beware extra expenses such as re-wiring, central heating and planning permission for extensions.

No matter your personal style preferences, you should be able to make a new build or a traditional house work for you.

 

Skirting Board Styles in 2018

skirting boards

As the sun starts to set on 2018 we take a look at the hottest new trends in home decor and more specifically skirting board styles. The topic of skirting boards may not seem a particularly glamorous one but it is one of those underrated pieces of home decoration that really makes a huge impact on the finished look of a newly decorated home.

In fact, many people disregard the skirting altogether and whilst you can get away with a new lick of paint if skirting is in decent condition, to ensure your home flooring truly complements the rest of the decoration you should consider a suitable skirting board replacement to match.

Ogee Ogee Ogee

No, we are not bringing back the old school playground chant, instead we are of course talking about Ogee Skirting. This style of skirting board has become a household favourite in 2018 and that is perhaps in no small part down to its versatility and timeless design.

Generally speaking, Ogee skirting board will have a flat bottom with an indent and then a curved top. This can be used to good effect on traditional and contemporary projects and is available in MDF and Oak skirting board styles.

Traditional Oak

The traditional looking oak skirting has made a comeback in 2018 and is often used on newer buildings as well as older dwellings. You may have seen an upsurge in wooden window frames and natural wooden coloured doors and frames on properties – using a matching oak skirting board is the perfect match for this style of home decor.

Chamfered Still Rocking It

Perhaps one of the most widely known and used styles of skirting board is the round chamfered skirting. This is still very much a big player in modern home decor in 2018 and will probably never go out of fashion. The biggest reason for this is its understated profile – meaning it gives a good finish without trying to steal the limelight from the rest of the space.

Chamfered rounded skirting is perfect for smaller spaces – particularly those with low ceilings and narrow widths.

The Future Of Skirting

Skirting remains one of the best ways to finish a home decoration project. Not only does it look great but if you plan your project well then you can save lots of time during the actual decoration stages. If you are painting or wallpapering and you have yet to put your skirting in place then you don’t have to spend painstaking hours finishing neat edges as the skirting will give you this.

It certainly doesn’t look like there will be a replacement for skirting any time soon and with more styles available than ever before it seems the market is waking up to power of skirting.

Top Skirting Tip: Our top skirting board tip is combined with one very specific type of flooring – real wood flooring or laminate. Often these styles of flooring require a special beading around the edges – these can look a little unsightly and also are not great at taking knocks and scrapes. Always put your flooring down prior to your skirting as you can then use the skirting to provide the perfect finish.

 

Autumn 2018 Styles

We moving rapidly in to Autumn as the final quarter of the year sets in and one thing that tends to remind us of is the need for change. Autumn is where the season starts to say ‘out with the old’ and although Autumn (and even Winter) don’t exactly scream ‘in with the new’ it is the perfect time to update the decor in the home and garden.

Rich golds and reds are found on the leaves of trees and shrubs all around us at this time of year and for Autumn 2018 we want to see a celebration of the year so far. Using reds and golden colours throughout your internal decor can really help to add some warmth to a home as those nights start to draw in and temperatures begin to drop.

Oversized rugs with deep piles are also a great idea at this time of year as we look to settle in to our nooks rather than spending quite so much time outdoors.

For those who want to extend the outdoor season for as long as possible lighting can be used effectively – again with warm glowing colours – to add that feeling of warmth to the garden. Patio heaters and chimeneas are all the rage and this is the perfect time to use them to extend the day into the early evening.

The golds and reds can be used in the garden too as well as reflective mirrored outdoor ornaments to make the most of the low lying sunshine.

Inside, try using low wattage lighting or vintage effect bulbs to create warm glows and candles can also really help to create a feeling of warmth on those colder evenings.

Dried flowers and herbs can help to extend that summer feeling if you are that way inclined and can also help to bring colour in to the home without the major expense of redecoration.

Look out for more of our 2018 home decor tips over the coming weeks.