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A quarter of home owners have put improvements on hold

Created: 09/08/2016

It’s been a month since we reported on how Brexit has affected London’s property market when the news of leaving the EU broke, but now research has revealed that a quarter of home owners have put improvements on hold due to the result.

“Has the recent Brexit vote and market uncertainty made you less likely to do any home improvements this summer?” was asked in a survey of 1,009 UK home owners over the age of 18 by kitchen workshop specialists Mayfair Granite.

There were some interesting answers, with 71% saying the vote hadn’t put them off, but a large majority would only consider emergency DIY and improvements to their home if necessary, such as electrical issues and minor plastering or decorating work.  

As many homeowners continue to seek handyman services in London for minor and major home renovation work despite the Brexit vote, it seems that DIY projects are still at the top of household lists. 

The home owners who had answered the previous question were also asked why they were holding off doing home improvements, with many replying with: “The lower pound causing prices to go up, job insecurity, housing market uncertainty and thinking of relocating outside of the UK.”

Speaking to the Property Report, Neil Beard from Mayfair Granite commented on the survey results, saying: “This survey shows that the Brexit vote has affected all parts of society with many wondering what this decision means for the future of the housing market, money markets and job markets.”

Neil added: “It’s interesting to see that 10% of those polled were thinking of relocating outside of the UK; whether this is a knee jerk response to the vote or not, it just shows the uncertainty that we are all experiencing right now.”



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Renovation work on Kensington Palace apartments is complete

Created: 21/07/2016

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge alongside Prince Harry have completed renovations at Kensington Palace Apartments, the former residence of Princess Diana and the childhood family home for the two brothers.

Renovation work took two years to complete with amendments to the layout of the apartments so that the young trio can have a permanent and professional nerve centre for their charitable and business operations. As they have expanded the size of rooms, this will make way for employing more staff as the trio are set to take on more of the Queen’s official charitable duties.

The trio, especially the brothers, wanted to keep the memory of Diana alive within Kensington Palace walls when planning the renovation work, as the princess was an advocate for charities with projects covering the globe.

There are two new reception rooms, which were once the TV room and drawing room overlooking the rose garden, and these will now be used for meetings and also to entertain guests. The suite that the three had chosen to reserve for their formal business duties is one of many luxurious suites that contain an extravagant fireplace and a polished wooden floor.

Kensington Palace has been the residence of the Royal family since 1689 when King William III and Queen Mary II bought Nottingham House for £22,000. Subsequently, Christopher Wren, who was also the architect behind the design of St Paul’s Cathedral, remodelled the premises into a palace.

As Prince George starts school in 2017, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be looking to make Kensington Palace their full-time home after spending £4.5 million on the renovation work with help from local handyman services. The royal couple and their family will be moving into the palace after spending the past three years at Anmer Hall, hidden in the countryside of Sandringham Estate.  

Image Credit: Carfax2 (Wikimedia Commons)



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The latest DIY tools and gadgets to make your project easier

Created: 14/07/2016

There is nothing better than making something that seems tricky a lot easier and, unless you have the help of local handyman services, having the right tools for the trade is one way to make your home design project a lot easier. With a wide range of products on the market, we take a look at the latest DIY tools and gadgets on the shelves this year.

 

Bosch Cordless Multi-Sander

 

Bosch tools

 

Whether you need to sand down the garden furniture for your summer events or want to spruce up your interior wooden doors, the Bosch cordless multi-sander is a light-weight tool for sanding with minimal effort. It’s easy to handle and is great for smaller surfaces, and with its precise handling features it’s also great for difficult-to-reach areas such as curves in patterned wood. With a changeable battery and a 1 hour charger, you won’t have to wait around for long to get your DIY project complete.

Price: £49.99 from Bosch

 

 

Black and Decker Gyro Driver

 

Image credit: Nikola Smolenski (Wikimedia Commons)

 

No DIY toolbox is complete without a cordless, electronic screwdriver, and the Black and Decker Gyro Driver is the perfect fit. The world’s first motion-activated screwdriver lets you insert and replace screws with such minimal effort you won’t ever want to change back to a manual! The Gyro Driver uses motion technology to pick up movements in your wrist to control the motor’s direction and speed. This DIY tool is a fantastic gadget.

Price: £20 from B&Q

 

 

Ryobi Laser level

For those who like to make no mistake when aligning skirting boards or bathroom tiles, the Ryobi Phone Works Laser Level is a great investment to add to your DIY tool collection. Unlike the spirit level that is more commonly used, the laser level enables for a permanent line to work with. The spirit level also requires more hands if working with multiple materials, making the laser level much less fiddly.

The Ryobi Laser is specially designed for turning your smartphone into a cross hair laser level and comes with a phone mount clip for a steady and precise line. Compatible for both Android and iOS devices, what better DIY gadget could you ask for?

Price: £50 from B&Q

 

 

irobot vacuum cleaner

 

iRobot

Image Credit: Karlis Dambrans (Wikimedia Commons)

 

After completing all the hard work of your DIY project, the last thing you want to do is have to tidy up the bits and pieces left on the floor. Luckily there are now some smart vacuum cleaners on the market that will do the more tedious jobs for you, just like the iRobot Vacuum Cleaner. The clever robotic technology allows for a high-efficiency cleaning system and maps the environment around it so it doesn’t lose track of where it is or where it has been. The best feature, though, is the automatic suction power increase for where it is needed most.

Available from irobot.co.uk



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How Brexit has affected London’s property market

Created: 06/07/2016

The end of June 2016 was a historic time in British history and saw British citizens make the decisive vote to leave the E.U. Amongst many other areas that will change the lives of many, London’s property market will become a hive of interest for investors both in the UK and abroad. But what will this mean for future property owners and those already living in the capital?

Nearing the day of the Brexit result, Foxtons Estate Agents, who focus on London’s property market, told This Is Money: “The run up to the EU referendum led to significant uncertainty across London residential markets and the decision the leave Europe is expected to prolong that uncertainty.

“While it is too early to accurately predict how the London property sales market will respond, the upturn we were expecting during the second half of the year is now unlikely to materialise.”

Figures from the Bank of England showed that more property owners were securing mortgages for house purchases leading up to Brexit. Where 66,205 applied in April for mortgage approval, in May there were 67,402 people in the same position.

Although there is still a long wait ahead for estate agents and investors interested in London’s property market, there won’t be a definitive answer to how Brexit will affect the industry, as Nationwide’s chief economist, Robert Gardener, explains: “Ultimately conditions in the housing market will be determined by conditions in the wider economy, especially the labour market. It is too early to assess the impact of the referendum vote on the economy.”

Estate agents have highlighted that prospective buyers and sellers will certainly be hesitant to take any action until the economy sees real trends following Britain’s decision to leave. However, this will give property owners the time to source handyman services in London to complete their home renovation plans. 



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Updating the garden for summer

Created: 14/06/2016

The garden is the ultimate space for entertaining family and friends in the summer months and updating the area can add a dash of warmth and sophistication regardless of the size of the space. Whether you are looking for fresh, new ideas to update the garden for summer, or your wooden fencing needs a little TLC to make it stand out in the sun, here at Handywork Solutions we have everything you need to make preparing your garden for the summer simple and easy.

 

Fencing

updating the garden for summer

Whether you are refreshing the look of your current fencing or want to spruce up new panels, there are some really easy-to-use products and paints to update your fencing. There are many colours and types of paints to choose from, and many are specially designed to be long-lasting, durable and weather resistant.

It is best to paint your fence in the summer months so it will dry quickly and, of course, look at its best for when you’re entertaining your guests with a BBQ. Use an undercoat or primer before coating with your chosen paint as it will increase the life-span further. Or if you would prefer to sit back, relax and enjoy your newly transformed garden even more, get a helping hand from a London handyman service.  

 

Plants

updating the garden for the summer

Creating a border of colourful plants alongside your newly painted fencing is a great way to set off any garden party. If you have a slightly smaller garden, spread plants sporadically to create the illusion of space, trying to avoid using bushes and tall trees.

Layering plants around the borders by planting the smallest at the front, such as pansies, and slightly taller ones to the back, such as lupines, adds depth to your garden space. Look to include brightly coloured plants to attract bees, birds and other insects to create a world of activity when you aren’t occupying the garden space.

 

Furniture

update the garden for the summer

Image Credit: Wicker Paradise (flickr.com)

One of the most important parts of updating any living space is the furniture. There are so many options to consider when looking for the right pieces for you and bear in mind the theme or style that you want to convey, as well as the practicality and comfort level.

Rattan furniture, such as that from London Rattan, is a great option to consider for your garden. The woven pieces are often found in seaside surroundings and patios, so adding them to your outdoor space will give an instant feel of relaxation and luxury. For ultimate beach vibes, choose a white/cream pillow to contrast with the natural colour of the woven rattan.

Other options include gas-powered heaters for cooler evenings or hammocks to truly enjoy the feeling of relaxation. But whatever you decide to purchase, make sure it does the job for your individual wants and needs!

 

Lighting

updating the garden for the summer

Outdoor lighting can make a huge impact when updating your garden for the summer, creating an elegant exterior that you won’t want to leave.

Natural lighting in the form of garden torches look elegant in any surrounding space. They are available in many hardware shops and there are citronella options to repel insects that are prone to joining the party during the evening. Other examples include solar-powered fairy lighting to place around the fencing or a patio fire pit, such as those from Kadai which add warmth and rusticity to any party.



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Charles Dickens fans protest against home development

Created: 13/06/2016

Fans of one of the world’s most famous writers, Charles Dickens, want to block plans that could see development work take place next to his former home in London.

The Charles Dickens Museum in Holborn, central London, is likely to be affected by building work that is proposed for the property next door. Employees at the museum fear that the building is at risk of damage and now admirers and fans from the Dickens Fellowship are documenting their pledges to have the planning permission overturned.

Information from the Camden New Journal outlined the designs for the listed five-bedroom home next door that include expanding the basement below the back garden. 

Speaking to the Telegraph, Dr Tony Williams, the Fellowship’s president, said that the plans for the rear of the neighbouring house “will strike members very closely since many of them individually and collectively as branches contributed sums to the improvement and maintenance of the garden space.”

The plan to extend the neighbouring property puts pressure on the museum to perform to its high standards, attracting visitors from across the world, including New Zealand, Japan and North America.

Museum volunteer John Gardener told the Camden New Journal: "This is a living room where the Dickens family would spend time and the study where Dickens wrote Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby and which would be relatively well lit especially in the mornings.

"These rooms are now becoming increasingly hemmed in by the proposed extension and a small part of the original character is further eroded."

The Charles Dickens Museum was established in 1925 after the property was saved from demolition. But now those not in favour of the developments fear that further excavation work could lead to structural damage to the museum, and Dickens’ last surviving London residence.

If you are looking to extend your property through a conservatory, patio or extension, or have had planning permission approved by your local council, professional handyman services in London are on hand for affordable advice and property updates.

Image Credit: Dickens Museum (Wikimedia Commons)



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DIY project spending at seven-year high

Created: 02/06/2016

Spending on DIY projects has hit a seven-year high since 2008 according to figures released by Lloyds Bank.

Spending on household improvements increased by 13 per cent to £5.8bn last year, equivalent to £210 per household, and has mostly been spent on DIY tools such as electrical equipment, plumbing tools and lawnmowers. This resulted in a five per cent advancement from £4.8bn in 2014 to £5.1bn in 2015.

Speaking to Property Reporter, Lloyds Bank Mortgage Products Director Andrew Mason commented: “Taking a DIY approach to home improvements helps cut costs and provides homeowners with the opportunity to put their own distinctive stamp on their property. Although we’re not quite back to the spending heights of about a decade ago, these latest figures do show sustained growth in home improvement spending over the past seven years. This indicates a growing confidence in the housing market and wider economy, in stark contrast to the sharp fall in spending between 2007 and 2011, which reflected the worst of the economic and housing downturns during this period.”

In turn, the last ten years have demonstrated a link between the development of DIY projects and the performance of the housing market and prices of properties across the country. During the regained strength of house prices between 2011 and 2015, spending on DIY increased by 18 per cent.

Total spending on home maintenance, improvements and repair increased by 0.3 per cent to £7.38bn in 2015 from £7.36bn in 2014.

Other areas of expenditure on DIY projects and maintenance included materials, handyman services, tools and machinery.

The figures follow the news that people are starting to purchase property in need of renovation, rather than spending their cash on either pre-loved properties or new builds, with the most common areas of the home for improvement being the kitchen, bathroom and carpets throughout. 



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DIY boss transforms employee's family home

Created: 18/05/2016

A DIY boss and a team of 50 builders secretly transformed an employee’s home after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

 

When Keith Ellick was diagnosed, his boss Addam Smith wanted to do something to lift his spirits, so he rounded up plumbers, builders, gardeners and local handyman services to help construct Keith’s dream home.

 

Mr Smith made a Facebook page calling for tradesmen from up and down the country to give a helping hand to achieve something memorable for Keith ready for when he returned from a family chalet holiday.

 

His boss gave up days off and evenings to redecorate and transform Keith’s house into a home, installing new flooring, a new kitchen and a bathroom. He also managed to decorate the lounge and landscape the back garden of the terraced house.

 

When Mr Ellick returned from his family holiday he was stunned by the transformation. Talking to the Daily Mail, he said: “The house looked like a show home inside. I can’t thank Addam and everybody else enough. We are truly humbled by what they have done for us.”

 

Addam, who runs his own landscaping business, was said to be devastated after learning of Keith’s cancer diagnosis and of his employee’s concerns about his family’s future once he passed away. As for this, Addam wanted to do something that would set his family up for the future.

 

Addam Smith commented: “One of the first things he said was, ‘I haven’t even got enough money for a funeral’. He wasn’t worried about himself, he was worried about his family.”

 

Mr Smith spent weeks compiling a list of sources who could provide free materials for the DIY cause, contacting local companies before conducting the transformation over the Easter break.

 

A funding page set up by Addam has now raised more than £29,000, with the aim of reaching £100,000 to help the family buy their council-owned home outright. 

 



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Creative decorating ideas for your interior walls

Created: 13/05/2016

The way in which you choose to decorate your interior walls can reflect your personality, as an individual and also a family. Taking the time to research and find creative décor ideas can add character to the home whilst making the decorating process fun and enjoyable. Here at Handywork Solutions, we have some great tips on how you can create unique and intriguing wall décor designs worth every penny.

 

Blackboard Paint

 

Blackboard Paint

 

Image Credit: Smarter Surfaces  

 

Decorating ideas such as blackboard paint bring a fun and playful environment into any home, both for the kids and the adults. Blackboard paint such as that from Smarter Surfaces allows you to create a blackboard area with a durable matt black finish on any wall. It can be applied to any smooth non-porous surface, including drywall, wood, plaster and metal, and has no smell or fumes.

 

Barbara Piatkowska, project manager at Smarter Surfaces, explains: “Blackboard paint is a fun and easy way to create spaces for noticeboards, calendars, menus and much more. Hard-wearing and easy to clean, simply paint on, wait for four hours, rub all over with a piece of chalk and start using your blackboard surface.”

 

Old Book pages

 

creative decorating ideas

 

Many turn to symmetrical and colourful wallpaper when it comes to refreshing outdated wall décor. However, with this unique and somewhat educated idea, you won’t feel the need to redecorate again for years to come. Using old book pages from copies of your favourite novels, fiction writing and dictionary descriptions can open up a whole world of exciting interior wall decorating ideas. So go and get creative with memorable childhood favourites or classic poems!

 

Metallic Wallpaper 

 

magnetic wallpaper

 

Image Credit: Rockett St George

 

For something a little more eye-popping yet sophisticated, this black metallic marble wallpaper from Rockett St George is a great alternative to one statment colour or print!

 

Co-founder and Director at Rockett St George, Jane Rockett, explains: “It is a really exciting time for wallpaper, never has there been such a diverse selection of beautiful designs bringing what is sometimes seen as a dated decorating tool to the forefront of interior design.”

 

Jane added: "Our particular favourites right now is the dazzling Black Metallic Marble with intricate shimmering gold veins. It's so luxurious yet very glam rock - it has such a unique wow factor! We are also loving the Black Burnt Wood style. We've used this in our SS16 catalogue as it's the perfect backdrop for framing all your furniture, everything becomes so striking."

 

Natural cork tiles

 

natural cork tiles

 

If you are looking to introduce a natural feel into your home, natural cork tiles could be the wall decorating idea for you. Sometimes oak and timber panelling and framing can be quite expensive, but using cork tiles is an engaging and slightly cheaper alternative to the more common backdrop. Siesta Cork has a wide range of colours, textures and marbling effects when it comes to cork tiles, both for walls and floors.

 

Mirrors

 

 

Decorative mirrors can add wonders to any wall space, creating the illusion of space and light. If you are looking for something to add to a blank white or neutral wall, but don’t want the fuss of painting and decorating, then having the help of a local handyman service to hang large mirrors professionally and safely is a creative idea to consider.

 

 

 

 



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Homeowners in London spend up to £50K on home improvements

Created: 09/05/2016

According to building society Nationwide, those living in London are more than likely to spend up to £50,000 on home improvements, unlike those in the north of the country, who would take out half of that to update and enhance their living space.

The research also found that those living in the surrounding area of the South East of England would splash out £32,900 for their projects and those in East Anglia would spend £28,000 on average.

Adding to the eye-watering figures, on average, those who are borrowing money for home improvements in London borrow 10.7 per cent of the overall cost of the actual property. However, those in locations such as in Yorkshire, who are spending £24,000 on their home improvement projects, are seeking a further advance of 16.6 per cent of their property value.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, Nationwide’s head of policy for mortgages and savings, said: “Improving rather than moving for many may be the most effective way for people to cater for their changing needs at different stages of their lives.”

Other banks such as Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks found that one in five homeowners would rather make suitable changes to their property than move to a different location.

Steve Fletcher, head of customer banking networks at Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, commented: “This time of year is traditionally synonymous with spring cleaning and DIY and many homeowners also find it a popular time of year to make decisions about whether to move or improve.”

For those looking to update their homes in and around the South East should seek the professional help of handyman services in London who are able to give you an affordable hand with any decorating, plumbing and carpentry work. 



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