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How to get your guest room ready for Christmas

Created: 14/10/2016

Christmas is fast approaching; mince pies are in the stores, people are buying their presents, but your guestroom is still nowhere near inhabitable for the influx of family and friends that are coming to visit.

Fear not, with our top advice and with a little bit of help from some handyman services, you’re guest room will no longer be confined as a storage locker for last year’s unwanted gifts. 

The bed

A bad nights sleep can ruin a trip, so before having guests stay in your spare room its worth revisiting the bed. Perhaps it has the mattress that has been rejected by you and your partner and deemed inadequate by your kids, so do you think your guests are going to want to sleep on it?

If you don’t want to get a new mattress, why not just have a re-jiggle of the others in the house. You would rather that you or your kids put up with the unwanted mattress for a couple nights, than having disgruntled guests thinking poorly of their stay.

You should wash and change the sheets and bedding around a week before you are expecting visitors. The smell and the freshness makes the bed so much more welcoming and comfortable, the guests will feel like they are sleeping in a brand new bed.

Add extra blankets, pillows and perhaps a throw. It will give the guests a bit of freedom and make them feel like they can properly relax, rather than worry about whether the pillow is filled with feathers or is nylon.

Heating

 

A cold house is uncomfortable and not very welcoming for your guests. No matter how many blankets you put on their bed for the night, they will not enjoy the struggle of trying to escape the warm embrace of their duvet when the rest of the room is freezing cold in the morning.

Having a new boiler will not only take up less space than older models, they can add £5,000 to your property’s value.

It also saves the embarrassment of an in-law walking down to breakfast in the morning covered in shampoo to tell you the hot water has gone off.

Or you can replace the radiators, allowing you to choose your own personal style for the room.

Television

During the holidays, the TV is flooded with repeats and childhood classics for all ages, meaning it is often a nightmare deciding what to watch with your family.

Inevitably, everyone’s favourite re-run or Christmas related film is on at the same time, so why not put a spare in the guest room? It gives them the freedom that their own remote offers, while avoiding potential arguments. 

Brighten the room

A fresh lick of paint can utterly transform a room, and getting someone in to do the decorating relieves some of the stresses around an already frantic time of year.

Remember, you don’t need to paint the room just for your guests at Christmas, you can treat it as a test run. If you get plenty of compliments from them, great, leave it. If not, simply repaint again.

But you don’t have to commit to repainting the entire room to give it a face lift; new shelves, ornaments or flowers on the bedside table and tasteful Christmas decorations all give a bit of life to a room.

Clear some space

Clare, creator of Emmy’s Mummy and blogger of all things household to entertaining children, offered her top tip for making the most of your guest room this Christmas.

“My Tip is to make full use of any cupboards and to clear the room as much as possible for guests. The more that's put away, the more room they have and the less chance of something getting broken.”

You should be conscious of suitcases or big bags, so allow for enough floor space for one, especially if your guests are only staying for a couple of days and are therefore unlikely to unpack.

By simply moving a few things around, putting the bed into another part of the room and decluttering, you can make the room look twice as big. This is important. You do not want anyone feeling claustrophobic, this extra space coupled with a new bright coat of paint and a couple of mirrors will give the illusion of a much larger room.

Cater to their age

For younger guests, pack even more cushions, pillows, blankets and sheets into the room. Kids love building dens and getting creative, so why not store a few spares in the room to feed their imagination. 

Have a few magazines or games available, as something to do while they sit in their blanket castle.

For older guests, magazines and books can be left in the draws or on the bedside table, but why not add a few extra seating options?

It’s hard to sit and enjoy a book perched on the side of a bed, but an extra armchair in the corner facing the telly or window will offer another comfortable option.

Bathroom basics

Inevitably, one of your guests will forget a toothbrush or a towel, so make sure you have some spares in the room.

It can be as simple as a couple spare towels, some toothpaste and a comb. You don’t want your bathroom pillaged and find that on Boxing Day, you’re out of shampoo or shower gel.

Image Credit: Max Charping



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From the building site to the bright lights of professional football

Created: 26/09/2016

The 2015/16 Premier League season proved that anything can happen in football. Leicester City where crowned champions, and former non-league nobody Jamie Vardy was named joint top goal scorer.

In recent years, more and more non-league players are making their way into the professional game. Coming from all walks of life, many are having a huge impact on the modern game.

You will be surprised how many professional players were once offering handyman services or painting walls for a living before hitting the big time.

Charlie Austin – Bricklayer:

In October 2009, Charlie Austin signed a nine-month contract with Swindon Town aged just 20. Just weeks before, Austin was working as a bricklayer during the week and played for Poole Town on the weekends, scoring 48 times in 42 appearances.

Now, Austin is a household name playing with Southampton in the Premier League, with 193 career goals to his name.

Image credit: Brian Minkoff-London Pixels (Wikimedia Commons)

Stuart Pearce – Electrician:

Former Nottingham Forest and England legend, Pearce spent four years as an electrician in the early 1980s, whilst playing for non-league side Wealdstone.

‘Psycho’ has always been a supporter of the amateur football, and in 2016 teamed up with Fiat to launch the ‘Tradesman Trials’, which gave tradesmen the chance to win a one-month trial at a football league team of their choice.

Jimmy Bullard – Painter & Decorator:

Aged 20 and playing for Ebbsfleet Town, one of football’s funniest personalities was working as a painter and decorator with his dad, but it didn’t stop him taking the game seriously.

His dad would allow him the day off when he had a weekday game, allowing him the day to prepare like a professional for the match. This approach paid off, when in 1988, a West Ham scout spotted Bullard. In February of that year, Harry Redknapp offered him a contract with the club.

Image credit: Jon Candy (flickr.com)

Miroslav Klose – Builder:

One of the most decorated strikers in modern football, Klose is Germany’s and the FIFA World Cup’s all-time leading goal scorer.

But whilst playing for FC 08 Homburg, a fifth division side at the time, Klose worked as a builder and bricklayer when he was 20. Signing for Kaiserslautern as a 21 year old, Klose remained as a carpenter, as he felt it was important for his and his family to have a trade to fall back on.

Image credit: Sven Mandel / CC-BY-SA-4.0

Ian Wright – Plasterer:

Arsenal’s second highest goal scorer of all time with 104 goals, Ian Wright endured a tough time as a young man finding his path in the world.

Having endured unsuccessful trials with Southend and Brighton, Wright turned to non-league and amateur football in the 1980s, whilst earning his keep as a plasterer.

Despite a spell in prison and almost losing it all to drugs, Wright was offered a full-time contract by Crystal Palace manager Steve Coppell, exchanging a set of weights for his services with Greenwich Borough.

Image Credit: Ronnie Macdonald (flickr.com)



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Moving prices rise to over £30,000 for London homeowners

Created: 22/09/2016

London homeowners can expect to pay £31,416 on average to move home. The rise, up by £4,732 on last year, is thought to be caused by the sharp rise in property prices.

Across the UK, house prices have risen by an average of 8.5% in the last year. But in London, that figure rises to 14.5%.

Moving costs in the South East of England are the second highest in the country at £20,210, still £10,000 less than for properties in London. Over the last decade, these figures have been steadily rising, with the cost of moving in the capital having risen by 68%, (£12,680), which is taking up nearly 72% of average annual earnings.

Considering the escalating price in property prices and moving costs, homeowners could choose to invest their time and money elsewhere by spending the £30,000 average on home improvements. Though these improvements may seem daunting, a local South London handyman can help.

A new kitchen - Average cost: £8,000

Kitchens are the heart of the home and are becoming a living place as much as a place to cook. New appliances don’t just last longer, but they offer peace of mind, with dishwashers and washing machines coming with five- or ten-year warranties. A new kitchen can add 5.8% to the value of your property.

An extra bathroom - Average cost: £2,000-£6,000

Most homes have that one cloakroom cupboard, unused and undervalued. So why not reinvent this space into an extra bathroom? An extra bathroom adds an awful lot to the house, adding privacy and flexibility for yourself and guests.  An extra bathroom can add 5-6.1% to your property’s value.

Convert your garage - Average cost: £10,000

90% of British garages don’t contain a car, so why not convert this storage room into extra living space? Every man dreams of his own space, a man cave, a personal gym or a workshop, you can even convert the space into an extra bedroom or playroom for the kids. To figure out the added value to your house from converting your garage into living space, multiply square footage by local price per square foot.

Central heating – Average cost: £1,000-£3,000

No one likes holding their hand under the tap for an age, as it slowly numbs waiting for hot water. A new boiler provides more efficient hot water accessibility. New boilers also take up much less space than older ones, meaning you can free up space for storage. New central heating can add £5,000 to the property’s value. 



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‘Smart bricks’ to revolutionise the construction industry

Created: 06/09/2016

 

A team of scientists at the University of West England (UWE) in Bristol have partnered on a design led by Newcastle University called the European ‘Living Architecture’ (LIAR) project.

New ‘Smart Bricks’ are being tested and developed for the construction industry, which will be able to recycle wastewater and generate electricity from sunlight, creating a ‘bioreactor wall’ in buildings and homes.

The projects aim is to combine living architecture, computing and engineering to tackle the current global sustainability and climate change issues.

Speaking to Builder and Engineer, Professor Andrew Adamatzky, LIAR project director at UWE Bristol, commented: “The technologies we are developing aim to transform the places we work enabling us to co-live with the building.

“A building made from bio-reactors will become a large-scale living organism that addresses all environmental and energy needs of the occupants.”

The bricks will be filled with microbial cells and algae which will self-adapt and evolve to changing conditions in the environment and monitor the behaviour of air flow and the number of occupants in the building.

The cells, also known as Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) also contain unique organisms to facilitate clean water, produce electricity and accommodate suitable living and working conditions for the occupants within the building.

Andrew Adamatzky continues: “Walls in buildings comprised of smart brick containing bioreactors will integrate massive-parallel computing processors where millions of living creatures sense the occupants in the building and the internal and external needs of the occupants.

“Each smart brick is an electrical analogous computer. A building made of such bricks will be a massive-parallel computing processor.”

As the development of the building and construction industry expands and grows, scientists are always finding ways to make housing and offices more environmentally friendly and efficient. Those who are looking to champion a more eco-friendly living or working space with the use of modern technology should get the advice from a south east London handyman who can provide you with expert knowledge for a more up-to-date lifestyle. 



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The vintage decor revival

Created: 31/08/2016

When it comes to updating the interior of your home there are so many styles to consider. However, with the vintage décor revival now in its prime and 21st century variations of the traditional Tudor style being introduced into the industry, now is the best time to consider the versatile vintage style for your home interior.

 

Colour palette

vintage decor

Image Credit: Charlotte Holmes (flickr.com)

The stereotypical vintage colour palette has also had a 21st century renovation, with murky and monotonous colours being swapped for light ivories and whites for a fresh transformation of colour. However, you can easily combine these two contrasting colour palettes to make the perfect vintage décor design for any room in the house.

Statement walls are a modern decoration idea that can be interpreted with vintage patterns, so if you are want to use patterned vintage style paper on one wall and use a lighter paint on the rest, then you will be well on the way to accomplishing something refreshing and colourful in terms of traditional vintage design.

 

Furniture

vintage chairs

Since the start of the vintage décor revival, shops dedicated to the movement have been popping up all over the country, supplying vintage and second-hand furniture at very good prices. Shops such as Rose & Grey sell a wide range of furniture, home accessories and quirky products.

If you really want to achieve the vintage look and create space within the home whilst doing so, why not choose professional, reliable handyman services in London to incorporate a vintage-style built-in bookcase? Not only will it be the finishing touch when considering vintage furniture pieces, but also create a traditional, unique style that isn’t seen in many homes today.

 

Flooring

vintage flooring

Image Credit: Boa-Franc (flickr.com)

Flooring is a major factor when considering renovating your home interior, especially when a vintage style is involved. Wooden, sanded down and polished flooring is a big hit for those who want to achieve the ultimate vintage look and really emphasises the style intended.

White flooring, as well as the traditional dark wood flooring, are the most popular choices and compliment any type of vintage colour palette or furniture piece, so you can mix and match with whatever works well for you. If you are looking for something a little more unique, head over to English Salvage where there is a wide variety of original, antique flooring styles and designs to suit any taste. 



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Sydney Opera House is set for $202 million renovation work

Created: 15/08/2016

The famous Sydney Opera House will be undergoing major renovation plans in the next two years, with the work set to cost $202 million.

The renovation work will not only improve the acoustic sound within the main auditorium, but also modernise the surrounding interior, with upgrades to lounge, restaurant and seating areas. New lifts will be fitted for better accessibility throughout the building as well.

The Deputy Premier and Arts Minister Troy Grant told the IB Times: “The Sydney Opera House has played an important role in our nation’s history and embarking on these renewal projects will ensure that it continues to be relevant for generations to come.”

In terms of the new and improved acoustic features to be implemented, a new acoustic ceiling will be installed for better sound distribution and quality. Louise Herron, the Sydney Opera House chief executive, continued: “The problem is with the very high ceiling a lot of the sound that the orchestra actually makes rises and isn’t reflected down, so that the musicians on one side – for example the second violins – have trouble hearing the double basses.

“It means, it’s not such a good experience as it could be if the sound is more contained.

“A lot of the equipment is… old and anyone knows that technology has moved a long way and has worked really hard, so that need to be replaced.”

A new function centre is planned to accommodate 190 seats and 500 standing with additional passageways and stairs leading up to the main hall. Accessibility is also a key feature in the redevelopment of the Sydney Opera House, with 26 extra wheelchair spaces being created in various parts of the concert hall.

Improving the look and sound of your home doesn’t have to leave a dent in your bank balance as there are knowledgeable handyman services in south London who are willing to make your dream home come true.  



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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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