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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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Different ways to work wood into the home

Created: 21/04/2016

Wood is a fantastic and very versatile product to work with and is a great addition to any space in the home. From bespoke and antique furniture pieces, to made-to-measure custom wardrobes and fittings, the material provides a natural feel that works well in all environments. Here is our guide on the different ways to work wood into your home.

 

Upcycling 

 

Upcycling furniture

Image Credit: Alex Rio Brazil (Wikimedia Commons)

 

One of the top DIY and home interior trends of 2016 is making use of products such as industrial wood pallets and upcycling old, worn pieces of wood furniture. There are so many ideas that come out of upcycling, for example, recycling and creating wooden chairs or benches for the garden or a freestanding bookcase made from the panelling of several pallets.

 

Upcycling is a great way to give haggard and tired-looking furniture a bit of TLC. For example, sand down a chest of drawers and give it a lick of white paint for a vintage look. This way you save time and money investing in a brand new product and also create your own personal stamp on the piece.

 

Faux wood beams 

 

Faux wood beams

 

Image Credit: Oakmasters

 

For those who would like more of a traditional feel to their property, investing in faux wood ceiling beams adds a sense of character without having to move home. Artificial beams are more suitable for decorative purposes than real oak beams, but are still very much a great investment if you need to cover exposed pipework or lighting cables.

 

There are many companies such as Oakmasters who supply faux wood beams and covers in different materials such as oak and timber. Made to measure, your local handyman service will be able to fit your faux wood beams safely and affordably.

 

Kat Hamilton from Oakmasters recommends oak as a timeless material that adds warmth and character to traditional, but also contemporary homes. Kat added: “Oak can be used structurally to create a full frame for a house, or to support the roof, allowing for wow factors such as vaulted ceilings.

 

“Oak can be used cosmetically to create a look to disguise unsightly features such as steel beams and pipework, or to create beautiful doorways. Oak cladding is a more economical way of achieving that oak frame look.”

 

Solid wood doors

 

solid wood doors

 

Image Credit: Toby Golding (flickr.com)

 

Although replacing your old interior doors can be quite costly, there is nothing quite like solid wood doors throughout the home. Durable and resilient to everyday and family life, investing in products such as these will benefit you and the home in the long run, and are a lovely finishing touch to a decorating project. With the additional option of glazed interior oak doors, you are able to let even more light into the room for less.

 

Flooring 

 

wood flooring

 

Not only is real wood flooring a fantastic, timeless look in any home, but it is also a very practical one as it is easier to clean than carpets and is the perfect product to use if looking to invest in underfloor heating in the future. Available in warm and cool tones to fit the surrounding character, real wood flooring creates a perfect base for any interior colour.

 

Storage 

 

storage

 

Simple wood storage solutions such as home office stationary holders, shoe racks and woven wicker baskets offer a practical and visual delight. Vintage style storage solutions such as those at Vincent and Barn add a quirky yet eclectic charm. However, if you want to pay a little more for a bigger storage idea, converting the space under your stairs to individual wood shelving and boxed storage is an artistic way to keep all of your clutter in one space.

 

Accessories

 

accessories

 

If you are looking for more subtle ways to enjoy the effect of wood within the home, small accessories such as chopping boards, side coffee tables and mirrors work very well. It is a good idea to spend a decent amount of time researching the best products for your money, especially if you are styling your home from scratch. Bespoke and artisan furniture and accessory manufacturers will work with you to create a unique idea to fit with your new or existing signature style.  

 

Image Credit: BobMacInnes (flickr.com)



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1970s voted worst decade for home decor

Created: 14/04/2016

The orange patterned tiles, burgundy and yellow wallpaper, and eye-popping geometric shapes of the ‘70s have contributed to the decade being the worst in home décor styles.

The bold, psychedelic designs were the most hated by those voting in the survey conducted by Nationwide Credit Cards, with 2,000 adults taking part.

Coming in at second place with 16 per cent of the votes were the 1980s with artex ceilings, yellow and pink florals, and frilly blinds. 

As well as considering the worst in home décor, the participants also voted on current home improvement and DIY jobs.

According to the study, although Brits have an idea of what their dream home would look like, only a third of them would attempt to do the DIY themselves, making way for handyman services in London and the rest of the UK to take on the work instead.

Compared with the three per cent of women who claimed they would tackle DIY home jobs themselves, one in ten men would take on the project regardless of the size and cost of the task.

Nationwide’s head of policy for mortgages and savings, Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, told the Mirror: “According to recent Nationwide’s figures, a 10% increase in floor area brings an average 5% increase in property value, the equivalent of £10,000 for the average property.

“However, people also feel it is important to regularly refresh the appearance of their homes to make it their own – or to reflect their changing needs.”

Votes were spread throughout the decades as follows:

·         1960s – Big lights and bold patterns on walls and floors – 12 %

·         1970s – Avocado bathrooms, tartan and orange upholstery, woodchip wallpaper and shagpile carpets – 43%

·         1980s – Artex ceilings, yellow and pink florals, frilly blinds – 16%

·         1990s – Farmhouse kitchens, rag-rolling and minimalism – 3%

·         2000s – Shabby chic furniture and clean lines – 6%



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Pinterest adds How-To feature to make DIY easier

Created: 07/04/2016

 

One of the world’s most popular virtual mood boards, Pinterest, has included a feature that will allow home owners and professionals to have access to some of the top DIY practices in the industry.

The new How-To addition enables trade, manufacturing and professional handyman services to share pins that include DIY instructions with those looking for design inspiration and tips.

The image-based feature highlights simple step-by-step guides and instructions within the pin itself across various categories, including fitness, food and home projects.

For those looking for simple yet effective ways to improve the functionality of their home, instructional information on tasks such as hanging picture frames and putting up shelving are all easily accessible directly on the creative platform.

With more people turning to home improvements and renovations over the last year, alternative ways to source hints and tips have also increased.  

A study by Ipsos recently revealed that 75 per cent of people say that Pinterest is the best place to find new interests, and 67 per cent said it is the place they go to express creativity. 

Product manager of Pinterest, Jason Costa, explained: “Today we’re introducing how-to pins – so you can see at a glance what a Pin night be like to try. The next time you find an interesting project or idea on Pinterest, you’ll see a snapshot of the steps right below the Pin image. You can also click or tap on any of the steps to get the full instructions and a list of supplies – without ever leaving Pinterest.”

The feature was launched in the U.S., France, UK and Germany on Android smartphones and will be released on iOS devices in the future. More than 25 worldwide brands and organisations will be providing content to promote the how-to tool. 



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A guide to the ultimate handyman's toolbox

Created: 23/03/2016

When starting decorating, renovation or essential home projects, it’s important to have the right tools and safety equipment for the job. Some may have the odd screwdriver and measuring tape lying around in the drawers waiting to be used, but investing time and money in purchasing a full, versatile tool box that can help make your project a little easier is definitely worth-while in the long run. Here at Handywork Solutions, we have created the ultimate handyman’s toolbox guide, including what essential basic tools and safety equipment is needed when starting any DIY task.

Tools

A basic toolbox for every-day jobs that will also help you achieve success in decorating projects should include these essential tools:

Screwdriver set

A guide to the ultimate handyman's toolbox

Good DIY and hardware stores, or even some online retailers, will have the best manufactured screwdriver sets that both novice and professionals can get their hands on. From prying the lids off of paint tins to unscrewing the smallest of nails, screwdrivers are the most important DIY accessory for any starter. There are many different brands available, all offering varied weights, sizes and grips to make the process easier. It’s also worth shopping around and asking for a professional opinion.

 

Adjustable Wrench

A guide to the ultimate handyman's toolbox

Adjustable wrenches are a key tool to add to the box. Crescent shape wrenches make the job of tightening and loosening bolts and screws a lot easier than doing it with your bare hands. Make sure, like with all tools, that you spend a good amount of money on a trusted brand of adjustable wrench, as they are an indispensable piece of equipment.

 

Claw Hammer

A guide to the ultimate handyman's toolbox

Image Credit: James Bowe (flickr.com)

No toolbox, or household for that matter, would be complete without a claw hammer. An ultimate tool for any DIY project and odd-jobs around the house like hanging picture frames, or in the garden when building or fixing a shed, the claw hammer is a fundamental tool in the maintenance industry. One end is used to hammer nails in, and the other to pull nails out. Rubber, plastic or vinyl handles offer the best shock absorption and an all-round better grip.

 

Tape Measure

A guide to the ultimate handyman's toolbox

DIY jobs cannot be accomplished without the trusted help of the measuring tape. Whether you are measuring the length of a wall to fit skirting boards or measuring windows for curtains or blinds, these jobs cannot be done accurately without the necessary tools, the measuring tape being one of them. They come in varying width and lengths, depending on how small or big your DIY project is, but it is always useful to get an industrial sized tape measure as you never know when it could come in handy. However, a 16-foot long tape measure is a good size for any sort of job.

 

Pliers 

A guide to the ultimate handyman's toolbox

Also known as plier wrenches, lever-wrench pliers and vice grips, pliers are a very versatile tool. As they can lock in place, they can be used as clamps if you are struggling to multi-task, and can be used to cut wires and cables when dealing with the electrics. If you aren’t familiar with electrical appliances that need fixing in the home, it is very much recommended to call out for a handyman service, who can get your electrics up and running safely and efficiently in no time at all.

 

 Electric Drill

A guide to the ultimate handyman's toolbox

Image Credit: HomeSpot HQ (flickr.com)

Another tool that adds versatility to any toolbox, the electric drill makes jobs easier and safer if used properly. Cordless drills are a definite must and are convenient when working anywhere within the home. From drilling a hole into the wall to quickly and efficiently driving screws into pieces of wood and other materials, the electric drill if bought with other bits, can also sand and grind materials into perfect sizes and shapes.

 

Torch

A guide to the ultimate handyman's toolbox

Torches with an LED light can make a DIY job uncomplicated if you have trouble accessing small, cramped parts of the house such as plumbing under the sink. Head torches are also a great investment for those who need to have two hands on the job at all times and these are available from any good DIY and hardware shop.

 

Safety Equipment

No toolbox is complete without the necessary safety equipment. Although some small DIY jobs won’t need the protection of safety gear, it is always handy to have it close to hand especially when you least expect it. 

 

First Aid Kit

A guide to the ultimate handyman's toolbox

Image Credit: Riley Huntley (creative commons)

Every home should have one, and the trusty first aid kit is the best accompaniment to any handyman’s toolbox. Plasters, dressings and eye-wash in case sand or dust particles get in the eye, first aid kits come in basic to industrial sizes, so purchase one which caters to your DIY needs.

 

DIY goggles  

A guide to the ultimate handyman's toolbox

To prevent wood shaving or dust particles entering the eye area, goggles are one of the essential safety equipment pieces, as even the smallest amount of dirt can affect the vision permanently.

 

Dust masks and filters

A guide to the ultimate handyman's toolbox

Image Credit: Emilian Robert Vicol (flickr.com)

These will protect you against low level fine dust and also oil/water based mists and are suitable for those looking to drill, cut and sand wood and other hardwearing materials. You can purchase disposable or long-lasting dust masks to suit your DIY needs.

 

Hardwearing clothing

A guide to the ultimate handyman's toolbox

Hardwearing clothing such as hats, gloves, boots and trousers are a great investment if you are working on a big project, or outdoors. They can provide the ultimate safety precaution, especially when using electric drills or saws, as well as comfort and peace of mind when in high risk situations.

Image Credit: Eric Ferdinand (flickr.com)



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