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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.





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 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 (


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.




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.






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.






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 (

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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.


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 (

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.



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 (

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.



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 (

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 (

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Book worth millions cut up for decorating project

Created: 16/03/2016

One former owner of Temple Newsam House in Leeds may have used one of the world’s most expensive books in the world to brighten up her interior design.

Curators at the Temple Newsam House believe that Lady Isabella Hertford, who lived in the Jacobean house in the 1820s, used 28 pictures which she had torn out of a first edition of John James Audubon’s famous Birds of America for wallpaper in the drawing room – which is now believed to be one of the most valuable books in the world.

Lady Isabella decided to use the book for inspiration after the Chinese wallpaper that she was given by her lover, King George IV, was too dull to use.

Speaking to, Temple News House’s newly appointed curator Rachel Conroy commented: “It’s an extraordinary room and it’s made all the more special because it’s largely been decorated by a former resident of the house and most of the furniture which is still on display was chosen by Lady Hertford herself.”

Birds of America contains 435 hand-coloured life-size illustrations of birds, six of which are now extinct, and there are believed to be 119 other copies of the book in the world, one of which was auctioned off at a mere £7 million three years ago.

Birds of America was seen as a hugely pioneering publication when it was released in the 1830s. The book, which took author John James Audobon more than a decade to complete, was printed on what was known as double elephant folio – a huge 39.5 by 26.5 inches – to allow for hand-painted, life-sized illustrations of hundreds of varieties of wild birds.

For those looking to decorate their walls with a little less expensive wallpaper, handyman services in London are able to give you a helping hand for a perfect finish.

Image Credit: David Pacey (

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More people purchasing property in need of renovation

Created: 04/03/2016

A study conducted by comparison site has revealed that one in three Brits are buying properties that are in need of renovation work as it is all they can afford due to inflating housing costs.

Of those who took part in the survey, one in ten who bought a property to renovate said that they could not finish the work needed as they couldn’t afford to. A further ten per cent admitted that they had to live within the unfinished property for up to a year before they could complete the renovations.

The most common areas within the home to be renovated were the kitchen, bathroom, the carpets throughout the house and general cosmetic decoration such as plastering and painting.

Speaking to, Gareth Lane, head of home insurance at, said: “As house prices seem to be continuing to rise, it would appear that more and more people are resorting to buying properties that need renovation.

“Deciding to renovate a property is a big decision – and often more expensive than first anticipated. So it’s no surprise that nearly one in 10 homeowners couldn’t afford to do the renovation work to their property.”

However those looking to purchase property in need of a facelift are encouraged to do so, as it can pay off in the long run. One in five homeowners said the market value of their renovated property now exceeds the combined costs of buying and renovating, given them a profit margin of between £25,000 and £50,000.

Those who are struggling to keep to time and get the ball rolling with their home renovations should consider gaining the professional and affordable knowledge of a local handyman service. With a number of services such as plumbing, electrical and carpentry available, it can be a stress-free alternative to DIY and will prevent additional costs when renovating.

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Helpful tips to prepare your home for spring

Created: 18/02/2016

Spring is a great time to prepare your home for the year ahead. With many vibrant colour choices and recommendations to choose from for spring interior design 2016, we have great tips on how to maximise small spaces with natural light and getting your home exterior in prime working order leading up to the warmer weather. Here is our guide on how to prepare your home for spring.



Checking your home exterior after the winter months is an important aspect when going into the new years as adverse weather conditions and freezing temperatures can cause havoc with the exterior of a home. 

Inspecting your roof

Inspecting the roof of both your house and exterior buildings such as garages and outhouses is important in maintaining the function of all. Check for loose tiles and any leaks around the buildings, as this could cause damp problems later on in the year.

Clearing out the guttering from leafs and other natural debris is essential to prevent drainage problems in the future. Robin from Academy Home Improvements says: “spring is a great time of the year to clear out all the winter debris and replace tired and old rooftrim with long-lasting fascia’s, soffits and guttering.” For those who aren’t able to access or need assistance in checking and inspecting roof space, contact your local handyman service for affordable prices.  

Image Credit: Academy Home Improvements 

Trim any overgrown hedging or trees

Image Credit: RonPorter (

Cutting back overgrown hedging or trees will help the growth and maintenance for the months to follow. Trimming back dead branches will enable the plant to grow healthily leading up to summer and will leave your garden looking neat and tidy.

Secure fences and gates

The wet, windy weather can cause fencing and gates to fall, break and rot. Overgrown hedging can also cause cracks to appear within the woodwork. Make sure you reposition and secure fencing where needed, and tend to and replace the pieces of wood that are damaged, by either repainting with specialist wood paint, or replacing the panel altogether for maximum safety. 



Spring is the season to replenish the home interior, both decorating and cleaning wise. It’s the prime time to go over pieces of furniture with a lick of paint and create a living space that will be warm and welcoming for you and your guests when the sun is shining.


White skirting boards

Anybody who has a neutral interior design with white skirting boards around the house will know the problem with scuffs and marks from everyday home activity. Repainting these are a must in the spring, as it will lighten up the flooring area and hide any wear on the wood. 


Image Credit: bownnose (

Updating home accessories

With the weather still to improve before the summer months, when it comes to updating your interior design, spring is a great time to varnish existing furniture, paint flower vases for maximum colour and effect, and update small touches like door furniture.


When it comes to interior design, we’re told it’s the little things that count, modernising your door handles can have an instant and lasting impression on your interior., an online retailer of door furniture, sells handles starting at less than £5 a pair, meaning you can complete all the doors throughout your home and have change from £50. You can also pick up door handles in packs, which are good value for money and useful if you’re hanging a number of new doors.


Image Credit: (


Revive any furniture by sanding down for a vintage, traditional look. This would look great with any pieces that are of a neutral colour already, but you can also paint them before to maximise the spring feel in the home. If you are looking to up-cycle with a lick of paint, go for pastel colours such as a duck-egg blue, or depending on your current interior design, go for a bold statement with letter box red or a bright yellow. 

Image Credit: apartment28 (

Maximise space

The season is the best time to create maximum space within the home. Use light coloured paint if you are redecorating your home and use mirrors as a fantastic way to create the illusion of a bigger room. This is a great trick if you are expecting to host guests in spring and leading up to summer, as it will make them feel less claustrophobic and more relaxed.


Open up the room with natural light, and chose a lighter fabric if you are looking to replace curtains or blinds. Using window space is a cheap and lasting way to create perfect light in a room, especially when the days start to get longer!  

Image Credit: fancycrave1 (


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