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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 AOL.com, 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 (flickr.com)



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More people purchasing property in need of renovation

Created: 04/03/2016

A study conducted by comparison site Confused.com 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 whatmortage.com, Gareth Lane, head of home insurance at Confused.com, 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.

Image Credit: LadyDIY (pixabay.com)



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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.

 

Exterior  

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 (Pixabay.com)

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. 

 

Interior

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 (flickr.com)

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. Handleking.co.uk, 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: (Handleking.co.uk)

 

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 (creativecommons.org)

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 (pixabay.com)

 



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Men more likely to call in handyman services for DIY jobs

Created: 15/02/2016

Thought of yourself as the next DIY hero, or think you know all the tricks of the trade? A study has found that men are no longer able to carry out simple home improvement tasks and are having to pass the job over to the professionals and their local handyman services.

 

Of those who took part in the survey conducted by popular men’s clothing retailer Jacamo, half can wire a plug and only five are able to fix a dripping tap.

 

Three in five men would feel the need to call a plumber in order to correctly unblock a toilet and a third said that they be able to confidently construct and build flat-packed furniture from scratch.

 

Speaking to the Mail Online, Jenni Bamford from Jacamo said: “It's interesting to see how skills from previous generations had fallen by the wayside.

 

“In general we do seem to be less attracted to tasks that involve getting our hands dirty and more reliant on professional garages for anything to do with our cars and tradesmen for smaller jobs around the home.

 

“On the plus side there does seem to be a more even distribution of domestic duties within the home with more men being able to work everyday appliances such as washing machines, hoovers and dish-washers, which is something many of their grandfathers would never have contemplated.”

 

Putting a shelf up in the home was something just 37 per cent of men said they could do properly, whilst 29 per cent owned a fully stocked tool box with at least two power tools to do so.

 

However, for what the participants lacked in DIY skills, they made up for in more domestic tasks, with nine in ten announcing their capabilities in making and cooking a good barbecue.

 

Image Credit: Markus Spiske (flickr.com)

 

 



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Handy tips to keep your home clean whilst decorating

Created: 04/02/2016

For those looking to decorate their homes this year, it is worth investing some time in making your home mess-proof for when you decide to start the work. Even if you haven’t got the materials readily available, there are some cheap alternatives to ease the process and having the help from handyman services can achieve just that.

 

Covering furniture and floors

Using old bed sheets or curtains would be ideal for this as they are big enough to fit over large pieces of furniture, whether it be in the bedroom, living room or kitchen. They can be re-used over time which will save you money on investing in plastic sheets or other materials. Try to cover as much of the room as possible before you start painting, so you can get right down to it and not have to stop painting every couple of minutes to move your sheets around.

 

Masking tape for great results

Make the job of painting your walls a little easier by using masking tape around the edges of doors, floors and panels to avoid any decorating disasters. It will also be useful as a guide when you are painting in a straight line, resulting in a clean, professional finish once dried.

 

Use paint trays

It’s a common practice that many people forget – use a paint tray when leaving paintbrushes. If you don’t, this can result in unwanted paint drops on your new flooring or carpet. Even placing newspaper underneath a paint tray will prevent it from moving and slipping around the floor and will also catch any stray drops of paint that may fall from the brush.

 

Preparation is key

Good decorators spend around 60 to 70 per cent of each job preparing the room before they start painting. This could include getting rid of mould on the walls or window ledges, plastering, or scraping away old paint. Try to avoid making the job more time consuming by making sure you have your walls and floors prepped correctly, making the actual painting job stress-free in the long run.

 

Image Credit: tookapic (pixabay.com)



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5 home improvements that add value

Created: 29/01/2016

Property is often a person’s greatest asset and naturally they want to capitalise on that huge personal investment. Whether you’re planning a massive home improvement overhaul or looking to spruce the place up on a budget, there are a few tricks of the ‘trade’ or ‘handyman’ that you can follow to get the best return.

So aside from the most obvious option of increasing your property’s worth by expanding the size of it, we speak to experts Property Secrets and Landlord Today to discover the top five renovation projects that homeowners and proprietors should be considering to add value.

First impressions

It goes without saying that the first thing that prospective tenants and buyers viewing the property will see is the front of the house. Attention needs to be paid to the exterior, remember this is like the cover of a book and you want the ‘customer’ to judge your property positively.

If you’re looking to let, Landlord Today suggests that “Ensuring that the driveway is pleasing on the eye will help to make tenants house-proud and happy.

“This might simply mean a quick trim of the hedge or the sweeping away of leaves, or it might mean refreshing the front of the house with a paint-job or whitewashing the walls.”

You may find that these tasks are easily manageable yourself, but say you need to replace rotted window frames or spruce up the roof tiles, calling in the experts is the way to go. Professionals will make sure that you work to regulation and it doesn’t come back to haunt you later once the tenants have moved in.

Whether you’re a city dweller or located off the beaten track in the countryside, you’ll find good quality handyman services in London and beyond to help make your property renovations pay for themselves.

How does your garden grow? Immaculately with any luck! How the shrubbery comes off under inspection is equally important, you want to persuade people looking around that this property is a place where their first child will play outdoors or where they’ll have friends over to enjoy a BBQ in the back garden.

Finessing the front garden may not even require that much work but it’s guaranteed to boost the impact of your property. As Property Secrets says: “Another cheap way of renovating to attract buyers or tenants is to ensure the garden looks good and easily maintainable, although in experience house buyers will look after gardens a lot more than tenants will do.”

Decluttering

You know that old adage ‘less is more’, well when it comes to presenting your property at its best there just might be some truth in it.

Managing the mess may not be the biggest factor in selling or renting your place but it’s a simple and cheap way to, again, make the right first impression and enhance your chances of success.

Storage is your friend and you could look at solutions for incorporating this into your house. Having shelving installed, for example, is a cost-effective way of getting the space you need to tidy things away but you needn’t even go that far as Property Secrets explains:

“A simple tidy and de-clutter ahead of potential viewings can be an affordable way of improving your home’s look whilst heavily ornamented rooms filled with large furnishings and accessories can look & feel imposing and unattractive at first glance…Minimalizing furniture and fixtures to almost a blank canvas would allow the potential tenant or buyer to imagine themselves living in the property without the worry on whether they have enough space for their own furnishings.”

 

Fixtures & fittings

Again adding value isn’t always about the big projects, getting all the small DIY jobs done is equally important. The only issue is finding the time to fit in multiple little tasks. From fixing lights to painting the skirting boards, and even checking that all the door handles are firm and ugly dated lampshades are replaced with modern neutral ones, it may be less stressful to get some hired help – especially if you’re working to a strict time frame before people turn up to view the property.

Landlord Today sees sorting all the finer details as a necessary step that will be easier to complete between tenancies and can improve the overall look of your property.

“Ensuring that all fixtures and fittings are in fine working order and sprucing up the garden are things that won’t cost that much, but could make all the difference.”

Walls & floors

The quickest route to freshening up the overall appearance of your property is of course to paint the walls. It’s amazing what a quick lick of paint can do to turn a tired room into one that is welcoming and vibrant. Picking neutral tones will please almost everyone, brightening the place up and allowing potential viewers to start imagining this blank canvas as their own.

Likewise, nothing beats newly laid wooden floors or carpets but when you’re looking to optimise value in your property, pick the rooms that need new flooring the most or, failing that, simply invest in a good quality carpet cleaner and vac away the stains and marks that form over the years.

Maintenance

Preventative maintenance is an ongoing essential throughout the life of a property, whether you’re looking to rent, sell or create a home for many years to come. Keeping up with issues like damp, clogged gutters and frozen pipes are high priority, but seldom managed until a problem arises and they can no longer be ignored. These things are unavoidable to a certain extent, for instance simply keeping the thermostat above freezing point if you’re going away for a few days, or clearing fallen leaves from gutters, will save a lot of household trauma and money in the long-term.

Maintenance is crucial if you’re planning to let your property, as Landlord Today explains: “In the time between tenancies maintenance is even more important – with no-one living in the property, the chances of it falling into disrepair go much higher. As such, landlords should keep an even closer eye on their properties when they’re empty.”

Property Secrets adds: “If selling, it’s important to get any basic issues resolved without bursting the bank but if renting, you must ensure that any ‘future’ problems don’t arise if you’re thinking of doing a quick ‘fix it’ style job in order to get a quick turnaround on tenants.”

So what’s the most important tip to take from this? Well, all of them actually.

Depending on the condition of your property, you should take care of the important criteria first and make sure that all household essentials are working correctly. It’s also wise to keep the property clean, looking fresh and presentable. The main aim is to maximise potential capital without running up a huge renovation bill, and by dedicating time and a little budget for improvement work when need be, you can increase the profitability of your property with minimal financial output.

 

Image Credit: Nicole Beauchamp (flickr.com), Brett Jordan (flickr.com)

 

 



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Britain’s most aspirational interior designs revealed

Created: 21/01/2016

It is every homeowner’s dream to decorate their home to the highest of standards, creating unique interior designs that will leave guests green with envy. Home interior design platform Houzz has now revealed the best of the best after naming the most followed and shared aspirational images on its image board, giving budding interior enthusiasts an overwhelming amount of ideas for 2016.

 

Houzz have honoured the builders and architects behind the images with a Best Of Houzz Award for their jaw-dropping designs. Although top fashion brands such as Versace and Fendi are starting to emerge as the top inspirational interior designers, it seems a more casual vibe is highly desired when it comes to colour scheme and furniture. Here are the designs that have been hailed as the top interiors of 2016:

 

Creative Comfort

 

9.8K shares and ‘follows’.

This Cheshire barn conversion is minimalistic, but still boasts comfort with the furniture and fireplace being the centre piece for relaxation. The design was done by Janey Butler Interiors and has a calming colour scheme of blue, grey and brown.

 

 

 

Wooden Delight 

 

3.8K shares and ‘follows’.

The panelling and colours created by the timber wood are very eye-catching and used to great effect around this contemporary house in the New Forest. The square and rectangular cutting gives it a crisp look against the water of the lake, designed by Nigel Brigden.

 

 

 

 

 

Waste not, Want not

 

2.5K shares and ‘follows’.

This impressive creation in Richmond upon Thames utilises phenomenal unwanted space and imagination and has enabled a contrast between traditional London living and modern luxury. A great way to not only add value to your property, but adding space for family home or a working office. 

 

 

 

Angular Instincts

 

1.2K shares and ‘follows’.

Magnolia cottage has utilised the panelling and beams in their spacious shower room to create an impressive bathroom structure. The contrast between the dark wood and marble is a neutral yet warming approach to bathroom design, something commonly seen in living and kitchen areas. The contemporary space was created by Turner Builders, in the North West. 

 

 

 

Traditional Approach

2K shares and ‘follows’.

This heart-warming design all the way from Scotland accompanies the traditional Scottish tartan theme. The coral and cream colour scheme are perfect against the backdrop of the garden and the lighting is a great contrast to the modern chandelier that you may currently see in inspired interior design images. Designed by Lally Walford Interiors.

 

 

 

If these designs have given you the motivation and inspiration to get cracking on your next home design project, be sure to contact handyman services for a professional and affordable helping hand.

 

Image Credit: Charlotte Holmes (Flickr.com)



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Cheap and effective ways to protect pipes from freezing over

Created: 15/01/2016

Although the UK has been hit by abnormally mild weather this winter, those choosing not to heat their homes to save the pounds following an expensive festive period could be worse off when it comes to frozen pipes and plumbing. Here are a few affordable tips to prevent your pipes from freezing over.

 

Insulate pipes

One cheap and effective way of keeping the water running through the plumbing is to buy foam insulation, a material which is easy get hold of in hardware stores and is easy to place on top of pipes to keep insulated. The areas around the home that are more prone to frozen pipes are external walls, lofts and unheated rooms, so be sure to cover those.

 

Disconnect outside hoses

The water which remains in the hose after use can freeze, which can continue to run back into the spigot until it reaches the pipes inside the home. This can cause pipes to burst, so remember to disconnect all outdoor hoses after use.

 

Open cupboard doors

Probably the simplest trick in the book! Make sure warm air from the house can circulate under the sink by keeping the cupboard door open. This also goes for the rest of the house, so keep all doors slightly open around the house to guarantee warm air to the plumbing all the way through.

 

Turning the stop cock off

The stop cock is a valve for turning off and on the cold water system in your home and is normally situated under the kitchen sink. To prevent pipes from freezing whilst you are away for long periods of time, turn the stop cock off, this will stop the flow of cold water through the plumbing that could otherwise freeze the pipes.  If you have guests looking after your house/flat, make sure they know the location of the valve.

 

Hopefully these cheap and effective ways of preventing frozen pipes will leave you sitting comfortably this winter. But if you find yourself stuck in a rut, be sure to get in touch with professional and reliable handyman services who are able to fix them!

 

Image Credit: greyerbaby (Morguefile)



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New Year’s project handy planning check list

Created: 29/12/2015

The New Year is a great time to start planning for any home improvements or renovation projects you have earmarked for the year ahead.

 

With a fresh year comes the opportunity to update your décor, fix any problems that plagued you through the last year, or simply try something new in your house. Before you jump straight into a new restoration mission, however, it’s important to work out the fine turning. Is it a project you can take on yourself or will you need the help of handyman services in South London, for instance? What’s your budget and will the work require a permit are all-important questions to consider first.

 

1.      Get to grips with your budget before planning anything. It’s important to know how much you can spend initially and make plans accordingly to stick to this allocated funding. After the festive season, money can be tight and pricing up the cost of labour, materials and tools can save you stress later.

 

2.      Likewise, getting reliable help in place before you start is essential. Many of us would rather hire a handyman than do DIY, so you can guarantee that you won’t be the only person looking for some home improvements in the New Year.

 

3.      Seeking out the correct permits where necessary is also a pivotal starting point. If your project includes any work on the electrics, plumbing or structural integrity of your home, it may well require a permit before starting anything. Fortunately, knowledgeable handymen can often help you navigate this stage of planning or at least point you in the direction of a good professional general contractor.

 

Once you’ve got the nitty gritty of your renovation project tied down, you’re free to start reimagining your humble abode and, when complete, enjoy the result for a long time to come.

 

Image Credit: Alan Cleaver (flickr.com)

 



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Winter is the perfect time for home DIY

Created: 23/12/2015

For many of us, the shorter days, rain, wind and grey of winter keep us inside until the spring arrives. Many homeowners typically focus on outdoor home improvement, but this time of the year is the perfect time for tackling some indoor DIY projects.

winter DIY

Whether your budget is big or small, there are a few classic renovation projects that can make a winter stuck in the house a little less claustrophobic. Many you can do with just a few tools and materials, but remember a licenced, experienced handyman in south London is always ready to step in to help.

For homeowners across the UK, winter is an ideal time to focus on interior home projects that need completing. Here are some ideas for a bit of winter home DIY:

Re-doing your Floors

When it is colder, you notice your floors a bit more. Maybe it’s a temperature issue, or the dog and kids are forever tracking mud across the carpets, leaving them dull and dingy. Re-flooring is a DIY project most confident homeowners can complete over a weekend or two. There are plenty of materials to choose from to give you a great new look. There is stone, terracotta, marble, carpet, tile, hardwoods or laminate wood flooring.

For budget conscious people, and thanks to a number of market innovations, wood floors can be installed without professional help. And they are now quite affordable. More importantly, during the winter, the colder air helps with a quicker drying time for any adhesives. New wood tends to offer better insulation as well.

new floors

Bathroom Remodel

It may be one of the smallest rooms in your home, but it is also one of the most important. A bathroom remodel is a great winter DIY project and the benefits of the project will be felt immediately. More importantly, installing new environmentally friendly bathroom fixtures may save you a bit of coin as well. Installing a new sink, new faucets, or a water-saving toilet will all have benefits.

There are more accents you can complete in your bathrooms as well. New mirrors, lighting fixtures, or accent pieces can give your bathroom a whole new feel.

bathroom accessories

Painting and Touch Ups

Very easily, the years can gather and take a toll on a room. A great winter pick-me-up is to give a room a quick makeover with a new colour and maybe some new accents. Without spending a fortune, painting a room can cause a dramatic change. Bold wall colours with appealing accents in wood and fabrics will change the look and feel of a room.

Don’t finish with just paint. Complete little changes like installing crown mouldings, a chair rail, refinished bannisters, or new skirting board. Most of these projects are easily completed in a well-planned weekend, and will give your room a fresh, updated look and feel.

new staircase

Kitchen Remodel

Especially after Christmas, there are quite a few deals on for new whitegoods. Do you need a new dishwasher, or a hob upgrade? A kitchen remodel may be the remedy for the winter blues. There are many different levels of kitchen renovation, so plan carefully. New cabinet doors, work surfaces, lighting fixtures and floors – they are all fair game.

For many homeowners, remodelling a kitchen is the perfect job to get in some professional support. You may be able to tile the splashback, but installing new custom-made cupboards may be beyond your skill level. Either way, there are plenty of mini-projects in the kitchen that will keep you cooking and renovating all winter long, and a handyman can help with the bigger jobs.

new kitchen

New Light Fixtures

Lamps are fine, but you can really change the look and feel to some of your rooms and entryways with new light fixtures. The market for new and interesting fixtures has really picked up in recent years. From vintage style lighting to ultra-modern design, most fixtures today will not only be beautiful, but more energy efficient as well.

Also, by adding some new light and warmth to your home, your mood will likely improve. In the winter, your home gets less natural light, so let’s brighten up the entire place with some new lighting.

light fixture

Image Credit: Brad NobleBoa-FrancDamianos ChronakisBrian MoloneySusan Serra, CKDTom Chapman (flickr.com)

 



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