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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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Handy tips for guest-proofing your home ahead of Christmas

Created: 17/12/2015

The festive season is a time for connecting with friends you may have lost contact with over the last year or with those new faces in your life. With your house decorated to the nines for Christmas, opening your home to your nearest and dearest is a likely occurrence and whatever challenges this may bring with it, with a little prior planning you can ensure your house withstands the onslaught of winter visitors.

 

Windows

 

Before they’ve even entered your humble abode, you can rest assured that guests, Christmas carollers and just about anyone calling at your front door over the festive period has clocked the smears and smudges on your windows. First impressions count and even if your store cupboard is overrun with figgy pudding and the like, everyone has these simple ingredients that double up as the perfect emergency glass cleaner.

 

Simply mix 100 millilitres of vinegar with a teaspoon of washing up liquid, then add to 4 litres of warm water, and you’ll have your very own DIY window scrubbing solution. Of course, it’s not quite as crafty as the glittery cards your children have been working on but those windows are sure to sparkle in their own right. If you really want to impress this year, call in the professionals. A local handyman service will be able to spruce up those rotten frames or install that double glazing before your wish list has even reached the North Pole.

 

Bathroom

 

It’s the time of the year when your neglected guest bathroom is likely to actually see some action. Avoid calling out the plumber on Boxing Day by planning ahead, after all, prevention is the best cure. Get those drains unblocked and clear well before the first well-wisher arrives. You can find a good quality drain unclogging product at any hardware shop and almost all household aisles in supermarkets will stock a small selection.

 

Stains

 

Adults, much like children, tend to get a little too enthusiastic around the festive period. If one of your guests has enjoyed a little too much merriment and managed to spill their mulled wine all over the carpet in the process, never fear! Have a pre-prepared bottle of homemade stain remover at the ready. Soda water and any foam shaving cream come together to fight all manner of food and drink mishaps so your carpets stay as clear as the white winter you dreamed about, but have yet to receive again this year. If nothing else, this handy tip finally gives you a valid opportunity to say “here’s one I made earlier”.

 

These tips can just about keep your home sweet home in one piece as the guests plough through your front door this Christmas but if you’re planning a little more than basic maintenance, now is the time to plan your New Year’s renovation. As with all important undertakings, a good place to start is by asking the experts. There are numerous handyman services in London that can help with the major remodelling work in January, whilst you concentrate on damage control over Christmas.

 

Image Credit: Chris_J (flickr.com)

 



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Alternative heat systems to help you enjoy winter

Created: 02/12/2015

Especially after the recent snows and freezing temperatures have swept through the UK, the efficiency and effectiveness of your home heating system is critically important. With Christmas just around the corner, the joy of the season often depends on the warmth of your family AND your home.

There are several ways to ensure a warm house – from updating the efficiency of your current system to changing over to alternative or new money-saving home heating technology. To find out what is the best option, as a knowledgeable and experienced handyman in south London and throughout the capital, we can offer you advice for the best options for you and your home.

Regardless of your heating fuel source, the state of your boiler is a key factor in your ability to heat the house. A modern boiler could shave hundreds off your heating bill, but can cost thousands to install so there needs to be a middle ground. As fuel prices – heating oil, natural gas and electricity – fluctuate, you need to be more efficient in when the heat is on. Installing a new, modern thermostat and controls may be a cheaper option and can save some money in the long run.

With high oil, gas and electricity prices always changing, it’s important that we heat our homes in the most efficient way. Using less energy is the best way to cut your bills, but this doesn't mean having to live in a cold, dark home.

Another heating option is the use of alternative energy and heat sources. Many of these systems use modern technology and often are “greener” types of energy. New ways to heat your home are by using wood burning stoves, solar water heating systems, or biomass boilers.

Wood heating

Wood is carbon neutral as it expels as much CO2 as it takes in when growing as trees. In many homes, wood burning stoves are used as secondary or primary heating systems. Unlike fireplaces or traditional hearths, a wood-burning stove uses a self-contained chimney, and can be used to heat water as well.

The Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) estimates that wood logs produce 0.008kg of CO2 per kWh, compared to 0.198kg for gas and 0.517kg for electricity. Stoves are more efficient than many other types of standalone room heaters. According to the SIA, an open fire has the efficiency of around 32%, and a gas fire in the region of 55%. Stoves, on the other hand, have efficiency ratings of between 60% and 80%.

If you have a thermostat in the room where a stove is installed, then your central heating will turn off sooner as the stove heats the room - saving you money overall. Besides, especially at Christmastime, there is something calming and soothing about being kept warm by a roaring, crackling fire. 

wood burning fire

Solar Heating Systems

Solar water heating systems, or 'solar thermal' systems, use the heat from the sun to heat your home’s water supply. These heating systems use solar panels – called collectors that are fitted to your roof. Using heat from the sun, they convert the energy to heat up water stored in a hot water tank. That hot water can then be used for radiator heating or for domestic hygiene use.

There are a number of benefits to solar water heating: it can provide you with hot water for washing and cleaning throughout the year – not just when it is cold out. Additionally, solar energy offers reduced energy bills. Sunlight is free, so once you've paid for the initial installation, you should see a reduction in your overall heating and energy costs.

Solar energy offers a considerably lower carbon footprint. The energy is green, and is the foundation for a renewable heating system. And because it aids in reducing your carbon dioxide emissions, the government continues to support its use by the public through the Renewable Heat Incentive.

solar roof panels

Biomass Fuel Technology

Biomass systems burn specially made wood pellets and chips – often processed from recycled or reclaimed wood materials. Through specially built stoves, biomass systems provide warmth in a single room or can generate enough energy to power a central heating and hot water boilers.

According to estimates by the Energy Savings Trust, a wood-fuelled biomass boiler may be able to save you up to £880 a year compared to traditional electric heating systems. There are a variety of benefits to biomass heating: they are supported by affordable heating fuel, there may be government support in outfitting your home from the Renewable Heat Incentive, and it is a lower carbon emission fuel. The process is sustainable as long as new plants continue to grow in place of those used for fuel.

biomass chips

Although the price of wood fuel varies considerably, it is often cheaper than other heating options.

Image Credit: terren in VirginialamcopphisMarufishOregon Department of Forestry (flickr.com)

 



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Time reports ways to save on home repairs

Created: 13/11/2015

If you’re a homeowner, it can often feel like you’re spending endless amounts of money on repairs and replacements, especially for those who aren’t living in a relatively new build. However, news website Time suggests that many of these outgoings can be avoided, or reduced, and shares simple tips in this article to help you save money, some of which are also detailed below.

Off-season repairs

Certain jobs will be more prevalent at different times of year, so one piece of advice would be to think in advance and choose an off-peak time to have your repairs done. For example, gutter clearing is particularly in demand during the autumn and winter months, so why not organise to have this completed in the summer? This way, you may be able to get a reduction in the cost during the slow season.

Buy materials

If you do need to hire a handyman in south London, then a great way to save money is by purchasing the materials separately and asking a professional to simply carry out the work. You can always ask for a list of the materials needed, which most will be happy to provide, and then you will be able to choose particular colours and styles to your tastes too. However, it may be worth asking the contractor about material costs, just in case they are able to get discounts and purchase the products for a cheaper price.

Upkeep maintenance

Rather than letting a small issue become a larger problem, which will no doubt be more costly, get it fixed as soon as possible. You should also carry out routine maintenance and deep clean as often as possible, as this will help systems and appliances in your home last for much longer. For example, change the filter on your furnace in order to keep it in a good condition, especially when it is in more use during the winter.

Image Credit: Tax Credits (flickr.com)



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Rise in female manual trade workers

Created: 09/11/2015

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that women made up just 20 per cent of the workforce in 2014, although this is predicted to change in the near future.

By 2020, it is predicted that a quarter of manual trade workers such as a handyperson in London will be women, which will be significant progress for the construction industry as it has been predominantly male in the past. The manual trades have seen an increase in the past year, with women now accounting for six per cent of the total workforce, which is a very encouraging figure for those who may have considered a similar role. Certain colleges such as Bournemouth and Poole have also reported a 30 per cent increase in women signing up for painting and decorating courses.

Many more talented women are entering the construction industry

Experts have suggested that this is a great time for women to get on board with manual trade careers, with the number of construction and house-building companies on the up following the cash-strapped times of the recession. This means that the demand for painters and decorators is also likely to rise, meaning more job opportunities for female skilled workers. This evolution of working demographics has been extremely positive and has demonstrated the benefits of opening up male-dominated fields of work for women.

Sandie Webster, a recently qualified level three painter and decorator, told professional painting tools supplier Purdy: “It is important for any women who are training to be decorators to believe in themselves and their ability. It is vital to persevere with people, always be determined and treat every job as if it is your first. There will be times where you will receive negative comments, but just laugh off the banter and prove that you are equal, if not better. Confidence is key.”



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Keep the cold out of your house this winter

Created: 29/10/2015

It’s that time of year again. We’ve got some ideas to protect your home during the winter months, and maybe save a few quid at the same time.

There are a number of easy tricks to spruce up your home for the winter. Some easy things include a new coat of paint to seal your walls, insulation wrap for your windows, or portable, hand-crafted draught excluders for your door frames.

But if you are feeling a bit more ambitious this year, there are a number of projects that can yield a major difference in how your home reacts to the colder temperatures. Some of these tactics can be completed with some focused weekend DIY. If you aren’t comfortable, however, call a licensed and experienced London handyman to get the job done for you.

winter in London

Filling cavity walls with insulation

If built between the early 1930s and 1982, most likely you have cavity walls. By filling these cavities with insulation, you can help stop the inside heat from being lost. According to estimates from British Gas, filling the gaps can save up to as much as £160 each year on your energy bills. As much as 35 percent of your home’s heat can be lost through un-insulated walls.

In the process, insulation is blown into the wall cavity from the outside of your property. Holes are drilled holes from outside, allowing a variety of materials to be pumped into the cavity. The most common types of insulation are mineral wool, polystyrene beads or foam. When the cavities are filled, the holes are then repaired with materials that match your house’s exterior facade.

There are a number of companies that will hire equipment to complete the process. Additionally, there are a number of available grants to help pay for insulation. 

cavity wall insulation

Extensive draught-proofing

The long hand-sewn tube of sand at the bottom of the door is a good start, but there are a number of products that can help you greatly reduce draughts in your homes. Done properly, you can see a great deal of savings on your energy bills.

For practical purposes, draught-proofing should include the sealing of windows, doors, loft hatches and any pipework that leads outside. Letterboxes and any entrance furniture that allow air in should also be addressed. There are self-adhering products that attach to windows and sills. There are also permanent products that can be installed to the lower thresholds of your doors.

For exterior pipes, special crack filling products can be used. Often they are expanding foam that you spray in and around the pipe to create a draught-free seal. For very little effort and expense, reducing draughts can greatly improve your comfort this winter.

holes around pipes

Upgrade your heating system

If you have a boiler that does its job, and your radiators warm the house, then you are more than halfway there. If you have sealed the drafts, installed a bit more insulation, you are doing even better. The last key to making sure your home is winter ready is to ensure your thermostat is up to the task of maintaining the system.

If you have an outdated thermostat – one that's not used to accurately regulating the internal temperature – your heating system may turn on every five to 10 minutes because it cannot keep an accurate temperature.

Additionally, with so many technological advances and the coming of the “smart home”, installation of new hi-tech heating controls could be the right choice for you. Recently, Tech Advisor took a look at the most popular and forward-thinking heating systems on the market today. With automation, you may find savings through more efficient scheduling of when your boiler is running, and not running.

thermostat

Image Credit: Damian CugleyMetro CentricMok9[a.d.]Antonio Silveira



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Survey reveals Britons would rather hire a handyman than do DIY

Created: 29/10/2015

A recent survey commissioned by Swinton Insurance has discovered that more than half of Britons don’t feel brave enough to carry out minor repairs in their homes.

Just 49 per cent felt confident enough to put up a shelf, with the average person spending £300 on jobs that they could have done themselves. One in six would be happy to unblock a drain, while only 35 per cent of the 2,000 people surveyed would have a go at fixing a leaking tap.

Tradesmen such as plumbers in Beckenham have agreed with the view that people are shying away from DIY, with eight in ten suggesting that Britons are too quick to ask for help fixing something that they could complete themselves.

 

Basic property repair skills appear to be diminishing

Mark Hallam, head of products at Swinton Insurance, told This Is Money: “The findings make it clear that much more needs to be done to educate Britons on basic DIY. It's absurd that we spend hundreds of pounds on odd jobs we could do ourselves, particularly when family budgets continue to be stretched.”

While DIY can offer a cheap solution, it is not always the best option, as a botched job can cause much damage and end up being more expensive in the long run. Tradesmen believe that they spend at least two hours a day repairing DIY jobs that have gone wrong, with the most common call outs regarding changing a fuse.

Hallam agreed with this statement, and said: “Of course, the need for professionals is always going to exist, and there are some tasks only experts should handle, especially complicated electrical and plumbing jobs.”

Britons also admitted that they will leave issues such as squeaky floorboards and flushing radiators until they become a problem and require the help of a professional.

Image Credit: Mark Hunter (flickr.com)



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