The Hidden Factors of Renovating your Home

The Hidden Factors of Renovating your Home

Everyone loves renovating their homes. Whether it’s to turn our property into our dream design, or to sell for added value, we are always trying to improve our space. We even find ourselves glued to our television screens watching for tips as the likes of the DIY SOS team and George Clarke renovate properties to a high standard!

Photo By: Arizona Tile

However, it’s not always as straight forward as thinking of the work you want to do and running with it. While tasks such as replacing your roof or having solar panels fitted are safe to crack on with (although speaking to your council is still good practice), others aren’t. In certain cases, you will come up against factors which can grind your thought process to a halt and prevent it from becoming a reality. Here, we will look at the hidden factors of house renovations.

Is your home a listed building?

When you bought your property, you should have been told if it was a listed building. If it is, then chances are you will struggle to carry out any planned work without a fight. It is actually a criminal offence to simply go ahead with any work without the authorisation to do so. If you are unsure whether or not your property is a listed building, you can check at British Listed Buildings.

Photo By: Michelle Dirkse Interior Design

Electricity

Sometimes, work you plan to carry out will mean moving your electric meter and fuse box. However, you must make sure you don’t move it yourself. Why? Yep, you guessed it; this is also illegal. Usually, if it’s a move of less than 15 centimetres, this can be carried out by your energy supplier free of charge. But for larger-scale moves of over three metres, your local distribution company would have to move your mains supply before the electricity meter can be placed elsewhere. If this is something you require, make sure you book the relevant appointments to avoid long delays.

Notify your neighbours

With some work, you must notify your neighbours of your project thanks to the Party Wall Act of 1996. This occurs if you share a wall with another house and your work may undermine the structural integrity of the wall. Tasks such as fitting shelves and replastering aren’t included in this Act, however, if you were looking to undergo more extensive work it is something you must adhere to.

Although this seems like a very formal approach, it’s important to provide a ‘notice’ to your neighbour which outlines your prospective work. Present this to them alongside a copy of the Act two months before you intend to carry out the work. They will then have 14 days to raise any concerns they may have and provide written approval or rejection. Doing this will cover you if anything turns sour with said neighbour. If they do reject your proposal and it’s impossible to come to some form of agreement, you will be required to assign a surveyor who will then determine what work can be carried out.

Photo By: Red Door Homes, Inc.

Loft conversions

Often, to create more living space, people look at converting their lofts. However, make sure you get the correct building regulations approval. This is required to ensure there is sufficient structural strength to the floor, while also making sure that the existing roof and the structure’s stability isn’t jeopardized.

In many homes, the timber joists that form the floor of the loft space won’t be sturdy enough to support significant weight. This could cause issues if you plan to turn your loft space into a spare bedroom, for example, and without official planning meeting set regulations you could run into a host of problems. Perhaps surprisingly, any work that you carry out could indeed hinder your future sale if you don’t get the appropriate permission and paperwork. In some instances, you will be required to revert the property back to its former state if you haven’t gone through the correct channels when carrying out the work.

Besides your timber joists, you may also want to update your skirting boards and other moldings. You can consider installing skirting board covers if you do not have the time to tear out old skirting boards. This is a smart trick to save time, and money in the long run.

Garage conversions

Unlike loft conversions, you generally aren’t required to seek planning permission if it’s not your intention to enlarge a garage and increase the size of your home. If your sole purpose is to use the space for personal gain, then you should be able to carry out your intended work so long as you complete the work thoroughly and to the correct standard. However, it’s important to note that planning permission must be sought if you are looking to convert the space into a separate house.

Extensions

Extensions are ever popular in the world of renovations. However, not everyone understands the impact it may have on your property. For example, have you considered the impact an extension will have on your current boiler? Adding extra space will mean there’s an added demand on your hot water system and, in some cases, your boiler won’t be able to cope. Make sure you factor this in to any plan. You must also get building regulation approval – even if you don’t need planning permission due to using permitted development rights. In some cases, you may also need to pay a Community Infrastructure Levy, so it’s important to check this out prior to conducting any work.

While renovating your property can result in an amazing end product, getting to the final stage can be hard work and have many obstacles. For any work you may be thinking of carrying out, it’s important to carry out thorough research before you start so that hidden costs and issues don’t creep up on you.

Is Britain’s Infrastructure Ready for Extreme Weather?

Is Britain’s Infrastructure Ready for Extreme Weather?

The mild, if slightly cold, weather that Britain is famed for is beginning to feel like a thing of the past. After the intensity of the Beast from the East in 2018, followed by one of the hottest summers on record, it’s hard to know what to expect next!

Photo By: Rachel Laxer Interiors Ltd

According to the long-range weather forecast produced by scientists at UCL, the UK is in for yet another extreme winter. The average temperature is predicted to dip 0.5 degrees below previous, frosty years. Some claim that this will be one of the coldest winters in decades. As we attempt our commutes through blizzards and black ice, it will become ever-more difficult to ignore the extremities that climate change is bringing. It isn’t just snow that is becoming a nightmare for British infrastructure: floods and heatwaves do their fair share of damage too. Is our infrastructure prepared for the inevitable difficulties? Or have we failed to think far enough ahead?

Snow

Considering the frosty predictions for winter 2019/20, we need to ready our infrastructure. During the harsh winters of recent years, the UK transport system has faced extreme difficulties. From icy roads to exposed direct current indicators and flashover faults, the cold weather can cause severe damage.

In response to this, a cold weather plan was established in order to outline what to expect and how best to prepare over the increasingly cold winters. Local authorities are now better equipped than ever to grit roads and prevent black ice as a result of this. For the transport sector, forward planning is key. Transport planning advice plays a major part in ensuring that infrastructure schemes take into account all environmental considerations at the design stage to help to mitigate risks.

Photo By: REES Architects

Heatwaves

Hot summers have been so rare over the years, that a mere glimpse of sunshine has Brits outside in shorts and t-shirts. But in recent years, the temperature has been on the rise and these pockets of sun seem more common. Although we love the opportunity to get outside, the hot and dry weather actually has a damaging effect on our infrastructure.

Dry weather is a major contributor to cracks and potholes in roads, which can cause serious problems for drivers. In addition, heatwaves can cause railway systems to overheat, as the temperature of steel rails can reach 20 degrees higher than the air around them. Therefore, consistent temperatures of 30 or even 40 degrees could lead to extreme over-heating of rail tracks. As a result, the metal on the tracks will expand, which puts them at risk of buckling. In extreme circumstances, this could derail trains.

Another issue caused by hot weather is the expanding and sagging of electrical lines. This is yet another factor that could cause serious disruptions to train services, and the lines might even be pulled down. The only way that the rail systems can combat these dangers is to impose more severe speed restrictions. Although this may cause delays over hot periods, it is the safest way for the transport system to operate.

Photo By: Karen Rogers at KR Garden Design

Floods

As has been proven time and time again in recent years, there are many areas in the UK that are not well equipped to cope with flooding. Another direct result of global warming, floods are becoming more and more common in the UK, and the Environmental Agency has told flood planners to “prepare for the worst”. In a recent consultation on flood strategy, the agency claimed that “for every person who suffers flooding, about 16 more are affected by loss of services such as power, transport and telecommunications.” Evidently, the UK’s infrastructure needs to keep improving, as floods are only going to worsen in the future.

In relation to this, the Environmental Agency advised that all public infrastructures need to be made flood-resilient by 2050. We also need to start considering the long-term rather than the immediate future. As part of this advice, they encouraged people to start considering potential flooding while building new homes, rather than just reacting to the damage when it occurs. When constructing something new, whether in the public or private sector, a flood risk assessment should always be carried out by the building services engineering company. These assessments identify flood mitigation measures and provide advice on what actions should be taken in the event of a flood.

Simple Ways to Improve the Appearance of a Room

Simple Ways to Improve the Appearance of a Room

You don’t have to spend bucketloads of cash on home refurbishments to make individual rooms look nicer and better. Here are several straightforward tips that would help you revamp unsightly rooms without overspending!


Photo By: Mary Cook

Repaint

Repainting is a probably the most common way to renovate or refurbish a home. Covering up old, grimy walls with new paint would certainly make a room shiny and new. But paint can add more to a room that just a fresh new coat.

If the room look rather boring, you can brighten it up with a new paint colour. But don’t choose anything that looks nice. Choose according to the existing colour palette in the room. Or you can make a new one. Depending on your preferences, you can either pick a wall paint that really pops, or stick to a softer tone that highlights brighter colors elsewhere, such as on the sofa cushions. A new colour theme could radically transform the looks of a room.

Allow in More Light

Light can dramatically make even the drabbest room décor infinitely better. There are several ways you can improve the light intake of a room. The easiest way is to get rid of thick curtains in favour or thinner ones, like sheer curtains. Additionally, move any furniture that might be in the way of incoming sunlight. To truly lighten up a room, consider changing the window design. Replacing old glass may give a clear view. If you have picture panes and the like, hire one of Winnipeg window companies to replace with clear glass to lets in more light. A minimalist window style might be the best.

Photo By: Savvy Interiors

Redo the Windows

You can also consider redoing the windows to make them bigger and let in a lot lighter. You may need to hire replacement window consultants for the job as it would require changing the windows wholly down to the frame. This option might be the best for older houses with smaller windows intended to insulate. A more modern design would incorporate larger panes for better views and more light.

Change the Curtain Style

Most homeowners like to keep their curtains for privacy as well as insulation purposes. However, you can change how a room looks with a new curtain style. The usual vintage, thick curtain style may give the room an out-dated look. Consider switching to a more modern style, such as with sheer curtains. You can add new colours to the room with new curtains too.


Photo By: Mary Hannah Interiors

De-Clutter with More Storage Space

For lived-in rooms, the biggest issue is not the décor but the clutter. No room can shine when there’s still here and there. A simple de-cluttering just might be what the room needs. Cleaning up is not enough. Give the room the storage space it needs to keep things in place without getting scattered all over. Buy space efficient furniture that double as storage to tackle the clutter problem from the root.

Try Minimalist Décor

Minimalist décor can remove clutter and increase the available space in a room. The style simply gets rid of excessive ornamental or unnecessary items in a room to maximize the available space. Minimalist rooms are highly accommodating and quite easy to clean as well. Try one or two of the above suggestions to improve any room in the house. The given tips work especially well for living rooms and similar gathering areas of the house.

How Can You Extend your Home Through Construction?

How Can You Extend your Home Through Construction?

Increase the value of your property by building an extension to your home! Here are some tips on what to build and how!

Photo By: Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.

Your home is usually a family’s greatest investment throughout their lives, which is why many families want to add to the value of the property that they have cared for, whether they are looking to sell, or simply want to increase its value in preparation for the future. Luckily, there are many ways in which you can add value to your home by investing in construction and building works.

Build a Garage

Garages for families are especially important if you have no off-road parking. However, even if you do, garages can add value to your home by giving your family an extra space to use as storage, as an entertaining room in which they can house guests, or even as a workshop in which to complete mess-creating hobbies, such as woodwork. In order to create a suitable garage for you and your family, you should speak to the experts at ArmstrongSteel.com. Steel garages are perfect for families looking to construct a garage near their home, as their flexibility allows you to adapt the space to all of your needs, including storing the car or even converting the garage into a living space.

Consider a Garden House

To rise above the average US house price of $200,000, you can also add value to your property by erecting a garden house within the exterior of your property. Garden houses are perfect for use if you have teenagers, elderly relatives, or even regular guests. This gives your family a private space to use that is away from the main house. This can increase the value of your home by giving you extra living space, and, in the meantime, you can even convert it into a games room, library, or man cave.

Convert Your Attic or Cellar

The two areas of your home which are likely going to waste are the attic and the cellar, as each of these spaces are often only used for storage purposes. Rather than let them become wasteful, you should consider converting these into extra bedrooms or entertainment rooms through remodeling and bright decoration. In fact, the price increase for properties in the USA that have 4 and 5 bedrooms is over $13,000.

Construct an Extra Room

A sure-fire way of adding value to your property is to construct an extra room that can help your home to shine and maximize the space available to people living within it. The best way to do this is to build an extension on your home, with most people opting to convert this into a kitchen or dining room.

When doing this, you should consider whether you want a single-story or double-story extension as this can help you cater to the expanding needs of your family. However, if you want a more budget-friendly way of adding a room, why not consider building a conservatory or orangery? These two glass-based extensions are both easier to construct than extensions, and cheaper for families who are looking for less permanent additions to their homes.

Attic Conversions: How to Decorate?

Attic Conversions: How to Decorate?

A loft conversion or attic extension is the best way to make the most out of your home. Keep reading to learn how you can do this!

Photo By: Marsh & Parsons

Lofts don’t tend to get as much love and attention as other rooms in our home, with them instead often used as that well needed storage space for things that haven’t see light in ten years, or items which only ever come out at certain times of the year – yes, we mean the abundance of Christmas decorations you’ve got stashed away. But the loft has so much potential, it’s such a shame to just use it as a place to shove your unused possessions! Clear it out of clutter and make use of that space…

A loft conversion or attic extension is the best way to make the most out of the potential of your home. The best thing is, it doesn’t have a typical set use like other rooms might, so whether you need another bedroom, want somewhere for your kids to play, or if you work from home and need a snazzy, light new office, then the attic could be the perfect option. However, before you get too carried away with uses and interior themes, you need to be sure it’ll be worth the money and disruption.

Is my Home Suitable?

You have to make sure your loft is actually high enough to make the conversion. If you’re not sure or can’t find any information, then consult an architect and a builder before thinking about going fully in. Be sure to check there aren’t any obstacles, such as a chimney stack. It also might be worth checking your roof doesn’t need doing first too. A loft renovation is a great way to increase the value to your home, but you need to take extra steps before throwing yourself into a major project.

Walls & Floors

Since everything is going to be disrupted and messy for a while, there’s a good chance you’re going to need new floors and newly decorated walls, and not just in the new space! Therefore, to minimise as much disruption as you can and get things done as quickly as possible, chose your flooring before you begin, line things up so you can enjoy your new conversion as quickly as possible.

There are so many choices with flooring that it’s hard to know where to start with the options! Solid oak flooring presents natural elegance along with incredible durability and relatively easy maintenance. It comes in so many different finishes, shades and species of wood, so you won’t be short on choice. But remember, if you’re planning on installing underfloor heating, you can’t use solid wood flooring, so you’ll have to choose an engineered wood board or alternative product such as laminate or luxury vinyl tiles.

These alternative products are often perfect for clean-cut, contemporary interiors, with a variety of styles available, ranging from realistic imitations of wood through to tile and stone effect.

Photo By: William Guidero Planning and Design

A peaceful retreat

Most of us lust after some extra, peaceful living space in our homes, particularly if you want an escape from kids! Many loft renovations  are used as that much needed quiet place, with it being out of the way and it not being used as often as the living room. This is also gives you the opportunity to really go to town on soft furnishings and fabrics, without having to worry so much about spillages and stains. If fancy breakable ornaments is something you’ve been too nervous to place in your busy living room too, then go for it!

Dedicate it to your children

Now we know that parents already make many sacrifices for their children, but we can guarantee that your kids are going to love your new conversion and will want to make their mark on it somehow. Perhaps a playroom, or a shared kid’s bedroom. A teen’s den is a great idea to give your teenager their own space well away from the rest of the house. The low ceilings lend themselves to great storage space, as well as any rouge beams making for a funky walk in wardrobe. Throw in beanbags, throws, cushions, or maybe even a hanging chair and they’ll have a space perfect for them!

Photo By: Henrik Nero

Guest room

It’s not always practical to have the master bedroom in the loft, especially if you have young children demanding your attention constantly. Keep the loft conversion a bedroom for your guests, where they can enjoy a good night’s sleep away from your little ones rising early! You can always move upstairs when your children get older too. Once more, your guests are unlikely to come with cupboards full of possessions, so you can use the abundance of storage space that most loft conversions have for yourself.

What do I do with awkwardly shaped ceilings and walls? 

Although attic conversions can provide that much needed extra space, they can sometimes come with irritating grooves and beams, getting in the way of your interior dream. But don’t let them put you off, there are ways you can turn to your advantage. Find a piece of furniture that fits into the grooves, whether that be a bed or a sofa. To bring extra character to the room, people paint the walls in the grooves different colours. We’d especially recommend a deep colour, or more muted colours for a restful feel.