Tag: advice

 

This summer, TV viewers were alternately gripped and horrified by the progress of a group of athletic young people abroad, following their joy and heartbreak, their victories and failures, and waiting with bated breath to see the drama unfold. No, not the football – we mean a popular reality show, where the contestants were seeking their soulmates… as well as £50,000.

But if there’s one thing on the island viewers truly fell in love with, it’s the stunning villa the couples got to call home. With perfectly manicured lawns, a luxurious infinity pool and changing rooms like the backstage area of a fashion show, it’s the kind of place you wouldn’t just want to spend a summer in, you’d want it all year round. So, we’ve come up with some ways you can incorporate a touch of villa magic into your home.

 

 

Outdoor kitchen

 

On the show, the tanned and toned competitors rarely seemed to eat, but there was an extensive outdoor kitchen complete with a double fridge freezer and dining table for them to use if the urge ever strikes. While an outdoor kitchen may not see much use in the UK – even during a heatwave – a pizza oven or brick barbecue will make entertaining easy, and give your garden a great focal point.

 

Swimming pool

 

There are more than 200,000 private pools in the UK, and when the weather is scorching, lots of people will be wishing there were a few more. You’ll need a big garden to accommodate the kind of dramatic pool overlooking the Mallorcan countryside that the couples enjoy, but if you scale back your ambitions, you could add an above-ground pool, plunge pool or even a simple hot-tub for less than you think, and get use out of it all year round.

 

 

Walk-in-wardrobe

 

If your clothes are crammed into tiny cupboards, or you find yourself getting ready by looking in your car’s rear-view mirror, then building a walk-in wardrobe might be the solution. It doesn’t need to have space for dozens of people – a simple small room, with good lighting and inbuilt storage could be all you need to help you organise your things and help you look your best.

 

Terrace

 

You can’t change your view very easily, but you can change the place you enjoy it from. Whether you have a first floor terrace, decking or a patio in the back garden, or are looking to create a space from scratch, you can effectively add another room to your house with some careful decisions. Adding flooring, such as tiling or decking, will separate the space, while seating and lighting will make it a place where you want to spend time.

 

 

Lawn

 

Most lawns in the UK have been through a lot this year, with rainfall at only 6% of what it normally was in some parts of the country. But even in the Spanish sun, the villa had a beautiful emerald lawn, which means it was being closely looked after by a dedicated team of night gardeners. If you don’t fancy that level of upkeep, then artificial grass could be a solution – many are making the switch, with the latest products being hard-wearing with a natural look. You’ll never have to mow it again – though you might need to sweep it from time to time.

 

Fire pit

 

If you want a dramatic garden feature where you can gather people to dramatically break their hearts, a fire pit is just the thing you need. Of course, you could also use it as a place to hang out with friend and family, and extend the use of your garden into the cooler months.

 

 

You don’t have to be looking to sell your home to think about adding value to your property. There are big and small ways to boost how much your home is worth, and also make it a nicer place to be.

 

 

Fix structural problems

 

If you are looking to sell, then taking care of major structural issues such as a sagging roofline or persistent damp issues is a necessary step to making it sale-worthy – but they’re not issues that you’ll want to live with for any length of time either. There are a variety of tradespeople available depending on the issue, from specialist roofers to structural engineers, bricklayers, and damp proofers.

 

Create a loft conversion

 

Building up is generally regarded as the single biggest boost you can give to your home’s value. It’s a major investment, but one that pays off with new living space that can completely change the feel of your home. Whether it’s a dormer, hip to gable, or mansard roof conversion, you will need to have plans drawn up and may need planning permission, before hiring an experienced loft conversion specialist to take on the project.

 

 

Build an extension

 

Similarly to loft conversions, adding more space to your home will add value and give you new ways to enjoy your property. Whether it’s creating a kitchen-diner or a dedicated space for an office or studio, there are firms that specialise in extensions and conversions and can help you realise your vision.

 

Update your kitchen

 

Many families value having a modern, usable kitchen, that can be used not just for cooking, but for eating, relaxing and entertaining. If you have the space and budget, updating your kitchen with all mod-cons can be a real boost for your home.

 

Refresh your bathroom

 

It’s difficult for anyone to feel like they can get clean in a tired and broken-down bathroom, with cracked tiles, mouldy grouting, and damaged units. While a bathroom fitter can completely revamp the room, you could refresh it with smaller changes – a tiler can add new tiles for cleaner look, while a plumber can swap in new taps and hardware.

 

 

Add a parking space

 

If you live in a town or city where parking is at a premium and neighbours are battling over spaces on the street, then can it can be a worthwhile investment to replace your front garden with a driveway, giving you peace of mind that you’ll always have a safe place to keep your car. A driveway needs to be built to last, so only hire an expert with a good track record.

 

Boost your kerb appeal

 

No one wants to live in the most run-down home on the street, and for buyers as well, first impressions count. There is plenty you can do to smarten up your kerb appeal, from adding a porch, replacing your front door, upgrading your windows or repainting the exterior.

 

Take care of the little things

 

Sometimes the little things don’t feel that small when you have to deal with them everyday, so why not make them better? Give new life to a room with a lick of paint or roll of wallpaper; add new lighting to your hallway; finally sort out the toilet with the dodgy flush – if it adds value to you, sometimes that’s all the value you need to add.

 

 

When the weather outside is wild and unpredictable, heading inside and enjoying the calm and comfort of your own home is a simple pleasure. While storms are raging and the rain is coming down, there’s nothing better than unwinding in a relaxing space you’ve helped create yourself. If your interiors are feeling drab or dated, we’ve come up with some ideas to help bring your rooms back to life, and turn them into the perfect shelter from any storm.

 

 

Time to Redecorate

 

If the skies outside are grey and overcast, sometimes our rooms can feel the same way. If yours are in need of some rejuvenation, a lick of paint can be all they need to make them come alive again. While painting is something you can tackle yourself, an experienced decorator can ensure the job gets done properly and is finished to a high standard.

 

Add New floors

 

Floors take a beating when bad weather hits, as we run home with soaking shoes and muddy boots. Even the most hard-wearing carpets can begin to show signs of age in heavily-trafficked areas such as hallways, and wooden floors can be similarly damaged by damp and stains. A flooring fitter or carpet fitter can help advise you on how to update your flooring and keep it pristine.

 

 

Refresh Your Bathroom

 

If you’re caught in an unexpected downpour, taking a nice soothing shower can be just the thing to help you relax. However, if your bathroom has seen better days, you might want to upgrade your showering experience, with a new shower, bath, or entire bathroom suite – perhaps with a new colour scheme and accessories to go with it. A bathroom fitter will be able to complete the project and give you a whole new room to enjoy.

 

Update Your Kitchen

 

Summer storms may be dramatic and exciting, but they’re certainly not ideal for barbecues. If you’re stuck cooking inside your kitchen instead of grilling out in the garden, then you’d better make sure your kitchen is the kind of place you want to spend time. It’s one of the most-used and well-loved rooms in the house, so make sure yours is up to scratch – speak to a kitchen fitter about creating a room that is right for you and your family.

 

 

The leaves are changing colour, the evenings are drawing in, and before we know it, the clocks will be turning back. Autumn is here, and there are a host of things you can do to your home to get it ready for colder nights and wetter days.

 

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Check your heating

 

Across offices and bars, the debate is already raging – have you turned your heating on yet? If you haven’t, then the chances are it hasn’t been on for a very long time. If that’s the case, then there’s no better time to make sure your boiler and your central heating system are all in full working order. Get yours checked over before all the engineers are busy with emergency callouts – or before you’re stuck with your own emergency breakdown.
Hire a heating engineer

Update your windows and doors

 

As temperatures drop, our cosy nights in can be rudely interrupted by cold drafts. Single-glazed windows and wooden doors can be the main culprits for these. Make sure yours are well-fitted and up to date to keep the cold out, and improve your home’s energy efficiency.
Hire a window fitter / carpenter

Repair any broken fences or gates

 

Strong winds and falling branches can wreak havoc on fences and gates, while wet conditions can cause wood to swell, warp and rot. Before any more bad weather sets in, it’s worth checking for any damaged panels or posts. Fixing them early can save money and effort further down the line
Hire a fencer

 

 

 

Fix damaged roof tiles

 

One of the easiest ways to prevent major problems from occurring is to keep an eye on your roof for signs of damage. Even a few loose tiles can lead to nasty leaks. An experienced roofer can inspect everything and should be able to show you pictures of any damage you might need to have repaired.
Hire a roofer

Make sure your home is insulated

 

No one wants a chilly and unwelcoming home when autumn begins to bite, so making sure your home is properly insulated is essential to keeping things nice and toasty. It can be a big job depending on what you want done, but can benefit your home for years to come.
Hire an insulation installer

Add new lighting

 

If you want to turn your indoor spaces into a safe haven from autumn’s damp and drizzle, lighting is key to creating the perfect atmosphere. Adding spotlights, accent lighting, or even just dimmer switches, can help change the character of a room with immediate impact.
Hire an electrician

 

 

 

Public holidays can feel few and far between in the UK, especially at this point in the year – the August bank holiday is the last day off until Christmas, and no one wants to think about the festive period just yet. When these days are hard to come by, it’s essential we make the most of them – so why not make plans this weekend to make some positive changes to your home?

 

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Clear away your summer clutter

 

If you still haven’t got round to putting away your suitcase after a sunny holiday in the past few weeks, don’t feel guilty – maybe you just don’t have a good place to put it. We all have stuff that never seems to have a place to go, so why not finally make somewhere? Converting your attic into useful storage space can make a huge difference and mean there’s always somewhere for your luggage to go.

 

Change up a room

 

We all have a tired room that needs a lick of paint t0 sort out, but we’re usually all too busy during the summer to get it done. Now there’s an extra day at your disposal, why not take it on – and if you don’t fancy doing it yourself, just hire a painter and decorator who can get it done quickly, and to a high standard.

 

Get rid of your old shed

 

If you’ve spent the summer going for long bike rides or spending lazy evenings cooking on the barbecue, you might have had to endure the rusty nails and giant spiderwebs of your garden shed more than you would have liked to – so why not ensure you don’t have to go through it all again next year? A demolitions specialist can clear out an old shed in next to no time, clearing the way for the nice new one you deserve.

 

Clean the chimney

 

September is fast closing in, with colder weather following close behind, and while it might not feel like time to light the fire and get cosy just yet, you don’t want to be caught out when the opportunity presents itself. If you’re not sure your stove or fireplace is up to it, find an expert who can make sure it’s all in working order and ready to go.

 

Cut down any dangerous branches

 

Glorious summer weather may have seen our gardens filled with blooming flowers and towering trees, but if you have any overgrown branches that look like they could cause a problem if bad weather strikes, then it’s worth nipping them in the bud. An experienced tree surgeon can help advise on what needs to go and carry out any work safely.

 

Check your roof tiles

 

A few downpours aside, this summer has been very kind to our roofs and gutters, but are you ready for the next shower? We all know the old saying about fixing roofs and shining suns, so while we’re still in August, get rid of any doubts by getting in touch with a roofer who can take a look and put right any issues.

 

Inspect your boiler

 

We recommend this tip all the time on MyBuilder, but it’s for good reason. Firstly, no one wants to have the hot water go off when you need it most, and secondly, gas boilers need to be checked to make sure they’re safe and not letting off dangerous gasses like carbon monoxide. Getting your boiler inspected can be done any time of year, but if you’ve got a whole day away from work, you have no excuse not to spend a few minutes booking an appointment with a Gas Safe engineer.

 

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Every year at this time, millions of teenagers across the country summon up their courage and tear open the envelopes containing their exam results, taking out the pieces of paper that will decide what they’ll be doing for the next year, and beyond.

 

Many of us swear that school will be the end of our exams, but the truth is, we never stop being put to the test. From our jobs to our homes, we always have questions to answer and goals to achieve. If you want to see if your home is up to standard, we’ve posed some brain teasers that you can tackle – but don’t worry, there’s no pass or fail here… because we’ve given you the answers too!

 

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Is your home light enough?

 

If your home feels dark and dingy, there are a number of ways to approach the problem. First, are your windows being blocked, either by towering walls and fences or by looming plants and trees? In the first instance, a bricklayer or fencer may be able replace your problem fence with an alternative such as trellis, which allows more light through, while a tree surgeon can tackle unruly trees and overhanging branches.

 

Secondly, are you using lighting properly? A few well-placed lamps can help illuminate your home, but more permanent solutions can have more dramatic results – spotlights in a hallway, or above-cabinet lighting in a kitchen for example. An electrician can help install these fixes.

 

Thirdly, think about the role decoration plays. Dark shades of paint and heavy woods can drain the lightness from a room. A painter and decorator can introduce brighter tones and help lift a space.

 

 

Is your home well ventilated?

 

If your home has issues with damp and mould, you’re not alone – but there are simple ways to overcome the problem. Buying a digital hygrometer can help you keep tabs on the moisture levels in your property, but the key things are to keep air flowing and avoid producing too much moisture to begin with. Open windows where you can, and try to steer clear of drying clothes on radiators or taking long, steamy showers. You should also check your extractor fans to make sure they’re working, or have them installed if you don’t have any. If there are persistent damp spots in certain places, such as under windows, then you check if there are issues with leaks, either from the window itself or from the brickwork around the windowsill.

 

 

Is your home well insulated?

 

If your home feels too hot during warm summer months, but freezing cold in winter, you should consider your insulation. As well as saving money on heating bills, it will also make your home more energy efficient.

 

Windows are doors are prime candidates for being upgraded if you want to improve your insulation. Properly-fitted double glazing will make a big impact. Cavity wall insulation and loft insulation are bigger steps, but can also produce great long-term results. You can also insulate beneath the floors and target things such as pipes to prevent them freezing during winter.

 

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