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Property &

WITH PHIL SPENCER Property hotspots Do you live in one?

Lofts and extensions

Making the right choice

The dos and don’ts of house hunting

How to add value to your home


your dream kitchen

Spring 2017

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Phil talks property

SPRING 2017 | £3.99


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What’s inside … INTERVIEW 15


Property Matters Location, Location, Location’s Phil Spencer shares some of the property wisdom that he’s gained over the years, covering everything from investment advice to renovations


News Flash

Property Hotspots From lucrative investment opportunities to affordable prices for first-time buyers, Property & Home explores the country’s best places to buy in 2017


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Reinventing Retirement Living New retirement housing models allow people over 60 to live their later years in comfort, good health and luxury

Keep up to date with the latest property and home trends and events



In February 2017, the government published a white paper pledging to build more affordable homes in England. What exactly does it entail?


Fixing the Broken Housing Market

Many of us don’t bother with a professional survey before buying a home. Property & Home explains why this is a mistake



Marketing Genius


New-build Homes: the Pros and Cons

The Dos and Don’ts of House Hunting House hunting can be a stressful time for anyone looking for a new place to call home—what are the top tips to keep in mind before making the big decision?

Homes Under the Hammer Properties sold at auction can be an affordable option and a tempting investment for first-time buyers


House Surveys: why You Need to Get One

The property market is a competitive one. What can you do to make your house stand out when you’re looking to sell?

New-build homes are becoming increasingly attractive to first-time

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buyers—here, we explore the benefits and the downsides


Avoiding Rogue Traders


Thousands of formal complaints are made about rogue traders each year. Property & Home shares advice on how to avoid getting scammed


HOMEMAKER Inside Story

From verdant hues to jungle prints, ring the changes this season with Property & Home’s favourite interior design trends


Light Fantastic


Convenience Versus Style


Designing Your Kitchen: a Checklist

Property & Home explores 2017’s most appealing lighting trends from minimalist LED tech to nature-inspired designs


Wet rooms are back in high demand, but are they worth choosing over a conventional bathtub?

IMAGES: Shutterstock; Osborne & Little; IKEA

Creating a spacious and comfortable kitchen area is becoming increasingly important for every modern property


Kitchen Must-haves


Spruce up your home


Your Complete Guide to the Perfect Spring Garden


From appliance garages to double sinks, these features will turn even the simplest kitchen into a multifunctional and efficient cooking space

The arrival of spring makes the idea of a home spruce-up that bit more appealing



Property & Home shares space-saving solutions to enhance your outside areas and a month-by-month garden prep calendar


Adding Value to Your Home If you can put some funds aside to improve your home, some projects have the power to dramatically raise its real estate value

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28/03/2017 14:07

Help make your plans a reality with equity release As you get older or retire, you may start to think about financing some larger purchases that could improve your quality of life such as making home improvements or buying a new car. Whatever it is, if your income has reduced or you don’t have enough savings, then you could feel your plans are just wishful thinking. But think again, in 2016 over 27,000† people brought their plans to life with equity release.

How does equity release work? It allows you to release a tax-free lump sum from the value of your home, without you having to move house. Although it may affect your entitlement to state benefits and the value of your estate will reduce, with some providers it is possible to release equity and still guarantee an inheritance.

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Smart and Secure Home 94


Connected Living Through the use of bluetooth and wifi, new generations of revolutionary smart appliances are enhancing everyday living


Bathroom Tech


The Smart Outdoors


Stay Safe, Go Smart

With technology in constant—and rapid—development, smart bathrooms equipped with the latest gadgets are becoming more commonplace

From sophisticated plant sensors to tailored irrigation systems, Smart and Secure Home rounds up the best smart outdoor devices

Traditional security systems are becoming a thing of the past; homeowners are now drawing their attention to more bespoke and costefficient options. Here’s all you need to know about smart home security



Smart Heating Connecting your thermostats to the internet can make your home’s heating systems more responsive, cost-effective and eco-friendly


The Dream Clean Technology is making it easier than ever to keep our homes clean


Saving Energy and Money Smart meters aim to give you accurate and personalised energy bills


handy home devices Everyone can benefit from a few useful tools and devices to enhance the efficiency of their home

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SENIOR EDITOR Hannah Guinness SUB EDITOR Annalisa D’Alessio ART EDITOR Friyan Mehta

Installing new flooring in your home is a major financial outlay that needs to be considered carefully


PUBLISHER & CEO Kevin Harrington


PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Courtney Stephens-Donaghey


ADMINISTRATOR Adam Linard-Stevens


There are a few free and simple pointers we can follow to save energy and slash our bills


Copyright ©2016, Celebrity Angels All rights reserved


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Glazing Windows Quality window glazing can keep your home warmer, isolate outside noise and cut down energy bills


Off the Wall Property & Home’s guide on how to best adorn your walls

Your Guide to Saving Space Decluttering solutions and space-saving furniture are both major trends that are gaining popularity in the interiors market


A Helping Hand Guarantor loans can be an easy way of putting funds together in a short space of time—but what are their pros and cons?


Getting the Best Home Insurance Owning a home can be expensive. In addition to mortgage costs and stamp duty, taking out home insurance can put a large dent in your budget— so how can we get the best deal?

The Curtain Call Let Property & Home help you pick the right dressings for your windows



Creating Living Space From loft and basement conversions to modern garden box extensions made out of architectural glass, there are countless ways to build extra space in your home

For sales enquiries call: 020 7871 1000

All material in Property & Home with Phil Spencer is wholly copyright and reproduction without the written permission of the publisher is strictly forbidden. Products and services included in this publication do not imply endorsement by Phil Spencer. The views expressed in this publication are entirely those of the writers and do not necessarily represent those of Celebrity Angels. The information in this publication is carefully researched and produced in good faith, however, neither the Publisher nor the Editors accept responsibility for any errors. The Celebrity Angels Series is published in the UK under licence by Damson Media Limited. Damson Media Limited is registered in England and Wales under registration no. 07869300.

Property & Home’s Free Energy-saving Tips

House Rules Home maintenance is easy to neglect, but these essential tasks shouldn’t fall by the wayside

PUBLISHED BY Celebrity Angels

Property & Home with Phil Spencer Celebrity Angels Suite 2, 143 Caledonian Road London N1 0SL Tel: 020 7871 1000 Fax: 020 7022 1694

Flood Defence Property & Home explores the practical measures you can take to protect your home from flooding


COVER IMAGE Fiona Murray Harlequin

Running an Energyefficient Home Managing energy efficiency in your home with a few informed decisions can go a long way in conserving the environment—all while saving you money


EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Phoebe Ollerearnshaw

Choosing the Right Flooring


Home Essentials Your home can be vulnerable in a variety of ways—fortunately there are measures you can take to protect it

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WELCOME Navigating the world of property can be challenging, whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned investor. For those looking to purchase their first home, today’s property market can seem daunting—with concerns over everything from rapidly increasing house prices to building a deposit fuelling anxieties. Those who already own a house may wonder whether it’s wise to invest in a second property or how they can add value to their existing home. The solution to these issues, as well as many others, can be found within the pages of this magazine. Property & Home aims to be a comprehensive guide to the world of property, from assessing the latest market reports to exploring this season’s interior design trends. In this issue we look at some of the topics dominating the property industry today, from where is best in the country to buy (hint: head north) to price rises and affordable housing. We also take a look at the essential mechanics of buying and selling your home, including the dos and don’ts of house hunting and how to market your property. Property improvement is—as with every issue of Property & Home —a major theme, from the latest interior trends to kitchen, bathroom and garden design pointers. Finally, this issue also welcomes a special section dedicated to the rapidly evolving world of smart technology in the home. From fridges that write your shopping lists to singing showerheads, Smart and Secure Home will explore the many ways in which technology can transform our homes.

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ProPerty Matters Location, Location, Location’s Phil Spencer shares some of the property wisdom that he’s gained over the years, covering everything from investment advice to renovations

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On investing in prOperty

IMAGES: Fiona Murray, Shutterstock

There’s a kind of herd mentality that goes with these decisions: ‘What’s everybody else doing? I will go and do that.’ But it’s not necessarily the right approach. Warren Buffet, a famous American stock market investor, said that if everyone else is doing it then you’ve missed your opportunity. Most investors buy two-bedroom flats and the thought process is that these properties can rent to singles, couples and sharers—and that does make sense. However, my own approach is that if most investors in one particular area are doing that, then that’s probably not the flat I’m going to buy...

On the merits Of buying versus renting

I think it’s far better to be paying off your own mortgage rather than paying rent and paying off someone else’s mortgage. It will take you 25 years, but you will get there. Rent is just dead money—you’re paying off someone else’s mortgage and they’re going to have a nice pension and retirement fund

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because of it. It also gives you control and ownership—you can come home one day and decide to paint the wall pink, or put a new bathroom in.

On difficult decisiOns fOr first-time buyers

I think it’s knowing when to take the jump— knowing when you’ve seen enough and knowing when to say, ‘That’s the one I want, I am going to put an offer in.’ The decision is never easy. It’s not even easy if you’ve done it four or five times, so the first time you do it is particularly scary, at whatever price. Talk to as many people as you can, listen and take advice.

On the best resOurces fOr buyers

Zoopla is a one-stop-shop for an awful lot of information, hints, tips and guidance. It’s not just about looking for a property— there is a huge amount of information on there. It’s not just about how to find a nice two-bedroom flat, but how to value it and

learn about market trends. It’s got mortgage calculators, transport routes, maps and market movements.

On the dOs and dOn’ts Of extensiOns

Extensions that increase the square footage of your property will always win. It’s my favourite quote of all—that it’s cheaper to build space than it is to buy it on the open market. That is absolutely true and I don’t think it will ever change.

On whether a renOvatiOn can really add value tO yOur prOperty

A complete renovation will certainly make your home a more pleasant place to live and really should cover the cost of doing it. I would say it’s not about how much you’ve got to spend, it’s what you do with it that counts. It’s by making it bigger, by improving your property or by extending it that you can potentially put it into a different price bracket.

ProPerty & Home 17

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On whether it’s better tO invest in a prOperty that yOu can develOp in the future

I always encourage people to look for properties where they can add value, because you want to try and outperform whatever the overall market is doing at the time. Remember, house prices are all relative. So just because yours has gone up by £25,000—and the one you might want to buy has also gone up by £25,000—then it doesn’t really mean anything. Unless you’re selling up and moving abroad or something—then it’s all ‘paper money’. You want to try and outperform the market— that’s when you’re doing well. That’s when it will help you fund the equity for your next move. There are various different ways of outperforming a housing market: buy in an area that changes during the time you live there, buy a property that you can improve internally or buy a property that you can increase the size of. Remember—it’s always more cost-effective to build extra space yourself than it is to buy it already made. If you can find a property that combines all

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three of these elements—then you should really be outperforming the market. Bear in mind that if you do the work and make a property bigger, it often also allows you to live in that property for longer. Given the costs of moving nowadays—whether you’re paying an agents fee or stamp duty— the process is very expensive and you’ve got to pay those fees in cash. I’ve always looked at housing like a game of snakes and ladders—you start in your first house at the bottom rung as a first-time buyer and you finish at the top in your last house. The person who wins at snakes and ladders is the person who throws the dice the fewest times, and that’s pretty much the same as in the property ladder.

On chOOsing a hOliday hOme

You just need to be clear on the math. Is it an investment or is it a holiday home? If it’s an investment, it doesn’t matter where it is or what it is, it’s all about the math. If it’s a holiday home, it needs to be somewhere that you’re going to want to go on holiday for a long period of time every time you go on holiday to really get the most out of it. 20 ProPerty & Home

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On whether it’s best tO use a building firm Or individual tradesmen fOr a prOperty refurbishment

It is going to be more cost-effective to do the latter. But I always think it’s a question of time versus cash and which one you value higher. If you have plenty of time and not much cash, you’d be much better served managing the project yourself because you will get it done cheaper. But if you have limited time and some spare cash you might be better off getting someone else to do it. But it also comes down to your expertise and how experienced you are. If you employ separate tradesmen, you have to know what you’re doing and how to manage it—because if you don’t, you’ll get tied up in knots! Personally, I’m a fan of the single contractor—you’ve got one relationship to manage and one person to pay.

On hOw the prOperty market has changed since phil bOught his first prOperty It was a completely different world. I bought a very large four-bedroom flat with

two reception rooms for £160,000. I got planning permission to convert it into two flats and then sold one of them—which was effectively half of what I’d bought—nine months later for £165,000. I lived in the other flat for five years, and then sold it for £380,000. That deal enabled me to take two steps up the ladder at that stage and buy my own house.

On hOw phil keeps things fresh fOr his tv viewers

Over the years I’ve made a number of shows and each has its own feel and tone. Before we go out and film a new series we have a bit of a review of how we make it, how we film it, which bits are good, which bits are less good, which bits are vital and which bits aren’t. My greatest worry is if the audience anticipates what’s about to happen, they’ll turn off and find something else to watch. I also like to imagine that viewers appreciate that it doesn’t always go brilliantly—that’s house hunting. It’s tough to do deals—it is real TV. It’s not scripted and it’s not rehearsed. What happens, happens. And it’s fun! 

27/03/2017 15:24


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News Fl ash Keep up to date with the latest property and home trends and events

A leading lender has offered to pay the stamp duty on behalf of first-time buyers in exchange for a higher rate of mortgage interest. Barclays’ new mortgage cashback offer is designed to pay for the buyer’s stamp duty on properties worth up to £250,000. High stamp duty—which affects around seven out of 10 buyers—is a barrier to many first-time buyers who spend years saving up for a house deposit and struggle to raise the extra amount of money to pay for the upfront tax.

22 PrOPErTy & HOmE

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Dates for your calenDar The Luxury Property Show Since its launch 10 years ago, the Luxury Property Show continues to attract visitors interested in luxury properties and associated services. Don’t miss it: the event will take place at Olympia London from 27-28 October 2017. For more information, visit

London house prices outpaced By rest of the country

Property prices have risen more across England than in London, according to latest figures published by the ONS. Despite this slowed growth—which can be attributed to many factors including the change in stamp duty and June’s Brexit vote—house prices in the capital are still more than double the national average. This highlights the greatest issue with London’s housing crisis: a lack of affordable homes as emphasised in the government’s recently published housing white paper.

IMAGES: Shutterstock

Bank offers to pay first-time Buyers’ stamp duty

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The average asking price for homes in London has dropped by 0.4 percent in one year, reportedly the steepest drop recorded since 2011. The figures, published by Rightmove’s House Price Index, also revealed that even though house prices fell in 12 boroughs of the capital, the average asking price is still in the region of £625,000. According to the report, inner boroughs such as Kensington and Chelsea have seen a 14.6 percent fall in house prices while outer boroughs such as Havering and Hillingdon have experienced increases of 1.4 percent.

room 2017’s bath trends


This is the UK’s largest and longest running exhibition of UK and international property. Don’t miss it: the event will take place from 28-29 April 2017 at the ExCel in London. For more information, visit


Alicante in Spain has become the most popular destination for Britons looking to buy a home abroad, according to a property website. Rightmove revealed that it recorded as many as 4.5 million searches for properties in Alicante over the course of 2016, beating Malaga as the most

searched destination. Overall Spain, France, Portugal and Italy continue to be the most popular overseas destinations searched online, with Florida in the US quickly rising in demand.


Councils will build thousands more homes with an emphasis on high-rise blocks and city-centre developments as part of the government’s new housing strategy. The government’s key shift, according to communities secretary Sajid Javid, is to help people buy homes—far too many are only able to rent. Too few councils have plans to meet the unprecedented housing demand, with 40 percent of local planning authorities lacking adequate proposals for building new homes to meet the projected growth in household numbers. •

room trends This year’s bath neutral and n, include moder . Open plan ns sig de ic ist minimal rthy tones ea th washrooms wi hemes— sc r lou co l ra and neut more of ion us giving the ill a popular g in ak m e ar space— r homes comeback in ou

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In Liverpool, low prices and high rental demand means that investors can maximise their yields.

From lucrative investment opportunities to affordable prices for first-time buyers, Property & Home explores the country’s best places to buy in 2017


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predicting that prices will grow by three percent, with the North West, East Anglia and the West Midlands likely to record higher-than-average gains. They have also predicted that rents will rise by 25 percent over the next five years. Whether you’re looking to climb that first rung on the property ladder or are a buy-to-let investor, scoping out the most promising places to invest across the country is essential.


For first-time buyers the capital’s property market can be a challenging environment, with vast swathes of the city rapidly becoming unaffordable for many. The likes of Dalston and Shoreditch, for example, have experienced a huge 60 percent and 58 percent price increase respectively over the last five years. There are, however, still plenty of places where new buyers

IMAGES: Shutterstock


016 was a relatively rocky year for the property market, with everything from the EU referendum to the changes in stamp duty for buy-to-let purchases blamed for a drop in property sales and house price growth slowing. Yet despite fears of a Brexit-induced slowdown, house prices are still set to rise in 2017—albeit slowly—with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors

27/03/2017 15:35


Did you know? Birmingham, the UK’s second city, is fast becoming a property hotspot.

can make their first investment. Keenly

Savills has forecast that UK rents will rise by 2.5% in 2017

priced and with good transport links, Streatham and Peckham are tipped to experience significant house price growth in the next few years, while outer boroughs like Barnet and Bromley are also well connected and offer good value for money, good schools and plenty of green space. In terms of affordability, Barking and Dagenham remains one of the most affordable places to purchase a home in London—the average house price last year was just £288,000. Even though prices have risen in recent years, the borough continues to remain an attractive option for buyers.

THE REST OF THE COUNTRY Close transport links to London made Luton the property hotspot of 2016, with property values nearly 20 percent higher than they were the year before. What do experts think will be the next places ripe for investment in 2017? Manchester is tipped to be one of the best places for investing in property in 2017.

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27/03/2017 15:35

UK PROPERTY TRENDS Many are pointing to Manchester. The city is currently the recipient of huge amounts of investment that experts predict will—alongside rising salaries, good price growth and low housing supply—hugely boost demand in the city. Another northern city with good investment potential is Leeds. Although it’s experiencing an increase in property prices it still represents good value for money, with average prices reaching just £150,000. Demand for rental properties is also high in a city served by a popular university and various regeneration projects—such as phase two of the High Speed 2 rail project and a £350 million development in the centre of the city—set to further boost its appeal to potential investors. Just seven miles away from Manchester, the commuter town of Stockport has direct rail links to Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and London. Properties in the area offer good yields and the town is fast establishing itself as a hub for business, with £1 billion being invested across Stockport over the next five years and a £42 million transport interchange under construction. Lower-than-average property prices, strong investment in amenities and infrastructure—such as the HS2 project—make Birmingham, the UK’s second city, an attractive prospect. Throw in huge regeneration projects such as the £900 million development around Curzon Street station and it’s no wonder that this ambitious city has been tipped as a property hotspot for 2017. Elsewhere in the country, Liverpool’s low prices and high rental demand thanks to the city’s many students means that investors can expect to maximise their yields. The city, like many in the north, is also home to various high-octane regeneration schemes. Similarly, high rental demand and low prices in Sheffield mean that the rental market is buoyant in this busy university city, which is set to see its international student population grow hugely over the next five years. • 28 PROPERTY & HOME

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did you know?

te of The Royal Institu eyors Chartered Surv at has predicted th ill grow house prices w by 3% in 2017

Liverpool is also home to various high-octane regeneration schemes.

Manchester is currently the recipient of huge amounts of investment set to boost property demand.

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11/01/2017 17:56


Fixing the

BROKEN HOUSING MARKET In February 2017, the government published a white paper pledging to build more affordable homes in England—what exactly does it entail?


ew reforms published in the government’s white paper on housing are aiming to make the property market work for everyone, including individuals on lower incomes, renters and disabled and older people. According to the government, 250,000 homes are needed each year to keep on pace with demand—these newly published plans include giving councils the power to pressure developers into building on land they own and making rents more familyfriendly with longer tenancies offered around the country.

good transport links. In addition to this, local authorities will be able to speed up the house building process by issuing completion notices.

DIVERSITY Getting on the property ladder is now more challenging than ever as a house can cost up to eight times our average earnings. Furthermore, the number of people living in the private rental sector has doubled since 2000 and over 2.2 million households spend one third of their income on housing—making saving up for a deposit

TACKLING LEASEHOLD An alarming number of buyers are not aware that buying a leasehold house can be more expensive than a freehold house in the long run. The government will consult on measures to promote fairness and transparency and tackle unfair and unreasonable abuse of leasehold

IMAGES: Shutterstock

BUILDING Local areas will need to produce a plan of their current and future housing pressures and review it every five years. This is an important move as the government predicts that as many as 40 percent of planning authorities currently do not have updated plans that complement the estimated growth in households—this will ensure homes are built in areas where people want to live and work. Councils will also be expected to avoid building properties at low density, instead building upwards and in locations with

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27/03/2017 15:37

UK PROPERTY TRENDS almost impossible. According to the white paper, the same 10 companies build 60 percent of new homes: there is a real need to diversify the market. The £3 billion Home Building Fund will help provide loans for SME and custom builders—creating new jobs in the meantime.

HOMEOWNERS In April 2017, the government will introduce the Lifetime ISA giving young individuals a 25 percent bonus on up to £4,000 savings a year which they can put towards buying a new home or withdraw once they turn 60. Starter homes will be targeted at first-time buyers and through the National Planning Policy Framework, these properties will be available to those who need them most—individuals with an income of less than £90,000 in the capital and £80,000 everywhere else in the country.

AFFORDABLE RENT An extra £1.4 billion was announced for the Affordable Homes Programme to build around 225,000 affordable houses in this parliament. This plan includes rent-to-buy homes and shared ownership homes—the hope is that these will allow families to find a property that is right for them.


‘Walk down your local high street today and there’s one sight you’re almost certain to see. Young people, face pressed against the estate agent’s window, trying and failing to find a home they can afford. With prices continuing to skyrocket, if we don’t act now, a whole generation could be left behind. We need to do better, and that means tackling the failures at every point in the system.’

—Sajid Javid, communities secretary

In this white paper the government has also recognised that in order to fix the housing market, the cost of renting must be dealt with. This includes allowing planning for more long-term build-torent homes, allowing developers to offer affordable rents alongside housing and ensuring long-term tenancies in private rented schemes.

EMPTY HOMES In order to tackle empty homes, local authorities will be able to earn the same financial reward for bringing an empty home back into use as they would by building a new one. In addition to this, they will have the power to impose a council tax premium of up to 50 percent on top of the existing bill on properties that have been empty for more than two years. • 32 PROPERTY & HOME

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27/03/2017 15:37





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16/02/2017 17:35

Unlock the value of your home House prices in the UK have increased significantly over the last few decades and these rises could mean that there is considerable equity tied up in your home. When you consider how much property has increased in value in more recent years, you might be pleasantly surprised by how much equity you have in your home. It could be the key to help you achieve a better retirement.

Equity release means you could:

Popular uses for equity release:

✓ Unlock a tax-free cash lump sum from your property

There are lots of reasons why you might consider equity release, and you can spend the money on almost anything you want.

✓ Continue living in the home you love ✓ Still choose to leave an inheritance for your loved ones Plus, there are usually no monthly repayments as the plan is only repaid once you can no longer live in your home – either as a result of moving into permanent long-term care or in the event of your death.

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• Home improvements • Gifts to family • Ease financial pressures • Holiday of a lifetime • Buy a new car

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Taking out an equity release plan enabled me to make some home improvements. I found that from the outset all of the people I dealt with made the process appear uncomplicated and quite stress free.

Mr. W, Stoke on Trent

Could equity release be right for you? You could be eligible if:

Together we can help bring your plans to life.

✓ You own and occupy a UK property of standard construction

Our team of experienced equity release advisers are here to help you find out if equity release would work for you.

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One of our advisers will also explain how releasing equity could affect your entitlement to means-tested benefits and will reduce the value of your estate. If equity release isn’t right for you, you’ll be told why and given help finding another alternative. You’ll be charged an advice and arrangement fee of £749 if you take out a plan we recommend.

quoting HOME to speak with a specialist today. Or for more information visit: Lines are open from 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays. Calls may be monitored and recorded for training purposes. Just Retirement Solutions Limited. Registered office: Vale House, Roebuck Close, Bancroft Road, Reigate, Surrey RH2 7RU. Registered in England Number 05125701. Just Retirement Solutions Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.


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Buying • Selling • Part Exchange • Legal Services Covering England, Scotland and Wales.

Buying or selling a retirement property? We are Britain’s number one retirement property specialist, helping thousands of satisfied customers buy and sell their properties for over 30 years.

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RETIREMENT LIVING New retirement housing models allow people over 60 to live their later years in comfort, independence, good health and luxury


IMAGES: Shutterstock


roperty developers around the country are now offering one or two-bedroom homes exclusively to people over 60. Some even come with pools, fitness facilities, spas, gardens and space for organised activities and social events. The need for new and modern retirement living options is too great to ignore—the number of people over 65 is expected to rise by more than 50 percent by 2033—but this demand hasn’t been met yet. Specialised retirement house builders now offer homes that are made to high standards and suited to every requirement of later life. There are two main types of retirement properties available on the market, the one you choose will largely depend on your individual needs and priorities. Independent living properties offer

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last-time homebuyers the possibility of purchasing their own home in a development without the need to carry out maintenance tasks such as gardening and window cleaning. Assisted living homes, on the other hand, offer the possibility of additional care and security. Some of these properties can feature on-site restaurants, homeowners’ lounges, offer round the clock support and assistance and are situated near essential amenities such as shops and grocery stores. The time of clinical facilities is coming to an end—these new retirement living solutions are gaining widespread popularity because they look and feel like home, focus on hospitality and feature ample space and resources designed to make later life independent, easier and more comfortable. •

65-79 year olds Although 9 in 10 pied houses, cu oc rlive in unde a retirement there could be 0,000 houses 16 of p housing ga to vernment fails by 2030 if the go yers bu e m -ti st la focus on tional Source: Interna e Longevity Centr

FACTS & FIGURES There are around 515,000 specialist retirement homes in England. This means there is only enough specialist housing to accommodate 5% of the over-65 population Source: International Longevity Centre



27/03/2017 15:40


10 The Perfect

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28/03/2017 11:09


The Dos and Don’ts of House hunting can be a stressful experience for anyone looking for a new place to call home—what are the top tips to keep in mind before making the big decision?


hether you’re a first-time buyer looking for a family home or a professional looking to invest in property, house hunting can be truly stressful and time-consuming—if you’re not prepared for all that it entails. With a few simple pointers, from making lists and calculating budgets to hiring an inspector and reading a contract’s fine print, the experience can become infinitely easier—and even enjoyable. Property & Home shares the major dos and don’ts for a smooth and easy house hunting experience.

IMAGES: Shutterstock


While it’s true that each one of us has a clear idea of what their dream home should look like, it’s important to keep both feet firmly on the ground—and to have a specific budget to stick to.

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Obtain a mortgage preapproval before you begin the house hunting process, as this will make it much easier to decide which properties are realistic prospects. Factor in mortgage, council tax and insurance rates for the area you are interested in—these costs can all add up very quickly.


Overlooking potential problems can easily burn a hole in your pocket. Hiring an expert, such as an agent or home inspector, will allow you to make an informed decision. Professionals in the field can best spot issues with plumbing, roofing and heating systems. Don’t be afraid to ask for repairs or a home warranty during the negotiation period. Similarly, hire a buyer’s agent to optimise the process—especially if you’ve got a limited amount of time available. They will be able to arrange

viewings, search for homes that meet your specific criteria and even help you negotiate a fair price.


There are many aspects that make a house a home. Things like location, neighbourhood, parking, facilities and public transport links should all be factors in the decision process. To ensure you’re getting all that you need—and want—compile a ‘must haves’ list to make this important step that little bit easier. While things like flooring, wall colours and cupboards can be altered, floor plans and lots cannot. In some situations, it will be necessary to consider what is essential rather than what is desirable.


Doing your own research—and not just blindly trusting what you’re told PROPERTY & HOME 41

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PROPERTY BUSINESS or what you read on a real estate advertisement—will always work in your favour. There are now countless apps, like Zoopla, that allow users to search recent sell data for specific postcodes and professional valuations for every home in the UK. Researching the neighbourhood, nearby schools, amenities, traffic and transport on the web will make sure there are no nasty surprises once the contract is signed and finalised. You’ll be glad you gathered this useful information if—and when—you decide to sell.

DO TAKE NOTES AND PICTURES Chances are you’ll view more than a handful of potential houses. Always bring a notepad and take pictures and videos of what you see to make each property memorable. Remember: viewing a house more than once is wise and perfectly reasonable. Buying and renting are both very costly and important decisions, you’ll not want to leave anything to chance.


Only by asking questions will you get all the facts you need to make an informed decision. Do not be embarrassed to check all the nooks and crevices—after all, this could be your home for the foreseeable future. Sellers should be prepared for potential buyers to explore the home in minute detail, from every kitchen cupboard to bathroom drawer.

did you know?

Around 90% of gin homebuyers be line their search on l Association Source: Nationa of Realtors


Buying—or renting—a property is a huge long-term commitment; do view various houses before you decide to settle on one. When you do settle, giving yourself enough time to calmly mull over all the relevant information will limit the possibility of a rash decision with potentially negative consequences. Make sure you leave enough time to study contracts, as they can be very expensive to get out of. Read the fine print and, again, ask as many questions as you can. • 42 PROPERTY & HOME

PS9.House Hunting.indd 42

28/03/2017 15:50

Stylish convenience for the centre of your home. Your kitchen is the heart and soul of your home. So why not declutter it, and make it run even more smoothly, with the help of InSinkErator®? Our convenient, time-saving and energy-efficient products are beautifully in tune with modern life. At the touch of a lever, our steaming hot water taps dispense instant filtered steaming hot water at up to 98ºC – just right for making a cuppa in seconds and streamlining countless kitchen tasks. Our food waste disposers fit a standard sink and eliminate food waste without knives or blades. Quickly, quietly, efficiently and safely. Life runs more smoothly with InSinkErator®. Call us today on 01923 297 880 to find out more about our extensive range.

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01/11/2016 14:18


House Surveys Why You Need to Get One


ou’ve got a mortgage, fallen in love with a house, made an offer and had it accepted. That’s it, right? Wrong. Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make in your life and it’s essential that you know exactly what you’re buying—by carrying out a survey. A survey is a detailed inspection of a property where every aspect of the building is carefully assessed. It will be able to tell you what—if any— maintenance and repair issues there are, giving you a clear idea of whether the price you’re paying for the house is a fair one and whether you can budget for fixing any problems that are flagged up. If there are issues with the home you’d like to buy, a survey can be a


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powerful tool for driving down the buying price with your seller or asking them to fix the problem prior to purchase. It also gives you the opportunity to back out of the sale if you feel the problems are too extensive or expensive to fix. There are several different types of survey available, all of which range considerably in price depending on the property and surveyor you select—ensure you shop around and get different quotes before choosing. Costs will roughly range from £350 to £1,300 depending on the value of the house or type of survey. The most extensive and thorough survey available is the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Building Survey. It provides a comprehensive report that covers the structural integrity

of the property, repairs, maintenance issues and defects. The surveyor will go beyond surface checks and look in places like under floorboards and in the attic—they will also be able to provide advice and information on projected costs and timings for repairs. It’s particularly suitable for large or period homes, if you plan on altering the property or if the building is in need of repairs. The RICS Condition Report is best suited for relatively new builds and those in good shape, and will outline the condition of the property and flag up any major issues but won’t go into detail. The RICS Home Buyers Report is more detailed and will assess structural problems and issues such as damp, and will point out anything that may need

IMAGES: Shutterstock

Many of us don’t bother with a professional survey before buying a home. Property & Home explains why this is a mistake

27/03/2017 15:45



A mortgage lender’s valuation is not the same as a house survey—it’s carried out on the lender’s behalf and won’t tell you anything about the condition of the property. It only confirms whether the property is worth the amount you want to pay for it ongoing maintenance or doesn’t meet building regulations. It’s a surface-level inspection and won’t investigate under floorboards or behind walls. It also offers a market valuation and rebuild costs. Similar to this is the SAVA Home Condition Survey—it doesn’t come with a market valuation but will flag up any issues you need to pursue before purchase as well as any legal problems to be addressed during conveyancing. Finally those looking to buy a new house may want to consider a New Build Snagging Survey, which assess issues specifically in new homes—from cosmetic to structural. •

PS10.Surveys.indd 45


27/03/2017 15:45

ProPerty business

Homes Under

the hammer

IMAGES: Shutterstock

Properties sold at auction can be an affordable option and a tempting investment opportunity for first-time buyers

46 ProPerty & Home

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27/03/2017 15:53

ProPerty business


t’s easy to see why buying a property at auction appeals. Homes bought this way are often cheaper than those bought via an estate agent, everything is agreed at the sale so there’s no chance of anything falling through at the last minute, it’s a completely transparent process and, lastly, it’s quick—very quick. As with all major purchases, however, there are important factors to consider. Read on for the key dos and don’ts of attending and bidding at a property auction.


get carried away. Establish exactly how much you can afford to bid beforehand and stick to it. Bidding at an auction means entering into a binding legal contract—this is not the place for second thoughts.

DO be aware of the costs involved. As well as the price of the property you’ll also have to pay your solicitor or conveyancer, stamp duty and an administration fee to the auction house.

DON’T be slow. Speed is of the essence when it comes to auctions. There’s typically four weeks between the publication of an auction catalogue and the sale so make sure you act quickly and that you have everything you need—whether that means getting easy access to a deposit or a survey of the property.

DO be patient. Auctions can be quick but they still require considerable effort and outlay, from researching the property to ensuring your financing is in place—all essential requirements before heading to the auction house.

DON’T pay too much. It’s easy to get carried away but make sure you don’t pay wildly over the odds for a property. This

is easily avoided by making sure you assess how much the property is really worth before the auction. Go to viewings and consider taking a professional such as a builder along with you to spot any potential issues.

DO be imaginative. The condition of auction properties can sometimes leave much to be desired—hence their lower prices—but look past the superficialities and you could secure a hidden gem. Compare the guide price with other homes on sale locally to see if it’s realistic, and make sure you factor any necessary renovations into the overall cost of the purchase.


overlook the legal details. Before the sale you’ll typically be given a pack of legal documents for the property such as the special conditions of sale and the title deeds—amongst others. Ask a solicitor to check these over thoroughly.

DO get a survey of the property before the auction. You don’t want to commit yourself to a sale and only discover afterwards that the property needs thousands of pounds worth of repairs.

DON’T assume you’ll pay the guide price. Auction houses often set prices lower than what the property is likely to sell for in order to entice buyers.


have your financing organised. If your bid is successful, an auction house will usually need a 10 percent deposit on the day of the sale and full payment within 28 days. If you’re not paying cash then you need to make sure before the auction that you have a loan arranged—this will usually be an agreement in principle from a mortgage lender.

DON’T jump straight in. Immerse yourself in the world of auctions—from reading as many brochures as you can get your hands on to attending auctions as a mere observer. This is a competitive world you’re entering and it’s vital you get a sense of how it works. •

PS11.Property Auctions.indd 47

PRoPERTY & HomE 47

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here is nothing more valuable than a great first impression when trying to sell your home. Simple marketing techniques, if executed properly, can dramatically raise the profile of your property above the competition and attract the attention of the right buyers. The way you present your home will have an enormous impact on how much money it will sell for—merely hanging a ‘for sale’ sign is no longer enough. Using the power of the internet to your advantage is, perhaps, one of the easiest and most useful ways to boost a buyer’s interest in your property. In addition to being free, social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest are visited by billions of people monthly— what better way to get word out about


PS12.Market Property.indd 48

your upcoming sale than sending a tweet, uploading a picture or publicly posting your listing? Most house hunting begins online nowadays, so taking great interior and exterior pictures of your property—by emphasising spaces, cropping out vehicles and sidewalks, removing toys and any evidence of pets and presenting everything

Facts & figures Home ownership has been rising steadily among those aged 65 or more. In 1981 half of the 65-74 age group were homeowners. By 2013-14 that figure was 78%

as neatly as possible—will send the right message to buyers looking for a great home, as will creating virtual tours with music, professionally written descriptions and sound. Newspaper and trade magazine ads, real estate publications and local listings are also a great way to get your property noticed, as they attract a different kind of audience; the one that doesn’t use social media—it’s crucial to cover all the bases. Hiring a great agent and incentivising them—like offering an extra half percent for a speedy sale—will drive effort and in turn increase your property’s visibility in a competitive market. Trusting the right professional is also key: ask at least three agents to value your home, ask them about previous sales achievements, make sure

IMAGES: Shutterstock

The property market is a competitive one, so what can you do to make your house stand out when you’re looking to sell?

27/03/2017 15:54


did you know?

they have an easily navigable website and speak to a few of their past clients. Selling a home isn’t easy, so it’s always better to do your research on who you’re doing business with. You may be doing everything right but still end up without a quick sale. In these cases it might be worth considering an open house or a few guided tours led by your agent. An open house creates buzz around the property and may also lead to quicker and higher offers. Before this happens, make an effort to tidy your home and carry out simple—and outstanding— DIY jobs to present the property in the best possible condition. Maintenance should be on the top of a seller’s list, as buyers will prefer visiting a house that is ready to move into. Make your home easy to visit and be flexible with timings and viewings—potential buyers will not chase or reschedule meetings if they sense sellers are detached or disinterested. If it helps, shuffle dates to suit buyers—this will pay off, especially in the current state of the property market. •

PS12.Market Property.indd 49

-to-34-yearIn 1991 more 25 use than olds owned a ho ye 25 ars later, not. Less than e ownership m the rate of ho p has fallen in that age grou to 35% Source: English

Housing Survey


27/03/2017 15:54


NEW-BUILD HOMES the Pros and Cons

New-build homes are becoming increasingly attractive to first-time buyers—we explore the benefits and the downsides making them unsuitable if you’re looking for a short-term investment.  Outside space—such as gardens and driveways—can be limited, as developers will sometimes prioritise fitting as many houses as they can onto a plot of land.  New builds can lack the character and generous proportions of an older period property. •


he allure of a brand-new home is a tempting one for many house hunters, but it’s important that novelty doesn’t trump clear-headed decisions when considering the relative merits and disadvantages of buying a new-build property.


 You’re the first person to live in the property, meaning that everything is new and in good condition. Most new builds will also come with double-glazed windows and good insulation, which will cut your energy bills.  New builds typically come with a neutral décor, giving you plenty of scope to decorate it as you see fit. Many 50 PROPERTY & HOME

PS13.New Build Homes.indd 50

developers will also let you customise your new home by choosing your own fittings, work surfaces and flooring.  As everything in the building is new, maintenance costs are typically low in the first few years of ownership.  As there’s no upward chain, new homes are easier to buy—particularly if you part exchange your previous home.


Newness doesn’t always guarantee quality. Not every developer will prioritise transparency so make sure you research the area, property and the developer carefully.  New builds can be more expensive and will drop in price once you’ve purchased,

1. Missing a tight deadline to exchange contracts Developers may only give you 28 days to exchange contracts. 2. Having to reapply for a mortgage when buying off plan Your chosen property may not be ready for a while, some mortgage lender’s offers may only be valid for 3 months. 3. Missing out on the Help to Buy Equity loan scheme Check if you’re eligible to buy a newbuild property with a 5% deposit. 4. Failing to get a mortgage with a small deposit Some lenders won’t offer their deals for new-build purchases if your deposit is small. 5. Missing out on the best shared ownership mortgage The deals and eligibility criteria differ depending on your available deposit and share of the property. Speak to a new-build mortgage broker who’ll advise the best deal for your circumstances. London & Country;

IMAGES: Shutterstock


28/03/2017 09:09


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Thousands of formal complaints are made about rogue traders each year. Property & Home shares advice on how to avoid getting scammed


IMAGES: Shutterstock


hether you’re after some maintenance work or looking for a professional to insulate your windows or install a burglary alarm, finding a trustworthy tradesperson can seem daunting. Scam stories often dominate the media and some people in our communities, like the elderly, are statistically more at risk of being targeted than others. How can we best protect ourselves—and others—from rogue traders offering shoddy, dangerous and overpriced home maintenance jobs? The first step is to gain enough confidence to say no to doorstep traders who show up uninvited and unannounced. They usually have no formal training or expertise to carry out the jobs they

PS14.Rogue Traders.indd 53

• Do not hire someone who shows up at your door uninvited. • Never go to a cash point with a trader. • Do not agree on house repairs on the spot without having done your research. • Be very wary of ‘special offers’ and warnings that your house may be unsafe. advertise, and may even be working with distraction burglars—who use diversions, such as a doorbell, to trick their way into people’s homes to steal their valuables. Doing your research, reading other people’s experiences on trusted online forums and relying on official governing bodies and associations will allow you to find reputable tradespeople with a history of good quality work—which will save you money and a great amount of stress in the long run. As a simple rule of thumb, you should always look for official business numbers, a business address and an official phone number. •

FIND A BUILDER TOOL You want a reliable service, a good price, and a result that will stand the test of time. The construction industry is highly regulated so legal and safety aspects can be timeconsuming, costly and confusing. The National Federation of Builders has a free ‘find a builder’ tool to help you get the ball rolling. Most builders and contractors are members of a trade body; membership gives a builder a degree of credibility, as it requires quality and credit control checks. The most important step in making your dream home a reality is finding the right builder for your needs. This relationship is the foundation of a stress-free project. It’s vital to take your time when choosing the right builder; the ‘find a builder tool’ is supported by staff who read your requirements and recommend companies that they know will deliver. To find out more about the tool, visit


25/05/2017 16:35



From verdant hues to jungle prints, ring the changes this season with Property & Home’s favourite interior design trends

Osborne & Little curtain in Meadow F7010-02; chair in Mikado Velvet F6990- 20; cushion in Mikado Velvet F6990- 01.


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28/03/2017 13:18



ith every new season comes a flurry of edicts from blogs and magazines urging us to transform our interiors. Realistically, however, most of us don’t have the time, money or inclination to radically transform our homes two or three times a year. What we can do is add subtle, easy updates that keep our interiors current. Here, Property & Home explores the latest trends that you can introduce to your home with minimal fuss.


Pantone’s colour of the year is the suitably spring-like Greenery, a zesty hue that, to quote Pantone, ‘evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew’. Greenery is an attention-grabbing colour and lots of it can overwhelm, so refrain from painting it on all four walls. Instead, restrict yourself to feature walls in well-lit rooms with plenty of natural light. Alternatively, use it to add pops of colour to a room—from oversized botanical prints to an armchair upholstered in velvet.

IMAGES: Harlequin; Little Greene; Farrow & Ball; Osborne & Little; Anthology


The recent interest in faux finishes is great news for the cash-strapped and eco-conscious, with materials—ranging from faux leather to faux wood paneling— designed to look just like the real thing. In many cases they perform even better than their ‘real’ counterparts. Engineered quartz worktops can handle heat better than marble ones and faux wood doesn’t need expensive treatments to stop it from rotting.


Take a maximalist approach to mixing different patterns and textiles and don’t worry about clashing. It’s also a good idea to focus this look on statement pieces— such as a bed with different patterned duvets, cushions and throws—as a way of anchoring a room.


Making a room feel modern no longer means you have to paint everything in

PS15.Interior Design1.indd 55

Little Greene, London Wallpapers IV in Upper Brook Street—Minuit; Skirting painted in: Jack Black 119; Floor painted in: French Grey Pale 161. PROPERTY & HOME 55

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HOMEMAKER chilly shades of white or beige. Softer and less oppressive than black, navy pairs well with most colours and can be used to add clean contemporary accents to a room—try painting your kitchen cabinets or reupholstering your sofa in this hue. Not all of you will be enamoured with the blunt cheeriness of Greenery and if sleek white minimalism is your thing then make sure you layer varying shades of white—from bone to chalk and ivory—in a room rather than one flat colour, which can create a hospital-like feel. Deep, saturated jewel tones will be popping up everywhere in 2017—try adding accessories and scatter cushions in intense emerald greens and cobalt blues to add a dash of drama to a room.


Spurning mass-produced items in favour of crafting your own homewares is a trend that has been in full swing for years. Now, consumers are moving on from DIY and seeking pieces that have been made by experts with real skill and ingenuity. Try collecting beautiful handmade ceramics— from vases, pots and light fixtures—to add an artisan touch to your home.

Farrow & Ball’s SS17 Trend colour All White No.2005. Momentum by Harlequin. Foreground wallpaper: Sumi 111572 ; background wallpaper: Distinct 111564; footstool: Momentum Accents 131333; cushions: a selection from Momentum 8; Rug: Zoffany Mushroom 351287 Rug: Zoffany Mushroom 351287.


Butterflies—emblazoned on walls, cushions, bedding and curtains—will be 2017’s favoured motif. To avoid an overly twee effect opt for delicate yet outsize prints that focus on the intricate architecture of the butterfly wing. Another big theme for prints this season aims to turn your interiors tropical: think oversized jungle foliage and all manner of exotica—from parrots to jaguars. Intersperse these with house plants such as ferns and Swiss cheese plants.


Weaving different textures into a room is a clever way of adding interest, especially if your colour scheme is neutral in nature. Folded and pleated velvets in upholstery, throws made from chunky yarns, unfinished materials such as raw wood and handmade ceramics help a space feel less slick and more like a home. • 56 PROPERTY & HOME

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Osborne & Little curtain in Rain Forest F7013-02; sofa in Mikado Velvet F6990- 05; middle cushion in Rainforest F7013-02; right hand cushions in Mikado Velvet F6990- 12 and F6990- 09, trimmed with Mikaod Velvet F6990-05.

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28/03/2017 13:38


6 secrets for redecorating your home


If you have low ceilings but want to create the illusion of height then keep your furniture low-slung and hang curtains as close to the ceiling line as you can get them.

2 3 4 5

Brighten up a dark room by painting the ceiling a slightly paler version of the colour used on the walls.

An easy—and cheap—way of adding a sense of opulence to a room is adding lots of pillows in contrasting colours and patterns. Pick the paint colour last. It’ll be much easier to pick the right hue once you’ve chosen all your other fittings, upholstery and furniture.

If your budget is restricted then only spend money on key pieces essential to that room. For a bedroom that means the bed, a living room the sofa and the kitchen a dining table


Invest in two different curtain colours and change them seasonally—it’s an easy way of refreshing a room.

Little Greene London Wallpapers IV, Old Gloucester Street— Tome; Woodwork painted in: French Grey Mid 162 Floor painted in: French Grey Mid 162.


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Anthology Definition wallpaper in Diffusion 111606 389; sofa in Veda 131702; cushions (left to right) in Veda 131707, Seinki 132352 backed with Seinki 312344, Mesh 132142

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28/03/2017 13:38


Anthology Definition wallpaper in Sabkha 111613; curtains in Senkei 132340, Senkei 132341; cushions (left to right) in Cambium 131813, Izolo 132330, backed with 132328


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28/03/2017 13:37

Sustainability Without Compromise

A Professional Choice Eco Ezee Limited.indd 1

03/01/2017 10:19


Light Fantastic

IMAGES: Shutterstock

Property & Home explores 2017’s most appealing lighting trends—from minimalist LED tech to natureinspired designs

62 ProPerty & Home

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ighting is one of the more overlooked aspects of interior design. We tend to fuss endlessly over paint colours and fabric swatches, all the while disregarding the extent to which clever lighting can transform a room, giving it warmth, space and interest. Here, Property & Home takes a look at what’s on trend for 2017.

Into the wIld

Lighting fixtures influenced by nature are a strong theme for 2017—think refined petal and foliage-inspired designs in soft gold. For a less obvious nod to the trend try organic shapes and natural colours, textures and materials such as rattan, raw wood, bamboo and cork.


A Mad Men -style mid-century aesthetic has been a mainstay of home décor trends for years, and in 2017 this look has now filtered into the world of lighting—think spare, elegant forms and designs that blend functionality with aesthetics. As well as this, early-century Art Deco designs will also be all the rage: look for fixtures with sharp angles, strong geometric shapes, black, gold and white colour schemes and mirrored and metallic materials.

mInImal modeRn

If the vogue for all things mid-century doesn’t appeal, then opt for modern minimalist designs that use energysaving LED technology. LEDs emit less heat than traditional bulbs, a feature that means you can have discreet fixtures that offer illumination without bulkiness. This works particularly well in bathrooms. The only downside to this trend is financial—LED lighting has quite a high purchase cost, although its energy efficiency means that you will save money in the long run.

move on. This year opt for softer matte golds that marry well with neutral shades in a room—creams and greys would be perfect choices—and explore other metals such as nickel, brass and brushed silver.

mIxed metals

Go GeometRIc

Bold copper and rose gold accents have now become ubiquitous in the world of interiors—and many of us are ready to

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Geometric patterns were a highlight of 2016 interior trends and this has now transitioned into lighting for 2017.

Fixtures in angular, geometric designs add a striking sculptural accent to a room and pair well with Scandinavianstyle muted hues. Alternatively, try heavier finishes for a more luxe effect.

oveR the top

If minimalism isn’t your thing then oversized, maximalist light fittings that act as statement pieces for a room are a perennially popular option for interiors.

ProPErTy & HoME


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Modern crystal chandeliers, big pendant lights over kitchen islands or bold industrial designs can all add a sense of drama to a space.

Rich hues

This year, jewel tones are going to be hugely popular in both the home décor and fashion worlds. When it comes to your lighting, opt for colour-blocked designs in shades such as emerald or deep purple, in hand-blown glass.

heavy industRy

Industrial light fixtures have become an increasingly common feature of modern interiors as homeowners become more adventurous with their choices. The key with this trend is to channel a more retro, mid-century aesthetic: think exposed bulbs with filament wires, metallic rustic finishes, stark pendant lamps, scissor-style fixtures and adjustable swing-armed wall and table lamps. •

64 ProPerTy & HoMe

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The dos and don’Ts of clever lighTing Lighting is one of the most important elements of any room and is often the key to making a space feel welcoming and livable. With that in mind, read on for Property & Home ’s take on the rules of good lighting.

do let the function of the room dictate your choice of lighting. A kitchen or study needs lots of ‘task’ lighting for areas such as desks or work surfaces, while a living room or bathroom needs ‘mood’ lighting to create a relaxing atmosphere.

don’t just have one light source in a room. Make sure you have a mixture of ambient, accent and task lighting to create depth and warmth. For example, as well as an overhead light, consider having wall lights and table lamps in a living room. do add dimmers to every room. They’re an easy way of instantly changing the mood and feel of a space.

don’t assume that small rooms need less lighting. Lighting all four corners of a room can make a space seem bigger.

27/03/2017 16:00

Outsmart Burglars with BeON Smart Security Lighting

BeON Led Bulb

60w Equivalent, Soft White Available In Bayonet Fit (B22) and Screw Fit (E27)

BeON Smart Module


Rechargeable Battery, Bluetooth


No other lighting can automatically learn your lighting patterns while you’re home then replay them while you’re away creating a natural and believable simulation of you.





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18/01/2017 12:15



ST YLE Wet rooms are back in high demand, but are they worth choosing over a conventional bathtub? DID YOU KNOW?

rits Around 31% of B y while shower every da th only 6% have a ba every day

IMAGES: Shutterstock

ore Source: Bathst


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We t room the pros

the cons

In a sluggish property market, popular and modern features such as wet rooms can attract significant attention from buyers and increase your home’s potential value.

Wet rooms are a suitable option for any size bathroom and can save considerable amounts of space when compared to conventional bathtubs and showers. While they may be more expensive to install they can give the illusion of a more spacious bathroom while also offering a clean, trendy and modern look.

Apart from aesthetics, wet rooms are also safe and convenient solutions for the elderly and for individuals with limited mobility. The absence of high steps—and the ease of a doorless entry— reduces the risk of slipping and falling, making the bathroom a functional, safe and more comfortable room for all.

On a more practical note, wet rooms are easier to clean and don’t require as much maintenance as bathtubs might. Wet walls mean you’ll only have one complete surface to clean as opposed to the separate tiles common around bathtubs.

These modern shower solutions are also compatible with under floor heating, minimising the need for radiator space— especially important in smaller bathrooms.

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Wet rooms can be expensive to install as they often require tiling from floor to ceiling. Depending on the quality of materials used to build the wet room, tiles may need resealing from time to time, especially if they are porous.

While wet rooms may increase the value of your house, your property’s ability to sell will also always depend on whom you’re selling to. Some buyers like to have a bathtub in their home and will see the wet room as a drawback—the key is to keep your sale target market in mind.

Installing a wet room may require extensive work, especially if starting from scratch: the shower pipe will need readjusting, the drainage point moved and the floor built at an angle to allow the water to drain properly.

Tiling is the only viable flooring option for your bathroom if you wish to install a wet room.

As with all home upgrades, installing a wet room may prove to be expensive if not done by an experienced professional. Botched jobs always increase costs, so do your research before hiring any tradesperson. Consider the size and shape of your bathroom before making any decisions. PrOPerTy & HOme 67

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Compared to wet rooms, bathtubs are significantly cheaper. According to Plumb World, installing a wet room can cost anywhere between £5,000 to £10,000—as the bathroom would need to be made completely watertight and sealed— while a bathtub would only set you back around £1,000 to £2,000. In addition to costs, bathtubs will require much less plumbing work.

If you only have one bathroom in the house, a wet room might be impractical, both in price and functionality. Most buyers will view them as a luxury. Bathtubs, on the other hand, are considered a bathroom must-have by many.

Installing a bathtub will not limit your options in terms of flooring. While wet rooms—tend to—require tiling, bathrooms are much more flexible: you can choose between tiling, carpet and laminate.

Bathtubs have always been a bathroom staple while wet rooms may be a style fad and may fall out of favour with consumers just as quickly as they gained popularity. Opting for a bathtub will limit these risks—they can be a ‘safer’ option.


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Tall steps may make bathtubs a significantly less safe solution for elderly people or individuals with mobility issues and long-term conditions.

Cleaning bathtubs may take more time. Wet rooms tend to be built with wet walls instead of tiling, an aspect that minimises mildew growth and the need for grout. As wet rooms are quickly becoming staples of modern houses, buyers looking for their new home may prefer the style and luxury of a wet room over the more classic bathtub—some may see the absence of a wet room as a downside.

REMEMBER Keep the style of the house in mind: wet rooms are likely to look out of place in older homes and period houses with Victorian features and high ceilings

27/03/2017 16:02



       

     

            

      

            

   

  


  

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Designing your kitchen: a Checklist Kitchens have become the true hub of contemporary homes. That’s why creating a spacious and comfortable kitchen area is becoming increasingly important for every modern property


itchens, nowadays, are for more than just cooking—they’re also where many of us prefer to dine and entertain guests. Whether you’re renovating or putting your kitchen together for a brand new home, the design choices you make will need to be well thought through. In addition to this being a potentially expensive project to embark on, it will also more than likely be a semipermanent one—families tend to keep their kitchens for around 20 years.


Hire a designer

Designing your kitchen will take time, ideas, money and—above all—a designer. When looking for a professional, doing your research is essential as they will be stripping out your existing fittings, installing new ones, carrying out plumbing and electrical work, painting, paper finishing and tiling. The right designer for you will be able to listen to your ideas, take them on board but also keep your feet firmly planted on the ground in terms of what is achievable and what isn’t. A tip to keep in mind: when the design is finalised, always ask yourself if the plan fits your predetermined budget.

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When deciding on the desired layout for your kitchen, there are a few things to consider: water and electricity connections, positioning of the table (if applicable), storage solutions, room dimensions and windowsill height. Having an efficient layout is key—every kitchen should be comfortable. The ‘kitchen triangle’ rule is the basis for all well-designed kitchens. The triangle is made up of the distance between the refrigerator, sink and cooker. As these are all essential areas, a well-designed and functional kitchen will minimise the amount of steps a cook will have to take—whether they’re preparing a meal or cleaning up after it.


BUDGETS Make sure you calculate a budget before you start designing your kitchen. If money is tight, a budget will allow you to make straightforward decisions and separate essential features from the frivolous ones

Storage is something no household will ever have enough of. Smart solutions can enhance spaces and turn even the tiniest crannies into functional storage areas. Consider blind corner cabinets, easy reach cabinets, retractable pantries, wine racks and rollout trays to create the most storage room out of the space that’s available to you.


The number one design element for a new kitchen is light. Creating extra windows, adding a chandelier above your kitchen table or island and evenly scattering lamps throughout will make the room seem much bigger and brighter. If you’re deciding where to place your sink, opt for a position with a view. This way, you’ll have natural light flooding the most-used areas of your kitchen as well as a great feature that adds value to your home in case you choose to sell in the future.


Folding doors can make any room a versatile one. Whether they separate the kitchen area from the garden or from the living room and dining room, they can instantly create bigger and wider spaces when opened. •

KITCHEN LAYOUTS • ISLAND This is common in many


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IMAGES: Shutterstock

modern homes and in kitchens where there is enough space to add a separate worktop or sink in the middle of the room. • U KITCHEN This layout features all the kitchen cabinets, appliances and counter space built in a ‘U’ shape. • SINGLE LINE The refrigerator and cooker are placed on a single line along the same wall. • L KITCHEN. These are great for open-plan areas and smaller spaces and consist of one line of cabinets running alongside two walls and through one corner. • GALLEY KITCHEN The kitchen cabinets are split between two opposing walls. This is most common in open-plan spaces. • G-SHAPED. Appliances and counter space are built in a G shape.

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Improve Homes

Improve Homes is a family-run business with over 30 years of experience helping clients large and small to create their dream property. Being members of the guild of master craftsman, whether it’s tiling floors and walls, installing plumbing and boilers or fitting quartz stone overlay worktops in your kitchen, we offer a professional, polite and dedicated service.

To get in touch, call 01934 442244 or visit Unit 3, Knightcott Industrial Estate Banwell BS29 6JN Improve Homes.Rev1.indd 1

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KITCHEN Must-haves

From appliance garages to double sinks, these features will turn even the simplest kitchen into a multifunctional and efficient cooking space


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Facts & figures Around 68% of people prioritise their kitchen’s storage capacity and organisation above other aspects Source: Houzz UK 2015 Kitchen Trend Report

DOUBLE SINK The sink is, arguably, the most important feature in a kitchen. This is where we prep our food, do our washing up and clean our utensils. Having more than one sink can increase a kitchen’s cleanliness and efficiency. Adding an additional sink could also allow for the installation of a disposal system—extremely handy for preventing food clogs and turning

IMAGES: Shutterstock; 123RF


he phrase ‘perfect kitchen’ will hold many different meanings for different people—after all, everyone has their own individual cooking habits and living schedules. However, there are some features and design aspects that can turn any kitchen—big or small—into an organised and rewarding space. Here, Property & Home shares a list of the latest kitchen must-haves.

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HOMEMAKER food waste into compost—and aid the smooth running of a bigger and more numerous household.

APPLIANCE GARAGE In addition to making your kitchen’s counters neat and tidy, an ‘appliance garage’ will also make the room seem bigger—after all, there is nothing worse than a chaotic kitchen with no worktop space. Set up at counter level, these cabinets will allow you to keep your appliances out of sight, plugged in and ready for use. Before installing this space-saving solution, spare a moment to think about what appliances you want to store—whether that is a big

did you know?

nd 12% of We spend arou kitchen. our lives in the to be 2.8 This works out average hours per day on UK 2015 Kitchen Source: Houzz Trend Report

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homemaker all-purpose mixer or a simple toaster— to make sure you leave enough space. Install an outlet or two in the cabinet as well so you can easily slide appliances out when needed.

Recycling centRe A large amount of every household’s waste is made in the kitchen. Think fruit and vegetable peels, glass and plastic bottles, food packaging and containers. Nowadays it’s more important than ever to heighten our recycling efforts, which is why installing a recycling centre is a must for any kitchen. In addition to keeping the trash away and hidden until pickup time arrives, these recycling solutions also make sorting waste into its rightful container much easier.

A wARming dRAweR Especially useful when cooking a lot of different dishes at the same time or hosting a dinner party, a warming drawer simply keeps food at the right temperature. In addition to this, it can also be used to warm up plates and napkins before a sit down meal.

wAteR dispenseRs Hot and cold water dispensers will become the true centrepiece of the modern kitchen. For anyone who loves a cup of tea—or an indulgent hot chocolate—having boiling water at the touch of a button means you’ll no longer need to wait for the kettle to boil. Similarly, these dispensers will make cooking with hot or boiling water much quicker. A cold water dispenser, on the other hand, will chill and improve the taste of regular tap water through a filtration system.

Hidden outlet stRips If you like clean, streamlined aesthetics and dislike seeing exposed electricity sockets scattered throughout your kitchen, then this solution is for you. Install power strips underneath cabinets to hide them from view. This will also minimise the presence of appliance wires and dangling cords. • 76 ProPErTY & HomE

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Must-have tools crock pot: this genius appliance will turn even the laziest cook into a skilled chef. Great for making slow-cooked stews, soups and curries—just dump all the ingredients in, wait a few hours and enjoy a healthy home-cooked meal prepared with minimal effort. You can even leave this appliance on to work its magic while you’re out and about. smoothie maker: whether you’re on a health kick or are trying to up your fruit and vegetable intake to get your five (or even 10!) a day, smoothie makers can be a cheap and useful tool in any household. To maximise you kitchen’s space and efficiency, look into purchasing a two-in-one smoothie maker and food processor appliance. countertop electric grill: this appliance is the definition of versatile. It can be used to cook meat and grill vegetables with no added fat or oil, make on-the-go toasties and warm up leftovers. Electric grills can also be cheap—if you look around for offers—and are very easy to clean after use.

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Spruce Up Your Home This Spring The arrival of spring makes the idea of a home spruce-up that bit more appealing—it’s the perfect season for carrying out some home renovations ECO EZEE: PROFESSIONAL DECORATING PRODUCTS

Eco Ezee’s unique paintbrushes, rollers, sleeves, trays, kettles and dustsheets are all made from sustainable materials. Their professional decorating products give exceptional results. The brushes can be used with all paint types such as oil or waterbased and additionally with varnishes and stains. No more brush marks on your walls, just an outstanding finish and a job to be proud of.


ManoMano is the online retailer providing the largest choice of DIY, home improvement and gardening products. From generalist to specialist items, ManoMano puts the customer in touch with a network of sellers for all their DIY needs.


PlastiKote’s Radiator spray paint makes radiator painting simple, quick and clean with a long-lasting, professional finish and no brush marks! The ultra smooth spray paint formula provides flawless coverage, with non-yellowing, heat resistance up to 150°C and can be recoated anytime. PlastiKote’s Radiator spray paint provides the perfect finish and is available in Gloss White, Flat White, Satin Chrome and Magnolia.


Oak cupboards have the ability to elevate a space and complement its décor—they also offer great storage space that can be utilised in a variety of ways. The surface top provides a handy additional surface to display items. Alongside the practical benefits, cupboards create a homely feel.

USM U. SCHAERER SONS LTD: MODULAR FURNITURE USM modular furniture stands for timeless design of the highest quality. From a few basic components, the successful Swiss company has created individual items of furniture that are designed to grow with the individual’s changing needs. The modular system allows for customised solutions which can be extended and varied, providing sufficient room for individual flexibility and creativity.

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Whether you’re refreshing your kitchen or bathroom wall tiles, require assistance cleaning and polishing your stone floor or simply need some good old fashioned advice, contact Tile Doctor for help—they operate throughout the UK and love the jobs regular tilers hate.


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From lawn care to forestry, golf to agricultural machinery, we build all John Deere products to the same high standards. Why not experience the difference for yourself at home? Freephone 0800 085 25 22 BY A PP OIN T ME N T TO HE R M A JE S T Y T HE QUE E N SUPPLIE R S OF AGRICULT UR A L , GROUND S C A RE A ND HOR T ICULT UR A L EQUIPME N T JOHN DE E RE LT D NOT T INGH A M

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Your Complete Guide to the Perfect

Garden Property & Home offers space-saving solutions to enhance your outside areas as well as an easy month-by-month garden prep calendar


ardens often provide solace and immeasurable enjoyment for those who are fortunate enough to have one. In the summer, a garden is the perfect stage to host a barbecue with friends and in winter it’s the ideal setting to snuggle beside an open fire pit. The possibilities are endless if you have the space to make them plausible. Unfortunately not all of us are blessed with an expansive garden, and many home owners only have a small area to make the most of. Whether your outside area consists of a small patch of lawn or just a balcony, there is always a way to inject some life into it. Your space may be limited, but don’t think this means your options are too—here are Property & Home’s tips for creating a rewarding and functional garden.

BUILD UPWARDS—‘vertical gardens’ and hanging plants have become increasingly popular in city environments where space is minimal. Instead of planting flowerbeds, people are opting to use a trellis or a homemade structure for their plants. Hanging plants are also a perfect solution for balconies and small terraces. DISGUISE THE BOUNDARIES—

if your garden has very prominent boundaries—like a high fence or a large

wall—try to soften their impact with plants of varying sizes and shapes.

ACCENTUATE ORIGINAL FEATURES—take full advantage of your

garden’s features: if you have a set of steps leading to your garden or a rock formation, use it! You can decorate the steps with plant pots or position ferns and foliage between the rocks. If your balcony needs a spruce, try hanging delicate containers with pretty flowers from the railing. •

EDGED SEATING—rather than taking

up room with large seating, fit seats to the shape of your space. Line fences with benches or opt for a subtle wall seat. If you have a balcony we suggest using foldable seats; they can be cleared away or pushed to one side with ease.

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Keep hydrated

Foco Coconut Water is available from:

Leading Oriental Supermarkets

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when gardening Gardening can be taxing physical work and it’s important to ensure you stay hydrated. Packed with five essential electrolytes— calcium, potassium, sodium, phosporus and magnesium—coconut water has long been the drink of choice in the tropics and today it’s popular with everyone from celebrities to atheletes thanks to its ability to naturally hydrate and replace fluids and electrolytes lost through work, sport, fitness and other daily activities. Harvested from hand-picked young green coconuts, FOCO 100% Coconut Water is a natural isotonic beverage which is loaded with vitamins and minerals that will hydrate your body as you enjoy its refreshing, pure taste. Available in a rangle of flavours and in 330ml, 500ml and 1 litre cartons.

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GARDEN PREP CALENDAR SPRING CLEAN: April is the time to spring clean your garden—after months of neglecting your hedges and lawn it is due some TLC. Use this month to clear away the debris, rake all the dead twigs and pinpoint any weeds that have sprouted. Fix broken fences that may have been damaged throughout the winter months—even a lick of paint would be welcome.

you now have the basis for great compost—use a mixture of vegetable peelings, grass cuttings, branches and wood prunings. This will save you taking multiple trips to the tip and will be beneficial to the growth of your plants in the season to come.

SOW AND GROW: the weather may still be wet and cold but there are a few things you can start to grow even at this time. Wildflower seed mixtures would be well suited to a direct sow outdoors at this time of year. Try calendula seeds—these can pair well with a vegetable garden and will attract bees and insects with their edible flowers. 82 PROPERTY & HOME

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FIGHT THE PESTS: slugs, snails and other critters will be out in full force at this time of year. Steer clear of harsh pesticides and instead opt for a natural deterrent: copper tape around the flowerbed and crushed eggshells are both very effective tools for banishing slugs and snails. SOW AND GROW: as May arrives you will find that your options for planting suddenly increase as temperatures rise. Add some colour to your garden with flowers and seasonal vegetables. Directly sow sunflowers along with poppies and cornflowers to attract butterflies and bees. If you have a vegetable patch, you can sow beetroot seeds directly into the ground.

IMAGES: 123RF, Shutterstock

MAKE COMPOST: after collecting all the excess foliage

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HOE BORDERS: look out for sneaky weeds that have sprouted—the warming of the soil will encourage them to germinate. Try not to use chemicals: run a hoe over the bed between rows to kill the majority of weed seedlings instead. SOW AND GROW: from June onwards you will find your flowers are flourishing. Try scattering some nigella seeds on the border of your outside space; their unusual shape will inject some much-needed vibrancy. For flowers that bridge the gap between spring and summer try including some forget-me-nots and foxgloves. Use pansies and petunias in hanging baskets.

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REMEMBER be hard work Gardening can er months; it’s m during the sum ar drated and we vital to keep hy s ur ho w a fe a sun hat. Even be damaging n ca n su e th in ply high factor to your skin, ap y few hours to sun lotion ever stay protected

HANDY TIP KEEP IT HYDRATED: this warm month means your plants will need some extra care and water so they don’t dry out. The best times to water your plants are early morning or late evening—this will reduce evaporation during the hottest times of the day.

PRUNE AND DEADHEAD: this month is also ideal for the pruning and deadheading of certain plants. Deadheading flowers that have a long period of display will ensure their flowering time is stretched later into the season. SOW AND GROW: by now your garden should be in full bloom and bursting with flowers and vegetables. July is a great month for growing herbs; put some basil in plant pots to display on your patio—these can be brought indoors when winter comes back around. • 84 PROPERTY & HOME

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Convert your shed—this tip may not be applicable to everyone, but for those that have a shed it can certainly enhance a property’s character. Convert your shed into a functional room such as an office, studio or reading cubby. To keep your shed, fences and decking looking fresh, apply them with a treatment that penetrates the wood. Choose a coating that includes UV protection to prevent the wood from weathering.

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Owatrol’s powerful, yet eco-friendly varnish, paint and stain removers can always be relied on to bring old timber back to life. Try Prepdeck for your decking or Dilunett gel on your external, vertical wood surfaces - you’ll be amazed at the results.

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Has your wood silvered down through exposure to the climate? Then restore its beauty by using Net-trol Wood Cleaner & Colour Restorer for outstanding results. Need to protect your newly laid timber from warping and splitting? Then Seasonite is your answer.

Our high quality finishes not only look great but protect your wood for the long term. The range includes penetrating oils to enhance the natural beauty of soft and hardwood, semi-transparent coloured finishes and opaque paints in a wide range of colours.

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If you can put some funds aside to improve your home, some projects have the power to dramatically raise its real estate value


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This is, perhaps, one of the most obvious ‘easy wins’. While small defects aren’t likely to dramatically affect a property’s value, they can make it harder for it to sell at the best price. Common imperfections such as peeling paint, loose tiles, dripping taps, squeaking windows, cracks to ceilings and walls, mould and squeaky stairs can all put buyers off but can also be fixed by a few simple DIY jobs.


If you’re going to invest in one room it should be the kitchen, as it’s the focal point of any home. We all spend a considerable amount of time in the kitchen whether that is cooking, watching TV, hosting dinner parties or just having a cup of tea. Make sure to purchase equipment and appliances that are as up-to-date as possible and install good lighting and flooring that looks neat and is easy to clean. Whether you choose a

IMAGES: Shutterstock


efurbishment work, redecorating and extension planning can all unleash a property’s full potential where value is concerned— though it might not be enough to stop at cosmetic enhancements as structural repairs are essential too. In order to create a dream home or an attractive prospect for potential buyers, property owners will need to set some time aside, put in some work—and, of course, money—and take some active steps.

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WHAT TO AVOID » Don’t dramatically ‘outgrow’ your street in value. If you increase the value of your home from £250,000 to £400,000—while all the other properties on your street remain valued at around £250,000— homebuyers are not going to want to spend £400,000 to live on a £250,000 street. » Don’t add too many bedrooms. The difference in price between a one, two and three-bedroom house is obvious—after four or five, it won’t be as noticeable a figure. There may also be a ‘ceiling’ value on certain streets. » Replacing the furniture isn’t likely to add value. It will, however, set you back a considerable amount. » Be very wary of DIY botched jobs. If buyers spot an obvious mess, they will no doubt wonder if there are more crucial disasters they can’t see.

stylish designer or open plan kitchen is up to you, but keep in mind that interiors trends do tend to change every few years.


The bathroom is another very important room, second only to the kitchen, which has the potential to considerably hike a property’s value. An extra washroom can enhance a property’s livability—all while acting as a trusty investment for a potential future sale. When looking to upgrade your bathroom, make sure to install the best quality offerings in terms of tiling, taps, towel rails and showers. The secret is to keep it simple—features such as glass doors and under floor heating are what will give this room its true value.

KEEP IN MIND If you’re planning improvement works in your home with the idea of selling, ensure you’ve got a specific buyer in mind. Take aim at your ‘target’ and present the property accordingly—you might present a spare room as a study to a professional couple, or as an extra bedroom to a growing family

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This can prove to be much more costeffective when compared to a home extension, but careful planning will be needed. Minimally disruptive—as most of the major work can be done from the outside—a loft conversion is probably the easiest way to fit an extra bedroom and bathroom in your property. A few things to keep in mind: make sure access to the loft is simple and that this conversion fits the rest of the house in terms of style and design. You will likely have to strengthen the floor joists, so ensure you leave enough ceiling height to comfortably stand in.


Before you embark on any kind of home improvement project, you must dedicate some time to making sure your property is structurally safe and sound. Fixing 88 PROPERTY & HOME

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issues like a leaking roof, an unstable chimneystack, a collapsed floor, insect infestations, cracks to walls and rising damp will ultimately make it easier—and safer—for other refurbishment works to take place in the future. A structurally sound home will also fare much better in the property market.


It’s hard to shake off negative first impressions and this rings true for the real estate industry too. Sometimes, buyers will have decided to scratch a particular property off their list before even getting out of their car due to poorly maintained and unattractive exteriors. Radical changes are likely to need planning permission—as well as a seasoned architect or tradesperson— to carry out. Simpler jobs such as repainting doors and windows, adding

a house number, purchasing growing plants, replacing an old garage door and repointing brickwork can all go a long way in enhancing a property’s appearance, appeal and—by default— its potential sale value.


Opting to go down this road will prove to be expensive and time-consuming. A basement conversion will require specialists and will also change the structure of your property—you will also face having to move out of your home for some time. Having said that, choosing to extend your home by going underground has the potential to more than double its worth in square feet—the real value here is adding extra space. As this is a major extension project it has to be considered carefully with all its pros and cons. •

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Same but different. With clear shapes and strong colours USM adjusts to your collections, your interests, your life. Never the same, always yours.

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Defining the Landscape

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20/03/2017 12:37

Welcome to

Smart and Secure Home

Technology has radically changed the way we lead our lives, and it’s now revolutionising our homes too. From the latest in home security to ecofriendly thermostats, Smart and Secure Home is a one-stop-shop for smarter living solutions. This Property & Home supplement is packed with the latest facts and stats on home technology devices, giving you an insight into the ever-evolving industry of wifi and bluetooth-enabled gadgets designed to make life easier, efficient and more connected.

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Inspired by then – perfect today The OSRAM Vintage Edition 1906 Nine products, one philosophy: The Vintage Edition 1906 breathes new life into historical lamp shapes – thanks to modern lighting technology. Each of the seven lamps can be combined with the PenduLum luminaire. The result: a perfect pairing that enriches rooms with a stylish vintage accent. For more information go to

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Smart and Secure Home

Connected Living

Through the use of bluetooth and wifi, new generations of revolutionary smart appliances are enhancing everyday living


onvenient, aware and hightech, smart appliances are quickly gaining popularity among homeowners and consumers. The internet has given rise to a whole new generation of gadgets—from coffee machines that send good morning texts to fridges that remind users what food needs to be bought. Here, Smart and Secure Home explores the different types of smart appliances on the market and their best features.

Refrigerators Possibly the centrepiece appliance of any kitchen, refrigerators are becoming smarter, bigger and more eco-friendly. Samsung’s Family Hub fridge features a touch screen that lets users manage their groceries, keep on top of social appointments and entertain guests by playing music or displaying pictures in a slideshow. This new smart fridge will make sure you never forget what food you need (or don’t need) to pick up from the supermarket—built-in cameras take pictures of what’s inside your fridge every time you close it and make them accessible to your phone from virtually anywhere. Other features include a calendar to jot down appointments, a recipe finder and the ability to place online shopping orders from the touch screen. Users will also be able to send notes and reminders from their phones or tablets to the fridge screen from anywhere.

Coffee machines New appliances such as the Smarter Coffee Machine offer a variety of functions that coffee aficionados will

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love. Through bluetooth or wifi, users will be able to control their machine from anywhere in their home. Whether that means scheduling alarms so you can wake up with the smell of freshly brewed coffee, adjusting the strength of your drink or setting reminders alerting when the water level is low, smart appliances of this kind are revolutionising the way we consume our favourite caffeinated hot drinks. Similarly, Nespresso’s Prodigio machine promises to take your coffee experience to a whole new level by personalising brewing time, ensuring you never run out of your favourite capsules and reminding you to carry out the machine’s maintenance jobs—all through its smart mobile app.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE It’s estimated that 90% of cars will be connected to the internet by 2020—in 2012 only 2% of cars were online Source: Telefonica

Ovens and cookers

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Smart ovens seem to be tackling the age-old problem of unpredictable cooking times and techniques. June, a new generation smart oven, takes the guesswork out of the equation. Its built-in cameras are able to detect what food is being cooked and suggest the best technique to adopt. Paired with an app of the same name, this oven can be controlled from anywhere—it has a built-in thermometer, a five-inch touch screen and a digital scale— and is also able to update its own software automatically.

Washing machines These smart appliances allow users to program a wash remotely— anywhere you can get wifi—with a smartphone or tablet. Machines such as Samsung’s Smart Washer can monitor the progress of your wash, interrupt it, collect maintenance information and alert the user when the wash is done and the machine is ready to be unloaded. The apps for these appliances can also flag up minor issues and provide guidance on how to solve them—they can also identify more serious problems that require engineers. Initially, Hoover and Samsung were the first two companies to launch wificompatible washing machines, but now more manufacturers are racing to release their own models as this smart appliance trend is quickly gaining momentum.  PROPERTY & HOME 95

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With technology in constant—and rapid—development, smart bathrooms equipped with the latest gadgets are becoming more commonplace


new study by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estates shows that 77 percent of millennial homebuyers look for homes that are equipped with the latest tech gadgets. This, along with the rapid development of technology, is dramatically increasing demand for smart homes and appliances. We’re now starting to see more wifi-compatible thermostats and fridges with large touch screens in our homes, but smart bathrooms are the most recent smart trend picking up momentum.

High-tech toilets Bathrooms are the newest room to witness the technology revolution. New smart toilets—already relatively common in Asia—do not require the use of hands or paper. They come with temperature-controlled water, spritzing wands and automatic dryers. Nowadays, smart toilets feature the latest in technology including seat warmers, LED lights, self-cleaning settings and motion sensors that raise and lower seats. Smart models such as the Kohler Numi toilet also offer users the chance to stream music from their mobiles, personalise welcome messages and choose ambient lighting available in seven colours. New technology is changing the way we use the bathroom, making it a more responsive, functional and—most importantly—sanitary space.

Automatic faucets Digital taps are a tech-savvy addition to any bathroom, but they can also go a long way in preserving water, limiting waste and conserving energy.


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Some of the new generation smart faucets feature advanced temperature control options, infrared sensors and touchless technology—making them infinitely more sanitary. In addition to this, some models may offer programmable features such as timed teeth-brushing and hand-washing settings that only allow a set amount of water to run for a predetermined time. Smart bathroom solutions such as the Waterpebble can save a whole lot of money too—these devices will memorise your habits and let you know when to finish showering or running the faucet by using a series of red, green and orange-coloured warning lights.

digital add-ons Smart bathrooms would not reach their full potential without additional tech gadgets revolutionising the way consumers use this important space. Installing waterproof LCD shower panels will allow you to control water flow, temperature, steam levels, music and mood-enhancing lighting—turning a simple shower into a luxurious and high-tech experience. Similarly, purchasing a waterproof TV will greatly limit the danger of ruining your tech equipment by streaming your favourite show while soaking in a relaxing bath. You can now also recreate the hotel experience at home by installing refrigerated bathroom cabinets to keep medication—and drinks—cool. Smart products such as the Tech2O Cyber Mirror allow users to stream TV, check emails and visit social media channels all while taking a shower, brushing teeth or fixing makeup. 

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By 2025 By 2040 offers some predictions on how our washrooms will look like in the future. —Fingerprint recognition systems will enable instant personalisation of lighting and entertainment systems. —Tiles will act as flat panel speakers and displays. —Smart mirrors will perform health checks and advise on makeup.

—3D-printed bathroom fittings will allow perfect customisation and advanced materials will be available that can change shape, so that toilet seats or baths can adapt to the anatomy of the user. —Robots may feature in bathrooms, not only for cleaning and tidying but also for massaging and bathing. —Air conditioning will add aromas and negative ions while removing odours, bacteria and pollen.


Images: Shutterstock

Grundfos are a leader in the supply of pumps and pump systems. You may not realise it but pumps are at the heart of many operations in your home and work tirelessly to deliver water to where you need it, when you need it—for example, ensuring that water is circulating in your heating system to keep your house nice and warm. Achieving adequate water pressure can be a challenge sometimes, so Grundfos have a range of products that can give you the boost you need whether that is for a shower, or for boosting your house’s overall water pressure. We can also supply an extensive range of macerators that will remove wastewater giving you the option to add a toilet or shower when you are not near the main stack. These are some examples of the wide range of benefits that can be achieved by working with products from a professional pump manufacturer. For more information, visit

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Smart and Secure Home



Outdoors Numerous technological innovations can now make us better gardeners. From sophisticated plant sensors to tailored irrigation systems, read on for a round up of the best smart outdoor devices


he smart technology that lets us automate our homes can also be used to ensure our gardens thrive—from tailoring water usage to helping plants flourish. Whether your garden consists of acres of verdant lawn or a simple window box, there are many gadgets that can help you make the most of your horticultural spaces.

Plant sensors These nifty gadgets, when planted in the soil near your plants, gather information on factors such as light, humidity and temperature to help keep your plants healthy—they’re especially useful for keen amateur gardeners who may not have a lot of horticultural knowledge. Plant sensors will measure the information they receive against an online database and then give you advice—often tailored to specific plant species—straight to your smartphone.

Robotics Robots can be used to clean everything from your carpets to your windows; now they can even keep your lawn trim, guided by wires placed around the perimeter of your garden. Some models even come with rain sensors—so that you can mow the lawn at optimum times—and apps that you can send instructions to. However, beware of the price: many models can be expensive, reaching into hundreds of pounds.

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Weather stations

One of the more niche devices available—and possibly something that only dedicated gardeners will covet—today’s weather sensors can give you up-to-the-minute reports of your garden’s microclimate. They can also measure pressure, CO2 levels, wind, rain and send all the information directly to your phone.

Sprinklers Automatic sprinklers can be useful for controlling how much water you


use, but timers can mean that they switch on when it’s raining, resulting in wastage and a waterlogged garden. Smart sprinklers can utilise data from your garden and weather reports to tailor sprinkling schedules so that your sprinkler stays off when it rains—saving water and money. Some models will even tailor your sprinkling routine according to soil type and sun exposure. The GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub is a sprinkler controller that can be synced to other smart outdoor

The UK garden market is worth around £5bn

Images: Shutterstick

Source: Garden Retail Market Analysis Report 2014

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Smart and Secure Home

Smart Gardens: what You Need to Know Smart garden technology can be a costly investment, so make sure you keep the following in mind when making your choices:

Check how your device is powered. Some are powered by sunlight

while others by conventional batteries—the latter may not work if you plan on using it extensively. If power usage is a concern, bear in mind that gadgets that use bluetooth drain less power than those that connect to wifi.

Make sure your device is weather proof. It may seem obvious, but any device that’s going to brave the British weather will have to withstand lots of rain. the same goes if you live in an especially hot or cold climate—your gadgets will need to be able to survive extreme temperatures.

Ensure your device is compatible with your phone. most smart

garden gadgets come with an app which will be the main conduit for all the information you receive from your device. the majority of such apps are free so download them and see how they work before buying a smart garden gadget.

Buy the device that suits your requirements. there’s no point in

splashing out on smart gadgets with multiple sophisticated functions if you’re not going to use them.

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devices you may have. It utilises data from the likes of weather reports to determine when’s best to irrigate your garden and can reportedly cut down your water usage by as much as half.

Indoor garden If you have a small garden—or none to speak of—then aquaphonics could be the solution to expanding your green spaces. The Grove Ecosystem lets you grow your own vegetables indoors in a bookshelf-like structure where the plants on top are nourished by the nutrients generated by a tank full of fish swimming away at the bottom. LED lights overhead mimic the sun—you can monitor and control the system from your phone. Biopod is an app-controlled indoor microclimate device that controls light, humidity, ventilation, temperature and water inside a fish tank-like space—it’s especially handy for growing tropical plants that are too delicate for the British climate. It can also grow herbs and even act as a suitable environment for certain pets such as reptiles. 

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However, traditionally it has been too time consuming to be realistic. As long as all the radiators got hot, it was good enough. But thanks to the innovative Grundfos ALPHA3 System, that’s all changed. Fast, accurate balancing is now a reality.

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24/03/2017 16:48


Stay Safe, Go Smart The Smarter Way To Protect Your Home Traditional security systems are becoming a thing of the past; homeowners are now directing their attention to more bespoke and cost-efficient options. Here’s all you need to know about smart home security


e consider our home a safe haven, a place where we feel secure and completely at ease. Advances in technology mean criminals are finding new ways to enter homes without detection—how should we respond to this threat? Smart home security systems have become the most popular solution among savvy consumers, with many reporting that their customisable format and simple accompanying devices are the way forward.

What is a smart home security system? A smart home security system is made up of a group of gadgets connected to the internet that help increase the security around a property. There are two main options when choosing between systems: one that you monitor yourself and one where you pay a subscription to have your house monitored by professionals who will contact the necessary departments if alarms are triggered. Trends are currently leaning towards the self-monitoring option. The devices involved in these packages can differ depending on price and the company they are 104 PROPERTY & HOME

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purchased from—they typically include a combination of wireless cameras, motion detectors, door locks and sensors. Most camera devices within these packs store a recorded video either locally, on an SD card or a solid state drive, while other packages may offer a certain amount of cloud storage. Locally stored video is a popular choice among those monitoring their own systems. Cloud options usually involve a lot more space and they often come with a large subscription fee. There is also the option for additional features such as lights, sirens, smoke detectors and water sensors to be combined with an existing package. Being connected to a home wifi network means the homeowner can organise their devices from a smartphone, tablet or app. You can check the video captured by your security cameras, receive alerts when certain sensors are triggered and even control appliances remotely.

What are the pros and cons of smart home security? Wireless systems certainly sound like the most innovative way to protect your home, but what are the key benefits and—more importantly—are there any disadvantages?


Remotely accessible. Nowadays the majority of homeowners have demanding jobs with long working hours, therefore one of the biggest selling points of these systems is their remote capability. Being able to identify and deal with potential threats whilst on the go makes them very appealing for those who are looking for convenience.

Images: Shutterstick

Foundation of a smart home. Once your smart home security is installed, you will have the foundations of a complete smart home. You can then periodically connect new features to your home arrangement and synchronise them with your security system. For example you can link your thermostat, sprinklers and garage door to coincide with your security settings. User-friendly technology.

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Smart and Secure Home

User-friendly technology. A common complaint about traditional home security setups is the unnecessary protocols that are involved in activating an alarm. Smart home security has been praised for its user-friendly features, straightforward app structure and simple interface. By logging into your smart device, you can easily change its security settings—resulting in a bespoke system that is completely fitted to your lifestyle. Simple installation. Installing a smart home security system is very simple and straightforward in comparison to traditional systems that often require internal wiring to be fitted. This eliminates the need to knock through walls and floors to get the arrangement up and running. It’s constantly working. Unlike conventional security alarms—which only work if you remember to arm them when you leave the house or go to bed—smart home security is always switched on. It keeps you updated with real-time email or text alerts even when it is disarmed. These alerts can notify you if a window or door is open for too long, when somebody arrives home or even if a specific drawer containing valuables is opened.


Interference. Most modern homes are filled with multiple wireless devices and these electronics can occasionally interfere with the operation of smart security systems and vice versa. There have even been cases where devices have caused false alarms to be triggered. Hacking vulnerability. It has recently been reported that smart systems can be susceptible to hacking. However, you should keep in mind that smart systems are no more vulnerable to hacking than any other devices connected to wifi (like phones and tablets). As long as precautionary measures are taken— like ensuring the system isn’t visible on the internet and assigning it a strong password—there is no need to panic.

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smart and wireless security devices require batteries to keep them running—this can be inconvenient for those who forget to check them regularly. It can also mean that a particular piece of equipment may suddenly stop working when you need it most. The cost of replacing batteries every few months may be small, but it can certainly add up. Jamming. A number of smart home security appliances function with the help of an entry sensor. When disturbed this sends a message to the base station, which will then alert you to the danger. However, if there is excessive radio frequency noise on the same frequency your system operates on, there is a chance that the signal will not be received properly. Experts are concerned that the increase in wireless security will lead to criminals manipulating frequencies in order to jam security systems. 

Stats In 2016 there were over 43,000 residential robberies throughout London Source: Metropolitan Police

Which smart home security system should you choose? With the influx of manufacturers creating innovative security technology, it can be difficult to decide which system is the most effective and suitable for you. We have filtered through the various options and have made our top picks—each provides advanced protection whilst being suitable for people with limited digital knowledge. Canary: our first pick may not be the cheapest but it certainly delivers in useful features. Along with its full HD recording camera and 90 decibel siren it also includes a location-

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based notification feature, a detailed app and a ‘HomeHealth monitoring’ feature which allows you to track the environmental data—such as humidity and temperature—within your home. Piper NV: in many ways this gadget represents the whole package. With no monthly fees, a quick setup and a responsive app, it is proving to be a huge competitor within the smart security industry. The Piper NV has sirens and heat sensors and also incorporates light detectors and a 180-degree lens with night vision recording. One of Piper NV’s greatest

qualities is its free cloud storage— many other packages charge an extra fee for this useful feature. Cocoon: the features of Cocoon are very similar but with a slightly more basic app. However, it still holds a number of redeeming characteristics that make it a very popular choice. Cocoon’s star feature is its advanced ‘infrasound’ microphone. The system will determine the everyday noises of your home and will distinguish between them and an intruder. Pets, loud dishwashers or creaky floorboards are all taken into account.


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Smart and Secure Home


Heating Connecting your thermostats to the internet can make your home’s heating systems more responsive, cost-effective and eco-friendly

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The initial cost of getting a new smart thermostat might put some people off the idea of upgrading, but many makers claim this money will be made back through savings on heating bills within the first year of installation—making this oneoff payment an investment instead of an additional expenditure. This, however, will largely depend on your usage habits as well as your energy provider. To make the best use of smart thermostats, makers advise people to divide their homes into zones and install a thermostat in separate areas with their own heating profiles and schedules. Though these smart devices are still a relatively new technology, there are already countless types on the market—every

model will have different features. Most electricity suppliers will have their own smart thermostat devices— or a brand they recommend—but you can always choose the ones that suit your own needs.

What can smart thermostats do? As the name suggests, these smarter devices will learn your heating and cooling habits and adapt their schedules to them. Through apps, some are also able to estimate how long it takes for your boiler to get the house to the desired temperature— adapting start times based on that information. If, for example, you wish to set it to 20°C at midday, the thermostat will work hard to elevate

Images: Shutterstock


hether you’re off on holiday for a long period of time, just going away for the weekend or simply late coming back from a long day at work, it’s now possible to remotely control the heating in your home with a tap of your finger. Smart thermostats are connected to the internet and are, by definition, more functional, advanced and aware. Thanks to accompanying apps, people using these devices will be able to adjust the heating in their homes through a smartphone or tablet—even from the other side of the world. These gadgets are the first important step towards controlling power and limiting fuel consumption.

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the temperature to that figure at exactly the selected time. Thanks to their ‘auto away’ setting, some smart thermostats will also be able to recognise schedules and patterns, understand when nobody is home—or when they don’t sense movement—and turn off the boiler when needed. Others will also be able to work in conjunction with plug sensors, allowing consumers to switch on lamps remotely—saving energy, money and heightening security at the same time. This type of smart thermostat can track your location and works to ensure the temperature inside your home is comfortable before you return. Some more advanced models will also allow users to adjust the temperature in every room up to 12 zones and also respond to Siri—Apple’s iOS helper. 

I’ve installed a smart thermostat. What other factors can make a difference when it comes to saving on energy bills?



No two sm the sam art heating so luti e. it’s impo Before making ons are and pick rtant to do your a choice, cost and your thermosta research t w with big hat is best for based on yo g for the m er homes may u. People wa o to divide re expensive d nt to opt ev h those w ouses in zones ices able h . be perfe o live in smalle Similarly, r flats m ctly hap py a more ba with cheaper a y sic mod nd els

• Your current energy usage.

Is your heating always on—even when you’re not home—or do you dial it down when it’s not needed?

• The cost of utilities and your energy provider. This may change from region to region.

• Seasonal variation.

Seasonal temperatures tend to vary from year to year.

• Climate.

If you live in a temperate climate, your savings will be smaller compared to those living in colder environments. • Insulation. How well your house is insulated will play a big part in your energy bills—both pre and post-smart thermostat installation—as will features such as double-glazed windows.

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28/03/2017 12:47

Smart and Secure Home


Dream Clean Technology is making it easier than ever to keep our homes clean

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the ave rage ad ult spends three ho around urs a da y on domest ic duties Source:


ccording to research commissioned by Jeyes, the average adult spends around three hours on household chores every day. Combine this with increasingly busy schedules and longer working hours and it means that many of us struggle to find a balance between keeping our homes clean and enjoying our leisure time. Thanks to technological advances, the solution to this conundrum may lie in the many sophisticated gadgets and devices that promise to perform the housework for you. Today’s robot vacuum cleaners simplify what is

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often a tedious household chore into something that requires minimal effort. Using sensors or mapping out the room via inbuilt cameras, these useful gadgets clean your carpets for you—from vacuuming whole rooms to focusing on problem spots. They can, however, cost hundreds of pounds, so it’s essential that you pick a model that performs well. iRobot’s Roomba 966 uses a high-efficiency cleaning pattern and sensors to map out rooms and adapt to real-world clutter, while the Neato Botvac Connected comes with an app that lets you schedule in and tailor your cleaning sessions. If


what you need is a hard floor cleaner then a robotic mop—usually using water or a gentle cleaning solution— will leave your floors gleaming. Models like the iRobot Braava 380t Mopping Robot can mop up to 350 square feet in a single cleaning cycle. If you want a cleaning method that eliminates germs without using chemicals or irritants, then a sanitising wand could be just the ticket. The CleanWave Portable Sanitising Wand uses UV-C light technology to help eliminate viruses, bacteria and allergens on surfaces. It’s particularly useful for cleaning small,

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heavily used items such as keyboards and mobile phones. It’s also a handy accessory for travel, as you can quickly clean things like hotel and bathroom surfaces. For heavy cleaning try the Sonic Scrubber, a powerful cleaning tool that reaches 10,000 oscillations per minute, scrubbing 25 times faster than the human hand. Sufferers of conditions that affect hand dexterity, such as arthritis, could find this gadget especially useful. Today, modern technology can turn even your rubbish bin smart. New devices such as the GeniCan can be added to any standard rubbish bin and automatically scans items you throw

out and adds them to a shopping list on an app. Another useful waste disposal device is a home rubbish compactor—although expensive, they can reduce your waste by around 75 percent and usually come with odour control technology. Window cleaning can be timeconsuming, particularly when windows are high up or hard to reach. Robot window cleaners use motorpowered suction or magnets to clean windows from frame to frame. The Hobot 168 comes with an antidropping system in case of power failure. This versatile device can also be used to clean tables. 


When it comes to household chores, women do 40% more than men on average

Images: Shutterstock

Source: The Office for National Statistics

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Smart and Secure Home


Energy and Money Smart meters aim to give you accurate and personalised energy bills


nyone who has had to dispute an incorrectly estimated energy bill with their supplier will see the appeal of smart meters. They work by wirelessly sending your gas and electricity readings automatically to your energy supplier, meaning you no longer have to rely on estimated usage, provide your own readings or have meter readers come to your home—you only pay for what you use. Better yet, smart meters come equipped with monitors that provide information about your realtime energy consumption, including kilowatt-hour (kWh) use and cost, so you can better understand how to save money on your bills. The government is aiming to roll out smart meters to every home by 2020—how quickly you’ll be able to get one depends on who your energy supplier is. Some suppliers haven’t yet started fitting smart meters while others already have early generation models. It also depends on where you live: towns and cities will be eligible first before rural areas and houses will receive priority before flats. Between now and 2020 your energy supplier will get in touch with you to arrange your smart meter installation.

How much will it cost?

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Images: Shutterstick

your smart meter will be installed at no upfront cost to you. Instead, the cost is spread out in your subsequent energy bills

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The pros Aside from the accuracy and convenience of smart meters, another major advantage is that they enable you to see how your lifestyle choices impact your energy bills—letting you make better, more informed decisions about how to save energy and money. You will also, in theory, be able to switch suppliers more easily if you need to, because your usage data is so readily available. The suppliers themselves can also use this information to create better deals for customers such as competitive time-of-use tariffs or better prices for off-peak use.

GOALS The government wants smart meters in every home—that’s 26m of them—by 2020 Source: Smart Energy GB

The cons



E ve r y h ouseho ld in th country e is entitl ed to a smart m eter bu t only th main ac e co u n t h older o gas and n the electric ity bills can request one

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There are worries that the costs to customers could increase because of the expenses involved in rolling out a nationwide smart meter network. There are also concerns that, because suppliers can measure data more accurately, charges for power may be higher at peak times. There are also privacy issues as your personal data could be given to third party organisations for marketing purposes and targeted ads—although it is possible for customers to opt out of this. Remember, you are not legally obliged to have a smart meter installed and you have the right to refuse one. 


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Handy Home Devices Everyone can benefit from a few useful tools and devices to enhance the efficiency of their home



Grundfos Pumps are a UK leader in the supply of energy-efficient pumps and pump systems for a wide range of applications that can help make your home more comfortable and save you money. Pumps are at the heart of many operations and work tirelessly to deliver water to where you need it, when you need it.

Stira folding attic stairs open up huge storage space possibilities for your home. Each Stira is essentially a bespoke ladder designed for the ceiling to floor dimensions of the home it is to be installed in; catering to your specific needs.



BeON Home protects your home and family with smart light bulbs that simulate your presence at home when you are away. You can light up the exit route from your home at the sound of a smoke sensor or even turn on the lights during a power outage. Smart light bulbs come with batteries included.

Creating space in your life is easy with PackMate’s vacuum storage products. Approved by the Good Housekeeping Institute, PackMate’s clever storage solutions protect your belongings from damp and dust. The five-year guarantee makes PackMate your vacuum bag for life. Range of sizes available.

INSINKERATOR® FOOD WASTE DISPOSER InSinkErator®, the inventor of food waste disposers, manages food waste sustainably. The Evolution 200 uses a bladeless system to grind food waste into minute particles safely and efficiently. It is both practical and convenient: whilst significantly reducing food waste it also eliminates unpleasant smells and increases kitchen hygiene. InSinkErator® offers complete peace of mind with a six-year parts and labour guarantee. 114 PROPERTY & HOME

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The new Osram LED Retrofit light bulbs are traditionally styled bulb and reflector lamps that combine timeless design and innovative technology to beautifully illuminate your room, creating sophisticated interiors to suit your taste.

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ProPerty ImProvement

Property & Home’s

Free energysaving Tips It’s no secret that we use up a great deal of energy during the colder months, but there are a few free and simple pointers we can follow to save energy and slash our bills

IMAGES: Shutterstock


aking small lifestyle changes can have a direct impact on our energy usage. Installing high-tech equipment like smart energy meters and fitting modern underfloor heating is all well and good, but these free and easy tips can save energy and money without the need to spend a penny.

Our body heat escapes quickly from extremities like feet, therefore it’s important to keep them toasty and sheltered from cold surfaces. Similarly, put an extra blanket on your bed at night so you won’t be tempted to turn up the thermostat.

Layer up

The reason why our washing machine uses so much energy is because it continuously heats up large amounts of water—according to uSwitch, this

Instead of turning up the heat, wear extra layers of clothing and make sure to always wear socks while indoors.

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CoLder water

adds up to around 90 percent of a washing machine’s energy expenditure. Start washing your clothes at lower temperatures—say 30 or 40°C—and you could save a great deal.

Hang it up Instead of tumble-drying your washing, hang it up to dry—especially during the warmer months or when there is windy weather. If parting from your tumble dryer is too daunting an action, take your clothes out before they’re completely dry

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PROPERTY IMPROVEMENT and briefly hang them up. This will limit the need to use an iron—an energy and time-intensive task.

LET THE SUN HELP Even though this will be substantially easier to do during the summer months, taking advantage of the sun’s natural light—and refraining from switching on the lights when they’re not needed—can save you a lot of money in the long run. This goes hand in hand with switching the lights off when you leave a room.

Small changes Lowering your thermostat by just 1°C can save you as much as £60 a year Source: uSwitch

KITCHEN POINTERS If you know you’re going to use the oven, make and bake as many meals as you can at the same time, so you only need to turn the oven on once. Unfortunately, we can’t—yet—choose to heat any one shelf at a time, so picking timings is important. When you’re done baking, open the oven door to warm your kitchen with stored heat. Similarly, when you’re cooking on an electric hob, make sure you use the right size ‘ring’ for the pan you’re using. Heating a large pan on a small ‘ring’ will use more energy—while heating a small pan on a large ‘ring’ will just waste it.

SWITCH IT OFF A common misconception about leaving appliances on standby is that they don’t use energy or electricity. This is false— any kind of electrical equipment should be switched off directly at the socket. A rule of thumb is to unplug anything you’re not using regularly. According to uSwitch, chargers continue to use electricity even if they’re not physically charging any devices.


els Solar pan

witch, solar According to uS ve the average panels could sa nd 1/3 on household arou vernment’s go e energy bills. Th heme lets solar Feed-in Tariff sc get paid for the panel installers d—so they may energy generate free install them for

Keeping your thermostat on a constant low temperature may save you more money and energy than switching it on for quick blasts of heat every once in a while. For this reason, it’s vital to get to know and adjust your thermostat timer settings based on your needs and everyday schedule.  116 PROPERTY & HOME

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Heat gain reduction for reduced energy costs

Low interior surface reflectance at night

Warm to neutral daylight ambiance





Reduces fading of fabrics, furnishings, and valuables

Durable scratch-resistant coating for easy cleaning

Performance film for glass

Window film is a smart retrofit solution for glazing optimisation. Modern glazing systems are key to the performance of buildings. LLumar ® window film is a retrofit solution for window performance challenges, even with existing glazing systems. Window film can upgrade performance for energy efficiency, occupant comfort, safety and security, UV protection, design and privacy. Completely replacing the glazing is an option, but this can be costly and disruptive. LLumar can help provide a more efficient solution. If you would like more information or a quote, please contact our UK Distribution Centre at or 01279 41 19 24.

© 2017 Eastman Chemical Company. LLumar® and the LLumar® logo are trademarks of Eastman Chemical Company or one of its wholly owned subsidiaries. The ® used herein denotes registered trademark status in the US; marks referenced herein may also be registered internationally. Visual renderings are for illustrative purposes only; actual appearance of windows treated with film may vary. All rights reserved. No liability is accepted for errors. Version 1.00.0317

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24/03/2017 11:54

The invisible force When building a Passivhaus, you need to be fully confident your design will deliver the performance you expect. That’s why leading designers choose Earthwool® DriTherm for masonry cavity Passivhaus construction. They understand better than anyone the need for performance, and ensuring their delighted customers can feel the benefit. But even if you’re not designing or building a Passivhaus you should expect the best. So it’s reassuring to know a trusted brand like Earthwool DriTherm is at the core of your home, the invisible force delivering real performance. Thermally efficient Non-combustible Water repellent Environmentally friendly Rot proof and non-hygroscopic Image of Golcar Passivhaus ( Designed by Green Building Store using Knauf Insulation.

With full product support from specification to installation, including bespoke U-value and psi calculations, contact us today on 01744 766666 or




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17/03/2017 14:24

ProPerty ImProvement


Living Space From loft and basement conversions to modern garden box extensions made out of architectural glass, there are countless ways to build extra space in your home


here are probably more than a few reasons why your current home isn’t big enough—be it a child on the way or the start of a new home-based business. Adding space to your property can be an expensive and time-consuming project, but with the right architect, dedication, research

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and planning it has the potential to dramatically enhance your interiors and make your home a more spacious and comfortable place to live in.

Raise the Roof

This extension is especially useful for properties in busy residential areas

where expanding horizontally—instead of vertically—is just not a realistic option. Simply raising the roof, or adding a second floor, is an effective solution if you own a relatively small lot of land. This type of home extension can cost anywhere between £40,000 and £55,000 on average according to Homebuilding & Renovating.

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Courtesy: Sam Hale

Sustainable building materials for healthier homes...deunyddiau adeiladu cynaliadwy ar gyfer cartrefi iachach

Courtesy: Therm afleece ®



 Traditional premixed lime mortars, plasters and limewashes  glaster® lime plaster (made with recycled glass instead of sand) and lime hemp plaster (made with hemp fibres instead of sand)  Welsh Thermafleece® wool insulation, British Thermafleece® hemp insulation  Laths (riven and sawn)

 Tŷ-Mawr Insulated Foundation System

SPECIALIST DISTRIBUTORS FOR  Singleton Birch (Secil), Hanson and St Astier hydraulic limes & premixed products

■ Homatherm® flexible woodfibre insulation ■ BEECKs mineral paints, Earthborn® clay paints and Aglaia plant-based wood and metal paints

■ Falu Rödfärg sawn timber paint ■ Secil EcoCork insulating render/plaster, Cork insulation and facade boards

■ Celenit wood wool boards ■ Glapor® Recycled Foamed Glass

CGI of the tomb of Richard III at Leicester Cathedral laid in Tŷ-Mawr Sublime® floor. Courtesy: van Heyningen & Haward Architects.

Courtesy: Llanfilo Church

LABC (LOCAL AUTHORITY BUILDING CONTROL) REGISTERED SYSTEMS  Sublime® insulated limecrete floor  Warm roof  Timber-frame walls  Solid wall insulation - internal and external systems PRODUCT SUPPORT AND SERVICES  Telephone support  RIBA-accredited CPD seminars  Courses for homeowners, contractors and specifiers  U-value calculations and condensation risk analysis  Site visits and condition reports  Mortar/paint analysis and matching service  Product selectors and quantity calculators on  Full colour brochure

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TIPS FOR A SMOOTH EXTENSION 1. Choose the right builder. Careful research will make the difference between a shoddy job and a long-lasting renovation. 2. Talk to your neighbours. Getting them on your side is crucial, as they have the power to object any proposal you put forward. 3. Set a budget. This is easier said than done, as there is always the risk of overspending—even on small-scale projects. 4. Figure out the purpose. Do you need—or want—an extra bedroom, a bigger kitchen, an additional living quarter or a new alfresco dining area? 5. Consider your location. Most areas have a ceiling value for houses. It’s never a good idea to invest so much as to surpass that value—especially if you are planning to sell, as you might not get your money back. 6. Know your materials. Research the best prices and the best types of materials for the job as these are the building blocks that will bring the project to life. 7. Choose carefully. Know what kind of extension is best for your property and needs.


Now featuring the same insulation and technology as most modern properties— think glazed windows, security locks, electricity mains and waterproof materials—garden rooms have gained a considerable amount of popularity over the years. If your home has a free outside space, a garden room might be the perfect extension as they rarely require building permission. In addition to this, eco-friendly building materials and modern construction techniques make this add on more affordable than ever. While this annex could easily turn into a games room or separate study, with some plumbing and electrical work it could even become a self-sufficient accommodation complete with a bedroom, bathroom and small kitchen or living area.

ing to any Before committ venture, house extension t planning make sure you ge don’t permission. You oney on a want to spend m never reach project that will completion

IMAGES: Shutterstock; 123RF


Victorian or 1930s houses are especially good for this type of extension, as they tend to have higher ceilings. Turning your attic—or empty space—into a loft may require less building requirements than creating an extra bedroom would. Depending on your house structure and planning, this kind of conversion is one of the most straightforward ways of

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Property &











Property &

WITH PHIL SPENCER Property hotspots Do you live in one?

Lofts and extensions

Making the right choice

The dos and don’ts of house hunting

How to add value to your home


your dream kitchen SPRING 2017 | £3.99

Spring 2017

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Phil talks property


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Property &

WITH PHIL SPENCER Property hotspots Do you live in one?

Lofts and extensions









Property &


Making the right choice

The dos and don’ts of house hunting

How to add value to your home

WITH PHIL SPENCER Property hotspots Do you live in one?


your dream kitchen

Lofts and extensions

Making the right choice

The dos and don’ts of house hunting

How to add value to your home

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Phil talks property


Spring 2017

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Phil talks property

SPRING 2017 | £3.99

Spring 2017

your dream kitchen

SPRING 2017 | £3.99



28/03/2017 15:45

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enhancing your space—and, possibly, the cheapest with prices starting at around £15,000. Some key things to think about when planning for a loft conversion are where to put the staircase, insulation measures, skylights, reinforcements to the floor, electrics, heating and fire safety measures.


Perhaps the most expensive and specialised extension, a basement conversion is suitable for properties that have sturdy foundations and some extra space underground. Companies will charge anywhere between £1,000 and £1,350 per square metre for a basement conversion (according to Homebuilding & Renovating), and the job will take a few months—during this time you will

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SUNLIGHT PROTECTION FOR YOUR EXTENSION LLumar® window film is the ideal solution for your loft extension, skylight or architectural glass renovation. The LLumar product portfolio includes a complete line of decorative, protective and privacy films that are available in a range of textures, patterns and colours. Architectural glass can allow more light into a room, bringing the outdoors in and creating the illusion of space. The only downfall to modern glass extensions is the effect they can have on your interior. Excessive sun damage can wear away at soft furnishings or even alter the appearance of exposed artwork. There is also the problem of excessive heat that can make certain rooms uncomfortable during the summer months. LLumar® window film helps to preserve the colour of fabrics, carpets and hardwood floors. They also provide an affordable alternative to replacing your windows when your goal is to improve energy efficiency. The LLumar® window film website now includes a new interactive format, enabling visitors to envision what their tinted windows will look like. The mobile and tablet-friendly site features several tools that make the process of choosing a shade, style and performance of film much more manageable. To find out more, visit


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PROPERTY IMPROVEMENT more than likely have to move out until the work is done. A great way to include a family room or a games room, these extensions can add a substantial amount of pounds to your property’s overall value on the market.


Modern and full of natural light, glass box extensions can create an elegant space that is habitable all year round. These glazed conservatories will allow you to make the most out of your garden even in the colder seasons—all while adding a significant amount of space and value to your home. Made out of sturdy architectural glass, these modern annexes will be resistant, well insulated and shielded from outside weather. Structural glazing will also provide a seamless and elegant transition from the existing property into the new and modern annex. •


One of Cantifix’s clients, the owner of a lovely rural Lancashire cottage, needed to extend their home to create a space where family and friends could gather and socialise. They wanted this space to be unique; somewhere that would enhance their views of the beautiful surrounding countryside. In response, Cantifix enabled the new extension to cut into the landscape; they designed the curved glass walls to follow the contours of the setting— making it appear as if nestled in the environment. Skyframe sliding doors were faced out onto the patio from both the extension and the dining space, to create a fully integrated living area. The glass roof was supported on tapered glass beams and set into the house walls for a seamless transition between inside and outside. During the day, the resulting light is bright and natural—while in the evening; the clever lighting creates an intimate atmosphere, even if surrounded by transparent walls and ceilings. To view the project visit:—Rural Projects


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01344 868 668 Sash Window Workshop Ltd.indd 1

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GLAZING WINDOWS Quality window glazing can keep your home warmer, isolate outside noise and cut down energy bills

IMAGES: Shutterstock


lazed windows can come in various types, shapes and sizes, but their efficiency will ultimately be determined by how well they stop heat from passing through, how much sunlight can penetrate the glass and how much air they let escape. Whether you’re looking at secondary glazing or double and tripleglazing, upgrading your windows could go a long way in reducing your spending on energy bills. When looking to upgrade your windows, there are three main things to keep in mind. The glass should be low emissivity— Low-E—with a coating of metal oxide on one of the internal panes. The gaps between sheets of glass should contain gases such as krypton, xenon or argon in order to make them efficient. Lastly, pane spacers—which keep the various sheets of glass apart—should contain little or no metal, these are often known as ‘warm edge’ spacers. Glazed windows will be available in a variety of frames in all the existing energy ratings. The type you choose will largely depend on your needs and budget— uPVC frames last a long time and may be recycled, wood frames have a lower environmental impact, aluminum frames are also long-lasting and composite frames have a timber frame covered in plastic (or aluminium) making them a low maintenance and weatherproof solution. A window’s energy rating is assessed by how well it can retain heat. According to the British Fenestration Rating Council (BFRC), energy-efficient windows and doors have a rating of ‘A++’. A ‘C’ rating is required to satisfy building regulations for windows,

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IS NOISE AN ISSUE? SECONDARY GLAZING CAN HELP For Paul and wife Amanda, having a comfortable home that meets their family’s needs is essential. Living on a main street, traffic noise is a permanent nuisance and their double-glazing is not having much impact on stopping the noise. Paul said: ‘Noise from passing traffic and voices travels straight up to the kid’s bedrooms, they are sensitive to loud noises and have problems getting to sleep— bedtime had become a real issue. We were in desperate need of something to make their bedrooms better for them.’ Known for its ability to outperform double-glazing on acoustic performance, secondary glazing is a great choice for bedrooms where noise is an issue. When correctly fitted, it can reduce sound by as much as 54dB—that’s 80%. The benefits were immediately apparent, ‘We knew straight away that it would change bedtime,’ Paul said, ‘Secondary glazing hasn’t just reduced outside noise, it has completely blocked it.’ ‘The kids can now sleep through the night with no disruptions. This has changed nightly routines for us. With no noise in the kid’s bedrooms, we can all get a good night’s sleep,’ said mum Amanda. For more information on installing Granada’s secondary glazing, visit


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PROPERTY IMPROVEMENT while an ‘E’ rating (the lowest grade) is required to meet building regulations for doors. Some exceptions to these rules may be historic buildings or conservation areas. An additional parameter that you should look out for is the U-value; it measures how well heat can pass through a certain material. Low U-values mean the material lets less heat pass through it—indicating better insulation levels. Considering both the energy rating and the U-value of windows is crucial when deciding which types to install in your home. 

WINDOW GLAZING: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS What is the difference between double and triple-glazed windows? Triple-glazed windows are more energy and sound-efficient than double-glazed. They can achieve whole window values of 0.7-0.8w/m2K, compared with around 1.2 for double-glazed. Against that, they are deep in profile, heavy, expensive and reduce natural solar gain. They are really only worth installing in a very energyefficient structure such as a building built to Passivhaus standards. How do double and triple-glazed windows work? By creating an insulating gap between the panes. This is normally filled by an inert gas, such as argon, which further reduces heat transmittance between the panes. Other recent advances include coated glass, which can reduce the loss of heat through the first pane from inside the room, and warm edge spacer bars that reduce ‘cold-bridging’ across the panes. What are the benefits of installing double and triple-glazed windows? Better thermal and acoustic insulation as well as a reduction of condensation.


-glazed Replacing single ergy windows with en zing la efficient double-g ound £135 may save you ar r year on energy bills pe

Do I need planning permission in order to install these windows? Not unless you live in a listed building or in a conservation area with an Article 4 direction. Answers provided by The Wood Window Alliance, manufacturers of energy-efficient doors and windows in the UK. For more information, visit

een Age Source: The Gr


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Perfect for your home. Peace of mind.

As one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of high performance wood windows and doors, West Port has the perfect solution for your home, with peace of mind guaranteed.

FSC® certified products available upon request

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Wide range of bespoke styles and sizes 60-year service life High security Fully factory-finished Low maintenance Wide range of colours, including dual finish Double or triple-glazed Extensive guarantees


Call us on 01900 814225 for a brochure or for details of your local distributor, who will be happy to arrange installation.

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Don’t mute noise, stop it with Granada’s aluminium secondary glazing. Noise from passing traffic, crowds of people and in extreme circumstances close by trains of planes are causing a nuisance. If you want to take action and block noise within your home, Granada’s noise blocking secondary glazing can help. Secondary glazing will reduce noise levels breaching primary window systems including single glazing, double glazing and even triple glazing. Engineered from durable aluminium secondary glazing is now smooth, slimline and discreet. With a powder coat finish it is available in over 200 RAL colours to suit all tastes and preferences.

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Available with a range of high-performance glass secondary glazing will rectify your issue whether it be acoustic, thermal or security.

Granada’s Secondary glazing is a discreet and unobtrusive window, that is installed to the interior side of a room. A sound blocking air cavity is created which drastically reduces noise, this teamed with acoustic glass can reduce noise levels by up to 80%. Secondary glazing allows your home to retain character and can be installed within conservation areas, Grade I and Grade II listed properties. It is slimline in nature and available in styles to suit all window types, sizes and shapes. If you are tired, restless and frustrated with noise issues speak with Granada secondary glazing who can turn the sound of a diesel bus into a whisper.

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Benefits of Secondary Glazing Reduce noise levels by up to 80%

Increase thermal peformance by up to 65%

Visually, the windows look fantastic and nicely powder coated. Can’t wait to try them out when it gets warmer. Mark in Leeds

Materials are of high quality and feel as though they will last a lifetime, Windows are high quality and operate smoothly. David in London 01909 499 899 Granada Glazing Final.indd 2

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CURTAIN CALL Let Property & Home help you pick the right dressings for your windows


indows are often the focal points of a room, and the right window dressings can considerably enhance the look of a space. This is particularly important when making your home appealing to prospective buyers as attractive windows are one of the first things they will notice when entering a room. Wooden blinds—natural wood slats that have been treated or painted—are a classic, durable choice that would compliment most homes, particularly period properties. They are available in a range of finishes, from dark ebony to light maple. Faux wood blinds are an option for the more budget-conscious and also those living in humid places as they won’t warp or crack with moisture. If you have sliding glass doors or large floor-to-ceiling windows, panel track blinds will be just the ticket. If attached to the ceiling they can even be used as a room divider.


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If you want to combine functionality with aesthetics then roman shades—which consist of one continuous piece of fabric that folds up when raised—give the look of fabric curtains without the attendant bulk. For a more discreet option choose roller shades, which roll up into a neat tube when raised. Those looking to conserve energy and reduce their heating bills should consider cellular shades, which are made up of tiny pockets of honeycombshaped cells that trap air and insulate against cold and heat. 


Shutters are a popular choice and one that can add real value to a property. As well as offering a striking architectural accent to a room they can block light effectively and also act as an insulator for heat, cold and noise. Those looking to stamp their own personal style upon a room should opt for drapes and curtains. There’s lots of scope for creativity as they come in numerous colours and fabrics. They’re also a practical choice as the right ones can block light effectively and—if lined— can also offer thermal insulation.

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Property & Home’s guide on how to best adorn your walls

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Hanging heavy objects





anging objects properly on a wall, whether it’s pictures or heavier items such as mirrors, can be challenging. Read on for tips on how to ensure your walls—and everything on them—look immaculate.

If you have lots of pieces you want to hang up on a wall then make sure you plan your layout by arranging them on the floor first. Alternatively, trace out a paper template of each piece and secure it on the wall so you can see what everything will look like—just make sure you use reusable adhesive to avoid leaving marks. Always hang your pictures up at eye level. If you’re hanging something above a piece of furniture like a sofa, try not to leave a large gap as this will draw attention to the wall and not the artwork—aim for a space of around three to six inches.



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When grouping pictures place four similar-sized images together—this will make it look like a larger display. Remember it’s unlikely that all your frames will be exactly the same size, so your aim should be to balance the frames on the wall, not match them perfectly. Avoid using single nails hammered in walls to hang up pictures, as these will likely need regular straightening or may even fall down. Instead, opt for self-tapping threaded anchors and screws, as these provide better holding power. If you’re still worried about damaging the wall, then an alternative—and aesthetically pleasing—option would be to rest pictures on shelves or even on wooden easels. If you have a large wall but not enough artwork or photos to go up on it, try adding mirrors to balance out the arrangement. •


If you have something large, unwieldy or heavy to hang, such as a TV or mirror, then a little more care may be required when hanging. When it comes to heavy mirrors you need to ensure that what you want to hang up has a strong frame. Angle brackets can be used to reinforce older mirrors that you are unsure about. Weighing the mirror is also a good idea if you’re not sure how sturdy your wall fixtures need to be. If your mirror is too heavy for picture hooks then you could try a wing anchor or other fixtures such as self-drilling screw anchors, molly bolts and strap toggles—what you use will depend on the type of material it’s made out of. Wall mounting TVs is a good way of ensuring your living room looks less cluttered, saving on floor space. If you’re planning on doing this yourself then consider the following. The majority of manufacturers will offer mounts designed specifically for their TVs, so make sure you get one that matches your model, as this will be able to bear its weight. When positioning your mount, give careful thought to viewing positions—your TV needs to be at eye level and ideally centred to your main seating area. When affixing your mount to the wall use an electronic stud finder to mark the wooden studs behind the wall. Remember: you should never fix the mount directly to the wall, only to the stud.

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THAT REALLY HOLDS ITS WEIGHT? GripIt® Fixings have a unique design which enables them to hold up to a collosal 330kg, making them the toughest plasterboard fixing available on the market. Their four sizes allow you to hang anything from small frames and lights, to kitchen cupboards and even radiators. If you’re after a fixing that holds its weight, look no further than GripIt®.



Don’t believe us? Scan here to see it in action! Email Call 08456 800 215 Visit

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26/01/2017 10:24

ProPerty ImProvement

Choosing the

Right FlooRing Installing new flooring in your home is a major financial outlay that needs to be considered carefully


hoosing the right flooring for your home is one of the trickier decisions you’ll have to make when it comes to designing your interiors. It’s a considerable financial commitment and you’ll need to carefully balance your personal preferences and tastes with practical considerations. Here, Property & Home takes a look at

the different types of flooring available to you.

IMAGES: Shutterstock


One of the most desirable types of flooring, usually comprised of woods such as oak, maple or walnut. They vary in colour—walnut is dark while maple, for example, is much lighter. The pros: it’s durable, longwearing and adds considerable aesthetic appeal to a room. Having hardwood floors in a

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home can increase a property’s value. The cons: hardwood floors are expensive to install and can scratch and blemish over time. However they can be refinished, so any damage isn’t permanent. One more factor to consider is that hardwood floors can be noisy for downstairs neighbours if you live in a flat—although this can be resolved by placing rugs across the floor to muffle sound.

making it comfortable to walk on. It also absorbs sound and is an effective insulator. Cork is self-healing so small slits and cuts will repair themselves. The cons: aesthetically, cork has a distinct look that may not marry with what you’ve planned for your home décor. It can also dent and damage more easily because it’s so soft.


A versatile, environmentally friendly material that suits rooms that receive a lot of use—such as kitchens or playrooms. The pros: cork has a honeycomblike structure that traps air within it. This gives it a ‘soft’ feel underfoot,


Another durable flooring that’s a sound option for high-traffic rooms. The pros: bamboo is longwearing and strong—it has more tensile strength than steel. It’s also environmentally friendly as it’s made from a highly renewable resource: bamboo typically takes just five years to reach full maturity. The cons: it can discolour when

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PROPERTY IMPROVEMENT exposed to sunlight or get scratched and dented. Bamboo can, however, be refinished.

Unless you have under floor heating, tiles will be very cold to walk on— particularly in winter.



Rooms that receive a lot of foot traffic or that need to be waterproof—such as kitchens and bathrooms—would benefit from tiled flooring. Popular materials include porcelain, slate, marble, granite and travertine. The pros: they’re durable and very versatile—you can use tiling not just on the floor but also on counter tops and splash backs, and they come in a variety of colours and designs, so it’s easy for you to be creative. The cons: grouting can be hard to clean and low quality tiles can chip.


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Hard, strong and versatile, consider concrete if you’re looking for a lowmaintenance choice for your flooring. The pros: if well sealed, concrete is easy to care for as stains and spills can be cleaned easily. It also offers an interesting aesthetic choice as concrete can be dyed different colours and various stains and paints can be used to create eye-catching finishes. The cons: concrete is very hard, so it may not be suitable for those with children or if you’re elderly and more at risk of falling. Issues such as

changes in temperature and moisture can also lead to cracks.


One of the more popular choices for flooring, laminate is made up of different substances layered together, with a photographic imprint of wood grain on the top layer of each board. Engineered wood is similar to laminate but the layers are made of plywood and always topped with a layer of real wood. The pros: it’s relatively inexpensive, durable, easy to install and is also available in many different colours and designs. The cons: you can’t refinish laminate so any damage that does occur is permanent. •

 

28/03/2017 08:39


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TRIED, TESTED AND PROVEN ACCOYA wood & MEDITE TRICOYA EXTREME have been tested over prolonged periods in all types of weathering TRIED,solid TESTED AND PROVEN conditions - above below ground and evenhave in water and have been proven periods to withstand the toughest ACCOYA solid woodground, & MEDITE TRICOYA EXTREME been- tested over prolonged in all types of weathering of external environments. conditions - above ground, below ground and even in water - and have been proven to withstand the toughest of external environments. Tricoya® Accoya® and the Trimarque Device are registered trademarks owned by Titan Wood Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Accsys Technologies PLC, and may not be used or reproduced without written permission. Tricoya® Accoya® and the Trimarque registered by Titan WoodorLimited, a wholly Medite® is a registered trademark of Device Medite are Europe Limitedtrademarks (“MEDITE”)owned and cannot be used reproduced owned of Accsys Technologies PLC, and may not be used or reproduced without written permission. withoutsubsidiary Medite’s written permission. Medite® is a registered trademark of Medite Europe Limited (“MEDITE”) and cannot be used or reproduced without Medite’s written permission.

Accoya.indd 1 | |

22/12/2016 15:43

ProPerty ImProvement

Running an

EnErgy-EfficiEnt HomE

IMAGES: Shutterstock

Managing energy efficiency in your home with a few informed decisions can help conserve the environment—all while saving you money

140 ProPerty & Home

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n A dripping tap ca 500lt waste around 5, of water a year Source: Energy


ccording to the Energy Saving Trust (EST)—a leading provider of energy-efficient solutions to domestic, business, local, government and trade sectors—heating and hot water account for around 62 percent of what we spend in a year on energy bills. It’s therefore safe to say that enhancing energy efficiency isn’t just eco-friendly, it can dramatically benefit our pockets too. Property & Home

explores some of the best—and easiest— ways to begin saving energy in your home.


Making simple and concerted efforts to save water can reduce energy use, cut down bills and help diminish the negative impact on the environment. Much of your water use contributes to your energy bill—it makes up 21 percent of a typical gas charge, to be exact. This

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is because water usage almost always equals energy usage—especially if the water is being heated. Heating water makes up four percent of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions, one of the main gases causing climate change. Switching your old showerhead for more efficient showerheads is a great way to save on water and energy, as is opting for a reduced-capacity bath— which typically holds far less water than its conventional 80-litre counterpart.


According to the EST, every home and business will be offered smart gas and electricity meters by the end of 2020. While they measure usage in the same way that traditional ones do, these smart solutions can also tell you exactly when you’re using the most energy and how much it costs—allowing you to adapt your energy

Saving Trust

use accordingly. These meters consist of an in-home display unit on which users will be able to see real-time usage in pounds and pence. Gone will be the days of receiving estimated bills and trying to justify costs versus energy consumption.


It goes without saying that in order to run an energy-efficient home, one must choose appliances carefully and take control of all things electric. When it comes to must-have machines such as cookers, fridges and tumble dryers, it is advisable to purchase models with a good energy rating such as ‘A++’ or ‘A+++’. When shopping for new water-using appliances, look for the Water Efficient Product Label as these models will not only help you save water, they’ll cut down your energy usage and bills as well. PROPERTY & HOME 141

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ProPerty ImProvement


Choosing between energy-efficient lighting options can be difficult as there are a wide variety of solutions at hand. The two main types of efficient light bulbs available in the UK are compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs)—they can both be used in standard fittings and are great energy-saving options (though CFLs will save you more money in the long-term). In addition to choosing these energyconscious bulbs, simple actions like switching off the lights when leaving a room, being aware of how many lights are turned on, arranging light switches in convenient areas, using sensors and timers in outside spaces and installing appropriate lighting for specific rooms and spaces can all save a considerable amount of energy.

142 ProPErTy & HoME

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Smart heating

Adjusting your heating remotely might seem like a thing of the future, but smart heating meters will let you do just that. Whether you want to come back to a comfortably warm house after work or make sure the heating doesn’t turn on while you’re out, new technology in this field is truly changing the way we use energy—while also enabling us to curtail our own wasteful habits. Smart heating meters allow us to play a bigger part in our energy consumption, but so can modern solutions such as under floor heating. These systems—made up of pipes linked to a boiler—pump hot water around the house, distributing heat more evenly. Because they need lower temperature water compared to heaters, this lets the boiler work more efficiently—effectively saving energy. •

energy-saving Quick fixes • Make sure there are no draughts in your home by correctly sealing all windows and doors. • Close your curtains when it gets dark outside. • If you use appliances like dishwashers and washing machines, try and switch them on only when you’ve got a full load. • When you want a cup of tea, only put the desired amount of water to boil. • Turn appliances off—don’t just leave them on standby. • Ask for help. Energy suppliers can give out energy grants and financial help to those who wish to install energy-saving measures. Source: uSwitch

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UNDERFLOOR SOLUTION Dedicated aftersales service 10 year Complete System Guarantee Onsite support 48hr quote turnaround Technical advice and support Training workshops Range of quality components Full design service


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24/02/2017 14:27

Ham Baker Group – Flood Control

Speedy Floodbags Protect your home and possessions with Speedy Floodbags. • • • •

Filled with a specially-developed absorbant compound, no sand! Bags start out flat, weighing less than 16oz (0.45kg) When deployed against floodwater, the bag then ‘inflates’ to form a barrier ‘Inflated’ floodbags weigh approximately 37lbs (16.8kg), protecting your home from flood damage.

Autodam Protect your home and possessions with Autodam • • •

Deploys automatically, barrier rises as floodwater enters the drain in front of it Bespoke barrier sizes to fit your home, upto 5m wide and 0.15m high Can be retro-fitted to your home, or incorporated into a new-build.

To enquire about these products, call: HAM BAKER GROUP

@HambakerAdams Ham Baker Group Limited

+44 (0) 1782 203666 or email

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FLOOD DEFENCE Repairing flood damage to your property can be extremely expensive—Property & Home explores the practical measures you can take to protect your home from flooding

IMAGES: Shutterstock


t’s estimated that the bill for 2015’s severe winter flooding in the UK reached hundreds of millions of pounds, with thousands of properties affected and many victims across the country facing financial ruin. Such extensive flooding—and the destruction it causes—is a scenario that experts think is likely to repeat itself more frequently from now on due to the effects of climate change. This means that all of us need to start taking practical measures to prepare for this new reality, particularly if we live in an area that’s prone to flooding. Thorough preparation is key when it comes to flood defence. Remember that flooding doesn’t just mean water coming through the gaps in doors and windows— water can also seep up through the ground when soil becomes saturated, through airbricks and through drains in baths, sinks and toilets. If you live in a flood-prone area consider adapting your home’s interior: measures such as raising electricity points, wiring and fuse boxes to at least 1.5 metres above floor level,

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REMEMBER Make sure your home insurance policy offers protection in the event of a flood

using tiling instead of installing carpets, wall-mounting TVs and keeping valuable items on high shelves could limit the damage that flooding inflicts on your property. Using materials that withstand water well—such as stainless steel in your kitchen—is another sensible option that should be considered. There are numerous products available that could limit the effects of flooding. Most major DIY retailers will sell sealant, barriers, toilet seals and flood-resistant air bricks. As well as this, consider having a supply of sandbags to hand: these can be placed by doors or ventilation pipes to prevent water from entering the property. Light alternatives to sandbags are also

available online. Specialist flood guards can stop water seeping through gaps in doors and windows. Visit the National Flood Forum’s Blue Page Directory for a list of approved products. Finally, consider investing in a flood water pump in case your property is flooded. Available from a number of reputable brands, these tools can quickly remove or limit flood water buildup, potentially reducing the cost of damage and allowing you to move back into your home as quickly as possible. 

Prepare Visit to see if your home is at risk of flooding, to sign up for flood warnings, to view flood maps of England and Wales and to find out how to obtain a flooding history for your property. Visit the websites of the Flood Protection Association, the Environment Agency and the National Flood Forum for advice on flood preparation


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ProPerty ImProvement

House Rules

Home maintenance is easy to neglect, but these essential tasks shouldn’t fall by the wayside

IMAGES: Shutterstock


an’t remember when you last had the chimney cleaned or bled your radiators? Regular maintenance of your home is a responsibility that’s easy to forget, particularly when many tasks only need to be done once, twice or a few times a year. It is essential, however, to keep on top of repairs to your home so that tasks don’t stack up, making completing them all at once inordinately complicated and expensive. A house that looks shabby and uncared for can also hinder a quick sale if you’re looking to move home. Our cold and rainy climate means that weatherproofing your home is essential for preventing damage to its structure. When the temperatures start to drop make sure you check the caulking around windows and doors and

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ensure your roof is free of leaks and has no damaged or missing tiles. Gutters and downspouts need to be clean and free of debris. Another important element of home maintenance is ensuring the heating systems in your house are working efficiently. Air can become trapped inside radiators, and letting this air out by ‘bleeding’ them once a year can hugely increase their efficacy. You should also have your boiler checked regularly by a Gas Safe registered engineer and consider updating it if it’s more than 10 years old. Make sure you check your attic or loft for leaks and damage to the insulation from pests like mice. Flooding and damp can be expensive to repair so regularly inspect your fixtures and fittings in the kitchen

and bathroom—this can range from ensuring your cistern isn’t leaky and still performs well, to checking cabinets for leaks and re-caulking and re-grouting where necessary. Keeping your home safe and secure should also be one of your top priorities. Ensure that any chimneys, vents and fireplaces are regularly inspected to keep them clean and in working order, and make sure you check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to see if they need their batteries replacing. Ask an electrician to take a look at any buzzing sockets or flickering lights in your home, as this could be evidence of an electrical hazard—and a potential fire risk. Regularly inspect the exterior and structure of your home. Take a walk around the outside of the house to



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PROPERTY IMPROVEMENT inspect the brickwork for signs of damage—such as poor or corroded pointing—and inspect your basement for mould, cracks and leaks. Any damp patches you spot around the house need to be dealt with quickly, as repairs can be expensive if the issue spreads and is left unattended. Subsidence is what happens when a building’s foundations sink because the ground underneath it is unstable. This can be caused by the characteristics of certain soils: clay, for example, can shrink and expand when its moisture content is affected and trees and shrubs can also draw water from the soil. Leaky drains may also erode and soften the ground beneath a house. The signs of subsidence can include visible cracks (both internal and external) that appear suddenly in a specific part of the house, doors and windows that stick, rippling wallpaper (that isn’t caused by damp) and cracks where an extension connects to a house. If you suspect your house may have subsidence then contact your insurer who will arrange a survey to confirm if your house has subsidence and whether it needs any further action. •

SCHEDULE YOUR HOME REPAIRS The myriad of small tasks you need to complete when maintaining your home can be easily overlooked. To avoid this pitfall, schedule the maintenance checks you’ll need to carry out for the next year on an online calendar— including reminders—so that you’ll never forget something important


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Your Guide to

Saving Space

Decluttering solutions and space-saving furniture are both major trends that are gaining popularity in the interiors market—not least because modern living spaces are becoming increasingly smaller

IMAGES: Shutterstock


aving too many things—and not enough space to store them—is a problem that seems to plague everyone nowadays. As living spaces get smaller and more expensive to rent and buy (especially in big cities) we are often faced with a dilemma: to keep or to give away? Clever space-saving solutions can declutter and organise your home whilst also making it a more comfortable place to live, so why not try a few?

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Custom Closets Instead of buying ready-made wardrobes, why not consider spending a little more money, taking measurements and commissioning a custom-built piece of furniture to maximise your storage space? Fitting snugly from wall to wall and all the way to the ceiling, these made-to-order items are designed to utilise all the nooks and crannies in a room—whether that is in the study, master bedroom, kitchen,

bathroom or living room—whilst also keeping spaces in order. You’ll be able to decide on a design and select from a range of accessories, embellishments and finishes to make sure your space-saving closet is tailored to your needs.

elevated rooms Suitable for homes with taller ceilings— and popular in bustling cities like London and New York—suspended rooms are an

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ProPerty imProvement effective way of taking full advantage of smaller living spaces like lofts and studio apartments. To make a small living room area more spacious, you might consider installing a ‘middle floor’ situated just under the ceiling—and firmly supported by a wall—with a narrow staircase leading up to it. This way, you’ll still be able to use the space below this extra floor level whilst also having an additional living area to make your own.

Under the stairs We could all benefit from having some additional space in our homes—more often than not, storage fixes and clever spacesaving solutions are hiding in plain sight. You can make stairs work double duty by using the empty space under them to your advantage. Use the extra room for smart shoe storage and linen airing by installing bespoke panel doors and drawer runners or purchasing a modern step cube shelf to maximise space.

Bedroom storage The bedroom is, arguably, the one room in the house that needs the most storage space—and perhaps the one with the least amount of it. When choosing a new bed for your home opt for one with plenty of storage space underneath. Custom-fit wall, folding and hideaway beds are all great space-saving options as they can convert even the smallest box rooms into fully functional bedrooms with additional storage.

simple space-saVing fUrnitUre swaps • If you need more work counter space in the kitchen, consider decorating vertically and installing a flip-down shelf table that you can swiftly store away when not in use. This extra bit of retractable furniture can also act as a breakfast bar. • Choose a sofa bed instead of a regular couch for your living room so it can double up as a guest bed. • Opt for a coffee table with storage space underneath or a desk that can be used as a dining table if your living room is also your office space. • For the dining room, consider drop leaf tables that can be easily extended in the event of a dinner party or a night in with friends. Foldable chairs can be put away and hung up on the wall and stacking chairs are also a must.

VacUUm packing Extremely useful when doing your seasonal wardrobe change, storing extra clothes and packing intelligently for an upcoming holiday, vacuum packing can be a true game changer when looking to save considerable amounts of space. By simply removing air with a vacuum, these bags are likely to store around four times more and can also protect your clothes and fabrics from damp, pests, mould and dust. Where you store them is up to you: due to their compact nature, these vacuum-packed bags can fit under beds and in small wardrobe and cupboard spaces. • 152 PrOPerty & HOme

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A HELPING HAND When it comes to small repair jobs and essential home improvement purchases, guarantor loans can be an easy way of putting funds together in a short space of time—but what are their pros and cons?


uarantor loans, a type of lending scheme that requires a guarantor to co-sign the credit agreement, are becoming increasingly popular among individuals who have less-than-ideal credit ratings. Guarantors will pay for someone else’s debt in the event of a missed payment or default of a loan obligation. As with all financial agreements, they have upsides and downsides—read on for their pros and cons.



 Guarantor loans might enable you to get a loan when all other borrowing options are unavailable and unachievable.  These types of loans are fast—most providers will allow you to access the money on average 24 or 48 hours after your application is made depending on how it is submitted. This means that in the case of an emergency—like a broken down car—you won’t have to turn to lenders with higher interest rates.  If you have bad credit car finance, opting to take out a guarantor loan will allow you to get the best possible deal on a new car, save money and avoid choosing a vehicle from a specific dealership just because it offers bad credit car finance options. CONS:

Perhaps the biggest con of a guarantor loan is that you will need

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to ask for someone’s help in order to secure one. This person will become liable to make payments in the event of breach of agreement—it is a big commitment and one that should not be taken lightly on either side.  Some interest rates on offer may be higher than expected. Even though these rates tend to be lower than the ones tied to a payday loan, they are still considerably higher than ones offered on a personal loan from a mainstream bank or building society. •

REMEMBER Always read the fine print and make sure you know the exact figure of the interest rate tied to your specific guarantor loan—hidden costs can build up


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Getting the

BEST HOME INSURANCE Owning a home can be expensive. In addition to mortgage costs and stamp duty, taking out home insurance can put a large dent in your budget—so how can we get the best deal?


surance Over 2m home in e in 2010. claims were mad nies paid Insurance compa day out £9.8m every


omparing home insurance policies is a must when looking to get the best possible cover tailored to your needs. As a basic rule, it’s important to consider both the level and type of cover, what you’re not covered for and the price—overpaying for extras you don’t need is perhaps the easiest way to lose track of your spending. Comparison sites are a great place to start, though they do come with their


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drawbacks. You’ll soon learn that the cheapest deal will not necessarily equal the best cover. There are two major levels of cover available, buildings insurance and contents insurance (which covers everything you would take if you were to move home). What you choose depends entirely on your needs. In a contents cover bedroom rated policy, the insurer works out the amount of contents cover

based on the number of bedrooms in your home. This is especially useful as all the calculations are done for you—most policies of this kind provide a standard cover worth anywhere between £40,000 and £50,000. On the other hand, if you opt for the sum insured policy, you’ll have to calculate the amount of cover you need on your own. Using an online contents cover calculator will allow you to get right level of cover and the best possible deal. Finally, choosing an unlimited sums insured policy will limit your risk of being under-insured as your contents are covered with no limit. When looking for insurance make sure your definition of ‘valuables’ matches your potential

IMAGES: Shutterstock

tion of Source: Associa nce ra su In sh iti Br

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PROPERTY IMPROVEMENT insurer’s, check if the insurance covers things taken out of your home (like mobile phones and laptops), don’t under-insure and verify the excess—the amount of cover you have to pay yourself. Different insurers will provide different levels of cover, be wary of where the differences lie. If you’re opting for buildings insurance, on the other hand, the choice will often be between convenience and cost. The bedroom rated insurance— one of the two main types of buildings insurance—will have the insurer estimate the cost of rebuilding your home by the number of bedrooms it has. It is estimated that around 16.5 million homes in the UK currently have this type of cover. With a sum insured policy, you yourself will need to estimate the cost of

rebuilding your home—it is advisable, in this case, to use the help of a chartered surveyor. There are pros and cons to both: the bedroom rated insurance is straightforward and protects you from being under-insured, while the sum insured policy can be tricky to calculate but will also allow you to cut costs by only paying for the cover you need. There are also a few other factors that will affect your home insurance—your postcode might be one of them. In ‘at risk’ highclaim areas with high crime and burglary rates or flood and subsidence risks, your premiums will most likely be higher. Therefore it’s vital to look around for the best deal and factor in all the different aspects before buying your home insurance policy. •

Reducing the cost of your home insurance • Pay your insurance annually, as paying in monthly premiums could add a charge of around 6%. • When looking around for insurance, pay attention to deals and take advantage of offers. Some insurance companies may be willing to beat any quote by up to 10%. • Make your home safer. Install alarms, locks, cameras and security systems. Joining a neighbourhood crime watch may lower costs too. • Install smoke and burglar alarms to earn a discount on your premiums. • In order to lower your premiums, increase the excess on your policy—if you’re willing to pay a bit more yourself. • Build a no-claims discount. If you haven’t claimed your home insurance for a few years, you might be able to get a discount. However, not all insurers offer this, so it may be worth looking out for the ones that do. • You may get a discount if you purchase buildings and contents insurance together from the same company.

REMEMBER It’s essential to keep your insurance company up to date on your circumstances. If, for example, you’ve upgraded your TV and sound system or splashed out on a new—and more expensive— bedroom set, you will need to increase the total sum insured

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Protect Your Home Your home can be vulnerable in a variety of ways; fortunately there are measures you can take to protect it from threats of flood, excessive heat or even noise


Weighing in at less than 16 ounces, easy to store Speedy Floodbags are extremely light. When time is of the utmost importance they will safely and rapidly inflate to protect your home from rising water.


Conservatory too hot? Annoying glare? Keep cool and comfortable in your conservatory all year round with our unique solar control coatings. Applied to your existing glass, you can feel the difference immediately. Reduce the sun’s heat by 82% and glare by up to 94%, whilst allowing the natural light in and maintaining a clear view out. Includes a 12-year warranty.


Enjoy a better night’s sleep with Granada Secondary Glazing. Granada’s Secondary Glazing can block out noise breaching your primary windows. With an average noise reduction of up to 80%—which is the equivalent of 54D, Granada can convert the noise of a diesel bus into a whisper. Additional benefits include an increase in thermal performance and security. As Granada Secondary Glazing is discreet, it can be installed in conservation areas along with grade I and II listed properties. Visit their website for more information:


Accoya® and Medite® Tricoya® Extreme are two of the most advanced exterior wood products on the market today. Benefits of Accoya wood and Medite Tricoya Extreme wood panels include: outstanding levels of performance, stability and durability with a guarantee of 50 years above ground and 25 years in ground. 158 PROPERTY & HOME

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5-Star Home Insurance from the Salvation Army General Insurance Corporation is different. SAGIC has been providing insurance since 1909, competitively priced, reliable, trustworthy AND all the profits go to The Salvation Army’s Charitable works. We provide free home emergency cover and discounts for alarms with no hidden costs. Our protection includes cover for family gifts, gardens, keys and locks, students and accidental damage.


AutoDam is designed to provide the highest level of passive flood protection. It deploys automatically and is easily installed into an existing environment. It can also operate in a pre-cast concrete trap for new-build developments.

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Home Essentials AVANT TECNO: Avant goes electric—Avant has launched a new

fully electric compact loader model e5, which is the most versatile power-driven compact loader in the world. This no emission, fully battery-powered machine is truly exceptional. The e5 is perfect for using in areas that are strictly no emission zones or where operations have noise restrictions. Learn more about Avant @


As one of Europe’s leading names in heating technology, Myson Floortec underfloor heating is at the forefront of the underfloor revolution. Their systems are designed to work with numerous floor types including solid, suspended, floating and retrofit floors. In addition to their manufacturing and technical expertise, they provide full planning and design services to help you achieve your perfect home.


You require a builder who will conduct themselves appropriately and produce an exceptional standard of work. ‘Find a Builder’ allows you to receive good value for money and is designed to help you protect your home and pocket. To aid your search for the perfect builder, use the ‘Find a Builder’ tool on their website.


Rated People is the UK’s number 1 online marketplace connecting homeowners with over 50,000 quality, local tradespeople. Homeowners review the tradespeople, which allows our community to make informed decisions when choosing a trade professional. Find out more or post a job at


PSS International removals are a family run company and have specialised in international removals and excess baggage for over 34 years. They have successfully assisted thousands of customers move to many destinations worldwide. They are known as the UK’s first choice for moving overseas and believe in providing a friendly, professional moving service to all worldwide destinations—visit for details.


Santa Fe takes pride in its wealth of experience, having moved people around the world for over 125 years. Our award winning company has best-in-class technology to manage the entire relocation lifecycle including immigration, shipping and destination services. Contact our team of specialists at to kick start your relocation.

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If you love the period charm and heritage of your timber sash windows but hate the draughts, rattles, rot and heat loss, then you need help from Ventrolla. We have over 30 years of experience and offices across the UK. So, when your sash windows are next on the ‘to do’ list, contact them for a free, no obligation survey and quotation.

The Pencil Uplight is a simple tool to add drama and ambience to a space. It can be used to highlight door frames, windows and columns. It is also excellent at drawing attention to textured surfaces by grazing them with light. Using a 3W 2700K warm white LED makes it extremely efficient. To find out more visit


Ty-Mawr Lime Ltd has made an enormous contribution to resurrecting the use of traditional building materials as well as introducing innovative environmentally-friendly materials to the market. They are now well established as one of the market leaders in the design, manufacture and distribution of traditional and sustainable building materials and training in their use, providing a one-stop-shop to clients throughout the UK. Visit their award-winning website:


Amigo Loans is the UK’s largest provider of guarantor loans. With the help of a guarantor who agrees to pay if the customer doesn’t, over 250,000 people have received the money they needed without being judged on their credit score. Some of Amigo’s customers use their loans for home improvements or purchasing a new car. Representative 49.9% APR (variable).

SASH WINDOWS & DOORS: DOUBLE-GLAZED WINDOWS When replacing your sash windows it is important to ensure that the new windows are sympathetic to the current exterior of the house but benefit from modern windowmaking benefits such as double-glazing. The Sash Window Workshop are specialists, manufacturing and installing traditional, double-glazed sash windows in period properties across London and the South.


GripIt® Fixings have been designed for use with all types of plasterboard installations. Using their uniquely designed slim gripping wings, GripIt® fold out in the gap behind the board and produce the most effective and secure fixing in the world today. Visit


Moving house? Look no further. You can find great quality packaging supplies to pack all your treasured items safely for their journey to a new house with a quick visit online to The Box People. With everything from boxes, tape and bubble wrap to full house removal kits—plus all items are available for free next day delivery if ordered before 6pm.


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Building People, Building Companies, Building Futures

National Federation of Builders

Quality builders are easy to find

Use our find a builder online tool to let us know where you are and what construction work you need doing... we shall source the right, local, builder for you and get them in touch with you. Visit to use the find a builder online tool and find your reliable, local, builder today.

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Choosing a builder is one of the most important decisions you will ever make for your home… As one of the UK’s longest standing and trusted trade bodies, the National Federation of Builders is perfectly placed to recommend reliable builders. Their Find A Builder search allows you to contact a reputable builder and contract members, all of whom have been strictly vetted and have undergone a range of reference checks.

Top Tips for finding a builder who’s righT for you 1. Start your search for a good builder – Get a referral from family or friends who may have recently had some work done. Ask the builder how long they have been trading and what experience they have in the work you need completing. 2. Do not be fooled by the badge – There have been a substantial number of cases of bogus builders fraudulently claiming membership of trade associations, so call and make sure they are a bona fide member.

they will need to apply for Building Regulations approval. 5. Avoid a ‘VAT-free’ deal – You will not have a valid contract if there is no proof of payment. 6. Put details of the job down in writing – The more thorough the better. Your contract should outline what work is to be done, start/ completion dates, security, safety, the cost of the work and materials, payment plans, catering and lavatory arrangements, hours of work, cleaning up and disposal of waste materials. 7. Be straight about money – Agree payment terms clearly in writing with your builder. 8. Avoid paying upfront or a cash deposit – It should not be needed unless you request specialist building materials or the job is likely to take a long time to complete.

3. Get references – Check and visit them. Contact the people who provided the references and find out how happy they were with the quality of the workmanship and the builder’s conduct.

9. Guarantees – Are they offering a guarantee on a large scale job? If it is a new build you will need a guarantee on the property.

4. Once you have a shortlist of builders, obtain quotations – Get full details in writing of what is covered and what is not. This should include site maintenance, clearance, material supplies etc. Ask for confirmation as to whether planning permission is required and if

10. Ask if the builder is insured – They should have cover to protect themselves against property damage and personal and public liability to protect you and the general public in the event of an accident or injury.

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The smart way to

sell your home Book your free valuation online or call 0333 999 7699 Sell your house from only


If you have instructed another agent the terms and conditions of those instructions must be considered to avoid a possible liability to pay two commissions in addition to any withdrawal fees or disbursements. *Selling costs if using Hatched Home Conveyancing service. RESI/HAT003/17

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Property & Home with Phil Spencer 2017  

Celebrity Angels: Property & Home with Phil Spencer 2017

Property & Home with Phil Spencer 2017  

Celebrity Angels: Property & Home with Phil Spencer 2017