Property & Home with Phil Spencer - Summer 2016

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Property &


Exclusive interview Phil’s take on the property world

In association with

Make the most of your garden this summer


do they add value?

Interior motives:

fixes, tips and advice for your home


SUMMER 2016 | £3.99





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What’s inside … INTERVIEW 10

companies to choose from, here’s what to look for when choosing your policy.

Property Talks In a conversation with Hannah Guinness, Property & Home’s Guest Editor, Phil Spencer, shares his views on everything from the property market to energy efficiency.



Heritage homes




Letting a property Want to be a landlord? Here’s what you need to know.


Use Protection With so many insurance


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Draught proof doors


Draught proofing is a cheap and efficient way to save energy and money in your home. Here’s all you need to know.

Through the Looking Glass: The Modern Conservatory A well-designed conservatory can enhance any home, adding glamour, sophistication and light, not to mention added property value.

Home Security, the Smart Way When it comes to safety and security in the home, smart technology is having a big impact.


Thousands of luxury homes are being built every year in London, but period properties still retain considerable appeal as an investment.

Raising the Roof Everything you need to know about roof maintenance.

Mortgage Masterclass Obtaining a mortgage is a major step towards buying a property. Here, we share key advice on how to succeed.



Safe and Sound Protect your home with these products and services.


The New Rules of Interior Design Enhance your home with the latest interior design trends.


In Sync From singing shower heads to smart scales, we explore technological innovations for your bathroom.

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Cabinet Reshuffle We look at the key considerations for building a new kitchen, and profile the latest work from some of Britain’s leading kitchen designers.



Reap the Rewards: Your Summer Garden A flourishing and vibrant garden is most coveted in the warmer months. Property & Home shares top tips to keep your garden blooming.


Turn Your House Into a Home This Summer Check out this great selection of household items, for both indoors and out.


An urban eco lodge RDA Architects create an urban Passivhaus in a challenging setting.


Working with nature


A protected lime tree posed a problem for this sustainable build.



Heat Wave An off-grid bungalow reaps the rewards of renewable heat.


The Heat Is On Everyone appreciates a well-heated house, but installing a new and up-to-date heating system in your home can also add considerable value to your property.


Beat the Heat: A Guide to Portable Air Conditioners The UK’s increasingly hot and humid summers can prove to be quite the discomfort. Portable air conditioners are a great option for staying cool this summer.


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Light My Fire Summer has arrived, but it’s not to say there won’t be a few chilly nights ahead. A multi-fuel stove or

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wood burner will add warmth and style to your home.



SENIOR EDITOR Hannah Guinness

ART EDITOR Friyan Mehta








Green your clean Many of the ingredients used in conventional cleaning products can harm your health and the environment. We explore some eco-friendly alternatives.


Home Renovations Home renovations made easy with these stylish products.

Copyright ©2016, Celebrity Angels All rights reserved

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The Dos and Don’ts of Renovation When it comes to renovations there’s a number of dos and don’ts to consider.

COVER IMAGE Fiona Murray


Down to Earth: Geothermal Heating For those of us looking to save money on our heating bills and find a system that is friendlier to the environment, geothermal heating is a good option.


PUBLISHED BY Celebrity Angels

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.

Make the Most of the Summer Sun Reduced costs and potential long-term savings have made installing solar panels a viable option for many homes throughout the UK.

DEPUTY EDITOR Samantha Coles

For sales enquiries call: 020 7871 1000

Relax in comfort with some of these heating and cooling options.


PUBLISHER & CEO Kevin Harrington

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

Home Comforts


Must-Haves for the Home A collection of essentials, fit for any home.


Tools of the Trade: The Essentials for the Home & Garden Property & Home takes a look at the essentials you’ll need to complete just about any job, indoors and out.



The Perfect Paint Job A how-to guide on painting your home like a tradesman.

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WELCOME from Phil Spencer … There’s much to consider when it comes to the property business—whether you’re looking to get on the ladder for the first time, sell your home or make an investment. First of all, much has been made of the fact that the London market— particularly the top end of it—has slowed down in recent months. One positive outcome of this is that commuter towns have benefitted hugely, as people look further out for more space and better value for money. It’s easy for first time buyers to feel daunted by the often negative press reports surrounding the property ladder, as well as the rising costs of rent making it ever harder to save enough cash for a deposit. What I would say to this is that buying a house for the first time has always been a huge undertaking—it takes time, sacrifice and dedication. But I would also say that it’s a hugely worthwhile undertaking. After all, it’s always going to be better to be paying down your own mortgage, rather than renting and paying down someone else’s. Elsewhere, the world of property investment has seen some major changes of late, thanks to new buy-to-let regulations, in particular the fact that mortgage interests will eventually no longer be tax deductible. It’s not the end of buy-to-let, but current and potential investors will need to think carefully about their property portfolios and really understand their numbers moving forward. In this issue we bring you our usual comprehensive coverage of all the key issues related to buying, selling or renovating—from advice on mortgages and a guide for landlords, to the latest smart security devices, energy efficient heating and a wealth of tips for revamping your home. Most excitingly, this issue sees our first ever interiors supplement, Inside Out, featuring up-to-the minute advice on transforming your home interiors, including the latest trends, room by room guides on renovation, professional advice, new products and much more. All in all, it will be a wonderful addition to what I hope you will find is an informative issue of Property & Home with me, Phil Spencer.

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ProPert y talks

IMAGES: Fiona Murray,123RF

In a conversation with Hannah Guinness, Property & Home’s Guest Editor Phil Spencer shares his views on everything from the property market to energy efficiency

10 ProPerty & Home witH PHil SPencer

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INTERVIEW You left London and moved to Hampshire last year. How are you finding country life? I love it. I’m a country boy at heart, born a farmer’s son, and we had a very happy time in London for 25 years but we were all very keen to get some fresh air and nature, so we really love country life. We’ve got ponies and sheep and chickens and dogs—it’s a big change, but it’s one we were looking forward to. In the last issue you predicted a long term increase in house prices. After a busy start to 2016, how does the property market look for the rest of this year? I think it’s stable. There’s been a lot written recently about the fact that the London market is quiet, and that the top end of the market is virtually non-existent, and that’s absolutely true. Stamp duty really wounded that market, but what has happened as a result is that while London has slowed down, commuter towns have benefited because people are looking for better value elsewhere, more space for their money, and the market is filtering out. The market everywhere is very price sensitive and people are understandably cautious, but people still die, divorce and pick up debt and people still get new jobs and children change school, and all the various normal domestic behaviours continue, and whilst people have perhaps been sitting on the fence for a little while there comes a time when real life catches up and we need to get on and move. Housing has been a big topic in politics recently. Do you think there is a housing crisis, and if so how would you solve it? We have a crisis if you look at the imbalance between supply and demand. We have a crisis if you look at rough sleeping and homelessness and temporary accommodation. I’m patron of quite a large homeless organisation, and in 2014/2015 54,000 households were classed as homeless and in ‘priority need’ by their local authority, a 36 percent rise since 2009/2010. That for me is a serious crisis and unless the framework about social housing changes that’s going to get worse quickly. Why do you think there’s been such a big rise? Housing associations benefits, so the amount of money the state will support a family or an individual with their housing needs, has been reduced. Also, there used to be cap on what a private landlord could charge a housing association in a particular area, to rent their property. That cap has


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According to Phil, the London market is quiet, particularly the top-end

been increased so it’s the perfect storm: you’ve got an increased amount of rent that a landlord can charge and you’ve got a decrease in the benefits available to an individual, so you’ve got a massive gap in the middle. What do you think needs to be changed? One of the problems with housing as a topic in this country is that it is a bit of a political football and therefore we don’t have long-term solutions. Look at what the current government did—the Help-to-buy schemes. They have helped the market but there’s always more that could be done, but a government is only in office for a very short period of time so I think the tendency is to have fairly short-term policies, policies that win votes. The problem that we’re in now

is the result of decades of housing policy. It isn’t something that’s been created in the last five or 10 years, it’s been a long time coming, and it’ll take us a long time to get out of it, but it’ll take even longer if all of the political parties have their own separate policies. It would be great to see a unified policy right across all political parties that everyone could buy into.

One of the problems with housing as a topic in this country is that it is a bit of a political football and therefore we don’t have longterm solutions.

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IntervIew are more mobile now, people aren’t as permanently fixed in their careers, or jobs or homes as they used to be, we live in a faster world. We’re not good at waiting for things any longer. Our parent’s generation made quite large sacrifices, it was a massive thing to buy a house and you saved up for years— we’re not very good at that nowadays. We’re more demanding of our kind of lifestyles. We go on holiday, we drive cars, we go out to dinner, we spoil ourselves in a way that previous generations didn’t, and that means it’s harder to save up for a deposit. In the year 2000, 60 percent of people in London owned their own properties, and it’s been estimated that by 2024—so another nine years—60 percent of Londoners will be tenants. But I would always encourage people to try and do whatever it takes to get themselves on the ladder. It’s far better to be paying off your mortgage and paying it down than you are paying rent and paying somebody else’s mortgage down.

After the changes to Buy-to-let, it’s going to be much Desirable Highbury Road, harder to buy that second home in Cornwall Wimbledon Village.

Investors have been racing to get ahead of the changes to stamp duty on Buy-to-let properties—what effect has this had on the market? What I feel is the biggest change to Buy-to-let and is likely to have a long lasting effect is the reduction in ability to have your mortgage interest repayments as tax deductible. That’s going to be phased in between now and 2020. The great attraction about Buy-to-let above and beyond other forms of investment, was the ability to gear up. If you had a 10 percent deposit you could borrow the other 90 percent to buy a house. If that house goes up by 20 percent in value you benefit by the full 20 percent even though you’ve only put 10 percent in. So that is what has been the whole driver behind Buy-to-let, it’s why people who have got large portfolios have made very good money. The tax changes on the mortgage repayments are reducing that to the point that it’s nonexistent, and that means that Buy-to-let is not going to be particularly attractive. It’s not the end but the people who remain in it or are trying to get in it have to understand their numbers and really get their accountants onside. The whole purpose of increasing stamp duty and the decrease in mortgage interest being tax deductible is to make investing 14 ProPerty & Home witH PHil SPencer

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in property and buying second homes less attractive, and I understand because we’ve got a housing problem, people need somewhere to live and the government are trying to make it more possible for more people to buy their own properties, but we’re doing it against the backdrop of the difficulty of getting mortgages, of higher deposits, of not building enough houses. If you reduce the number of investor-owned properties there’s less properties for tenants to choose from. We come back to supply and demand. If they’ve got less to choose from then demand is high, that means prices rise, if prices rise on rent because there aren’t enough investors then it becomes ever more difficult to save up for a deposit to buy a property. Much has been made about the rise of ‘Generation Rent’. Do you think we’re set to see a long-term trend towards more people renting? Or is this just exaggeration by the press? Well I hope not, it would mean a real cultural shift and a change in society. An Englishman’s home is his castle, that’s been a mantra throughout history, but we

What would you say are the biggest challenges facing the housing industry and market right now? It’s supply and demand. We’re not building enough houses. I’ve been following the housing market for over 20 years, and I do not remember a single year where the government target for new builds has been met, not a single year. But that said I don’t want the field next to me to suddenly have 20 houses. So, we’ve got to recognise that we have a housing problem, but also that people fight tooth and nail to reject planning permission for developments near their home. Equally, we have a wonderful green belt in this country that we need to protect, so there are lots of issues, none of them straightforward. As a society if we could somehow find the balance between protecting our beautiful countryside and building new homes, that would help. There’s concern that construction of new homes is going to lag behind demand yet again in 2016. What’s your view on this? It constantly does lag behind, and I don’t feel that’s ever going to change. It’s a known fact that the major developers have land banks, that they buy up land with the view to develop it one day, or they get options on buying land should they get planning permission, so they know what they’re developing for the next five years, possibly even 10 years, and they’ve bought a site with no intention of developing it for a long period of time.

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There are lots of ways to make your home more energy efficient

But I just wonder, seeing as we do have this pressure, this inbuilt imbalance between supply and demand, and that keeps the pressure on prices, I wonder whether there’s a vested interest to not build enough. Because if they don’t build enough, if none of them build enough then that maintains the pressure on prices because there’s always more demand than there is supply. Let’s talk about energy efficiency. Is it easier to update an existing property to make it energy efficient, or start from scratch with a new build? It’s easier to start from scratch, like it’s easier to start from scratch building a house than it is renovating an existing one. That’s not to say there’s not lots that you can do fairly simply to an existing property, whether it’s draft excluders or lagging your boiler, or double glazing or solar power or things like that, there’s lots of things you can do—it’s just easier to do it from scratch. Is energy efficiency set to become the norm rather than the trend? I don’t yet feel we’re quite at the point where it’s putting pounds and pence value on a

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It’s far better to be paying off your mortgage than you are paying rent and paying somebody else’s mortgage down. property, but it is absolutely helping with the decision to buy. I didn’t choose my house because it’s carbon neutral, but when looking round the house it was a big tick in the box that it wasn’t going to cost anything to run. It helped with marketability and the decision to buy, rather than whether to pay more money for it. It’s got to become the norm, energy efficiency, and being more aware of it, because we’re pretty terrible at it in this country. We’re getting better but we’ve got an awful long way to go to catch up with our European friends. Finally, are there any new trends in the property industry that you’re excited about? Internet estate agencies, that’s here to stay. Even 12 months ago it wasn’t being taken seriously by the industry or particularly by the consumer, and now it’s clear that market is

here to stay, so traditional high street agents are now genuinely having to compete with internet-based agents who do a different job with very different costs and price points. It will be interesting to see how that pans out over the next 12 months. I think this last year we’ve seen a lot more online agents start up and they won’t all survive—over the next 24 months I expect to see the market really get shaken up. That’s exactly what we saw with the portals, there were loads of them at one point and now it’s down to Zoopla and Rightmove. Do you think high street agents will survive? The ones who provide value for money, absolutely. It’s a personal business; people want to deal with people not computers when making such a big decision. That’s not to say there isn’t market for a different level of service. There’s only a certain amount of people that move every year, and there’s a hell of a lot of agents out there. So the good ones absolutely will survive and prosper, if they concentrate on their customer service, on their advice and provide value for money. The moment they stop providing value for money they’ll go under, the same with any business. •


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UK ProPerty trends

Heritage Homes


iving as we do in a country that clings fiercely to its heritage and history, for many of us our dream home is often a period property, whether it’s an elegant Georgian townhouse or a bucolic 16th-century country cottage. It’s a preference backed up by the figures. Research by London estate agents Kay & Co ( in February 2016 revealed that while

20 PROPeRty & HOme WItH PHIL SPenCeR

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new builds do attract premium prices their resale value doesn’t perform nearly as well in comparison to period properties. According to data from the Land Registry, new builds in postcodes W1 and W2 first sold between 2008 and 2011 that have since been re-sold have experienced an average annual price increase of 12.8 percent. For second hand properties, excluding the top and

bottom 10 percent (where short term leases and the benefits of refurbishment ‘muddy the waters’, according to the estate agent), there is a striking 16.2 percent average increase in values—with capital growth on second hand homes 27 percent higher than new builds in those first years of ownership. So why have period properties retained their appeal for buyers? Often

IMAGES: Apropos

Thousands of luxury homes are being built every year in London, but period properties still retain considerable appeal as an investment

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UK ProPerty trends highly individual in character and boasting a wealth of eye-catching period details, they make for an aesthetically pleasing choice that offers an alternative to the anonymous style of design often seen in new builds. There’s also limited stock, which keeps their desirability and bankability high. In comparison, while new builds are initially attractive to buyers because they require less maintenance and often come with a raft of facilities like gyms or a concierge, other factors can affect their long term value. For example, space is at such a premium in London that any prime locations are usually occupied by period

homes. There’s also the resale issue—a brand new luxury flat may seem highly appealing now, but what about after several years have passed, when it’s no longer the very latest design? What would make a buyer pause before buying a period property, however, is the risk that because of the age of the house you’ll be committing to expensive and extensive maintenance duties and repairs. According to Pete Ward, owner of Heritage House (a business dedicated to the care and restoration of old properties), this can be easily avoided. Read on for some of his key considerations.

Heritage Homes: wHat you need to know

Caring for a heritage property should be interesting, fun and inexpensive. The key is understanding how the house was built—the materials it was originally built with, and what interventions have taken place in the years since.

make sure your House is breatHable

Put simply, an old house is a solid walled building, constructed using breathable materials—this can include stone, brick, lime mortar, lime plaster and paint, or timber frame. If you block the ability of old materials to breathe, moisture is trapped, and they degrade. Timber starts to rot and go soft within walls, stone crumbles, bricks spall, and plaster falls off. There is a very simple rule: Modern materials don’t work. If your house has cement render externally, the walls will get damp. If it has been plastered internally with gypsum, or ‘damp proofed’—the walls will get damp. Cement and silicone around windows will rot them. Modern paints on external timber rot the timber by trapping moisture. If moisture is trapped into a wall, it will be a cold wall, as damp walls allow heat to escape rapidly. Forget insulating old houses to start with—your first priority is to make sure all of the walls are bone dry. Dry walls don’t lose heat nearly as quickly as we are told and modern research has shown that old houses are actually very heat efficient— when they are dry! Heat is lost through windows, reveals and roof areas, but these are easy to insulate, and we don’t need to indulge in external or internal wall insulation. Recent research has shown these actually cause significant damp problems.

Practical stePs wHen renovating

Everything should be geared to returning the house to breathability. Remove modern cement, gypsum and damp proofing of any sort. Use breathable lime mortar, lime plaster, and breathable clay paints such as the Earthborn range. Concrete floors trap moisture. Consider limecrete floors, with low temperature

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UK ProPerty trends constant underfloor heating. Use oakum caulking around windows, which is flexible and breathable—never use acrylic or silicone sealants out of tubes. Use linseed paints, not modern plastic paints (Oricalcum do a superb range of paints). Before you start, do a ‘mini survey’, look at ground levels around the house and make sure they are at least 6 inches below the top of the internal floors. Check all drains—get them CCTV surveyed. They are the most common source of damp problems. Make sure ALL stormwater is drained away from the house and cannot splash the bottom of walls. Go out in heavy rain and watch the roof—are the gutters taking the rain, or is it splashing out and running down walls? Make sure all the joints are watertight.


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Make sure all chimneys and flues are swept clean, and fires have stainless steel flues. Make sure there are no blocked up fireplaces full of damp, sooty rubble. Chimneys are full of salts, which absorb water, so you need to keep them swept and clear of dust and soot. When you are designing your renovation, look at lifestyle—how you live in the house. Where does all the steam from cooking go? Into the building fabric, or out of an industrial extraction unit in the kitchen wall? The same applies for bathrooms. Cheap extractor fans do not remove nearly enough moisture. An average family in an old house with four bedrooms and two children produces around five gallons of water a day, just by being

there. This places enormous stresses on the building if it is not removed. Kitchen vents, windows, sub-floor vents, fireplaces are all natural ways of reducing moisture. We use old houses differently to the way they were built originally, so we need to introduce artificial humidity control—this should take the form of humidity-controlled extraction. There are many cheap units around, but the best are the RHL units, which are scientifically designed and work to monitor and maintain humidity at ideal levels in your home. Maintaining low moisture levels is the single most important gift you can give to your old house—it’s not rocket science, and it’s not expensive! •

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LET TING Want to be a landlord? Here’s what you need to know


Becoming a landlord can be a challenging experience, and if your property is not correctly insured when renting it out, it can quickly turn into a nightmare. If you’re planning on renting out your home or flat, taking out a regular home and contents insurance policy won’t cut it—you need landlord insurance. MORE TH>N landlord insurance is specifically designed to cover rental properties. Policyholders are automatically covered for public liability, legal cover and accidental damage (restrictions apply to certain tenancy types). Plus, you have the option of adding contents, home emergency and rent cover to your policy. MORE TH>N is known for providing one of the most comprehensive policies in the market with its landlord insurance being awarded five stars by independent financial researcher Defaqto. To learn more about MORE TH>N’s landlord insurance policy visit: or call 03301 023 372.


eing a landlord comes with a range of legal responsibilities and requirements that must be adhered to. Here, we list some of the most important ones.


There are a number of financial and legal factors to take into account before letting a property. You’ll need to check that your proposed tenant has the right to rent your property (if it’s in England), and you will also have to protect your tenant’s deposit in a government-approved scheme.

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You’ll also have to pay income tax on your rental income—excluding your day-to-day running expenses—and if your letting of the property counts as running a business you’ll also have to pay Class 2 National Insurance. If you have a mortgage on the property you want to rent out, you must get permission from your mortgage lender.


As a landlord you must ensure your rented properties are kept safe and free from health hazards, and that all gas and electrical equipment is safely

installed and maintained. You will also have to provide an Energy Performance Certificate for the property. You will need to fit and test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.


If you need to make a repair, you do have a legal right to enter the property to inspect it or carry out repairs, but you must give tenants at least 24 hours notice—aside from emergencies, when immediate access may be possible. As a landlord you’ll be tasked with repairs to the structure of your property,


22/07/2016 11:58



Make sure you take out the right insurance policy. Policies specifically designed to cover rental properties come with an array of features you don’t get with normal home insurance packages. There are many different policies you can choose from, just make sure you use a reputable provider, like Sennocke International Insurance Services, or MORE TH>N Insurance. When it come to covering a property, MORE TH>N’s landlord policy expert, Anthony Taylor, advises letting your insurer know the re-build value of the estate, not the market value: “If a storm hits your property and there is nothing left but a pile of bricks, how much would it cost to completely rebuild the property, exactly how it was before? Quite often, it differs from the market value.’

Finally, if repairs are highly disruptive tenants can claim a reduction on their rent—but this will depend on how much of the property is unusable.


You can only increase rent once a year for a periodic tenancy, while for a fixed-term tenancy you can only increase the rent if your tenancy agreement permits this. Otherwise, you will have to wait until the term ends. The rent increase you put in place must be in line with current rental prices on the open market. If your tenants judge your rent increase unfair, they can ask the First Tier Property Tribunal to rule on the right amount. In the event of a dispute, start by speaking to tenants and if this doesn’t work, write a formal letter detailing the issue. As a last resort you can take your tenants to court, but it’s often cheaper and quicker to use a mediation service. For more information, visit: renting-out-a-property •


plus basins, sinks, baths and other sanitary fittings, as well as heating and hot water systems. It’s important to attend to repairs quickly and thoroughly. If you don’t, tenants are entitled to start a claim in the small claims court for repairs under £5,000. Alternatively, tenants can carry out the repairs themselves and deduct the cost from their rent. If you fail to make repairs to remove hazards, tenants can request a Housing Health and Safety Rating System inspection If the repairs you need to make are major, you can ask tenants to move out, but before this happens you should agree in writing how long the works will last, the tenants’ right to return and details of any alternative accommodation. Remember that you can’t repossess a property to do repairs, but if you are planning major works or want to redevelop the property then you can apply for a court order for your tenants to leave.


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22/07/2016 11:57


Self Build Zone

Before you lay the first brick, make sure you & your project are protected ... Self-Build Zone provides Site Insurance and liability cover for anyone starting new building works, as well as covering any existing structures on site. Our Approved Inspectors can facilitate all survey services you may need during the build or for the warranty provision. On completion, Build-Zone can provide you with a 10 Year Structural Warranty. For more information or to obtain a quotation go online at or Call the Self-Build Zone Team on 0345 230 9874 Sennocke International Insurance Services Ltd.indd 1

20/04/2016 11:38

ProPerty business

Use Protection Protecting your home is essential should the worst happen. With so many insurance companies to choose from, here’s what to look for when choosing your policy

28 ProPerTy & Home WITH PHIl SPencer

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It can be confusing searching for home insurance, as there is a great deal of information to consider and a lot of small print. However, there are a number of home insurance comparison sites available, which will make it easy to find the best policy for the cheapest price. Here’s a checklist of what to look out for.

CheCk the exCess

When comparing insurance prices, most of us focus on the cost. However, it’s worth looking at what the excess for

each policy is, especially if there are several policies that offer similar cover at a similar price. So, if you have policies that only differ by a small amount, check the excess charges—this could result in you having to contribute more towards the cost of a claim. The policy which has a lower excess but a higher annual cost could be the better choice should you need to make a claim.

home and Fortress

Home security can be a grey area when it comes to home insurance. If you don’t



s the old saying goes, it’s always best to be prepared. This is especially important in regards to your home—unless you’re lucky enough to have the cash to replace or repair everything you own in case something goes wrong. Home insurance often comes in two parts: buildings insurance and contents insurance. Buildings cover protects your bricks and mortar for events like fire and weather damage, whilst contents cover protects your belongings against theft, damage and loss.

22/07/2016 11:59

The Salvation Army is a Church and a registered charity No. 214779 and in Scotland SC009359. SAGIC (Salvation Army General Insurance Corporation Limited) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Salvation Army that has been a part of the Insurance Market since 1909. SAGIC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority. Member of the Association of British Insurers and the Financial Ombudsman Service. – Reg no 202327.

PROTECT YOUR HOME WITH SAGIC’S HOME INSURANCE. SUPPORTING YOU AND OTHERS IN TIME OF NEED. We provide ethical insurance for your home and contents and give 100% of our profits to support the work of The Salvation Army, that’s over £2 million in the last 3 years.

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Call: for an instant home insurance quote. Or visit us at SAGIC Insurance.indd 1

11/03/2016 12:30


Specialist Insurance Certain houses require specialist cover, such as custom-built properties, listed buildings and thatched roofs. Some of these will have a greater chance of a higher insurance premium. However non-standard your non-standard home may be, it’s important that you have the protection designed for your property. Paying money for a policy which excludes any of your risks will only give the insurance company grounds to refuse to pay out on a claim; even if it’s unrelated to the reason you needed specialist home insurance in the first place. currently have a burglar alarm, then adding an expensive system is highly unlikely to reduce the cost of your insurance enough to justify buying and fitting it. However, a good home security system can reduce the chance of having to make a claim in the first place, which could save you hassle and money in the long run—as well as giving you peace of mind that your home is well protected at all times.

DID YOU KNOW... ed policy Buying a combin and s ing ild bu of both ce can contents insuran an r th often be cheape te ra getting two sepa policies.


When it comes to insurance, loyalty isn’t often rewarded. New customers often get the best deals, so when your renewal letter comes through, check online that you’re being offered the best deal possible. If not, it might be worth changing providers. But, as always, remember that it’s not just the price that’s important—make sure you look at the details that the policies offer to make sure you’re getting the right level of cover. •


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22/07/2016 11:59

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21/06/2016 11:41

ProPerty business

Expert home insurance advice from A Plan Did you know an estimated 80 percent of people don’t have adequate home contents insurance? Are you one of them? As a guide, anything you’d take with you if you moved house should be included in your contents insurance. Items that are commonly overlooked aren’t usually the high-value items such as laptops, electronics and expensive jewellery, but lower value items, which can quickly add up. For example: • contents kept in the loft, garage or outbuildings such as garden tools and garden furniture, Christmas decorations and luggage • crystal glassware and china dinner services • bedding, linen and mattresses for each bedroom. People often under-estimate the value of their clothes (including shoes, handbags, and accessories) which can total £10,000 per adult over the age of 30. Items that people often miss all together are curtains, blinds, carpets

32 ProPerTy & HoMe wITH PHIl SPenCer

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and rugs. These alone tend to carry a minimum valuation of £20,000 in homes worth over £250,000. What are the implications of having the wrong level of contents insurance? If you need to replace items following a claim, they might not be covered to the full replacement value. Most people value their contents based on their current value. Time passes and they don’t think about how that value has changed. However, insurance policies value assets on their new replacement cost. Some insurance policies carry an ‘average clause’, which means the insurance company can reduce your claim by the percentage by which you are under-insured. If you are over-insured, you are paying too much unnecessarily. A good

insurance broker will be able to properly advise you and help you find a policy more suited to your needs and lifestyle. Most of us only realise we are underinsured when having to make a claim, by which time it’s too late. A-Plan have put together a handy infographic on their website and can provide a checklist of items to include and help determine their value. It’s advisable to repeat this process at least every five years to ensure the value remains accurate. Getting the right advice is important. A-Plan can guide you through this process, in person or on the phone, to make sure that the best possible cover is obtained and there are no nasty surprises.

For a quote or advice on home or motor insurance call 01993 894 716 or visit to find your nearest branch.

22/07/2016 11:59

Home insurance

delivered with a human touch At A-Plan, you’ll always talk to a real person, giving you peace of mind and insurance that meets your needs. Worried about competitive prices? Don’t be... we could save you up to £102* on your home insurance.

£50 or £50 M&S gift card If we can’t beat your home renewal quote^

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Insurance for: car | home | van | business | life & health | travel and much more Terms & Conditions *76% of new home clients saved money, with an average saving of £102 between November 2015 and April 2016. ^This offer only applies to new A-Plan clients. If we can’t beat your existing insurance renewal quote on a like for like basis (you will be required to provide your renewal notice from your current insurer) or when you take out a personal home insurance policy, we’ll give you a £50 M&S gift card. This offer is available on buildings, contents, or combined buildings and contents with a minimum premium of £200 (excluding enhancements and optional extras). Excludes properties with subsidence, flood or theft claims in the last 12 months. Only one gift card per UK household, not available in conjunction with any other offer or promotion. We reserve the right to vary, withdraw or extend this offer at any time. **A-Plan achieved 4.8 out of 5 stars for satisfaction based on over 1500 reviews ( A-Plan Insurance is Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered office: 2 Des Roches Square, Witney, OX28 4LE. Registration number 750484

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19/05/2016 09:58

Home Property &



KITCHEN SPECIAL • The Kitchen Makeover • Top-of-Range or DIY? Your best options To receive regular information, sign up for our weekly newsletter at:


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25/07/2016 12:53

ProPerty business

mortgage Masterclass

Obtaining a mortgage is a major step towards buying a property. Here, we share key advice on how to succeed


or most of us, getting a mortgage represents the biggest financial commitment we’ll ever make, which means it’s important to be savvy and find the best deal possible. There are many steps you can take to improve your chances of getting a mortgage application accepted.

Credit CheCk

One of the first things you should do is get a copy of your credit report, as this will let you see what lenders see

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when they consider you application. If your credit rating isn’t great, give your score a boost by ensuring you’re on the electoral roll and closing down credit card accounts that you don’t use.

do your sums

It’s crucial that you sit down and work out a budget before applying, making sure you can borrow enough to cover the purchase of the property. Use an online mortgage calculator to calculate your projected monthly mortgage repayments.

remember the Costs

There are other costs that come with buying a property—such as solicitor’s fees—that can make a considerable dent in your finances. You will also need to pay stamp duty if your property is over a certain amount. The threshold is £125,000 for residential properties and £150,000 for non-residential land and properties.

shop around

Finding the best rates for your mortgage PrOPerTY & HOme wITH PHIl SPencer 35

25/07/2016 11:43


For most of us, getting a mortgage represents the biggest financial commitment we’ll ever make.

is important, but don’t make it your only priority. Deals with the lowest rates can carry large arrangement fees, whereas deals with higher rates may have smaller or no fees. As well as doing your own research, speak to a mortgage broker. You’re under no obligation to follow their recommendation but a good one will be able to explain your options and help you find the best deal. Make sure you use a broker who offers advice from the whole market.


Remember that a lender will be assessing not just your application but you as well. If you’re thinking of switching jobs wait until you’ve secured a mortgage as lenders will want to see that you’ve spent a decent amount of time at your current job. It’s also a very good idea to reduce or clear any debts you may have. Finally, mortgages are now assessed on affordability, so a lender will analyse your income and essential outgoings to decide if you can afford repayments.


A lender will expect to see proof of how much you earn—so you’ll need a P60, which shows a summary of your pay and how much tax has been deducted. You get this every year from your employer. You’re also likely to need six month’s worth of bank statements, as well as payslips, utility bills and other documents. If you’re self-employed, lenders will need you to prove you can keep up repayments. They’ll ask to see at least two to three year’s worth of accounts before considering your application. For a full list of everything you’ll need, visit moneyadviceservice. •


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AFFORDABLE FINANCE Parity Trust is a non-profit organisation that provides secured affordable finance, particularly to those unable to access mainstream providers. Traditionally, this has been via home improvement loans. Over £4 million has been lent over the past decade with no defaults. This is due to the inclusion of a robust financial assessment and products available. Parity Trust is also a provider of shared ownership mortgages. Working mainly with community land trusts, they create an individualised product

conducive to a bespoke scheme, helping aspiring homeowners realise their property dream. Parity Trust is currently piloting other mortgage products to help ensure vulnerable (mainly older) people are able to ultimately own 100 percent of their property. When an interest only mortgage matures and homeowners are left with few options, Parity Trust offers a product that gives homeowners real choice, and the knowledge that by working with a non-profit the only driver is customer satisfaction.

25/07/2016 11:44

Secured Home Improvement Loans  Fixed interest rate for entire term of the loan  No early repayment penalties  Make additional payments  Low arrangement fee

Typical APR


• Works can include general repairs, adaptations and eco works • Tailored Home Improvement Loan packages available • Loans from £2,500—£30,000 • 15 year maximum term • 2% arrangement fee a non-profit organisation

Call 023 9237 5921 o r visit par Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage or any other debt secured on it. Portsmouth Area Regeneration Trust (Guarantee) Limited registered in England and Wales trading as Parity Trust. Companies House Number: 3977373. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Financial Services Register Number: 504445. Head Office: Parity Trust, 1000 Lakeside, Portsmouth PO6 3EN

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24/06/2016 15:00

A simple way to boost your income with property Now it’s possible to get that same income from investing in bricks and mortar, without having to become a landlord. When it comes to getting on the property ladder, the news is flooded with doom, gloom and lately a good helping of uncertainty. According to a recent prediction by charity Shelter, first-time buyers in London will need to earn £106,000 to buy a home by 2020. Elsewhere in the country it was predicted that people would need to earn £64,000. So it comes as little surprise that the “Bank of Mum and Dad” will help finance 25% of UK mortgage transactions this year, according to research by Legal and General. The impact of Brexit adds new colour to the picture. Brexit may provide an

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opening for the UK housing market to cool and reset in areas where rising house prices are stifling first time buyers and others that want to buy property. Faced with challenge and opportunity people are still finding a way to get on the property ladder without forking out large sums.

Crossing the bridge to the benefits of the property market People from diverse walks of life look to property to help them build their lives. And many are doing it very successfully. There’s Michael, CEO of a global advertising company, who looked to property for somewhere to invest a disposable income to support him and his family.

Simon, a 24-year-old student, was given an ‘investment tuition fund’ by his father and challenged to double his money. Josie, a property manager, sees bricks and mortar as a way to top up her holiday piggy bank. And Nick, an energy healer, sees property as a means to send his kids through school. They’ve all crossed the bridge into the property market and it’s been much simpler than you’d think. So how have they done it? Until now property investment has meant investing large amounts of your capital – and over the long term too. But this is changing...

25/07/2016 10:02

Meet some of our investors

Michael, CEO in Advertising

Josie, Property Manager

Learn from successful property investors Online property investment is your step-ladder into the property market: it gives you the opportunity to build a solid income from property with less hassle, all the while helping property entrepreneurs build more homes for people to live in across the UK. By investing in bricks and mortar online, Simon is on his way to meeting his dad’s investment challenge. Michael has been able to earn net returns of 7.49% a year since he started investing. Josie’s already got her next big trip planned. And Nick is adding to his education fund ready to send his daughter off to school.

Join thousands of property investors online

Nick, Energy Healer

We love property with all its flaws. Its burst boilers, creaky floorboards and unruly tenants. But really we could do without them. On our platform you can skip the hassle and unlock the full potential of property: the great returns and the safety of bricks and mortar. All you need are sharp decisions and a laptop, tablet or mobile.

Simon, Student

7.2% is the average return per year to platform investors, based on a 12 month historical rolling average. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Whilst you can invest in loans secured against property, your capital is at risk. LendInvest is registered at 8 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JJ (Company No.08146929), and is authorised and regulated by the FCA, no FSCS.

Welcome to the UK’s leading property investment platform, trusted by thousands of investors. We can help you build a solid income through property.

For more information visit

Thousands like Michael, Simon, Josie and Nick are using our platform to top up retirement funds, fund later-life gap years, save up for school fees or simply learn the investment ropes.

LendInvest DPS.indd 2

25/07/2016 10:02

UP FOR GRABS Win a QuietAir QT100 MST Worth £150! Airflow are giving you the chance to win a top of the range QuietAir fan. The QuietAir is a range of elegant, extremely quiet, discreet axial fans. Operating at just 25dB(A) (as quiet as a human whispering), the QuietAir is one of the few fans on the market that has a Quiet Mark by the Noise Abatement Society. The QuietAir comes complete with a sleek, award winning design and durable motor that lasts for over 40,000 hours.

Win a Free Interior Design Service From Dulux! Dulux Amazing Space is the new online interior design service that brings you easy, convenient, affordable interior design from a brand you can trust. If you want to refresh a living room, create a perfect bedroom sanctuary, or a warm and bright functional kitchen, Dulux Design Experts can help you achieve just that. Dulux are offering one lucky reader the chance to experience their interior design service for free.

Win a Customised Wetroom Worth £2,500! Wetrooms ooze hotel-style luxury, and these supersleek zones are the perfect option when going for a contemporary look, especially if you have limited space. It’s about creating a sense of freedom, and a clever design will let you open up the room in ways you didn’t think were possible. Topps Tiles is offering the chance to win a customised wetroom of your choice worth £2,500.


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25/07/2016 12:45


DRAUGHT PROOF Doors and Windows

Draught proofing is a cheap and efficient way to save energy and money in your home. Here’s all you need to know



ccording to the Energy Saving Trust, you could save between £25 and £50 per year by draftproofing your home. As draught-free homes are more comfortable at lower temperatures, you can turn down the heating—turning down a thermostat by just one degree in a typical home could

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save £85-£90 per year on heating bills. You could hire a professional to draught proof your home, especially in older buildings with single glazing. But, if you’re comfortable dealing with simple DIY jobs, there are a number of ways you can draught-proof your home yourself. •

As draught-free homes are more comfortable at lower temperatures, you can turn down the heating—turning down a thermostat by just one degree in a typical home could save £85-£90 per year on heating bills. PROPERTY & HOME WITH PHIL SPENCER 41

25/07/2016 11:42


Secure your home with window film LLumar share their expertise on the many benefits of window film. What is architectural window film and how does it work? LLumar window film is a retrofit solution for window performance challenges even with existing glazing systems. Window film can improve energy efficiency, occupant comfort, safety and security, UV protection, design and privacy. Made of a clear, heavy-duty polyester compound, LLumar provides a thin, transparent barrier against threats such as graffiti-taggers, smashand-grab thieves and natural disaster. What are some of the benefits of architectural window film? LLumar window film is durable and easy to install. It provides a simple, cost-effective alternative to new safety glazing. Unlike obstructive physical barriers like bars, shutters or grates, LLumar is virtually invisible, offering 24/7 protection for your property. LLumar window film can also help keep your energy costs down by reducing heat loss in the winter and excess heat in the summer.

and are more compatible with modern glazing systems than interior installations as it intercepts the sun’s energy before it enters the building. Can window film reduce energy costs for a typical household? Yes—summer air conditioning and winter heating represent an enormous cost factor for private households. LLumar low emissivity films can reduce heat loss in the winter and excess heat in the summer. Applying LLumar window film keeps you in control of the temperature and atmosphere in your home as well as the costs. How is window film installed in the home and is it easy to do? LLumar window film is applied externally or internally on existing glazing. Professionally installed, it is nearly invisible and usually only costs a fraction of the replacement of a single window. LLumar provides a global network of tradesman who specialise in installing window films.

What to draft proof in your home Unwanted gaps and uncovered outside openings let draughts into your home. These can be caused by: • Windows • Doors, keyholes and letterboxes • Chimneys and fireplaces • Floorboard and skirting boards • Loft hatches • Pipework • Cracks in walls

How does window film protect from sun glare, heat and UV? Since exterior window film is exposed to the weather constantly, Llumar Helios exterior coating technology is designed to protect the integrity of the film against weathering. The film is scratch-resistant, repels water (hydrophobic), repels oil (oleophobic) and has a UV protection of 99 percent. It intercepts the sun’s energy before it enters the building, protecting you and your family from sun glare, heat and UV-rays as well as preventing your furniture from fading. What are solar control window films and how do they work? LLumar Helios solar control films are designed for commercial and residential applications to prevent damaging UV rays, heat and glare, and to improve energy efficiency. Our solar control films are applied to the exterior of existing glazing 42 PROPERTY & HOME WITH PHIL SPENCER

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25/07/2016 11:43

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24/06/2016 10:00


Through the Looking Glass:


Bespoke conservatory extension in glass and aluminium with bi-folding doors. Similar projects from Apropos available from £21,000

Conservatories are among the most popular type of home extension in the UK, and it’s easy to see why. A well-designed conservatory can enhance any home, adding glamour, sophistication and light, not to mention added property value


One of the most popular and contemporary types of conservatory is the lean-to design. This style is about creating a simple, modern look, by


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using clear-cut lines, wooden or tiled floors, while using minimal furniture to maximise light and space. Lean-to designs are becoming increasingly popular due to their versatility—they can adapt and fit into any home regardless of size, and cleverly utilise existing space.


Many of today’s conservatories are shifting toward being fully glazed glass structures. Not only do they add a more

modern feel, but allow in more light than traditional designs. In fact, some modern designs are replacing wood altogether, opting instead for laminated glass roof rafters to be used for structural support.


Another feature that is gaining popularity is folding or sliding doors. Double-glazed, aluminium bi-fold doors are a popular option and can give a conservatory a spacious feel, while

IMAGES: Apropos


or the contemporary homeowner, there is now an abundance of choice when it comes to design styles and options. What’s more, technological advances have ushered in a new breed of sophisticated and modern designs.

25/07/2016 11:57

PROPERTY IMPROVEMENT adding a contemporary elegance to the design.


Building a conservatory with angular or curved lines adds a modern twist. This growing trend also pairs perfectly with folding or sliding doors. Try using slim line timber or metal framing to get the most polished look.


Most building and design experts agree that when it comes to conservatories, there should be no cutting corners,

especially when choosing the type of glass you use. Quite simply, the better the quality of glass, the more value it will add to your home.


Inspired by traditional orangeries, roof lanterns are now being increasingly implemented in modern designs. The trick is to settle on a simple, circular design in order to maintain a contemporary aesthetic. Adding a roof lantern will also allow more natural light into your conservatory room. 

How much value can a conservatory add to your home? As with any home extension or renovation, a conservatory has the potential to add extra value to your home. How much worth it will add depends a great deal on the quality of the materials used to complete the structure. Although the value a conservatory will bring to your home will depend on the quality of the finished product, on average expect it to increase your home’s worth by around five percent. The average cost of building a conservatory in the UK is around £4,000 to £10,000, depending on what style you opt for and the type of materials you use. It is possible to spend anywhere between £35,000 and £50,000 for the latest high-end design or as little as £3,000 for a DIY job on a budget.

Three wing modern orangery by Apropos with bi-folding doors and automatic ventilation. Similar projects by Apropos from £73,000.

Bespoke industrial chic lean-to extension by Apropos. Similar projects from around £42,000.

PS10.Conservatories.indd 45

Award winning double storey London extension from Apropos with bi-folding doors, similar projects from around £31,000.


25/07/2016 11:57


Raising the

ROOF Everything you need to know about roof maintenance


Inspect your roof regularly, looking for leaves and other debris. You also need to make extra checks after storms with heavy winds, and walk around the house from time to time, as this will enable you to check for fallen tiles. Make sure gutters and downspouts are free of leaves, check for breaks in the seams, and ensure that the guttering is securely attached to the house. 46 PROPERTY & HOME WITH PHIL SPENCER

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Trees that grow too close to your roof can be a hazard, so make sure you remove any overhanging tree limbs. When it comes to animals, check that squirrels, birds and other small creatures haven’t made nests on or under your roof. Keep a close eye on signs of insects as infestations can seriously affect the integrity of a roof. Soft rotten spots, shredded wood or sawdust and insect faeces are all signs.


Roof maintenance also means checking the underside of the roof by going into the attic. Look for streaks or staining, and signs where water may have trickled around the chimney and vents. Soft spots in the wood could indicate an animal or insect infestation.



hen it comes to comfort and safety, having a sound roof over your head is key. However, age and exposure to the weather can damage a roof, and repairs can be expensive and time-consuming. Planning ahead and carrying out regular, small maintenance jobs will result in a roof that lasts for decades. Here’s a guide to what you should be doing.

25/07/2016 11:30

The roof over your head is one of the most important parts of your home, protecting you and your family and possessions from the elements. Whether you need a repair, a new roof, or are replacing an existing roof, using a NFRC member contractor to carry out the work will give you the peace of mind that you are appointing a quality rooďŹ ng contractor. | | 020 7638 7663

The National Federation of Roofing Contractors Ltd.indd 1

16/06/2016 11:25


DRYSEAL FLAT ROOFING SYSTEM Dryseal is different from other flat and low pitched roofing systems on the market because it is supplied as a kit of precured parts, factory manufactured under BS EN ISO 9001 and 14001 quality and environmental standards, and then assembled on-site by a team of approved contractors. It is one of the most advanced GRP roofing systems available and is able to cope with complex detailing challenges. The system comes with an insured guarantee which covers the water tightness of the system for 20 years, with an expected life of 30 years. Dependable, with excellent puncture resistance and BBA accreditation following a series of rigorous tests, the roofing system came out with ‘zero falls’. The premium roofing solution is fully recyclable and is non-pollutant once installed. Secured by Design recommend Dryseal as an alternative to sheet metals as it has no scrap value and acts as a deterrent to thieves. Additionally, Dryseal attracts a BREEAM point via Secured by Design. Dryseal is an ideal roofing solution due to its unrivalled


According to the Renewable Energy Hub UK, up to 25 percent of heat lost in a house escapes through the roof. Insulating your roof or loft to a recommended thickness of 270mm is the best way to stop heat from escaping, and can help you cut down considerably on your heating bills.


PS11.Roofing.indd 48

durability and environmental qualities. The componentbased system is manufactured entirely in the UK by Hambleside Danelaw Ltd, a Green Apple Award-winning manufacturer and is fitted by a fully trained Approved Contractor network.

Dryseal used as a green roof


Common and easy to install, this is made from mineral or glass fibre and comes in foil-backed rolls, which can be placed between joists.


This is made from flame retardant lightweight fibres and can be used in difficult to access spaces.



Here, cellulose mineral fibres are blown into a loft space using specialist equipment. It’s quick to install and good for spaces where access is limited. For more:

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Home Security,

the Smart Way When it comes to safety and security in the home, smart technology is having a big impact. The latest technology offers a variety of options, from wireless security cameras to self-monitoring systems and keyless doors

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IT’S A THERMOSTAT. YES, A THERMOSTAT. The Hive wireless thermostat is the clever way to control your heating and hot water, at home or from your phone. Discover more at

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hether it’s arming smoke alarms, monitoring activity when we are at work, away on holiday, or checking up on loved ones, smart technology is making it easier than ever to secure our homes. In light of recent technological advances, we take a look at some of the smartest innovations available on the market.


With a simple touch on your smartphone or computer, home security integration technology allows you to monitor and control the security settings of your home remotely. Arming or disarming security alarms, adjusting the heat, or turning on the lights can now all be done via an app on your smart phone, saving your time and peace of mind.


Thanks to smart video technology, you can check your home security cameras via your mobile phone or computer. This means you can monitor your home from wherever you are and makes for a far easier and more convenient system.


Wireless security systems are perfect for renters as they can be easily taken from home to home, as well as those wanting a portable, affordable and easy to install security system. •


A smart th

popular security One of the most e is Samsung’s m ho apps for the smart home a SmartThings— that allows m ste sy ion at m auto hts, motion lig ur yo l ro nt you to co and more s tat os m sensors, ther e Android Th e. on ph with your smart dibly popular, re inc ed ov pr s app ha en downloaded having already be 00 times. 0,0 10 around


The smartest home devices


WIRELESS HOME SECURITY CAMERA These portable devices allow you to capture footage anywhere in your home. You can then log in online or via the app, watch and rewind content, and even talk into it through your phone—great for checking up on the kids or seeing what your pets are up to.


SMART SMOKE ALARM Smart technology has ushered in a new generation of smoke alarms that can be controlled via your mobile device. It will notify you instantly when there is a problem and can be silenced by the press of a button.

Keyless door locks eliminate the need to carry around a set of keys, preventing the misfortune of losing or misplacing them. Instead, the technology allows you to simply create a code to gain entry to your home. This can then be changed at any time, giving you added security and flexibility.

Once downloaded onto your phone, a smart security app will then alert you via text message or email if an alarm has been set off in your home. This means you will know immediately if there has been a security breach and allow you to instantly check whether the situation is serious or not. 54 PROPERTY & HOME WITH PHIL SPENCER

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One of the biggest problems with older style home security systems is false alarms. With the introduction of integrated vibration and audio sensor technology, smart security systems now have the ability to distinguish between everyday household noises and those that would occur during a break-in. This allows for a far more accurate and efficient home monitoring system.

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The Rise of Smart Home Technology

Home security experts Honeywell share their insights on smart home technology, and how it can keep your home safe and secure. Tell us a little about smart security systems. Smart security systems are the next step in integrated security solutions. The demand for smart security has been driven by the ‘connected home’ trend, combining various household systems and appliances into one solution that not only work together, but also understand each other. Smart systems can act autonomously, so homeowners can customise their system to react exactly how they want it to. For example, a smart security system could be combined with your heating system, so that the heating automatically turns off when you activate an alarm. This provides additional peace of mind and means you don’t have to set the systems manually yourself.

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What are some of the most popular smart home technologies for residential properties? In recent years we have seen residential security systems become much more complex, incorporating more sensors and new types of alerts. We are now seeing systems that incorporate motion detectors, CCTV, cloud storage, remote monitoring, and connectivity to emergency services. Popular modern systems also integrate with other aspects of a home such as heating and lighting, enabling you to control multiple aspects of your home from a single system. How do access control systems work? Access control systems extend the principle of a basic lock and key, but may involve electronic methods of authentication— electronic ‘keys’. This could be a key fob, a small plastic device that lives on your key

ring, or even something more advanced like your biometric fingerprint! What are the pros and cons of having a wired versus wireless system? A major benefit of a wireless system is that is it more often easier and cheaper to install than a wired system. Unlike a wired system, wireless security systems do not require an installer to run cables through your house. Instead, wireless security can be connected to your home’s network and set up in minutes. Where do you see smart home technology heading in the future? It’s very likely that mobile phones and other smart devices will play a major role in smart security systems. Smartphone services are designed to be simple and easy to use, making it much easier for homeowners to control their security systems on the go.

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PROTECT YOUR HOME THIS SUMMER The summer vacation should be the perfect time to relax, play with the kids, and soak up some sun. But many of us get that sinking feeling as soon as we leave the house.

Did I lock the back door? Is the garage window closed? Did I switch the oven off? Peace of mind can be hard to achieve on holiday. But the rise of smart home technology could provide the answer. New technology, such as Honeywell’s new Evohome Security system, ensures you can keep your home safe and secure, whenever and wherever you are in the world. Evohome Security is a discreet ‘always-on’ home monitoring system, developed in direct response to homeowner needs. The system keeps homeowners constantly informed on the status of their property, recording and notifying you via your phone if a smoke alarm or security sensor is triggered. Honeywell’s Total Connect Comfort International mobile app gives you access to these images on your smartphone or tablet wherever you are. You can then check if an alert was triggered by mistake or request live images, or manually take a snapshot room-by-room, providing you with the reassurance that your home is secure and being taken care of at all times.


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If you’re thinking about installing a connected home system in your home, then the TCCI mobile app also provides additional benefits. As well as remotely managing your Evohome Security system, homeowners can use the TCCI app to control their Honeywell Evohome thermostat. You can use the app to turn the heating off when an alarm is switched on for example, saving you money by ensuring you never heat an empty home or room. This summer holiday give yourself a real break—safe in the knowledge that your home is taken care of. Procyon Fire & Security Limited is offering one lucky winner an Evohome Security system with motion detector/ camera plus home installation free of charge! To find out more about Honeywell’s new Evohome Security system, visit the Procyon Fire & Security website at or contact: 08700 566846

25/07/2016 10:14


SAFE AND SOUND Protect your home with these products and services

FIVE STAR BUILDINGS INSURANCE Buildings insurance is mandatory if a property has been bought with a mortgage. Luckily, MORE TH>N is a landlord policy expert, with five star defaqto-rated cover. Their comprehensive buildings insurance covers damage to walls, floors and ceilings and also provides full rebuild in case of a catastrophe such as a fire or flood.

WEATHERP ROOF The Hambleside Danelaw IDV Interlocking Dry Verge system delivers a neat finished appearance to any roof edge and provides essential weather proofing, including the protection of tiles and slates from wind uplift. This helps prevent damage to the roof as well as any associated internal damage to finishes, fixtures and fittings. Combined with a neat, modern appearance, The Hambleside Danelaw IDV suits all commonly available profiles of roof tile.

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ty Proper &e






CLEAN WITH POWER With over 600 reviews (average 4.7/5) this powerful specialist cleaner from eSpares is proven to leave smelly dishwashers and washing machines sparkling clean with no lingering odours. You can quickly and easily bring your appliances back to their best. Used monthly, eSpares’ cleaner keeps your appliance free of limescale and detergent build up and each packet comes with six months supply.


RELIABLE ROOFING Hambleside Danelaw produces a low carbon GRP roofing system, Dryseal, for flat and low-pitched roofing. This single ply membrane is robust, durable, and BBA certified, and is fitted by fully trained Dryseal contractors, located up and down the country. The highly adaptable component-based roofing system is able to handle complex detaining and holds a 20 year guarantee, reassuring homeowners that this roofing system is made to last.

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LIFE-CHANGING INSURANCE Thanks to its home insurance customers, SAGIC has been able to gift aid nearly two million pounds over the last three years back to The Salvation Army. This has helped house around 269 homeless people every night for the last three years, helping to give recipients some much needed stability to move forward with their lives. For further information visit:

PEACE OF MIND Every landlord needs contents insurance in order to protect items and furniture from becoming damaged or stolen. MORE TH>N contents insurance can be added on to standard landlord insurance, for extra peace of mind. It covers everything from tech and clothes, to beds and sofas. Items are replaced to the full amount or paid back to the homeowner. landlord-insurance


25/07/2016 11:28


The New Rules of

InterIor DesIgn

IMAGES: Harlequin Callista

Enhance your home with the latest interior design trends

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nterior design is what makes a house a home—a chance to showcase your personality, create a welcoming space that you love whilst adding value to the property. There are a number of ‘golden rules’ that interior designers may follow, but certain emerging trends are breaking these rules…


Recent interior trends are moving away from the mono-chromed and minimalist Scandinavian-inspired influences of recent seasons, and moving more towards bold colour palettes. A ‘feature wall’ can create a unique look, especially amongst an otherwise neutral décor (and is a little less intense than painting the entire room a bright colour). If you’re not prepared to fully commit to bold walls, experiment with vivid home wares instead.


IMAGES: Fabulous Masterpieces Ltd; Little Greene; Laura Ashely

If you have no or limited garden space but want to bring greenery into your home, there is a growing trend for bringing the outdoors in—especially in urban areas where green space is rare. It can be easier than it sounds, from a few tweaks to traditional gardening techniques (such as using specific indoor soil mixes instead of outdoor soil) to hydroponics (growing plants in water without soil). Homegrown herbs in the kitchen, such as thyme and rosemary, are functional, visually appealing and quite low maintenance, requiring just basic attention to survive and a sunny spot on a windowsill.


Once thought to be dated and belonging in the homes of our grandparents, vintage furniture and home wares are now considered fashionable. Incorporating vintage chic into your home can be achieved in a number of ways; inherited pieces, antique sales, or many stores now create furnishings with a vintage-inspired look. Gilded fixtures, upholstered furniture and intricate floralprinted fabrics are a few staples of the vintage look.

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If you have limited garden space but want to bring greenery into your home, there is a growing trend for indoor gardening.


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020 7887 7604

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Recent interior trends are moving away from monochrome and moving towards bold colour palettes.

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HOME INTERIORS Phil advises, ‘blending old with new can work in some cases, of course, as long as you show respect for the integrity of the house. Mixing contemporary with older furniture and features in a period house looks fantastic if you have a flair for introducing the new to the old.’


Displaying works of art can contribute to the mood of a property, adding warmth and interest whilst showing personality. Art fairs are a good place to check out original works from young

artists, and could increase in value in the long term. As most of us won’t have the access to real masterpieces, faux ‘old masters’ can be commissioned online. has a wide range of reproduced artworks ranging from approx. £190 to £2,390.


If you’re on a budget, get creative with furniture you already have. DIY is a cost-effective way of adding personality to your home, and you have control of the style you’re going for. Look at existing objects in a different way: an

old cabinet can be repainted and used as a kitchen cupboard, old jam jars can be used as plant pots and vases, or old curtains can be sewn into giant floor cushions. Furniture can be given a new lease of life with a lick of paint. Whether decorating your cupboards with patterned paper, replacing old doorknobs or reupholstering furniture with a staple gun, the options to make your home look and feel unique are boundless. Draw inspiration from interior design catalogues, magazines and books, and browse websites like Pinterest. •

Displaying works of art can contribute to the mood of a property.


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Draw inspiration from interior design catalogues, magazines and books, and browse websites like Pinterest.

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t wasn’t too long ago that bathrooms were purely functional spaces: damp, chilly rooms where you got in and out as fast as possible. Today, however, they have changed considerably—bathrooms are now treated more as living spaces; places to pamper yourself and take time out from day-to-day life. With that in mind, technological innovations designed to make your time in the bathroom enjoyable are more advanced than ever.

Singing in the rain

Today, having a shower can be even more of a luxurious experience than taking a bath, thanks to a wealth of

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clever tech and luxury features. Double showers are a set up that consists of an oversized rain shower and separate handset and are expected to be especially popular in 2016. Chic and streamlined, they offer a customisable shower, and by placing multiple shower heads on the ceilings and one or more walls you are able to play around with different water pressures. For those who want to perfect their singing in the shower abilities, you can now get showerheads with inbuilt wireless speakers that sync with Bluetooth-enabled devices, like Kohler’s Moxie shower head and wireless speaker, from £193. (

Light up, Light up

Imaginative lighting in the bathroom can be a tricky prospect when it comes to mixing electricity and water—that is unless you use LED lighting, which has become increasingly popular in homes thanks to their low energy usage and versatility. Coloured LED lighting in a bathroom instantly alters the look and mood of a space. Alternatively, opt for a futuristic LED illuminated bathtub. We’re especially keen on the Dip Chromotherapy Tub by Aquamass, $8,375.25. (

Squeaky CLean

The perpetual annoyance of having to

IMAGES: 123RF, Kohler, Fitbit, Bushboard; LG Archive Trails

In Sync

From singing shower heads to smart scales, we explore technological innovations for your bathroom

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Little Greene Archive Trails Wallpaper: Stitch in Highland, £71.00 per roll (B) (c1940). Bath painted in: Mister David 47. Floor painted in: Acre 76. Humber Freestanding bath, £3570, Chessleton Floor Standing Bath and shower mixer £3090, both Drummonds. Gold Kartell Componibili Storage unit, £192, Graham and Green.

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wipe foggy mirrors in a bathroom, only to leave streaks on the glass, is now easily avoidable thanks to the latest anti-steam devices. Cheap and easy to install, mirror defoggers transmit gentle warmth across a mirror’s surface, preventing moisture from collecting on the mirror service. Mirror-Heaters has plenty of options, starting from £19.99. (

ECO-CONSCIOUS AND COST-EFFECTIVE SHOWERS Manual mixer showers, where the hose and spray come out of a wall unit and there’s a temperature control that mixes the hot and cold water supply, are a popular and cost effective option, while electric showers— essentially a water heater that rapidly heats cold water as it flows towards the shower head,


Kohler’s Moxie Shower Head comes with a portable wireless speaker.

UK manufacturer Bushboard offers a wide range of creative surfaces for bathrooms and kitchens. The Nuance bathroom range excels in creating beautiful streamlined design. The precision manufactured panels are an ideal decorative surface for showers, walk-in wetrooms, panelling round the bath or sink area, plus there is a brand new range of vanity work surfaces to create an integrated design scheme. The 25 Nuance panel designs cover a range of different styles from luxury

are also economical as you only heat the water you need. Choosing the right showerhead can really help you cut down on water consumption. An aerating showerhead, for example, mixes water with air, reducing the overall amount of water required.

granites to latest trends in weathered timbers, industrial finishes and neutral stones. The large scale panels are fitted flush with a virtually invisible join and are absolutely 100 percent waterproof, backed by a 15 year guarantee.

Kohler’s Numi toilet come with numerous tech features that include self-cleaning, ambient lighting and a deoderising filter. 66 PROPERTY & HOME WITH PHIL SPENCER

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beautiful bathroom surfaces Transform your bathroom with our unique range of decorative surfaces. Ideal for wetrooms, showers, bathing areas and feature walls, our surfaces will create beautiful streamlined style.

To find out more, visit, call us on 01933 232 272 or email us on

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Today, weighing yourself extends far beyond merely stepping on the scales and wincing at the number on the dial. A new breed of scales can track all manner of stats, including your body fat percentage, BMI (Body Mass Index) and heart rate. It can even plot your progress on your smart phone and fitness band to help you keep track of your health. If you’re interested in buying, try Fitbit’s Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale, at £99.99. (


From low-flow showerheads and toilets to LED lighting, there are plenty of ways to be a little more environmentally conscious in the bathroom. We’re especially intrigued by the Water Pebble ($12.99;, a nifty little programmable device that measures and memorises the amount of water that you use, letting you know when you’re halfway through a shower and when you should be finishing up in the bathroom. •

F THE BEST O ST E R THE s bathroom gadget Other high tech you can so s, TV f oo pr include water g news fix while get your mornin free faucets, syou shower, hand themselves and toilets that clean s that keep your warming drawer d cosy. rm towels wa an

FitBit’s Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scales tracks your weight, body mass index and body fat percentage.


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Everbuild - A Sika company is widely acknowledged as the UK’s foremost producer of sealants, adhesives, fillers and building chemicals. Our UK based state of the art manufacturing plant is capable of supplying the Building and DIY sector with over 54 million sealant and adhesive cartridges each year. With over 100 years collective manufacturing experience, we have developed an enviable reputation for the quality and innovative range of sealant and adhesive products designed for every DIY application large or small. For our full range of sealants and adhesives visit and for your nearest stockist email:


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Everbuild Building Products Ltd - A Sika Company Site 41, Knowsthorpe Way, Cross Green Industrial Estate, Leeds LS9 0SW. Tel: 0113 240 3456 Fax: 0113 240 0024 email: website:

06/07/2016 16:30

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Cabine t The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in any house, and planning one takes time, organisation and plenty of creativity. Here, we look at the key considerations for building a new kitchen, and profile the latest work from some of Britain’s leading kitchen designers

IMAGES: British Standard


hen planning your new kitchen, the first step is to make sure you talk to a kitchen designer as early as possible into your project, to ensure that any work you carry out can accommodate specialist requirements for your kitchen. You want to avoid any costly retrofitting. When designing your new kitchen, you need to allow enough ‘moving around’ space so that people can pass comfortably. Aim for 1 to 1.2 metres. You should think about your existing kitchen and what you like and dislike, and the gadgets you love to use. Your friends’ kitchens can also be a handy source of inspiration on what to include (or avoid!). When it comes to surfaces and finishes, give careful thought to what materials you use. Painted surfaces are versatile and can easily be updated. Wood looks good, but can stain and change colour with age. Metal is aesthetically striking, but has its own pit falls—copper, for example, can oxidise as time passes.

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An average British Standard kitchen starts from £7,000. Individual units start from £410.

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Made in Britain

Joinery company Plain English have enjoyed continued success since launching in 1992, with owners Katie Fontana and Tony Niblock critically feted for their simple, understatedly elegant creations, based on early Georgian ‘below stairs’ designs. In 2011, Katie and Tony decided to launch British Standard, a collection of off-the-shelf cupboards that could be bought online with no design, delivery or fitting service. Customers could get the superior quality of Plain English at a much-reduced price.

British Standard’s Georgian-inspired, handcrafted cupboards start out as blank canvases. This lets you paint and customise them to suit your own tastes. In this British Standard kitchen, the floor cupboards have been painted in deep navy (Hague Blue by Farrow & Ball), with a contrasting lacquered larder space, and rustic unfinished floorboards. Sumptuous detailing, like a Cararra marble worktop, stainless steel taps and copper detailing finish the look.

that takes in the entirety of a project, from initial concept to completion, and can be tailored to suit your individual needs. This Leamington Spa kitchen is a great example of how to mix textures, colours and materials in your kitchen. An island unit—painted in a becoming shade of indigo blue—contrasts with a wall of pale cabinets. Natural oak and marble surfaces, plus accessories like copper accents and pendant lights, add a modern touch to this classic space.

Bespoke is Best

Master of all

Another British brand, Tom Howley, specialise in the design, manufacture and installation of bespoke kitchens created by master craftsmen using cutting edge technology. They offer a design service

Edmondson Interiors have spent the past 30 years designing kitchens and it shows. They can cater for your every preference, whether it’s a classic country house kitchen—all rustic wooden work surfaces,

IMAGES: Tom Howley

Finally, cram as much storage as you possibly can into your kitchen. Unless you’re a dedicated minimalist, you won’t regret it.

Bespoke cabinets are used in this Tom Howley kitchen to provide lots of storage.


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Maximise space and access with the RF540ADUSX4 French Door Fridge Freezer


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Fed up with hard water and limescale? A water softener is all you need

Hard water

Removing limescale not only keeps your kitchen and bathroom looking brand new, it

Soft water

• • • • •

Hard water

Call us on 01483 366015 to ask for a quote or book a survey.

Saves you time and money with less cleaning Improves the efficiency of your heating Gives you softer skin and shinier hair Reduces damage to your boiler Prolongs the lifespan of your kitchen appliances

Harvey Water Softeners provide the complete solution to your hard water problems, providing you with soft water 24 hours a day. We design, manufacture and install the No.1 selling, most effective and non-electric water softener in the UK. Ask us about our no risk, three month trial. We offer a full money back guarantee*.

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HOME INTERIORS Aga and dim lighting, or a sleek modern space—streamlined cabinetry, slick marble work tops and glossy appliances. In this Sevenoaks kitchen, Edmondson designer Simon Gray used two different styles of hand painted furniture in three Farrow & Ball shades (Manor House Grey, Hague Blue and Railing), for an American-style look. Integrated appliances allow for masses of working space, the focal point of which is a honed Silestone countertop on the island. Little personalised touches include a tucked away ‘coffee station’ and a walk-in larder, while the floor comes in a grey smoked engineered oak.•

CONTACTS: BRITISH STANDARD 020 7870 7688; TOM HOWLEY 01618 481200;

FitBit’s Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scales tracks your weight, This Sevenoaks kitchen plays cleverly with light and dark colour, body mass index and body fat percentage. and comes with nifty custom features, like a walk-in larder.

IMAGES: Edmondson Interiors


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25/07/2016 10:40

From easy to operate walk-behinds and comfortable, powerful lawn tractors, through to a new robotic mower, every John Deere machine is designed to give you a perfect cut every time, and of course, many years of trouble free service. Isn’t it time to experience the difference?

Freephone 0800 085 25 22

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23/03/2016 14:10



Your Summer Garden

IMAGES: 123RF, Kohler, Fitbit

A flourishing and vibrant garden is most coveted in the warmer months. Property & Home shares top tips to keep your garden blooming

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ardening is one of our biggest hobbies, with 75 percent of Britons doing some kind of green-fingered activity from cultivating a piece of land to taking care of a small plant on a balcony. Not only can the final result look idyllic, it can also be incredibly rewarding to nurture your own blossoming garden.


The warmer, lighter months encourages a growth spurt in the garden, making it the perfect time for flowers: colour co-ordinated perennials, multi-coloured bedding plants from hanging baskets, or the favourite summer shrub, the rose. These conditions are also favoured by weeds, and persistently will sprout up. Hoe borders regularly in dry conditions to keep weed invasions down.


By August, the gardening year is nearly over. However, there are a number of vegetables that can be grown without any problems in now-vacated patches. These vegetables include radishes, lettuce, rocket, winter onions, early potatoes and spinach. Use mulch between rows or vegetables to prevent weed growth, and don’t grow the members of the same vegetable family year after year in one plot. Instead, rotate your crops to encourage nutrients in the soil.


If aphids pester your flowers, master gardener Paul James has an interesting technique: ‘you can control them with a strong blast of water from the hose or with insecticidal soap. But here’s

Phil says …

IMAGES: RBG KEW; Farrow & Ball

‘Just like an interior designer can lift a room with rugs, soft furnishings and good lighting, you can inject a lot of colour and personality into your garden with the right plants’.


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Urban Collection

...the best way to maximise usage of any outdoor area, from a small patio to an expansive plot, is to consider it as an extension of your indoor space .

Turn your garden inside out with Grange W

ith modern homes and gardens becoming smaller and increasingly overlooked, we all want to make the most of the space we have. It comes as no surprise then that garden design is fast becoming as important as interior décor. According to Grange Fencing, experts in the decorative garden structures industry, the best way to maximise usage of any outdoor area, from a small patio to an expansive plot, is to consider it as an extension of your indoor space and create an outdoor room-or rooms-accordingly. Grange’s minimalist Urban range of timber garden features combines practicality with modern aesthetics

to offer inspiring solutions to zoning off areas of the garden, whether for relaxation, entertaining, horticulture or storage, in outdoor spaces of any size. For compact balconies and terrace areas, it is possible to create the sensation of a city retreat with the help of modern features such as Grange’s Urban Screen Planter. Offering a deceptively large planting area, the Urban Planter is ideal for growing a wide array of decorative flowers and herbs whilst the slatted back panel offers extra support for climbing plants. Similarly, the slatted Urban Screen is an attractive yet functional piece which can be used to define separate areas of outdoor

space, in even the smallest of plots. For medium sized gardens, larger structures such as the Urban Pergola or Urban Arch offer an eye-catching take on the ‘outdoor-room’ trend. For those looking to wine and dine in style, the Urban Pergola in particular offers a stylish area for entertaining family and friends. Proving stylish stand-alone pieces, these striking structures can be used alongside other products within the range to give the garden a progressive, coordinated feel. All of the products in the Urban range are available in a choice of pre-painted natural tones, including Cornish Cream, Sage Green, Heritage Blue and Dove Grey, and are manufactured using timber which is pressure treated to protect against wood rot and decay. For more information on the Urban range and other Grange products and to find your nearest stockist, please visit www.grangefen., or visit to view the Urban Collection video.

Urban Screen Planter

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HOME INTERIORS another suggestion, one that’s a lot more fun; get some tape! Wrap a wide strip of tape around your hand, sticky side out, and pat the leaves of plants infested with aphids. Concentrate on the undersides of leaves.’ [Source:]


Don’t water your garden in the middle of the day, as the moisture will evaporate. Watering in early morning is the best choice as the plants are provided with a supply of water to face the heat of the day, and early mornings tend to have less wind and therefore reduced evaporation. If early morning watering can’t be done, very late afternoon or evening is also advisable.


GREENTHUMB Founded in April 1986 by Stephen Waring on the beautiful north coast of rural Wales, GreenThumb quickly grew to become the predominant lawn care provider in not only Wales but also the rest of the UK. GreenThumb can make your lawn lush, vibrantly green and healthy, and have provided Property and Home with some interesting statistics: • The average Lawn Advisor will walk 280 miles a year whilst treating lawns • It would take one Lawn Advisor 41 years to treat all GreenThumb lawns, without a lunch break • A total of 17 customers have

GreenThumb treatments every minute • GreenThumb treats enough turf in a year to cover a 1 metre wide strip from here to the moon • A lawn of 232 square metres releases enough oxygen for a family of four whilst absorbing carbon dioxide and ozone amongst many other unwanted chemicals The lawn is viewed by millions of people as their very own outside, family friendly living space. Did you know that your lawn, if by a roadside, could reduce traffic noise by up to 40 percent? GreenThumb are committed to adding value to your home by ‘bringing your lawn to life’.

Mow your lawn at least once a week, and frequently move garden furniture to allow grass to recover and prevent yellow patches. Make sure new lawns (either from turf or seed) do not dry out during hot weather, as turfs will shrink if dried out and will fail to knit together. •


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FAKING IT Artificial grass is an option if you want a lush green lawn all year round. By saving time on mowing and maintaining your lawn, you gain many extra hours to enjoy your beautiful garden—whether that is relaxing with a glass of wine at the end of a busy day, or your children letting off steam after a rainy morning (with no fear of a muddy bog!). Artificial grass is easy to install— so easy that you can do it yourself. Artificial Grass Ltd. provide a stepby-step guide, and are at hand at the end of the phone if you need help.


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PROTECT THE POLLINATORS Pollinating insects are vital for any garden. If your vegetable and fruit plants are failing to produce, your plants might be lacking pollinators. All plants require pollination to be able to produce, and occasionally interference from Mother Nature or gardeners can be detrimental— not just to your own garden, but to global agriculture. Bees and butterflies are especially significant in this pollination process, and there are methods to attract them to your garden: Arrange your plants in clumps where possible so pollinators

can find them easily. Also aim to choose plants that are native to your region so that they will be more accustomed to the climate, soil and types of pollinators. Your local garden centre, or even your local park, will indicate which plants will grow well in your area. Limit your use of pesticides in the garden. They can be harmful to bees, so should be avoided as much as possible. If using pesticides can’t be avoided, choose products that are less toxic and apply only at night when bees and other pollinators are not as active.

25/07/2016 10:38

Enhance your garden this summer Do it yourself!

Buy direct from the manufacturer

A beautiful space for an active life

ArtificialGrassLtd or call now on 01900 377 010 Follow us on

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THIS SUMMER, MORE THAN LIGHT WILL ADVANCE LEDVANCE is your new, yet trusted partner for OSRAM general lighting products – worldwide and with local expert teams. For us, advancing light is more than a promise: It’s an attitude. For more information, visit LEDVANCE.COM


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03/05/2016 16:46


LET IT SHINE Brighten your home with lighting effects that don’t cost a fortune

IMAGES: IKEA, Laura Ashley, M&S


f you’re eager to update your home but you’re on a budget, lighting can be one of the easiest and most effective ways of transforming interiors, from turning your bathroom into a luxurious spa-like space to making your living room into a cosy enclave. Conversely, terrible lighting can make even the most perfectly designed room— however opulent the furnishings—look cheap and uninviting. It pays to think carefully when it comes to this important element of interior design.

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As a general rule, good lighting is all about layering, namely using a variety of different lighting styles to create warmth and ambience—even the cheapest vase will look expensive with the help of some clever backlighting. When planning, think about the walls, floors and ceilings in a room—all can be used when it comes to lighting.


Ensure sure you use the right type of fitting in the right position. Use uplights

to accentuate architectural features and downlights on artwork, and use pendant lights to spotlight tables and chairs. Consider investing in LED lighting. The initial expense is bigger as LED light bulbs do cost more than traditional light bulbs, but they consume far less energy, resulting in considerable savings on energy bills.


It’s also a good idea to play with light. For example, try bouncing light off mirrored surfaces for a muted glowing effect, and


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BRIGHT LIGHTS » Pendant lights are becoming ever more ubiquitous in interiors and there’s a good reason for it. Statement-making yet space saving, they’re an easy way to add a dash of visual drama, whether it’s using one in place of a bedside lamp or spotlighting a kitchen island. » Use smoked glass lights in your kitchen to add an industrial edge. The stripped-back design means the naked bulb can be used as a design element. » The first opportunity to make a big impression is in the hallway, so save your big statement pieces for this space—we love the idea of modern chandeliers or webbed copper lamps. » Plug-in floodlights can bring light to dark corners of a room. Alternatively, use extendable or angled wall lights.

LIGHT FANTASTIC Budget-friendly yet stylish lighting choices for your home: » » » »

Ranarp pendant lamp, £30, Ikea Jacob task and bar wall light, £70, Laura Ashley Zaria antique brass glass frame pendant light, £112, Laura Ashley Max table lamp, £109, Marks & Spencer

use opaque glass, Perspex or coloured shades in warm tones to soften light. Lamps with shades made from silk and parchment diffuse the light, creating a softer effect ideal for bedrooms. Remember that good lighting sets the tone in a room. For example, in a study you should focus on task lighting (lighting that’s specific and focused), while an open plan living space needs to have several different styles of lighting to create depth and texture. Dimmers can let you play with mood and lighting. Many of us will be eager to know how to use light to open up a space, and the answer is directional recessed spotlights. These bounce reflected light off the walls, and your eye is always drawn to the brightest point, so reflected light will make a small space appear larger. • 86 PROPERTY & HOME WITH PHIL SPENCER

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25/07/2016 10:35


TURN YOUR HOUSE INTO A HOME THIS SUMMER CONTEMPORARY ARBOUR This chic contemporary arbour from decorative garden structures company, Grange, is the perfect space to relax in this summer. Available in a range of pre-painted colours, it features a curved top and chamfered edges, and benefits from planed and pressure treated timber for longevity. This modern garden feature retails at £374.99.

CONTEMPORARY PLANTER A stylish contemporary planter from Grange is the ideal addition to the garden when space is at a premium. Available in square, tall and rectangular, contemporary planters are elegant whilst maintaining a substantial presence. With a starting RRP of £84.99, the planters are available in a choice of four pre-painted colours and can be used together for a coordinated look. TANGO E5 SERIES II ROBOTIC MOWER This robotic mower maintains your lawn automatically, in any weather, and at any time you choose. It’s simple to set up and produces consistently excellent results. TANGO’s powerful lithium-ion battery enables it to cover grass areas up to 2200m2 (about half an acre), mowing in a random pattern within an easily installed concealed boundary wire. Grass clippings go straight back into the lawn as valuable fertiliser. There’s no noise, no mess, and no effort—just a perfect lawn. £2,090 including VAT. X350R LAWN TRACTOR The X350R lawn tractor features a new design 107cm (42in) mower deck for excellent cut quality, perfect for tackling difficult long grass. Simple to operate, with a modern car-style instrument display, and an easily adjustable height of cut and cruise control makes the X350R ideal for areas of grass up to 8000m2 (two acres). Its powerful Kawasaki petrol engine gets the job done quickly but without sacrificing fuel economy. The mower is supplied with a mulching kit, which adds to the machine’s versatility. £4975 including VAT.

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Check out this great selection of household items, for both indoors and out WINE CABINET RANGE Beautifully designed and practical, the new Fisher & Paykel wine cabinet range delivers five different models, from slide-in under bench storage (RS60RDWX1) to a large freestanding cabinet (RF356RDWX1). All have dual zones which can be easily set between five and 20 degrees using the touch control panel, which also controls the LED lighting and fans. With up to seven oak shelves and cabinets holding anywhere from 32 to 144 bottles, you’re sure to find one that suits.

‘AMERICAN-STYLE’ FRIDGE FREEZER The new Fisher & Paykel built-in ‘American-style’ fridge freezer, RS90AU1, delivers great access and space and with only 4mm gaps, creating a consistent line throughout your kitchen. The spacious 900mm fridge is perfectly designed for family life, with double-doors for easy access to uninterrupted fridge space, and an ergonomic easy-pull drawer freezer. ActiveSmart foodcare also helps keep your food fresher for longer, saving you money and reducing food waste. FISHER & PAYKEL DISHDRAWERS™ The new range of DishDrawers from Fisher & Paykel are available from April 2016. The DD60DAHX8 double DishDrawer(TM) is as easy to open and close as a kitchen drawer, and the top drawer is conveniently positioned at bench height so unloading and loading requires minimal bending. It features nine different wash programs, including eco options to minimise both water and energy consumption. Also available in black DD60DAHB8 and white DD60DAHW8.

WALK-BEHIND MOWER Like stripes on your lawn? This robust walkbehind mower is fitted with a steel rear roller for a stylish striped finish. Suitable for areas up to 2500m2, the TurboStar mowing system ensures a precision cut and great collection even when mowing in tough or damp conditions. With a 54cm (21in) cutting width, easily adjustable height of cut and variable speed, the mower’s die cast aluminium mower deck is surprisingly light but tough—so tough that it comes with a 15 year warranty. £1,315 including VAT. PROPERTY & HOME WITH PHIL SPENCER 87

25/07/2016 11:07

Re-invent your outdoor space Promotional Feature

ward-winning Easigrass is the UK’s No1 artificial grass company and the only industry name to have been crowned ‘Best in Show’ for a Judged Show Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show. As Summer approaches this is an ideal time to reinvent your outdoor space, particularly if you have pets, a pool or a children’s play area. An accredited Easigrass artificial lawn provides a premium quality, safe and mess-free garden that saves you time, money and helps conserve water, 365 days a year. The Easigrass message also

dispels myths associated with artificial grass not being eco-friendly. On the contrary, the Easigrass range uses recycled matter in the production process and also stipulates that every installation is carried out in proximity to flora and fauna, to help keep the bees happy and thriving. We even have eco-friendly mascot vehicles covered in Easigrass, that

you may have seen whizzing around Sussex streets and lanes. Easigrass is the quintessential British brand that reflects excellence at every stage of the installation process. Each quote is provided on a bespoke basis and our teams are expertly trained and dedicated to their craft. So regardless of whether you want to install a crazy golf course, a pool or play area surround, or simply a hassle-free and beautiful looking garden, Easigrass is the brand for you and your home.

Enjoy your garden 365 days of the year with easigrass™ With virtually no maintenance needed, easigrass™ is the number one choice for a long term solution.




quote ‘easisummer’ when making your order

Easigrass Distribution Ltd, The Old Grass Yard, Park Avenue, London, UB1 3AJ.

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24/06/2016 15:17


A 2016 interiors special In association with

Create a master plan for your house


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Create a home you’ll want to live in forever...

Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF LV= and Liverpool Victoria are registered trademarks of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and LV= and LV= Liverpool Victoria are trading styles of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies. LVFS is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, register number 110035. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF. Telephone: 01202 292333. 0007961-2016 06/16

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...and a financial plan to help make that happen It takes patience, money and a lot of love to create your perfect home, so you deserve peace of mind that it’s yours for life. But what if the unexpected should happen? Sadly, life’s nasty surprises can strike anyone at any time; having to be off of work for a while, a life changing diagnosis or an unexpected bereavement are all circumstances we can never fully prepare for. It’s difficult to imagine these things happening to ourselves or our loved ones; but should the worst occur, you will want to know that your family and their much loved home are safe. At LV=, we can help make sure the financial future of your loved ones and their forever home are looked after.

Simply call one of our friendly experts for tailored advice to help you protect the things you love. Call: 0800 202 8120 Visit: TextDirect: 18001 0800 202 8120 We may record and/or monitor calls for training and audit purposes.

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06/06/2016 14:31


Interior monologues In this country, we treat our homes as our havens, places to retreat to from the busyness of everyday life. Because of this, how our homes look and what they’re like to live in is important, which is why more and more of us are prepared to lavish time and care in creating inviting, welcoming spaces that we see as reflections of our own personal tastes and preferences. Our houses can say more about us than our clothes do, and with that in mind we’ve put together a brand new interiors supplement focused exclusively on creating the perfect décor for your home. Here at Inside Out we aim to take the mystery and complexity out of interior design, showing you just how easy it is to transform a space. Expect this supplement to be packed full of advice, tips and products for transforming your interiors, with everything from room-by-room trend guides to expert opinions and advice on planning and budgeting, ensuring that you have everything you need to create the home you deserve.


Contents Interior Design


House Style


The Master Plan


Room by Room

From maximising storage to open plan living, we share some key advice on designing your home interior.

When it comes to decorating your home, sound planning and budgeting is key to any project.

Transforming your home interior can be a daunting task, one that requires lots of planning, plenty of creativity and endless amounts of patience. Here, we guide you through the process; step-by-step, room-by-room.



Products & Services 32

Home Improvement A selection of products and services you can trust.


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25/07/2016 12:06

TWD let me concentrate on what I do best… …whilst they focus on my accounts

One fixed accountancy fee


* price inc VAT and it is dependent on the number of let properties

Interest Free Payment Options Available

Landlords fixed fee tax & accountancy service For more information :

Call: 0800 093 9433


Visit: @ twdaccountants

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14/04/2016 10:34

Not with our range of over the floor systems In fact, our Overlay™ Lite adds just 18mm of height and can be put on top of your existing floor structure – perfect if you’re renovating your current space rather than creating a new one. Polypipe Underfloor Heating also comes with the peace of mind of low running costs and a 50 year guarantee.*

Visit our website to uncover more myths and find your nearest registered installer *Terms and conditions apply.

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Interior Design

Ho u s e Sty le

IMAGES: Callista By Clarissa Hulse For Harlequin 2016

From maximising storage to open plan living, we share some key advice on designing your home interior

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25/07/2016 12:02


esigning your decor is a big project where you’ll have to make a lot of decisions, so much so that it can be difficult to know which choices are important, and which aren’t. Our guest editor and property expert, Phil Spencer, is here to help.



The first thing to do is decide what will fit in your bathroom and how best to use the space. A large sheet of grid paper with small squares will help you to plan and design your bathroom. You can do various sketches to scale where the fittings might go after measuring the ones you fancy. Don’t forget about the extra space required, including at least 2.2 metres of headroom above the bath and enough room to manoeuvre around fittings.

open plan living

The trick is to think about your open space and work out how best to chop it into smaller spaces that effectively become ‘rooms’ in their own way. You can define these areas by laying down a carpet in the corner that might be the snug, placing a cabinet or bookshelf to separate a living room from the rest, or even by using lighting or plants to screen off a family room, kitchen or dining room.

IMAGES: Arclinea

The first rule with kitchens is that they should be appropriate to the house. If your house is minimalist and clean lined, the kitchen should match this style. Fitting a kitchen that doesn’t suit the property is a big mistake—do you really want a retro fifties kitchen in a brand new apartment? You can however get away with installing an up-to-the-minute kitchen in a period house if you know what you’re doing. You might want to pay for a consultation with a good designer or architect (which shouldn’t cost more than a few hundred pounds) to get their ideas on what would look best.

Use ‘dead space’— hallways and corridors—to create more room. If there is space to slip in a desk or bookshelf, you are saving room in another part of the house.

Interior Design


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25/07/2016 12:29

Protect your boiler and reduce your heating bills with MagnaClean®

MagnaClean® protecting more than 3 MILLION UK homes

With escalating energy bills and maintenance costs, there’s never been a better time to fit MagnaClean® and protect one of the most expensive appliances in your home. While energy bills are constantly rising, you could save up to 6% a year on your home heating with MagnaClean – That’s £66 for a typical three-bedroom house. The UK’s No.1 filter maintains and protects the nation’s central heating systems. It captures the black sludge and debris that damages boilers. Left untreated, this reduces system efficiency and causes eventual breakdown.

MagnaClean is already protecting more than three million UK homes... SAVES up to 6% a year on central heating bills* REDUCES maintenance call-outs REDUCES carbon emissions by up to 250kg a year* HELPS extend the operational life of your boiler *For a typical three-bedroom property based on independent research.


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IMAGES: Harlequin Additions 2016 FRAGMENTS

Interior Design


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AT LAST! INTERIOR DESIGN IS AS EASY AS 1, 2, 3… …for just £75*

Visit to begin your design adventure! *The Dulux Amazing Space Service costs £75 for one room which includes: A 30 minute online consultation with an interior designer. A personalised digital style guide. An interactive shopping list. A 3D visualisation and floor plan of your room. This service is not inclusive of any products or services recommended as part of your Amazing Space Service. Any items purchased from your shopping list will need to be paid for by you at the time of purchase.

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IMAGES: Callista By Clarissa Hulse For Harlequin 2016

Interior Design


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25/07/2016 12:03

Interior Design a kitchen (tiles or linoleum), living area (wood or limestone, maybe with a rug on part of the space), or a utility room (hard wearing tiles, rubber or easy to clean linoleum).


Use ‘dead space’—hallways and corridors—to create more room. If there is space to slip in a desk or bookshelf, you are saving room in another part of the house. Forgotten ‘dead zones’ include high ceilings where you can install hanging racks (or laundry maids). Builders occasionally put up bookshelves above and round doors, and even place bookshelves on the back of large doors, but you must make sure the doors are strong enough to support the weight of the books and have a small lip along the bottom to hold the books in place where the door is.


Extending just for the sake of it without thinking through what you are doing can be a big mistake. Many cavernous extensions can be soulless and even pointless. If they don’t blend in with the logic of the house and are not used in the right way, they can be a waste. For instance, just tacking on an extension to the kitchen that isn’t big enough to take a sofa and some chairs as a space to watch TV in, or even hold a desk for a home office, just creates more frustration. The space needs to be usable, not empty space that isn’t adding to or improving how you live.

Loft converSionS

Keep in mind that just because you can stand up in a loft space, this doesn’t necessarily mean you will have proper head height and will be able to turn it into a liveable room. Insulation and joists will need to be added during the building work, which will take away some of the headroom. Older houses are usually easier to convert than homes built from the late sixties onwards, because they have steep pitched roofs and clear open spaces. It can be more complex to convert the roof space in a newer house and, therefore, can cost more. 

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IMAGES: Scion Lohko

Interior Design


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Interior Design

The master plan


When it comes to decorating your home, sound planning and budgeting is key to any project

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25/07/2016 12:22

Interior Design


lick through the pages of any glossy interiors magazine and you’ll be bombarded with images of immaculately decorated room after immaculately decorated room. They can make decorating a house seem easy and effortless, but when you have to undertake your own project things can get decidedly less simple. From styles to colours, furniture, accessories and lighting, what started out as a straightforward scheme can rapidly become very complicated—and expensive. To avoid this, read Inside Out’s guide to planning and budgeting for your dream interior.

don’t wing it

Diving into a decorating project without planning is a recipe for failure. Instead, start making lists. Write down all the things you currently own, all the items you need and a wish list of what you’d love to own in the future. Once you’ve done that, you can start budgeting.

stick to the Budget

Measure, Measure, Measure

Make sure you measure the dimensions of your rooms, hallways and doors, before buying furniture. What looks good in a large showroom may not translate to a cosy living room—or even fit inside it! Better yet, sketch out a floor plan so you can work out what will fit where.

Break it down

Unless you’re an experienced professional, most of us will find it difficult to plan an all-encompassing transformation of a home. It makes more sense to break down the project into smaller parts, taking it room by room.

That way, if the whole house is a mess then at least you’ll have one finished room that you can retreat to.

decide what you like

Scouring magazines, websites (and nosily exploring your friend’s houses) is par for the course when planning, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed by ideas. Save all your favourite ideas in a scrap book (or embrace Pinterest) and once you’ve collected enough images sit down and compare them. Identifying the common denominators of what you like in terms of colours, materials and styles will help you form a vision for your home.

Be prepared to coMproMise

If you want to stay within your budget you will (unless your budget is astronomical) have to compromise. High-end materials don’t just cost more, they often have expensive postal costs, and bigger installation fees. Make sure you carefully cost all the materials that you would like to use in your project. 

IMAGES: Arclinea

It’s obvious advice, but it’s easy to get over excited and spend money you don’t have.

Shop around for deals and don’t let a sales person in a showroom pressure you into spending money you don’t have. Make sure you invest in the right items. Spending more money makes sense for key pieces like a sofa or bed—save your cost cutting for accessories. A cheap lamp or vase will go unnoticed if the main components of your room are good quality.


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25/07/2016 12:09

Inside Out

The must-have for every home…


…the trusty money tree

hat if that money tree in your perfect home could provide cash to pay your mortgage, cover your bills, and allow you to feed and clothe you and your family when you are unable to do so? This money tree would also allow you to put aside money for a rainy day, build up a nest egg and help ensure a healthy pension when you retire. Simply; this money tree would provide financial security for you and your family for life.

So how do you get one?

That money tree; the provider of financial security to yourself and your loved ones, the one who works tirelessly to provide –is you. Our salary is the keystone to our financial wellbeing, so without that

income, how would we pay our mortgage? How would we pay for our everyday living expenses? And what about those special treats or home improvement projects? They would all stop.

…wouldn’t they?

Sadly, life’s nasty surprises can strike anyone at any time; and while it’s difficult to imagine them happening to ourselves or our loved ones; you want to know that your family are protected should the worst occur. At LV=, we can help make sure the financial future of your loved ones and their forever home are looked after. Simply call one of our friendly experts for tailored advice to help you protect the things you love.

We offer a range of the protection, pension, annuity and investment products from the Liverpool Victoria group of companies. We also offer protection, annuity and investment products from a limited number of other companies.

LV= is the UK’s number one income protection provider, with more policies taken out with us in 2015, compared to any other insurance company*. (* Based on Swiss Re’s Term & Health Watch 2016, covering all personal income protection policies taken out in 2015)

Call: 0800 202 8120 Visit: TextDirect: 18001 0800 202 8120 We may record and / or monitor calls for training and audit purposes.

LV= and Liverpool Victoria are registered trademarks of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and LV= and LV= Liverpool Victoria are trading styles of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies. LVFS is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, register number 110035. Liverpool Victoria Financial Advice Services Limited (LVFAS), registered in England No. 3027145, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, register number 186890. LVFAS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited. 7962-2016 06/16 Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF. Telephone: 01202 292333.

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14/06/2016 14:34

Seamless glazing optimisation NEW: 72'' width – Expanded comprehensive protection. With modern glazing systems becoming increasingly sophisticated, this can present a challenge for the installation of high performance window film. Frequently, films need to be applied in sections on wide windows resulting in unattractive seams and joins. We at LLumar have found the solution to this problem, with the introduction of a 72’’ (183 cm) width version of our market leading Helios external films. The advantages are obvious: It’s easier to apply a wider width window film to most pane sizes, with no unnecessary joins, leaving a perfect finish on the glass. Installation time is shortened and waste reduced, saving both money and resources. This extra wide film comes with all features you appreciate from the standard Helios solar control and safety ranges; Comfort, glare reduction, UV protection and many more. See all advantages of our extra wide Helios Sun Protection Window Film for yourself and enjoy comprehensive “widescreen” protection.

© 2016 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 1.01.0516

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Up to 1.83 m

72" roll width

Why Helios Solar Control Exterior Window Films? LLumar Helios films are designed for commercial and residential applications where damaging UV rays, heat and glare are problems, energy efficiency is important or for a fresh a new look. Helios exterior window films are applied to the exterior of existing glazing and are more compatible to even modern glazing systems than interior installations as it intercepts the sun’s energy before it enters the building. Exterior window film is exposed to the weather constantly. The Helios exterior coating technology is designed to protect the integrity of the film against weathering. The film is scratch-resistant, repels water (hydrophobic), repels oil (oleophobic) and has a UV protection of 99%. In addition, extensive weather testing allows us to provide significantly longer manufacturer backed warranties than our earlier generations of exterior window film technology*. •

Energy savings & comfort Helps reduce cooling energy consumption and improves occupant comfort with temperature control, which helps maintain productivity in warmer months**.

Compatibility Window film is compatible with most existing low-e coatings or tinted and insulated systems.

Durability Outstanding durability (shown by an internal 3,000 hours accelerated weathering test) that leads the industry and is proven with extensive testing, and backed by extensive manufacturer’s warranty*.

Aesthetics Outstanding optical properties, from design upgrade to minimal impact on visual appearance to meet your project needs.

Glare reduction Excellent glare reduction makes computer and television screens easier to see.

UV protection Window film can help reduce fading of furnishings, flooring and in-store merchandise by blocking harmful UV rays from penetrating the glass.

* **

Please refer to warranty documentation for specific details. Referring to the LLumar study at the University of Padua, Italy. Benefi ts vary depending on building size, glazing area, geography, etc. For more information please contact your sales representative.

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Interior Design

Ask the experts

Carefully judged additions and alterations to your décor can add considerable value to your home. Here, our guest editor Phil Spencer shares some of the secrets he’s learnt from industry experts


roperty developers, architects and designers add value to homes by experimenting with new features, techniques and ideas. Borrowing some of their ideas and interpreting them in your own property can be a great way of spreading some added value around.

Make it flow

Getting your house to have some sort of overall theme or feeling, so that when you move from one room to another it doesn’t jar, can be an effective way to add value. For instance, you might want to paint all the walls in the house one colour so a ‘journey’ through the house, in designer parlance, will feel right. This doesn’t necessarily mean boring. Often, the effect is far from dull. And you can always add touches of colour or the odd roll of wallpaper to make a space stand out.

Period Perfect

If you are lucky enough to be reconstructing a period flat or house that has some of its original features, you can add value to a home by restoring them. A stained glass window is a prime example. It might not be a low cost option but getting a specialist to remove and restore a piece of stained glass will add to the heritage value of the property. Other period features you might be able to bring back to life are: wooden panelling on the walls, vintage wallpaper, stepping around doors, tiered skirting boards, fireplaces and paint. Cornices, ceiling roses and dado rails are three other popular features you can easily bring back to life. Hanging or picture rails look great in a period house and are also wonderfully practical when it comes to hanging your artwork. IMAGES: Paint & Paper by Little Greene

let it shine

Good lighting is something designers and architects have well and truly cracked. Yet many of us are scared to embrace this optical trick to manipulate a room and make spaces really work. You can make an open plan space light and airy during the day, intimate and cosy in the evening, and can have other settings in between. You can’t get these effects several times a day by shifting the furniture around and changing the finishes, so clever lighting is a fantastic option.  20 INSIDE OUT

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Paws for thought...

MagnaCleanÂŽ protecting more than 3 MILLION UK homes

Save money on your heating bill Visit for more information

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Interior Design

R oo m by R oo m Transforming your home interior can be a daunting task, one that requires lots of planning, plenty of creativity and endless amounts of patience. Here, we guide you through the process; step-by-step, room-by-room


IMAGES: Farrow & Ball

ecorating your home can present you with an array of decisions to make, from colours to materials to accessories. There can be so much choice that it can often be easier—and less overwhelming—to opt for something safe and neutral. Here at Inside Out, however, we want to persuade you to venture beyond the confines of magnolia and explore the many ways you can creatively make your home more inviting and liveable, whether it’s embracing the Danish art of hygge or turning your bathroom into a luxe retreat. To help you in this quest we’ve put together a guide that takes you through the key trends and inspirations for each room in your home—to give you everything you need to start planning.

A kitchen in Farrow & Ball’s Yellowcake No.279. 22 INSIDE OUT

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Inside Out

The relaxed look doesn’t just happen by chance…

…make sure your household income is protected THOSE OUTGOINGS FOR YOU AND YOUR HOME SOON STACK UP Creating your perfect home takes time, a healthy dose of love… and money. The average household outgoings in the UK add up to over £2,000 a month. That covers the essentials - your mortgage (or rent), council tax, utility bills, maintenance or those DIY projects you wish you never started. Sound familiar?


Whether you are the sole breadwinner or a partner in a couple who both work, your ability to pay those outgoings depends on your earnings; your home isn’t your most valuable asset – you are.


Sadly, life’s nasty surprises can strike

anyone at any time. We all hear news of a friend or a relative who is off work for a few months, has been diagnosed with a serious illness, or has unexpectedly died. It’s shocking and all the more difficult to imagine it happening to us but if you did fall ill or became unable to work, you’d just get by -wouldn’t you? But what if you couldn’t? Your home and the financial security of you and your loved ones is not something worth gambling. Being prepared for the unexpected is easier than you might think. At LV=, we can help make sure the financial future of your loved ones and their forever home are looked after. Simply call one of our friendly experts for tailored advice to help you protect the things you love.

We offer a range of the protection, pension, annuity and investment products from the Liverpool Victoria group of companies. We also offer protection, annuity and investment products from a limited number of other companies. LV= is the UK’s number one income protection provider, with more policies taken out with us in 2015, compared to any other insurance company*. (* Based on Swiss Re’s Term & Health Watch 2016, covering all personal income protection policies taken out in 2015)

Call: 0800 202 8120 Visit: TextDirect: 18001 0800 202 8120 We may record and / or monitor calls for training and audit purposes.

LV= and Liverpool Victoria are registered trademarks of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and LV= and LV= Liverpool Victoria are trading styles of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies. LVFS is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, register number 110035. Liverpool Victoria Financial Advice Services Limited (LVFAS), registered in England No. 3027145, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, register number 186890. LVFAS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited. 7963-2016 06/16 Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF. Telephone: 01202 292333.

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Interior Design

T h e liv i n g ro o m Living rooms are the sanctuary of any home, but that doesn’t mean you have to choose comfort over style


Botanical prints have dominated interiors for several seasons, and the latest interpretation of this popular trend is over-sized jungle prints—the bigger the better. Try introducing this look into a feature wall, cushions or framed botanical drawings or prints. You can also interpret this

more literally by bringing the garden inside with the addition of living walls or terrariums.


Chiming in with this leafy approach to interiors is an emphasis on bringing natural materials into our homes. Think organic, natural materials like wood, leather, marble, stone and terracotta. There’s also a growing appreciation of craftsmanship, as more and more homeowners opt for handmade, artisan pieces.


Pantone chose not one but two hues as their Colours of the Year for 2016: Rose Quartz, a dusty pink, and Serenity, a light blue. Restful and calm, these are surprisingly versatile shades—try pairing with geometric patterns, or with black, white or even copper.



Neutral colour schemes with spare, Scandinavian-style touches are a perennially popular aesthetic for living rooms. To give a little twist on this look embrace the Danish concept of hygge. It translates roughly as ‘cosiness’, and involves creating a friendly, warm and welcoming atmosphere around you. For the living room this means soft neutral tones, lots of candles and plenty of cosy textures—from faux fur rugs to knitted cushions and merino wool throws.

This living room by Scion shows how you can combine dusty pinks with geometrics to great effect. 24 INSIDE OUT

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25/07/2016 12:12

Inside Out

Are your finances so beautifully organised?

Bespoke advice and protection from LV=


haping your ideal home requires planning, organisation … and sometimes expertise to get things the way you want them. It’s not so different from organising your finances in order to protect the things you love and providing peace of mind for you and your family. Sadly, life’s unpleasant surprises can strike anyone at any time; having to be off of work for a while, a life changing diagnosis or an unexpected bereavement are all circumstances we can never fully prepare for. It’s difficult to imagine these things happening to ourselves or our loved ones; but if they did you’d want to know that your family and their much loved home are safe.

PeoPle you can trust

We recognise that financial matters can often be unclear and confusing, and that it’s difficult to know where to start and who to go to for trusted advice. At LV= we can help by providing bespoke advice that can help make sure the financial future of your loved ones and their forever home are looked after. We’ve been doing that for over 170 years and our customers rely on us to offer financial security with a broad range of insurance, investment, protection and retirement products. Simply call one of our friendly experts for tailored advice to help you protect the things you love.

We offer a range of the protection, pension, annuity and investment products from the Liverpool Victoria group of companies. We also offer protection, annuity and investment products from a limited number of other companies. LV= is the UK’s number one income protection provider, with more policies taken out with us in 2015, compared to any other insurance company*. (* Based on Swiss Re’s Term & Health Watch 2016, covering all personal income protection policies taken out in 2015)

Call: 0800 202 8120 Visit: TextDirect: 18001 0800 202 8120 We may record and / or monitor calls for training and audit purposes.

LV= and Liverpool Victoria are registered trademarks of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and LV= and LV= Liverpool Victoria are trading styles of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies. LVFS is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, register number 110035. Liverpool Victoria Financial Advice Services Limited (LVFAS), registered in England No. 3027145, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, register number 186890. LVFAS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited. 7964-2016 06/16 Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF. Telephone: 01202 292333.

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Interior Design

T h e bat h ro o m

From chic tiling to feature walls, today’s bathrooms are luxurious havens


Gone are the years of the avocado or beigecoloured bathroom suite—colour choices in the bathroom are becoming far more creative. Try introducing soothing blue and green tones, metallic detailing or even black or dark

accents. The bold among you might want to opt for crisp white on white, for a truly minimalist look, or even statement tubs or sinks in bold black or grey.


Adding visual interest to your bathroom often comes in the form of patterned or coloured tiles, but another way of doing so is by using basic white tiles in unusual arrangements—like herringbone, basket or windmill patterns. Use contrasting grout for a striking effect.


Transform your bathroom from a utilitarian space into somewhere that you want to spend time in with the addition of ambient mood lighting, custom-made cabinets, statement mirrors and the kind of home décor and small furniture pieces that you’d typically see in the living room—like stools, arm chairs and rugs.

IMAGES: Original Style


Introducing wood into a bathroom add warmth and texture and can provide a counterbalance to more traditional bathroom materials like glass, marble and tile, which can leave a space feeling cold. Try using wood in a feature wall, as flooring, on mirror frames or on counters. Be aware though that moisture and wood are not happy bedfellows, so using it in a room full of steam and frequent splashes can be tricky. Talk to your designer or contractor about sealing the wood (typically you’ll use something polyurethane-based), or use woods that are more moisture resistant, like reclaimed teak or old-growth cypress.

Original Style’s Dover White Victorian floor tiles in York pattern with Metropolitan Lazul wall tiles by The Winchester Tile Company


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Interior Design

T h e bed ro o m A bedroom design should incorporate a blend of current trends and timeless elements. It is, after all, your home within a home CLAIM IT BACK

is the custom headboard. This may seem like an expensive option but often enough they work out to be no more expensive than their readymade counterparts, and can be even cheaper if you upcycle by using old bookshelves or wooden pallets.


The modern bedroom has evolved into a place to spend leisure time in, rather than just sleep. Combining different elements in a room—such as a home office or a bathtub and a wall-mounted TV—can transform a bedroom into a retreat.

Reclaimed wood isn’t just the preserve of hipster pubs—it’s also an eco-savvy and affordable way of adding textural interest into your home. Try using reclaimed wood for a feature wall, side tables, bookshelves and even dressing tables.

IMAGES: Callista By Clarissa Hulse For Harlequin

The bedroom is the only place in a house that tends to be off-limits to guests, and as such it deserves to be a true reflection of your personal taste. With that in mind, one of the major trends for bedrooms in 2016


Callista by Clarissa Hulse for Harlequin; wallpaper: Meadow Grass; voile curtains: Hortelano; cushions: Callista Fabrics.

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Interior Design

A c hil d ’s ro o m Children’s rooms need to be bright, appealing and most importantly of all, durable SOFTLY SOFTLY

Pastel shades are a great way of striking a balance between playful and calming in a child’s room, brightening a space without being garish. Pastel palettes built around shades of gray or other neutral hues are a good way of creating a more ‘grown up’ space for older children and teenagers.


Try combining traditional items with handmade pieces for a classic, vintage feel—such as a cast iron bedstead, wooden bookshelves and handmade toys. Using timeless pieces that don’t date will help create a room that children can ‘grow into’ as they get older.


children’s interests can change so quickly. Using themed wallpaper in a feature wall is a much easier way to cater for a child’s latest passion, and can be updated easily.


Tight on space? Think creatively and make the most of high ceilings by using loft beds— they help create more storage and floor space, and allow children who share rooms to have their own space.


Painted modular furniture can be a great investment for a child’s room—as colours can be updated and arrangements reconfigured, meaning you can easily change the space.

IMAGES: Laura Ashley

Themed rooms can often be costly as

A Laura Ashley Blue Harbour bedroom: Devon White double bed frame; Louvred wardrobe; bedside cabinet; blanket box; Newport Stripe bedlinen; Dylan Duck Egg throws.


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Interior Design

T h e kit c h e n BACK TO BLACK

Trends tend to move more slowly when it comes to kitchens, but one of the most visible reflections of changing tastes are appliances, from pastel ovens to retro Smeg fridges. This year, experts predict that the new focus will move from gleaming silver appliances to slick black stainless steel.



Don’t be afraid to mix and match your kitchen cabinets—gone are the days when kitchens had to be immaculately colourcoordinated. Experiment by mixing together different colours and textures (think wooden counter tops, vintage tiled splash backs,

antique rugs on the floor), and even pairing two different cabinet styles together.


Warm-coloured metals like rose gold, brass and copper have been popular for several seasons, and they are particularly easy to incorporate into your kitchen in the form of gadgets, appliances and hardware.


Worried that your kitchen will look cold and unwelcoming? Cleverly placed lighting can add real warmth and ambiance to a room. Try hanging several identical pendant lights over a kitchen island or table.

Mix and match kitchen accessories from Marks & Spencer: Loft whisk, Loft mixing bowlxxxxxxxxxxx in pastel mix of three); xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxx xxxx(set xxxxxxx xxxxxxLoft xxxxx stacker floral mugs; Loft solid spoon; tea towels (set of three). xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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Interior Design

Roof spaces and loft conversions A well-designed loft conversion can add considerable value to a house—but only if it’s done properly


If your loft conversion or roof space has steeply sloping walls then paint them in the same colour as the ceiling, ideally in a light shade to maximise the room’s sense of light and space. Add windows wherever you can—a bank of roof lights can make for a striking focal point.


Make the room multifunctional, so a cinema room could double up as an occasional guest bedroom with the addition of a sofa bed or futon, and a master bedroom could include a desk for a home office section.


It’s key that you insulate your flooring, particularly if you’re thinking of putting wooden flooring down, as this could create noise for people in the rooms below.



Make sure you sacrifice as little space as possible for the staircase. You can stack the new flight over existing stairs, or if space is at a premium opt for a spiral staircase.

If you’re putting down wooden flooring in your loft make sure you use proper insulation to avoid creating noise for people in the rooms below.


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Interior Design

T h e st u dy

The growing number of self-employed and remote workers means that the home office has become an important part of many homes STRIPPED BACK

Rather than filling a study with wall-to-wall filing cabinets, technological advances like cloud storage means you can store all your documents online, letting you create minimalist offices that only contain the essentials.


Maximise an efficient use of space by creating offices with dual functions—like a family study that functions as a space where parents and children can work at the same time.



Try not to get carried away with aesthetics. You might like the idea of having a tiny vintage desk in your study but is

it going to be able to accommodate all your work? That feature wall painted in bright blue might look striking, but is it too distracting?


Converting your garden shed into an office is ideal for those with messy or noisy jobs, like artists or musicians. It can also be a wise choice for those who, because they work from home, would like to maintain a separation between their work and domestic lives.


Customise your office to your specific needs—for example, those looking to keep active might opt for an adjustable desk that lets them stand up and work.

xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxx xxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Keep your workspace minimal.

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Products &


Lock up with confidence with Avocet

The ABS snap-secure lock from Avocet is the ultimate barrier between lock-snapping burglars and your belongings. Tried, tested and trusted by police forces across the UK, the patented ABS lock has never been breached by a burglar once installed. It is easily retro-fitted to any double-glazed or uPVC door, allowing you to quickly and easily upgrade your locks and with it, your home security.


Avocet aims knock-out blow at burglars

A high-tech version of a traditional door chain, AIM is the ultimate burglar deterrent. It activates when a door is forced, triggering a high-decibel alarm and spraying the burglar with a DNA forensic coded liquid, which links them to the crime scene—giving police the evidence needed to secure a conviction.

Improvement A selection of products and services you can trust Energy conscious window film

LLumar Helios Exterior Window Film, the special solar control window film series, helps control room temperatures, enhance comfort and reduce energy costs. Helios exterior window films are applied to the exterior of existing glazing. More compatible with modern glazing systems than interior installations, it has the ability to intercept the sun’s energy before it enters the building.


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A secure financial plan with LV=

It’s difficult to imagine one of life’s nasty surprises impacting our loved ones; or ourselves. But should the worst occur, you will want to know that the financial future of your family is protected. LV= can help you arrange a secure financial plan. Call 0800 202 8120 or visit:

25/07/2016 12:17

scratching the surface? E

ver tugged a sofa across your precious wooden floor and realised too late that you’re leaving scratched marks? Or tried to move a heavy piece of furniture leaving ripples on your carpet? And even this supposes you can move these heavy items at all without the aid of a team of strong fellas. It’s a curious fact that householders are willing to spend thousands on their furniture and flooring but not a few pounds protecting it – let alone being able to move it when the need arises. Yet there is a very simple answer: the range of nifty products from Stroolmount, available in stores throughout the UK and online. What’s more, these can also cut out the screeching noise of dragged heavy items: a nod to noise abatement. Quickclick glides An award-winning product throughout Europe. The quickclick is multi- functional glide solution and the first of its kind in the UK that has an interchangeable and replacement base. Suitable for wood/laminate/Vinyl, Carpet and tiled floors.

“searched the internet for this system, its perfect. love the fact we can change the felt once it wears down.” self-adhesive felts Did you know, the recommended thickness is 5mm for furniture due to the weight distribution once upright?

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So, these high-quality felts are a quick, simple and inexpensive solution for items you don’t want to move very often – wardrobes and sideboards, for instance. They have a strong adhesive that you simply stick on the bottom of your furniture – perfect. Move it pads This innovative product is a temporary solution that takes away the struggle of manoeuvring heavy furniture, by allowing one person to move weighty pieces such as wardrobes, office furniture or sideboards with little effort. We have designed a self-adhesive felt attachment especially for delicate surfaces giving extra protection. castor cups Used to prevent damage caused by castor wheels on flooring. They can also be used with chair or table feet while reducing marks, scratches and indentations to your flooring.

for More iNforMatioN & videos visit to find a stockist email

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Products &


Reliability meets efficiency

Understanding the importance of a reliable, efficient and cost-effective heating system, ADEY is dedicated to delivering tangible benefits to homeowners through the installation of a MagnaClean filter: • Saves up to six percent a year on heating bills* • Reduces maintenance call-outs by more than a third • Protects your boiler warranty • Reduces carbon emissions by up to 250kg a year* • Helps extend the operational life of your boiler. *For a typical three bedroom property based on independent research.

Warmth, luxury, and aesthetic appeal

Polypipe Underfloor Heating is easy to install, economic to run and integrates seamlessly with existing supply systems, allowing complete design freedom within the home. Suitable for all kinds of residential projects, from renovations to new build, there is a Polypipe UFH system for every floor type. For homeowners, warmth, luxury and aesthetic appeal are just some of the many benefits of Polypipe Underfloor Heating.

Innovative heating solutions

ADEY Professional Heating Solutions is the industry leader in central heating system maintenance and water treatment. Committed to delivering high quality and practical solutions, ADEY’s success is built upon product innovation and an understanding of the needs of the market. Designing innovative products and introducing a completely new approach to boiler maintenance, ADEY has transformed working practice in the heating industry with the MagnaClean filter range.

People you can trust —advice and protection from LV=

LV= have been protecting what you love for over 170 years; with their insurance, protection and retirement products offering peace of mind and financial security for you and your loved ones. LV= can help you secure a trustworthy financial plan in case the unexpected should occur. Call 0800 202 8120 or visit:

Protect your income

LV= understands how important financial security is for you and your loved ones. But what if your ability to earn a living was taken away? LV= offers a range of products which help you to financially prepare for the unexpected. To speak with one of their friendly advisers for tailored protection advice call 0800 202 8120 or visit:


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YOUR HOME With an AIM™ Forensic Security System... If an intruder forces an AIM™ secured door, a high decibel security alarm sounds and its DNA tagging system activates. The DNA spray covers the intruder and stays on their skin and clothing for weeks. It’s invisible to the naked eye but police can see it using ultra violet light. The unique DNA code in the spray is registered to your address - so police can forensically match the intruder to the record held on the International Security Register. This irrefutable evidence can then be used to aid in a criminal conviction.


Discover more Keep intruders at bay with AIM™ DNA.

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THE NEW ROOMBAÂŽ 980 Vacuum Cleaning Robot keeps going until the job is done, vacuuming an entire level of your home for up to 2 hours*, recharging as needed. From pet hair to everyday messes, the Roomba 980 increases air power on carpets and rugs where dust and dirt hide. It also seamlessly and efficiently navigates your home, avoiding obstacles and stairs and cleaning under furniture. And with the iRobot HOME app, you

Vacuum Cleaning Robot

can schedule and clean your floors with the Roomba 980 from anywhere. Get to know the new Roomba 980 at *Tested in iRobot's Home Test Lab on hard floors.Run times may vary.

Š 2015 iRobot Corporation. All Rights Reserved.iRobot and Roomba are registered trademarks of iRobot Corporation.

Available at

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04/07/2016 14:19


An urban

ECO LODGE RDA Architects created an urban Passivhaus in a challenging setting

IMAGES: RDA Architects


his project began when the clients originally approached RDA with a vision to build a contemporary, energy efficient two to three-bedroom home on a challenging site in Chiswick. Early in the design process, RDA introduced the client to Passivhaus and from thereon achieving Passivhaus certification became one of the driving forces for the project. Due to the sensitive location, a creative design was required to obtain planning permission. One of the major

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One of the major challenges was proving to the community and local council that the house would fit into its surroundings.

challenges was proving to the community and local council that the house would fit into its surroundings, a leafy Edwardian street. To overcome these issues RDA designed a sunken house, placing 60 percent of the building’s volume underground. This allowed RDA to satisfy the brief provided by the client whilst making the building appear smaller and therefore less prominent from street level. Sinking the house also created a private courtyard space for the two bedrooms on the lower level. London PROPERTY & HOME WITH PHIL SPENCER 125

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stock brick slips were used on the ground floor to match the local vernacular and a living wall was created on the first floor to soften the building’s appearance. The intention is that as the home ages the plants will grow and cause the first floor to disappear, further reducing the building’s prominence in its surrounding environment. The house’s unashamedly modern interior is completed with exposed concrete walls, complementing the bespoke timber staircase and floors. The vast amounts of natural light brought into the house opens the space whilst the solar gain, achieved along with high levels of insulation, mean that minimal heating input is required. This house proves that Passivhaus certification can be achieved on a tight budget and without compromising high quality bespoke design.

This house proves that Passivhaus certification can be achieved on a tight budget.


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Working with

NATURE A protected lime tree posed a problem for this sustainable build

The curved form of the dwelling, centred around the lime tree, allows the building to make the best use of the site.


Whether you’re looking for optimum design flexibility, longevity, elegant looks or ease of installation, HardiePlank fibre cement cladding delivers on all counts. • Design versatility – available in two textures, cedar and smooth for a traditional wood or contemporary architectural style. • Engineered to stand up beautifully – made from durable material that’s five times thicker than typical vinyl cladding, HardiePlank cladding is fire, moisture, rot, and pest resistant. • Low maintenance – HardiePlank cladding utilises ColorPlus Technology, a multi-coat, baked-on finish that is fade resistant. • Guaranteed to last – HardiePlank cladding comes with a ten year limited warranty.

IMAGES: Parsons + Whittley Architects

Product details: • Composition: Portland cement, sand, cellulose fibre, water, selective additives • Dimensions: 3600 x 180 x 8mm • Overlap: 30mm • Weight: 7,4 kg per plank, 11.8 kg/m² • Density: 1300 kg/m³ • Fire rating: A2, s1-d0

For more inspiration check


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ime Tree Passivhaus is a small retirement bungalow on a garden plot for private clients and the design is a response to a number of key constraints, including the tight site and the presence of a protected lime tree. The curved form of the dwelling, centred around the lime tree, allows the building to make the best use of the site and positions the tree as the central focus for both the building and the garden. The tree also serves to provide summer shading to the southwest elevation, ensuring an additional control against overheating. The curved monopitch roof contains an extra wide gutter and leaf protection to ensure that leaf fall doesn’t become a problem. The tall ‘exterior’ of the curve is constructed in brick to match the 130 PRoPERTy & HomE wITH PHIl SPEncER

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context of the adjacent development, and to provide a strong shelter to the private side of the building, which in turn is clad in vertical larch timber boarding to reflect the arboreal nature of the garden. The curve finishes with a south-facing gable fully glazed to illuminate the sitting room, with large overhangs and flank walls to offer protection against overheating. The building is constructed off a reinforced concrete raft supported on mini piles, carefully threaded past remaining archaeology, to support a traditional cavity wall construction and radial ‘I’ beam timber rafters. The insulation is provided by blown EPS platinum beads in both the walls and the roof, whilst the floor has 200mm of PIR insulation supporting a floating finish.

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HE AT WAVE An off-grid bungalow reaps the rewards of renewable heat

IMAGES: Parsons + Whittley Architects; NIBE


wners of an off-grid Bedfordshire bungalow are now benefitting from comfortable, convenient and reliable home heating—as well as annual payments of almost £600 under the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme after swapping their solid fuel boiler for a renewable system from NIBE. The new air source heat pump package utilises renewable energy from the air outside the bungalow to provide efficient space heating and hot water all year round. Built in 2001, the three-bedroom, one-bathroom property was originally fitted with a high-maintenance anthracitefired heating system. When the time came to replace it, owners Malcolm West and his wife Christine were faced with the challenge of finding a brand new, costeffective and energy-efficient solution.

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Being off-grid, a conventional gas system was not a viable option for the bungalow, so Mr. West researched renewable heating systems online before enlisting the expert help of renewable energy specialist and NIBE VIP Installer Better Planet. Better Planet’s team of experts specified, designed, sized and fitted a new F2040 air source heat pump (ASHP) system from NIBE, made up of an 8kW ASHP complete with hot water storage and intelligent controls. Before going ahead, it was crucial for Better Planet to ensure the property was adequately insulated and airtight, so the system could perform to its full potential and qualify for ongoing payments under the RHI scheme. ‘The bungalow already had cavity wall insulation, but we advised that Mr. West increase the loft insulation for

maximum heat-loss protection,’ said Charles Paulsen-Rakic, Better Planet’s sales engineer. ‘Given that air source heat pumps operate at lower flow temperatures than coal boilers, we also resized all the radiators in the bedrooms to run at a maximum temperature of 50°C. The rest of the house already had underfloor heating, which was the ideal match for the new heat pump, as both run at similarly low temperatures—so all we needed to do was adjust the existing manifolds.’ The new NIBE system is now fully up and running, providing the property with a consistent and convenient supply of hot water and space heating. The Wests have also been accepted onto the domestic RHI scheme, and expect to receive annual payments of £563 for the next seven years.


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Looks like wood, ™ strong as cement fibre cement cladding For more inspiration check

A Smarter Way to Build™

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Everyone appreciates a well-heated house, but installing a new and up-to-date heating system in your home can also add considerable value to your property

134 ProPerty & Home witH PHil SPencer

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ccording to, a new central heating system can add over five percent to the value of your home, and with energy prices constantly changing it’s important that you source a system that delivers on performance and cost. Here, we look at the main types of central heating and analyse their benefits and drawbacks.


How does it work? One of the most popular types of central heating in the UK, a gasfired boiler heats water to provide heating via radiators and hot water through the taps in your home. Running costs: The average annual cost for running a gas-fired central heating system is £609 when consuming around 13,500 kWH a year. Pros: You’ll get a good return on the energy you use as gas is a very efficient fuel, and as it’s piped directly to your home you won’t need to store it yourself. Cons: It can be disruptive and expensive to install a gas central heating system from scratch. It’s also costly to connect your property to the gas network. A gas-fired boiler will need to be serviced annually.

home. The key difference is that LPG is stored in a tank that you’ll have to buy or rent from a supplier. LPG is typically used to heat a boiler that in turn heats water, which provides central heating through radiators and hot water in your taps. Running costs: The average annual cost is £798 when consuming around 12,500 kWh a year. Pros: Prices for LPG used to be higher than oil or gas, but in the last year the price has dropped. It’s a very efficient fuel, so you get a good return on every unit of energy. Cons: The price of LPG is still high compared to other fuels. Also, as it’s delivered by road there’s a chance you could run out of fuel while waiting for your next delivery. Installing an LPG system can be expensive and disruptive, and storage tanks can be unsightly, unless you install them underground. LPG boilers need servicing annually.


How does it work? An oil-fired boiler heats water that provides central heating via radiators to your home. Like LPG, oil is delivered by road and stored in a tank that you’ll have to buy or rent from a supplier. Running costs: The average annual cost is £368 when consuming roughly 12,500 kWh a year. Pros: Since 2014 the price of oil has fallen— in January the price was 32p per litre, making it a more cost-effective means of heating your home. It’s also highly efficient. Cons: As with LPG there’s always the chance that your oil could run out before more is delivered by road. However, for both LPG and oil tanks you can install systems that monitor how much fuel is left and automatically notify your supplier if a refill is needed. Again, as with LPG installing an oil-fired heating system can be expensive and disruptive. Oil-fired boilers and storage tanks will also need annual servicing.•


How does it work? You can use electricity to heat your home if your house isn’t on the gas grid. The most affordable form of electrical central heating uses night storage heaters, which use electricity supplied at a cheaper ‘night-time’ rate to warm specialist heat-retaining bricks that can then be used to keep your home warm during the day. Running costs: On average you can spend £2,053 when consuming around 13,500 kWh a year. The pros: An electric night storage heater is much cheaper to install than a gas-fired system. They also have very few moving parts so there’s no need for maintenance and they don’t need to be serviced annually. Mains electricity is also available almost everywhere in the UK, unlike gas. The cons: As you will see from the running costs, electrical central heating is considerably more expensive than other heating systems.

LIQUID PETROLEUM GAS CENTRAL HEATING How does it work? If your house isn’t connected to mains gas then you can use liquid petroleum gas (LPG) to heat your

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HIVE ACTIVE HEATING: BEAUTIFUL DESIGN, CLEVER CONTROL A fusion of form and function, the Hive wireless thermostat is the clever way to control your heating and hot water (if you have a hot water tank), at home or via your smart phone. You could save up to £150 per year on your heating bills, as you’ll never needlessly heat an empty home again. A Hive thermostat is always installed by a trusted British Gas engineer, no matter who supplies your energy.


25/07/2016 10:27

Property &











Property &


Exclusive interview Phil’s take on the property world

In association with

Make the most of your garden this summer


do they add value?

Interior motives:

fixes, tips and advice for your home SUMMER 2016 | £3.99






18/07/2016 11:02








SUMMER 2016 | £3.99







Property &




WITH PHIL SPENCER Exclusive interview Phil’s take on the property world



Property &

In association with

Make the most of your garden this summer


do they add value?


Exclusive interview Phil’s take on the property world

In association with

Interior motives:

Make the most of your garden this summer

fixes, tips and advice for your home


do they add value?


SUMMER 2016 | £3.99






SUMMER 2016 | £3.99



Interior motives:

fixes, tips and advice for your home



18/07/2016 11:02

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25/07/2016 12:50


BEAT THE HEAT: A Guide to Portable Air Conditioners

The UK’s increasingly hot and humid summers can prove to be quite the discomfort— especially when trying to get a good night’s rest. Portable air conditioners are a great option for staying cool this summer


ith summer now in full swing, getting the right air conditioner for your home should be a priority. Portable air conditioners are a good choice for cooling individual rooms or small flats. There is no shortage of portable air conditioners on the market and they come in all shapes, sizes and styles to suit any home. The easiest way to choose an air conditioner is to think about what its main purpose will be. Will it primarily be used to cool down a single room or will it be used for an entire apartment or flat? Once you have decided on its primary use, it will then determine how much power you require and ultimately the size and cost of the unit you will need to beat the heat this summer. Take a look at our selection of the coolest units available.

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Climachill PAC18H 18,000 BTU £660 This powerful portable air conditioner features a premium quality compressor as well as self-evaporating technology. The turbo cooling fan features threespeed control and is low on running noise. It also conveniently features heat pump technology, meaning you can also use it as a heater.

Honeywell Industrial MN12CHES 12,000 BTU £639.99 This unit from Honeywell is one of the most stylish on the market and is powerful enough to easily cool a room up to 450 square feet. It features an autoevaporation system that recycles any built up moisture, three-in-one technology (cooling, heating fan, dehumidifier) and is environmentally friendly.

U? What is BT ermal Units) BTU (British Th al measure ion is the internat used to is d an gy er of en capacity g in ol indicate the co er. It on iti nd co air of an of heat y tit an qu measures the e from a ov m re n ca it a un room per hour.


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Home HeATING EcoAir ECO12P 12,000 BTU £419.95 Super lightweight with an excellent energy efficiency rating, the EcoAir ECO12P is a great portable option. This model also acts as a dehumidifier, has a self-evaporating system, and a threespeed fan.

Look out for these cooL features Dehumidifier Look out for portable air conditioners that come with a built-in dehumidifier as this will help to eliminate any excess moisture from the air. sleep mode Many of us use air conditioners to keep our bedrooms cool at night. If this will be its primary

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Amcor SF10000E 8,000 BTU £239.97 The Amcor SF10000E Slimline is ideal for cooling small to medium-sized rooms. Highly compact and portable, it can operate as a dehumidifier and fan, and features electronic touch controls and a remote control. •

use, look for a model that has a sleep mode. This feature will keep you more comfortable by slowly adjusting the temperature while you sleep. It also means you will be saving energy. energy efficiency Not only will an energy efficient air conditioner save you money, it is also better for the environment. Energy ratings range from A to G, with A being the most efficient, and G being the least efficient.

25/07/2016 10:25

Smart Ventilation with Heat Recovery

Take Control, at Home or “On the Go” The Problem









insulated, which leads to health





which can lead to the

development of Toxic T Home Syndrome – with over 15,000,000 UK homes at risk.

The Solution

Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery

(MVHR) can help to prevent T Toxic Home Syndrome and improve your indoor air quality by removing these pollutants and

● ●

Over 90% heat recovery Triple filter for fresher, cleaner indoor air Control the Adroit with smartphone, tablet or PC 4 user profiles to fit around your daily routine Save energy, better air quality 100% summer bypass to help prevent overheating in the summer

supply your home with pre-warmed, filtered, clean air – improving your health and saving on your energy bills.

What is MVHR?

MVHR is the process of filtering out airborne pollutants from your home, and replacing it with clean, fresh, filtered air whilst reclaiming the heat that would have otherwise been lost from the extracted air.

out after work

HOW A HEAT EXCHANGER WORKS Supply Air to bedroom and living area Filtered and Warmed

Exhaust Air


on party party party holiday tonight tonight tonight home late

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be cold

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To Outside

Extract Air from wetrooms Warm, Moist, Stale, Odours

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10/05/2016 14:45

Contura 510


Created for your lifestyle Contura 500 Style is a development of our most popular models in the 500 series. The lines are cleaner and the functions have been improved. The glass door gives a light, modern appearance, at the same time that the clean lines of the design allow the stove to blend into your home, whatever style you prefer. On the Contura 500 Style the top is thinner, and the damper and handle are more integrated into the front of the stove. With Contura you can always select extra functions. You can choose between a fan to give an extra kick to the heat or a hot plate to make maximum use of the fire. RRANTY 5 WA -



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Part of



16/03/2016 15:21

Contura 556

Stoves for every home

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Light my

Summer has arrived, but there’s sure to be a few chilly nights ahead. A multi-fuel stove or wood burner will add warmth and style to your home


A number of brands offer stylish


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contemporary designs, which differ considerably from the look of more traditional stoves. Contemporary models are perfect for homes and apartments with smart interiors, where a heater can be used to compliment the modern look of a room. Increasingly, homeowners are staying clear of the bulky, box-shaped traditional stove and instead opting for the curved and cylindrical shapes featured in many modern designs. Stoves that can be either wall-mounted

or raised on a pedestal are also gaining in popularity, turning the heater into an impressive focal point. For a good example of a stylish, modern design, consider the Vision stove range from Stovax (stovax. com). Alternatively, check out the range of stoves from Charnwood (


Deciding between a multi-fuel stove and a wood burner can be tricky as both



ulti-fuel stoves and wood burners have made a comeback in recent years. Rising energy costs, improved efficiency and the ability to add character and ambiance to a room have helped make them an attractive heating option. The sleek and stylish look of many modern designs also allows them to fit effortlessly into the contemporary home.

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have similar levels of efficiency and output. The most important thing is to consider which type of fuel you plan on burning, as this will impact running costs, and any potential savings. Multi-fuel stoves burn wood, coal and smokeless fuel, however not all models are designed to be equally efficient at burning all fuel types. If you plan on burning coal, it’s worth remembering that it is not a carbonneutral fuel like wood, and therefore not eco-friendly. With wood burners, obviously your fuel options are limited. The most important thing is to consider whether you have access to wood, such as fallen tree branches around your property, or if you will need to purchase it from a retailer. If you plan on collecting your own wood, it will have to be dried in order to burn efficiently. As the drying process can take up to a year, you will also need somewhere on your property where you can store it. Alternatively, buying wood will ensure your supply, however it will increase your running costs, especially if you buy dried (or seasoned) wood which is more expensive than unseasoned wood. •

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Fuel Efficiency According to the Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) a modern stove is on average 70 percent more efficient as a room heater than an open fire or open gas effect fire.

DID YOU KNOW... save on your Not only can you according to a but s, bill rgy ene ry experts, adding number of indust or wood burner ve a multi-fuel sto five percent value could add up to to your home.


25/07/2016 10:24

HOME HEATING MONODRAUGHT SUNPIPE LUXLOOP HYBRID LIGHTING SYSTEM Sunpipe LuxLoop combines the Sunpipe natural daylight system with an incredibly efficient and intelligent LED solution. Sunpipe LuxLoop has been developed to take account of real-world applications and take ‘smart lighting’ to the next level by adding circadian controls to the more traditional on-off and dimmable controls. For more information visit:

KINGSPAN OPTIM-R Kingspan OPTIM-R is a next generation vacuum insulation panel which can greatly improve insulating performance. Its ultra-thin profile makes it ideal for applications where space is at a premium, such as roof balconies and terraces, where it can help to keep a room cool whilst maintaining level access.

HOME COMFORTS Relax in comfort with some of these heating and cooling options

AIRFLOW DEVELOPMENTS ADROIT MVHR RANGE The Adroit Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) range is ideal for the self-builder. The Passive House certified units are equipped with the latest smart technology that allows airflow settings to be controlled by PC, tablet or smartphone. The Adroit offers a ‘whole house approach’ to ventilation, maintains a healthy internal environment, and can recover up to 90 percent of energy. 144 PROPERTY & HOME WITH PHIL SPENCER

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AIRFLOW DEVELOPMENTS AIRFLEX PRO Airflex Pro ducting is ideal for those looking for a versatile, zero leakage heat recovery system ducting solution that can reduce the installation process time by up to 70 percent. It can be easily cleaned thanks to its anti-bacterial lining, which when used with an Airflow ventilation system, guarantees a long term, healthy indoor air environment.

25/07/2016 10:22

HOME HEATING HITACHI YUTAKI-S Hitachi’s Yutaki-S is a new extensive range of air to water split type heat pumps. A new indoor unit has been developed for the 4.3kW, 6.0kW and 7.5kW units with dimensions of only 600 x 792 milimetres x 300 milimetres, so it will fit within a kitchen cupboard space. The efficiency has also been improved with COPs up to 5.25 and an Energy Class Rating up to A+++.

HITACHI YUTAKI-S80 Hitachi’s High temperature Yutaki-S80, which generates domestic hot water at up to 80 degrees, has been completely redesigned with easier connections at the top of the indoor unit for simpler installation. Utilising Hitachi’s unique cascade design, the Yutaki-S80 is designed to replace inefficient boilers without changing radiator sizes or any existing hot water tank. The Yutaki-S80 also boasts greater outputs and improved efficiencies as well as a new controller.

HITACHI YUTAKI-SCOMBI The new all-in-one Yutaki-SCombi integrated solution from Hitachi has been designed specifically for the UK market. The indoor unit has a built in 200 or 260 litre stainless steel hot water cylinder, as well as the main hydraulic components such as the pump, filter, back up heater and a newly designed controller. The indoor unit is pre-plumbed and pre-wired making the installation simpler with less internal space needed.

MONODRAUGHT SUNPIPE NATURAL LIGHTING SYSTEM Sunpipe is a natural lighting system that maximises the concept of renewable energy by channelling natural daylight from roofs to indoor environments to create healthier, costeffective and more productive environments. Sunpipes are suited to almost any application and have been installed anywhere from residential rooms, to the Olympic Handball Arena in London, and Falcon Centre in Dubai. A full 10-year guarantee is offered on all Sunpipes.

HITACHI YUTAKI-M The all-new compact Yutaki-M requires no refrigeration pipework and no internal unit. With a new controller, reduced noise levels, greater outputs of up to 16kW and improved efficiencies with COPs up to 5.0 and an Energy Class Rating of up to A++, the Yutaki-M has been completely redesigned to meet the needs of the UK market. Yutaki-M comes complete with pump, expansion vessel and filter within the outdoor unit.

PS25 Home Heating.V2.indd 145


25/07/2016 10:23


Make the Most of the

Summer Sun


olar panels, or solar photovoltaics (PV), capture energy from the sun and turn it into electricity, which can be used for lighting your home and running household appliances. Solar panels can generate energy all year round, even on cloudy days, and are far less harmful to the environment. If you’d like to add solar panels to your home, consider the following to ensure the installation process is as smooth

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as possible, and the solar panels work efficiently once installed.

the installation is performed safely and to industry standard.

Finding a reputable installer

getting the right quote

If you are considering converting to solar power, it’s extremely important to find a certified installer. All reputable installers in the UK should be certified by the Microgeneration Certificate Scheme (MCS) and should use MCScertified products. This will ensure that

When obtaining quotes, it’s advisable to contact a number of solar panel installers. You can either opt for a local installer or choose to go with a national one, but quotes can vary considerably, so it’s best to get a mixture of both. Once you have a quote, make sure it includes all the


Reduced costs and potential long-term savings have made installing solar panels a viable option for many homes throughout the UK. However, there are a number of things to consider before making the investment

25/07/2016 10:21

ENERGY EFFICIENCY information you will need to make an informed decision, such as the total cost of all parts and labour, the number of panels needed, and the estimated energy savings and energy efficiency for your home.


It’s important to check if you need planning permission or a building warrant before any installation takes place. This will largely depend on the type of property you own. For example, if you own a listed building, it is unlikely any installation will be approved. If your property is within a conservation area there are likely to be restrictions. Building regulations will apply to both the physical installation (like testing the strength of the roof to ensure it can handle the weight of the panels) as well as the electrical installation. Always check with the planning department in your local area before making a purchase.


You will need to confirm whether your home insurance policy covers modifications to your home. Your insurance provider will be able to advise as to whether any adjustments will need to be made to your current policy if you do have solar panels installed. Home insurance will not cover mechanical faults with the panels themselves, so you will need to consider insuring them separately or making sure they are under warranty. When choosing an installer, look for a company that is a member of the RECC (Renewable Energy Consumer Code) assurance scheme that offers consumers protection for pre-sales and after-sales activity, contracts, and completion of orders.


There is financial support and a number of government incentives available for installing solar panels on your home. These range from feed-in-tariffs, where you receive government payments for the electricity you produce, to energy saving grants from local authorities. Incentives will vary depending on where you live and in order to qualify for any tariff payments, your solar panels must be installed by a MSC certified installer. For more information visit: •

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Did you know? A SOUTH-FACING ROOF IS BEST The more your roof faces south and the less shaded it is, the better your solar panels will perform. A roof that faces either southwest or west will still get some benefit, but will not be as efficient as those that face south. WHERE YOU LIVE MATTERS In the UK, the further south you live, the more energy your solar panels will generate. This is due to increased hours of daylight, rather than sunlight, and means increased efficiency—as well as potential savings. STAGGERING THE USE OF YOUR APPLIANCES INCREASES EFFICIENCY During the winter months your system will obviously generate less solar power so it’s important to make sure you run the majority of your appliances when it’s still light outside. A good way to manage this is to stagger their use in the colder months while storing power when the sun does comes out.

How much could I save? ELECTRICITY SAVINGS Most estimates indicate that a typical family home could save around £65 a year on electricity bills by using solar panels. FEED-IN TARIFF The current rates for the feed-in tariff are 4.32p/kWh for solar panels with a capacity of 10 kW or less, and 4.53p/kWh for those with a capacity greater than 10 kW. It’s estimated a typical home could earn around £150 a year in government payments. EXPORT TARIFF The export tariff is for the energy you don’t use, which is sent back to the grid. It is currently set at 4.91p/ kWh—meaning you could earn a further £85 a year. For more information visit:


25/07/2016 13:44


DOWN TO EARTH: Geothermal Heating For those of us looking to save money on heating bills and find an environmentally friendly system, geothermal heating is a good option. Depending on what fuel you plan to replace, you could benefit a great deal HOW DOES IT WORK?

Geothermal heating uses the earth’s natural heat that is trapped in the ground and converts it to energy. Below the ground’s surface, temperatures hover around 11-12 degrees, making it a reliable and renewable heat source. A ground source heat pump is then used to extract

the heat, pumping it through a series of pipes and into your home. One of the major benefits of geothermal heating is that it is much better for the environment. Although the heat pump itself requires electricity to run, the energy it produces is constantly renewed, meaning it has a much smaller

impact on the environment compared to other heating systems. Regardless of what existing heating system you have in your home, geothermal heating is compatible with just about every type. This includes underfloor heating systems, air heating systems and hot water systems.


Geothermal heating uses the earth’s natural heat that is trapped in the ground and converts it to energy


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CLOSED-LOOP OR OPEN LOOP? There are two different types of geothermal heat pump systems available: closed loop and open loop. The best choice for your home will depend on the climate, soil conditions, available land, and installation costs in your local area. A closed-loop system will pump an antifreeze solution through a series of closed pipes buried in the ground. Heat is then transferred between the refrigerant in the heat pump and the antifreeze solution in the closed pipes. An open-loop system uses surface water or water from a well as the heat exchange fluid, which then circulates directly through the heat pump system. Once it has been circulated, the fluid is then returned to its original source.

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The cost of installing a geothermal heating system can vary, but will typically be between £13,000 and £20,000. Running costs will depend on the size of your home and how well insulated it is. The Centre For Sustainable Energy estimates costs to be around £655 a year.


How much you will save with a geothermal heating system largely depends on the type of fuel you are replacing. For example, a four bedroom detached house where you are replacing electricity, you could save around £1,420 a year. If you are replacing LPG you would more likely save around £1,260, whereas if you are replacing oil, you stand to save approximately £620. The renewable heat incentive (RHI), recently introduced by the UK Government, is another way to maximise savings. Payments are designed to reward those who make the clean investment in geothermal heating and are made quarterly over a seven-year period. •

CONSIDER THIS: Insulation: The better your home is insulated, the better a geothermal heating system will work. So it’s important to consider how well your home is suited before making the switch. Compatibility: Geothermal heating is best suited for an underfloor heating system. If you have a different type of heating system, ask your installer to give a detailed outline of the costs and benefits. Heat pump: The actual size of a heat pump is similar to that of a large fridge, so you will need to think about where you will be able to fit it in your home. Installing it in an outbuilding or basement is also an option.


25/07/2016 10:20


The Dos and Don’ts of


Whether you want to create more space in your home, increase the value of the property or fix up worn structures, when it comes to renovations there’s a number of dos and don’ts to consider bigger rooms were the most important criteria for people looking to buy a house. In addition, peer-to-peer lender Zopa has found that home improvements can add nearly £30,000 to a property’s value. Whatever your renovation goals are, consider the following:

DO: Make a plan

It sounds obvious, but having a detailed plan is very important when it comes to

renovation. Work out a realistic plan of what you’re going to do, and what is most important. Plan a realistic budget, and allow another 10-15 percent contingency fund for any unforeseen costs (it’s almost unheard of that a person will set a realistic budget for a project!). Once you have set your budget, create detailed plans— plans on paper are easier to stick to and implement. Plan a schedule that accounts for each step of the project.

IMAGES: 123rf, Lohko by Scion

If you’re an existing homeowner and want to upsize, it isn’t that straight forward— there are a great deal of costs from legal and estate agent fees to removal fees, and you could end up facing a larger mortgage and stamp duty costs. Many people chose to renovate instead of move, as increasing the size of your home can also increase the value if you do come to sell in the future—in fact, recent research by showed that

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DO: Be flexible

Be prepared to adjust your plans as you go along, as each home renovation will present unique challenges. Contractors will be able to give you a rough time of how long works will take to be completed but there will always be hiccups, so be prepared for delays.

DO: Look within

If you’re looking to create space, consider whether you can increase the potential space inside your property by changing the internal layout, instead of having various extensions built. Removing or moving internal walls can make a substantial difference, at a much smaller cost than an extension. Just be sure that by removing a wall, you aren’t damaging the structure of the house and that the wall isn’t load bearing.

DON’T: Be afraid of change

Houses can of course evolve with the times, and just because you live in a certain type of property doesn’t mean you are limited to sticking with what already exists. For example, an ultramodern kitchen can work well in a Victorian house in some cases.

DON’T: Skip permission

Some renovations require planning permission. For example, if you’re thinking of converting your front garden into a driveway (which is quite popular in areas where parking is scarce), you need planning permission in order to concrete over the flowerbeds. If you choose to make home improvements without a planning permission, this could be counted as an illegal change which could affect the value of your property.

Dean Sanderson, managing director of Manchester-based estate agents, Sanderson James, says: ‘If a property has had illegal changes made to it, new buyers will have to factor in the cost of rectifying the problem.’ Visit planning to see what renovations require permission.

DON’T: Sacrifice

There are certain elements that are always desirable to future buyers—gardens are sought after, especially in urban areas. Building an extension that eats into the majority of your garden space can actually reduce the value of your home. It’s important to get the balance right, and not extend for the sake of it. This applies to bedrooms, too—if you’re considering losing a bedroom to create an extra bathroom or a study, this can also devalue your house in the future.

Home improvements can add nearly £30,000 to a property’s value.

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Hire the Professionals Small renovations can turn into big disasters if you over estimate your DIY abilities, and according to Halifax Home Insurance, more than a third of us begin DIY projects but don’t end up completing them. If you’re hiring tradesmen to finish the job (or start it from scratch), here’s our handy checklist: Top home improvements Conservatory Return on investment: 108 percent Profit: £5,300 Average costs: £5,750 Garden Return on investment: 88 percent Profit: £4,000 Average costs: £4,550 Exterior Return on investment: 75 percent Profit: £4,500 Average costs: £6,000 Extension Return on investment: 71 percent Profit: £14,000 Average costs:£19,750

Ask friends and acquaintances for recommendations—word of mouth is quite reliable in this

Don’t pay money upfront Some tradesmen will  request 50 percent before they’ve even arrived at your home. If a

 owners could have used a tradesman previously.

Don’t use cold callers If they knock on your door offering work, don’t be tempted as this is how rogue traders operate.

Don’t always use fitting services offered You  might be able to find a better deal by finding your own fitter for a

instance, and even better if you’ve used a tradesman before and been pleased with their work. They may have good contacts they can put you in touch with.

Check your property’s documents as the former

Call around to get a few quotes (at least three) and make sure you compare these. Note that depending on the job, this will just be a general ballpark figure and not a definitive price. Don’t always focus on cost as you might be settling for someone who doesn’t have the necessary qualifications for the job.

Check the credentials of the tradesmen you’ve booked. Ask for references of previous customers. Make sure you have a contract. It’s difficult to prove what was agreed and when without one. 152 PROPERTY & HOME WITH PHIL SPENCER

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tradesperson wants to be assured that they will be paid, use an escrow service so both parties are covered.

kitchen or a bathroom.

Don’t panic! If something goes wrong and you urgently require assistance, do your research and ensure you don’t end up with a bigger problem. •

25/07/2016 10:19



Built to last What is? Our heat exchanger. It’s never had a mechanical failure in 20 years.


Life saver Typically reducing emissions by 20% and shaving a further 15% off energy bills.


No problems With only four moving parts in our boilers there’s less to go wrong.


Hot water on tap Thanks to a separate circuit in the boiler, you’ll have hot water if the pump fails.


Don’t get caught short All our spares are kept in a large briefcase to ensure a first-time-fix. Remote control Wherever you are, our remote management system gives you total control.

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Plastic’s fantastic But not in a boiler – that’s why we only use three plastic components.

Exceptional flow rate Ours always deliver, even in areas where water pressure is low.



Workaholic Condenses 100% of the time in heating mode and 95.8% in hot water mode.

Here are 10 good reasons why your new boiler should be from Intergas...



Five boilers in one Heat only, sealed system, open vent, multipoint water heater and open vent combi.

…and our biggest seller, the HRE, is also Product of the Year 2016*. Perfect. *Intergas HRE was named Domestic H&V Product of the Year 2016 at the H&V News awards in April.

30/06/2016 14:55


Green your clean


ots of cleaning products for the home can contain harmful ingredients— whether it’s substances that irritate the skin and respiratory tract or chemicals that can poison aquatic systems and contaminate the food chain. Here, we explain how to make the switch to greener, more eco-friendly cleaning methods and products.

environmentally friendly, make sure you investigate them thoroughly before buying as many still contain ingredients that can be harmful. You can also very easily make your own cleaning products using cheap, everyday ingredients. Substances like vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice can be used to clean almost anything.

Do it yourself

Ditch the (antibacterial) soap

While there are a wealth of ‘green’ cleaning products on the market that purport to be

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It’s a common assumption that we need to use anti-bacterial soaps to clean our hands,

but evidence has shown that it could do more harm than good. Your skin is populated with millions of microorganisms, most of them neutral or beneficial, and using anti-bacterial soap can strip all of these away—as well the skin’s natural oils. There’s also concern that using anti-bacterial soap can lead to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant germs. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has stated that using antibacterial soap is no more effective at preventing illness than using ordinary soap and water.


Many of the ingredients used in conventional cleaning products can harm your health and the environment. We explore some eco-friendly alternatives

25/07/2016 10:16



Air fresheners only mask smells and can cause allergies. Many air fresheners also contain phthalates, which have been linked to a variety of health issues. Instead, try combining bicarbonate of soda and your favourite essential oil in a spray bottle for your own home made air freshener.


Most dry cleaners use a solvent called perchloroethylene to clean clothes. This is a known health and environmental hazard that has been identified by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency as a possible carcinogen, as well being associated with a host of chronic health

problems. Opt for greener cleaning methods such as wet cleaning, which uses water, specialised equipment and mild detergents, or carbon dioxide cleaning, which uses non-toxic liquid CO2 as the cleaning solvent, alongside detergent.•

Household staples: Everyday products you can use to clean your home Many basic household ingredients found in your kitchen cupboards can be used to safely clean your house. Here’s a list of some of the most useful ones. Bicarbonate of soda One of the most handy ingredients in your kitchen, this multi-purpose product is a natural abrasive that can be used to clean almost everything—from toilets to polishing silverware. It’s also a deodoriser, removing unpleasant smells. Lemon juice If you’re looking for an effective bacteria killer then lemon juice is your best friend. Its high acid content means that it works as a natural disinfectant.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER Just because a cleaning product says ‘eco’, ‘natural’ or ‘green’ on the label doesn’t mean it’s environmentally friendly. The Environmental Working Group is a not-for-profit group dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. Their Guide to Healthy Cleaning contains an extensive database of cleaning products that have been thoroughly assessed on their impact on health and the environment, so you can make informed choices on what cleaning products you buy.

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White vinegar This hard-working ingredient can remove grease, mildew, odours and some stains, working particularly well on glass, metal and other smooth surfaces. It also works as a mould killer. Just be careful with some surfaces like marble and stone as it could change their colour. Corn flour This can be used to clean windows, polish furniture and clean carpets and rugs. It will also get rid of greasy stains on clothes.


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HOME RENOVATIONS Home renovations made easy with these stylish products EYE-CATCHING TILES Attingham is a unique 15x40 centimetre ceramic tile featuring a gloss finish and subtle surface effect that allows you to beautifully blend different tones together. The three pastel colours; seagrass, mist and powder blue are also available in five geometric designs. Adding a tactile finish with an embossed pattern, these decor tiles can be mixed and matched to create an eye-catching feature or used in conjunction with the coordinating plain tile.

FOREVER WHITE Forever White from Everbuild – A Sika Company is a superior silicone, which thanks to the addition of SteriTouch Antibacterial Protection, is guaranteed to stop unsightly black mould growth for up to 10 years. Ideal for use in bathrooms, kitchens and wet room areas, Forever White is permanently waterproof and flexible, making it perfect for sealing shower bases and cubicles where spills are inevitable.


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THE LEGACY CONTINUES Since the introduction of the stand mixer almost 100 years ago, and the very first dishwasher in 1949, KitchenAid has built on the legacy of these icons to create a complete line of products for the well-equipped kitchen. This ranges from counter top appliances to cookware, to an entirely new range of major built-in appliances.

INTERGAS KEEPS IT SIMPLE As gas boilers become increasingly complex, the Intergas range remains stubbornly simple. With only 12 components there’s less to go wrong, making these combi-boilers ultra reliable. And, as they condense in both heating and hot water modes, they are also very energy efficient. Intergas’ biggest selling HRE model was named Product of the Year 2016 at the H&V News Awards.

A TIMELESS COLLECTION Founded by an English potter, Minton Hollins specialises in fine ceramic tiles that have been produced in the Potteries, Staffordshire for over 150 years. Made with a thicker base and a specialist glaze, Minton Hollins is exclusively available at Topps Tiles. The collection features authentic period wall tile designs from the Arts & Crafts period and Victorian era, embodying a timeless collection of bold colours and intricate patterns.

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MUST-HAVES FOR THE HOME A collection of essentials, fit for any home T BUY








Prop H erty&



SOFTER H20 Harvey Water Softeners design and install the number one selling, non-electric water softener in the UK. The HV3 is a revolution in the technology of water softening. With its twin tank design, it provides a continuous flow of soft water, all day, every day. By eliminating lime scale from your home it keeps your kitchen and bathroom looking brand new, and improves the water for you and your family.




YOU’VE GOT MAIL This lockable post box from Burg-Wächter is perfect for the style-conscious homeowner. It’s strong, rustproof and easy to fix to either a wall or optional stand. It features an innovative interior light and integrated newspaper holder and is available in a wide range of durable colours to complement any home.

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SECURE YOUR HOME THE SMART WAY ADT Smart Home is the security solution for modern living, designed to make your life easier and your home more secure. Effortlessly manage your home security from anywhere, anytime, via a smartphone, tablet or PC—whether it is setting or un-setting your alarm remotely or checking on your home. All ADT alarms are monitored 24/7 and never ignored. WIRELESS, CONNECTED, FLEXIBLE The OSRAM Smart Home products work with the intelligent LIGHTIFY system, which wirelessly connects bulbs and luminaires by means of remote technology. Light every room the way you want, when you want—conveniently from your smartphone or tablet PC. Use the LIGHTIFY vacation mode to give the impression you’re at home even when you’re not.

DOT-IT: THE INGENIOUS ANYWHERE LIGHT OSRAM portable mini LED luminaires are ideal for locations without electricity—with simple and diverse fixing options for flexible, individual use anywhere light is needed. Benefit from LED technology that combines low energy consumption, low maintenance costs and a longer lifetime, offering great value for money. The range is available in DOT-it Classic, DOT-it Vario and DOT-it Linear Vario.

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Tools of The Trade Essentials for Home & Garden

Property & Home takes a look at the essential tools you’ll need to complete just about any job, indoors and out

ElEctric drill

Drilling holes and inserting screws are two of the most common tasks in any home improvement job, which makes the electric drill a necessity. A cordless drill is more versatile

158 PrOPErTy & HOmE wiTH PHiL SPEncEr

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and is perfect for when you’re on the move, while a corded drill is lighter and won’t run out of power midway through a job.

claw hammEr

One of the most used tools in any toolbox, it’s important to try a hammer in your hand for the correct size and weight. A clawed hammer is ideal as it can be used for both driving and pulling nails. Look for one with a fibreglass handle, as it will absorb

the shock when driving nails into hard surfaces.

adjustablE spannEr

Tightening nuts, bolts and washers is a fundamental part of many household jobs, which makes the spanner another must have. Spanners vary in size, so ideally you will want a variety to cover all types of jobs.

spirit lEvEl

A spirit level will allow you to check if a



hether fixing a leak or tending the garden, there are some tools that you just can’t do without. Ensuring you have the following tools on hand will make tackling jobs around the house a lot easier.

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HOME ESSENTIALS surface is horizontal (level) or vertical (plumb). Handy for checking doorframes, walls, if timber is bowed, and can be used to ensure materials are fitted at the correct angle.


A digging spade is a must have tool for gardening. A stainless steel spade is a good option as it is less likely to rust, and can also make digging easier as soil doesn’t stick as much to the surface. It’s also important to choose a spade with the appropriate weight and height, as this will make it more comfortable to use.


As with the spade, a fork is one tool no gardener can do without, as it is essential for breaking up soil and

DON’T FORGET THE TOOLBOX! As essential as these tools are, it’s no good if you don’t have a secure and convenient place to store them all. Getting the right toolbox is vital—ideally you want one with a lot of space, but light enough to carry around easily. A canvas tool bag is a good alternative to the traditional hard case, as it affords plenty of room, is light, and usually inexpensive.

dividing plants. Forks vary in weight so choose one that feels comfortable, as this will make it much easier to use.


Hoes are useful for breaking up soil, weeding flowerbeds and vegetable rows. There are a number of different types, including the fork hoe, heavy-duty, and oscillating hoe. What you plan to do with your garden will determine what type you will need.


Perfect for working with smaller plants, a good trowel is essential for getting close to flowerbeds and working in between plants. Look for one with a comfortable handle, as it is probably the most used tool in any garden. •

A spade is not always a spade Contrary to the popular phrase, not all garden tools are the same, especially when it comes to quality. Try to stick with reputable brands, and stay clear of the cheaper ones as these are unlikely to last. Look for tools where the metal part is about half way up the shaft as this increases the overall strength of the product.

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The Perfect

Paint Job A how-to guide on painting your home like a tradesman

Phil’s DIY Dos and Don’ts Do: Opt for the elegant and timeless Pay attention to detail Play to your strengths Use the best materials you can afford Don’t:

Do anything too fussy like stencilling Skimp on supplies—buy those extra few tiles instead of struggling with damaged ones

Buy cheap paint—you will have to apply more paint


anyway, so won’t save money in the long run

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hether you’re re-decorating your entire house or just one room, a fresh lick of paint can really make a difference. Clean, wellpainted walls can really bring a room together and provide an opportunity to showcase your personal taste—there’s a growing trend for a ‘feature wall’, where you paint just one wall a bright colour (see The New Rules of Interior Design, pp. xx-xx), or you could be painting your walls a more neutral, uniform colour to let your furnishings take centre stage. Whatever your interior vision, making DIY work look as professional as possible is paramount. Follow these handy tips to ensure your walls look like the work of a skilled tradesman.


Remove any hardware you don’t wish to paint over (doorknobs, handles, hinges, electrical outlets, smoke detectors, doorbells…). Clear the room of all movable items, and cover items that can’t move. As paint will drip downwards, anything underneath the area you’re painting will need to be moved or covered. Paint can also splatter sideways (especially if you’re an energetic painter!), so consider the ‘danger zone’ to be at least six feet horizontally from any surfaces that will be painted.

immediately after painting, slowly and carefully from the paint line. Be sure to do this before the wall dries, so you don’t peel any paint off with it.

Prime time

Primer helps to maximise the sheen and coverage of paint, and gives the finishing coat a more uniform appearance. Primer will water-seal the surface and provides a layer that the paint can stick to—waterbased paint will not stick to an un-primed layer of oil-based paint. Remember, a wall will still need to be primed first even if it’s been painted many times before.

use the ‘w’

It sounds obvious, but be sure to read the label before starting so you know how approximately how long the paint will take to dry, allowing you to plan appropriately. When you begin, employ

the ‘W’ technique as this will allow you to paint walls efficiently. Start in the corner of a wall and using a roller, roll a three-by-three foot ‘W’ shape, then fill it in without lifting the roller. Continue in sections until you’re finished, and paint one wall at a time. Add as many coats as it takes to make the surface look even. Higher quality paint often requires fewer layers for an even finish.

touCh uP

In places where you can’t roll, paint using a brush around the trim and in the corner of the walls. Use a two-inch angled brush and extend out two to three inches from windows, doors and moldings. Once you’ve completed painting and removed the painter’s tape, check for any paint bleed underneath the tape. If this has occurred, use a very small paintbrush and carefully touch up the lines. •

Clean uP

Your walls should be a blank canvas before painting. So, be sure that all dirt, dust and grease spots are removed as these can ruin a smooth finish. Wipe down walls with water and a small amount of mild dish washing detergent, using a cellulose sponge. Rinse well with clean water to remove the soap residue. Fill in any holes and chips and sand the wall flat to remove bumps and ridges.

taPe down

To ensure crisp, clean edges, use painter’s blue tape or masking tape. It can be applied up to a week ahead, around the trim, window and doorframes. Starting at a corner, tear off a tape strip about two feet long and set it down lightly with one edge bordering the surface to be painted. Seal the tape tightly with the tip of a spoon and make sure there are no bubbles as these can allow paint to seep underneath. Remove the tape

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Top tips for landlords Whether you are new to the buy-to-let market or an experienced landlord, you can always benefit from expert advice and guidance. The NLA, the largest landlord association in the UK, has produced following top tips to help you make a success of your lettings, regardless of your circumstances. 1.

Choose your target market – Speak to local landlords and letting agents about rental demand in the area and start with a property in an area you know well and can access easily from home.


Buy a property where you can add value – Consider a return on your investment, capital appreciation and set a competitive rent that offers a positive rental yield.


Become a member of a professional landlords’ organisation – Even experienced landlords come across new challenges so it’s advisable to have access to advice and guidance. For details on the benefits of NLA Membership visit


Build a reliable team around you – You never know when something could go wrong so it’s essential to find reliable maintenance contacts. You could ask local landlords and letting agents for their recommendations. The NLA also offers a range of essential landlord services like mortgages, Property Insurance, Rent on Time and more.


Become an accredited landlord – NLA Accreditation offers you the opportunity to develop your knowledge and skills and to set yourself apart from others.


Vet tenants – Carry out thorough background checks to confirm potential tenants are in a position to meet their rental commitment. NLA Tenant Check verifies potential tenants against a range of criteria and NLA Full Members benefit from discounted rates, too.


Use the right paperwork – Ensure you use a proper tenancy agreement that outlines the length of the tenancy, amount of rent and when it is to be paid. You should also issue a detailed inventory which is signed and dated by both parties, to avoid any disputes at the end of tenancy. If you take a deposit then you must protect it with a government-approved scheme such as mydeposits. NLA Full Members benefit from discounted joining and deposit protection fees.


Nurture tenant relationships – Meeting your tenants in person is essential to establishing a positive relationship from the start. In addition, providing good customer service is vital; always ensure repairs are carried out promptly.


Avoid voids – Long-term voids will consume spare cash and may even cause your business to fail. Offering tenants six month or annual contracts allows you to plan ahead and discussing future plans with your tenants will enable you to plan marketing and maintenance in advance of a void.

To find out how we can help you visit:

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NLA Membership: Helping you through your landlord journey Benefit from on-going support, access to a wide range of products and services, networking opportunities and exclusive discounts and privileges. Full Membership starts from as little as ÂŁ89 per year.

Preparing and marketing your property Ensure your property meets safety regulations, is energy efficient and is marketable.

Managing Cash Flow Assistance on letting finances, rental income protection and free Tax Investigation Insurance.

Expanding your portfolio

Taking your first steps Information, advice and training to help you buy and insure your property.

Starting and managing your tenancy Find the right tenant, set up best practice tenancy agreements and get discounts on tenancy deposits.

Property repossession Advice and assistance on ending a tenancy and gaining repossession of your property.

Guidance and updates to help you prosper in the private rental sector.

Full Membership starts from as little as ÂŁ89 per year. Visit: Call: 020 7840 8937

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