Property & Home with Martin Roberts - Autumn 2021

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health   home   life •



Shows us her new kitchen


Mortgages, letting, insurance – all you need to know



for success at auctions


from taps to tubs

Beat the Market Now’s the time to make money!

Autumn 2021

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AUTUMN 2021 | £3.99

BATHROOMS  |  DRIVEWAYS  |  decorating  |  HEATING  |  kitchens  |  BEDROOMS  |  TECH 11/08/2021 10:51

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Welcome to Property & Home with Martin Roberts


That’s why I still love working in the property market after 35 years, and I’m so pleased to be able to bring you this guide to how to do well in it! This issue we have lots of advice on winning at auctions, on navigating the mortgage market, on protecting your rental property, and on doing up your kitchen, flooring and garden. As we come to the end of lockdown I hope it will inspire you to make more of your property choices. I hope you enjoy reading the magazine, that you benefit from it, and that it encourages you to dive deeper into the world of property! Cheers, Martin

IMAGES: Martin Roberts

i! It’s Martin Roberts – him off the telly! – welcoming you to this issue of Property & Home, your essential guide to buying, renovating, decorating, and selling property. It’s been a funny old year to say the least, with the property market facing all sorts of difficulties – yet now we’re told that prices and sales are at an all-time high. As I travel around the country filming for Homes Under the Hammer, I still see plenty of opportunities for people to make a profit in property if they do the necessary planning and financial calculations. The reward you can get from renovating a tired property, or from extending or redecorating your own, isn’t just about the money you can make – it’s about the satisfaction of doing a good job.   Property & Home  5

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Track and Trace If you have a property portfolio, how do you keep track of your financial ins and outs?


Law and Order Why are solicitors such a vital part of property transactions? Charles Knapper LLB answers our questions


Owning the Auction Room Property auctions can be intimidating, but read our essential tips and you’ll be well prepared for success


Home Health Is the quality of housing one of the significant factors in our health, and can we ‘build back better’?

Martin Roberts tells Chris Jenkins why he still gets a kick out of the property business




Property News News, products and services from the world of property


Safe and Sure If you have property to rent, don’t overlook landlord insurance


First Step on the Ladder Getting a mortgage isn’t as easy as it used to be, so where do you look for the best deals and what are the pitfalls to avoid?


Bridging the Gap When might you need a briding loan, and how do they work?


Shop ‘Til You Drop Why the trend for converting shops into houses might be a mistake


By The Numbers If your head for figures isn’t the best, you’ll need the help of an accountant like Philip Gambrill FCCA


Short and Sweet? A short-term let can be lucrative if your property is in a desirable location, but make sure you know what you’re getting into


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Home News From gadgets for your toolbox to solutions for your heating, all the product and services news you need to know what’s going on in and around home across the country


Prue Leith’s Colourful Kitchen Bake Off star Prue Leith has a cooking career as colourful as her new kitchen. We look at her layout and present a favourite recipe


A Bathroom of Your Own The top trends on bathroom design from minimalist modern to the spa look, examined with some top tips on making your bathroom more ecological

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Smart and Safe Home security can use technology to integrate with your other home systems. We look at some of the gadgets designed to make your property more secure


Drive Time Looking at some of the options for improving the kerb appeal of your home, starting with the increasing popular resin-based approaches to beautifying your driveway


Windows of Opportunity One of the easiest ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home is to look at the windows – how can double- or triple-glazing save you money in the long run?


A Boiler That Suits Having a modern energy-efficient boiler is a good way to save energy and money, but it’s also an essential element of safety in the home


Clear Air Ahead What are the pollutants that can affect the quality of the air in your home, how can we reduce them, and what are the advantages of air purifiers?


IMAGES: Dreamstime, Martin Roberts, B&Q,



Sliding Into Space An increasingly popular option both for saving space and for modern design is the sliding wardrobe door – whether in the bedroom or other space-limited parts of the house Clever Kitchens There’s a kitchen fitting solution for every size and shape. We look at some of the most exciting modern designs that will make your space efficient and beautiful. Life-Changing Gadgets Once you have your new kitchen, these are the hi-tech gadgets you’ll want to put in it, to save time, waste and effort as you prepare delicious meals


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The Tile High Club If you’re looking for beautiful, practical and hard-wearing flooring and wall solutions, tiles could be what you’re looking for – so should you join the tile high club?


Floor Plans Tiles apart, what are your other alternatives for covering your floors? From modern laminates to cement and stone, there are plenty of options and alternatives


Tapping the Trends How refreshing your taps can give your kitchen or bathroom a new look


The Smarter Homeowner From robotic kitchens to heating control apps, smart home technology has the potential to transform our lives – but how do you get to grips with all this futuristic gear?



A Broad Brush Guide Painting and decorating are a breeze – if you have the right tools, now how to use them, and are willing to put in the preparation work. Fine out more here


Power Plays The essential aids for a huge range of DIY work, power tools can make any job faster and more efficient, if you know what tools to choose

102 Retire in Style When you want to slow down and spend less time worrying about property maintenance, would your best bet be to look at a managed retirement community home?

107 The Dangers of CO Carbon Monoxide is known as the ‘silent killer’. How can you avoid this danger in your house, and what sort of technology will help alert you?

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108 Garden News From exciting garden buildings to the latest ideas about how to manage weeds, everything you need to know about our outdoor spaces


111 Summer Gardens

PUBLISHER & CEO Kevin Harrington

As we come to the end of the summer, there are still plenty of jobs to do around the garden

EDITOR Chris Jenkins CONTRIBUTORS Tom Glover John Renwick Patricia Savage

112 Alan Titchmarsh – the Gardener’s Gardener Alan’s career as a novelist and chatshow host hasn’t distracted him from his love of gardening – but what does Britain’s favourite planter think about gardening, and life?


116 Something Different From vegetable patches to Zen gardens and flowerbeds in old cars, these are some of the off-the-wall ideas to make your garden special

120 Crazy Paving Hardsurfacing for your garden can come in many forms – from a simple patio to a complex network of pathways, here are some of the ideas you can try

DESIGN Friyan Mehta ADMINISTRATOR Adam Linard-Stevens

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124 The Hot Topic With many councils introducing garden waste disposal charges, it’s time to look again at composting – and the ‘hot composting’ trend that can make it faster and easier

126 Head for Heights Working at height can be dangerous – particularly when you have a garden tool to handle. Here are some tips for choosing the right equipment and using it safely


128 Property For All? Why do we get into the property game and what do we get out of it? Martin Roberts, celebrity guest editor of Property & Home shares his thoughts 8


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Property & Home with Martin Roberts Celebrity Angels 143 Caledonian Road London N1 0SL Tel: 020 7871 1000 For sales enquiries call: 020 7871 1000


All material in Property & Home with Martin Roberts 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 Martin Roberts. 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.

IMAGES: Dreamstime, RHS, ITV, Martin Roberts


10/08/2021 17:07

Everything you need to go house hunting Your Mortgage-in-principle from Generation Home, a new kind of lender.

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Your Net Wider Martin Roberts, celebrity guest Editor of Property & Home, talks to Chris Jenkins about the current state of the property market, and how you can make money if you know the rules of the game


IMAGES: Martin Roberts

he name of Martin Roberts is closely associated with the property market through his 18 years on the BBC’s Homes Under the Hammer and his popular property market seminars. No-one has used up more shoeleather going all around the country looking at properties, from the dilapidated to the luxurious. So Martin is the ideal choice as guest editor for Property & Home, the only magazine to give you advice about buying, renovating and selling property, as well as decorating and beautifying it. We’re now told that the property market is on a new high as it comes out of coronavirus lockdown – but what does Martin think, with his frontline experience? Is there still money to be made, and how has the market been changed by the difficulties of doing business face-to-face? We find out straight from the man himself… P&H: How has lockdown changed what people are looking for in property? MR: The unprecedented events of the last 18 months have definitely had a huge impact on the property market. One very positive thing is that it has proved how resilient the market is, because

despite the doom-mongering predictions of numerous experienced figures, we’ve seen sustained growth, not property armageddon. The changing fundamentals of how we live our lives however, has also had a dramatic impact on our wish list for the places we live. Once the shackles of being close to where we work have been removed as a result of home working, the options available have multiplied massively. It’s almost as if, so long as you’ve got a good internet connection, you can choose to work from anywhere. With the occasional trip to the office to show your face. So that’s enabled people to cast the net much wider and also look for a better quality of life. Houses in rural locations with nice gardens and room to expand have never been more in demand. We now look for flexible accommodation that has space for the creation of a separate work environment, and are also not as willing to sacrifice living space for commutability. To suggest an exodus from the cities would be overstating, as many still value the advantages of city life, but a steady flow is certainly underway.   Property & Home  11

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on the option to purchase a property within an agreed timescale. You then have time to do more research or sort out finances etc before agreeing to go to official exchange. The option will cost a significant amount of money - not as much as a 10 percent deposit - but if you change your mind, that is the limit of your losses. Some people prefer the assurance of the traditional method, while others appreciate the flexibility of the modern method.

P&H: Where are the new property hotspots? MR: Following on from the above, there’s been a huge increase in demand, and therefore prices, in desirable and rural locations, especially those close to the coast or beauty spots. I think many people have taken time over the last 18 months to reflect on their dreams, and have been motivated to turn those dreams into reality sooner rather than later. In terms of investment properties, there’s been a huge increase in prices in places like the North East, the Midlands, and South Wales, where the advantages of solid traditional terraced houses being available for modest cost has been realised. Combined with people looking to secure an alternative form of income in uncertain times, this has pushed the doubledigit yearly price growth we have seen in these areas. P&H: What are ‘conditional auctions’ and what are the advantages to the buyer? MR: At a traditional or ‘unconditional’ auction, when the hammer falls you have effectively exchanged contracts on the purchase. You will be expected to pay a 10 percent deposit straight away, and if you don’t complete within the agreed timescale (usually 28 days or less) , you will lose your deposit and could be liable for other financial penalties. At a ‘conditional’ or ‘modern’ auction as they are sometimes known, you bid at auction, but

“There’s been a huge increase in demand, and therefore prices, in desirable and rural locations, especially those close to the coast or beauty spots. I think many people have taken time over the last 18 months to reflect on their dreams, and have been motivated to turn those dreams into reality sooner rather than later”

P&H: What is meant by buying ‘off-market’ and how does it work? MR: People normally hear about properties for sale through estate agents or property portals. If someone has something to sell it will be listed via these routes, and interested parties will make their enquiries and subsequent offers. However, for various reasons - sometimes privacy, discretion or other personal or business considerations, properties will be offered to a limited and very personally known or exclusive group of individuals before they’re offered to the general market. These are known as ‘off-market’ deals and to a certain degree, you’ll never know that they are happening because you may never see a For Sale sign or a listing online. Some people put a lot of energy into trying to find off-market deals in the belief that they will be some kind of bargain, but that’s not necessarily the case - a good deal is a good deal and a bad deal is a bad deal, whether or not it’s sold on or off market. P&H: What are ‘property influencers’ and should we be listening to them? MR:These are people that are leveraging social media to either advertise properties on behalf of others, offer property services or generate interest in their own property projects. They tend to be people who have amassed a following and may or may not have relevant experience or expertise in the world of property. As with many other aspects of social media, in some instances it’s who shouts the loudest that gets the most attention. Influencers often purely appeal to the voyeuristic and nosy side of our fascination in property, while in some cases they do offer practical and sensible advise. It’s important to drill down to find out whether any advice given is independent and unbiased or it is being skewed by financial incentives and associations.

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P&H: Has the new Building Safety Bill done anything to help landlords? MR: It’s still early days, but the Building Safety Bill is trying to set out a clear chain of responsibility for the safety of existing and future buildings and that has to be important to everybody concerned - from leaseholders and landlords to tenants and owner occupiers. The more pressing question is how to address the historical issues regarding previously built accommodation, such as high rise flats, that doesn’t meet new standards, and I think most would agree that this is a terrible situation which does need all parties work together towards finding an urgent solution.

IMAGES: Dreamstime, Martin Roberts

P&H: What should the government be doing to support the property market? MR: I think the introduction of the Stamp Duty holiday was fuelled by fears of a possible significant down-turn in the property market as a result of lockdown and general world uncertainty. Ironically, it helped to boost the property boom that we’ve seen over the past year. The government probably feels it’s done enough now to support this sector of the economy. However, there remains a massive shortage of affordable homes for people to buy and there are lots of ways to encourage the development of these without encroaching on green belt land or sensitive development areas. There is a huge amount of what’s known as ‘brown field land’ available for development - that’s land that has been previously built on such as old industrial areas, that could be fast tracked for use as prime development land. I think the relaxation of planning for development on these generally uncontentious plots should be a priority, and that only when they have been exhausted should we look at developing on any currently undeveloped plots - especially those in the aforementioned sensitive areas. P&H: What can we do to make our properties more eco-friendly? MR: Simple steps such as making sure that all the lighting is LED can make a massive difference. Similarly, don’t forget basic insulation. In terms of cost versus reward, nothing comes close. Simple, extensive loft insulation for instance, will cost very little, yet deliver huge differences in

“Simple steps such as making sure that all the lighting is LED can make a massive difference”

terms of heat loss in a house. Likewise turning down the central heating by a few degrees or the thermostatic valves on the radiators down by one number will make significant savings over time. New boilers are considerably more fuel efficient than their older counterparts and will pay for themselves in a relatively short period. More elaborate initiatives such as ground or air source heat pumps, solar power or water warming, specialist boilers and exterior insulation will all make a difference and will probably become requirements for new build houses. But in terms of cost per saving don’t forget the basics, as a few small changes will make a difference.   Property & Home  13

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P&H: What are some of the worst DIY disasters you have seen? MR: Any time people embark on projects which are clearly outside their comfort zone or expertise, there is the potential for a DIY disaster.

“Even a simple thing such as putting up a shelf can result in fairly disastrous consequences if you don’t know what’s behind the wall that you’re drilling or screwing your support structure into”

For more information about Martin’s property education course visit For general information visit: For more on Martin’s charity visit Martin’s YouTube channel is called Martin Roberts Property Titbits

IMAGES: Dreamstime, Martin Roberts

P&H: What are some of the most bizarre properties or unlikely development plans you have seen? MR: I once visited a house that was built underground into a hillside in Dorset. It reminded me of a Teletubbies’ house and although a bit dark, it was probably very energy efficient. It was bought by somebody who was going to turn the whole of the hillside into a lily farm - which I though was really rather marvellous. One of the most ambitious and unusual projects we’ve ever featured on Homes Under The Hammer was a Martello tower on a beach around Hastings. These defensive fortifications were built in Napoleonic times and look like an enormous version of the kind of sand castle that would be created by a children’s seaside bucket, with solid stone walls around 8 feet thick. One was sold at auction and bought by an architect who planned to add a 360 degree circular glass extension on the roof to create a beaconlike dwelling. But since these Martello towers are classed as ancient monuments (akin to Stonehenge), the last I heard he was still having a bit of a squabble with the planners!

At its most serious level, fiddling with gas or electricals unless you are suitably qualified can have fatal results. Undertaking major structural work, such as removing internal walls, without having a suitably qualified person to assess the structural impact - such as a structural engineer or builder, can result in a very bad day at the office. I’ve seen people remove fireplaces and the chimney breast without taking out the chimney stack or the chimney breast in the rooms above - with the result that the chimney stack loses structural integrity and eventually makes its way rather dramatically into the front garden. Even a simple thing such as putting up a shelf can result in fairly disastrous consequences if you don’t know what’s behind the wall that you’re drilling or screwing your support structure into. A £20 stud, pipe and electric cable finder could save thousands of pounds worth of damage if you hit a gas or water pipe or electric cable. The moral is - don’t undertake anything you’re not fully confident of doing, and think twice before cutting, nailing, drilling or sledgehammering anything! ■

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Essential property products and news, from legislation and regulation to building developments and market trends

Net Zero

A housing expert has warned that we are losing social housing faster than we’re building it. Speaking at the House of Lords Built Environment Committee, Toby Lloyd said that more social housing should be built and stressed that people value its security of tenure over the unpredictability of the private sector. He said “Average house prices are eight times average household income so we need non-market homes. We are losing 17,000 homes a year through Right to Buy and redevelopments.”

Building Safer

At the second reading of the government’s Building Safety Bill, Secretary of State for Housing Robert Jenrick produced a new ministerial statement with some major announcements regarding safety certificate exemptions for buildings under 18m. But though campaigners on the cladding scandal, prompted by the 2017 fire in Grenfell Tower, west London, in which 72 died, cautiously welcomed the statement, they expressed concerns that there were many issues still to be resolved. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has issued guidance, based on consultations with the public and independent expert advice, which will inform a decision about the future of the remains of the Tower. The full decision will be published later this summer.



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Landlords Holding On

Research suggests that despite changes to Stamp Duty, tax relief, and potentially Capital Gains Tax, UK landlords remain undeterred where their investment intentions are concerned. The research by buy-to-let specialist Sequre found that just 10 percent have sold part of their portfolio in the last five years, and just 19 percent plan to do so in the next five years, citing tenant issues as the main reason.

Pay to View?

Lustworthy Listings

A finance website is taking buyers inside the doors of the country’s most expensive residential properties with its Lustworthy Listings Explorer. offers a look at ‘the fanciest pads, all updated in real time, with properties searchable by postcode. At launch, properties ranged from a £77.5m eight-bed terrace in Belgrave Sqaure, London SW1, to a £3m six-bed property in Solihull.

A new service for estate agents, ViewRabbit, proposes to charge potential buyers £30 or more to book a house viewing. The idea is to avoid time-wasting cancellations. But some industry insiders are dubious, one commenting “No buyer or tenant will pay money to see a property”, and others questioning the scheme’s legality under the Tenant Fees Act 2019.

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Property Virtual Visits

IMAGES: Dreamstime,, knight Frank, ViewRabbit, MadeSnappy, Generation Home, SEHBAC, Retirement Villages

According to virtual tour software developer Made Snappy, there has been a 600 percent increase in demand for 360-degree property tours, with virtual tours now used for seven percent of UK lets and 14 percent of sales, based on its analysis of Rightmove data. supplies proprietary software to create virtual tours and advises on suitable cameras, support equipment and IT kit, which it says can be put together on a relatively modest budget from around £350.

Installation Cancellations

A survey by the British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Installation (BIKBBI) says that needless cancellations due to the coronavirus ‘pingdemic’ have already cost kitchen, bedroom and bathroom installers millions of pounds and sown the seeds for months of disruption for consumers and industry. A survey of over 5000 members found that 47 percent have had to cancel jobs due to customers or installers being ‘pinged’ by NHS Covid app. BIKBBI is calling for vaccinated installers to be added to the exempt list.

The property market is said to be on a high, but the pandemic is still causing problems for estate agents, installers and savers



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We all age. The challenge is to age well. That means having positive, meaningful choices for how and where we live. Retirement Villages communities promote independent, active lives, with the freedom to enjoy the things that matter to you most.

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Ready to rent your property? Being a landlord can be hugely rewarding, but whether you are new to the industry or have years of experience, increasing legal obligations and an ever-changing legislative landscape mean it is vital you stay ahead of the game. This is where the National Residential Landlords Association (NLRA) comes in. Representing more than 90,000 members, the association places your needs at the heart of its business and is a one stop shop for all things letting, from expert advice and support to education and training, as well as representation at the very highest level. Set up by landlords, for landlords, services are tailored to your needs whether you have one property or 100 and include access to an expert team of advisers offering practical step-by-step advice whatever the lettings issue. For those considering dipping a toe into the rental market, here’s what you should be asking yourself. Who do you want to let to? Who is your ideal tenant? Families, young professionals, students? All will have different needs and will be looking for different types of properties. Or if you are yet to invest, what type of homes are in demand in your local area? Doing your homework at this early stage should make it easier when it comes to marketing and letting your rental. The NRLA offers courses for landlords starting out in the business – from the type of property to invest in, to the ins and outs of setting up a tenancy. How do I set up a letting? Before putting up the ‘to let’ sign you need to make sure you know your responsibilities. Do you have the right mortgage? Suitable insurance? Does your local authority require you to have a licence? You also need to ensure the relevant safety checks have been made – and documented – consider how you will protect the tenant’s deposit and what will be the most appropriate tenancy agreement. The NRLA has a comprehensive suite of documents, guides and tenancy agreements available to download for free to ensure you get it right from the start. Why should I join the NRLA? The lettings business is fast-moving. The rate of change can be overwhelming for even the most dedicated of landlords and the penalties for getting things wrong are high. Membership of the NRLA brings with it the peace of mind that all the information you need to run a successful and compliant business is right there at your fingertips. So, what are you waiting for? Come and join us today. To learn more visit

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JOIN THE NRLA The Home For Landlords The UK’s largest landlord association with over 90,000 members and rated 4.8 stars on Trustpilot.

What members get: • Expert telephone advice - someone with all the facts, always at hand. • 130+ documents and guides - the forms you’ll need and knowledge you’ll benefit from for all situations. • Free tenancy agreements - ensuring you start each tenancy on the right foot. • Discounted training - keeping you up to date and highly skilled. • Campaigning - getting your voice heard and interests represented in government. • 10% off at TradePoint (B&Q) - a huge discount to help out with all your building and renovation projects. • Free eLearning course - take our “Becoming a Landlord” course at no extra cost.



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Safe and Sure

If you are in the property rental business, don’t forget that landlord insurance is an essential tool of the trade.


Landlord insurance is vital whether you have a small or large portfolio

Liability Landlord insurance will usually have an accidental damage element, but another essential element of landlord insurance is Landlord Liability, which provides cover should a tenant suffer an injury such as a fall on your property. You should also have a separate Fire insurance element. Other optional elements of landlord insurance could include a legal expenses element and a Rent Guarantee, which would help you should you have to evict a tenant or claim unpaid back rent. A landlord insurance specialist will help you to calculate the rebuilding cost of a property (which isn’t necessarily the same as the market value, as it would include costs such as clearance, materials, labour and legal fees). If you aren’t sure which insurer to go with, a specialist insurance broker will help you find the right deal, and will often be in a position to get you a discount. ■


Get advice on insurance and other landlord issues from the National Residential Landlords Association, the UK’s largest membership organisation for private residential landlords, supporting and representing over 90,000 members. The association was created from the merger of the RLA and NLA in April 2020.

IMAGES: Dreamstime

ost of us will have property and contents insurance for the place we live – it only makes sense to be covered in case of accident. But what if you are letting a property to a tenant? The same policies will not cover you – you need specialist landlord insurance. Whether you have only one rental property or a number, landlord insurance will cover not only your buildings, but also their contents, and importantly, both your legal liabilities as a landlord and the possibility of losing rental income should the property become unsuitable for rental. Inevitably you’ll find it is more expensive than domestic insurance, but it’s an unavoidable necessity. You can start off by insuring a single property, but as your portfolio grows, it’s possible to add further properties, or to combine them under a block policy. From a specialist you should be able to get cover for all sorts of properties, whether single flats or blocks, single houses or HMOs. You can even get cover for empty properties or those undergoing renovation. Standard landlord insurance policies will include a provision for ‘loss of rent’ or ‘alternative accommodation’ costs, should your tenants have to move out due to some problem with the building. You can also get Rent Guarantee cover, which applies if for any reason your tenants fail to pay their rent.

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Residential Landlord Insurance Covers included: Buildings Contents Loss of rental income Alternative accommodation Property owners’ liability Employers’ liability Legal expenses Rent guarantee

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First Step

on the Ladder

wenty years ago, it was easy to get a mortgage – lenders were throwing money around, often willing to lend more than a property was worth. We all know how that worked out – the financial crash of the 2000s was largely down to the collapse of the market in ‘sub-prime’ mortgage lending. Now, we’re back in a more familiar situation, where most people, particularly first-time buyers, have to scrimp and save to raise a deposit, then struggle to convince a lender that they are worth the risk of a loan. Though it can be struggle, the bigger the deposit, the easier you will find it to get a mortgage, and the better the interest rate you might be offered. Your savings over a 25-year repayment period can be massive if you can just get the rate down a fraction. For many people, although they know that it’s lost money, the only solution is to carry on paying rent until they can raise enough money to buy. The important part is to keep control of your finances and to make sure that you can afford to pay a mortgage once you take one out. Better to delay buying, than to fail to keep up repayments and have your property repossessed.

Criteria You may be eligible for a shared ownership scheme depending on your location and whether you are a key worker. Schemes are usually run by housing associations, and borrowers typically buy a share of a property worth between 25 percent and 75 percent, paying rent on the rest. As you can afford it, you increase your share of the property. Though the Help to Buy ISA is now closed to new applicants, there is still the Help to Buy scheme for first-time buyers of new builds. You need a five percent deposit and must satisfy certain criteria, then the government will give you a loan of 20 percent of the purchase price, interest-free for five years. Find out more at There are also lenders offering novel routes to ownership such as Generation Home, a residential mortgage lender aimed at helping first-time buyers and home movers. On a mission to “make everyone a homeowner”, they offer unique Income Booster and Deposit Booster features to give people more options to get onto the property ladder. Find out more at ■

IMAGES: Dreamstime


The world of mortgages has changed a lot in the last 20 years – what do you need to know to navigate this complex market?

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Mortgages by

We’re with you every step of the way

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25/05/2021 14:55


Bridging the Gap

A bridging loan could be the solution to your property buying problems – but how do they work and can you afford one?

Bridging loans - get you where you want to go, quickly

specialist to find a suitable lender for this sort of bridging loan. A specialist bridging lender will be used to the idea of having to work quickly, and will normally be able to complete an arrangement within a few days. For most clients, speed will be the essential element, but the other main consideration will of course be cost. Make sure that the bridging loan lender you are considering is transparent as regards repayment structure, costs and the time involved.

Specialist Bridging loans are normally priced monthly rather than annually, because people tend to take them out for a short period, and of course they are relatively expensive; typical fees could be around 0.5 percent and 1.5 percent per month, or 6.1 percent and 19.6 percent APR – much more than a conventional mortgage. There will also be a setup fee to take into consideration, usually around two percent of the loan you want to take out - so it’s essential that you know before you go into a bridging loan arrangement, when you will be able to pay it off. From there it’s just a short hop to your dream property! ■

IMAGES: Dreamstime


bridging loan is one which tides you over for a short period, as opposed to a long-term loan like a mortgage. The common circumstance in which a bridging loan is needed is when you are buying a property, but haven’t yet sold another property or asset on which you are relying for funds. So the bridging loan may be for a large amount, but it will be for a short term. Once you have realised the value of your other assets, you repay the bridging loan. Of course, this facility is not going to be much help unless it can be organised quickly, so a bridging loan should be capable of being put in place much faster than a mortgage. In this way problems caused by property ‘chains’ can often be avoided. There are two main types of bridging loans, regulated and unregulated. The regulated type is monitored by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) and is usually extended to homeowners. The unregulated type is normally used by intermediaries, property investors and property developers to secure an investment or buy-to-let property or commercial real estate, and as such is not covered by the FCA, so you will need to consult an experienced 26  Property & Home

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Doing It By the Numbers

About the Author

Philip Gambrill FCCA is senior partner at PG Lemon LLP Chartered Certified Accountants in London and Kent. The practice advises many landlords on all aspects of property related tax. Call 020 7247 1922, email or visit

IMAGES: Dreamstime, PG Lemon LLP

The property business needs a good head for figures, so you’ll need professional help to make the numbers add up. Philip Gambrill FCCA answers our questions

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P&H: What accounting records am I required to keep in respect of my rental business? PG: At present, even if you own the properties personally rather than through a company, it is necessary to maintain records to support the income and expenditure recorded on your tax return, including bank statements, copies of invoices for expenses and mortgage statements to show the interest paid. Also it is important to retain completion statements for the purchase and sale of properties, together with associated costs such as solicitors, estate agents, etc. If you make improvements to the property such as extensions, then the details should be retained to support these costs when calculating the gain when selling the property. Going forward, form 6th April 2023, all selfemployed business and landlords with annual property income over £10,000 will need to follow the rules for Making Tax Digital (MTD) for Income Tax. This will basically involve maintain the accounting records in a digital format (with the use of computerised software) and sending information to HMRC on a regular basis. P&H: I wanted to give one of my rental properties to my children, is there anything I need to be aware of? PG: Often landlords may wish to give one or their properties to their children, perhaps to help their children onto the property ladder, to provide them with an income or to reduce their estate for Inheritance Tax. Whilst Capital Gains is normally charged on the difference between what you receive on the disposal of a property and the original cost, when this is to a connected person (which includes close family) there are different rules. In these cases the market value of the property at the date of the gift is used to calculate the capital gain rather than any proceeds received. This can mean that there can be a capital gains tax liability even if no proceeds are received by the parent. In this situation, it may be that the children take out a loan on the property to pay their parents the tax charge, so the parents are not ‘out of pocket’. Care needs to be taken when gifting properties to children to first check if they have a significant gain. If the property is owned solely

by one parent, then this could be transferred into joint names with the spouse before the gift, so both parents can use their annual exemption. The capital gains tax will need to be reported and paid within 30 days of the gift as with other disposals. Not forgetting that property gains reported online to HMRC must also be included on the annual self-assessment tax return For landlords with larger portfolios, the use of companies or family Limited Liability Partnerships can be used to reduce the tax costs of a passing properties to children. P&H: I own a number of rental properties and have recently seen my tax bill significantly increase due to the reduction in tax relief on mortgage interest, is there anything I can do in relation to this? PG: The recent changes mean that mortgage interest is now a basic rate tax reducer, meaning that only 20 percent tax relief is allowed on the mortgage interest paid. This has significantly increased the tax liability for higher rate tax payers, who previously got 40/45 percent tax relief on the mortgage interest. This can lead to a large tax liability even when there is a small profit when mortgage interest is the main expense. If the properties are owned individually, and the owner spouse is not utilising their basic rate band (currently £50,000) then it is possible to transfer some of the ownership and profits to the spouse to reduce the tax liability. This needs to be correctly documented and HMRC informed of the change of ownership to be effective. For larger portfolios which could be classed as a ‘business’ it may be possible to transfer these to a company which may be more tax efficient, although there are a number of points to consider with this option.

“The recent changes mean that mortgage interest is now a basic rate tax reducer, meaning that only 20 percent tax relief is allowed on the mortgage interest paid. This has significantly increased the tax liability for higher rate tax payers, who previously got 40/45 percent tax relief on the mortgage interest. This can lead to a large tax liability even when there is a small profit when mortgage interest is the main expense.”

P&H: Can I claim the 130% super-deduction for leased assets included in a tenancy? PG: Leased assets were initially excluded from both the super deduction and the 50% first year allowance much to the annoyance of landlords leasing property to tenants. However, amendments to the Finance Bill now allows plant and machinery in leased buildings to qualify for both enhanced reliefs. ■   Property & Home  29

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Manage, Track & Optimise Your Property Investments

Scan Me

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02/07/2021 14:17


Technology comes to the aid of the beginner or experienced landlord

Track and Trace

Managing a property portfolio can be a financial challenge unless you have the right tools to deal with it

IMAGES: Dreamstime


f you are the landlord of a single property, you may well be able to manage all your expenses with a spreadsheet – but once your portfolio starts to grow, you’ll soon find yourself drowning in data. Unless you’re both a data wrangling expert, a legal eagle and a financial wizard, you’ll need the help of a property performance tracking app. The advantage of an app is that it will keep track of information you enter, while also reminding you about things you’ve forgotten. For instance, once you have entered the purchase price, purchase date and current value of a property, an app will help you track the appreciation in value over time. Against that, of course, you have to measure the cost of the mortgage, changing interest rates, and factors like early redemption fees, expiry date of the original rate, the reversion rate and so on. All these are vital factors in keeping track of your equity. Another factor in managing your portfolio is of course your renters, and managing factors such as rental payments, management fees, occupancy levels, service charges and ground rents will also help you to calculate the value of your investment.

COMPLIANCE But there’s another level of management other than financial that an app can help you with, and that’s legal compliance. A well designed app will keep you informed of regulations such as EPC (Energy performance Certificate), EICR (Electrical installation Condition Report), gas safety certificates and so on. Managing these renewals and your HMO license in a timely way can avoid nasty fines. Using an app to do all this will allow you to tap into the knowledge base of experts rather than relying on your own experience; it will also help you to keep historical records, which is hard to do with a spreadsheet. And a course an app, which can be run on a smartphone or tablet, it much more convenient to use on the move than a spreadsheet which usually runs on a desktop computer. For the more advanced user, look for functions such as a deal analyser for rental or refurbishment projects, property location information, advanced data encryption and so on. You can even integrate the app with your bank accounts so you have financial details at your fingertips at all times, though this may incur a premium charge. ■

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10/08/2021 10:20


Law and Order

Solicitors are part of almost every property transaction – but why are they so vital? Charles Knapper LL.B answers our questions

About the Author

Charles Knapper has 23 years of legal experience and is the senior partner and solicitor of Fursdon Knapper solicitors, a niche law firm in the South West covering all aspects of law including property, disputes, family and children’s law, wills and probate. Call 01752 309090 or see the website at

P&H: Can I decide to pull out of a sale or purchase? CK: Unlike in Scotland where the contract is made as soon as the offer is accepted, in England and Wales when the offer is accepted it is on a “subject to contract basis”. This means that until the contract containing all of the terms which have been signed by the buyer and the seller are exchanged, the buyer or the seller can pull out of the transaction. This why we refer to exchanging contracts as being an important part of the process. This can lead to situations in a strong sales market where the seller can pull out of the sale because the seller has received a higher or more attractive offer leaving the original buyer with no contact and a bill from his or her solicitor for the work that has been done. This is often called gazumping. It also means that if the buyer discovers that there is a reason why he or she no longer wants to buy the property, the buyer can pull out without incurring a penalty. Once however contracts are exchanged the buyer and the seller are locked into a contract to complete the transaction and if one party decides not to go ahead there are substantial penalties especially for a buyer who will have paid a 10 percent deposit when the contracts were exchanged.

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IMAGES: Dreamstime, Fursdon Knapper

P&H: I am buying a flat - why can’t it be freehold instead of leasehold? CK: It is very unusual for a flat to be freehold, because one flat freeholder would not be able to enforce the covenants and in particular the maintenance provisions against the other flat owners for the building and common parts. Where the flat is leasehold, there is a contract binding all of the leaseholders and the freeholder, which means that they must comply with the covenants for maintenance and other financial responsibilities such as insuring the building. This is not to be confused with owning a share of the freehold. In a small development of flats, often the leaseholders will acquire the freehold or the freehold is transferred to a company in which the leaseholders are members or shareholders. This then allows the leaseholders to decide on the future of their building and their flats and this makes the lease a highly attractive purchase. Because of the difficulty enforcing the maintenance provisions for the building, lenders do not generally lend on freehold flats. This means that you are unlikely to get a mortgage and when you come to sell the flat the number of potential buyers will be very limited. On the other hand a lender will lend on a leasehold property even if you have a share in the freehold interest. This is because you wear two hats. one as a leaseholder and the other as the freeholder. This is because the freehold company in which you have an interest can enforce the covenants on the other leaseholders and of course it is the leaseholders who are controlling the company.

P&H: I am buying a leasehold property with a ground rent above £250 a year - is this a problem? CK: Potentially this is a big problem, and more and more lenders are not prepared to lend money if there is a ground rent above £250.00 per year, or the lease allows for increases that would take the ground rent above this figure. Any Ground Rent between £250.00 and £100,000.00 per year means that the lease is also something called an Assured Tenancy. This means that if the leasehold does not pay the ground rent, it is much easier for the freeholder to take back possession of the premises. This means that a freeholder could go to court and simply prove that the ground rent was due when the notice was served and at the date of the hearing and the property would be lost to the freeholder. One solution to this is to ask the freeholder to vary the lease to confirm that the freeholder will not seek possession on the basis that the lease has created an Assured Tenancy under any of the grounds set out in Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1988. I should add that Parliament is very concerned about this and it was certainly not the intention of Parliament to create this loophole when the Housing Act 1998 was enacted. Robert Jenrick MP has made clear that new legislation in the spring of 2022 will prevent new leases from having ground rents at all, and old leases will eventually see these ground rents phased out. In the meantime if there is a ground rent over £250 in the lease and the freeholder will not agree to vary the lease, you should be very wary when considering buying a lease with this provision. ■

“Any Ground Rent between £250.00 and £100,000.00 per year means that the lease is also something called an Assured Tenancy. This means that if the leasehold does not pay the ground rent, it is much easier for the freeholder to take back possession of the premises.”   Property & Home  33

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Owning the Auction Room

With Martin Roberts

It’s easy to get carried away at a property auction – follow Martin’s tips to dominate the room and come away with a win


uying at auction can be a great way to find a property, whether it’s to live in yourself, to renovate and ‘flip’ at a profit, or for buy-to-rent. But it’s also easy to make a mistake if you don’t do your research and know the tricks. Our celebrity guest editor Martin Roberts passes on some of his essential auction tips. “As a property buyer there are all sorts of tips you need to know – for instance there are some great incentives and tax breaks available when converting commercial property into residential, and you should Investigate the flat conversion allowance, as well as whether you can claim VAT back on conversion costs. “Looking for a sale structured as a “Transfer of Going Concern” (a property that is being sold with a sitting tenant in place) can help reduce VAT costs, too.” “You’ll find lots of essential tips in my Making Money From Property masterclasses and seminars. You’ll learn about: hh Buy-to-let, social housing, HMO, Airbnb and more hh Investing remotely if you’re self-isolating or the best investment properties aren’t close to home hh Creative ways to finance properties hh Improving your credit rating hh Marketing, negotiation & spotting the best deals hh Creating a power team hh Mastering the mindset to achieve success Find out more at”

Legal niceties There are plenty of pitfalls in property auctions if you don’t know your onions. You should always read the legal pack with the property in great detail; it can conceal some nasty surprises such as outstanding bills you may inherit, planned works (which should be detailed in Section 20 notices), and short leases. Make sure that the lease is longer than 80 years, and that you have at least a month to complete the deal.

Property auctions can be a great way to find a bargain - if you’re prepared

Have your lawyer look over the legal pack too, and make sure you do it in plenty of time before the auction – pressure on sale day can be enough to push you into an ill-advised buy. It’s also essential to visit the property – there are things you’ll find out in person that might not be revealed in the legal pack and the floorplan, such as: hh Poor condition such as damp or dilapidation hh Illegal conversion into separate units hh Outdate electrical wiring which will need expensive replacement

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Martin Roberts says: “There are plenty of pitfalls in property auctions if you don’t know your onions!”

All these are factors which would eat into your potential profits, as will auction expenses such as: hh hh hh hh

A percentage payment to the vendor A fee payable to the auctioneers Stamp Duty Property insurance, and if you are letting, landlord insurance

Auction advice Here are a few more of Martin’s top tips for ruling the auction room.

IMAGES: Martin Roberts; Shutterstock


Stick with your budget.

Have a top figure in mind and don’t go over it. It’s often wise to ignore the first few auctions, which will go over list price as the over-enthusiastic amateurs jump in! Guide prices often turn out to be low – this is often done to promote interest.


Be prepared to walk.

You don’t have to buy at the first auction you go to – be prepared to leave without buying. There will always be another auction. Around 28 percent of properties don’t sell at auction, so this could work to your advantage if you go back the following day and make an offer.


Arrange your finance

You should have visited your mortgage lender before you buy, to discuss the property and arrange your finance. If you don’t have funds immediately you can arrange a bridging loan after you buy, but this is expensive and you will often have to pay a deposit of around 10 percent immediately, so make sure you take your credit card to the auction. Online bidding often requires you to register a deposit in advance.


Know the rules

Remember that once you have put in a winning bid at an auction you are obliged to buy without signing any contract. If you back out, you may lose a deposit, and the seller may sue you for any losses, particularly if they are then forced to sell for a lower amount.


OBSERVE the field

Property auctions are no longer exclusively the province of small-timers. The popularity of TV shows such as Homes Under the Hammer has made them a stamping ground for experienced developers. If you attend auctions regularly you’ll start to see some familiar faces. Be prepared to learn from what they buy or pass on - there’s always something valuable to learn on your journey to become a property master! ■   Property & Home  35

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Home Health

Is there such a thing as a sick building? A recent report says that poor housing contributed to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic


recent report by the Health Foundation ( concludes that overcrowded housing increased a person’s odds of a positive COVID-19 test by nine percent. Adam Tinson from the Health Foundation says that the pandemic has brought the UK’s housing problems to the fore, highlighting how good-quality housing can support good health and how poor housing can increase the risk of exposure to COVID-19. The report says that before the pandemic, almost one in three – or 7.6 million – households in England had at least one major housing problem, such as overcrowding, affordability or poorquality housing. Overcrowding in the private and social rented sectors in England was the highest in the past 25 years, at seven percent and nine percent respectively. Even before the pandemic, studies show that a girl born in the poorest areas of England expected to live 19 fewer years in good health than a girl born in the richest areas – because, as the report concludes, good-quality housing is a key ingredient for a healthy life.


IMAGES: Dreamstime

Many of the conditions caused by poor housing, such as respiratory and cardiovascular diseases through damp and mould, are

preventable. Less visible are the mental health issues caused by poor housing. “The ‘stay at home’ order had a greater impact on the health of those living in unsuitable housing” says the Health Foundation report. Those living in households of nine or more residents accounted for five times more deaths from coronavirus than single-occupant households, and women aged over 65 living with children were 1.2 times more likely to die than those living solely with another adult. Renters were shown to be more than twice as likely as those with mortgages to have lost their jobs during the pandemic, and young people were less likely to report that they had access to adequate space such as sufficient indoor space, a garden, balcony or terrace and public green space. The Health Foundation calls for a fairer recovery, one that reaches all parts of society and tackles the UK’s housing problems. It concludes: “The pandemic must serve as a crucial moment to reflect on how good housing conditions influence long-term health. The government must recognise the links between health and housing, with long-term investment to provide more affordable and high-quality housing, with improved living spaces and stability so that everyone can flourish.” ■

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10/08/2021 11:36


Shop ‘Til You Drop

Is converting a retail property into a home a good idea – or is it likely to result in sub-standard housing?


ne proposed solution to the country’s chronic housing shortage is to convert empty commercial properties such as High Street shops into residential properties. But is this a good idea? Will it just hasten the death of the High Street and result in a flood of sub-standard housing? Research by the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) and University College London (UCL) has found that found that 80.3 percent of shops and commercial premises, including restaurants, cafes, offices and gyms, will fall under the government’s new Permitted Development Rights rules, under which developers can convert certain types of buildings into homes without gaining full planning permission. In August the rules were expanded to cover the vast majority of commercial premises on High Streets, as well as light industrial units.

IMAGES: Dreamstime

Amenities The study by the TCPA focused on four case study areas – Barnet, Crawley, Huntingdonshire, and Leicester – and reported that the percentage of properties that could be converted to homes was as high as 89 percent in Barnet, compared with 77 percent in Leicester and Crawley and 75 percent in Huntingdonshire. Fiona Howie, chief executive of the TCPA, said: “We recognise the

need for more homes and the desire to regenerate High Streets. But we need new homes to be high quality and for town centres to be able to provide a mixture of services and amenity space. “This latest expansion of PDR further reduces the ability of local authorities and communities to shape their local areas. This is not the right approach if government really wants to ‘build back better’ and to revitalise our High Streets.”

Dangerous Insurer Zurich also sounded a note of warning, saying that the further expansion of PDR could create “a swathe of sub-standard homes that are vulnerable to climate change”. A 2019 report by the Climate Change Committee found that one in five homes in England is also prone to dangerous overheating during heatwaves. More than 64,000 new homes have been created in the last five years as part of “office-to-resi” conversions, and it’s feared that these conversions are particularly vulnerable to overheating due to poor design or residential purposes such as a lack of ventilation and shading. Criticism of the expansion of PDR has also come from MPs sitting on the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee, which recently called for a review of the rules. ■   Property & Home  39

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Herschel panels directly warms the walls and floor of the room which absorb and retain the heat, providing higher comfort levels. This is more efficient than heating volumes of air in the room and saves energy. Infrared is considered by many to be a more healthy form of heating by reducing dust circulation and helping to eliminate damp. It’s a fresher, non-stuffy feeling of heat, a more natural form of heating.

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13/07/2021 11:00


Short and Sweet?

Short-term letting is an attractive option for some property owners, but it’s important to understand the pros and cons


he revolution in short-term letting led by online services such as Airbnb has widely changed perceptions of short lets. For customers, to stay in a private property can often offer a more personal and comfortable experience than a serviced apartment or hotel. But the demand for short lets comes from a far broader spectrum than just tourists looking to live the life of a local. The lettings departments of most major estate agencies deal with short lets ranging from a few weeks to six months (the maximum



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length for a short let) and they see demand among relocating corporate tenants, people who are researching an area before committing to buying, contract workers looking for accommodation, and homeowners who are looking for alternative accommodation while work is being done to their property.

LANDLORDS For landlords, short lets open up a potentially lucrative market as they can command around 30pc higher rates than long-term rentals.

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Martin’s Tips Before you consider short-term letting, make sure you know the local regulations. Some areas such as London will limit the number of days in the year you can let the property, perhaps to 90 days. The good news is that you don’t pay tax on income you earn from the short-term rental, so long as you rent out the property for no more than 14 days during the year and use the vacation house yourself 14 days or more during the year, or at least 10% of the total days you rent it to others.

addition to specialist buildings and contents cover, liability insurance – for injury or damage – and loss of income, in the event of a fire or a burst pipe, for example, are recommended.


Short lets can be profitable if you know the possible pitfalls

According to recent statistics, short-term lets can earn homeowners 60% higher profits than long-term lets. A property that earns £1,000 as a long-term let could earn three times that amount as a short-term let. You just have to look at nightly rates on platforms like Airbnb to see that there’s big money to be made. If you’re a people-person who enjoys meeting travellers from around the world, you are more likely to see the benefits of renting your place out as a short-term let. It will allow you to get to know a range of interesting guests and share experiences with them that could truly enhance your life. The beauty of short-term lets is that as the property owner, you have control over when and for how long you want to rent out your space. If your situation changes for some reason, you can take the listing down or move into the property yourself. If you want to use your property for a family holiday over the summer, you can block out those days in your calendar. This kind of flexibility is not possible if you rent it out as a long-term let.

IMAGES: Dreamstime

RATINGS Short lets also offer greater flexibility to extend tenancy contracts weekly or monthly at the landlord’s discretion. First, however, landlords need to know whether they can rent out their property short-term. Some councils insist on a three-month minimum rental term, while some properties may have a 90-day limit per year. With leasehold properties, the building’s freeholder may seek to restrict short lets in the building – either through covenants in the lease, or by demanding additional admin and a fee per sublet – to minimise the noise and disruption for other residents. Potential letters should also check that the property is adequately insured for short lets. An off-the-shelf home-and-contents policy is unlikely to provide sufficient cover for the additional risks. In

There is of course a downside to renting out your place as a short let. You will need to be available to meet guests and respond to their messages 24-hours a day, and respond to emails and questions from guests. Inability to reply promptly can damage your ratings and visibility on lettings sites. Then there’s the constant cleaning. Having new guests arrive each week means lots of dusting, vacuuming, and washing towels and bed linen. If you’re not that way inclined you can pay professionals to do this, but be aware of the cost implications. You also have to invest time and effort in publicising your let, then there’s the major question of how happy you are to let complete strangers into your property – unlike a long-term let, you don’t get much chance to screen them. ■

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Getting started with short term rentals Earn income from your properties with UnderTheDoormat If you’re thinking about how to earn income from your properties, short and mid term lets is a great way to maximise revenue and maintain flexibility. The great news is, you don’t have to do any of the hard work to find or manage suitable guests. Professional companies like UnderTheDoormat specialise in short term rentals and bring a new level of service and standards to this fast-growing industry. We will market your home, then find and vet guests to stay in your property from as little as three days to several months. Whether you choose to go the fully managed route or do everything yourself, make sure you think about the following:

1 Where is my property being listed? You will get a better occupancy rate, and therefore better income if you’re visible on more than one platform. There are dozens of websites, with some companies having access to more exclusive channels (like Homes & Villas by Marriott International).

2 Looking after your guests Guest reviews are arguably the most important driver for bookings. A clean, tidy and welcoming home is very important in a post Covid world. It’s better to welcome guests in person if you can. This not only makes your guests feel at ease, but also gives peace of mind knowing who is in your home.

3 Insurance Most home insurance does not cover short term rentals, so you would need to take additional cover or use a company that has quality insurance, just in case.

As featured by:

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UnderTheDoormat is an award-winning, professional short lets company, working with individual homeowners as well as portfolio managers, property developers and estate agents to operate in the short-let industry. We fully manage and market your properties on an exclusive combination of more than 40 booking platforms, take care of the complexity of daily dynamic pricing as well as the demands of guest enquiry management. All your guests go through our vetting processes, with all IDs verified in person. We can even manage the end to end operations, so you’ll return to your property even cleaner than you left it!

Why work with us? Marketing across an exclusive combination of 40+ platforms

Simple, flexible calendar management

Market-leading insurance

Peace of Mind Pledge to our homeowners

For fully managed London properties:

For nationwide portfolio owners:

0207 952 1650

0207 952 1650

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Essential home products and news, from heating, lighting and security to your bathroom and toolkit 1 Sound the Alarm

Wild Washing

We’re not sure to make of reports that outdoor bathing is the new trend. According to online bathroom retailer Plumbworld, “We’ve seen huge growth in 2021 with website searches for outdoor bathing increased by 200% in the last few months as people think about ways to enjoy their garden.” Hot water can be installed easily next to or near an existing exterior tap or on any wall that has a cloakroom, bathroom or kitchen on the other side. Just make sure you remember to take a towel outside with you.

Replace Your Smoke Alarms

A new study from the Building Research Establishment (BRE) says that most false alarms from smoke alarms are caused by a build-up of dust and dirt, and that false alarms can create a dangerous sense of complacency. BRE said it was “therefore calling on consumers to regularly check their smoke alarms, including the date of manufacture, to ensure they are fully functional, responsive, and within the recommended replacement period. This is a step that people can take themselves to make sure they are safe within their homes.” There’s currently no mandatory replacement period for smoke alarms, but the BRE recommendation is 12 years unless manufacturers recommend otherwise, and it’s likely that this will be implemented in UK codes in due course. Many smoke alarms have a replace-by date printed on them so this is worth checking. Depending on the manufacturer even wired alarms can be easy to change - Aico, the market leader in fire an carbon monoxide detection, offers new alarms which fit an existing base, so they can be changed without need for an electrician.

Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera with Siren sends users smart alerts as it can distinguish between people, animals, cars and harmless movement. Alert-Zones feature allows users to choose the zones they wish to monitor. No False alerts and users can deter intruders with a 105-dB alarm! Without any subscription fees, the Smart Camera is compatible with Apple Homekit, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.


2 2 Breathe Easy Take care of the pollutants that sneak into your home with Philips Air Purifier 3000i. Philips smart air quality sensor scans the indoor air 1000 times per second to detect and remove ultrafine particles, dust, pollen, gases, bacteria and viruses. It purifies quickly and effectively, thanks to its clean air delivery rate (CADR) of 520m3/h.


3 Light in Darkness Amtech’s award-winning, multi-function USB rechargeable lantern has a built-in power lead and five handy functions: LED charge indicator, 100% output lantern, 50% output lantern, 100% output SOS and power bank. With a magnetic base and an integrated hanging hook, it is ideal for DIY, camping, household emergencies, auto repairs and workshop use. 48


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Home Gas Boilers Reprieved?

Plans to ban household gas boilers and replace them with hydrogen boilers or heat-pumps could be delayed by 15 years after a backlash over the cost of the new technology. In a push to reach carbon net zero by 2030, the government had proposed banning sale of gas boilers by as early as 2025 – but with new technologies currently costing as much as £14,000, an announcement has now been delayed, and experts predict the deadline may be pushed back to 2040.

Say Goodbye Halogen

Sales of halogen lightbulbs are to be banned in the UK from September, with fluorescent lights to follow as part of government climate change plans. Popular as in-ceiling lights, halogens are wasteful of power, and it’s been estimated that getting rid of them will cut 1.26 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year while delivering energy savings to consumers. Replacing them with LED bulbs may require conversion of existing step-down transformers.

Heating is a major household expense and a crucial area for energy savings. What’s the latest in the world of warmth? 1 Fuel for Thought Calor is the UK’s leading LPG and BioLPG supplier, providing over 85 years of expertise and quality service that fuels UK off-grid homes. Home-energy options including LPG and BioLPG offer convenience and efficiency, powering your rural home while reducing your carbon footprint. With storage options including underground tanks and compact gas bottle storage, there’s a solution to fit every home.

3 2

IMAGES: Dreamstime

2 Hotly Tipped The Xclusive is the top-of-the-range boiler from Dutch manufacturer Intergas. Boasting a range of smart features including compatibility with the ComfortTouch smartphone app, and the lowest NOx emissions on the market, this boiler will look after you, your family and the environment for years to come. It’s time to go Dutch.

3 Hot Towels



Herschel’s towel heater adds a wow factor to bathrooms - combining the best in style, comfort and efficiency, they are an attractive, functional and economical addition to any bathroom. This stunning glass panel heats both your bathroom and towels with the beautiful feeling of radiant warmth while minimising damp and condensation.

4 The Big Heat The Electric Heating Company are one of the UK’s leading suppliers of electric heating products. Using their expert knowledge and experience, they have developed a product portfolio to accommodate almost any Central Heating and Hot Water requirement. EHC’s product knowledge and support is unrivalled in the heating and hot water industry. From Electric Radiators to Boilers, they have it all.

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Prue Leith’s kitchen is as colourful as her on-screen persona

Prue Leith’s

Colourful Kitchen

Prue Leith MBE is one of cooking’s most colourful characters – which is perhaps why her kitchen choice is equally striking


rue Leith is one of TV’s most well-known faces - a caterer and chef with a wealth of experience in the industry. A British-South African restaurateur, chef, caterer, television presenter/broadcaster, businesswoman, journalist, cookery writer and novelist, she was a judge on BBC Two’s Great British Menu for eleven years, before joining The Great British Bake Off in March 2017, replacing Mary Berry, when the television programme moved to Channel 4. The catering star, now 81, was made a Dame in the Queen’s Birthday Honours this year, for her services to food, broadcasting and charity. She’s also the ambassador for Omega kitchens, particularly highlighting its colour range at a time when many of us have found ourselves spending more time in the kitchen. Prue says: “I’ve always had a love for colour in my own style and in my home, so working with Omega to showcase the

wonderful colour range they offer is really exciting – especially having cooked in my own Omega kitchens over the past 25 years. “One of the most important points for me, is how colour can make you feel. And as we spend more time in our homes it has become more vital than ever to ensure the home is a positive space for everyone – and colour plays a huge part in that.”

Kitchen colour Having recently moved into her new home Prue is now enjoying her latest new colourful Omega kitchen. “I am really delighted with my new kitchen. It was tough to decide the final colour I must admit as there was so much choice, but the style, design and quality really all compliment it perfectly.” Prue can be seen regularly in her kitchen at home via her popular Instagram page providing cooking and baking inspiration to the nation, and over the last 12 months she has been joined by

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many more turning to the kitchen for something exciting to do. Sir Bob Murray, founder and Chairman of Omega, added: “We’re so delighted to welcome Prue onboard to endorse our unrivalled product offer. The kitchen has always been the heart of the home, and over the lockdown period its importance has only gotten bigger. With our kitchens you can be sure of not only getting a top quality, British manufactured product, there is also the added benefit of having it in a colour that suits you and your home.” The Omega range combines 22 paint colours choices with 19 door styles giving 400 painted colour and door combinations, and combined with their range of 12 cabinet colours this gives the homeowners a choice of more than 5,000 colour combinations when it comes to their kitchen, ranging from traditional neutrals and greys to darker colours such as Indigo Blue and statement colours, including the on-trend colours British Racing Green and Blush. The paint used is water-based, making the Omega offer a greener alternative to many solvent-based options on the market. Find out more on the website at www. ■

Prue’s Omega kitchen comes in a range of fabulous colours

Prue Leith’s Black Bean Chilli with Corn and Lime Salsa

IMAGES: Omega Kitchens; Bluebird Publishing

This is a really hearty, warming chilli, perfect for a cold night, from Prue’s cook book The Vegetarian Kitchen, co-written with her niece Peta Leith. Serves 4-6 Ingredients • 1 Onion • 3 garlic cloves • 1-2 green chillies • 2 tbsp olive oil plus 2tsp • 1 red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped • 1 carrot, peeled and diced • 2 celery sticks, finely diced • 1 tsp chipotle paste • 1 tsp ground cumin • 2 tsp tomato puree • 2 x 400g tins black beans • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes • 500 ml vegetable stock • Salt and black pepper to season • 100g drained tinned sweetcorn • Juice of ½ lime • ½ red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped • A small handful of coriander, finely chopped

Method • Finely chop the onion, garlic cloves and green chillies. • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion, garlic and green chillies and saute for 3-4 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent, then add the red pepper, carrot and celery. Sweat for a few minutes more, then add the chipotle paste, smoked paprika and tomato puree. • Stir to coat the vegetables evenly, then add the drained black beans, tinned tomatoes and vegetable stock. Season with salt and black pepper, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. • Remove from the heat and season to taste. • To make the salsa, mix together the sweetcorn with the lime juice, and chilli and coriander. Stir through 2 teaspoons olive oil. Serve the chilli piping hot, with salsa on top.   Property & Home  51

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A Bathroom

of Your Own

The top trend in bathroom refurbishment is for a more natural feel. We look at some of the most attractive options


any homeowners are putting off moving in favour of refurbishment, and the bathroom is a popular target for a makeover. Bathroom in UK homes are notoriously under-sized, so you can either opt to add space by moving walls, or do what you can to make the existing space more comfortable and on-trend. The average person spends at least 92 days in the bathroom over their lifetime and uses the bathroom around five to seven times a day, adding up to an impressive 2500 times a year, so it’s worth making more of your bathroom space and turning it into a ‘health centre’. Bathing can benefit your muscles, joints and bones. Stretching and moving in water has been shown to have low impact on the joints, muscles and bones, but to be very effective in providing an adequate workout through resistance. There is also less chance of injury for people who are at risk of falls, which makes aquatic exercise ideal for the elderly.

Martin’s Tips The rise in demand for sustainable design has soared in recent months and this is set to continue throughout 2021 and beyond. Many are now foregoing cheap options for longer-lasting, higher quality alternatives. Creating a more sustainable home will be a huge must-have and this includes our bathrooms. Stone baths are a great choice for those searching for a highly durable design. Made without plastic or acrylic and offering a longlasting result, stone resin baths offer a number of sustainability benefits. Coloured bath with Olympia white marble effect polished 90x90 tiles

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If you need some help with bathroom design or fitting, turn to the British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation (BIKBBI). This government sanctioned and not-forprofit registered organisation is dedicated to improving standards within the industry. They work with professional installers, retailers and manufacturers, providing consumers access to free practical advice and an informed choice. Launched in 2006, BIKBBI gained Institute status from the Secretary of State the following year, representing the installation sector in the United Kingdom. They represent the largest network of independently accredited kitchen, bedroom and bathroom installation specialists, and work with a number of strategic partners to deliver their three core pillars: Education, Standards & Support.

Sanctuary The ‘Sanctuary Feel’ is a top trend, with people wanting to feel that their bathroom is a place for relaxation after a hard day’s work (often at home). A spa-like designs is key, focusing on elements that offer relaxing properties to give us that tranquil feeling which many of us need after what’s been a hugely stressful period.

Above left: Picadilly 1650mm freestanding slipper bath. Above: fittings from Pelipal. Below: square double-ended bath from Durham

As we spend more time focusing on self-care, interiors which aid our well-being are becoming popular. Designs that help us relax, unwind and de-stress are key, with more of us focusing on looking after our mental well-being. From natural light to nature-inspired designs, updating your interiors can be a change that affects more than just the look of your home...

Coloured bath with Origin black Day-Night blinds

IMAGES: Olympia ; Picadilly, Pelipal; Durham, Origin

easy to clean Having spent more time enjoying the natural outdoors during 2020 and 2021, many of us have fallen in love with nature this year and this is something that will be seen in our decor choices. Bringing the outdoors in with plants, flowers and nature-inspired designs will be big as we aim to try and introduce our new-found love into our homes. 2020 was the year we took cleanliness and hygiene to new levels and it’s predicted that this will influence our interior choices going forward. Designs which take into consideration hygiene and cleanliness will be must-haves for

the coming months. Many will be searching for products which are easier to clean or are less likely to harbour bacteria to help maintain a hygienic home. Eco trends such as downsizing your basin are in - washing and brushing is a major part of your routine where water can be wasted. By swapping out that old juggernaut of a basin for something neater and more compact, you could save plenty of litres. Having a dual-flush toilet can be a huge water-saver. Flushing your toilet makes up nearly a quarter of your daily household water usage, so it’s certainly an area you should address, particularly if your water is metered! ■   Property & Home  53

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As summer heats up, many households are preparing for building and renovation work. Britain has become a nation of renovators, with 15 percent of homeowners now choosing to improve their home instead of moving, while there were only 3% back in 2013 . With rising property prices and stamp duty to account for, almost two thirds of homeowners now believe there is more value in home improving than in moving. Homeowners also want to increase the comfort of their home and increase its efficiency. These problems can be solved by increasingly popular smart solutions, which can be planned into renovations and are easy to install, long-lasting and effective. Netatmo has thought of everything to provide users’ homes and their loved ones with complete smart protection: security cameras, 54


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alarms, sensors, smoke alarms, indoor air quality monitors etc. Netatmo smart solutions can easily be implemented and adapted to each household’s requirements and to the specifications of the renovation jobs, such as: ● Indoor and Outdoor Smart Cameras to guarantee home security even when the user is away. ● The Smart Smoke Detector, which triggers an alarm if a fire breaks out and immediately informs the user on their smartphone, even if they’re away from home.

10/08/2021 12:30

Sponsored editorial

Improving home security In the UK, 650,000 break-ins occurred in 2017 . A large number of these occurred in summertime, a favourite season for burglars, making this the ideal time to install one or several security devices. Easy to install and less expensive than a complete CCTV security system, Netatmo smart cameras enable the user to keep an eye on their home using their smartphone, tablet or computer, even if they are thousands of miles away from home. Netatmo smart cameras use Artificial Intelligence algorithms, enabling them to distinguish between important and unimportant events. The Netatmo Outdoor Smart Camera with Siren alerts the user in real-time if there is a break-in and deters burglars. Straight away, users can remotely trigger the 105dB alarm to scare away intruders. It can distinguish between a person, an animal or a vehicle, while the Indoor Camera is equipped with a facial recognition feature. They can therefore detect unusual situations and immediately alert the user. This enables the householders to quickly take appropriate measures wherever they may be, such as calling the police or setting off an alarm to dissuade a presumptive burglar. All the features of the Netatmo Smart Cameras are available without subscription. It is quick and easy to install, fully customisable, designed to look elegant and weather resistant. Plus the camera is fully compatible with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. For added peace of mind, the installation of a Smart Smoke Detector reduces the risks associated with fire. Equipped with a 10year battery, the Netatmo Smart Smoke Detector, triggers an 85 dB alarm and immediately informs the users via their smartphone if a fire breaks out.

Find out more about Netatmo Smart Security Solutions along with other Netatmo range of products from Netatmo products can be found on Apple, Amazon, Appliance Direct, BT, Box, Currys, Ebuyer, Laptops Direct, Maplin, Robert Dyas and other retailers.   Property & Home  55

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Smart and Safe Technology is the key to home security – how can modern devices help you to protect your home and property from theft, fire and accident?

A standard tablet or smartphone forms the heart of a smart system


t’s the dream of the future we have been waiting for since the ‘50s, though the idea of complete home automation may still sound a long way off. We’re far from the vision of robot butlers and intelligent fridges, but basic ‘smart’ home systems are surprisingly affordable and simple to install, and can easily be integrated through voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa. For just a minute, let your imagination wander. Imagine what it would be like to have automatic lighting control, video surveillance accessibility and thermostat control and be able to control everything from your phone - consider for a moment having the ability and capability to properly manage energy to help lower your bills. What was once thought to be a fantasy is now a reality. Wireless home automation lets you do all this and more.

Home automation can be defined as accessing or controlling many of your home’s appliances, security, climate, and video monitoring from a remote or centralised location.

Benefits of home automation include 1. Convenience Life, and sometimes traffic can make it difficult to be home the moment the kids come in the door or when the repair person shows up. And since you can’t be in two places at the same time, having the convenience of accessing your home systems remotely can be a real time saver. Turn off all the lights in your home without having to get out of bed. Use your phone or portal device to turn your wireless

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home security alarm system on/off or use voice recognition to control appliances around the house. 2. Energy Management and Savings When used properly many home automation products, also known as ‘smart home’ products, help you manage your home’s energy consumption. For example, automate your thermostat to adjust settings throughout the day based around the times someone is home or the house is empty. Some “smart” devices can be synced up to your appliances with real-time energy information. This helps your home appliances know the most cost-effective times to operate. For example, your dishwasher may run at 2am because this is the best time for the lowest price. 3. Wireless Home Security Complete home automation systems have many security benefits, allowing you to check in on your home from a remote location, giving you true peace of mind. Some systems will let you interact with your home security system, providing you with the ability to arm and disarm your home remotely. Some complete home automation systems will alert you by phone, text or email if there are any unusual movements within your home. A mobile phone can control a smart door or window lock, access a closed circuit TV system, and integrate with an alarm system. 4. Energy management Home automation products provide convenience and save you time and effort performing household tasks. When you properly manage your energy, you can reduce your energy consumption, which may help you save money. Perhaps most importantly, complete home automation lets you customize your home to fit your family’s unique needs and lifestyle.

Martin’s Tips Smart home technology isn’t just about keeping your property safe, it can also save you money. It can help you to keep track of how much you use appliances such as TVs, how often you use your oven, how much food you keep in your fridge and whether you leave the lights on when you’re out! Analysing your behaviour and energy consumption over time is one of the key ways to take control of your energy useage, cut waste and reduce energy bills.

5. Improved functionality Smart homes can also help you run your appliances better. A smart TV will help you find better apps and channels to locate your favorite programming. A smart oven will assist you with cooking your chicken to perfection - without ever worrying about overcooking or undercooking it. And an intelligently designed home theatre and audio system can make managing your movie and music collection effortless when entertaining guests. Ultimately, connecting your appliances and other systems with automation technology will improve your appliance effectiveness, and overall make your home life much easier and more enjoyable. It’s the smart way to live! ■ From heating to security, smart

IMAGES: Dreamstime

tech can do it all   Property & Home  57

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Drive Time

Adding ‘kerb appeal’ to your property could be as simple as replacing a tired driveway with a modern resin bound solution

Versatile The resin bound solution improves the aesthetics of the driveway, is sustainable and durable, needs little maintenance other than brushing and is versatile in terms of colours and designs. It doesn’t fade in sunlight or crack in freezing weather, remains cool in hot weather and should last for around 20 years, though warranties vary. In October 2008, the Government introduced changes to the General Permitted Development Order. These changes indicate that households with the intention to hard surface more than

Refreshing your driveway is the key to kerb appeal

five square metres of their front garden could do so without planning permission if the surface in question is rendered permeable. Only when there is no facility in place to ensure permeability does an application for planning permission need to be made. As resin bound driveways are permeable and SUDS compliant, they generally do not require planning permission. If rainwater can permeate the resin bound surface, rather than running off it onto the road, there should be no reason why a person may need to seek planning permission for a resin bound driveway. ■

What is SUDS?

SUDs stands for Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems. Introduced by the Environment Agency, it is a set of regulations used to manage the quality of water and flood risk. Find out more at

IMAGES: Dreamstime


esin bound or resin bonded driveways are becoming an increasingly popular way to replace a tired concrete, tarmac or gravel drive. But what are the differences between the two types, and what are the advantages of each? A Resin Bonded drive has resin spread over the base (substrate) then a scattering of aggregate applied on top. The majority of the aggregate will adhere to the resin base and the remainder will be loose. This is a very cost-effective system but as it is not porous and water cannot pass through, it is not SUDS compliant. The Resin Bound system in which the aggregate and resin are mixed together before application is becoming more popular because, though more expensive, it is extremely durable, outperforming tarmac and concrete in terms of frost resistance, weed resistance and slip resistance, and it won’t fade thank to its UV stability. Laid over a concrete or asphalt base to a depth of about 15mm for pathways or 18mm for driveways, a resin bound driveway should be extremely flat and fully secure once cured. Since the resin is porous and allows water to permeate the surface, the occurrence of puddles is reduced, and the solution is SUDS compliant.

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Pretty, practical, paving solution. 21 year guarantee - when installed by a SureSet Approved Installer or Global Partner. SureSet paving is covered against loose stone, cracking, oil damage, UV degradation, colour change and frost damage. A guarantee for workmanship will be covered by your SureSet Approved Installer/Global Partner. No loose stone - a beautifully smooth, accessible finish with no loose stone to migrate into other areas, making it foot friendly and ideal for adjoining lawn areas. Low maintenance - periodic sweeping and occasional power washing keeps it looking as good as new. The technology of SureSet minimises weed growth and reduces puddles.

+44 (0)1985 841 180 SureSet.indd 1 08/07/2021 14:57

Your perfect link to the outside After being stuck indoors, the chance to open-up your home to the outside this summer will be one you won’t want to miss. Allow extra light into your home with slimline aluminium windows; provide a seamless transition to your garden with sliding patio or bifold doors; or bring the outside in with a new modern flat roof extension combined with a frameless flat skylight or beautifully pitched lantern.

Visit one of our 14 show centres across the South East. View your nearest location on our website.

*Up to 35% off windows, doors and conservatories, no minimum spend. Terms and conditions apply, please ask for more information. *An expert panel of independent judges named SEH BAC as the G-17 Installer of the Year, the highest accolade for any installer in the UK and the best of 13,000 home improvement companies. ◇ As part of One Group Construction.

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of Opportunity

Making your doors, windows and even your conservatory more energy efficient will reduce your energy bills and lower your carbon footprint. hh Reduced condensation. Energy efficient glazing reduces condensation build-up on the inside of windows. Before replacing your windows, check with your local planning office if any of the following apply to your property: hh You live in a conservation area hh You have an Article 4 direction on your property, removing the right of permitted development (see uk/advice/hpg/historic-environment/article4directions/) hh You live in a listed building

Cats: better at saving energy than even double glazing

T IMAGES: Dreamstime

he two main advantages of double- or triple-glazing your home are that it will save you money on energy bills, and it will make the property more desirable when it comes time to sell it. You can improve the energy efficiency of your home by installing secondary glazing, or even by using heavy curtains, but really energy efficient glazing, double or triple glazing panes in a sealed unit, will bring real energy efficiency, helping to reduce your carbon footprint and your energy bills.

Benefits of energy efficient windows include: hh A more comfortable home. Energy efficient glazing reduces heat loss through windows and means fewer draughts and cold spots. hh Peace and quiet. Not only do they keep the heat in, energy efficient windows also insulate your home against external noise.

New double glazed windows are available in a variety of frame options, including; hh Solid Wood: A great insulator against heat and cold, but relatively expensive, prone to swelling and warping, and requires maintenance. Often used in conservation areas where the original windows were timber framed. hh Aluminum/Steel: strong, affordable, low-maintenance, slim and long lasting. hh uPVC: Long lasting, affordable, low maintenance and can be recycled. hh Composite: Has an inner timber frame covered with aluminium or plastic, reducing the need for maintenance and keeping the frame weatherproof.

Savings Based on a typical gas-heated home, ranging between a small mid-floor flat and a large detached home, and taking into account installation costs which will vary depending on the size of the property and windows, material used and choice of installer, installing double- or triple-glazing in a detached house could save you at least £115 per year. A semi-detached homeowner could save £85, a mid-terrace £65, a bungalow £60, and a mid-floor flat £40. Research suggests that the value of a home can increase by an average of 10 percent with a new double glazing installation. Buyers are be more likely to buy a home with newer windows, as they won’t need to replace them themselves, and the general kerb appeal of the property benefits from new windows. ■   Property & Home  61

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NO, NO, NO, NOx Nitrogen makes up 78% of the Earth’s atmosphere. We need it for life. During combustion, the pollutant NOx is formed, and we don’t need that. That’s why we’ve developed the lowest NOx boiler on the market. It only produces between 17.60-20.33mg/kWh, depending on the model. We’ve called it the Xclusive. Because it is.

If you’d like to know more about our smart boiler that also lowers carbon emissions and energy bills, and has software that gives you remote control of your heating, please visit our website:

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A Boiler that Suits Having a modern, efficient boiler is a matter of safety as well as energy conservation.


boiler is solely responsible for the highest amount of energy consumption in a typical household, so it’s vital that you have one that is modern, efficient, and safe. Modern boilers are designed with this in mind and are less likely to develop faults, but nonetheless, annual checking and maintenance is essential. It’s a good idea to invest in a boiler repair cover scheme, as research has shown that an average boiler repair can cost around £280-£350. Installling a modern efficient boiler has several advantages. hh Reducing your gas bill – a safe boiler runs at optimum levels, and burning the correct amount of gas. hh Landlord’s legal responsibility – if you’re a landlord, by law, you have to have your boiler and any other heating appliances in the rented property checked annually to make sure they are safe. hh Carbon Monoxide (the silent killer) – everyone will have read in the media about deaths caused by this deadly gas. Gas boilers that haven’t been installed correctly, aren’t maintained or ventilated properly can emit carbon monoxide into the property. Boilers that are not working properly and emitting carbon dioxide will burn with a yellow or orange flame. Early signs of CO poisoning are difficult to identify, including headaches, drowsiness, nausea, breathlessness and stomach pains, which can be confused with tiredness or a cold. Contemporary natural gas fueled boilers are sealed completely and do not have vents or a flue, so there is no way that fumes or vapors can escape from the unit and emit toxins and gases into the air. Electric boilers have the safety advantage of burning no fuel in the home. hh Save money on repairs – a full boiler breakdown/repair can often be prevented by making sure your boiler is safe. The problem can then be remedied during the service, causing less disruption at home and usually saving the homeowner money in the process.

IMAGES: Dreamstime

Efficient Boilers design has evolved a great deal, and modern boilers are smaller, more efficient and easier to install. When you replace your traditional boilers with a modern gas or electric design, the cost can be earned back in the long run through savings on your monthly energy bills, and on the cost of annual servicing. Since modern boilers have sophisticated programmable controls their running hours can be considerably reduced, increasing the life of the system. ■

Having a modern efficient boiler fitted is safer and saves money

Boiler Breakdowns

According to the Which? Trusted Traders Report issued November 2020, the top four causes of boiler breakdown are the diverter valve, auto air vent, pressure relief valve and printed circuit board.   Property & Home  63

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For more Property, Interiors and Garden advice, visit us online at /celebrityangels @celebrityangels

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Clear Air Ahead

IMAGES: Dreamstime

The air we breathe can have a significant impact on our health. Find out how you might be unwittingly generating air pollution in your home, and what you can do to improve indoor air quality.   Property & Home  65

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e all know that outdoor air pollution is a problem, but the chances are you don’t worry too much about the quality of the air in your own home. Yet many of the things we do to make our homes more comfortable, such as decorating, burning candles and using air fresheners, can increase our personal exposure to pollutants, and contribute significantly to our collective national emissions - and, as many of us are spending most of our time indoors at the moment, this isn’t something we should ignore. Opening your windows regularly is the easiest way to remove polluting particles from the air in your living space, and it’s especially important to do this in winter, when humidity is high, however tempting it is to keep all windows tightly closed. But be strategic about when you do this. If you live near a busy road, keep the windows closed at peak traffic time. If you suffer from hay fever, don’t open your windows in the morning, when the pollen count is highest.


If you’re elderly or you have a pre-existing health condition, such as asthma, heart disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you’re particularly vulnerable to the effects of pollution. Children and young adults are also more at risk, because they have faster breathing rates and their lungs are still developing.

Cooking produces grease, smoke, smells and moisture. Switch on your kitchen hood and fans during and after cooking – even if you find them annoyingly noisy – to clear the air of oil and other ingredients that have evaporated into it. This will also limit damage to your walls and kitchen cabinets. If you can, get an extracting cooker hood, sometimes called a vented hood or ducted hood, rather than a recirculating one. Extracting hoods send the air out of your home through the wall or roof, while recirculating models filter the air through a carbon filter and recirculate it inside your kitchen. If you have a recirculating hood, make sure you clean and change the filter regularly. An extractor fan can be installed in any room where you want to control humidity, gas or smoke. An extractor fan in your bathroom can pull moist air out of the room, preventing mould spores growing. It can also remove the aftereffects of using toiletries and cleaning products. Make sure you vacuum often to remove polluting particles. The best vacuum cleaners will pick up twice as much dust as the worst, and they’re much better at stopping particles from leaking back out into your room. Carpets can harbour allergens, so it’s important to vacuum these often, especially if you’re in a rental property. If you suffer from allergies, and have the option to, it’s a good idea to replace your carpets with solid flooring, which will be much easier to clean.

Paw Patrol It’s particularly important to vacuum if you have pets, as pet dander can add to the air pollution in your home. Dogs and cats naturally shed old hair – some twice yearly, some all the time. Pollen can also attach itself to your pet’s fur and be carried indoors, which isn’t ideal if you’re a hay fever sufferer, so keep your pet off your soft furniture and bed if you can. When pet hair is trodden into carpets or rugs it can be hard to get out, as it tangles in the carpet fibres. You shouldn’t need to be told about the dangers of smoking.

You might be surprised to learn, though, that when you smoke, more smoke gets released into the air – where others can breathe it in – than goes into your lungs. The NHS says that second-hand smoke (the smoke you exhale, plus the sidestream of smoke from your cigarette end) puts your family at risk from the same diseases as smokers, such as lung cancer and heart disease. Children living in a smoky house also have a greater chance of developing asthma, breathing problems and other allergies. Smoke can linger in the air for hours after you’ve finished smoking, and it can spread from room to room. Opening a window or door won’t banish the smoke, as it can blow back inside and stick to surfaces such as soft furnishings, to be released later, sometimes in more harmful forms (third-hand smoking). An air purifier could be particularly useful if you have allergies or respiratory problems, live near a major road or industrial facility, or you’re often exposed to second-hand smoke or odours that you have no control over. ■

IMAGES: Dreamstime


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Air Purifier 3000i

Air Purifier innovators for 78 years

Clean, pollutant-free* air in minutes. Effortlessly transform the air quality in your home at the touch of a button. •

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Simple 4 colour display ring for easy monitoring.

Purify 20m3 room in less than 6 minutes.***

*99.9% of virus, allergen and pollutant removal. **. Microbial Reduction Rate Test conducted at Airmid Health group Ltd. tested in a 28.5m3 test chamber contaminated with airborne influenza A(H1N1). ***. Calculated using its Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) of CADR 520m3/h by the room size of 48m3 (assuming the room is 20m2 in floor area and 2.4m in height).

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100% 100% 100% 100% renewable renewable renewable renewableFriendly Friendly Friendly Friendly Leicester Leicester Leicester Leicester engineer No No engineer engineer engineer We’ll We’ll We’ll We’ll inform inform inform inform your your your your NoNo energy energy energy energy call call centre call call centre centre centre installer or installer orinstaller installer visits visits visits visits oldold supplier old old supplier supplier supplier oror

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Sliding Into Space

Sliding wardrobe doors are a great space-saver and a style win, but are they right for you?

IMAGES: AM&J Credland/DoorsDirect


ne of the most popular space-saving trends in interior fittings is the sliding door wardrobe. Because the doors slide to one side rather than opening outwards, they save you space; they’re particularly popular in bedrooms, where they will optimise your storage room and are usually faced with mirrors, but can also be used in hallways, corridors and smaller rooms – anywhere in fact where you need to be able to put stuff out of your way, but don’t have the space for a swinging door. The more traditional hinged door wardrobes do have one advantage – when they’re open, you can see the entire contents at one time, as opposed to only half of it with sliding doors. You can also use the back of hinged doors for hanging items, or to fit a mirror when you don’t want one on the outside of the door. You don’t have these options with sliding doors. You can usually have a hinged-door wardrobe designed to fit under angled ceilings and stairs and in corners, with the doors opening at any angle. Sliding door wardrobes aren’t this flexible, though they can often be fitted under sloping ceilings. Bespoke sliding wardrobe doors Another advantage of sliding doors is that from DoorsDirect they don’t sag on their hinges. Hinged doors often need adjusting, particularly if they hold the designed to your wishes, and though they can be found on some weight of a mirror, while sliding doors if properly wardrobes, they’re most effective when custom-made for the maintained will rarely jam. But their biggest advantage is that they space available. can fit in spaces such as at the end of a bed, where a hinged door You can buy and fit your own sliding wardrobe doors – it’s not would be obstructed. a complicated DIY job. But it must be done precisely, as level and Brighter fit are absolutely crucial if you want the doors to slide efficiently. Although fitting a mirror to the outside of a sliding door has If in doubt, your supplier will normally be able to help with your the practical advantage that you can admire yourself while you designs, or to recommend a fitter. dress, it also has the effect of making the room appear larger and If you have sliding wardrobe door panels manufactured to brighter – particularly effective in smaller bedrooms. your specification, you will normally be able to specify the size, Sliding wardrobe doors are more space-efficient than number, colour and pattern, and interior fittings. All that’s left is for stand-alone wardrobes, particularly when the interior is custom you to sort out your favourite outfits!. ■

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Made to measure sliding wardrobe doors & interiors

THE STYL IS H STO R AG E S O LU T IO N Call us on 01423 50 20 40 or visit

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Clever Kitchens Getting your kitchen layout right is the first step to making it more efficient and comfortable to use

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uncomplicated design also means that there are fewer special gadgets necessary, making this a cost-efficient option as well.

The L-Shaped Kitchen


kitchen remodel is an intensive process, when the job is done correctly! While dramatic home makeover shows appear to transform entire kitchens in the matter of days or reduce the process down to a 30-minute program, in reality it takes several weeks to perform a thorough kitchen remodel. Getting your kitchen layout right is the most important factor in ensuring a functional and practical kitchen area. Whether your kitchen is small and cramped or large and expansive, a clever layout will make all the difference in helping you to get the most out of the space. There is a lot more to layout than just placing furniture and cabinetry: ergonomics has a huge role to play as well. Getting the heights right, ensuring enough space for comfortable movement, placement of appliances and ease of use are all going to factor in your enjoyment of the space. Let’s look at some typical layouts.

IMAGES: Kitchen Coordination, Poggenpohl

The One Wall Kitchen Usually found in smaller kitchens, this simple layout is space efficient without giving up on functionality. Consisting of cabinets installed against a single wall, the One Wall Kitchen can have upper and lower cabinets or shelving over base cabinets, creating a clean aesthetic.

The Galley Kitchen With a very economical use of cabinets, the galley kitchen consists of two rows of cabinets facing each other, creating an inner passage or galley between them. By eliminating the need for corner cupboards, this type of layout uses every millimetre of space without wastage. The

A practical layout option for small and large kitchens, the L-shaped kitchen has cabinets along two perpendicular walls. Although the corner necessitates some clever cabinetry solutions to make it practical, the open plan design of the L-shaped kitchen offers great flexibility in the placement of appliances and work zones. While you can have the legs of the L as long as space allows, it is best to keep it to less than 4.5m for ease of use.

The U-Shaped Kitchen A great layout for larger kitchens, the U-shaped kitchen consists of cabinetry along three adjacent walls. This type of layout provides plenty of storage but can feel enclosed if there are upper cabinets on all three walls. To avoid this, choose upper cabinets along only one or two walls, with open shelving, focal tiles or a hob hood on the other. The U shaped kitchen allows for great workflow and multiple users at the same time. While you should always aim first for efficiency and safety, there’s still plenty of room for creative design in the kitchen. So what is currently on-trend? hh Clever compact design - Whether narrow, square or open plan, where space is at a premium, compact kitchens come to the rescue. More and more kitchen designs benefit from minimal clutter and maximum efficiency. hh Hot water on demand - We’ve become so accustomed to everything in an instant, that even boiling the kettle is a wait we would rather do without. ‘Hot water taps are going to be a sought-after item for the kitchen of 2021,’ suggests Mark Staweczny, designer for Abode. hh Dark surfaces - Our kitchens are following the fashion for taking surfaces to the dark side. ‘The trend for dark surfaces has emerged as a result of the shift towards two tone kitchens,’ explains Simon Boocock, managing director at CRL Stone. ‘Dark worktops and countertops can be offset by lighter furniture and bright ‘colour pops’ to ensure they work in any sized room and create an air of luxury and sophistication.’   Property & Home  75

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Martin’s Tips The return on investment (ROI) for kitchen remodels can vary, but the expert say that if it’s done well it could be as high as 65 percent, making it one of the wisest investments you can make in your home. But it’s a mistake to try to do it on the cheap, even with a limited budget. Do not neglect checking your plumbing and electrical systems for optimum functionality, and don’t try to ‘paint over’ problems, or hide rather than repairing damage. Issues like mould or a compromised structure should never be ignored!

Extractor fans remove vapours and make cooking more comfy

Economy There are, though, still some economical ways to refresh your kitchen without spending a fortune. On average, replacing your old kitchen unit doors, drawer fronts and kick plates with new ones you will save at least half the money you would have spent on a comparable new A popular option in many of England’s 19th and early 20th century properties is the side return extension into the passage to the rear and side of a property, commonly between two houses. While rear extensions often result in a loss of garden space, the side return infill makes use of a typically disused part of the property. The difficult part of this option is estimating the cost, since you will have to involve architects and surveyors on top of the cost of fitting the actual kitchen. Many online planning resources do not take into account VAT and professional fees providing averages for the construction of the shell of the extension; essentially the roof, walls and floor. There are of course, the following significant sums to consider in addition to the shell: hh Glazing, such as rooflights and doors hh Finishes hh Kitchens, WCs or utility rooms

hh Underfloor heating hh Landscaping hh Associated internal works to the existing building Estimates of the shell cost of a side return vary from £40,000 to £60,000 excl. VAT, with additional costs of at least £85,000 for the fit out of the space, but it’s difficult to give a ‘standard’ figure, as there are so many sizes and design options to consider. There are also difficulties in splitting the project into ‘shell’ and ‘fit out’ as items of work often overlap.

Eco kitchens When you are considering a kitchen refurb, it’s the ideal time to think about sustainable design. There are plenty of factors you should take into account in kitchen design, including: hh hh hh hh hh hh hh hh

Fitting energy efficient lighting Selecting sustainable materials Enhancing ventilation Using re-purposed Items Improving insulation Using potted indoor plants Selecting plastic-free storage and utensils Selecting energy efficient appliances

Once you have these options in place, living sustainably becomes a lot easier – old-fashioned kitchens are inefficient and wasteful, and along with your heating, insulation and lighting choices, are a prime candidate for a modern approach to saving energy, cutting down on waste and making your home a more eco-friendly environment. ■

IMAGES: Shutterstock

hh Downdraft extractors - Extractor fans are being reimagined for kitchens of the future. ‘There is a shift towards downdraft extraction systems which remove odours and vapours at their source, i.e. directly from the hob, and draw them downwards before they have a chance to permeate the air’ explains Willi Bruckbauer, founder of BORA.

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NEW021 2 FOR

The Latest Eco-Friendly

Electric Combi Boiler The Mercury Combi is the ultimate solution for central heating and instantaneous hot water rs 5 Yea nty a r r Wa Apply ’s


Bare wire system no limescale on the immersion heaters Instant Hot Water for Washing & Showering Eco friendly with Weather Compensation NTC Temperature control system Large digital screen Quiet operation


Compatible with all Volt Free Programmers & WiFi Thermostats

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01698 820533

*Our 5 Year Warranty is offered on Boilers which are registered within 60 Days of purchase, For full Warranty T&C’s please visit our website.

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Sponsored editorial

Hybrid Heating for the modern home – the choice is yours

EHC offer a comprehensive Range of Electric Products that are all controlled by the well-established DSR Technology Control System. It enables you to select a Hybrid Heating Solution from the range for the various rooms within your property to suit your design style and budget – the choice is yours. All DSR Controlled Heaters are manually operated using the “easy to use” Controller located on the Heater. They also have Wi-Fi capability that can be activated when you purchase the optional DSR Smart Gateway which will allow you to control your Heaters Anytime, Anywhere 24/7 up to a maximum of 30 Heaters using our free bespoke APP. When used with the EHC Smart Gateway you can take advantage of the in-built Wi-Fi ready capability and are able to program your heaters individually or in groups. The DSR Control APP has many features designed to enhance your comfort levels and provide essential information regarding your heating system. There is also an

optional Power Meter Clamp available for Load Shedding Control. Popular features within the APP ●● Setting Times to suit lifestyle ●● Adjust each room temperature to suit using the manual boost ●● Limit electricity consumption to avoid exceeding maximum power available ●● Monitor your electricity consumption history ●● View the Temperature history by room ●● Alexa and Google Home commands The Geolocation feature is also popular as the user can define a perimeter at a set range around their property. When the smart phone enters or leaves the perimeter, the Geo-location feature is triggered and automatically increases or decreases the room temperatures. From within the APP the Geo-fence zone can be set to a radius around your home from 150 to 1000 metres.

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Sponsored editorial

The DSR Range of Heaters all offer partial heat retention via the internal storage tiles. They are designed to provide an even heat across the surface area of the Heaters and in turn provide a combination of Convected and Radiant Heat. The comprehensive range of Heaters which are available in various Outputs are: ●● ecostore Storage Heater -The Low Carbon Smart Electric Storage Heater, This Smart Storage Heater allows the generation of heat without disruptive fan noises. By using mild radiant heat and natural heat convection which is cycled throughout the room through a German engineered patented venting system.





The ecostore Smart storage heater is fitted with an intuitive smart controller for 24/7 Input and Output control, Geo-Location technology, and a precision thermostat accurate to 0.1°C. The ecostore is fitted with open window sensor which will cut power to the storage heater if a temperature drop of 2.4°C is detected, saving energy that would otherwise be wasted. DSR Heat Retention Heaters – An award winning product in the domestic market which offers smart control with highly efficient partial heat storage technology. Using patented Magmatic tablets, the Radiator is able to retain warmth for longer than a traditional convector heater. Combined with its increased surface area – up to 6 times greater than other models – the DSR Electric Radiator is German engineering at it’s best. Edge - This traditional Convector Heater has been designed with a gentle curved profile on each side of the Heater. It is manufactured using high grade 100% recyclable Aluminium. It produces heat on demand and with the modular construction of the Heater it cycles airflow and emits heat throughout the room. Solaris - A modern, slim, stylish and carefully sized Convector Heater which has been designed with a distinctive curved front that will enhance any room within the home whilst providing a quick and responsive heating experience. Visage – This contemporary Panel Heater is available in all RAL Colours and utilises the perfect balance of convection and radiant heat which in turn warms both you and the room. The aluminium heating element located within the Heater provides fast-acting heat, before warming the Magmatic Ceramic Tablets inside the Heater.

For further information or a free Brochure contact 01698 820533 or visit   Property & Home  79

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These Kitchen Gadgets Will

Change Your Life!

Presenting our top five kitchen gadgets that will make food preparation easier and more fun



Immersion Blender

Indoor Grill

There’s not much its larger, bulkier, often more expensive sibling the countertop blender can do that a handheld workhorse immersion blender can’t. This small but mighty tool can blend almost anything, from silky soups to green smoothies. It usually comes with chopper and whisk attachments, reducing the need for other appliances and an unnecessary arm workout.

Toaster Oven/Air Fryer



Use a do-it-all multicooker to cook many types of food — from stew to pasta — in one easyto-clean pot. You can even walk away from it! No cooking tool is as versatile or foolproof as a multicooker. It can brown food, pressure-cook, steam, slow-cook, make rice, ferment yogurt, hard-boil eggs, and cook up creamy desserts. Best of all, you don’t have to keep a close eye on it when it’s on.

Skip the conventional oven! A countertop toaster oven is more efficient and won’t heat up your whole kitchen. A toaster oven heats faster than a large one and often cooks more quickly, thanks to convection and a smaller cavity. It can replace your toaster, your microwave and even your air fryer! Use it to heat frozen items fast, reheat leftovers, bake, roast veggies and crisp up a whole chicken in less than an hour.


Electric Kettle

Quicker and more precise than a stovetop kettle, the humble electric kettle makes fresher-tasting water than boiling in your microwave and is safe to handle. An electric kettle is always at the ready to work fast. Use it for everything from tea and French press coffee to baby formula. Fill pots for pasta with already-boiling water for quicker results, or add hot liquid to in-progress meals (like braises and soups that have reduced too much) without lengthening the cooking time.

IMAGES: Dreamstime


Whip up a little bit of summer on your counter year-round with an indoor grill. You’ll find that it serves up endless meal ideas for meat and veggies, sensational sandwiches, and more. It’s hard to control the temperature on grills and grill pans, but this game-changer makes it easy and usually maxes out at around 230 degrees — that means fewer smoke alarm events. It can be used for every type of protein and all types of breakfast foods, or even for toasting bread if you’ve had enough of your toaster.

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More home Less hassle

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The Tile High Club Tiles are versatile, beautiful and practical coverings for walls and floors – the only problem is that you may be spoilt for choice


hen it comes to home improvement projects, redoing your flooring is one aspect that can have the most dramatic impact. No other material delivers a better rate of return on your investment than the enhanced value offered by installing tile. Whether you are considering adding tile to your walk-in shower, or a new subway tile backsplash in your kitchen, tile will enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home, as well as prevent moisture and other substances from causing damage to your subfloor or walls.

Versatility Tile is available in many varieties of colors, textures, sizes, and materials. From pristine glossy whites to linen-textured sage green, geometric and modern to old world and rustic, tile is one of the more diverse decorative elements available. Perfect for busy areas, like the kitchen or living room, or humidity-plagued areas like the bathroom, tile for flooring and walls are a practical and attractive option. Installing backsplash tiles over the sink or stove in the kitchen can protect the wall from splashes and spills while keeping your overall design in check. But do not think your options are limited to using tiles on floors or in the bathroom or kitchen alone: you can install tile in any room of your home, from creating an artistic subway tile backdrop in the front hallway to surrounding an ornate mirror with metallic-sheen ceramic backsplash tiles. Did you know that floor tile possesses superior cooling properties? Tile is a natural room air conditioner in the summer, as the hard surface repels heat, and emits comfortably cool temperatures. There are many materials suitable for tiling, each with its own advantages. Ceramic. You’ll find examples anywhere from antique Victorian tiles in your favourite pub, to the famous Metro tiles on the London Underground and the crackled wall tiles on your kitchen splashback. Ceramic tiles have been manufactured for thousands of years. Porcelain Porcelain tiles can be used on almost any wall or floor at home as 82  Property & Home

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well as on busy commercial floors. Porcelain tiles tend to fit into two categories; glazed and unglazed porcelain. Mosaics Mosaics can be made from any number of materials such as porcelain, glass, marble, stone, ceramic and even pebbles and come in a variety of shapes. Mosaics are a great way to add detail to your room.

IMAGES: (L-R) Pickett™ Bevelled Petal Pink, Cava Victorian White Quarry, Arabesque Blue

Encaustic Here in the UK, we’re blessed with countless fine examples of encaustic (clay) tiles thanks to our Victorian forefathers. They took what had been a small-scale medieval production method and turned it into a mass-market machine so and you may be lucky enough to have original tiles at home. Cement Whereas encaustic tiles are formed using clay, cement tiles have - you guessed it - a body of cement. They’re also pressed then left to cure, rather than being fired in a kiln. Cement tiles were extremely popular at the turn of the twentieth century, and they’re back in fashion again.

Maintenance While tile made from natural stone does require regular resealing, for the most part, tile is one of the easier to maintain flooring options as well! You could never wet-mop your hardwood floor, or sanitize your carpet with bleach, but with tile, cleaning is a breeze. Even if your dining room floor has been attacked by a team of toddlers eating (and wearing) spaghetti, cleaning tile

floors involves simply sweeping up the muck, and wiping clean with warm, soapy water. If times get really tough, and your new puppy just can’t make it to the backyard in time, your tile floors can be cleaned and sanitized without getting ruined. Yep tile is a great floor for dogs too! After using a high-quality grout and sealant, maintaining most types of tile requires little, if any, effort. High-quality grout prevents water from leaching beneath the tile and causing extensive damage. In addition, tile should be easy to repair. Whether you find a cracked shower tile or a warped backsplash tile, all you have to do is replace the individual tile, which should take just a few minutes. Just be sure to keep an extra carton of the same type of tile on hand to make the replacement process fast. Why spend money on expensive hardwood, when selecting wood-look tile can keep on shining in a high traffic area of your home for years to come? Tile is not only built to resist the damage caused by extended exposure to moisture but can also withstand most daily wear without breaking down. Think about the durability and longevity it takes to withstand the stomping of snow boots, kids in soccer cleats, and endless trips to bring in the groceries every week, and you have captured the rugged durability of tile flooring. ■

Tile Tips Tile must be installed on a flat surface, or it will crack or loosen over time. Self-leveling cement compounds can fix uneven floors, and walls can be filled or plastered if there are small holes or imperfections. The earliest known tiles were found in an archaeological dig in Egypt, and they date back to about 4,700 BC.   Property & Home  83

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Making Your

Floor Plan

There’s a type of flooring for every room in the house, and thousands of design options available. We help you take the first step

Moduleo LayRed multi-layer flooring with integrated underlay, in Country Oak

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he type of flooring you choose should very much depend on the room you are fitting it in. Also, in a new home you will have free reign, but in a period property you may need to match the existing style. You will also be led by your budget. Think not only about the cost of the flooring itself, but also which options are easier to install on a DIY basis if you are looking to make further savings.

Kitchens In open-plan kitchen-diners, having two different flooring types for each area works well, visually defining them as well as offering a more social and less practical feel in the eating space. The same goes for larger open-plan layouts in which the living room is incorporated into the kitchen and dining space. Stain-resistant, water-resistant flooring should be top of your list - a flooring type that won’t mark, chip or crack easily if something hard gets dropped on it is an essential choice too. Plan your kitchen flooring early on - tile sizes, floorboard thicknesses and the like will need to be considered in terms of how they will fit with new kitchen units.

IMAGES: Moduleo ;

Here are a few of your kitchen options. Stone flooring (Cost: Approx. £30/m²) Natural stone flooring is a great choice for kitchens. A more rustic, riven finish is perfect for classic kitchen styles, while honed, smooth tiles work best in contemporary kitchens. Be aware that the more irregular tiles will require thicker grout lines which can collect dirt and the uneven surface makes them more time consuming to clean. Natural stone is tough and will last for years, plus it works brilliantly over underfloor heating - just make sure it is properly sealed before and after laying to ensure it doesn’t stain. Polished concrete or resin (Cost: from £90/m²) Polished concrete flooring is another hugely popular choice in kitchens. Perfect over underfloor heating, with brilliant thermal properties, it comes in a range of colours and finishes. On the downside, it is not easily repaired and needs the skills of a professional in order to get the best finish. Take a look at poured resin, which is becoming increasingly popular in the UK. It can be poured over the entire kitchen floor for a seamless, easy-to-clean finish and can be re-sanded and sealed as and when required. Available in any colour, a matt finish as opposed to gloss is better at hiding any marks or scratches. Floor tiles (Cost: from £10/m²) Cheaper than natural stone, porcelain floor tiles are very low

Gatsby Black & White Matt Patterned Porcelain Outdoor Floor tile from B&Q

maintenance, requiring no sealing and are extremely hard wearing - plus their regular shape makes thin grout lines easy to achieve. Well suited to underfloor heating, porcelain tiles are easy to clean, hard to damage and available in a vast array of colours and finishes. Ceramic tiles are cheaper than porcelain but do a very similar job, although they are not as hard wearing and can crack and chip - plus they are not usually coloured all the way through so any damage is quite obvious.

Bathrooms Bathroom flooring needs to be capable of withstanding high levels of moisture and fluctuations in temperature. It also needs to be non-slip and stain resistant too. Bathroom porcelain tile floor (Cost: £20/m²) Porcelain tiles, though more expensive than ceramic, are made with a denser clay, fired for longer at a higher temperature than ceramic, they also tend to be through-coloured, whereas the pattern and colour of ceramic tiles is usually just a surface layer. Opt for an unglazed finish (which may require sealing) for a more non-slip finish than glazed. Luxury Vinyl Tile (Cost: from £30–40/m²) LVT is currently a popular option. Available in a range of colours and patterns, as well as finishes that mimic the appearance of other materials such as stone, LVT is soft and warm underfoot, works well over underfloor heating and is water resistant. It can be done as a DIY job and requires no special tools, but for peace of   Property & Home  85

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Martin’s Tips If you’re looking for a popular and cost-effective flooring, it’s hard to beat laminate. Developed in Sweden in the 70s, it’s cheaper than solid wood but very hard wearing. It’s also easy to lay accurately because it usually has an interlocking tongue-and-groove system. The printed surface layer can be made to resemble any type of timber, or even tiles or stone, so there are plenty of design options, it’s easy to clean and maintain, and it’s affordable though you should look for a good quality laminate rather than going for the cheapest option.

Victorian Floor Tiles Harrogate Pattern from OriginalStyle

Natural stone Natural stone adds a real touch of luxury to the bathroom, with the less porous varieties, such as slate and marble being particularly suitable. Limestone and travertine are also popular choices, but do be aware that they need to be sealed before laying, cleaned and then sealed before and after grouting in order to maintain their good looks. Stone should also be resealed every two years.

Living Rooms This really does come down to aesthetics. In open plan living, dining and kitchen spaces it works well to define the living space as a more relaxing area by using a softer flooring type, as opposed to continuing a tile from the kitchen, but a timber floor with a large rug will also do the job nicely. LVT is available in designs which imitate timber with great effectiveness. Carpet (Cost: from £20/m² for synthetic) Carpets are an obvious choice, but those with messy pets or children might want to consider its practicality.

Natural flooring If you like the idea of soft flooring but are concerned that carpet might not be the most practical choice, a good compromise is natural flooring. Jute, coir, sisal and seagrass are all options, being environmentally friendly and ideal for those suffering from allergies from chemicals and dyes. While these natural materials are not as soft as carpet underfoot, they do have a more contemporary look that appeals to many. Sisal has a silky feel underfoot whilst jute tends to be the softest. They are hardwearing and suitable for areas of high traffic. As with more traditional carpets, they require specialist fitting and experts advise that they are allowed to acclimatise in the home for 24 hours before fitting. These plant fibres are relatively easy to wipe clean and can be hoovered — there are also protective sprays which coat the fibres allowing you time to blot off spillages before they soak in.

Hallways The main priority in this area should be to fit a floor that is super durable and easy to keep clean - it also pays to pick a flooring that is good at hiding dirt brought in on muddy shoes and pet paws. Porcelain, ceramic and stone are all good choices, as is solid or engineered timber. Natural fibre flooring is also suitable for hallways and stairs, with both coir and seagrass being suitable for areas of high traffic. ■

IMAGES: OriginalStyle

mind you may want to leave the work to the professionals. LVT is equally suitable for living rooms, where acoustically insulated types are available, and for hallways and bedrooms. Another choice for the bathroom is rubber. Comfortable underfoot and available in non-slip finishes, it comes in an assortment of bright colours and patterns too.

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02/07/2021 15:27


Tapping the Trends Refreshing the taps in your kitchen or bathroom can be a quick way to modernise the look. Here’s a quick guide to some essential considerations

1. Fittings There are different fitting holes designed into different pieces of sanitary ware – you may have one, two or even three pre-drilled tap holes on a sink or basin, depending on whether the designer intended to fit a mono mixer tap, separate hot and cold pillar taps, or a pair of handles with a separate spout.

2.  Water pressure It’s essential to know what sort of water pressure your taps will have to work with. Some are suitable for low-pressure gravity-fed systems, others best suited to a medium-pressure combi boiler system. Generally, most single-lever mixer taps, floor standers and wall mounters will need high pressure to operate. Fit a low-pressure tap and you might be waiting half an hour for the bath to fill.

4. Styles Taps are generally divided into traditional styles with details such as cross-head handles and enamel inlays; and contemporary styles which tend to have a minimalist design and clean lines. Your choice will probably be dictated by the style of the room.

5. Construction Brass taps are particularly resistant to corrosion, so will last longer. Luxury types made with ‘virgin’ brass lack the impurities that give bathroom water its metallic taste. Look too for taps with ceramic washers rather than rubber, as these last longer and require less turning, so they are easier to use.

6. Finish

3.  Bath types

The outside coating of a tap is the biggest factor in fitting it into the overall design of your kitchen or bathroom. Popular finishes include chrome, most popular and scratch-resistant; gold, which looks good but can peel unless you go for the newer Antique Gold look; and nickel, which is very modern and durable, but can be expensive.

Most acrylic baths come with no tap holes pre-drilled, so a fitter can make holes to suit. But of course this isn’t possible with stone-resin, steel or cast iron baths, so you will have to use the pre-drilled holes, or separate floor-standing taps.

If you’re a real design wizard, you should be able to match the design of your taps in kitchen and bathroom – they’re often available in smaller sizes for bathroom or cloakrooms. ■

IMAGES: Dreamstime


irst and foremost, taps have to be practical, but they can also add a lot to the design of a kitchen or bathroom. So what do you look for?

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The Smarter


According to a survey, 57 percent of homes in Britain now contain a smart device. But what is smart home technology all about? The smartphone or tablet is key to control of the smart home

Moley is a robotic kitchen which might be the shape of the future


hat if all the devices in your life could connect to the internet? Not just computers and smartphones, but everything: clocks, speakers, lights, doorbells, cameras, windows, window blinds, hot water heaters, appliances, cooking utensils, you name it. And what if those devices could all communicate, send you information, and take your commands? It’s not science fiction; it’s the Internet of Things (IoT), and it’s a key component of home automation and smart homes. The list of home devices connected to smartphones is getting longer and longer every day.

IMAGES:, Dreamstime

RoboCHEF Controlled by a smartphone app, as most smart devices can be, a smart vacuum cleaner can be programmed to pop out of its hutch and do a bit of floor-cleaning while the house is empty. Following a pre-programmed floorplan, some can combine brushing and mopping with laser-guided vacuuming. Smart automation is also coming to the kitchen, with the oldfashioned ‘Robochef’ food preparation machines being replaced with truly smart devices. The Moley kitchen is a fully automated kitchen unit, consisting of cabinets, robotic arms and hands, a recipe

recording system, a connected GUI screen with access to a library of recipes, and a full set of kitchen appliances and equipment that have been optimized for both for robot and human use.

Learning The robotic apparatus comprises two highly complex robotic hands and different types of sensor that are integrated in high-precise and lightweight frame structure. Moley’s anthropomorphic robotic hands have the ability to replicate the movements of a human hand, while the robotic chef is capable of recreating the skills of human chefs such as learning new recipes. The washing machine has also became a part of this smart family. These new models can be called a “new generation” as they are equipped with some amazing features. They can be connected to the phone to start the washing process or to check for progress. Also, their sensors can detect how dirty things are and adjust the cycle accordingly. The quick-add option provides adding clothes during the washing period without turning the machine off. Smart automation is coming to the bedroom too, with smart beds collecting data about the sleeper’s needs and preferences, and adjusting the mattress, heating and ventilation in the room to make for a restful night’s sleep. ■   Property & Home  89

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Decorate, upcycle and style your home for modern living

Visit for more inspiration and ideas Sales enquiries: 03330 156000

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11/05/2021 12:00


Painting and Decorating

A Broad Brush Guide

IMAGES: Dreamstime

We all like to think we’re up to a spot of painting and decorating, but do you know the tools, skills and preparation work needed to do a good job?   Property & Home  91

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Decorator’s overalls Painter’s goggles Dust masks Gloves Shoe covers

Rollers and sprayguns like this Wagner 250 Airless will speed the job

PPE is a vital element of any DIY job, and it’s no different when it comes to painting. Goggles and dust masks protect the eyes and lungs, and shoe covers might not always be quite as essential, but are they’re still useful if you need to protect furniture and carpets.

PREPARATION h h Dust sheet, canvas sheet or similar type of sheet h h Painter’s tape or masking tape h h Decorating cloths The first step in any painting job is to clear the space as much as possible, moving furniture out or to one side, and protecting the remainder with cloths and tape. Decorating

IMAGES: Wagner Spraytech,, Dreamstime


f you’re preparing for some painting and decorating jobs in the near future - as many people are at this time of year, homeowners and professionals alike - then your very first step will be to make sure that you’re properly prepared. There are few things worse than being midway through a painting job and suddenly realising you’re missing a vital piece of equipment. So what do you need to produce the perfect job?

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Preparing the surface is an essential before work starts

The quality of your brushes will be


reflected in the finish of your job

h h Emulsion or oil paint, or paint suitable for sprayer h h Suitable primer h h Paint kettle and paint can opener h h Paint roller, sleeve, extension pole and tray h h Paint brushes, including large, small, special types h h Bucket and sponge h h Stepladder For smaller rooms, paint roller extension poles can be particularly helpful as they help you to do most of your painting from the ground rather than up a ladder, avoid unnecessary risks in working at height. Radiator brushes use an angled head which helps you to move around in obstacles and into corners. A plastic bucket and sponge help you wipe any paint splashes off woodwork, as some colours can stain lightly-coloured gloss paint. A sponge can also be used to clean walls before painting and to remove cleaning products. Using spray paint, whether from an aerosol can or using a spray-gun, is an art in itself.

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cloths, meanwhile, are suitable for wiping and polishing any surfaces that you’re going to paint ahead of time, so that your finish isn’t ruined by any dust or debris clinging to the surfaces underneath A low adhesive masking tape is best for painting woodwork accurately – don’t make the mistake of using the cheapest, the more expensive professional types give much better results. The quality of tape is measured in the time it can remain on the walls, door or window frames before it becomes very difficult to peel off. This is also called the “clean peel” time where peeling does not leave the adhesive on the surface. Masking tape comes in a widths to suit all jobs from 12mm beading inside glass paneled doors, to protecting 7 inch skirting from screed splashes. Cheaper masking tapes should be removed in three hours whereas the more professional tapes can be left in place for up to 14 days without difficulty. For masking large areas, tape can be used to hold sheets of newspaper in place. For curved surfaces a more flexible tape can be used which is created especially for masking curved areas. 94  Property & Home

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The first painters’ union was formed in London in 1502 and was called the Worshipful Company of Painters-Stainers. The market for paint, wallcoverings and woodcare products was worth an estimated £925m in 2017 according to a report by AMA Research. About 10 percent of all paint we buy in the UK is eventually thrown out, the majority of it paint bought for residential projects.

h h Choose your location. Outdoors is best, but an open garage is a good second choice. Otherwise, open as many windows as possible and use a fan while spraying and drying. h h Protect from overspray. Set small projects in a deep cardboard box, or put down a drop cloth when working with bigger pieces. h h Prepare the surface. For best results, most materials must be cleaned, sanded, and dried before spray-paint application. Applying a primer will result in a smoother surface, truer color, and longer-lasting finish. h h Read all directions. Check for the proper spraying distance and drying times before you begin painting. h h Test your spray paint. Try a practice spray on a piece of scrap material in the

Martin’s Tips I’ve seen plenty of DIY disasters in my travels, so I’m aware of what can go wrong if people try to dress up their domestic surroundings when they don’t know what they’re doing! Apparently painting and decorating are the most commonly undertaken household tasks, with 48 percent of householders having done some in the past year, compared to 30 percent who carried out minor alterations and 27 percent putting up new curtains/blinds or shutters. I can’t say why, by according a to a Mintel survey, householders in Scotland are most likely to have carried out a project in the past year (79 percent) while those living in London are least likely (68 percent).   Property & Home  95

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Protect floors before starting work or you could make a mess

h h Apply multiple thin coats. Sweep the spray across the project, beginning and ending each coat off the side. Complete a coat over the entire project at one time, instead of working in stages for more consistent color and finish. Consult the paint guide for the recommended “recoat window” and drying times. h h Clean your spraying equipment, or for cans prevent clogging by holding the can upside down and spraying until only a clear gas is released. If a tip does become clogged, wipe off the opening with warm water or lacquer thinner. Never stick a pin or wire into the hole.

Buying Brushes Paint brushes don’t have to be expensive – affordable types tend to have synthetic bristles rather than animal hair. This doesn’t mean you have to settle for poorly made brushes – check that they are well made and the bristles are well attached.

Look particularly for a loose ferrule, the metal part above the bristles. If it’s loose, than brush may come apart at the handle. There’s not much you can do about this, as you won’t be able to take it back to the shop after you’ve used it, so check the quality before buying, or stick to reputable brands.

Accessories There are lots of painting and decorating accessories you may find useful, so it’s worth keeping them handy, even if it’s under your sink or in the shed! h h Ready-mixed filler and filling knife h h Flat scraper tool h h Fine sandpaper These will be useful in preparation, removing flakes of loose paint, and filling cracks in plaster to ensure a smooth finish. Finally, remember, as American humourist Will Cuppy said in his classic memoir How to Be a Hermit, “It is really surprising what may be done in the home with a small can of paint, if you aren’t careful”! ■

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same surface as your project. A steady spray tool offers an easy-to use trigger that creates an even stream of paint.

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As recommended by

The fastest, easiest way for you to achieve a perfect paint finish

Craig Phillips


The high-powered HEA range of airless paint sprayers • Versatile for interior and exterior painting • For wood, metal, wall & ceiling paints • Quick and easy to set up, use and clean.


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19/03/2021 16:03


Power Plays

There’s no DIY job you can’t do with the right power tools – so long as you know how to choose and use them safely The Electric Drill

The Circular Saw

The power drill is the undisputed most useful electric tool in the homeowner’s arsenal. It not only drills, screws and unscrews, with the right accessories it can also function as a wire brush, paint mixer, and sander. The first choice to make when shopping for a drill is to decide between a plug-in model or a battery-operated one. A rechargeablebattery drill is more convenient, but the battery may not hold up to a hard day’s labour. (Many are sold with a second battery included; look for lithium-ion batteries for longer life.) Cordless batteries are rated in volts, 9.6 to 36; the higher the voltage, the tougher the job it will handle. A drill pulling 12 to 14.4 volts should handle most household chores. Corded drills are rated in amperes; more amps means more power. Look for a drill rated at five amps or better for use around the house. Drills also vary in the size of the drill bits they use. The cheapest might use bits 1/4” in diameter, but a more useful and common size is 3/8”. Other features to look for are a keyless chuck (chuck keys are incredibly easy to lose), variable speeds, and reverse operation (for unscrewing). Don’t forget to buy a selection of drill bits if they don’t come with the drill.

There’s a certain romance about using a hand tool such as a saw, crafting objects with one’s own hands. That romance fades after you’ve sweated through a few 2x4”s and have the blisters to prove it. A circular saw can cut quickly and neatly through boards, plywood, and any other similar material, saving you time and skin. Again, you have the choice of battery-operated or corded. In this case, given that sawing quickly drains most batteries, the average homeowner would be well advised to seek out a corded model. They also come in a variety of blade diameters. The 7-1/4” blade size is fine for home use. Some other features to look for: a power cord that’s at least six feet long, a spindle lock to hold the blade stationary so you can change it, a safety interlock (which can save you from a nasty mishap), and long-lasting carbide-tipped blades. When using a circular saw, make sure you can clearly see the cutting line and blade while operating; some are even equipped with a laser guide, useful except in bright sunlight. Look for one that allows the blade to be tilted in relation to the cutting plate, which will allow you to make angled cuts along the edge of a board.

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The Jigsaw When it comes to creating ornate shapes in wood, a circular saw just can’t cut it. That’s a job for the jigsaw. It’s also useful for crafting, as it’s light and easily controlled. Again, battery vs. corded is the first decision to make. If you plan to work with a lot of hard wood, steer clear of the battery-operated models, as they won’t have the power and you will soon discharge the battery. Look for one that offers variable speeds, 500 to 3,000 strokes per minute or so. This can be controlled either by a dial or by the degree to which the trigger is depressed. Orbital action, rather than a straight up-and-down motion, will cut faster. Make sure the jigsaw has an adjustable foot, so you can make angled cuts. Tool-free blade changing will save you the hassle of finding an Allen wrench that fits.

are very careful, it will still be uneven. An electric sander can do a better job faster, and doesn’t cost a great deal. There are a number of types of sanders on the market: belt, finishing, detail, and drum. But for the homeowner, the hand sander probably satisfies most needs. They come in a variety of grips, including the palm, pistol, and right angle. The palm grip is easy to control, and it’s kind to your hands, too. With a palm sander, battery life is very limited, so a corded version is probably your best bet. Look for one with at least a 1.8 amp motor. It oscillates in your hand in a random orbit, and is measured in Oscillations Per Minute; look for a model operating at over 10,000 opm for the best results. ■

The Sander A good smooth finish on a piece of furniture or a metal surface doesn’t result just from a careful paint job; it is also determined by how well the surface is prepared before the first coat of paint goes down. Hand sanding can feel like it takes forever, and unless you Used with care and skill, a power

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tool will speed any job   Property & Home  99

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Advertisement feature

No more maintenance worries means time for you to enjoy making new memories W

hen you move to a brand new Churchill Retirement Living development you get more than just a new apartment, it’s a whole new lifestyle. You’ll have a comfortable, secure place to live independently, with the option to socialise with other Owners as much or as little as you like. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits is that you won’t have to worry about maintenance any more. As we leave lockdown behind, keeping the house and garden maintained is probably the last thing you want to think about. If you own a large house then it can be a year-round job, and it can be a real burden when you’d rather just relax and make the most of your retirement. STRESS FREE However, it doesn’t have to be that way! With a brand new Churchill Retirement Living apartment, all the stress of keeping things in good order is looked after by a Lodge Manager, who is there to oversee the day-to-day running of the building so you don’t have to.

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Perran Lodge, Newquay

Churchill’s award winning customer service team is also on hand to respond quickly to anything that needs fixing or adjusting, and to keep everything warm and comfortable for you.


Instead of worrying, you can sit back and relax with the peace of mind that any exterior work, gardening and other jobs are taken care of. No more maintenance means a real weight off your mind, giving you more time to do the things you want to do, and enjoy the retirement you deserve.

“It’s a big move to make at our age,” says Michael. “But Churchill did everything to make sure it went smoothly, helping to deal with solicitors and estate agents and explaining everything to us along the way. We can’t believe our luck to have found somewhere so nice. Maintenance, gardening, DIY

Churchill Owners Michael and Barbara Sammons have been doing just that since moving to their new apartment at Perran Lodge in Newquay.

29/04/2021 16:47

“We always planned to move to Cornwall when we retired,” says Barbara. “But for one reason or another we kept putting it off, until one day we saw a Churchill advert in the newspaper and decided to pick up the telephone on the spur of the moment. We always used to come to Newquay on family holidays when we were younger, so we

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s on





and other responsibilities are all things I don’t have to worry about any more. The apartment is so easy to look after, we can just spend our time socialising and enjoying ourselves.”


nd B Sa a r ba r a

m m

were excited to hear about the new development at Perran Lodge. We arranged to come and spend a couple of nights in the Lodge’s Guest Suite, and as soon as we walked into the Owners’ Lounge we could feel the warmth and friendly atmosphere of the place. Our minds were made up very quickly!” “I was a builder myself for many years,” Michael adds. “So I really appreciate the quality

of the finish and the attention to detail Churchill has put in throughout this development, it really is excellent. Our Lodge Manager Jayne is also a delight, always smiling and nothing is ever too much trouble, it’s very reassuring to have her looking after the place. We feel very lucky and we have to pinch ourselves sometimes, it’s such a dream come true to be here.”

If the idea of a brand new lifestyle like this appeals to you, you can find out more about moving to a new Churchill Retirement Living apartment by calling 0800 377 7840 or visiting

29/04/2021 16:47


Retirement villages are an increasingly popular lifestyle choice

Retire in Style

Life at a retirement village can be exactly what you want it to be. We find out more about this increasingly popular later life option.


Holiday mode at home

Like a holiday resort, a good retirement village is likely to offer leisure amenities and essential facilities, all conveniently located close to home. There could be places to socialise, such as bars, cafés, restaurants or larger venues for bigger gatherings. There may be places to relax, which can include gardens, swimming pools, spas or allotments.


A maintenance-free life

If you are still living in your longstanding family home long after the kids have flown the nest you may find it is simply too big for your needs. For example, paying to heat a three- or four-bedroom

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s well as providing somewhere to live, moving to a retirement village can offer a lot of benefits that you often wouldn’t get when simply moving from one street to another. For some people, it’s not just a new house they are seeking, but a whole new approach to life. A retirement village should relieve you of everyday chores such as gardening and home maintenance, leaving you to focus on doing the things you want to do with your free time. It can vary from one provider to another, but generally you need to be over 55 or 60. If you are part of a couple, often just one of you needs to be this age, but do check the retirement village’s own regulations. Here are some of the most compelling reasons to consider buying a property in a retirement village. 102  Property & Home

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house when there are only one or two people living in it on a permanent basis may seem uneconomical.


You’re still on the property ladder

In comparison to moving into a residential care home and selling your house to cover future costs, buying a property in a retirement village means you will still own your own home. This means you will benefit from future house-price growth, as well as retaining an asset that you can pass on to your family in your Will.


You can still entertain

A retirement village is one option for care in later life that ensures couples (and often their pets too) can remain living together. You and your partner can find your own pace of life or level of interaction.


Access to help

One of the biggest attractions of a retirement village is the ability to obtain help whenever you need it. This could be anything from a helping hand when it comes to shopping, to the administration of medication.



There’s a great sense of community


You can stay as a couple

If you live in a large town or city, friends, activities and amenities can be quite a distance away making life seem quite disjointed. In a retirement village location, you know that those around you are in a similar situation, and your pace of life may match that of your neighbours, plus there may well be many interests and hobbies you share.

Living in a retirement village gives you a great opportunity to stay as independent as possible. You remain responsible for your home, and will be able to come and go as you please, as well as entertaining guests if you wish. Most retirement villages have a guest suite where children and grandchildren can stay.


Less reliance on your car

While residents in retirement villages are free to come and go as they please, the fact they have so many amenities on their doorsteps means they often no longer have any great need to drive or use public transport. You may also find that your retirement village offers complimentary or low-cost use of a car with a driver for any short trips you do need to make. ■

There’s plenty to do

Your retirement village is likely to have someone who coordinates and arranges events and activities. These can take place within the village or further afield and can be part of a larger, ongoing programme or a one-off, special event.


There’s excellent security

A retirement village is a safe and secure place to live, with someone always on hand to assist in emergencies. This provides great peace of mind not just when you are living in the village, but also when you are away visiting family.

Positive Choices

“Retirement communities are designed to keep older people connected and integrated with their local neighbourhood, friends, and family. The communities are much more than just bricks and mortar, they offer an attractive option for people who want to remain active and independent, with the option of support if required. As the UK’s pioneer of retirement communities, our mission is to create positive life choices for older people who want to live life their way for longer.” The level of care required in a retirement village is up to you   Property & Home  103

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The place to be you. Retirement Villages are welcoming communities that support active, independent living. Each of our 16 villages has a strong sense of community and an active social calendar, shaped by each and every one of our many happy residents.

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Have you ever found yourself thinking ‘that’s not for me’ only to discover you love it? It’s amazing how much we change over time. Many people feel like this about their lifestyle. Why change my life when I love it? Why worry about the future when the sun is shining? Retirement is a time for enjoyment. The time in our lives when we can focus on the things that are important to us. Travel, hobbies, friends and family. Whatever we value and enjoy. However, there is a negative preconception that community living means giving all that up. Changing my lifestyle. Slowing down. Re-evaluating my priorities. Nothing could be further from the truth. The whole idea of our communities is to provide choice, support and wellbeing. As time goes by you can simply dial up any care or additional support you may need, giving you the reassurance to maintain your lifestyle on your terms, for longer. Our 16 communities are full of character and are distinct in design with a unique sense of place. Whether it’s the magnificent riverside location of Thamesfield in Henley, Oxfordshire, the brand new Gradwell Park overlooking the stunning South Downs or Lime Tree Village in Warwickshire nestled in woodland.


Purchase and Rental options available

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It’s the characters living here which make them special. People who enjoy living life with a sense of purpose. From a pilot to lawyers and artists – our residents are from all walks of life and they shape the community culture and personality. Our villages offer many types of homes to suit your taste and budget, from spacious apartments and cottages built with style and function in mind as well as purchase and rental options. We know moving is a big step so we make it as easy as possible from start to finish including the chance to try-before-you-buy and our easy to move support service. 16 individual communities with busy social calendars Choose your style with apartments, bungalows and houses – old and new! Connected and integrated with local neighbourhoods and wider communities.

Chat to our lifestyle advisors to find out about our fun community open days, to book a personal tour and to hear about our current offers. 020 4526 8599

02/07/2021 13:41

The UK’s market leader in Fire and Carbon Monoxide protection Aico, an Ei Company, are leading the way in home life safety by pioneering new technologies and offering high quality alarms, developed and manufactured in Ireland. All alarms meet UK standards and offer a variety of sensor types to guarantee protection for every home, the cornerstone of which is delivering Education, Quality, Service and Innovation. Corporate Social Responsibility is a key focus for Aico; launching the ‘Aico in the Community’ initiative to help schools, colleges, charities and community organisations achieve their goals to help create safer communities and build sustainable futures. Aico does this through the core areas of Education, Business Enterprise, Volunteering, Charity and Environmental Impact. | 01691 664100 |

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The Dangers of CO

Every year there are around 60 deaths from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning in the England and Wales. What can you do to be safe? hh Maintain and service appliances. Boilers, cookers and heating systems should be installed and regularly serviced by a reputable, registered engineer. It is important not to attempt to install or service appliances yourself. hh Maintain chimneys and flues. Make sure all chimneys and flues are swept regularly by a qualified sweep. hh Engine exhaust fumes. To protect you from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by exhaust fumes do not leave petrol-fuelled lawnmowers or cars running in the garage. You should make sure your car’s exhaust is checked every year for leaks and make sure your exhaust is not blocked before turning the engine on (for example, after heavy snowfall) hh Carbon monoxide alarms. Install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home to alert you if there’s a carbon monoxide leak. Aico, an Ei Company, are the UK market leader in Fire and Carbon Monoxide protection, leading the way in home life safety by pioneering new technologies and offering high quality alarms, developed and manufactured in Ireland. All Aico alarms meet UK standards and offer a variety of sensor types to guarantee protection for every home, the cornerstone of which is delivering education, quality, service and innovation.

Carbon monoxide monitors are affordable life-savers

IMAGES: Dreamstime


arbon monoxide, or CO, is regularly called the ‘silent killer’, and with good reason. It is a poisonous gas that you can’t see, smell or taste. It can be emitted from appliances such as boilers and log burners when incomplete combustion occurs. This makes it more dangerous as you won’t know if your appliances are giving off the gas. Symptoms of CO poisoning such as dizziness, headaches, breathlessness, and nausea are often mistaken for flu as they are very similar in the early stages. But CO poisoning can lead to collapse, unconsciousness, and in the worst cases death. This is why household CO alarms are vital.

There are other sensible precautions you can take to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, such as avoiding using ovens or gas ranges to heat your homemaking sure that rooms are well ventilated and not blocking air vents. If your home is double-glazed or draught-proofed, make sure there’s still enough air circulating for any heaters that are in the room. ■ Test and service your carbon monoxide monitors regularly

Prevention It’s important to be aware of the dangers and to identify appliances in your house that could potentially leak carbon monoxide.   Property & Home  107

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Essential garden products and news, from outbuildings and furniture to hardscaping and seasonal safety tips

Plant Danger for Pets

Pet charities are warning that many common plants that flower in the summer can be dangerous or even fatal to pets. The Autumn Crocus is highly toxic and can cause severe vomiting, liver and kidney damage, and respiratory failure; feeding from Azaleas can result in vomiting, diarrhoea and excessive drooling, and there are some lilies which are particularly dangerous to cats. Get a complete guide to dangerous plants from animal aid charity Blue Cross.

Dome from Home

The unique Garden Igloo is a multi-purpose portable dome shaped structure that can transform your outside area and can be used as a stylish conservatory, gazebo, greenhouse, play area or outdoor storage space. As seen on The Gadget Show, the Garden Igloo shelter is sure to be a talking point at your next BBQ. The German-designed Garden Igloo Bio-Dome can be used in both winter and summer allowing you to create your own snug haven, and enjoy being outside all year! Cost is £999.

Down the Shed

By the time you read this the winner of the 2021 Shed of the Year competition should have been announced. The public voted for their favourites from a shortlist on www.readersheds. in this year’s round of the popular contest, sponsored by Cuprinol. The competition has been running for 15 years and now gets extensive media coverage, as the shed ideas get more outrageous and ambitious. Winners in previous years have included everything from a mock Roman villa to a pirate ship.

Gardening is Good for You

A new study by the University of Sheffield, Royal Horticultural Society and others concludes what gardeners all around the world know already – that gardening is good for you. The study, titled Why Garden? – Attitudes and the Perceived Health Benefits of Home Gardening says that frequent gardening activity boosts well-being and provides the same kind of physical fitness that we usually associate with more traditional workouts.

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Garden If you’re looking to beautfy your garden, here are some great ideas from a choice of surfaces to a folly of your very own

Fancy a folly?

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You don’t have to be an aristocrat to have a folly in your garden – in fact Alan Titchmarsh built two using Redwood Stone in his Love Your Garden programme, drawing inspiration from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s famous novel, The Secret Garden. Classic Redwood Stone Gothic folly and ruin designs designed and built in C18th style can be reimagined to create structures to enhance private gardens or commercial projects.

A New Eden Eden porcelain paving replicates the organic hues and variations of natural sandstone and slate. The Eden range complements natural outdoor spaces with a subtle, distinguished style that highlights the timeless aesthetics of natural stone. Eden is available in three ranges and seven colour options and has been specifically developed for the UK market, offering a 800 x 800mm plan size, linear single size and a mixed size patio pack.


Loving the Island

If you’ve been glued to ‘reality’ show Love Island on the TV this summer, it’s not too late to style your garden in villa vibes. Emmie Brookman, co-founder of stylists Silver Mushroom, suggests: “A few essentials that have remained similar in the villa every year – lounge chairs, swinging seats, mood lighting, day beds, and not forgetting the dreaded firepit. Super comfortable sun loungers provide luxurious seating that creates the outdoor heaven you’ve always dreamed of.”


Bee Alert

Gardener Michael Perry, also known as Mr Plant Geek, is working with Rowse Honey to promote the benefits of allowing weeds to grow freely in your gardens. Weeds may seem troublesome but they actually provide a plethora of benefits for wildlife in British gardens, from maintaining biodiversity to food production. Flowering weeds are perfect for pollinators like bees. Mr Plant Geek described his own front garden as a “bit controversial” as he allows various weeds to grow. “What is a weed anyway? This is totally subjective,” he said.

Hard and Fast SureSet is a pretty and practical paving option, suitable for many outdoor surfaces. Regardless of your project, this resinbound paving is permeable, attractive, low maintenance, and long-wearing with an excellent 21-year guarantee! SureSet offers the highest quality resin bound paving that is permeable, durable, UV stable, smooth and accessible, easy to maintain and SuDS compliant. A paving choice perfect for residential spaces that need hardscape solutions.   Property & Home  109

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THE ATMOSPHERE IS ELECTRIC... The new e-Ride C300 battery lawn tractor features in the new STIGA battery ride-on range and provides the perfect blend of power and comfort. With its powerful 48V 30Ah E-Power battery it will cut up to 1800 sqm in 45 minutes on one charge – zipping around the garden at a maximum speed of 9.5km/h. The compact 84cm cutting deck has 2 brushless motors and is belt and pulley free - supplying 3kW of consistent power to the twin blades, resulting in superior cutting performance. The smart vehicle management system ‘instructs’ the blades to switch off if the battery runs low, providing enough power to drive back to the shed! The large 240-litre grass collector means less trips to the compost heap and more time spent cutting your lawn. Easy to use, quiet and with minimum maintenance the new battery tractors from STIGA represent the future of lawn mowing.

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Summer Gardens


As the end of summer approaches it’s the best time to enjoy your garden – but there are still plenty of jobs to do

owards the end of summer, your garden should be in full bloom, your lawn in fine fettle and the kids on school holidays, so it’s time to enjoy all the hard work you have put into preparing the garden earlier in the year. But there are still plenty of annual tasks to do – here are a few to remember.

Top up ponds and bird baths Water will evaporate from ponds and birds baths in warm weather, but if water levels are regularly low you may have a leak which will require repair. In the short term, top up with rainwater collected in a water butt to save fish and birds. It may be that the clay pond lining has a crack in it, or an artificial liner has a leak, or that the pond is simply too shallow and needs deepening – many garden ponds started off as excavations and aren’t properly lined. If the pond is shaded, the trees will be drawing considerable water, shading the pond and casting leaf litter. Coppicing and de-silting may be a solution.

Water plants daily You should prune all summer flowering shrubs once the blooms are finished, and keep on top of weeds as they compete with your crops for nutrients and water. Top-heavy plants such as dahlias should be staked to prevent damage, and evergreen shrubs like camellias and rhododendrons watered thoroughly to make sure that next year’s buds develop well. Keep patio container plants watered well and feed with a liquid fertiliser every fortnight. Prune climbing roses and rambling roses once they’ve finished flowering (unless they’re repeat-flowerers, in which case you should leave them).

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LAWN MAINTENANCE If your lawn has had lots of use from parties and children’s games, practice “hollow tining” to mitigate the compaction of the soil caused by over-use. For very small lawns a garden fork can do the job, but for larger ones a mechanised aerator is recommended. When cutting, raise the height of the mower blades to keep long blades intact.

Tend to your veg If you raise vegetables, there’s plenty to do to keep them tasty and ripe. Sweetcorn should be watered regularly and fed with tomato food. Peppers, cucumber and aubergine plants need a high-potash fertiliser once fruits start to form, and tomato plants should have lower leaves removed to help with air circulation and prevent disease. Pinch out the top of tomato plants to concentrate the growth into the fruit that has already formed, aiming to leave five or six trusses of fruit per plant. Harvest courgettes before they become too big, and take cuttings of herbs such as rosemary, sage or mint now to bulk up supplies, putting cuttings in moist, well-drained potting compost in a cold frame. Finally, keep birds and squirrels off your berries with netting or old net curtains – they’ll be out enjoying the fruits of your labour too, unless to stop them! ■   Property & Home  111

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Alan Titchmarsh

The Gardener’s Gardener

We look at the gardening career of the horticultural expert, and ask how his garden wisdom can enhance anyone’s outdoor space


ow equally well-known as a novelist and a chat-show host, Alan Titchmarsh made his reputation as a gardener, and he’s arguably the expert everyone turns to in search of garden advice and information. Starting at 16 as an apprentice gardener for Ilkley Council, Alan graduated to the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, where he stayed until 1974, when he left for a career in gardening journalism – and hasn’t looked back since! From BBC coverage of Chelsea Flower Show to Gardeners’ World (partly filmed in his own garden), Ground Force and The Great British Village Show, along with his latest ITV series Spring Into Summer, Alan has established himself as the country’s top authority on all things gardening, and was awarded an MBE for services to horticulture and broadcasting in 2000. Alan’s latest venture is as the President of the Hampshire Gardens Trust, taking over from Gilly Drummond OBE, who has been President since 2010.



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Hampshire Gardens Trust Chairman, Ted Wake said: “Alan is one of the most respected and popular gardening gurus in the UK, and the Hampshire Gardens Trust is very fortunate he has signed up.” Outgoing President Gilly Drummond said: “This is a very joyful occasion for the Hampshire Gardens Trust, a new President, Alan Titchmarsh, whose track record on plants, gardens and above all, his ability to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to appreciate gardens, plants and green spaces is second to none.” Alan, who joined as a Life Member of the Trust in 2012, says “My admiration for the work of the Hampshire Gardens Trust – and of Gilly Drummond’s achievements – knows no bounds and I am honoured and delighted to take over from her as President… I’ll do my best to come up to scratch!” And speaking to Country Life, he said: “My own gardens have given me more pleasure this year than ever before. Were there really more birds singing or was it simply that working from home has made us notice them more?”

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Alan Titchmarsh’s Top Ten Tips


Over the years, Alan Titchmarsh has shared his wisdom through TV series, books and live presentations. We’ve rounded up some of his top tips, both on gardening, and on life!

“Nothing quite matches the sense of achievement when it comes to eating a crop that started life as a tiny seed in your hand” – BBC Gardeners’ World



“People say, ‘Why don’t you retire?’ And you say, ‘Well, if I retire, I’ll have to find something to fill the time’ – Yorkshire Post

“Companion planting uses one plant to enhance the growth of another, either by its very proximity or by attracting insects which would otherwise plague the main crop. It varies in its effectiveness, but it is certainly worth a try since every little helps in the war against pests” – BBC Gardeners’ World

THE LAND “I’ve always been a man of the land, ever since I was little boy, and I grew up in the Yorkshire Dales so the wider open spaces are my territory. To have a bit of land here and beyond that, I don’t take it for granted at all.” – Yorkshire Post


ON GARDENING “What is crystal clear to me is the role played by our gardens in preserving our sanity in these times of social privation. To gaze on a patch of earth as spring begins to unfurl its snowdrop wonders is to be held by a sheet anchor, however turbulent the daily news.” – Country Life ■

“To treat a bald patch on your lawn, you could just prick the bald patch with a fork and reseed it but that the grass could take a while to grow back. It’s much easier to replace it with a piece of turf that fits perfectly” – Alan Titchmarsh, Britain’s favourite Waitrose & Partners online gardener, and Finn from Manor Farm

LAWN PREPARATION “Lawns will dry out if you don’t prepare the ground before sowing. Preparation of the earth for either seeding or turfing is exactly the same. Fork it over and take out any big rocks and stones and any thick, deep-rooted perennial weeds.” – Waitrose & Partners Online

GARDEN EQUIPMENT “I’m the first to admit that if you have a big garden with lots of lawn, enormous trees and miles of hedges, then yes, hefty motor mowers, man-sized petrol-operated hedge trimmers, rotary trimmers, leaf blowers and even a giant shredder will save you time.” -

IMAGES: Hampshire Garden Trust; ITV

POND MAINTENANCE “Flag irises, water mint, bog bean and other marginals and bog plants must all be tamed and reduced a little and, although in the immediate aftermath the pond looks as if it’s done battle with a prizefighter, I know that, within a couple of weeks, the water will have settled.” – Country Life

HIS FAVOURITE PLANTS “Depending on the time of year, it might be a snowdrop, a daffodil, an iris, a peony or an oldfashioned rose. I have a fondness for old apple trees when they’re laden with their coconut-ice blossom” – Country Life   Property & Home 113

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10/08/2021 17:11

NO FUSS, JUST A PERFECT LAWN. Without the need for seed, weed or feed.

FIND US ONLINE: @namgrass

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Designed using the latest technology, our exceptional designers combine clever innovation and an eye for nature to develop an extensive range of grasses, offering the most natural look and feel, always.

As manufacturers of our own artificial grass, we ensure that our products are crafted to meet the highest industry standards, offering the perfect long-term solution for any garden.

There’s a whopping 10-year product and UV warranty with your Namgrass. So, you can enjoy your new lawn with ultimate with piece of mind.



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10/08/2021 12:37


Something Different

For Your Garden

When you’re planning a garden, there’s nothing more boring than a square lawn and rectangular flower beds – go crazy with some of our top design ideas.


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1.  Butterfly Garden Research your local butterfly species and to attract them plant colourful, nectar-producing flowers in sunlit areas sheltered from wind. Don’t forget some herbs such as parsley as food plants, and keep it organic – no insecticides, obviously!

Japanese rock garden to encourage introspection and meditation. Zen gardens emphasize the principles of naturalness (Shizen), simplicity (Kanso), and austerity (koko). Carefully raked sand or gravel with precisely placed rocks are the main elements - you can add plants, but keep them to a minimum and use low, spreading plants

2.  Water Garden

6. Roof Garden

Even if all you have to work with is a balcony, deck or patio, a water garden can work for you. Pep it up with a solar-powered fountain.

If you have a garage with a flat roof, make some use of it. You may need a roofing contractor to inspect it before installing planters and garden boxes, and make sure you have safe access and a system for irrigation and drainage.

3. Topiary Garden

IMAGES: Dreamstime, Masters of Games,


Whether you go for abstract shapes or realistic representations, topiary - cutting hedges into shapes – is endless fun. Start with perennials like holly, laurel, boxwood, and privet, and let your imagination go wild. Hint: you can build a chickenwire frame for your hedge to help define and retain the shape .

7.  Games Garden Create a games area using alternating colour slabs, or slabs alternating with lawn – a giant PVC chess set from www. costs £520, and for the kids, there’s a giant draughts set at £115.

4.  Car Garden If you have a wreck of a car, don’t waste it – turn it into a flowerbed, a garden hangout, or a hot tub.

5.  Zen Garden Don’t fancy cultivating plants? Turn your outdoor space into a

8.  Vegetable Patch The vegetable patch is equal parts attractive, functional and fun for the whole family. A colourful mixture of tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, peas and potatoes will help with the grocery bills while giving the kids something they can help with in the garden. ■   Property & Home  117

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Crazy Paving


You don’t have to have boring concrete slabs in your garden – go for some of our wild ideas to excite you underfoot

f you’re laying a patio or building a path in your garden, don’t make the mistake of assuming that you have to have dull, regular stonework. The range of textures, colours and shapes available is so great that with a bit of ingenuity you can come up with something unique and exciting. Try some of these ideas for interesting and unusual hardscaping:

IMAGES: Dreamstime

hh Vary textures, colours and patterns on a pathway. Use coloured gravels or planted areas between slabs. Modern lighting will highlight points of interest. hh Join circular paved areas of the garden to the patio with curved pathways. Tesselated slabs add interest and break up regular patterns. hh Contrast smooth, glossy porcelain slabs on patios with natural stone effect slabs in the garden areas. hh Slate forms a great background for planted areas, while sandstone creates a more comfortable feel for an outdoor seating area. hh Create patterns by laying square, rectangular and plank-shaped slabs in staged brick patterns. Plank-style slabs can also work when laid in a herringbone pattern reflecting interior flooring. hh Mixed paving packs with a selection of natural textures, colours and shapes help you to create unique looks. hh Rustic style, floorboard-pattern plank-effect slabs bring the inside outside, and are a great low-maintenance alternative to decking. Pair them with colourful planters. hh Cobbles are a great traditional look, but save yourself work by using cobble-effect carpet stones which go down like a paving slab, and can be grouted to look more authentic. hh Skip a paving slab now and again to leave a planted area for low-growing herbs, short grasses and bedding plants. hh Build a hopscotch area for the kids, or a checkerboard for garden games. ■

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Porcelain’s answer to natural stone. Eden Porcelain paving is inspired by the subtle, timeless aesthetics of natural stone, offered in both single and mixedsize patio packs.

Eden Sandstone Autumn Blend

Eden Slate Midnight Shadow & Clouded Sky

Replicating the organic hues and variations of natural stone paving, the Eden range complements natural outdoor spaces with it’s subtle, distinguished style. • 3 ranges • 7 colour options • Linear Single size packs & Mixed-size packs • 800x800mm plan size available in Eden Limestone • 20mm thickness Eden Limestone Porcelain




Eden Sandstone Porcelain

Autumn Blend

Spring Blend

Eden Limestone Mink

Eden Slate

Midnight Shadow

Clouded Sky

For technical information visit

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12/07/2021 16:00

Sponsored editorial

Brett Landscaping launches Invicta Brett Landscaping, one of the UK’s best known block paving manufacturers, has introduced the high performance Invicta range – a new block paving product ideal for contemporary driveways, patios and pathway projects. Brett Landscaping, one of the UK’s best known block paving manufacturers, has introduced the high performance Invicta range – a new block paving product ideal for contemporary driveways, patios and pathway projects. Invicta uses a unique combination of natural aggregates on the top-surface to create a hard-wearing, long lasting paving system that offers a stunning vibrant finish with a hint of sparkle in the sunlight. Brett’s manufacturing processes have been fine tuned to blend specially sourced aggregates to create new paving finishes which are unique to Brett Landscaping. The Invicta range is the first block paving product to use the new AggTech surface technology developed by the company. Through this new AggTech process unique natural aggregates are used on the surface of each paving block to create a stunning durable finish. The Invicta range is available in four colours: Pearl, Moonstone,

Onyx and Citrine. The colours are complementary so the different shades can be laid and arranged to meet a bespoke design brief, or to the preferred style and taste of the homeowner or client.

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Sponsored editorial

For added design flexibility the block paving will be available in five single size packs using 80mm thick blocks, with sizes ranging from: ●● 600x200mm ●● 300x200mm ●● 300x100mm ●● 200x200mm ●● 200x100mm There is also an Invicta Trio pack which is made up of three different block sizes in 60mm thickness: ●● 105x140mm ●● 140x140mm ●● 210x140mm

One of the first satisfied customers of the new range was paving specialist Dan Salt from M&S Paving, in Kent. Dan used Invicta Onyx on the driveway of his own home. “The finish is fantastic, it cuts smoothly, goes down nicely and blends really well – this product is a game-changer for block paving. “It’s great for using on a driveway, particularly on a slope, as it grips so well. It’s also a really good alternative to offer when customers ask for resin with block paving so much easier to repair. “There hasn’t been any efflorescence, no faults in the design and it blends really nicely. So many people have asked what the product is when walking past my drive - especially when the sun is shining and you can see the sparkles. You really need to see it in the flesh to see how good it looks.”

The paving blocks can be laid in a range of patterns and the premium surface mix creates a hard-wearing, high performance paving just as suitable for high foot traffic in a public realm project, using the 80mm blocks, as it is for a domestic setting using the 60mm blocks. Included as part of the Invicta range are additional Invicta Flow paving blocks which are manufactured with a unique nib design for applications where permeable paving and a SuDS solution is a requirement.   Property & Home  123

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10/08/2021 12:33


The Hot Topic

As garden waste charging becomes widespread, composting is becoming a hot issue – in more ways than one

Could hot composting save you garden waste charges?

Now there’s a new technique, ‘hot composting’, which speeds up the process and makes it a lot easier. Leading the way is British company Hotbin Composting. So what are the advantages of this method? hh Reduce the amount of waste you send to landfill and kerbside collection by hot composting, a great way to recycle garden and food waste into rich peat free compost for use at home or down on the plot. hh Fast, efficient and versatile composting can be achieved easily with the introduction of heat. The HOTBIN (available in 100l and 200l sizes) is a super insulated aerobic composter capable of achieving internal temperatures of 40-60c without the need for a plug-in heat source or any hefty tumbling or turning. hh Add a mix of materials, chopped organic waste (greens) into the

top, along with shredded paper/cardboard to control moisture and woody material to aerate the process (browns), and harvest compost and liquid fertiliser from the bottom. The hot aerobic process inside the HOTBIN speeds up composting reaching internal temperatures of 40-60c allowing a wider variety of waste to be added and making compost production up to 32 times faster than cold composting. Mulch is produced in around 30 days and a richer compost in 90. To start hot composting, feed the bin with a good mixture of chopped vegetable and/or garden waste along with brown materials and as the heat rises over time add in cooked food, including small bones and plate scrapings, and also tough perennial weeds. Fully sealed with a base, HOTBIN is a compact and tidy home composting solution that reduces the need for large open sprawling heaps. The award winning HOTBIN is designed and manufactured in the UK. So why not start home composting now? Recycle garden and unavoidable food waste into peat free compost, nurture your home plot by improving your soil and growing bee-friendly plants and home-grown fruit and vegetables, and save disposal charges too. It’s a garden waste win! ■

IMAGES: Dreamstime


any local authorities are starting to charge for the removal of organic waste, from £45 per year to over £75. If you’re used to filling a wheelie-bin with garden cuttings or waste food, now’s as good a time as any to look into composting. If you are a keen gardener, it has always made sense to compost your organic waste, turning it into a rich source of nutrients for your plants. But it can be a rather slow and messy process.

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Advertisement Feature

Start Composting and Reduce Waste Sent to Landf ill

How Composting Can Help You Turn an Outdoor Space into a Green One

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Why Choose HOTBIN? Say goodbye to messy, large compost heaps. Wheeliebin sized, the award-winning HOTBIN is compact and easy to use and requires no hefty turning or tumbling. HOTBIN reaches temperatures of 40-60°c so you can add all cooked food and garden waste to produce compost in just 30-90 days. Simply add chopped waste with paper and woody material and let HOTBIN do the hard work.

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Why Start Composting? Turn your outdoor living space into a eco-friendly one. Divert kitchen and garden waste away from landfill and instead recycle it into rich compost for use across your garden to grow vegetables and plants for pollinators.


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Head for Heights

Working at height in the garden can be perfectly safe - if you use the right equipment and procedures


ou should always use the right tools and equipment, and know the basics for safe working at height. When using ladders outdoors, it may be worth investing in a tripod design such as the Henchman, which is ideal for working on uneven ground. See working at height safety advice from the Health and Safety Executive at Owen Simpson of Henchman says: “Great care has to be taken to make sure you are working safely at height. Before climbing any ladder, it’s important to take a good look at the task and work out the safest way to tackle it. If the ground is soft or uneven, a traditional step ladder just isn’t safe as it is not designed for this type of terrain. “Henchman Tripod Ladders are different. Purposefully designed for uneven ground, each leg independently adjusts to create a level working platform even when you are working on uneven ground. At the top of the ladder is a platform and hip-high guard rail that allows you to stand and work safely with both hands free.”

Garden and home DIY Need to put up those new outdoor summer lights, take down the gazebo top cover or jet-wash windows after a bird strike? The lightweight, easy to move Henchman makes light work of all your DIY jobs inside and out. So, use the right equipment, set everything up carefully and always follow health and safety rules when working at height! ■

HENCHMAN’s TOP FIVE HIGH GARDEN JOBS Hanging baskets A Henchman tripod ladder is perfect to help you hang and maintain baskets safely, especially on soft and uneven terrain. Hedge maintenance A Henchman ladder is lightweight and easily portable. With its wide platform rung and top rail you can lean right over with both hands to operate a hedge trimmer safely.

Training roses and other climbers Having both hands free to work is essential when training, pruning or dead-heading climbing plants. The top rail on Henchman ladders and their stable design lets you reach over safely to concentrate on the task in hand.

Henchman ladders help keep David Austin Roses’ head gardener Stephen Parnham and team safe working at height

IMAGES: Dreamstime

Tree pruning Henchman ladders make it possible to overcome fear of ladders and prune your own trees with confidence. Ideal for fruit orchards, their pick-up-and-go lightweight design means you can work quickly and safely.

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02/07/2021 16:51


Property For All? Martin Roberts delivers his musings on the property market and life in general


’m often asked if ‘anyone’ can be successful in the world of property? A simple, exciting answer is ‘Yes’!! For me, that is one of the biggest advantages of this asset class and investment strategy. Anyone can create a new and positive financial future for themselves using property as the bedrock. You don’t need to be a ‘Grade A’ student. You don’t need a huge pot of money behind you. You don’t need to jack in everything else you’re involved in - jobs, friends, relationships - to make it happen. And you don’t have to have the business acumen of Warren Buffet or Sir Richard Branson or the mental agility of a Mastermind champion to make a huge success of it. Plus, it’s a lot more reliable and proven than the majority of the alternatives.

But what you do need is a reliable plan to follow, support from people with relevant experience and the correct mindset. Believing you can do it, and silencing all the negative demons we all harbour is a major part of the battle.

Education You also need to learn how to do it in the most effective, profitable and safe way. It always amazes me that some people view property education as some kind of ‘optional extra’. They think they can just stumble in to operating a property business without learning how to do it professionally. It’s bizarre when you think of the huge amounts of money at stake - often hundreds of thousands of pounds - to buy your raw product (a house, flat, commercial unit or plot of land).

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The same people presumably wouldn’t expect to be able to safely drive an articulated lorry, perform an operation, rewire a house or play a new musical instrument without dedicating some time, effort and money to learn how to do it. And yet, when it comes to dealing in property or property developing it’s a different story. I guess part of the problem is familiarity. Most of us have bought or sold a house at some point in our lives, or at least seen relatives or friends doing it. On one level, it’s not difficult. You find somewhere you like, you sort out your finances, the solicitors do their thing and ‘Hey Presto!’ you are the proud new owner of…. But there’s a world of difference from that approach and running a successful property business. In the same way that being able to apply a sticking plaster to an injured child’s knee does not extrapolate to performing brain surgery; or nipping to the post office with a few parcels does not provide the necessary expertise to run Eddie Stobart’s distribution business.

“Can anyone really be successful in property? Well, yes - with the right knowledge, education, strategy and support, I believe they can be.”

compliance more aligned with the financial services industry. And I’m proud to say that my Making Money From Property three day foundation course in property investment has just received CPD (Continual Personal Development) accreditation.

Success So, to come back to my original question. Can anyone really be successful in property? Well, yes - with the right knowledge, education, strategy and support, I believe they can be. So much so, that I’m planning a new TV show where I take people from all walks of life and financial backgrounds and turn them all into property millionaires. Can it be done? You’ll have to wait and see the TV show to find out. But in the meantime, can I suggest that with a bit of help and education, you really do have what it takes. Once you truly believe that, it all starts to get very exciting!! For more details about my property training courses, which you can start with a free introductory webinar or fasttrack yourself to a Foundation weekend or Advanced trainings (including a property auction course hosted by me), visit ■

IMAGES: Dreamstime, Martin Roberts

Training That’s why 15 years ago, I wrote a book called Making Money From Property in which I take readers on a step-by-step journey to becoming financially free through property. This then lead to the formation of my property training courses - now run with my team at Asset Academy. I wanted to take people on a much more structured and formalised educational journey than I’m able to do on Homes Under the Hammer, and set them on the road to financial freedom with the best possible start. And since I started doing my three-day Property Foundation courses, 14 years ago, well over 10,000 people have started their journey on the right footing. And a big percentage have gone on to huge success. Now, clearly having the route map is one thing, but it takes hard work, commitment, diligence, tenacity and perseverance to turn that map into a portfolio of properties. But the great news is, there is a map, and if you follow it, you will reach the treasure. A quick word of warning, though - lockdown, and our subsequent acceptance of online training and presentations, has led to an explosion of individuals offering ‘get rich quick’ and ‘do it my way and I’ll guarantee you’ll make millions’ property courses. Whilst some may do a reasonable job, many are nothing short of unscrupulous and won’t be around for long enough to provide the services they promise. That’s one of the reasons why I’m working hard to try to introduce some kind of regulation in to the property training world, and my company, Asset Academy, is setting professional standards and   Property & Home  129

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The retirement housebuilder you can trust Churchill Retirement Living is independently owned by the McCarthy family so heritage, passion, pride and quality are embedded throughout the company. A new Churchill lifestyle will mean no more worries about the maintenance to your property, simply sit back, relax and someone will take care of it. With over 20 years’ experience built on family values, trust and integrity, why choose any other retirement housebuilder? RETIREMENT APARTMENTS FOR SALE Berks Newbury; Bristol Fishponds; Bucks Aylesbury, Burnham, Marlow, Princes Risborough; Cambs Huntingdon; Cornwall Newquay, Penzance, Truro; Cumbria Penrith; Derbyshire Ashbourne; Devon Sidmouth, Tavistock, Torquay; Dorset Highcliffe-on-Sea, Shaftesbury; Essex Billericay, Frinton-on-Sea; Glamorgan Cowbridge; Gloucs Cheltenham, Thornbury, Yate; Gtr London Eltham, Selsdon; Hants Andover, Hythe, Lymington, Park Gate, Portswood; Herts Berkhamsted, Hitchin; Kent Dartford, Deal, Maidstone, Sittingbourne, Tonbridge; Leicestershire Market Harborough; Middlesex Pinner; Oxfordshire Abingdon-on-Thames, Thame; Shropshire Ludlow; Somerset Wells; Suffolk Haverhill; Surrey Ashtead, Bagshot, Camberley, Carshalton, Cheam, Leatherhead, Reigate, Shepperton, Staines-upon-Thames, Walton-on-Thames; Sussex Chichester, Eastbourne, East Grinstead, East Wittering, Haywards Heath, Littlehampton, Peacehaven; West Midlands Aldridge, Knowle, Quinton, Shirley; Wilts Chippenham, Malmesbury, Salisbury. COMING SOON - Cumbria Kendal; Essex Witham; Hants Farnborough; Kent Orpington, Paddock Wood, Rainham, Swanley; Northants Towcester; Oxfordshire Kidlington; Shropshire Bridgnorth; Somerset Taunton; Suffolk Bury St Edmunds; Surrey Great Tattenhams, Oxted; Wilts Calne. AWAITING PLANNING - Cheshire Handforth; Devon Barnstaple, Honiton, Totnes, Essex Saffron Walden; Hants Basingstoke, Drayton, Fareham, Fleet; Kent Broadstairs, Tenterden, Tonbridge; Norfolk Diss; Northants Brackley; Notts Beeston, Ruddington; Oxfordshire Bicester; West Midlands King’s Heath, Kings Norton, Shirley.


0800 377 7840

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