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NEW SEASON STYLE: What’s hot right now OCTOBER 2018

Real HOMES M a k e your dre a m home a re a lit y

‘we blew our budget’ readers reveal why it was worth it

bold unique creative inspiring spaces perfect for modern family living

Statement deco ideas for renters | How to get the best night’s sleep | Sliding doors | Budget buys for bedrooms | Are dark colours easy to live with? | Add a touch of luxe with an en suite | Two-storey extensions25you’ll love | How to get your home on TV


make a blackboard wall top of your wishlist




inside the homes of instagram icons


seph Joseph receive a Jo chopping board set

enough, you arrive at the one that you know is in it for the long run. The one that makes you realise that not everything has to be perfect all the time, but can still make you happier than you thought possible when you walk in after a day at work. So I’ll take the annoying door, noisy pipes and toy-strewn rooms, because this one’s definitely a keeper. Beth Murton Acting Editor @BethMurton

how i’ve framed it this month Last issue’s free print is the perfect addition to my gin bar. How will you style your free print (page 18) this month? Show me the results using #sorealhomes



u subscribe – worth £30 when yo see page 126


from the editor


ecently I’ve come to the conclusion that I often have something of a love-hate relationship with my house. For the most part, I love every bit of my home and how it makes me feel when I’m in it, but there are days when even the most trivial of things can drive me to distraction. The way the understairs cupboard has an annoying habit of swinging open and blocking the front door so you can’t get back in the house; the pipework that knocks noisily against a floor joist when the heating’s on, or the fact that some days the kids’ toys seem to take over every room. But isn’t that what all successful relationships are like? It’s about taking the rough with the smooth, learning how you can work together, and hopefully the good times should easily outweigh the bad in the long run. It’s taken several years of experience, mistakes (and heartbreak), however, to reach this vital understanding. Of course, finding the right one is always a case of trial and error. There’s the first love, the one that stands out in your memory. For me, it was the very first space I got to live in on my own, with no annoying brothers to invade my privacy. It may only have been a house share at university where personalising the bare, uninspiring bedroom meant covering the walls in posters (plenty of Oasis, it was the mid-90s in Manchester after all), but it felt amazing. Then, over the years, there are the ones that were perfectly fine at the time but you’re relieved you’ve moved on from now. The rented London flat with awful raspberry-painted walls, chosen by the landlord because they thought it brightened up the windowless kitchen, or the flat by the trainline where the walls shook every night at 11.30pm when the freight train went past. And then there’s the one that got away. The house that made you swoon as soon as you saw it, but that ultimately you knew just wasn’t right for you and would only go on to break your heart (and your bank balance) if you went any further. Until eventually, if you’re lucky

s t n e t n co 30

Style agenda

Inside track 13


Why creating a chalkboard wall is simpler than you’d think


Go global with the latest earthy, free-spirited nomadic trend


Easy update Wallpaper your bookcase for some statement pattern in your rented pad

home truths Introducing our new monthly columnist, Lisa Dawson

61 25

tribe vibes

#nowtrending Let’s be friends on social media


Sunday project

news The products and trends that grabbed our attention this month



hello yellow

Five ways... Having children will change your life (and home) forever

The notice-me hue that’s stepped off the catwalk and into our homes

63 dusky hues 27

Rock ‘n’ roll florals

Create a calm sanctuary using this season’s palette of softer shades

Shop the edgy yet glamorous twist on our favourite blooms

64 29

New buys on the block The latest bedroom trends and how to get the look on a budget



adding an en suite The perks of having a bathroom that’s just for you


Hero house Find out why we’re lusting after Theresa Gromski’s terraced home


The big debate Are dark walls easy to live with?



‘our budget grew out of control’ Three readers on the projects that stretched their money to the limit


#Sorealhomes Share your home with us on Instagram using our new hashtag

s t n e t n co project advice

home life 71

129 Extension of the month

My favourite corner

A striking textured brick effect that’s caught our eye

A reader shares the part of her home she loves the most

131 the report 72

Real Home

The latest kitchen and bathroom products and news, plus ideas for your project

We reveal the inspiration and secrets behind Lisa Dawson’s Insta-famous house


139 Focus on fireplaces 85

over to you

How to create a fabulous feature that keeps your home cosy, too

Our readers tell us about their worst DIY mistakes


143 Guide to two-storey extensions

Plastic (not) fantastic


Think big with an addition that could change the way you live

How to make sustainable choices when furnishing your home

156 Design clinic 90


Real Home

Our expert advice for solving your project dilemmas

Carlo Viscione turned a school building into a unique space

159 The edit 102 night, night sleep tight

Take your pick from the latest vinyl floors and showerheads

Tips on always getting that elusive eight hours sleep a night

163 guide to sliding doors

106 Real Home

Invite your garden into your home with these sleek solutions

Georgia and James Broome’s love of travel inspired their home

178 At home with… 117 Make your home pay for itself

Quick-fire questions with fitness expert Joe Wicks

How to get your property cast in movies, adverts and photoshoots


120 Real Home The Brooks family dine under the stars in a stunning glass box-style extension

SUBSCRIPTION OFFER Receive a Joseph Joseph chopping board set worth £30 when you subscribe – see page 126



Free Expert Advice Masterclasses from the specialists Daily Seminars

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Pho tograp h: Jody Stewart

WORTH up to £18*

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Get your 2 FOR 1 TICKETS worth £18* visit homebuildingshow.co.uk/tickets and quote RHOCT



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art Head of art Billy Peel Senior art Editor Emily Smith art Editor Karen Lawson rEalHomES.com Editor in chief Lucy Searle associate Editor Lindsey Davis Staff Writers Anna Cottrell, Hebe Hatton and Emily Shaw Video Producer Matt Gibbs adVErtiSiNG aNd EXHiBitioNS SalES Media packs are available on request commercial director Clare Dove clare.dove@futurenet.com Print & digital Sales director Jackie Sanders jackie.sanders@futurenet.com 01527 834426 Print & digital Sales manager Rebecca Vincze rebecca.vincze@futurenet.com 01527 834415 Key account manager Debra Greer debra.greer@futurenet.com 01527 834424 Exhibitions Sales director Hellen Roche hellen.roche@futurenet.com 01527 834418 iNtErNatioNal Real Homes is available for licensing. Contact the International Department to discuss partnership opportunities international licensing director Matt Ellis matt.ellis@futurenet.com SUBScriPtioNS Email enquiries contact@myfavouritemagazines.co.uk UK order line and enquiries 0344 848 2852 overseas order line and enquiries +44 (0)344 848 2852 online orders and enquiries myfavouritemagazines.co.uk crm director Louise Dudield director of acquisitions Sharon Todd circUlatioN Head of Newstrade Tim Mathers ProdUctioN Head of Production Mark Constance Production Project manager Clare Scott advertising Production manager Joanne Crosby digital Editions controller Jason Hudson Production manager Vivienne Calvert maNaGEmENt Brand director Paul Newman Editorial director Jason Orme chief operations oficer Aaron Asadi managing director commercial, Events and B2B Ben Greenish commercial Finance director Dan Jotcham PriNtEd BY William Gibbons & Sons

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ISSN 1464 - 4061 We are committed to only using magazine paper which is derived from responsibly managed, certiied forestry and chlorine-free manufacture. The paper in this magazine was sourced and produced from sustainable managed forests, conforming to strict environmental and socioeconomic standards. The manufacturing paper mill holds full FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certiication and accreditation All contents © 2018 Future Publishing Limited or published under licence. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any way without the prior written permission of the publisher. Future Publishing Limited (company number 2008885) is registered in England and Wales. Registered ofice: Quay House, The Ambury, Bath BA1 1UA. All information contained in this publication is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Future cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. You are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price of products/services referred to in this publication. Apps and websites mentioned in this publication are not under our control. We are not responsible for their contents or any other changes or updates to them. This magazine is fully independent and not afiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein. If you submit material to us, you warrant that you own the material and/or have the necessary rights/permissions to supply the material and you automatically grant Future and its licensees a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in any/all issues and/or editions of publications, in any format published worldwide and on associated websites, social media channels and associated products. Any material you submit is sent at your own risk and, although every care is taken, neither Future nor its employees, agents, subcontractors or licensees shall be liable for loss or damage. We assume all unsolicited material is for publication unless otherwise stated, and reserve the right to edit, amend, adapt all submissions.


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l a e R s e m Ho just a k c i l c y a w a




TEXTURAL HEALING We’re relishing the autumnal trends and have been eyeing up lots of lovely layering in oh-so-strokable materials, perfect for cosying up this season. This new range from Debenhams features harmonious hues of mint, sot pink and litle jewel tone pops here and there that are just right when mixed with cool greys – it can really refresh a room.

Kempton sofa, £520; Kempton pink chair, £370; Kempton grey chair, £370; Ives rug, from £120; Parquet cofee table, £200; Juno loor light, £200; Mint throw, £25, Debenhams


Green fringed throw, £25

Trending Tones Take a voluptuous dive into the season with the latest from Debenhams. That pink cushion’s shaggy enough to chew your shoes!

Mongolian cushion, £45

faux fern in ceramic pot, £40


Glazed tray, £14

FAMILY DAY OUT The Glorious Glowing Lantern Parade, BeWILDerwood, Hoveton, Norfolk, Sat 13 – Wed 31 October

For last-minute homeware props… Faversham-based antiques shop, Barrows – it’s just down the road and has the loveliest selection of antiques. H&M home is great for adding to more individual purchases. Quick delivery, too. Great for art prints… I like the work of Beau Gervais who has a shop on Big Cartel. Lovely abstract female forms, and she does prints as well as originals. Ellen Von Wiegard does a monthly print subscription with a mini surprise each month.


Walls painted in Pall Mall 309, chair in Trumpet 196, £43.50 for 2.5ltrs absolute mat emulsion, Litle Greene

Litle Greene is launching a palete of glorious green paints this autumn and included will be 20 original colours produced in collaboration with the National Trust. Inspiration has been drawn from Beatrix Poter’s Cumbrian farmhouse and George Bernard Shaw’s revolving writing hut, to name but two.

Ones to watch… Aerende – a beautifully curated online shop selling homewares made in the UK by people facing social challenges. Milkwood, Margate – a home goods brand based in Margate (its shop has just opened) using natural botanical ingredients. My fave local shop… Apotheca, Faversham. A stunning apothecary selling potions and remedies, mugs and measuring bowls by ceramicist Lucy Ruter, as well as fair-trade baskets. For the best value homewares I like… Faversham antiques market. It runs on the irst Sunday of the month and has a great selection of local traders and reasonable prices.


I always walk away with something from... I can’t click onto Made & Good and not put something in my basket. Sainsbury’s Home oten has that efect on me, too!

PLANT CORNER Moving up a gear this month, we’re entering the heady world of ‘intermediate’ plant care with anglian Home Improvements help. read on for tips on tending foliage plants. HOME: Keep out of draughts. Not too much sunlight, unless they’re slow growing WATERING: Water when compost is nearly dry. Mist tropical foliage daily GENERAL CARE: remove damaged/ yellow leaves. If leaves are dry, try more light.



Seedsandstitches.com blogger and interior stylist Hannah Bullivant reveals her go-to stores and makers

Spend Halloween half-term in the woods, exploring this pleasantly spooky (but not scary) forest event. By day, explore treehouses, lakes, mazes, ride zip wires and enjoy crafts. At dusk, parade along a winding trail carrying lanterns you’ve made to light the way. Adults, £16.50; children, £14.50.




Evie gold glass pendant light, £55, Matalan

Mixing lifestyle, fashion and interiors, we’re enjoying every bit of @urbanoutiters. Inspirational imagery and scarily cool fashions abound (corduroy lares and Britney Spears T-shirts anyone?) in this achingly in-touch feed.

Feather collection bar cabinet, £2,598, Anthropologie

save v spend For a golden glow even when the light’s turned off, try a striking ceiling pendant with a burnished top

E HACK M O pboard h cu an d

Östernäs tanned leather handles, £10 for a pack of two, Ikea

Welsh designer Bethan Gray has teamed up with the masters of upmarket, off-beat homeware, Anthropologie, for a range inspired by Indigenous American patterns and motifs. The carefully curated collection includes rugs, a feather bar cabinet, curvaceous mirrors and furniture, all in cool, calming tones of blue-green and ivory

Update your kitchen cupboards in the blink of an eye with some sot leather handles. Change the look of cabinets and drawers with these litle beauties to give your furniture a stylish new lease of life. 17


Cool collab

s le

THE £10 H

Bale amber pendant light, £295, Enrico Zanolla

WORK DRINKS JIN BON LAW SKY BAR, ALDGATE HIGH STREET, LONDON If sipping cocktails in the clouds is your thing, then head on up to new rootop bar, Jin Bo Law. Bringing asian-inluenced lavours and glamour to the capital, not to mention a huge golden pineapple-dominated interior, it’s the perfect place to perch above the skyline. Located on the 14th loor of the new Dorset City hotel, enjoy opulent interiors and dark marble loors while appreciating a creatively mixed drink or two.


SERVE: riya drinks trolley, £299, John Lewis

Create a litle sky barstyle magic at home with some of these chic picks

MIX: Iko Cocktail shaker, £24, Oliver Bonas

OPEN: Pineapple botle opener in gold, £8.50, Talking Tables emporium

audren Berbère cushion cover, £36, La redoute

SITTING PRETTY Devotees of the ever popular Afaw rug from La Redoute will be thrilled to hear that she’s had a baby sister, and one who’s just as stylish. The Audren Berbère cushion is made of pure wool with Moroccan-inspired pattern.

Book worm Insta-Style for your Living Space by Joanna Thornhill, (CICO Books, £9.99) Refurb your home with budgetfriendly upcycling ideas to create rooms you’ll want to show off. Inspirational and practical advice on transforming your space and honing your style without spending a fortune is at your fingertips.

The perfect spot We’re feeling the love for the free prints given away with our new-look Real Homes. Whether hung up or perched on a shelf, they look gorgeous. There’s another to pull out this month, so don’t forget to share using #sorealhomes


ur yo nd e m a Fra rint he p e st fre ow u on g h s ult sin res am u es r m ho tag ins real #so

#SOREALHOMES Our first Instagram hashtag competition with Amara was a real hit, and we loved seeing snaps of your amazing homes. It was hard to pick a favourite, but this month, this beautifully styled sideboard that’s been lovingly restored caught our eye, and won its owner £200 in Amara vouchers. Prints artfully arranged to hide an unsightly TV? Genius!

Want to win a prize of your own? Keep an eye on our feed for next month’s competition

g n i d n e r t w #no REALHO JOIN THE COMMUNITY ON






Rest easy with our top bedroom tips, from how to design your sleeping space to the best tech solutions for a good night’s sleep. Zzzzz… realhomes.com/bedroom

Extending your home can be a tricky business. Make it simple with our expert guides to planning, budgeting, designing and decorating your new addition. realhomes.com/extensions

Bargain deals Shopping smart doesn’t get much easier than this. The best deals on everything from mattresses to broadband. realhomes.com/deals

Spindle bed, from £945, Loaf

Transformed spaces Whatever project you’re working on, we’ve got the answers to all your questions – whether that’s choosing sliding doors, adding an en suite or tiling a fireplace. 21

home truths

LISA DAWSON performance was the fact that I forgot to buy a wallpaper brush and had to use a shoe duster. A minor setback. Occasionally, my gung-ho approach can lead me into unknown territory. Our sitting room came with the Handy Andy of Pinner and a man a cream carpet – totally unsuitable who could fit a triple wardrobe with for a family of five whose children are vanity alcove and mirror lighting before prone to eating chocolate Hobnobs you could say 6cm MDF plywood. When and a Lhasa Apso dog who is prone not carrying out his day job in the to stealing and regurgitating them. Senior Civil Service, he would plumb In exasperation, I used a screwdriver bathrooms, lay patios, cable electrics to peel up the corner and discovered and install kitchens. So you’ll fully the original floorboards from 1759. I appreciate that when I met my husband, decided that the only thing to do was to Joe, the benchmark was pretty high. bring the boards back to their original However, it wasn’t long before I realised beauty by sanding them. Two days, 200 that I’d married a man who barely sanding sheets, a ruined manicure and recognised a rawl plug, and whose a pair of broken Havaianas later, I was understanding of a spirit level was done. It wasn’t the greatest job in the a large gin and tonic. world, but I’d done it alone and within Over the years, Joe has tried a budget. Winning. hard to up his home So what are my improvement skill ‘the fact top tips to make your levels. But not even home improvement the Which? How To I forgot to buy attempts more Do DIY book and a DIY than SOS? top-of-the-range a wallpaper • Trust your Stanley Mobile tool kit instincts. I have a fear can disguise the fact brush and had of hidden electrics that he’d rather chop to use a shoe after seeing my dad off his own head than electrocute himself get the drill out. I once duster was A by drilling near a light left it to my mum to switch. Unless you are help him put a TV on minor setback’ totally confident, step the wall as the stress away from the drill. was too much and I • Know your limits. My hallway has feared divorce. I returned to find a 30ft ceiling drop. Rather than risk they’d used the wrong drill bit and injury working on ladders precariously were stuffing bits of kitchen roll into positioned across banisters, I hired a what looked like sink holes in the wall. decorator who knew what he was doing. Subsequently, I’ve embarked on And who had appropriate insurance. many a DIY job myself over the years. • Be a can-do person. So much I’ll try pretty much anything before I of DIY is just trial and error. Who make the decision to find a man who cares if you get it wrong? You can fill can (i.e. not my husband). A few years a hole, you can repaint a room. Try ago, I ventured into wallpapering. Our before you call in the tradesmen. downstairs toilet was adorned with a My next challenge? I’m stripping burgundy rose textured monstrosity the dining room wallpaper and tiling which made my eyes bleed. One our home bar, a job I haven’t tried morning, I decided that enough before, but I’m looking forward to was enough. It took me 10 minutes proving I can. And what’ll Joe be doing? to banish the flock, half an hour to pop He’ll be standing behind it, cheering out for wallpaper and three hours to me on with a large gin and tonic. put it up. The only thing that stopped FOLLOW LISA @_lisa_dawson_ it being an award-winning decorating


My dad was absolutely brilliant at DIY. He was the Nick Knowles of his time,


Take a tour of Lisa’s home on page 72

Kingdom Lion wallpaper, £50 per roll, Graham & Brown

Kolton accent chair in Yolk Yellow, £449, Made.com Classic poplar wood shuters in custom paint, from £178 per m2, California Shuters

Design Project No.068 tall brass vase, £20; Wedgwood Wonderlust Tonquin bowl in yellow, £40, both John Lewis

Throw with pom-poms, £30, M&Co Bardot yellow glass pendant lamp, £39, Cult Living

raawii Strøm yellow ceramic jug, £56, Matchesfashion.com

Ocrul wool rug in ecru/yellow, from £199, La redoute

HELLO YELLOW Gen-Z yellow has stalked of the fashion catwalk and into our homes. This notice-me hue is a sunny addition to any interior

Modern Love Yellow Pelican cushion in coton and wool, by Sarah Arnet and Kim Hunt, £135, rume

Mustard Jar coloured emulsion, £18 for 2.5ltrs, Crown

Peter three-seater chaise in Tweety Bird brushed Italian coton, £1,380, Perch & Parrow


style it now If you like matching your home/fashion accents to your marigolds, here are some other ways to bring more of this joyful colour into your life

RIDE Take a spin on an Electra Amsterdam Forget-Me-Not 3i ladies’ three-speed electric bike, £625, Trek Bikes

WEAR Bater up! Try on the new Era LA Dodgers yellow and green cap, £17, Urban Outiters


NIBBLE We think these Hotel Chocolat lemon cheesecake chocolates, £3.95 a bag, taste as good as they look


Warley table lamp, £85; Drum silk safron shade, £45, Habitat

Rural Retreat faux clematis arrangement, £15, Sainsbury’s Home

Charm loral midnight blue light shade, £32, Dunelm

Black loral shower curtain, £52, Rocket St George

Star by Julien Macdonald loral double duvet cover, £45; pair of pillowcases, £20; cushion, £28; Chester plush headboard, from £730, all Debenhams

Floral still life framed print, £32, Audenza

Inky loral clock by eleanor Soper, £30, Art Wow

Florika velvet fabric in Onyx Black and multi, £120 per m, House of Hackney

Boho & Co Floralism Iris velvet drumstool, £250, Angel & Boho

ROCK ‘N’ ROLL FLORALS Go wild for flowers with this edgy yet glamorous trend and surround yourself with dark blooms Versie loral patern velvet king-size headboard, £1,258, Out there Interiors

Clarke & Clarke Monika chair in Ava Black, £399, Oasis


style it now Growing to love these goth-rock flowers? Here are some more ways to cultivate this opulent look

Burleigh Calico teacup and saucer, £25, Soho Home

SCENT A few dabs of Floral Street Iris Goddess eau de parfum and you will smell like a heavenly creature, from £22, John Lewis

WEAR Slip into the darkness in this Biba Jacquard loral cape back jacket, £140, House of Fraser


SCRIBBLE Record your thoughts, dreams or song lyrics in the Ditzy loral scater notebook by Danielle Kroll, £12.99, Papier


A by Amara dark loral cushion, £50, Amara

New buys on the

BLOCK Take your pick from this season’s key bedroom trends and shop the look at your favourite high-street stores




› ›

Tiles cushion, £8, Wilko

Black wavy frame, £17.99, Zara

Teal Isla chair, £135, Dunelm

› Fejka artiicial poted plant, £6, Ikea

Hanging wooden lantern, £18, Matalan

Salvage wire shelf, £38, Next

Mathew Williamson pendant, £95, Debenhams

Gallery Edge round mirror tray, £35, John Lewis

Geometric Cinabar cushion, £5, B&Q

› Conscious paterned rug, £19.99, H&M

Louise grape velvet quilt, £240, Laura Ashley



Koi Lilies double duvet set, £12, George

Novara bed, £299; Nomadic artiicial small ceramic succulents, £6, both Argos. For similar bedlinen, try Indigo patchwork, from £15.20, Clarissa Hulse

Erica cherry blossom velvet double duvet cover, £90; assorted pillowcases and cushions, from £20; Scallop gold chain light, £295; pink facet vase, £35, all Biba at House of Fraser


Hastings metal double bed, £199; Sandford marble square nest of tables, £199; Emmet loor lamp, £89; Smudge print bed set, £59; Colour block knit throw, from £45, all M&S

CHARACTER BUILDING Using her eye for design, Theresa Gromski has transformed her Edwardian home from a bare shell into a stylish and creative space for her growing family


Profile THE OWNERS Theresa Gromski, a freelancer illustrator and owner of Theresa Gromski Illustrations, lives here with her husband, Tom, a service delivery manager, their daughter, Anais, two, and Theresa’s son, Arlo, six THE PROPERTY A four-bedroom extended Edwardian terraced house in Bournville, Birmingham




TOTAL PROJECT COST Approximately £60,000


why theresa’s house has won us over ... Putting your own stamp on a property isn’t all about changing structural elements or reconfiguring entire layouts. In fact, since Theresa Gromski bought her Edwardian terraced house back in 2013, she has mainly focused her energy on transforming the interior through cosmetic changes to modernise the space and make it her own. Aside from adding a generous loft extension with an en-suite bathroom, Theresa hasn’t altered the footprint of the rest of the house since buying the property. The existing kitchen-diner extension, completed by the developer who sold the house to Theresa, offers an open-plan area that acts as the heart of the home, while having a separate living room and snug means there’s space for the family to spread out and do different things. Theresa’s love of boho and vintage style shines through in every room, and she has curated a wonderful collection of decorative pieces over the years that add character and personality to every corner of her home. Colour and texture work in harmony to bring the space to life, and she’s used artwork throughout to tell stories of the family’s travels and passions. Buying from a developer, the house was neutral and bare when Theresa first moved in, but we love how she’s successfully taken on the challenge of turning a blank canvas into character-filled spaces, starting with a few key pieces of furniture and gradually adding accessories to ensure each room feels homely, personal and full of charm. Theresa reveals how she’s put her creative skills to good use...

Over to theresa...

When I bought the house ive years ago, I was a single mum with a young son, so didn’t want to take on a big renovation project. This property was in a great location and had been completely inished by a developer. Arlo and I could move straight in, and I had lots of ideas about how I wanted to decorate it. Having the kitchen already extended was a big plus. Ideally, I would have liked to add a bigger side-return extension but budget constraints put me of, and doing it now would mean ripping out a kitchen that is in good condition. The cabinetry and worktops that were ited are from Ikea and are fairly neutral, which meant I could decorate the rest of the room to suit my own tastes. The chalkboard wall was originally designed as a place for the children to scribble, but now I use it as a blank canvas to create diferent illustrations as part of my business. I change the design regularly to it it in around events that are happening in our lives, such as birthdays or anniversaries. The kitchen-diner has a lovely low and naturally directs you out into the garden. The high sloping ceiling helps create an illusion of space and it’s amazing how much daylight ilters in through the skylight.

Right Ringhult kitchen cabinets and oak worktops, Ikea. Classic dual-fuel double cavity range cooker CR9209, Caple. Rust-Oleum chalkboard paint, Homebase. Whitaker Street tiles in charcoal (used for splashback), Tons of Tiles Reclaimed industrial wood and metal dining table, Rcc Furniture. Dining chairs, vintage; for similar, try the varnished steel Tolix dining chairs, La Redoute





Picking a common material like exposed wood for doors, tables and worktops can bring harmony to an eclectic scheme


‘I C H A N G E D W



E . W I N D OW S H U





Having a separate living area was a big selling point for me when I bought the house. The developer had painted the walls white. I quickly changed this to a light grey to soten the tone slightly, and I had Hillarys window shuters installed to give a nod to the period of the property. The ireplace isn’t the original but it provides a beautiful feature nonetheless. Tom built the window seat, which makes great use of otherwise wasted space, and also put loating shelves in the alcove. Because I wanted this room to remain calm and tranquil, I have kept the palete muted. I’ve amassed quite an eclectic collection of furniture and accessories over the years, as I love to mix the old with the new and build up a story. One of my favourite vintage pieces is the chandelier in the living room, which makes a real focal point.

If you have a bay window, creating a seat in it ofers extra storage and space for guests without clutering the room

share your home with us on instagram using #sorealhomes


let and right For a similar sofa, try the Benita, DFS. Katherine Carnaby Coast diamond rug in charcoal, Modern Rugs. Lille armchair in Misty Grey, Swoon Editions. For a trunk, try the Boutique trunk chest, Shropshire Design. For a similar mirror, try the Venetian wall mirror, Woodpecker Interiors. For a Gluggle ish jug, try Country & Home. Blush Mongolian sheepskin runner, Suburban Salon


The layout of the house meant there was room for Arlo to have his own bedroom, with a small nursery down the corridor for Anais. Decorating them was a lot of fun, and they’re constantly evolving as the children grow. I love making homemade quilts, sot furnishings and bunting using vintage fabrics. The cabin bed in Arlo’s room has a play area underneath, which makes a fun space for him. Tom is planning to build a similar cabin bed for Anais when she grows out of her cot, and we’ll decorate the wall with a large loral mural.

Christopher Midsleeper treehouse bed, Noa and Nani. For a similar rug, try the red slumber Marl rug, Dunelm. Kallax shelving unit, Ikea. For a similar chair, try The Inventors red kid’s rocking chair, Only Home. For vintage-style bunting, try Not on the High Street




When I was pregnant with Anais, Tom and I decided we wanted an extra bedroom and bathroom for guests, so extending into the lot made perfect sense. We had an architect draw up plans and obtained permission from the neighbours on one side with no problems, but were refused by our other adjoining house, which caused a litle setback in the timescale. We altered the plans, moving the conversion 90cm of the party wall, to resolve the issue. The build took four weeks and ran smoothly – a huge relief given that I was eight months pregnant! The architect recommended installing a sun tunnel to bring light into the lot stairwell, a Juliet balcony and full-length window. It gives a great view over the garden and, on a clear day, all the way to the city centre. This space combines my love of all things vintage, boho and rustic. I spent a lot of time researching pieces to go in it. It doubles up as an oice where I work on my illustrations; it’s such a peaceful space to escape to and concentrate on my projects.

Walls painted in Night Jewels 3, Dulux. Wooden bedside table, Ebay. Sinnerlig pendant light, Ikea. For a similar metal bed frame, try the Isabel in Stone White, Happy Beds. Wooden wall art, Judyta Deco at Etsy


Skylights flood this bathroom with light so the room doesn’t feel trapped beneath the sloping ceiling. Working with the shape of the extension, a walk-in shower fits in neatly at the end of the room. I wanted vintage-inspired tiles to tie the room in with the rest of the house, and the design I chose gives it that traditional feel. A slim vanity unit leaves plenty of floor space. I’ve included several other vintage finds, including the wooden chest from Ebay and my grandparents’ wall mirror, passed down through the generations. I’ve found that house plants thrive in this part of the house so they have become a big part of my styling in here, too!

TOP TIP Tropical plants thrive in the humid atmosphere of a bathroom, even ones lacking sunlight, adding colour and freshness

Right and far right Grey Devon Stone floor tiles; Metro XL graphite grey gloss wall tiles, both Tons of Tiles. The Bath Co. Camberley white vanity unit with basin; Orchard Wharfe close coupled WC; The Bath Co. Camberley radiator, all Victoria Plum. Woven bowl, TK Maxx








TOP TIP Find a local carpenter to custom fit your wardrobes – you’ll get the style you want and you can make use of awkward spaces


This bedroom was painted a very dark, strong blue and just wasn’t to my taste. I repainted it and had custom wardrobes ited around the chimney breast by a local carpenter to avoid the need for clunky freestanding cupboards. I wanted them to be in keeping with the property and chose a classic panelled design. With my heart set on having a statement bed, I managed to source the wooden sleigh frame at a bargain price on Ebay ater many hours of searching. To pull the scheme together, I introduced texture and patern through boho-inspired pieces, such as the leather buterly chair, ratan pendant and tribal-print bedside rug. The string of festoon lights makes a great alternative to bedside lamps and the opaque bulbs give of a lovely sot glow in the evenings.

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let and right For a similar bedframe, try the Orleans white wooden bedframe, Dreams. Walls painted in Chalk Blush mat emulsion, Dulux. Festive Lights festoon party lights, Amazon. For a similar buterly chair, try the leather armchair in Camel, Maisons du Monde. For a similar mirror, try Horsfall & Wright’s chunky framed mirror, Not on the High Street

Contacts Lot Alvaston Lot Conversions, 01922 402720, alvastonlotconversions.co.uk Kitchen Ikea, 020 3645 0000, ikea.co.uk Tiles Tons of Tiles, 01752 785623, tonsotiles.co.uk Bathroom itings Victoria Plum, 0344 804 4848, victoriaplum.com Shuters Hillarys, 0800 917 7471, hillarys.co.uk

#FOLLOWFRIDAY Follow Theresa on Instagram @theresagromski




‘After living with it for a while, I felt agitated. It was gloomy and

The fashion for painting your walls intense shades will get you lots of Instagram love, but can you relax in such gothic hues? We asked two regular redecorators who tried it

YES ‘We love it. It’s a backdrop for bright accessories and


makes us feel relaxed’ Convert to the dark side Pati Robins lives in a semi-detached house in Wales with husband Colin and daughter Olivia, 11 ‘When we moved in, it was all magnolia walls with nicotine stains coming through. Awful. Then we painted it white, but felt like guests in our own house. It felt cold and clinical and just not us. ‘I was petrified when I painted my walls midgrey. I asked my husband “is it too dark?”. But within the space of eight months I painted the house eight times, going darker and darker, until my husband said “why don’t you just get black?” ‘The colour now is Valspar’s Black Heron and we absolutely love it, so much so that the colour has spread throughout the house. The black is a backdrop for our bright accessories and it makes us feel relaxed. We are quite maximalist, we use colour, lots of cosy cushions, and it doesn’t feel dingy, even on a cloudy afternoon. ‘We painted the ceiling, too, but it felt like a box, so now they’re off-white. Black paint also tricks the eye into making my tiny hallway seem bigger because you can’t see the corners. ‘My husband has PTSD from being in the army. He’s spent a lot of time in hospitals. Many people say dark colours make them depressed but it makes him calmer and more relaxed. ‘I think people should just go for dark colours – it doesn’t have to be black. Paint it all or just one wall. You can easily paint over it if you don’t like it.’

I ignored my gut screaming at me to go back to the light as dark colours were strongly on-trend, but as soon as I did it was like I could breathe again



Retailer Nickie Kelly shares a light-filled bungalow in Warrington, Cheshire, with husband Rob and sons Jamie, 15, George, eight, and Jesse, five ‘I love dark colours but I didn’t really take into consideration that I wouldn’t enjoy sitting in the dark. I was so adamant it was going to look really cool when I painted the living room and the hall. The walls and ceiling were a grey-brown and the woodwork was black. And I kind of enjoyed it initially. A dark backdrop just makes everything easier to style than a light one, things just pop. ‘But after living with it for a while, I felt agitated. It was quite gloomy and didn’t give me energy. I really didn’t want to admit failure with the dark venture so left it for about 12 months, but I wasn’t happy, no matter how I styled it. I ignored my gut screaming at me to go back as dark colours were strongly on-trend and light ones were getting a really bad rep. But I finally listened, and as soon as I did it was like I could breathe again in those rooms; I knew I’d made the right decision. ‘Interiors are like fashion, just because you like certain clothes doesn’t mean they look good on you. It was quite a shock how it affected me emotionally. I suffer a bit from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and struggle to stay positive in winter, so it was pretty obvious painting the room dark was going to depress me. White woodwork, and nude colour walls just fit my personality and my family better. When it was dark the house felt dirty – I was always cleaning, and I am not normally like that, I’m quite relaxed. It has been a breath of fresh air going back to the light side. I’m glad it’s over.’


didn’t give me energy’


‘We just kept spending. I’d go on Pinterest and think, “I love that” – then I’d have to recreate it’

Struggling to manage your renovation budget? You’re not alone.Three readers delve into the projects that stretched their bank balance to the limit…


Time to spare? You could save up to 10 per cent on build costs by being your own project manager

Natalie Murphy, an Early Years learning support practitioner, lives with her boyfriend, Ben, a plant performance manager for the Royal Mail ‘Ben and I were first-time buyers when we moved into our home. We didn’t want too much of a project, and the first house we found was everything we wanted – the owners had done all the hard work – but it fell through. One Rightmove search later, our house came up. It was two minutes from my parents’ house and immaculately clean, but so old-fashioned. We chose not to live there while we redecorated. ‘We got the keys in October and thought we’d be moved in by Christmas, but it ended up being after Easter! We were originally going to redo a few rooms, but ended up doing the whole house instead. The jobs just kept piling up. We ripped everything out until we had an empty shell, sorted plumbing, had a whole new heating system installed, and replaced the windows. We wanted everything to be new so we didn’t have to touch it again for years. ‘We tried to reuse items like my parents’ old fireplace to save money, but I still got carried away with what I was buying. We just kept spending. ‘I’d go on Pinterest and think, “I love that” – then I’d have to recreate the look for myself. I ended up upcycling a lot of furniture to try and get the style I wanted on a budget. Initially, we were really good with our savings, but they soon went. It got to a point where we were waiting for payday, working out of our monthly salaries and forgoing date nights and fancy meals. It was hard, but I feel so proud of what we created. It pulled on my heart to leave my parents’ and I worried how I’d settle into a new place, but it really does feel like home.’


‘The igure isn’t inal yet but it’s double what we set out to spend. I hope it’ll be worth it in the end’

‘Had we known then what we know now, the thought of going so far over budget might have put us off starting in the irst place’ Helen Nagle-Smith, an aromatherapist, lives in Milton Keynes with her husband, Paul, a broadcasting manager, and their daughter, Kate, seven ‘When we decided to upscale our house, we initially looked at moving out. We wanted to stay in the area, but Milton Keynes is notorious for its new-builds – they’ve got smaller and smaller over the years. We couldn’t find anything bigger within our budget – or if we did, it had a tiny postage stamp of a garden – so we decided to extend. ‘The idea behind the build was to create more space and give me the flexibility to work from home. We loved the idea of open-plan living – we previously had a small, 1940s-style galley kitchen that definitely wasn’t conducive to family life. ‘We set ourselves a budget and put aside a contingency of £15,000, but we just couldn’t predict what would happen during the build. The contingency was eaten up almost straight away after our first plans were refused – the second lot of plans increased our build cost drastically. After that, problems mounted up. We needed more steel beams than we initially thought, which cost a big sum of money. Because our house was built in the 1940s, the walls are incredibly thick – wonderful in one way, as it means our house won’t fall down. It made it difficult to knock them down, however, and when we did, it made the building structurally unsound, so we had to rebuild. That was another £2,500 gone from nowhere. ‘Because our first plans were refused, we missed the sought-after summer window for the build, so we ended up hitting Christmas. The building trade is slower in the winter, so the length of time was increased, too – 12-16 weeks turned into five and a half months. We stayed with the in-laws throughout the build, but it had an impact on the family budget; commutes were longer and the five-minute walk to school turned into a half-hour trip across town. ‘We were planning to save money with a temporary kitchen, but when the time came, we decided we wanted the ground floor to be finished – the middle floor was completely out of action anyway. We decided to bite the bullet. Had we known then what we know now, the thought of going so far over budget might have put us off starting the project in the first place. There were unforeseen circumstances, but now it’s finished we’re pleased we took the plunge.’


Aman Arnold, a research manager, lives in London with her husband, James, an insurance risk analyst, and their daughter, Neena, one ‘We upsized from a small maisonette to a threebedroom house after we had Neena, making sure we had a healthy renovation budget in doing so. James persuaded me to see an ugly pebble dash house that I’d have easily discarded on Rightmove. He saw the potential and he wasn’t wrong. ‘We prioritised a kitchen extension over a loft conversion, which would be cheaper and easier to do later on. We got quotes from a few ‘all-in-one’ extension companies but they were too high, so we hired an architect and builder separately and managed the project ourselves. ‘We replaced the pebble dash front of the house with a brick pointing design costing about 30 per cent more. Instead of a standard Velux windows and bi-fold doors, we chose high-end glass skylights and slim-frame sliding doors. Our bathroom tiles were way over but we didn’t want to compromise on quality. The most surprising cost was the garden – it was triple our budget. ‘James and I used credit cards to purchase some items and free up cash – we knew we’d go over budget. The figure isn’t final yet but at the moment, it’s double what we set out to spend. I hope it’ll be worth it in the end – I have this vision of coming down on a Sunday morning and eating breakfast overlooking the garden. If I have that, then it will be worth it.’

Never skimp on labour. Shop around, find a reputable company and check their references



D E C O I D E A S | T R E N D WAT C H | E A S Y U P D AT E S ay

s tran form to



Kitchen wall in Getysburg Gray chalkboard paint, £27.50 for 940ml; ceiling and trim in Seapearl Regal Select lat paint, £21.50 for 940ml, Benjamin Moore

THE WRITING’S ON THE WALL We love a blackboard wall at Real Homes, so imagine how excited we were to learn you can create your own version from a whopping choice of 3,500 colours. Move over black, you’ve got serious competition! Thanks to the paint whizzes at Benjamin Moore, you can now transform virtually any surface into an erasable chalkboard matched to your room’s colour scheme. Perfect for turning a wall into a notice board/planner/ canvas to show of your artistic lair – just as homeowner Theresa Gromski has done on page 30. Now all you need to do is pick a colour!












VIBES SPICE TRAIL Bring a well-travelled lavour to your kitchen with accessories that nod to diferent cultures and traditions. Introduce rich colours alongside graphic prints and mix in some lustrous utensils.

Go global with your décor by channelling the latest nomadic trend. Earthy and free-spirited, let its spicy reds, burnt oranges and mustards bring heat to your home

Animal wall plate, £4; red two-tone 12-piece dinner set, £16; monochrome coton tea towels, £4 for three; copper utensils, £6 for three, all George Home


LOUNGE LIZARDS Gather your clan in rooms illed with boldly paterned woven textiles, low-level seating in desert shades and metallic accents that relect the hazy sun.


James two-seater sofa in Brick Dust deepest velvet, £1,130; Lucy otoman in Blaise geo shimmer, from £550; Joan armchair in Send Rioja lecked coton, from £530, all Perch & Parrow


STAR GAZING Dream of visiting exotic destinations as you sleep, cocooned among layers of textural paterns and sot fabrics. Natural materials, such as wicker and wood, serve as neutral accent pieces and a tactile transport to favourite escapes. Macrame cushion, £18; Wooden side table, £38; Navy diamond printed double bedlinen set (pillowcases pictured), £21; Mosaic embroidered double bedlinen set, £32, Nomadic Traveller range at Sainsbury’s Home


TIME TO REFLECT Every urban explorer needs a litle downtime. Soothe a wandering soul by relaxing in a natureinspired backdrop. Choose wood-inished pieces for walls and furniture, and surround yourself with lush greenery.


Heja natural wood mirror, £90; Reuben fabric chair in charcoal, £279.99; Nomad grey crewl cushion, £12, Argos Home


SIMPLE DINING Mix and match artisanal handcrated ceramics in earthy colours on your table top. Use rustic plates and chunky earthenware jugs to create a relaxed dining space. Wooden and glass furniture sharpen the look while keeping a natural feel. Oregan oak dining chairs, £320 for two; Mathew Long Amos glass-top dining table, £425, and dining bench, £225; Pari hand-beaten gold pendant, £90; Dandelion rug, designed by Martha Coates, £350, all Habitat


Cadillac-Noir Roman blinds and cushion, both with Colete Vixen fringing. Blinds, from £189, cushion, £42, Abigail Ahern X at Hillarys. Mud Beaded chandelier, from £2,005, Abigail Ahern


TRANSPORT YOURSELF Style your living room like a travel journal with rich textures and materials inspired by adventures abroad. Blend together with talking-point pieces of furniture and make the space your passport to foreign parts.

turn over for our pick of modern folk-inspired buys... 55

tyle Real s from Real


ur lead se Take yo ers who w o ll o f ed Homes re inspir a s r io r e s int f place by far-o Golden eye mirror, £198, Audenza

Silk road stripe wallpaper in ochre, £16.99 per roll, Arthouse

Abigail Ahern small tealight holder, £8; large tealight holder, £18, Debenhams


Zen woven rope bench, £385, Cuckooland

Tine K Home long oval ratan shade, £175, Abode Living

Navy wire bowl, £16, Sainsbury’s Home Wooden planter, £30, A New Tribe

’ S R E L L E V A TR


Reema king-size bed in natural oak and cane, £549, Made.com


Tassel coton cushion in paprika, £35, Rocket St George

Safari lounge chair in brown, £495, French Connection


Gentry tuted wool poufe, £110, Habitat

Add instant impact to your room with a small change that takes no more than a roll of wallpaper and some paste. If you have a shelf unit or bookcase, make a powerful statement with a bold paper against the back of it, meaning there’s no need to paper the wall itself. ‘Papering an alcove area with a decorative design can add a real touch of beauty to your room without overpowering the space,’ says Charlote Rafo of design studio The Monkey Puzzle Tree. Choose wide contrasting stripes, ‘look at me’ colours or vibrant paterns. As a inal lourish, curate a display of fun accessories against your new backdrop.

Various vases from the A by Amara collection at Amara. For similar wallpaper try black and white monochrome striped paper, £15 per roll, Graham & Brown



Easy update Quick and clever ideas to give any space an instant hit of style and personality 59


ut Kid-frien

y dl

Having children will change your life (and home) forever

Lixhult unit storage combination, £160, Ikea

3 After swearing you’ll only give house room to cool wooden toys in classy muted shades, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the brightly coloured plastic toys your kids adore. So you’ll need nice storage (for hiding them in).



Arne Jacobsen kids white melamine alphabet cutlery, £22 for four pieces; melamine soup plate, £8.80, both Made in Design


hide and seek





Move over cool earthenware platters and brushed gold forks you lusted after for months; bring on the bendy spoons and unbreakable plates. Wise parents chose items that can be flung at walls or on floors with no ill effects.

wipe-out Chalky paints with their uber matt finishes won’t last long once stickyhanded little ones start exploring. You need hard-wearing, fully wipeable paint, though still in lovely colours. Look for words like washable, scrubbable and durable on tins.



Remember when you could just open a kitchen door or grab a dishwasher tablet? That’s in the past once safety door locks have been fitted to your cabinets. But beware grandparents who can’t fathom the locks either – they can yank doors to breaking point.

floored Forget your soft white or cream-coloured rug, all luxurious underfoot, it’s all about easy clean now. Make sure your favoured floor covering can be vacuumed, and that yogurt spills can be mopped up without impacting the design.

Tangier outdoor rug in carrot and white, £49.95, Cuckooland


PINK Cinder Rose mat estate emulsion, £45 for 2.5ltrs, Farrow & Ball



Dusky hues

Go for a soothing mix of muted contemporary colours for that restful feel. try adding litle accents of metallic shine in rose gold to keep the look up-to-date

TEAL Teal Façade paint mixing mat emulsion, £27.56 for 2.5ltrs, Dulux

BLUE Woad absolute mat emulsion, £43.50 for 2.5ltrs, Litle Greene CREAM Cream silk emulsion paint, £8 for 2.5ltrs, B&Q



GREY Granite Dust coloured mat emulsion, £18 for 2.5ltrs, Crown

for more paint ideas, visit realhomes.com/paint

Create a calm sanctuary using this season’s palete of soter shades

en suite ADD AN


Kiss goodbye to early morning bathroom queues, wet towels on the floor and toy-strewn bathtubs with our guide to installing a sanity-saving en suite


bathroom, and b) who is going to use it. It’s possible to shoehorn a WC, basin and shower into a footprint of 1.2 square metres – or even smaller with the right space-saving fittings – which is fine for guest use. Let’s face it, they’re usually just grateful not to have to share with your toilettraining toddlers. However, aim for at least 1.6 square metres for a shared master en suite, particularly if you need to leave the house at the same time each day and value your ribs. On another practical, if indelicate, level, you can save significant pennies at the installation stage if you site your en suite on the same wall as your soil stack. For extra bonus points with your plumber, try to get it directly above the kitchen, or next door to an existing bathroom, to tap into water supplies and drainage there. While a well-executed en suite generally involves hundreds of similarly dull decisions, it helps to stay focused on the end goals. Yes, we’re talking about the pure joy of a toilet seat that is never, ever left up. And eternal release from the horror that is the empty toilet roll. The excitement is real, people.

dding an en suite will cut congestion in the main family bathroom, not to mention fights over the toothpaste and towels. There’s justifiable bragging rights attached to falling out of bed and into the shower each morning. A new en suite can also reap financial rewards long term, by increasing the value of your home and boosting its buyer appeal; both essential facts that can be used to counteract any Scrooge-like complaints about the outlay involved. Start by earmarking an area that can be sacrificed, preferably without selling all your shoes. Commonly en suites snatch space from the master bedroom, where a corner or large alcove won’t be missed. You may also be able to appropriate a portion of the upstairs landing – move the bedroom doorway if it helps. It’s inadvisable to give up an entire bedroom, unless you have plenty to spare or have no intentions of selling. The amount of space you allocate for an en suite should reflect a) how much time you spend fannying about in the

set the scene

love this Seagrass storage basket in white, £19, Oliver Bonas

Hand towels, from £8 each; Shinto bath towels, £16 each, Dunelm

White clifs at Rotingdean limited-edition (1/10) woodcut print, £60, Jackie Smith Art


Fusion blue and white soap dispenser and tumbler, £6, Wilko

Multicoloured circle pom-pom bath mat, £20, Debenhams


Cue the music and get those towels warming – the best-dressed en suites put you in the mood for pampering

Lighting an en suite is similar to any bathroom. You need bright task lighting for illuminating your lovely face, and keeping that eyeliner level, plus subtler mood lights that will let your eyes slowly adjust to the reality of morning. Vanity lights should be placed either side of the mirror, at eye level, to prevent shadows. Don’t forget lighting inside the shower – it looks so prety glistening of the water – but it will need to be IP rated for Zone 0 use.

Syren Nordic Blue feature tiles, £80.91 per m2; Arabescato wall and loor tiles, £182.69 per m2, Topps Tiles

A fully tanked wetroom will provide a generous showering area, and solve any enclosure access issues. Make sure there’s enough room for towels and the toilet roll to be stashed far enough away from the showerhead or they’ll also get drenched while you’re washing your hair. A heated mirror and underloor heating are useful in a wetroom scenario, which tends to be steamier.


Solo 50 unit and cast mineral marble basin in quartz, £600; Celeste illuminated mirror, from £289; Edge towel warmer, £239; Edge single slider shower door, from £519; Pier basin monobloc tap, £189; Fusion central shower head, £169; Kai rectangular antislip stone resin shower tray, from £250, Crosswater

Eye-catching tiles on the furthest wall from the entrance will draw atention inwards, making the room feel bigger. Fish-scale or Moroccan-inspired shapes are especially striking, but you can also shake up plain tiles by using coloured grout. Dark grey or black are especially savvy choices on the cleaning front as they won’t show the shampoo stains as switly as white.

} } Oh, go on... splash out on a designer scented candle

Palace road India candle, £42, Lavender & Lillie

Marmo Nero Hex loor tiles, £191.47 per m2, Domus. A similar open-plan en suite by Day True would cost around £10,000


If privacy isn’t an issue (even when on the loo…really?), an open-plan en suite could be for you. More than just a doorless bathroom, the open-plan layout sports an extra-wide entrance that blurs the lines between sleeping and bathing. Your en suite will feel lighter and roomier inside – perfect for tidy claustrophobics, as any mess will always be on view. Those who aren’t ready for full exposure, or to keep toiletries tidy, might prefer a pocket door, which tucks completely out of the way when not in use.

5 things...

Every newly installed bathroom, including en suites, should have an extractor fan that vents outside. Part F of the Building regulations has the full lowdown, but your local building control oicer will be able to give you the highlights that apply to your situation. From a noise point of view, it’s worth paying a bit more for a model that promises quiet operation. One with a humidity sensor only operates when it’s actually required, so you won’t have to sufer the whirr every time you turn on the light.

you’ll know once you own an en suite






The school run will involve far less shouting as you’ll no longer have to ight the kids for space to do your make-up while they are, inally, brushing their teeth.

It doesn’t mater if you’re not on top of the cleaning – unexpected guests are unlikely to venture into your private domain.

You might actually get to go to the toilet in peace (although don’t count on it). A lock on the door could prove your smartest investment.

Exactly where the shampoo/soap/loo roll is – i.e where you let it. Disclaimer: This is dependent on whether you have a partner, and if he/ she is suiciently house-trained.

Your hand towels will stay cleaner for longer as they’re not being misappropriated for washing stray dogs, football boots or Barbie’s bath time.

diy instagrammer

LUCY WHITEHOUSE ‘When we moved here the en suite had faux-marble avocado units with fish tiles. The shower leaked so we couldn’t even use it. I wanted a Scandi boutique hotel look, and a space that’s a real treat to use. I adore monochrome and the Mandarin Stone floor tiles were love at first sight. I shopped around to keep costs down – the shower screen and loo are from Victoria Plum and the vanity is an Ebay bargain. Our plumber totally ‘got’ my vision and never tried to sway me towards easier solutions. The family bathroom is full of the children’s toys, so it’s lovely to have a grown-up retreat to be pampered in.’ Instagram @lucyjwhitehouse

Walls painted in Ballet White Aura Bath & Spa in mate, from £27.50 for 940ml, Benjamin Moore. For a similar basin, try Duravit

When shopping for a shower enclosure, steer clear of outward-opening doors. Bi-fold, pivot or sliding doors are good for containing water in a tight space without swinging into the loo every time they’re opened. If you have the room, a walk-in enclosure means you have an area to towel of in before exiting.


Unless you enjoy stumbling down narrow stairs in the middle of the night, a lot conversion with bedroom should also include an en suite. The biggest diference when installing one in the eaves will be head height. Pitch your shower at the highest point, or setle for a bath with a hand shower if necessary.

Below Fleur bathtub, £899.99; Hatie vanity unit, £899.99; Iris mirror, £219.99; Amie radiator, £299.99, Soak.com

Achieving the correct gradient for smooth lowing drainage is heavily dependant on the depth of your loor joists. If they aren’t capable of concealing pipework, the quickest, and oten cheapest, solution is to raise the loor level, either just where it’s required (i.e. below the shower tray or bath) or throughout the room. You can make a feature of the stepped level by installing plinth lighting or fancy tiles, so it feels like a deliberate move rather than a lood prevention necessity.

home design blogger


En suites created from part of a bedroom oten have no windows. To avoid a cell-like ambiance, if internal windows or glass bricks that borrow light from the bedroom feel too 1980s, just embrace your inner goth and go for a dark and dramatic scheme. Metallics and mirrors will add depth and sparkle to keep emo-ping at bay. Experiment with exotic materials, like gold leaf mosaic tiles – small amounts won’t bust the budget.

Contemporary 2025 single outlet digital shower set with ixed shower head, £760, Briton Bathrooms

‘Shaking up the blandness of a new build was my mission when we bought this home off-plan. The master en suite was always set to be my domain for pampering and relaxing – hubby graciously stepped aside – so I could afford to make it really personal. I chose grey tiles from the developer’s catalogue (the choices were all pretty plain) but they serve as an excellent neutral for Mini Modern’s amazing Paisley Crescent wallpaper in a vibrant orange that I absolutely adore. Adding a coat of Polyvine’s Decorators Varnish helps it survive in humid conditions. The shelves came from my grandmother – they are perfect for hosting the endless toiletries of a product junkie! Then I just went for it with the accessories, using artwork with a vintage flavour, faux plants and colourful towels that make me smile. It’s one of the rooms that I have been most fearless about decorating and, consequently, it’s one I love the most.’ Instagram @projecthomedesign




READERS’ HOMES | LIVING | WELLBEING Walls painted in White and Coal Tipple V700 paint, £28 for 2.5ltrs, Valspar. Dresser upcycled using Rust-Oleum furniture finishing wax in dark and Rust-Oleum chalk paint in White, both £5 for 125ml, B&Q. Art prints, Etsy. Picture frames, Ikea

Medina Grillo, a healthcare professional and DIY blogger, lives in a rented house in Birmingham with her husband, Vincent, and six-year-old son


‘Living in a rented house can mean it’s tricky to personalise a space, but we’re lucky that we have a landlord who allows me to inject some character into the rooms. I love this space for lots of reasons. I often work night shifts and am on my feet all the time, so having somewhere calm and comfy to come back to is important, plus I like to sit in here to come up with ideas for my next DIY project. When decorating a rented space, I keep in mind how easy it would be to take it back to how the house was originally. In this room, I wanted to bring in some colour, but instead of painting the entire room, I went for a band of black on two of the walls which would be relatively easy to paint over in the future. I upcycled a mid-century small dresser I found in a charity shop by sanding it down, adding a coat of dark wax and then creating a dip-dye paint effect with white chalk paint. Inexpensive art prints in simple Ikea frames are a great way to liven up the bare wall without spending a fortune. When I wake up, I have to make sure I get up straight away, otherwise I’d quite happily spend all day tucked away in here!’ Follow Medina @grillodesigns or visit grillo-designs.com






Lisa gave the existing kitchen a makeover by removing the wall units to open up the space, replacing them with shelving. Painting the base units in Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue and adding new handles updated the scheme. ‘I didn’t trust myself to do a great job painting the units so I paid a decorator,’ she says. ‘It’s worth it when it’s a room that people will see every day.’


Vintage rug, Ebay. For a similar pendant light, try the Abigail Ahern beaded light, Debenhams. Dining table, JYSK Dining chairs, Barker & Stonehouse





The property A five-bedroom detached Georgian house near York


The owners Lisa Dawson, an interiors and lifestyle blogger (lisadawsonstyling.com), lives here with her husband, Joe, who works in the motor industry, and children Ella, 16, Max, 14, Leo, nine, and their dog, Buddy

Her family home is packed with stylish decorating ideas that we’d all love in our own spaces, but what inspires Instagram favourite and our new columnist Lisa Dawson? Acting editor Beth Murton paid her a visit to find out... 73

One of Lisa’s most recent projects has been to transform her envy-inducing hallway. Practical flooring, a neutral stair runner and her collection of artwork formed the basis of the new look, with statement lighting providing the finishing touch. Ceramic chandelier, Original BTC. Rug, London Persian Rug Company. Stair runner, Axminster. Flooring, Amtico



If I was to describe my dream property, a doublefronted Georgian house would hit the mark, so I’m swooning over your house before we’ve walked inside! I felt like that when we came here for the first time, too. It might sound a bit weird, but I loved how symmetrical it looked from outside. It’s got huge windows, and inside there were lots of original features, such as picture rails and cornicing. Although it’s on a busy road, the benefits of the space far outweigh a bit of traffic noise.


Has your style evolved over time or have you always gone for a similar look? I still love pictures that I cut out from magazines 15 years ago, so I think my core style has stayed fairly consistent. Most of the images I’m drawn to feature white walls, with colour and texture added through furniture, accessories and artwork. I tend to keep the bones of the house quite plain and then gradually inject more personality over time.


Please tell me you’re normal and make decorating mistakes like the rest of us, though? Of course I do! When we first moved in here, I decided to paint one of the living rooms dark grey. I’d been inspired by interiors store The Imaginarium in York, which was painted in Farrow & Ball’s Down Pipe. Although Down Pipe walls are ten-a-penny in interiors now, at the time it was quite original and I really thought I could be a dark wall person, too. Once the room was finished, however, none of us ever wanted to spend any time in there – not ideal for one of your main living spaces, obviously.


I’ve been toying with the idea of going dark blue in my living room for a while now, but I just can’t seem to make that final step. Don’t do it! I’m all for giving things a go and trying something outside of your comfort zone, but if you’ve been thinking about it for that long then it’s probably because you don’t really like the idea of it. I always think that you should be able to walk into a room and breathe a relaxed sigh; if I don’t get that feeling in my house then something’s not right.


Was it a case of love at first sight, then, for you? I couldn’t quite believe that we could afford to buy it, to be honest. We’d never have been able to own a house like this in the south of England, where we previously lived, so it was a bit surreal to think we could get our hands on our dream property. That’s the beauty of moving up North! When we originally relocated to York for Joe’s work, we rented as it wasn’t going to be a permanent move. I thought I’d hate living here, but I soon fell in love with all the independent shops, businesses, bars and restaurants, and we realised we didn’t want to move back.


Was this a big renovation job or had the work already been done by the previous owner? Anyone who has read my blog will know that hardcore DIY is a no-no in our family – Joe in particular is not skilled in that department! We definitely weren’t looking for a project and this house had been renovated by a developer, so it was in great condition. Basically, it was this completely blank canvas that we could move straight into – too good to be true, really!


Your blog and Instagram feed inspire lots of people, but who inspires you when it comes to interior décor? Where to start! There are so many people, but I often look to the States for ideas. There’s this big ethos there about ‘shopping your home’ which I love – basically using what you already have in your home and changing it round for a new look. Emily Henderson (@em_henderson) is an American interior designer who is really inspiring when it comes to her use of colour and vintage style, while American stylist Nichol Naranjo (@nicholnaranjo) creates light, bright interiors with loads of texture. In the UK, Bianca Hall (@frenchforpineapple) is always one step ahead of the trends.



My problem is I faff around looking at ideas and never seem to actually find the time to do any decorating. Are you more spontaneous? I’m constantly giving rooms a ‘refresh’ by moving items from one space to another to change up the look, but when it comes to bigger projects I spend a lot of time planning what I’m going to do. My hall revamp, for example, took four months to complete. I knew I wanted something vaguely boho with a picture wall and stair runner, but other than that I needed time to pull the look together. With any project, I always create an online moodboard on Canva – it’s a great presentation tool as it allows you to make all your design mistakes before spending any money. You can quickly see if the furniture and colours you’ve chosen work together, helping you to gradually build up the look of the space.



What advice would you give to anyone who is planning a room makeover of their own? Start picking up pieces you love as and when you see them, store them somewhere until you’re ready to decorate the room, and then it means you’re not forking out for everything in one go. Also, don’t be scared to live with blank spaces for a while. If you rush out and try and buy everything at once, it’s rarely a success. If you’re not sure what to do with an empty corner, stick a plant in it (and try not to kill it) until you find the perfect piece of furniture or artwork for the space.



you often find yourself scrolling through Instagram for interiors inspiration while curled up on the sofa? If so, chances are you might have come across Lisa Dawson’s house before. With its mix of Insta-worthy gallery walls and interiors ideas aplenty, it’s no wonder that she has a huge number of followers who want to keep track of her latest projects and tips. So when the chance came up to take a look around the home of our new Real Homes columnist, I was on the train to York in a flash, ready to take a peek at those famous Insta squares in real life and pick up some decorating inspo along the way.



this living room has a cosy feel, making it a irm favourite with the family. Lisa ripped up the cream carpet that was in here before and sanded the loorboards herself. ‘it was hard work but worth the efort,’ she says. Sofa, dFs. Pendant light, Coach house. dresser units painted in reading room by Earthborn. Cofee table, next. Rug, Ebay



I love how you’ve added character with a mix of new and vintage buys. Do you spend hours trawling Ebay? I’ve lost count of the number of hours I’ve lost on Ebay! I think every home should have vintage furniture. It gives an edge to your décor, stops everything from feeling too matchymatchy, and means things aren’t going to landfill. What’s not to love about that?



At Real Homes HQ we’ve appointed you the Queen of gallery walls, so how can we all get a little bit of gallery wall magic in our own homes? As you can tell, I love a gallery wall. I’ve always been a fan of prints – my old kitchen featured a mishmash of religious iconic images and a wall covered in plates from a charity shop. Joe loved it, as I’m sure you can imagine! This house has such big, open walls that it really lends itself to some great displays. Personally, I like to create squared-off gallery walls, so I lay my pictures out on a large rug first to get the right mix of designs. For the stairs, I simply started at the top in the bottom left hand corner and worked out the best arrangement from there. There are no rules – just go with what works best for you.

Looking for an easy upcycling project? transform a simple storage unit by spraying it with inexpensive metallic paint


Any insider tips on where to shop for original artwork that won’t require taking out a second mortgage? King & McGaw (kingandmcgaw.com) has a huge selection including lots of small artists; RoomFifty (roomfifty.com) has limited-edition prints from different artists each season; the Art Of Protest Gallery in York (artofprotestgallery.com) is great for street and urban art, with limited-edition prints under £150; Nickie Kelly (nickiekelly.com) has a big focus on independent artists, and finally Curious Egg (curiousegg.com) is a curation of small, independent artists.



As a final point, are you a fan of interiors trends, or do you try to avoid following them? I think trends are so transient that I tend not to follow them. It’s easy to look at images on Instagram of the latest trends and then copy them, but unless you really love the look I think you’ll get bored of it quickly. I’d always suggest going with what your heart says – you can’t go wrong with that.

Above and right ‘We’d been living here for two years before we discovered the house had all of its original window shuters,’ laughs Lisa. ‘it was only when i took down the window blinds that i noticed them. they’re such an amazing feature.’ Lisa transformed the storage unit in the corner of the room using metallic spray paint. Shelving unit, ikea. For spray paint, try rust-oleum. Cofee table, Maisons du Monde. Rug, sofa and armchair, all vintage


Right The bar was already in the house when Lisa moved in, but she’s ramped up the character with a bold wallpaper and neon light. ‘I always try to include several strong focal points in each space,’ she says. Wallpaper, Farrow & Ball. Bar stools, Cult Furniture. Neon light, Light Up North

Above Keeping this wall white has allowed Lisa’s artwork to take centre stage in this part of the room. ‘I tend to go for a random mix of styles, designs and sizes, but it just seems to work,’ she says.


Green sofa, Harveys Furniture. Rug, Dar Beida. Pendant light, Vitra. Bar trolley, vintage; find similar at Oliver Bonas

V save Crawford pendant, £280, Debenhams


Multi-Arm Lighting

Spidey six-arm industrial pendant light, £524, Alexander & Pearl

With windows on three sides, the dining room has an enviable spot at one end of the house. here, a vintage sideboard sits comfortably alongside more contemporary furniture. ‘i love creating that juxtaposition of old and new in my rooms,’ says Lisa.






Dining table, ikea. Dining chairs, Barker & stonehouse and JYsK. Pendant light, rocket st george. Art print, surface View

Completed as part of Season Two of Lisa’s Revamp Restyle Reveal social media challenge (see revamprestylereveal.com for news of Season Three), the master bedroom was inspired by one of her favourite boutique hotels, The Artists Residence in London. Woodwork painted in Hidey Hole, walls painted in White, both Earthborn. Mirror, Soak.com. Pendant light, David Hunt Lighting. Artwork, King & McGaw


Below A selection of photos and pictures pegged to a string of festoon lights creates a fun display in Ella’s bedroom Walls painted in Pavilion Gray and Plummet, both Farrow & Ball. Bed, Feather & Black


clever idea

Above In her dressing room, Lisa cleverly updated the existing wardrobes by wallpapering the doors. ‘I wasn’t sure if it would work, but I was prepared to give it a go as I knew anything would be a massive improvement on what was there originally.’ Wallpaper, Harlequin. Sofa, Maisons du Monde

Contacts Paint Earthborn, 01928 734171, earthbornpaints.co.uk; Farrow & Ball, 01202 876141, farrow-ball.com Flooring Amtico, 0121 745 0800 amtico.com


TOP TIP let and below a new addition to the garden, Faye now has a dedicated studiogive kids the chance to space, with large windows to maximise express their artistic natural light and ofer countryside views. side by turning a wall ‘it’s fantastic to inally have a separate into a giant blackboard work space,’ she says. ‘When the kids arewith a couple of coats watching tV ater school, i can nip across of chalkboard paint the garden and it in some extra painting.’

Contacts ‘i try to get the kids involved when Artwork Faye Campbell, i’m decorating their rooms,’ says fayecampbellpaintings.co.uk Lisa. ‘Creating a moodboard gives Kitchen tiles tile giant, them a chance to add things they 0345 307like, 5000, tilegiant.co.uk which you can then remove Cladding Marley and swap forEternit, something similar marleyeternit.co.uk but less hideous, obviously!’ Wallpaper, scion. Blackboard paint, Johnstone’s paint. Rug, homesense. Desk, vintage. Chairs, Cult Furniture


Below in Max’s bedroom, inexpensive picture ledges over the bed are a great way to display some of his favourite artwork Wallpaper, Wallpaper sales Bedside table, nest

to create her staircase gallery wall, Lisa used a mix of existing artwork alongside new buys. ‘i usually have a stack of prints in my oice waiting to be framed, plus i pick up vintage prints from charity shops to mix up the look,’ she says.

picture perfect Curate your own gallery wall with a selection of contemporary art prints

1 1


1 GRL PWR art print, from £5, abstract house 2 Paradise Lost Tribal art print, from £10, nickie Kelly 3 83 oranges Cactus and Teal wall art print, £29, Urban outiters 4 Blah Blah Blah print, from £12.50, gayle Mansield




must have


Prints from a collection at Bianca hall, gayle Mansield, tipperly hill, green Lili, rocket st george, sandra isaksson and in no particular order

Taking wallpaper of and removing a cupboard and ending up with the whole wall coming down. LESLEY BLAIR

Where do we start? MAXINE MORGAN

My worst DIY mistake was...

Using BITS OF leftover paint to make up a colour THEN running out before it WAS finished. LESLEY BAKER

I varnished myself into a corner and was stuck there for four hours. JORDAN HEALY

Staple gun straight through a main electricity Not painting the bathroom ceiling and walls before having cable… ALEXANDRA FERR

I painted my living room with out-ofdate paint, so my meant-to-be crisp white walls had an awful yellow tinge. i repainted them quickly! JULIE SMITH 85

the bath and shower fitted. There’s nowhere to put a ladder now. Looks like I’m going to have to learn how to levitate. CHRIS JONES





Made the classic mistake of nailing down a loose board straight into a water pipe. Luckily my brother-in-law had enough plumbing experience to fix it!

Drilled through my hand with a power drill while constructing a built-in wardrobe. Painful. JASON ORME

Plastic (not) fantastic Images of litter-filled oceans have been grabbing the headlines, so what can we do to make more sustainable choices when it comes to furnishing our homes?


avid Attenborough may be a certified national treasure but until recently, his impact on home design has been pretty much zero. Then came Blue Planet II. With its images of turtles tangled in supermarket bags and albatross chicks pecking on water bottles, it opened our eyes to the environmental impact of single-use plastics. But not content with ditching disposable coffee cups and using cloth bags for our groceries, thousands of us have begun rethinking our choices about the products we buy for our homes, too. Post Blue Planet II, searches on Etsy for products labelled ‘eco friendly’ rose by an incredible 218 per cent, there was a 74 per cent increase in searches for ‘natural’ buys, and a 33 per cent spike in requests for ‘recycled products’. It’s such a powerful trend, this summer the craft marketplace introduced its first ever range focused on eco-friendly products. ‘We want to support customers who want to make more sustainable choices, whether that’s soy candles, succulent plants or plastic-free products to decorate their homes,’ says Etsy’s trend expert, Dayna Isom Johnson.

Eco, ethical and cool Roughly speaking, eco design can be categorised as products made with consideration for the planet (sustainable materials, less waste, fewer pollutants, reduced energy), while ethical manufacturing focuses on people (good conditions, fair wages and prices, workers’ rights). As demand grows, both these types of products are entering the mainstream, losing their rough-and-ready, hessian-and-homespun image to become serious style contenders. That, of course, makes it even easier to make positive choices about where we shop and what we buy. When you know a product isn’t made by a robot on a production line but is touched by a human hand, shopping becomes about making a connection with a maker or place. The beautiful throws and bedspreads sold by online shop Kalinko, for example, are handwoven by Burmese women


on wooden looms (London-born founder Sophie Garnier fell in love with the country, its crafts and its people, moving there full time in 2014). With mass-produced items, it’s the materials that can tell a story. Ikea’s Kungsbacka kitchen, part of its Bold Sustainability range, is built out of recycled wood that’s covered with a foil made using recycled plastic bottles. ‘Our ambition is to constantly increase the share of recycled materials in our designs, without compromising on quality, design or price,’ says Clotilde Passalacqua, Ikea UK’s interior design leader. ‘We’re delighted the public’s increased focus on environmentally friendly interiors gives us the opportunity to have more fun with sustainable design.’



While sustainable design has become more affordable, sometimes it pays to invest in pieces made to last a lifetime. Tara Button, author of A Life Less Throwaway (HarperCollins) and founder of Buy Me Once, a website that champions ‘the longest lasting products on the planet’, calls it Mindful Curation. ‘I think the way we buy things is broken and that’s why we end up with houses full of clutter,’ she says. ‘Mindful Curation is a different attitude towards stuff. Mindful because it’s the opposite of our usual impulse purchases; curation because you’re picking individual pieces but also thinking about how they work together.’ Tara suggests we start by taking stock of what we already own, noticing what we use and what we ignore. ‘For a month, every time you see something you use or admire in your home, put a sticker on it. At the end, look at everything that doesn’t have a sticker on it and make it fight for its place,’ she says. ‘If there are things with a similar purpose, gather them together and


Made to last

Made by skilled artisans from recycled glass, these carafes have tiny air bubbles so no two are alike, £12-£24 each, British Colour Standard

gorgeous recycled buys As sot as wool underfoot, this hard-wearing blue rug started life as plastic botles. Latimer outdoor rug, from £245, Soho Home

Totes amazing – this spacious shoulder bag is woven from around 150 recycled plastic botles. oslo Gooseberry bag, £45, Weaver Green

These handy storage shelves are made from solid ir recovered from old buildings. Papa shelves, £325, Loaf

choose your A-team. Most people don’t realise they have 11 candle holders, say, but use only three.’ Next, says Tara, we need to discover our true taste. ‘A passion for your home is a great start,’ she says reassuringly. ‘Think about the aspects of your style that have stayed the same over time – the colours, patterns, textures and periods you return to. You now have a blueprint for purchases which will be as futureproof as possible.’ The final step is to buy for longevity and to learn to care for our possessions. ‘If you’ve bought mindfully, you’ll have items that are worth taking care of, so learn what it takes to keep them going,’ Tara says. ‘I know that if I plump my feather sofa cushions regularly, my sofa could last years longer than if I let them go flat. I’m saving myself hundreds of pounds with this small action.’

Accessible artisan Big brands can get a bad rap when it comes to sustainability, but the high street’s power players are tapping into the desire for ethical products. Sainsbury’s Home ranges feature hand-finished Portuguese ceramics; the autumn/winter collection from Oliver Bonas includes affordable artisan glassware; while Heal’s is selling the Quill pendant light, a contemporary design in oak made using traditional steam-bending techniques. For an even more hands-on approach, search out boutiques and online stores that focus on craft products and the makers that create them– handmadeinbritain.co.uk, alittlebitofalmosteverything.com and aerende.co.uk are great places to start. ‘Not only are these locally made products beautiful, they also communicate quality, patience and skill in a unique way,’ says A Little Bit of Almost Everything’s Anna Chayasatit. ‘Plus, work done by hand takes less energy than a mass-production line.’ In other words, the next time you’re debating whether to buy something for your home, don’t always wonder if Abigail Ahern or Sophie Robinson would choose it; instead ask, ‘What would David Attenborough do?’


5 easy ways to make your home more sustainable

1 LEARN TO SAY NO ‘Every item has to be dug out of the ground or chopped down, manufactured and transported, so imagine there is an invisible barrier at your front door,’ says Tara Buton from buymeonce.com. ‘Nothing comes through that isn’t mindfully chosen, beautiful and useful for the long term.’

2 GO INDEPENDENT ‘Buy from independent shops – they oten stock items which are made locally and in short batches. Think globally, buy locally,’ says Anna Chayasatit from alitlebitofalmosteverything.com.

3 CHOOSE QUALITY ‘For furniture, look for traditional joinery rather than latpack options as these can become wobbly. Solid wood will also last longer than laminate,’ says Tara Buton. ‘For any type of product, a long guarantee suggests the manufacturer has used quality materials to make it, so it should last for years.’

4 LOOK OUT FOR THE PERSONAL TOUCH Words like ‘mouthblown’, ‘handinished’ and ‘artisan’ are good ones to watch out for. ‘It means you’re supporting the innovation and creativity of dedicated craters,’ says Hannah Thistlethwaite, senior home buyer at Heal’s.

5 WASTE NOT, WANT NOT ‘Make sure that every home accessory and lifestyle item you buy for your home doesn’t produce more waste but actually helps you to reduce it in your home,’ says Anna Chayasatit.


Ideal for displaying cakes and cheeses, this elegant dome is made from recycled glass and sustainable mango wood, £70, Amara

This organic Brockworth throw is surprisingly sot and snuggly considering it’s made from recycled plastic botles, £45, Garden Trading



CLASS What was once a school building is now a warehouse-style home filled with natural light, bold style and clever space solutions


Profile THE OWNERs Carlo Viscione, creative director at a spatial design studio, his wife Florence Andrews, a senior project manager, and Snooker the cat THE PROPERTY A four-bedroom 1935 converted school building in Leyton, east London

Cleverly zoned areas define the open-plan layout of the top floor, including the kitchen, complete with deep blue cabinets and stools sourced from an old science lab. Kitchen cabinets, Benchmarx. Worktops and sink, Stellar Stainless Steel Worktops. Vintage stools, Ebay. Mixer, Smeg. Windows, Fabco Sanctuary. For a similar splashback, try Walls & Floors




project COST £303,000

TOP TIP For parquet-style looring on a budget, look for wood-efect laminate and ceramic tiles that won’t break the bank


Eames dining chairs, Modernica at SCP. Lighting, Prolicht. For a similar wall cabinet, try Ebay. For a similar vase, try the Bloomingville milk jug, Trouva



let This table top – which came from the Vauxhall factory in Luton – was an engineer’s drawing table. Eames chairs in Crayola shades add a quirky design to the space.

for more renovation advice, visit realhomes.com/renovations


he saying goes that your school years are the best days of your life, so Carlo and Florence must be happy homeowners. The warehouse-style space they’ve carved out of an Edwardian school annexe might be light years away from the building’s educational origins, but the couple were keen to preserve its history when they set about renovating their home. Although Carlo and Florence’s house originated as part of a school – first as a canteen, then an art department and a science laboratory – it’s had several lives since, functioning as a recording studio in the 1990s before being converted into flats. When the couple viewed the building, they’d already looked at more than 40 other properties. ‘We were pretty picky about what we wanted,’ explains Carlo, ‘but the potential and original features caught our eye.’ What appealed to the couple were the generous proportions and the original features: solid pine herringbone flooring, perimeter terracotta tiles and a concrete stairwell with metal balustrade. ‘It was about £100,000 cheaper than most of the houses we’d viewed and almost twice the size, but it needed a lot of work,’ Carlo says. While the flats still contained clues about its heyday as a music studio – ‘we could see where the live-room and the mixing room had been,’ Carlo says – it had since suffered neglect. There was graffiti on the walls left over from squatters, as well as damp in the corners. The windows were made in tatty uPVC, the external render had blown and the garden at the front was overgrown. Embracing the challenge meant that Carlo and Florence could get creative with their ideas. They applied to the planning office to convert the building from two self-contained flats into a family home, then submitted a second application to convert the flat roof into a wildflower green roof terrace. Carlo drew up detailed plans for the building with the idea of reviving the period features and uniting the two floors with internal staircases. The first floor would be an openplan living space complete with a kitchen, dining area and Carlo’s home office. On the ground floor there would be room for three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a utility and a generous central hallway. Once the building was stripped back and the period features protected, the couple faced the challenge of how to create rooms within the open-plan space. They combatted this by transforming the top floor into a zoned layout. The newly installed kitchen has concealed appliances and stainless-steel worktops, while the living room houses the couple’s extensive collections of design books and vinyl. Combined in one light and airy room, it provides a space for cooking, entertaining and relaxing. Carlo and Florence were careful to preserve the history of the building without compromising their personal style. A white steel staircase leading up to the roof terrace references the 1930s aesthetic of the house, and Carlo spent time choosing double-glazed steel windows that look as similar to the originals as possible. One of the most unusual features of the house is the wildflower rooftop, where otherwise wasted space has been turned into an urban garden. ‘It provides views across Wanstead Flats, the BT tower and Canary Wharf, yet it’s completely private and secluded,’ Carlo says. After months of hard work, it was time for Carlo and Florence to make their mark on the property. ‘We had a lot of art that we have collected over the years, so it made sense to paint the majority of the place white to let the colours in our prints stand out,’ Carlo explains. One central wall is painted in a dark navy as a backdrop for an antique map of Switzerland. The staircase’s vibrant shade was another deliberate choice. ‘We like having yellow in our home – it wakes you up in the morning,’ Carlo laughs. ‘In a space like this, with such tall ceilings, we could afford to go brighter.’ This project may have tested the couple’s planning and design skills, but the results speak for themselves. ‘We had such detailed plans for everything from the sockets to the plumbing that we came under budget and ahead of schedule,’ Carlo says. ‘By being thorough and organised, we didn’t have to compromise on the design. We love the aesthetics of our home and how the industrial features just blend in.’

Right and far right Plain white walls and ceilings are contrasted with touches of deep navy in the kitchen cabinets and feature wall. The large Swiss map is an antique, picked up by Florence at a car boot sale – just one of the eccentric art pieces that the couple have collected over time. Feature wall painted in Gentleman’s Gray mat emulsion, Benjamin Moore. Shelving, Vitsoe 606. Ercol sofa, Criterion Auctions. Armchairs, Kempton Antiques Market. For a similar tap, try Victorian Plumbing

stylish seating Upgrade your old armchair for our pick of the best mid-century designs you can read the Sunday paper in 1



on trend

1 Cult Living Hampton wooden armchair, £399, Cult Furniture 2 Cecil armchair in Burnt Orange, £549, Made.com 3 Ekenäset armchair in Isunda grey, £170, Ikea 4 Brad leather armchair in vintage brown, £685, Perch & Parrow





TOP TIP Use architectural features to define areas in an open-plan layout – whether that’s a central staircase or a ceiling beam




” 96




A simple tub of emulsion or gloss can transform your home in colourful and creative ways, as Carlo and Florence’s brightly hued staircase shows. For similar yellow paint, try Lemon Punch by Dulux. For a similar floor, try Topps Tiles

TOP TIP Add colour in unexpected places for a fun element in your home. Staircase too daring? Try painting door frames


table talk

Pile your bedtime books and midnight snacks up high on these bright and cheerful bedside buys 1 Bumble side table with storage shelf, £80, Habitat 2 Atelier Hype yellow metal industrial bedside table, £73.91, Maisons du Monde 3 Hay DLM side table in Powder, £135, Amara 4 Frost round side table in Tangerine, £89.95, Cuckooland



love this



Above The white wall and original parquet floor are elevated with vintage vibes in the bedroom, with an antique metal bed and distressed sideboard. Bedside tables and bedlinen, Ikea. For a similar bed, try Feather + Black




Contacts Below Who needs a garden when you have a roof terrace? This one has been made out of composite recycled plastic planks, making it low maintenance and eco friendly.

Designers Made With Volume, 020 3488 1915, madewithvolume.com Contractor Boom Construction, 01442 767760, boomconstruction.co.uk Structural engineers Blue Engineering, 020 7247 3811, blueengineering.co.uk Steel windows Fabco Sanctuary, 01903 718808, fabcosanctuary.com

Decking, Millboard. For a similar table, try the Lerberg/Linnmon, Ikea. For similar chairs, try Argos



Night, night sleep tight



function, then chances are you are not sleeping very well.’ Sometimes it can be hard to switch off (and not just the TV), with stress one of the most common causes of you lying there, staring at the ceiling. ‘If there’s something playing on your mind, write it down,’ says Lisa, ‘whether that’s worries or even a to-do list.’ Tech should be avoided before bed – in particular the hour before it. ‘The blue light that emits from devices messes around with your body’s circadian rhythms by suppressing the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin in the brain, which is what we need in order to feel sleepy,’ says Lisa. ‘Bedrooms should be kept for sleep (and sex) only,’ says Dave Gibson, a health care practitioner, who specialises in helping those with sleep problems (thesleepsite.co.uk). ‘This is so the brain associates this room with getting to sleep. Mobiles and tablets should, as much as possible, be kept out. Try using a dawn simulator, which is a great way to wake up. Even if you do use your phone, avoid hitting the snooze button as it confuses the brain over when it’s time to wake up. Just get out of bed and open the curtains to let in the daylight.’

sleeping like a baby, and include a dummy 5 steps... toit doesn’t






Start a bedtime routine, which could include a bath, gentle stretches or reading a good book (switching of all tech about an hour before bed).

Get your sleep environment right, with the ideal temperature around 16˚C, slightly on the cool side. Try to keep your room as dark as possible.

Try to replace your matress every seven years as advised by the Sleep Council. Test it before you buy (or take advantage of a no-quibbles return if buying online). Check out your pillow, too, does it still have its plumpness?

If you can’t get to sleep, and you’ve been lying there for more than 20 minutes, get out of bed and read a book under dim light until you feel sleepy, says Dave Gibson (thesleepsite.co.uk).

Ditch the tech and avoid checking emails last thing at night or irst thing in the morning. Swap your phone for a good old-fashioned alarm clock.



ou turn and look at each other on the sofa…go on, you can do it, why not? Just one more episode of Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones won’t hurt, will it? You know it’s late, but there are no adverts, so you’ll be tucked up by oh, at least midnight. But deep down, you know that this nightly binging on box sets is having a major impact on your sleep… A survey by The Sleep Council (sleepcouncil.org), found that while most adults need around seven to eight hours sleep a night, a third of Brits are getting just five to six. A growing body of research suggests mental and physical problems become more pronounced in those sleeping for less than six hours. That extra episode delaying your bedtime could amp up the fight or flight response to stress level, releasing hormones that speed up your heart rate and raise blood pressure. ‘It’s important to remember though,’ says Lisa Artis from The Sleep Council, ‘it’s also about the quality of sleep you are getting, not the quantity (although we will spend a third of our lives in bed). If you are sleepy, exhausted and unable to


Struggling to drift of at night, or always waking up in the early hours? Discover how to make sure you always get that elusive eight hours a night...

Your sleeping environment is very important in getting the best night’s sleep. Neither too hot or too cold, and as quiet and dark as possible. ‘Your bed needs to be comfortable,’ says Lisa. ‘It’s difficult to get deep, restful sleep on one that’s too hard, too soft, too small or too old.’ The Sleep Council recommends changing your new mattress every seven years, with research showing that swapping an uncomfortable one for a new one resulted in nearly an hour of extra sleep a night… just imagine that for a second! Likewise, if you suffer with back and shoulder pain, look to your pillow. ‘A good pillow should hold your head in the correct alignment, in the same relation to your shoulders and spine as if you were standing upright with the correct posture,’ says Lisa. ‘Replace a pillow once it’s lost its “loft” (height) or it has become lumpy or discoloured.’ Dave adds linens should be clean, cool and crisp and ideally cotton, which helps skin to breathe, plus bedlinens should be changed once a week as we lose a half pint or more of fluid each night (yes, really). Talking of routines, it’s not only children that benefit from a bedtime routine (and no, that doesn’t include watching two episodes of the latest box set every night!). Lisa advises finding alternative ways of relaxing, like a warm bath with soothing scents, background music, gentle stretches and yoga. ‘It’s also important to establish a regular sleep pattern – going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time each day. Your body and mind will feel much better for it,’ she says. ‘Our brains like repetition,’ adds Dave, ‘a consistent sleep routine helps support and strengthen our body clocks.’ So you have your own bedtime routine – you’re weaning yourself off more than one Netflix episode after 10pm; your bed is looking super-inviting; you’ve cut back on caffeine and alcohol and other bad-sleep foods (incidentally, there’s no evidence that cheese causes nightmares – it’s actually a good bedtime snack thanks to the calcium, which is an amino acid the body uses to produce melatonin, the sleepy hormone, says the Sleep Council) – but what if the other members of your household aren’t quite on the same sleep-promotion page? If you’re lying next to a snorer, what starts as a niggle, can become a major issue. ‘It’s important to get it sorted,’ says Lisa, who recommends the British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea website (britishsnoring.co.uk) if earplugs aren’t doing the trick. If you’ve a child disturbing your sleep, then try to get to the reason why – is it for comfort, a drink or a wee… or just because know they can? If you follow Lisa and Dave’s advice, improved sleep can come to us all (hopefully), but when it does, just don’t hit that snooze button. Set your alarm for when you actually have to get up as you won’t get any quality zzzzs in between snoozes. Lisa even advises putting the alarm clock on the other side of the room, especially if you have a hard time not pressing the snooze button each day. ‘You’ll have to walk across the room to turn it off, waking yourself up along the way,’ says Lisa. You’ll be ready to start the day, as fresh as a daisy!


SLEEP MYTHS... busted by The Sleep Council

Baa Humbug! Counting sheep helps you fall asleep… Yes, technically it can, but so can counting cows or dogs. It’s the repetitive nature of the task that actually makes you feel sleepy or fall asleep. absorption in a mental task is an aspect of mindfulness and can help to relax you.

Can’t stop Yawning …is a sign you are tired. Well no, not always. Sometimes we yawn when we wake up, if we’re bored or if someone else does.

nightcap no-no Drinking alcohol helps you sleep… Wrong! Too much alcohol, especially at night, plays havoc with your sleep paterns. It may help you fall asleep initially but will interrupt your sleep later on and rob you of one of the most satisfying types of sleep, where dreams occur. Plus, you’ll wake up dehydrated and needing the loo.

Georgia and James Broome’s love of travel has inspired the décor of their welcoming home 106



Profile THE OWNERs Georgia Broome, an interior designer and blogger, her husband, James, a sotware developer, and their daughters, Olivia, seven, and Charlote, four THE PROPERTY A 1950s semi-detached house near Abingdon, Oxfordshire



project COST ÂŁ105,336

TOP TIP Use diferent loor surfaces to mark out the zones. Mix the design up by laying the edges in an uneven patern

This image and let The Crate & Barrel bench at the dining room table is from a shop in Dubai. ‘It was in the hall of our lat in Dubai and our porch area in Canada. When we moved here, I took it to a local spray paint company and they matched it with the blue Eames chair.


Chairs and stool, Cult Furniture. For a similar table, try the Fjord, Made.com. Floor lamp, Maisons du Monde. Copper shelves, Oliver Bonas. Ceiling lights, Creative Cables. Bi-fold doors and glazing, Mcleans Glass. Outside table, Ikea. Chairs, Tesco. Decking, Homebase


sk Georgia the origin of a piece of furniture in her home and the answer will be something obscure – an Ethiopian grain table, for example, or a retro French print. Travel is an integral part of her life; brought up in France after moving from Brixton, she grew used to continental life before relocating to Dubai and then Toronto with her husband James. Each country has a place in her home through a treasured piece of furniture or accessory she brought back with her when the family moved to Oxfordshire. The transfer from Canada came as Georgia and James’ eldest daughter Olivia was due to start school. Their house search was largely based around the school they chose in a village in south Oxfordshire. Georgia originally discounted the house they now live in. ‘It had a shoddy side extension above the garage, the roof needed redoing, and the loft conversion wasn’t up to regulations,’ she explains. It was the house’s original 1950s parquet floor that grabbed her attention. ‘It had me the minute I walked through the door,’ she laughed. ‘It was the house that no one was willing to buy and it had sat empty for two years. We had a chance to make it a lovely family home again.’ Georgia and James had rented while they lived abroad, so the house was their first proper family home. Georgia took inspiration from international living styles when she started planning the renovation. ‘Dubai has en suites, utility rooms and modern layouts, while Canada is all about what they call mud rooms – porches on steroids where you can put buggies, scooters and snow gear,’ she explains. ‘My list for this house was to have a big mud room, an en suite, a utility and a playroom.’ Although Georgia and James didn’t extend their property, the interior layout needed tweaking. The original sitting room ran from the front to the back of the house, so they placed a stud wall in the middle and opened up the back room into the kitchen to create an open-plan space. ‘Having grown up in France sat round the table as a family, eating breakfast and dinner together is something we do every day,’ she says. ‘It’s where we do homework; I sit and blog and order my Tesco delivery; we spend the majority of our time here.’ In fact, Georgia runs her interior design business from a desk space she set up alongside the kitchen sideboard. The stud wall between the kitchen and the living room helps keep the latter as a cosy, relaxing space. ‘It’s the heart of our home, with all our posters, pictures and things from the places we’ve lived around the world,’ Georgia says. From the map of the French empire on the wall to the aforementioned grain table that Georgia picked up from a street market in Italy at 16, it’s certainly a reflection of the family’s lives. That’s not to say it isn’t practical. ‘To keep it functional for a young family, it has two Ikea sofas that can take a battering, and the covers can be taken off and put in the washing machine,’ Georgia adds. The retro touches Georgia has added around her house help to counterbalance its functionality. The kitchen is dominated by a framed list of bus routes from Brixton, which Georgia and James took regularly in their years as a young couple. French school posters picked up from vintage markets are scattered around the

shelf life Display everything from keepsakes to everyday essentials on these wire beauties 1


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1. Turquoise and gold wire metal wall shelf, £41.95, Melody Maison 2. String pocket shelves in mustard, £122, Skandium 3. Cult Living small metal wall hanging shelving unit, £49, Cult Furniture 4. Bloomingville metal wall storage, £110, Made In Design




Let Around the house, Georgia has cut costs wherever she can. She chose an Ikea kitchen, jazzed up with copper handles. ‘My big splurge was the white Minerva worktop,’ she says. ‘I used the ofcuts as shelves in the pantry, and even atached legs to the cut-out from the sink and made it into a side table. Not a bit got thrown away.’ Walls painted in Night Jewels 5, Dulux. Units, Ikea. Grey floor tiles, Topps Tiles. Worktop, Minerva. Unit handles, Ebay. Unit feet, Superfront. Copper sink, Olif. Mixer tap, Amazon




Play with an OTT decorating scheme in the utility room. Floral print wallpaper can give it a garden room vibe

Right ‘I was adamant I was having a utility, so I pinched some space of the playroom to create it,’ Georgia admits. ‘It’s compact but I spend far too much time in there!’ Wallpaper, Etsy. Units, sink and tap, Ikea. Bug print, Ebay. Washing machine, Candy


The sideboard behind the sofa is one of Georgia’s projects. ‘It’s an Ikea shelving unit I wrapped in pallet wood and added legs to,’ she says. ‘That’s our house – a mix of old antiques and new hacks.’ The throw, with a giant maple leaf on it, is a ind from Canada. The Hand of Fatima side table and the cushions were collected in Dubai. Walls painted in European White, Dulux. Sofas and plant, Ikea. Rug, Ebay. For a similar red chair, try Heal’s

TOP TIP Use maps as artworks, particularly old ones. They can also inspire you with exotic places to try and tick of your ‘must visit’ list


Right Georgia says that her daughters’ main request for their bedroom was for lots of colour. ‘Then Olivia was going on about pineapples, so I found the fun chandelier on Ebay and added other bright yellow touches throughout the space.’ Walls painted in Dulux custom colours. Storage chests, sofa seat and wall clock, Ikea. One of the beds was Georgia’s as a child, the other is from Ikea. Carpet, Lee Longlands. Cushions and poufe, Marina Home Interiors. Yellow elephant head, Cult Furniture




house. Georgia’s childhood bed is now used by Olivia, and the desk she used as a teenager is in the spare room. Because James works from home, it made sense to turn the existing loft conversion into a home office. ‘A huge percentage of the budget went into bringing it up to current Building Regulations standard,’ Georgia says. However, it does get a lot of use. ‘I have my sewing table up there as well as all the furniture I’m upcycling – there’s lots of pots of paint,’ she laughs. It’s clear that Georgia has a natural flair for design, but she says her family influenced her love of interiors. ‘My mum’s a curtain maker and always designed her houses,’ she says. ‘We’ve moved a lot and travelled a lot, so I’ve grown up really inspired by my environment.’ She wants that for her daughters, too. ‘I don’t want to compromise because I have young kids, but I don’t want to spend my life telling them, “Don’t touch this” or “Be careful”. It’s about getting that balance: inspiring them, but letting them live in it, too. It still needs to do the job a house is built to do.’

‘Bath time is family time for us,’ Georgia says. ‘I wanted a bathroom big enough for us all to sit in there, and it needed to be somewhere where the kids can splash around.’ She chose super-sized tiles for this reason. ‘The tiler wasn’t very happy – at 50x50cm, you’ve got to have some serious adhesive to keep them on the walls,’ she laughs. ‘But it certainly packs a punch!’ Basin, Victorian Plumbing. Bath and tap, Victoria Plum. Chair, Cult Furniture. Tiles, Topps Tiles. Blinds, Direct Blinds

TOP TIP Looking for a funky vanity unit? Repurpose a stylish sideboard by geting a plumber to feed pipes through and it a basin on top



Above let and above The family’s spare room is mostly used by Georgia’s mum when she comes over from France. Because the layout is long and narrow, Georgia had a stud wall built and ited a walk-in wardrobe behind it. ‘It makes the room low so much beter,’ she says.

‘It was the house that no one was willing to buy and it had sat empty for two years. We had a chance to make it a lovely family home again’ 113

Chair, Kijiji Canada. Bed, Ikea, painted in Sunny Savannah 3, Dulux. Bedlinen, Ikea. Velvet cushion, H&M Home. Lamp, Homebase. Light, Creative Cables. Walls painted in Night Jewels 5 and Sapphire Salute, Dulux. Carpet, Lee Longlands



Interior design Home Made Productions, homemadeproductions.co.uk Architect Michael Nye Design, 07721 001661 Builder Adam Packer, 07766 304932 Bi-fold doors Mcleans Glass Oxford, 01865 715165, mcleansglass.co.uk

Below James and Georgia’s oice space is located in the lot, away from the bustle of the house. Georgia originally wanted an exposed brick wall. ‘The planning surveyor said it had to be plastered up with ire board,’ she recalls. ‘So I bought brick wallpaper instead.’ A line of paint between three Ikea track lights makes them look like one long unit. Chairs, Herman Miller and Habitat. Flooring, Carpetright. Walls painted in Brilliant White, Dulux. Brick wallpaper, Wilko. Windows, Velux. Clock, Habitat Sewing machine, John Lewis

‘We bought the super-king bed in Dubai,’ Georgia says. ‘It has been hilarious transporting it to Canada and England. Turns out it’s not made for old buildings! We needed storage that worked round it. I designed a frame to go around an Ikea wardrobe with a shelf that acts as a bedside cabinet.’ Light, Creative Cables. Bed, theone.com. Bedlinen, wardrobe, curtains and rug, all Ikea. Cushion, H&M Home. Walls painted in Night Jewel 5, Dulux

Home Work Show you mean business with a stylish desk that’s functional and fun

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Urban chic laptop desk, £399, Wooden Furniture Store

Phoenix desk in ash wood and steel pastel, £329, Cult Studio


Metro Lane Honey desk in mustard, £150.99, Wayfair

Adils Linnmon table, £20, Ikea


PAINT EFFECTS Make the walls your canvas and get creative with Crown What better way to add a truly personal stamp to a room in your home than by painting a unique design directly onto one or more of your walls? One of the easiest ways to introduce a variety of hues without overwhelming your space is with colour blocking. Take inspiration from Crown’s innovative colour combinations and experiment with your own for a one-of-a-kind look. Even if neutral shades are more your thing, add interest with different shapes and patterns. Paint yourself a calming view with a serene mountain scene, or layer paints of similar hues. If you want a touch of glamour, metallic paints offer a sophisticated sheen that can create drama on walls, or elegance when used for smaller details. Crown has expanded its metallic range so there’s a shade to complement any scheme. Quirky and fun paint effects work in any space, but are really perfect for kids’ rooms. Little ones with big personalities should have a bedroom that’s as fun and playful as they are. From bold geometric shapes to dreamy clouds, get imaginative and give them a personalised play area. ‘When it comes to decorating children’s bedrooms, subtlety can take a back seat to bold, fun patterns and daring combinations.’ says Crown’s colour consultant, Judy Smith. ‘Involving kids in the redecorating process is the perfect way to let them express themselves and create a room that they love.’ Most of Crown’s ranges have a unique Breatheasy formulation which is 99 per cent solvent free, making it kinder to the environment and ideal for every room in your home. For more inspiration, expert advice, videos and to see the whole range, visit crownpaints.co.uk.


Ruth’s living room was the scene of family dramas in Girlfriends



e it ever so humble, your home could be a TV star in the making. Not all series/ films/adverts are shot in the dream factories of studios or on purpose-built sets. Sometimes TV needs reality and locations are found in the suburbs, on city streets and in unassuming neighbourhoods. Location agents are always on the lookout for properties that might catch the eye of the scouts (not the be prepared, keen on camping kind) for TV, films, commercials, photoshoots, product launches or online videos. ‘Our clients ask for a wide range of residential properties, from normal family homes to modern architectural houses,’ says Lauren York, MD of UK Locations. ‘There are a few key components a property must have to make it shootable – where it’s based, the flexibility of the owner, and rooms need to be large and preferably openplan. Eight to 45 crew have to fit in and get a good depth of shot.’ Michelle Shashoua, owner of Fresh Locations, says ‘Whether modern or period in style, light-filled properties with high ceilings, wooden floorboards and features, such as beautiful windows, a fireplace or staircase, are popular as they provide a versatile backdrop. And loft apartments or penthouses with city views are always in demand.’ Location companies scour Instagram for suitable properties, get tipped off by architects and


‘We’ve been renting out our homes for ive years. Our old neighbours worked with UK Locations and suggested we call them. Our current home has been used for all sorts. It was the home of Miranda Richardson’s son in Kay Mellor’s Girlfriends. My mother-in-law took a picture of it on her TV showing our lounge, then sent it to us while we were

in that lounge. Keira Knightly rented it for eight weeks while ilming in the area. She brought her husband, daughter and mother with her so needed a family home. We moved to a short-term rental – a challenge with three young children – but it was too good to turn down. We made about £10,000, though outgoings from moving out came out of that. Normally a half-day shoot might be £200-£400 and a full day about


£600-£700. If you think it might be a way to make a litle extra money, great, but be prepared for it to be inconsistent; it’s not a guaranteed income. I see it as fun money. We take the kids away on holiday, or it goes into the pot for renovations. I’m proud of my house and it’s nice to see the work we’ve put into it being used for other purposes.’ Uklocations.co.uk/ locations/2527. Follow Ruth @ thelifeproject_3

‘While shooting a music video at an owner’s house, we were prepping a fight scene where police wielding guns turn up to arrest the suspect hiding in the bedroom. The actor pressed what he thought was a control on the wall to close the curtains. Within five minutes the real police had turned up to arrest everyone as he’d mistakenly pressed the panic alarm. That took a lot of explaining.’

‘during the Beast from the East, we were helping harper’s Bazaar with a shoot at an Oxford country estate with actress Vanessa Kirby. The puppies booked to star in it were too small to brave the snow, so the owner’s cat stepped in. he took such a shine to being photographed that he photobombed the rest of the pictures.’


Put your home to work by getting it cast in movies, adverts and photoshoots. Its fame as a backdrop could earn you thousands

Michelle Shashoua of Fresh Locations reveals some of the unscripted comedic and dramatic moments that can happen when on location




5 things...


a sleep-deprived man drowsed at the table in Chloë’s kitchen in an ad for the Eve matress

LOOK FAMILIAR? See if you can spot where these houses were featured (see below for answers)


‘We extended our kitchen just as I was going on maternity leave, so I was looking to make some alternative income. I sent Fresh Locations some photographs and they liked what they saw. Our irst booking was an advert with a 50strong crew, a generator and

catering lorry that ran from 7am to 11pm – a real baptism of ire. But the majority are for photoshoots with smaller crews. We make sure the house is spotless, as they respect it and leave the house as they found it. It’s easier to be out of the house than in – if they say they’ll use two rooms, they oten commandeer a bedroom as a dressing room, too.

Fees vary from a few hundred pounds for a short shoot to much more for a TV advert. We’ve put some towards a holiday, but the rest is saved. We have plans to redecorate our playroom, and to replace furniture. We’ve really enjoyed it, and appreciate our house bringing in extra income when we aren’t in it.’ See freshlocations. com/property/ croton-hill

TWO Perhaps you’d recognise this bathroom in an arts and Crats semi in south-west London with a playful puppy in the tub.

THREE Frequently used for TV and ilm, this lot home in a former pet food factory in east London has hosted movie and pop stars… and even a dancing boar

you need to know before putting your home into showbusiness






Be lexible. have somewhere you can go and camp out with the kids for the day (or longer), unless you are prepared to hide in your bedroom for hours and be very, very quiet.

don’t expect to be hobnobbing with celebrities. You’ll be out of the way long before they arrive on set. Be content in the knowledge that they sat on your seats, cooked in your kitchen or cavorted on your bed.

You’ll need understanding neighbours and good parking. You might have anything from eight to 45 people turning up. With vans.

Make sure it is spick and span before they arrive. You don’t want an a-lister judging your crumb-covered carpets and cobwebby corners, unless it’s meant to look deliberately distressed.

a well-known shoot location can add to a property’s sale value. Quite literally the price of fame.


ONE The garden of this Surrey house is missing a certain morning TV presenter testing BBQs, inlatable chairs and other household toys and gadgets.

ANSWERS 1 How To Spend it Well: House and Garden with Philip Schofield 2 10 Puppies & Us 3 gordon’s gin advert

developers, or are approached directly by people with friends and neighbours who are clients. The house is very much the focus with the occupants expected to maintain a discreet distance. ‘Shoots work best when the owner meets the producer and shows them round, provides Wi-Fi details and what parts are to be left private, then leaves them to it,’ says Michelle. ‘If it’s a small shoot, they can stay upstairs. Leaving tea and coffee out for the crew is always well received.’ ‘Owners would only ever need to move out if it was a film and TV drama as these can run over three to five days. The production company would put the whole family up in a hotel,’ says Lauren. ‘Clients can stay for smaller shoots, but constantly hovering around and looking over the crews’ shoulders is a definite no-no. The owner is expected to have the house clean and tidy. If the crew moves anything they’ll put it back where they found it, and clean if needed. On bigger shoots with lots of crew, the production will pay for it to be cleaned post shoot.’ Though it may not be a path to Hollywood-style pay packets, using your house as a location can net a tidy sum for relatively little inconvenience and effort. Your house just needs to be, and you usually need to be elsewhere. ‘For photoshoots, video, product launches and editorial, it can be £450 to £1,500 depending on location type. For larger shoots, anything from £900 to £3,000 for the day,’ says Lauren.

A CLEAR FAVOURITE A daringly designed glazed kitchen extension means Sarah Brooks and her family can dine under the stars




Blur the separation between kitchen and terrace by using loor tiles that can work inside and out, or are a close match

Right the striking glass box extension creates a feeling of siting and eating outdoors while being protected from the elements. For a similar timber dining set, try the Cranbrook hardwood round table with armchairs at Qubox. For striped outdoor cushions, try gardenista UK


Sarah’s longed for island with hob means she can whip up a meal while the children sit at the breakfast bar or play in the garden.

Profile The owners Sarah Brooks, an actuary, and husband Alastair, an accountant, live here with daughters Isabelle, seven, and Elsie, five The property A four-bedroom Edwardian terraced house in Hackney, London. project cost ÂŁ120,000 (including garden landscaping and the creation of a bathroom upstairs)



Bar stools The White Room. For a similar chopping board, try H&M


2 Step two

1 Step one


If you are going for a simple white scheme, a vibrant splashback and chairs are good ways to add a dash of colour


Brooks knew the answer to increasing the size of her narrow and draughty kitchen lay in expanding out to the small paved area – where they hid the barbecue and hose pipes – at the side of her family’s terraced house in Hackney. However, she was loathe to have a brick-built addition that would stop daylight getting to the basement, newly converted into a playroom and home office. Her bold solution was glass, and lots of it. Architect Peter Lancaric came on board with her daring suggestion and they created a beautiful extension that contrasts with yet complements the Edwardian home it’s now part of. Sarah explains how she had to fight for the beautiful glass box she envisioned, and how they managed to get the huge glazed panels needed for it in place…

The Vision

Finding a design partner

‘The old kitchen was basically a galley shape with a row of low units and a few wall cupboards. The only thing we had against one wall was a fridge-freezer because a chimney breast was in the way, so it was limited in terms of space. All the appliances had gone and the units were old. We also needed to do something about the insulation and heat as it was draughty and freezing. There were just floorboards with big gaps in between – we took some up and could see soil underneath! And there was big bay window to the side which hadn’t been fitted well. ‘I wanted an island, tall units and good appliances. It had to look contemporary with big handles and lots of cupboard space, plus I wanted a hob on the island where I could cook.’

‘When we first moved in we had a damp and dank brick cellar, which was the only storage in the house. We dug out quite a bit, and now it is a store and utility with another room at the back, which is a playroom for the girls and a bit of a home office for us. ‘Because of the basement, I didn’t want a standard side-return extension, like a lot of my friends had, as it would cut off the light to it and also to the lounge. The motivation for using glass came from not wanting to have a brick wall at the back of the extension. ‘I started looking round at glass designs online. I found Peter Lancaric through a builder doing a small job at the house. We sorted through what I was thinking, he came up with two designs I liked and it went from there.’


the glass at the back of the new side-return extension lets light reach the basement rooms as well as ofering an unusual outlook. the slender frames holding the panels create a sharp outline and a link to the style of the bi-fold doors. Extractor fan Elica obelisk, John Lewis. Dining chairs, Ercol. Dining Table, haus London. For a similar armchair, try the roxanna at Wayfair

Step four

Step five

Tackling the build

The dream kitchen

Reaping the rewards

‘The house is in a Conservation Area and we had to get planning permission from Hackney local authority for the extension. Then we had to find someone to construct it. One builder we had round actually said “Do you really like that?” I thought, “I’m not working with you if you don’t like the design”. ‘For the frameless panes we went with Cantifix, who are London-based. The roof was originally going to be one piece of glass, but because our house is terraced, we would have needed to hire a crane to get it to the back. Together with the cost of the crane licence, we were looking at another £5,000. The glass salesman suggested we could save money if we went for three panels, which they expertly carried through the house using magnets.’

‘The renovation started in May and was finished by October, during which time we had to use the utility room as a makeshift kitchen. Knocking out the chimney breast freed up one wall, so now there are plenty of floor and wall cupboards, and a central island. ‘When we first started this project, I thought it was only going to be about £17,000 or £18,000. But after we took into account the building of it, having the kitchen fitted and getting the garden landscaped because it was a pretty scruffy outlook, that’s when I thought I’d better start a spreadsheet... ‘The kitchen was expensive, but my biggest extravagance was probably the extractor fan over the island. It is a real feature of the room. Peter describes it as “sculptural”.’

‘I was quite anxious about it not being cold in here so I asked the builder if the underfloor heating would be powerful enough and he said, “it’ll be really hot”, and the glass company assured me that as well. Now I actually can’t believe how warm it is. ‘I love all the glazing and the way the view comes in. I even like the look of the frames in the ceiling. I think they pull everything together. ‘Though it’s not a huge extension, it has changed the way we as a family use the space. We spend most of our time here and myself, Alastair and the girls can all hang out when someone is cooking. It is the warmest room in the house now. When we have friends round, we’ll usually spend most of the night in the kitchen.’



Step three

3 4 5

TOP TIP slated wood above a garden wall is a modern alternative to trellis, ofering privacy and encouraging climbing plants

Above let and above the expanses of glass help to bring the garden in and also relect it, making it appear longer. the kitchen includes plenty of storage, with the bright white of the work surface complementing the glossy wall cupboards.


Contacts Architect Peter Lancaric, P.Lanstudio architecture, plstudio.co.uk Kitchen Funktional Kitchens, 020 8341 2020, funktionalkitchens.co.uk Glazing Cantiix, 020 8203 6203, cantiix.co.uk

For a similar glass splashback, try splashbacks UK. For a yellow bread bin, try the Wesco grandy at red Candy. Find large kitchen floor tiles at Walls & Floors

my kitchen favourites BEST PARTY I EVER HOSTED ‘a barbecue we had with all our friends from university. We have been using a book called Fire & Smoke a lot.’

WHEN I’M HAPPIEST IN THE KITCHEN ‘having saturday morning breakfast with the family or dinner on a Friday night.’

Wale maker, £65, Cuisinart

Kitchenaid mini food processor in silver, £69.99, John Lewis GADGET I COULDN’T BE WITHOUT ‘a mini food processor and a sharp knife.’

Fire & Smoke by rich harris (Kyle Books, £19.99)


african & Middle Eastern spice tin with 9 spices & silk sari wrap, £29.95, and so to shop

FIRST MEAL I COOKED IN THE NEW KITCHEN ‘Fillet steak stufed with porcini mushrooms and wrapped in panceta.’

set of Wild & Wolf steak knives in acacia wood, £19.95, hurn & hurn THE RECIPE I ALWAYS LOVE TO COOK ‘apart from barbecues, I also cook a lot of Middle Eastern food.’


FREE CHOPPING BOARD SET when you subscribe today for just £18 As a special offer this month, when you subscribe you will also receive a free mini chopping board set from contemporary kitchenware brand Joseph Joseph, worth £30. Don’t miss out on this great offer... Free delivery to your door ● Never miss an issue of your favourite magazine ● Free tickets to all of our eight Homebuilding & Renovating shows, worth £216 ●

It’s easy to subscribe, simply: CALL US ON 0344 848 2852 and quote code RHOCT18 *Terms and conditions: This ofer entitles new UK Direct Debit subscribers to pay just £18 every six months plus receive a Joseph Joseph mini chopping board set worth £30. Git is only available for new UK subscribers. Git is subject to availability. Please allow up to 60 days for the delivery of your git. In the event of stocks being exhausted we reserve the right to replace with items of similar value. Prices and savings quoted are compared to buying full-priced print issues. You will receive 12 issues in a year. Your subscription is for the minimum term speciied and will expire at the end of the current term. You can write to us or call us to cancel your subscription within 14 days of purchase. Payment is non-refundable ater the 14-day cancellation period unless exceptional circumstances apply. Your statutory rights are not afected. Prices correct at point of print and subject to change. UK calls will cost the same as other standard ixed line numbers (starting 01 or 02) or are included as part of any inclusive or free minutes allowances (if ofered by your phone tarif). For full terms and conditions, please visit: bit.ly/magterms. Ofer ends 30 November 2018.


GO ONLINE at myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/RHOCT18






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Who says a brick extension has to be boring? If you’re opting for brick over contemporary cladding, that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with style – as this addition shows. We love the lacy texture of the walls created by the protruding bricks, and the red-brown colour transforms an ordinary Edwardian house into something very special. If you’re short on space but still want to keep a decent garden plot, a compact extension like this one might be the solution you’ve been waiting for. Build cost, £95,000. Pamphilon Architects, pamphilonarchitects.com




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creative lighting Vibrant violet is the latest addition to the Rosa collection of balloon cage pendant lights. Chose your pendant and rope colour combo, then decide how to hang it; loop it, tie some together – the possibilities are endless. Rosa balloon cage pendant light, £96, Urban Cotage Industries

Sapphire Rustic 120-200mm engineered oak wood flooring


Aged to perfection Channelling that ripped jeans vibe, get the feel of a time-worn cottage or industrial warehouse with these axe-chopped floorboards. Available in three finishes, they add instant character without decades of stomping around. Relik axechopped oak wood flooring, £154.74 per m2, Havwoods

Ruby Rustic 120-200mm engineered oak wood flooring

Not just a pretty face Expand your bathroom-wall horizons with Wallpepper’s new hardcore wallpaper. Available in bold designs, it’s so water resistant you could use it in a swimming

Topaz Rustic 120-200mm engineered oak wood flooring


pool. €115 plus VAT per m2. Wallpepper is based in Italy but delivers worldwide.

So glassy Critall-style windows and doors are moving out of extensions and into bathrooms. Perfect for an en-suite, they

3 things...

open up the space and let light lood in.

you didn’t know a washing machine could do.

Disclaimer: not ideal for

ONE ever got to work and realised you forgot to put the washing on to clean that dress you need for tonight? Now you can do it from your phone! Connect your washing machine to the Hoover Wizard app, select a programme and do your washing on the go.

bathrooms of kitchens, unless you have an exhibitionist streak. Mondrian door system, approx £1,300 per m2,

TWO Put your feet up as you do laundry with a simple, ‘alexa, put my washing on please.’ It connects to alexa and Google home assistant, so you don’t even need to get out of bed to start it.

excluding VAT, IQ Glass.

Breakfast restyle Dualit’s Architect toaster and kettle come with funky removable panels, so you can makeover your kitchen accessories when you please. Designer Kit Miles has created this geometric monochrome pattern for them, and boy oh boy do we love it!

architect ketle, £89.99, with Kit Miles Overlook panel pack, £24.95


Want the look and feel of bespoke plywood units while working from a latpack budget? tim Diacon and adam Vergete did, which is why they started Plykea, ofering a service upscaling Ikea Metod kitchens with stylish plywood fronts and worktops. You can design your dream scheme in the Ikea kitchen planner, then send it to Plykea with your pick of façades and surfaces that you want to customise it with. four to six weeks later they’ll send back everything you requested, from plinths to shelving, to add to your units, and a unique kitchen will be yours for less than you’d thought.



architect four-slice toaster, £115.99, with Kit Miles Overlook panel pack, £24.95


OME H H A EA ITCH n sig de


THREE Let your machine make the decisions with the power of aI. It can suggest an appropriate programme, add the right amount of detergent and even check the weather to work out the best time to run the cycle. aXI washing machine, from £469, Hoover.

for a scheme like this, with f7961 formica-faced birch plywood fronts and worktops in Maui f5347 and Chrome Yellow f1485, it would cost around £6,200 (excluding the cost of Ikea units), Plykea


trend spot Cult Living Weston metal bar stool in brass, £99, Cult Furniture

STATEMENT ISLANDS Having a bright and bold standalone section of units ofering more worktop/ cooking space is the stuf of dream kitchens right now. Perfect for livening up a neutral palete, and a guaranteed talking point.

Globe brass pendant, £69, Industville

style update


Etros Brass thermostatic shower column, £895, Frontline Bathrooms

Brass is having a renaissance and we can’t get enough of it. There’s no beter way to add warmth and character than by swapping your chrome inishes for the charm of brass. Combine with black, white or inky hues to let this shiny shade pop.

Infinity Plus Contour Ermine kitchen in Lemon Curd, £5,856 for the units shown, Wren

Mpro basin monobloc knurled tap in brushed brass, £239, Crosswater

Brushed brass hexagonal cupboard door knob, £11, Pushka Home

Stanton Blue and Mussel kitchen, approx £11,400 for the units shown, Caple

Privacy please Forget the faff of blinds and curtains and achieve both constant privacy and natural light with these stick-on window films. Ideal for ground-floor bedrooms, bathrooms, or anywhere you don’t want to be overlooked, maintain your own haven no matter what’s going on outside. MissPrint Chevrons film, from £30, The Window Film Company.

Handpainted bespoke kitchen island with worktop in Bon Accord granite, from £35,00, Roundhouse. For a similar paint, try Rusto-Oleum’s Neon Pink


A DV E RTOR I A L Right By working with design experts, you can create a contemporary space that’s both stylish and practical Below This iPad holder is a clever feature that’s perfect for flexible entertainment or on-hand recipes Botom right Designing a bright and functional space can have a positive impact on the way you live

YOUR DREAM KITCHEN Create the perfect space with Ideas for Living


he ideal kitchen is about more than just great looks. It’s also about designing a room that perfectly combines style with function, and is tailor-made to suit your lifestyle. For more than 35 years, Häfele UK has connected homeowners with the best fittings for their kitchen, and in that time, it’s learnt a thing or two about great kitchen design. Whether you’re maximising your small kitchen space, designing to suit your family’s needs, or planning your forever home, there’s an array of options for you. Häfele provides a range of clever design solutions to emphasise your kitchen’s aesthetic appeal, functionality and storage, allowing you to make the most of every inch of your home. This philosophy is beautifully showcased via the Ideas for Living website, where you’ll find Häfele’s UK network of more than 200 independent Kitchen Studio Partners, who can transform your kitchen dreams into a super-practical and stylish reality.

And the website’s useful locator tool helps you to quickly find a local Häfele Studio Partner. Häfele’s name is synonymous with quality and the company offers only the very best products and services. Staying committed to excellence, Häfele hand picks its elite Studio Partners based on their dedication to quality, service and innovation, so it can guarantee that


these values are reflected in your kitchen-buying experience. Visiting the Ideas for Living website will inspire you to take the next steps towards your perfect kitchen, and connect you with your local partner who will help create it. You can rest assured you’re guaranteed the highest standard of service from Häfele’s Studio Partners, while feeling secure in the knowledge that you’re helping to support a local business. To find out more about how you and your local Studio Partner can make individual, inspiring and functional spaces to benefit your home, visit ideasforliving.co.uk.


Fireplaces Whether it’s gas, electric or wood burning, a fire is a fabulous feature. These designs will heat your room and look handsome, too BEST FOR ARCHITECTURAL INTEREST


A stone ireplace is the inishing touch for a room rich in period features. This limestone version has geometric lines that will suit a property from any era. Burlington ire surround in limestone, £2,154; Soho ire basket in steel, £474; Swan ire dogs in a patinated antique gold inish, £1,860, Chesneys

Fit a ire at seated eye level and enjoy the best view of the lames. This gas version is designed to look like a real log-burning ire, and non-relective glass aids the authentic appearance. It can be lit without heat when it’s too warm for a proper lame to make for a cosy atmosphere, even if you’re in your shorts and T-shirt. Relex 75T gas ire, from £3,249, Gazco

BEST FOR LARGE ROOMS Sized for big living spaces, this modern gas ire is suitable for brick chimneys. Use the slide control to adjust lame output, or upgrade to a remote for that and other operations from the sofa. Inspire 800 Fireslide with edge trim in chrome, vermiculite liner and oak logs, from £1,499, Valor


Three TOP TIPS 1. SELECT THE FUEL You may be able to pick from the full range of electric, gas or solid fuel ires to supplement central heating. Electric are the easiest to add, and are generally the least costly purchase; gas ires can create the look of burning logs extremely efectively; and real ires have the appeal of the real deal, but require more space for fuel storage.

Which fire complements your home and your budget? Discover how to choose with our expert guidance

2. FLUE KNOW-HOW Gas and real ires create gases that need to be vented outside via a lue. It’s essential to buy a ire compatible with your lue. A sound chimney works with diferent types, but an old chimney may need a modern liner. Contact a HETASregistered installer (hetas.co.uk). Prefabricated lues are generally suitable for gas ires, while a pre-cast lue equals a smaller gas ire choice.


3. STAY SAFE Toxic carbon monoxide can be produced by gas or real ires as a result of poor combustion. To avoid it, a gas ire should be ited by a Gas Safe-registered engineer (gassaferegister.co.uk); ind a solid fuel professional via HETAS. Annual servicing is vital for gas ires and twice-yearly chimney sweeping for real ires. Invest in a carbon monoxide alarm, too.

BEST FOR A CONTEMPORARY LOOK Wood-burning ires can have clean, modern styles as well as a more traditional look. This inset ire has a frameless design and can be set into a backdrop of your choosing, though there are glass, steel, ceramic and stone frames with equally cuting-edge credentials, if you prefer. Studio 3 Edge ire, from £3,140, Stovax

BEST FOR INDIVIDUAL STYLE The size of this gas ire makes it a good it for diferent surrounds so you can create a personalised feature, or it can be installed as a hole-in-the-wall. As an alternative to black glass liners, choose beige or red brick. There’s a remote control, too. Ininity 480Hd Beckford gas ire, from £2,674, Charlton & Jenrick

BEST FOR EASY INSTALLATION This electric design only needs to be plugged in to introduce heat and a real lame and smoke efect, which can be adjusted via a remote control. Choose from a surround – which comes in micro marble or limestone – and ire combination that’s set against a wall, or opt for a built-in model. Bali Indulgence suite with opti-myst electric ire, £1,800, dimplex

BEST FOR AN INSTANT FOCAL POINT With a surround in white micro marble (with manila or white with grey inlay also on ofer) and a widescreen glass-fronted ire with a log bed, this gas ireplace can be ixed to a lat wall into a pre-cast lue opening to give even new-build homes an elegant central feature, or on a prefabricated lue or chimney breast. Embleton 900 gas ireplace, from £999, Elgin & Hall

finishing touches ON WHEELS Upgrade your log storage and make moving wood to the hearth less of a strain on your back with a roll-along basket. Wheeled log basket, £122, The Farthing

Select accessories and decorative embellishments that will integrate beautifully with your fireplace TOOL STATION Hearth looking a bit clutered? Tend a real ire with a set of essentials that stay neat and tidy when they’re not in use. Conform ire tools, £78, Morsø


STAR ATTRACTION dress up the hearth with vintage-style monochrome tiles for a smart inish. Scintilla ceramic tiles, £29.95 per m2, Walls & Floors


Adding to both the ground and first floor of your house can give you the space that will transform your home life


GETTING PERMISSION A two-storey rear extension may be possible under permited development outside places such as Conservation Areas. It shouldn’t exceed 50 per cent of the land area around the original house, go more than three metres beyond the rear wall of the original, or be within seven metres of a boundary opposite the back wall. There are also conditions regarding materials, eaves and ridge height, roof pitch and upper loor windows. Find more details at realhomes.com/ planning-permission. You can still apply for permission to build – just factor in the cost.

uilding a two-storey extension can be a viable alternative to moving when you’re ready to size up house-wise. It can also be a remedy to an interior that’s not fit for contemporary life – lacking bathrooms to balance bedrooms upstairs and, on the ground floor, suffering from a layout with a poor connection to the garden, a cramped kitchen, or closed-off rooms where a more openplan arrangement would be preferable. Creating new spaces that fully integrate into your home is the key to a successful two-storey extension. The principal rooms of your home should be accessible from the main hall or circulation space in an open-plan layout, as well as from the landing. Rooms or zones with related uses – like the kitchen and the dining space – work best grouped next to each other. How to do all of this? Follow our expert advice and be inspired by homeowners who have revolutionised their way of living over two storeys.

ONE STOREY VERSUS TWO A two-storey extension can mean adding twice as much space as a one-storey version, but that doesn’t mean paying double. A roof is required either way, as are foundations, so it’s a case of paying to extend the walls and for additional loor joists. Remember, though, that there are more rooms to it out. A new kitchen at ground-loor level or bathrooms and en suites on the irst loor will inevitably involve more spend than a living space or bedroom.



Two-storey extensions



SITE THE ADDITION An extension to the rear can oten be the best place to build onto a semi. Is yours a terraced home or on a corner plot? Then the side-return might be the area to use. supersizing? Adding two storeys on multiple sides is also possible. Remember, permited development rights only apply to rear two-storey extensions – so you’ll need to get permission if your plan is to site the extension elsewhere.

CRUNCH THE NUMBERS Be aware that the spend on a two-storey extension could be more than the value it gives. Add the cost of extending to the current value of your home, then look at sold prices of homes with the number of bedrooms you’ll end up with in your street. If the cost is more than the highest price of a comparable home, the addition isn’t making the money back. If you need more space now, compare moving costs to those of an extension to help you decide.

























‘We enjoy having people to stay with us, so we needed an additional bedroom in order for the boys to have their own room while we’d still be able to have a guest room,’ says Rachel. ‘We really like the area, so with a growing family, it made sense to stay where we were and extend the house. ‘We decided to extend over the garage as it allowed us to retain a reasonable-sized garden. It also meant that we could remodel the downstairs to make better use of the space. ‘We were keen not to lose the lexibility that the garage provided. It wasn’t used for the car, but it created a lot of storage. Retaining some of this and allowing easy access to our bikes was a key requirement. Our architect devised a hidden door concealed within the brickwork. ‘Adding a double-height kitchen meant that there was less room for the new master suite, but it makes the downstairs much bigger, so it was deinitely worthwhile. ‘The orange window frames were a bit of fun and provided a good contrast to the dark tile. They enabled us to add character and give the house a bit of wow factor. This is especially true of the large rear kitchen window, which loods the back of the house with light and gives a great view of the trees, garden and sky outside.  ‘The house lows so much better than it did before when everything was sectioned into small rooms. We use the kitchen-diner as a family space, but there’s also a closed-of room if anybody wants to escape. The boys each have their own decent-sized bedroom rather than sharing a box room, and James and I have the luxury of an en suite bathroom. We have also added a downstairs cloakroom, which we didn’t have before.’ COST AND CONTACTS Project cost £90,000 Architect Lipton plant Architects, 020 7288 1333, lparchitects.co.uk



THINK HEATING when you’re adding more rooms, you’ll need to consider whether your boiler has the capacity to cope with extra radiators and providing the hot water for additional bathrooms – if it doesn’t, the cost of replacing it needs to be included in your budget. Not sure about your existing boiler’s capacity, or what you might need to invest in instead? Call in a heating engineer for advice.

Rachel and James Oakley made space for sons George and Ted to each have their own room with an addition to the side of their home


FOLLOW THE REGS whether your extension falls under permited development or not, it does need to comply with the Building Regulations. A ‘full plans’ application is best for a project such as a twostorey extension, so the design is approved before work starts. Visit realhomes.com/planningpermission to ind out more about what you need. when the extension is inished, make sure you get the completion certiicate that proves compliance as you’ll need it when you come to sell.




GARDEN LINK Bi-fold or sliding doors at ground-loor level of a new two-storey extension can create a connection between interior and exterior that older homes with small windows oten lack. Bear in mind that doors like these, or other spacious alternatives like loor-to-ceiling windows, mean that you won’t be able to locate kitchen units at the end of the room – so factor the positioning of kitchen storage into your planning.

LIGHT AND PRIVACY Under permited development, the irst-loor side-facing windows of a two-storey addition must be obscure glazed. This is useful when the extension looks onto a neighbour or the street. That way, you get daylight without compromising on privacy. Try acid-etched and sandblasted or textured glass.



‘The previous rear projection was original and sited in the centre of the house, but it was small – containing just a WC and utility room – and effectively broke up any flow across the back of the house,’ says Nick. ‘It would have been impossible to get a large living and eating area, and open up the house to the garden, without removing it. ‘The extension created a single large space across the rear of the house, with a WC and utility room built off it. By removing the original rear projection on the first floor and extending to the same distance as the ground floor,


The extension that artist Sarah Barker Brown and Nicolas Brown added to their home made space for family living at ground level and created a large bathroom above

COUNT THE COST where you live afects how much an extension costs as much as the design and speciication, but as a general rule, budget from around £1,500 per square metre. project management costs – if you don’t do this yourself – are on top, and if sub-contractors are over the VAT threshold, you’ll be paying this, too. Fit-out costs vary, with a kitchen starting at £5,000 and a bathroom starting at £4,500.

STYLE MATTERS It’s hard to make a new extension look like it’s always been there. It’s not just a question of what materials you choose, but also how they look as they age. Architectural details are telling, too, so a complementary design can be easier to pull of successfully. A two-storey extension could also become part of a project to give an unprepossessing house an exterior makeover that balances its proportions or alters its shape. This could include changes to features such as the inish, the roof and the windows.


DESIGN HELP when it comes to designing your extension, you could work directly with a builder, ind a design and build company, or call on an architect. Ask to see examples of previous work and talk to past clients as well. Compare at least three writen quotations and ask for clariication on any detail so you’re comparing like for like. Finally, make sure you’re comfortable – you’ll be working closely for months.

DOWN AND UP Extending at ground- and irst-loor level will increase living and bedroom space at the same time. This can keep the ratio of reception rooms to bedrooms in balance, helping make your house more desirable when you do come to sell. Upstairs, the number of bathrooms is important, too. As a minimum, there should be one bathroom for every three bedrooms, and an en suite to the master bedroom is highly desirable.






























we were able to replace a separate shower room and WC with a large family bathroom. After the project started, we also decided to add a studio at the end of the garden for Sarah to work in. ‘The lowering of the original floor level by about a foot was one of those small-sounding but hugely effective decisions which gave us crucial extra height and volume in the extension.’ ‘There were a number of benefits we hoped for,’ says Sarah. ‘Creating a space that we could live more easily in together and connecting the house to the outside were the obvious ones. But I also wanted lots of wall space and natural light – the perfect place to hang my work. This year we had an open house and turned the ground floor and studio into a gallery space. ‘It’s comfortable to live in, but it can also accommodate us having large groups of friends around for dinner or hosting parties. When people leave, it goes back to a family space without feeling empty.’


COST AND CONTACTS Project cost £382,000 plus VAT Architect Clarke penman Architecture, 020 7263 7121, clarkepenman.com




RIGHT TO LIGHT Think about the possibility of light reduction to neighbours’ windows when building an extension to your home as they could complain that you haven’t considered their ‘right to light’. If you haven’t taken this into account, your neighbour may oppose your building project – even if you’ve been granted planning permission. A court can award compensation, request modification or, in the most extreme scenario, prevent the work from going ahead. Note that there isn’t a statutory right to light in Scotland.


ROOM TO BREATHE Anne and Duncan Westland opted to replace a dated conservatory with a two-storey addition to enlarge their 1950s home ‘The house was built in 1958,’ says Anne. ‘It had been extended by three metres with a conservatory and the tiny kitchen had been pushed out into it. It was liveable if you wanted to rough it. ‘The footprint of the house was fine, but we replaced the conservatory and extended by another 50cm over

two storeys. We had two bedrooms and a box room in the original house. Now, we have four bedrooms: the master bedroom has a walk-through dressing area and an en suite, and we put one bedroom on at the back for Emily, our daughter. She’s moved out now, but her bedroom’s as large as the master bedroom, and that’s hers whenever she comes back with her partner. ‘Downstairs, we have a big kitchendiner. Where there had previously been a downstairs shower room, we’ve got a loo-tility room – a utility room with a toilet, as well as a sink big enough for washing the dog. ‘Before we extended, people couldn’t come into the kitchen when


REVAMPING UPSTAIRS A rear two-storey extension could leave first-floor rooms in the middle of the house without daylight, and involve wasteful corridor space, so it’s frequently the case that the first floor has to be reconfigured to fit new bedrooms and bathrooms. Ideally, new rooms should be accessible from the landing, which could mean using part of an existing room to create the circulation space. You won’t want a bedroom that doesn’t have a window, but a bathroom or en suite could work without one.

I was cooking because there was no space at all, but now the house feels really airy. We have a disappearing corner integrated into the bi-folds, and that floods the kitchen with light. One of my hankerings has always been a kitchen like Nigel Slater’s that felt like you were cooking in the garden. Thanks to the doors, that’s what I’ve got. ‘The house didn’t have cavity walls so we opted to have it externally clad once the build was done. It means that the extension ties in nicely with the rest of the house, and it’s made it really

STAY OR GO? Extending is dusty and disruptive, so adequate protection for furniture and carpets is essential, as is sealing of the areas you’re working on. services like plumbing and kitchen access will be cut of at points in the build, and geting under the builders’ feet will not help the project stay on track. Moving out for a while, particularly if you have children, may be the most sensible alternative, but don’t forget to add the cost of accommodation into your budget if staying with family or friends isn’t an option.

warm and well-insulated, too. The extension has an overhang, allowing for extra space upstairs without having to lose more of the garden – something the architect suggested. ‘The house can breathe now. We can open the doors and wander through so it feels open-plan, but we can make it cosy when we need to.’ COST AND CONTACTS Project cost £145,000 Architect Architect Your home, 0800 051 5304, architect-yourhome.com




























TOP 10 INSURANCE QUESTIONS ANSWERED Ever wondered why you need specialist site insurance when starting your extension project? Here’s what you need to know... Q: Surely my builder’s insurance covers me? A: Your builder may say they are ‘fully insured’ – and they probably believe it themselves – but the chances are they actually have public liability insurance which only covers them in the event they cause damage or injury to a third party following a negligent act: something you would have to prove. However, public liability insurance doesn’t cover issues like storm damage, theft of materials, theft of plant and equipment, arson or foreseen liability – essentially all the things you really do need covered. Q: Can’t I just use my standard home insurance for the work? A: Home insurance deinitely doesn’t cover building projects and speciically excludes alterations, renovations and extensions as well as unoccupied properties. This was clearly explained in the BBC’s Rip Off Britain programme where a couple’s build project was totally destroyed by ire and their home insurer refused the claim. Think about it – you’d carry on paying the mortgage on a home that no longer exists. Q: My plant hire company always insures their equipment, so why do I need more insurance? A: The person signing the hire contract is invariably responsible for repairing damaged plant or replacing it if it’s lost or stolen while on hire. You are also responsible for the continuing hire charges until it is replaced. If you are hiring a crane and operator, you will be responsible, and even a small crane can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to replace. Plant, tools and equipment can all be included on a site insurance policy. Q: If I choose to insure for a lower value, will it save me money? A: You should insure for a value

representative of a professional contractor clearing the site and rebuilding your project from scratch – the reinstatement cost. If the insurer identiies that you have underinsured, they will reduce the claim proportionately. Q: If my builder damages my neighbour’s foundations, isn’t this covered by their insurance? A: This is a huge pitfall. If you are working close to your neighbour’s foundations and weaken them, that damage won’t be covered by public liability insurance and you will need to make special arrangements with your site insurance provider to get adequate protection in place. Q: I can’t be held responsible if my builder slips off the scaffold or a ladder, can I? A: The Health and Safety Executive has produced clear guidance for self-builders. If you are managing or exercising control over the project yourself, you automatically carry the responsibility and could end up being prosecuted and ined. A worker who is paralysed could be looking to receive compensation running into millions of pounds to cover full-time care and so forth. This is why you get employer’s and public liability cover on most site insurance policies. Q: How much do utility companies usually charge for repairing their damaged cables? A: Emergency utility repair bills can run into thousands of pounds – it’s not just electricity, think about gas and ibre optic cables, too. Q: I don’t think I need to bother with site insurance until later in the build – is that right? A: This is a short-sighted approach and, if anything, will end up costing


you more money. Even if there are only three months to go on your build, the insurance provider will charge you a premium that is based on the reinstatement cost from the point the work started. Q: Surely my insurance will automatically renew? A: Site insurance provides projectbased cover and is not annually renewable, so if you run out of cover you will need to arrange an extension for it – you will not be ofered a renewal. Equally, if you inish early, you will not be entitled to a refund. Q: I think you get cover on a new-for-old basis..? A: Clearly, if an element of the property has to be rebuilt it will be built new, however, plant tools and equipment are insured on an indemnity basis – so a three-year-old digger will be settled at the replacement value of a three-year-old digger and not as new. In reality everyone’s circumstances and projects are going to be diferent, which is why it’s really important you seek expert advice from a specialist site insurance provider before embarking on your build – it can literally save you thousands. For more information, call 0345 230 9874, or visit selbuildzone.com

? questions & answers


Planning a project? Our Real Homes expert, Jason Orme, solves all of your home transformation dilemmas

Q: I want to do as much Myself as possible on my extension project. What are the best jobs for me to tackle? A: As labour typically accounts for half the bill of any construction project, getting involved yourself can save significant sums. It depends on your skill level, but for novice DIYers keen to reduce labour costs by helping out themselves, the key to success is to know the elements of the project that have the lowest impact on the overall build programme and require less experience. The obvious place to start, therefore, is with the jobs at the end. As a DIYer you’ll be slower than the pros, so you’ll risk holding them up if you get involved too early on. Decorating is a good example of a build element where the labour costs take up a disproportionately high amount of the overall cost (up to 90 per cent of a decoration contract goes on labour) – so you can save a lot of money.


Be warned – it’s both more physically demanding and more skilled than it looks, but it can be achieved by the amateur with time and the right kit (and a lot of YouTube DIY videos). Landscaping is another fun job to have a go at. Again, it’s at the end of the project, and has the happy virtue of being reversible if you mess it up. Building low garden walls might not be a bad place to start, and you’ll be tackling the role of the bricklayer, which is an expensive trade to buy in (typically £200 a day, up to £400 a day in the south east of England). The more difficult jobs are plastering (DIYers usually do OK with the first coat, but really struggle to get a good finish and take ages doing it) and plumbing – which can have deleterious effects if done badly. Also, significant plumbing and electrical jobs will need approval under Building Regulations, so you must bring in experts for key areas (e.g. boiler work and the fitting of most electrics). Best left to the pros.

Q: We plan to build an extension in our back garden but there is a manhole cover where we want to put it. What do we do? A: The situation depends on whether the pipe and manhole it provides access to relates to a drain or a sewer. The difference is a simple one – a drain serves only your property while a sewer serves two or more buildings. Building over a drain is relatively straightforward in that it doesn’t involve having to deal with the local water company – though you will still need Building Regulations approval. You can divert or span existing drains as you wish – ultimately if you get it wrong, you’ll be the only one to suffer. When it comes to sewers, which don’t affect your property alone, a responsibility lies with you to get approval from the water company when building within three metres of a sewer. Each one has their own procedure but, depending on the width of the pipe, they will offer a form of prior approval system for smaller pipes. Larger pipes will need a more formal ‘build over arrangement’ or diversion design, which will be individually negotiated with the company in question. It can cost hundreds of pounds and take weeks, occasionally months, to process. Hence the importance of contacting your water company at the earliest opportunity as you plan your project.

Q: We want to convert our loft but have no idea what it might cost. Can you help? A: Loft conversions can vary significantly in size and scale – from the relatively modest adaptation of a loft in a terraced home into a room with rooflights, through to the fullscale construction project of a Mansard roof which looks much like a whole new storey on top of the house. The basic version, with new staircase, floor structure, insulation, new electrics and plumbing circuits, the creation of a bedroom with en suite, and a couple of rooflights for windows,

DID YOU KNOW? For ire safety in lot conversions, all habitable rooms must have an escape window, and the loor, stairs and doors of rooms on the route downstairs must have 30-minute ire resistance. Intumescent paints or stains for woods and metals add another level of protection. 157


can be achieved for as little as £25,000 to £35,000. This figure can be reduced by taking on some of the building work yourself. The addition of dormer windows instead of rooflights can, depending on the size of the dormers, add another £5,000 to £10,000 onto the costs. A good benchmark budget for a full-service loft conversion should therefore be £45,000 to £55,000. A more significant loft conversion, which might involve major alterations/ rebuild of the existing roof structure, re-covering, new external walls and so on, might easily come to £100,000. One of the key variances that it’s difficult to predict is the cost of the labour. In the south east of England as well as many richer parts of other major cities, ‘package’ loft conversion companies are incredibly busy and, as a result, able to inflate their prices as demand increases.


Q: Is there any way of not paying VAT on my extension project? A: Unlike building a new house from scratch, alterations to existing houses (including extensions) are liable for VAT at the current rate of 20 per cent. It is, of course, illegal to avoid paying due tax, and all materials will be liable at full rate (people building new homes claim the VAT back). The interesting area comes where the builder might not be registered for VAT – i.e. has a yearly turnover below the current threshold for charging VAT, which is £85,000. In this case, a non-VAT registered builder will not be able to charge you VAT (even if they wanted to) and therefore you will save 20 per cent on the labour element of the project. You will most likely be paying for materials directly with the suppliers in order to reduce the impact on the builder’s turnover. In some cases, the builder might offer to carry out some of the work for cash (unlikely for a whole extension project but not uncommon for additional jobs over and above the initial contract). As the onus is on the trader to declare income and deal with any tax implications, there is no liability for you. However, you should be careful when paying cash for building work in that it’s likely there will be less recourse if things go wrong.


Vinyl flooring These proud paterns are so Instagrammable, they’ll have you taking photos of your feet on your ine loor 2






on trend


1 Corona Azure DC258 tiles, £165 per m2, Amtico 2 Bohemian 61264 flooring, £30.99 per m2, Moduleo 3 Rennes Design superior vinyl flooring, £18 per m2, John Lewis


4 Neisha Crosland check vinyl floor tile in Slate, £44.80 per m2, Harvey Maria 5 Bubblegum & Liquorice Stripes flooring, £16.99 per m2, Avenue Floors 6 Marrakech vinyl flooring, £59 per m2, Atrafloor 7 Pennon KAL04 flooring, £78.99 per m2, Karndean





Showerheads Whether your bathroom is big or small, make your daily routine a delight with these showstopping shapes

love this





5 Sabre ixed showerhead with water blade, £350, Frontline Bathrooms 6 Aquas wave Xjet rain shower and wall-mounted arm, £79.95, Victorian Plumbing 7 Harbour status ixed ceiling-mounted showerhead, £84.84, Drench





1 Circular showerhead in rose gold, £219, Abode 2 Star showerhead and wall arm, £64.99, Beter Bathrooms 3 MPRO 20cm showerhead in brushed brass, £215, Crosswater 4 Chrome showerhead, £208, The Albion Bath Company





Sliding doors Invite your garden into your home and extend the indoor-outdoor link with these sleek solutions 3 OF THE BEST CORNER DOORS

Perfect for family homes and party spaces alike, an opening corner is a great way to utilise an awkward layout and improve access to your garden with a 90-degree view. Integrating sliding pockets into your design is a super-chic way to seamlessly blend indoors and out without the space considerations that come with bi-fold doors. These doors from Maxlight cost £9,480.

BEST FOR INDUSTRIAL Add some pizzazz to your glazing with Maxlight’s industrial-style sliding doors, perfect for a modern extension. These cost around £15,000

BEST FOR MODERN STYLE Slim frames and a 25mm corner sightline makes Livingwood’s Slimline 650 doors a contemporary option. From £6,250 for H210xW400cm




BEST FOR IMPACT The Grand Slider II sliding doors from IDSystems work with widths of over 20 metres – perfect for creating drama. From £1,350 per metre




3 of the best TIMBER DOORS BEST FOR MINIMALISM Keep it simple but stylish with Centor’s twopanel integrated sliding doors, featuring built-in insect screens and shades. this 211 model costs from £2,200 per metre

BEST FOR SLIM FRAMES IQ glass’s super-smart Carminati skyline sliding doors are the slimmest timber models on the market – great for prety garden views. around £1,600 per m2


BEST FOR GOING BOLD For doors that pack a punch, try george Barnsdale’s range of contemporary sliding doors, which feature extra large panes for statement sizes. Price on application


Whether you have a more traditional property or prefer a natural exterior inish, timber sliding doors look fresh and modern. Nimtim architects took inspiration from Japanese design for its timber structure, which extends from the ceiling beams through the sliding doors into the garden. It’s the perfect way to blend home and garden. these doors cost around £5,000.


SMOOTH OPERATOR We don’t know about you, but we love the idea of these nearly-frameless doors. In the summer, you can open them up to enjoy the extended living space of the garden; in the winter, you can watch the snow fall from the warmth of your kitchen, separated from the outdoors by just a slim pane of glass. granit architects budgeted £12,000 for these doors from Mcallister Brown.

BEST FOR LUXURY For a smart take on minimalism, look no further than reynaer’s hi-Finity sliding doors, which ofer ultra-modern designs with super slender sightlines. Price on application

Whether you go for an aluminium, timber, slim-framed or modern squareedged system, you should ensure that they are fully tested for weather performance as well as thermal insulation rebecca Clayton, IQ glass



BEST FOR A SLEEK FINISH Known for their thin sightlines and smooth designs, sunlex’s sVg30 sliding doors are the perfect product to create a frameless look – great for a modern extension. From £1,500



BEST FOR DESIGN thanks to a slim 30mm sightline, these large XP slide Panoramic doors from Express Bi-folding doors are ideal for enhancing that all-important outdoor view. around £1,800 per metre


3 of the best ALUMINIUM DOORS BEST FOR XL STYLE Windows Etc’s grey aluminium sliding doors are larger than life, so they’re perfect for full-width rear extensions or big gardens. A similar project would cost £6,000

BEST FOR BESPOKE Schueco’s ASS 77 PD sliding doors feature hardwearing integral rollers for extra-wide designs, and can be tailored to your exact needs. Price on application


BEST FOR DOUBLE DOORS Thanks to its slim 53mm sightlines and bi-parting action, this Future+ double sliding door from Idealcombi is a perfectly sleek design. Around £400 per m2


Modern metal is the perfect match for this industrial-style gallery space, with crisp black aluminium doors that stand out against the building’s Victorian brickwork. Take a tip from Threefold Architects and use sliding doors to make the most of a small terrace, transforming it from wasted space into an outdoor living, eating and entertaining area. These Fineline Aluminium doors cost £10,500


On sale 27 september

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Revamp your home with a simple coat of paint


ooking to update your tired kitchen, out-dated furniture or any household item and give it a new lease of life? How about having it spray painted? It’s a great way to freshen up your home without the expense or hassle of reitting a kitchen or buying something new. We Spray Anything does exactly what its name suggests, revamping all sorts of household items with a simple but efective coat of paint. The paint can be matched perfectly to your existing décor and there are thousands of shades and inishes to choose from. Whether you want to update your kitchen cabinets, wardrobes, chairs or even bicycles, spray painting is a great way to create a one-of piece for your home. Not only is it a fun project and a way to get a whole new look for less, but  it’s also environmentally friendly as We Spray Anything uses only water-based paints. Whether your project is big or small, getting it done by a professional also ensures a perfect inish, irst time.

‘We can spray paint anything, anywhere. We love solving paint problems, so let us help on your next project,’ says founder and managing director Paul Harris. With an impressive client list that includes Nike, River Island, Superdry, Harrods and Selfridges, We Spray Anything ofers site visits, where the team give colour and design advice, as well as project estimates. It even has a dedicated courier service to collect and deliver your items safely. To ind out more about how spray painting can revamp your home, call 01527 558166 or visit wesprayanything.com.


AT HOME with...

Joe’s brand new kitchenware collection, which includes everything from cookware, ovenware, and utensils to gadgets and chopping boards, is available now. Prices start from £4.99; buy online at thebodycoach.com.












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