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An independent publication distributed with The Guardian on behalf of Hurst Media Company Ltd which takes sole responsibility for the content

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Easy ways to upgrade on a three-digit budget. See page 8

Create the ideal outdoor space for your home. See page 19

Discover the most popular trends. See page 27

Get creative and transform your home. See page 49

Editor’s letter 3 Section

Editor’s letter Fall back in love with your home Y

ou are probably tired of hearing about coronavirus. We’ve had a year of reflection on how it has changed our lives in every way – from the major to the everyday, whether it’s wearing joggers every day or forgetting to unmute ourselves on video calls. But amid all this, our homes have stood out. They’ve not so much been affected by the pandemic, as grown in importance: we spent every hour of every day at home, and they fulfilled every role for us: work space, domestic space, leisure space. That’s not about to end, either. The ‘home office’ is here to stay: by 2025, 70% of the workforce is expected to be at least partially working from home. We’re going to be doing so much more, for longer, at home. It’s no surprise that this has fuelled a newfound appreciation of our homes, what they are made of, and what we can do with them. We don’t just appreciate function, either, but quality and aesthetic. It’s been reported that demand for high-quality wooden furnishings is going through the roof. Clearly, we are doing more than just filling our Zoom-call backgrounds. We have fallen back in love with our homes and what’s in them: with the beauty of well-fi nished wood, with the harmonious feeling of having home décor that reflects you, and with the sense of contribution that comes with making our homes more efficient and sustainable. The numbers back me up. A survey by interior design experts Houzz found that 68% of respondents had undertaken some sort of home renovation project during lockdown. Admittedly, they were probably surveying the ‘handier’ types to begin with. But the truth is, you don’t need to be an expert to start making your home your own. We have more information than ever at our fi ngertips – in print, on social media, in videos – to get us going from a

Published by

Hurst Media Company, United House, North Road, Islington, London, N7 9DP 020 3478 6017 Managing Director James Hurst Finance Director Wes Stanton Head of Marketing Miguel Chalabardo Editor Colin Fallon Editorial Team Laura Forsyth, Shannon Maher Design Manager Stefanie Ward

Whether you’re taking on a mammoth project or just looking to accessorise, we have you covered standing start: fi nding inspiration, sourcing whatever materials you need, and gaining the knowledge to take on (at least some of) the work ourselves. That’s where the Homes, Gardens and Property Checklist comes in. It was crafted from a heartfelt belief that home renovation and styling is for everyone: whether in a country mansion or an urban mews, taking on minor decorations or a complete self-build, with a large or small budget, and traditional or modern taste. We have tried to cover every aspect of the homeowner’s experience: from buying a property to fi nancing your own build, working on your home both inside and outside, making structural amendments or adding high-quality furnishings, ‘doing it yourself’ and fi nding technology that can automate jobs for you. Along with advice on how to get started and how to manage and complete projects, we’ve also listed some of the best and most cost-effective

Designer and Content Marketing Coordinator Sarah Somerton-Jones Design and Production Team Katherina Bradshaw, Liana Schultz, Nicola Charalambous Marketing Assistant Nadeem Vadva Commerical Manager James Taylor

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Enter online for free at: /win/atco products, techniques and ideas in each area. As with your home, the Homes, Gardens and Property is what you make of it: we’ve designed it so you can seek out the areas, rooms, materials and price points that fit your plans. Whether you’re taking on a mammoth project or just looking to accessorise, we have you covered. The year 2021 will be remembered as a time when paying attention to your home stopped being something

specialists did, and became something everyone did: a core part of looking after ourselves and our surroundings. Home improvement is an investment in property value – but, considering how much time we now spend at home, it is equally an investment in your well-being. That’s an investment that pays off every day.

Colin Fallon, editor

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Contents 4 The 10 ways to add value to your home

19 Get the most from your garden

Renovating wisely can be worth your money in the long term

Create the ideal outdoor space for your home

8 Less-than-a-grand designs

20 Outdoor essentials

34 How to get your self-build started

Brighten up the garden in no time with these must-haves

Design your dream home and make a profit in the process

27 Your interior style guide

36 Eco homes of the future

From traditional to modern styles, discover the most popular trends

Keep up to date with the milestones to reach zero-carbon housing

44 Crafty multi-use furniture ideas

15 Shed space

31 Can you buy a home without seeing it?

39 Lightbulb moments

Get the most out of your interior design with dual-function pieces

This versatile outbuilding could be used for all sorts of purposes

Find the perfect property in the era of social distancing

Easy ways to upgrade on a three-digit budget

12 Make DIY easy The simple improvements you can make yourself


32 Improve, don’t move Personalise your home with a new extension

Cut the energy consumption of your home with these innovative ideas

41 What makes a home smart?

46 Pick your homeware personality

Learn how to make a smart home work for you

Add character to your home by identifying your personal accessory style

42 Repel the space invaders Embrace multi-purpose furniture to make the most of your space

49 Top 10 décor ideas for 2021 Get creative with your décor and transform your home

Read more at: Let’s get social: @checklistsocial

2 Improvements 4 Section and DIY

The 10 ways to add value to your home The right renovation can pay you back by adding value to your house. Here are 10 smart ways to make your home more desirable to buyers, from ambitious projects to small details Fix it first There’s no point taking on a large renovation or decoration project if your home has structural or repair issues. Fixing those should be a priority, since they’ll put potential buyers off before you even get to negotiating a price. The most obvious and detrimental issues include roof defects, damp problems, cracks in walls or ceilings, and an uneven driveway. If you get a surveyor in, they will be able to advise you on any urgent work your property needs.

Go underground If you’ve got a cellar, converting it into a liveable space can seriously boost your home’s value – and because you’re not extending the footprint of your house, you probably won’t need planning permission (though you will need surveys and building regs inspections). It’s a big enough project that you’ll need to work with a contractor, who can take care of the functional must-haves – sound structure, waterproofi ng,

fire escape, lighting, connection to the rest of the house – as well as the design elements.

Add kitchen space If you live in a typical semidetached house with the kitchen at the back, you may be able to extend into the ‘side return’ – bringing it to the same width as the rest of the house, and making much better use of a space that’s often used as a dumping ground for gardening gear. As extensions go, these are manageable and not too disruptive – though try to plan it in the summer so you can barbecue for a few weeks if you lose use of the kitchen. Along with structural soundness, one of the main things to think about with a side-return extension is how to let in enough light – skylights or a glazed roof may be the solution. Not got funds for an extension? If your kitchen’s feeling outdated, you can do it up ‘on the cheap’ – sand and repaint the cabinets, buy new kickboards, and paint the walls a new colour.

Optimise the layout Funnily enough, more rooms do not necessarily mean more value. The reverse may be true when it comes to living areas: it can pay to knock through walls and create open-plan kitchen and dining spaces, which feel spacious and modern. You can also rethink your layout to reduce unused spaces such as halls and corridors, reclaiming them for a living space instead. Before you start, make sure you know which walls are load-bearing – it’s still possible to knock through these, but you’ll need a structural engineer to install replacement steelwork.

Make the garden work harder Garden offices are currently in demand – adding productive space to a home at a time when people have got used to working from home permanently. An insulated, double glazed outbuilding fits the bill. You can buy or build one – for our guide to the latter, see page 15. Meanwhile, when you’re in the garden, ensure the décor is appealing: add trees and fences

to give a sense of privacy, create dedicated areas (for barbecues or bins, say), and make sure lawns and beds are in a good condition.

The 10 ways to add value to your home continues on page 7


Making renovation happen Absolute Project Management design and manage the creation of beautiful and practical spaces within a range of different properties and styles Cat Hoad founded Absolute Project Management in 2007 after managing her own large renovation project in Islington, London. She identified a need for homeowners to turn to experienced professionals for advice on how to design, plan and organise work carried out on their homes – reducing the time, stress and risk when making changes to their properties. Absolute Project Management have grown to a small but dedicated team of eight, organising and designing stylish and efficient home renovation projects in central and north London as well as Brighton and Hove. They work through all aspects of the project including interior design, planning, and project management once work is under way, and have wide experience in renovating period and modern homes. The team can advise on the works process, costs, timeline, specialists needed and regulatory requirements, while offering their expertise and design eye to make your renovation vision a reality. Absolute Project Management work closely with their clients to establish a sense of their taste and aspiration for the property. They then suggest costeffective furnishings and finishes which accentuate the best features of the space. They work hard to achieve

They are dedicated to creating beautiful yet liveable homes both your desired look and budget by advising where to go for high quality fittings and furnishings, and where you can make cost effective changes and savings. They have built up excellent working relationships with many local, national, and international specialists and suppliers – ensuring great service and good trade discounts, which they then pass on to their clients. They work with a small number of select contractors that they trust and know will produce the high level of finish that their clients seek. As Absolute Project Management

are members of the British Institute of Interior Design, you can be confident that your project is beautifully designed, professionally managed, and expertly executed. They are a founding member of – the UK interior design industry’s call for a paradigm shift in behaviour in the face of the climate emergency.

Find out more Visit for further information and to see some of Absolute Project Management’s recent projects.


Improvements and DIY 5

Alfresco Luxury


Improvements and Section DIY 37

The 10 ways to add value to your home continued

Decorate smartly

Add a memorable feature

You don’t have to spend big to make your home more appealing to buyers. Focus on the details and you’ll make sure your house is shown in the best light to every visitor. Repaint rooms, regrout tiles, stain woodwork, and restyle with new light fittings and accessories. One thing every prospective homebuyer looks at is storage – so take the opportunity to boost your home’s credentials with built-in and ‘hidden’ storage functions, such as under an ottoman bed.

This is a bit of a ‘home sale hack’: add a centrepiece that every visitor to your house will notice, and maybe even talk about once they’ve left. It may make the house less ‘neutral’ but it guarantees would-be buyers will remember your house, keeping you in play when it comes to decision time. You could achieve this with a fireplace, split level, full-height windows, balcony, void, feature window, spiral stairs, patio bar… the list goes on.

Improve the first impression Amid all your renovations, don’t neglect the exterior – after all, it’s the first thing a viewer will see, so you don’t want it turning them off. Check for dated brickwork or roof tiles and replace as necessary. Repaint doors, frames and garage doors. While you’re at it, think about parking – you really want space to park at least two cars at the front. Can you convert some of the front lawn into a gravel space? You won’t really be losing anything (front lawns are seldom used), and you’ll potentially gain value.

Something to think about Efficient means valuable Since homes are assessed for energy efficiency, you’ll want to make yours as efficient as possible, especially if it’s an older house that might not fare as well as a newer build in this regard. To ensure potential buyers aren’t put off, look to add insulation, seal draughts, replace old windows, or even install a whole new heating system. For more on efficient homes, read our feature on page 39.

Go back to the original The nation’s newfound appreciation for homes means cheap-looking additions are out, and original features are in. All too often, original front doors, fireplaces, textures, flooring and doors are covered up, painted or replaced – while the fashion at the time, this would now be seen


as inappropriate. Do what you can to uncover original features and rediscover your house’s character.

Convert the garage Most garages seem to be used as ‘general junk storage’ rather than to house a car – so, after a judicious clear-out, you can convert yours into an extra bedroom, office or workshop. This has the advantage of making a difference to your daily life in the house before you sell it – and it’s less disruptive than ordering an extension or building a garden room. Garage conversions are common enough that some tradespeople specialise in them – talking to one of these will really help your dream conversion come to life.


Hot, strong, and smart Make your outdoor

space functional and beautiful all year round

The EVOL-S Pro four-in-one tap, from the leading German manufacturer BLANCO, has simply been engineered to be better

Now that outdoor gatherings are a reality again, Sundowner Outdoor Living are here to offer a solution to all your outdoor shading requirements for the sunnier months ahead

Unique in the market, the EVOL-S Pro boasts innovative features including an integrated measuring function delivering exactly the volume of true boiling or cold filtered water that you want, dual spouts that can be used simultaneously, and dual spray options. Finished in luxurious PVD Steel, the semi-professional EVOL-S Pro dispenses perfectly balanced cold filtered or 100°C boiling filtered water instantly and safely. The multi-functional tap features a super-strong, ultra-hygienic, four-litre titanium water boiler with built in safety controls, insulated spout, and an intuitive digital monitor. The custom BWT multistage system filters water no less than five times before use; reducing limescale, metal

content, and eliminating unwanted odours that would normally be found in mains water. Rest assured that each drop is perfectly purified; enjoy a fresh pot of tea, a

coffee before work, jumpstart a pan of pasta, or refresh with a glass of cold filtered goodness, straight from your kitchen tap. Ideal for daily kitchen life.

Find out more The EVOL-S Pro from BLANCO is designed to make kitchen life simpler and easier every day, see it in action at and follow BLANCO on .


Sundowner Outdoor Living have been in the shading industry for more than 20 years collectively, with expertise gained from a mixture of internal and external shading manufacture. Discover a stylish range of outdoor shading solutions that caters to the domestic, commercial and academic markets. The team can tailormake the best product for your requirements from seasonal use or year-round options. Whatever the size of your project, Sundowner’s experts will ensure the installation is delivered completely safely, on time and with little or no inconvenience. The product range covers all possibilities such as a motorised retractable roof with rotatable aluminium panels. The design allows the panels at any angle up to 120 degrees seamlessly. Integrated panel gutters prevent accumulated materials (such as leaves) falling inside.

Climate control panels can be filled with polyurethane foam which provide extra comfort and significantly helps to reduce condensation. Plus, for all weather conditions the multi-sealing system provides a completely

airtight space with the highpressure closing function.

Find out more Get a 10% discount until 30 June when you quote code G22.5. Contact the team by calling 020 8059 4944, email info@ or visit

82 Improvements Section and DIY

Less-than-a-grand designs Home improvement doesn’t have to mean a hefty bill. All these simple ways to spruce up your house can be achieved with a three-digit budget – or less Spice up the splashback

Loft lighting

Feeling tired of your kitchen? The expensive option: A new kitchen installation will inject some appeal – at the cost of £10,000 or so. The alternative: Just replacing the cabinets is cheaper, but for the ultimate budget tip, start with the splashback. It’s easily ignored or dismissed as purely functional, but by spending as little as £180 on a patterned tile or glass splashback, you can add a new focal point to the kitchen without – well – ‘splashing out’. Check out:

Can you get more use out of your loft space? Probably – they are often used as easily-forgotten storage spaces for Christmas trees and other seldom-used items. The expensive option: A full-on conversion will make a big difference, but run into the thousands of pounds. The alternative: It’s obviously not the same, but you can start to transform your attic space by installing skylights to flood them with some light. Expect to pay around £500 for the fi xed version. Check out:

White on the tiles The expensive option: Re-tiling a kitchen or bathroom isn’t too expensive on parts alone, but the labour can easily push you over £1,000. The alternative: Keep your tiles and refresh the grouting instead. Old, off-colour grouting may be what’s ruining the aesthetic, rather than the tiles themselves – so start by using a grout cleaner, grout pen, or removing and re-grouting. Check out: Screwfix, B&Q or other major retailers

Blind ambition

Fix up the floor

Window dressings can make a big difference to the look and feel of any room, and there are many to choose from. The expensive option: Traditional lined curtains are impressive, but come at a cost, not least because of the amount of fabric you need. The alternative: Unlined curtain panels are more affordable, but may not block out as much light. To remedy this, they can easily be paired with a set of smart roller blinds, which should cost less than £100. Together they can block out just as much light as traditional lined curtains. Check out:

The expensive option: When installing new flooring, the cost very much depends on the material at hand – but if you’re looking to replace original wooden, flagstone or quarry tile flooring, it can quickly get expensive. The alternative: Give your existing floor a new lease of life. Floor paint can cost as little as £50 and give a tired floor a new personality. For a little more, pay a specialist to restore damaged original flooring: cleaning it, repairing any loose or worn elements, and re-sealing the edges. Check out:

Less-than-a-grand designs continues on page 10


Why London Encaustic products are the statement pieces your home needs From luxurious soaks in glowing copper tubs to statement sinks and tiles, London Encaustic are a one-stop shop for show-stopping baths, tiles, and basins Sourcing the very best products from artisan makers, London Encaustic pride themselves on offering beautiful designs made from authentic materials that deliver on functionality, appearance, and value for money. An artisan collection of tiles, handcrafted copper baths, and basins, provide customers with statement-making centrepieces that, quite simply, make homes beautiful. Based in London, London Encaustic are a small company with big ideas, offering great customer service, plus lust worthy products finished to the highest standards. Roomy, comfortable, heatretaining, and easy-to-care for, London Encaustic’s solid copper tubs are show-stopping luxury features for any bathroom and can be treasured for decades. Choose from a stunning range of carefully curated baths from fully polished copper, nickel, and brass, to tubs with enamel interiors, and a choice of almost 150 different bath colour finishes to a best-selling range of verdigris tubs. The verdigris exterior mimics the

London Encaustic have a range to suit every possible interior or exterior scheme effect of seawater-exposed copper but is actually a product of a handcrafted process which offers an aged aesthetic on a brand-new tub. Matching copper basins can be made to order, and they now have a range of gorgeous, hand-poured, concrete sinks in a variety of shades

and pastel hues. There are four sizes and seven concrete colours to choose from, including blush pink, lemon yellow, storm blue, Arctic white, and cumulus grey. As the company’s name suggests, however, it all began with tiles. After a 20-year career in the fire service, London Encaustic’s managing director Steve Harvey started his own tiling business and spotted a gap in the market. When Steve installed encaustic tiles for another supplier, he identified the need for a better supply chain that could offer the best products at competitive

prices. According to Steve: “London Encaustic has always been about making high-end interior products available to more people”. An exclusive collection of genuine encaustic and glazed tiles comes in a wide range of patterns, shapes, and surface finishes; whether customers yearn for oxide explosions or vintage metallics, matt terracotta, cement, or hot-right-now zellige, London Encaustic have a range to suit every possible interior or exterior scheme.

Even better, the company have a range of fast-despatch tiles that can be with customers within 48 hours: your space could be transformed in a matter of days!

Find out more Visit the website at and use code MEDIAPROMO at checkout for 10% off. Follow them on at @londonencaustic or email for further information.


Improvements and DIY 9


10 Improvements and DIY

Section 3

Less-than-a-grand designs continued Stairway to home heaven The expensive option: A new staircase installation, typically coming in anywhere from £1,000 to £4,000. The alternative: Stairs are often the first thing visitors see when they come into your house – but you can give them a bit more visual appeal without a totally new set. A stair runner will provide an injection of bright colour, they are available in a range of patterns and styles, and will set you back around £300. Check out:

Low-price downlights For cupboards, kitchen spaces and alcoves, downlights are a must. The expensive option: ‘Proper’ downlights plumbed into the mains, which might be around £75 a go. The alternative: Stick-on LED downlights. They might feel like cheating, but they’re extremely easy to use (most of them are touchactivated), and depending on where you buy them from, might cost from £10 to £15 each. Check out: Argos, Home Bargains or other high-street sellers

Paint less, achieve more Stop the cost of paint adding up – go for impact rather than coverage. Instead of painting everything, opt for a brighter colour and pick a single wall to turn into a feature wall. Want to buy even less paint than that? Get tester pots for as little as £3 and touch up the marks and faded spots that have appeared over the years. Check out:

Second life for the sofa A new sofa is tempting if your current one is feeling old, moth-eaten or fl imsy. You have a number of options for refurbishing your current sofa. You could get the cushions restuffed, plumping them up anew. Or you could ‘recover’ the sofa with new fabric, either as a DIY job or paying a reupholsterer. For a two-seater sofa, you’ll pay £350 or so for the fabric. Check out:

Mirror, mirror Want to make your living area feel larger and roomier – but don’t want the expense of knocking through walls or reworking the layout? This is very much a cheat’s option – you can mimic the effect by hanging mirrors. They make the space feel larger, not to mention brighter as light will be circulated more effectively. Check out:

In the spotlight are an online furniture factory, making bespoke furniture easy and affordable. Famous for fancy fretwork and radiator covers, the range includes cupboards, bookcases, wardrobes and many more. Customers can specify the exact size, style, fi nish and fitting options in the 3D Jali designer, with real time price updates, ensuring a unique and perfect fit for their home. Orders are delivered in just a few weeks. | 01227 833333



Planning for a pocket door

Woodburning stoves with ultralow emissions

A pocket door makes it possible to save space in a kitchen, en suite, utility room, or anywhere that space is at a premium

Woodburning stoves are efficient, look terrific, and have a lovely burning flame. But what about the particulate emissions? Or the hassle?

There are several options to consider before buying a pocket door. Budget kits with individual steel-wrapped timber uprights for the pocket structure are great for smaller single doors. Full metal cassette systems provide a rigid, reinforced cavity for larger doors or heavier footfall, coming with specially designed “Z” section profiles, adjustable for width and height. Fully certificated fire-rated pocket door systems are also available such as the iMpero FD30 kit. Installing a pocket door in a new build is easier than retrofitting one in an existing

building. Pocket kits make the wall for you, so don’t build the wall first (a common misconception). By attaching the plasterboard directly onto the pocket assembly, the finished wall thickness will be kept to a minimum – around 125mm. Standard timber doors can be used – 35 to 44mm thick, solid or glazed, and there’s even

options for frameless glass. Doorstuff offer expert advice on all sliding door systems, and stock a full range of pocket and sliding door gear for next day delivery. Their range also includes accessories and door furniture including soft close dampers, self-closers, telescopic systems, touch latches, and much more.

Find out more Call the team on 020 7099 2822 or visit the website at for further information.


Now there’s a new type of woodburning stove which has all the benefits but none of the drawbacks – the wood pellet stove. In a study run by Leeds University, the Island Pellet Stove was found to be up to 30 times cleaner than woodburning stoves, resulting in far fewer particulates in exhaust gases and cleaner air in your home. The wood pellets are automatically fed into the stove, so you have none of the hassle of having to add logs. Handsfree ignition means no more struggles getting your fire lit. It is also programmable and controllable by smartphone, so you can set it to come on at a regular time, or light it remotely so it’s warm when you come home. The robustly built, thick steel, fully welded casing has a satisfyingly smooth finish that looks superb in a modern house and produces a beautiful flame. The Island Pellet Stove, unlike wood burners, doesn’t require a tall chimney and can

Exclusive discount even be run horizontally using a balanced flue. This opens up many more options for where it can be positioned in your home. Wood pellets are supplied nationwide, they are made from recycled sawdust, and they are around a third of the price of logs.

Call 0330 111 4747 and quote HOMES to redeem a £299 discount when purchasing a pellet stove. Find out more online at


Improvements and DIY 11


12 Improvements and DIY

Section 1

Make DIY easy

Something to think about Our top five DIY hacks

Do you find that every DIY project takes twice as long as you expected? These ‘DIY hacks’ will cut down the drama and make it easy


IY is an ‘idea versus reality’ proposition. The idea: it saves you money, improves the value of your home, keeps you active and teaches new skills. The reality: it has an uncanny ability to turn five-minute jobs into five-hour jobs, highlight – or even cause – problems you didn’t know existed, and make you question whether the benefits are really worth it. Of course, they are – especially if you take a few simple steps to make DIY easier and avoid the pitfalls. Ask any expert and they’ll tell you that good DIY starts with the basics – so concentrate on those, don’t overcomplicate matters, and think

about where things are really going right and wrong. Here are a few places to start:

Take time planning When you hatch a new DIY idea, you’re probably brimming with enthusiasm and can’t wait to jump in. But that could be a pitfall – before you even touch a power tool, you should have a good understanding of what you’re trying to achieve, what materials you need, and how you’re going to get there. Rushing ahead is probably the most common cause of DIY disasters. Before every job, ask yourself if you know how to do it, what it needs and how much it will cost.

Painting walls? Line your paint tray with cling film (a plastic bag will also do). The tray will stay clean, meaning you won’t spend hours washing paint off it afterwards.

Become an armchair expert Isn’t that a bad thing? We don’t think so. There are more resources available than ever to the wouldbe DIY master, from books (a good thing about woodwork is that the core principles haven’t changed in decades) to YouTube videos. Spend as much time as possible reading, watching and growing your knowledge – even if it’s not practical experience, it turns your downtime into productive, mistake-reducing time, and that can be invaluable.

Buy premium but buy less For most tasks, you’ll be reliant on a cordless drill, electric screwdriver, and jigsaw. These will get so much use that you owe it to yourself to buy high-quality tools, even if they cost more. As for other tools with more specific uses, you may be able to avoid buying them at all. Try to beg or borrow (but don’t steal): family members or friends may lend you one, or you can simply hire one.

Give it space A common, but easily avoidable, annoyance is trying to work in an awkward space – so you’re constantly having to manoeuvre around objects or trek across the house to pick up a tool you forgot.

Fitting wallpaper? A few days beforehand, unroll it and ‘re-roll’ it the other way around. The wallpaper will flatten, so it won’t roll itself back up when you’re trying to keep it straight. Even if you don’t have the luxury of a workshop, you need to create ‘DIY space’ that’s unobstructed and well lit, and where all your equipment can live for the duration of the job. This could be a corner of the garage or spare room. If you’d prefer to do it outside, that’s fi ne, but be aware that you’ll be governed by the weather.

Test and test again You may have heard the phrase ‘measure twice, cut once’ – a mantra to avoid costly mistakes. This applies to testing your handiwork too. If, for example, you’re staining a table, test the product on a small, out-of-the-way area to make sure it really adheres, dries and looks how you expected. Don’t forget to also test after the job’s done: doublecheck your work to make sure it is safe and sturdy before it undergoes real-life use.

Drilling holes? Ask an assistant to hold a dustpan underneath – it’ll catch the dust and stop it going everywhere. If there’s no assistant available, fold up some card instead. Ruined a screw? If too much drilling has worn away the cross on a screw head, put a rubber band in the depression and try again. The rubber gives much-needed extra ‘grip’. Keep dropping tools? Invest in a magnetic wristband (the large DIY ones, not the new-age ones). These can hold screws, hex keys and bits while you work. Better than putting them in your mouth!


What a difference a day makes Conservatories are usually constructed to add extra living space to a home, often in the hope that they will become an extra lounge, a dining room, home office, or playroom. A lot of people find, however, that from mid-November through until about mid-March, their conservatory is just too cold to pleasantly sit in without spending a small fortune on heating it. Then from mid-June through until about the end of September, that same space is unbearably hot during the day. So, what’s the answer?

In 2010 the planning laws were relaxed*, and in the majority of cases you can now fit a solid roof to your conservatory without planning permission. This means better insulation – keeping the room warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer – and a room that you can use all year round.

Your conservatory that was too cold to eat your breakfast in in the morning, could be lovely and cosy by dinner time Transform your conservatory in one day There are a few different options to fitting a solid roof on your conservatory, most of which require major upheaval and disruption. But there is an alternative option that will transform your room from an unusable space to a beautiful room in less than one day! Green Space are a family run company, and they specialise in transforming conservatories. Their roof panels are lightweight and can offer up to eight times better


insulation than a polycarbonate roof. With U-values of 0.29, they will keep your conservatory at a comfortable temperature all year round. What’s more, the panels are manufactured to measure off site, so installation generally takes less than a day, and they always aim to ensure that your roof conversion is as non-disruptive as possible. Green Space are the sole supplier of this system in the south, and their system is compatible with most conservatories, old and new – plus it comes with a 10-year guarantee. Your conservatory that was too cold to eat your breakfast in in the morning, could be lovely and cosy by dinner time.

Customer testimonial According to David Birch from Chichester: “I am absolutely delighted. On the coldest mornings

and the hottest afternoons, I have been able to sit and read in perfect luxury. I would fully recommend this roofing system to everyone.”

Book an appointment today Visit the website at or call the friendly team on 0800 080 3202 to fi nd out more. To receive two free roof panels, quote ROOF0621 at the time of booking to qualify**.


Source: *The Building Regulations 2010 (, 2010). **Two free panels apply to roofs with 8 or more panels. See website for full T&Cs. Smaller roofs will get a calculated discount.

Transform your conservatory in less than a day with insulated roof panels from Green Space

Improvements and DIY 13


14 Gardens


2 Section

Shed space Reclaim your garden shed and transform it into a valuable space. Check out these ideas to turn your shed into a sanctuary as your garden shed become a dumping ground for unwanted tools, accessories and basically anything else you couldn’t fit in the house? Do spiders get more use out of it than you? Are you actually unsure what’s at the back of it? Sadly, you’re not the only one – it can be easy to fall into the habit of ‘shed neglect’. But if you think about your shed objectively, it has a lot more to offer than you think. Giving you the framework for a dedicated outdoor space, it’s a versatile outbuilding that could be used for all sorts of purposes. Converting your shed will take a lot less effort than building something from scratch – and it will give you a space you really use, for more than just storing lawnmowers. Check out these ‘shed makeover’ ideas for starters:


water-repellent paint, the office essentials of desk, chair and cabinet, plus your preferred decorations. Think about storage – you should design a place to put everything you need, to avoid piling everything up on the desk or floor.

Converting your shed will take a lot less effort than building something from scratch

Gardens 15 Play house Kids aren’t fussy – a shed can be converted into an outdoor playroom with very little in the way of serious work. It’ll want a lick of paint inside and outside (for a bonus, go for a bright colour inside), but apart from that it’s mostly decoration – rugs, storage units, wall hangers, activity spaces. It’ll really only get used in the summer months, but if it keeps the kids out of the way for long enough, it’s doing its job.

‘She shed’ Man caves are overrated – a ‘she shed’ is a far more relaxed and refi ned space. Starting with the rustic ‘potting shed’ aesthetic, add some statement pieces like salvaged furniture, dress the windows and add upholstery in pastel shades or patterns. Decorate with vintage gardening pieces but don’t forget to keep it spacious – this is a place to get away from the hustle and bustle.

Turning a shed into a workshop is nothing new – but it’s also the ideal setting for a sewing table, as well as the associated fabrics and halffi nished projects. You can get into the creative mood by embracing the boho aesthetic: paint the interior walls in a bright colour, hang some decorative pieces (bonus points if you made them yourself), and adorn the floor with a multi-coloured rug.

More of us than ever are working from home. If you’re one of them, you owe it to yourself to create the proper space for it, away from distractions. That’s why the shed is ideal. If your shed already has power, this will be straightforward: after the customary clear-out, you’ll need to add a layer of insulation, ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE 2 Section

Something to think about First impressions count

Pub in a shed The Garden Arms is open for business! Turning the shed into a pub is mostly a matter of building or fitting a bar: two square frames for outside and inside, cladding for the sides, and a counter. Double-check the measurements and ensure it’s level after installation. Then, you can embellish with bar stools, beermat artwork for the walls, and – of course – the drinks themselves.

Home office

While thinking about what to do with your shed, don’t forget that you’ll spend most of your time looking at it from the outside – so it should fit with the aesthetic of your garden and not stand out like a sore thumb. Liven it up with coloured paint, planters, bird boxes, signage or even a bee nest box.


Plant foods that are 100% natural

Let your garden flourish with completely natural plant foods made from sustainable ingredients Will & Al’s Natural Plant Food Company have created a range of plant foods using anaerobic digestion from plant-based natural ingredients. Their garden products are entirely natural and give tremendous growth and leaf development. Most importantly these are living products from natural sources, and the plant-friendly bacteria they contain can help to boost natural bacterial activity in the soil, which is essential in encouraging healthy roots to develop so that plants can thrive. The range currently comprises of three products: Bloom! Natural Lawn and Plant Food is a liquid allpurpose plant fertiliser rich in essential N, P and K along with micronutrients such as magnesium which nourishes to aid healthy, bigger growth in your garden pots, borders, lawns, and house plants. Boost! Super Soil Conditioner is a soil conditioner which can be spread over or dug into your beds to aid plant growth and yield by adding slow-release nutrients to soils and composts

Craft space

Unique and handcrafted pots and planters Made by hand from their studio, Torc creates beautiful pots and planters to enhance any outdoor, or indoor space Working alongside a talented team of artisans, this family run business really specialise in textures, scale, and especially bespoke design. The design side of the business is getting busier all the time with landscape architects and garden designers alike realising just how much expertise this company have to offer, with

a wealth of experience in design and problem solving to bring to the table. Torc welcome the opportunity to be involved at the design stage and are happy to contribute ideas when requested. Torc are frequently commissioned to provide planter designs and outdoor furniture as a one-off template for both commercial

whilst also adding structure to help soils maintain fertility. And lastly, Beanstalk! Fertiliser for Fruit & Vegetables is a highly effective fertiliser that gives excellent growth and yields for fruit and vegetables. It is particularly high in potash which aids colour as well as leaf and fruit development.

Find out more Contact nicole@torcpots. com or call 01534 717104. Visit the website at to view the range of bespoke pots and planters, and follow Torc on @torc_pots

Shop the range Visit to buy natural plant-based fertilisers.


and residential spaces. Launching their new contemporary shaped water bowl this month was a good example of how far Torc can go – the diameter of this little beauty can be offered up to three-metres wide. On top of that, Torc’s green credentials are pretty impressive too.


Gardens Section171


Harkness Roses launch new Born Free Rose to celebrate 90th birthday of Virginia McKenna OBE

Image credit:

Harkness Roses are launching the Born Free Rose to commemorate the exceptional work of the Born Free Foundation To celebrate the 90th birthday of a ‘lioness’ of the animal welfare world, actress and campaigner Virginia McKenna, Harkness Roses are launching a new rose for all rose lovers and for those who care about the natural world. The Virginia McKenna Rose, launched by acclaimed rose grower Philip Harkness some years ago, is now to be joined by the Born Free Rose, known as ‘The Lion’, to commemorate a very special day and raise funds for the wild animals’ welfare and conservation work carried out by McKenna’s charity, the Born Free Foundation. One of the UK’s most iconic actresses, Virginia McKenna starred in war-time dramas such as A Town Like Alice, The Cruel Sea and, perhaps most famously, Carve Her Name with Pride. Dubbed ‘an English Rose’ by fans and press alike, it was her 1966 role as Joy Adamson, opposite her late husband Bill Travers, in the Academy Award-winning film Born Free that captured the hearts of millions.

The true story of how Joy and her husband George Adamson successfully returned an orphan lioness, Elsa, to the wild, inspired a generation and led to the establishment of The Born Free Foundation, the charity Virginia founded with Bill and their eldest son, Will, in 1984. Ms McKenna stated: “Nature is truly precious. Without it we are diminished. So, it is wonderful to receive such generous support from Philip Harkness and all the team at Harkness Roses to not only make the world a more beautiful, fragrant place but to help keep wildlife in the wild, where it belongs.”

The Born Free Rose is a stunning floribunda shrub of vibrant apricot and orange tones and is the perfect colour to symbolise lions in the wild Harkness Roses, world renowned rose growers and breeders for over 140 years, are donating £2.50 for each Virginia McKenna and Born Free rose sold. Every 4,000 roses sold would provide a year’s care for a rescued


lion. As the charity’s executive president, Will Travers, explained: “Wild lions are in desperate trouble, down from more than 100,000 across Africa when the film Born Free was made 55 years ago to, perhaps, 20,000 today. On top of that, captive lions are dreadfully abused in circuses, roadside zoos and as part of the widely condemned ‘canned hunting’ industry. Funds raised through the sale of these exquisite, perfumed and pollinator-friendly roses will support us in providing lifetime care to rescued lions at our sanctuary. We could not be more delighted.” Philip Harkness, chairman of Harkness Roses said: “We are a family business, dedicated to sustainability, beauty and, of course, healthy, easy to care for, high-quality roses. I am honoured to be partnering with Virginia, Will, and Born Free to help them in their mission to care for lions rescued from distress and protect this increasingly threatened species in the wild. This stunning new rose will not only raise vital funds for the foundation but is sure to wow in any garden.”

The Born Free Rose information The Born Free Rose is a stunning floribunda shrub of vibrant apricot and orange tones and is the perfect colour to symbolise lions in the wild. It is a wonderful combination of old

and new, reminiscent of traditional English roses with a strong perfume to match, yet this is a modern rose with incredible disease resistance, dense foliage, and an abundance of flowers. The orange blooms are pure and sharp in colour, plentiful in quantity and have the most

enchanting fragrance. Ideal for beds, borders, pots, and containers. • Star rating: 5/5 • Scent: 8/10 • Petal count: 40 • Flower size: 10cm • Cluster: 5-9 • Dimensions: 110cm x 70cm

Order the Born Free Rose or find out more £15.99 potted or £20.99 potted and giftwrapped, with £2.50 from every sale being donated. Use code BORN20 for 20% off your next order. Order online at or call 01462 420402.

2 Section 18 Gardens


Get started on an amazing spring garden with Boston Bulbs Flower bulbs are the true wonders of nature, they are diverse in flower form, easy to grow, and invoke many emotions Now everyone can enjoy a garden full of rich and vibrant colour from the depths of winter into the start of summer with Boston Bulbs’ diverse selection of bulbs, and their exclusive offer discount. Boston Bulbs are a family run business based in the heart of Lincolnshire, providing a quality range of flower bulbs and service to gardeners for over 25 years. The Boston Bulbs team look to source new and exciting varieties every year to appeal to gardeners of all age groups. They also work closely with all of their growers and suppliers to ensure that they maintain their high standards. Some varieties of bulb, such as the alluring tall alliums, look stately when planted at the back of spring borders and are equally at home as a feature plant in beds or in large containers, and will reward you with flowers from May into early summer. These attractive plants are a haven for pollenating butterflies and bees, even when the scented flowers die back the spectacular ball heads are perfect for dried flower arrangements, everyone should find a space for these. Another star performer are the majestic crown imperials or Fritillaria Imperialis, they certainly stand out from the crowd in late spring, and this year they were outstanding in large containers right through April into May. Why not create a small wild area in the garden using some of the UK’s favourite flower bulb varieties, to develop a pollinators paradise by combining single snowdrops, bluebells, and wood anemones all from stocks grown in the UK. The snowdrops appear from early January into March, quickly followed by the wood anemones in February which finish in April, and

the stunning English bluebells that appear from April into May. Also highly recommended are the double snowdrops, wild garlic, and narcissi psuedonarcissi (wild daffodil) grown in the UK.

Why not create a small wild area in the garden using some of the UK’s favourite flower bulb varieties Daffodils are a main stay of any British garden, and these strong, resilient flowers are a welcome sight in spring. Some varieties will flower in February in southern regions, however, most will bloom from

March into April, while the older types such as pheasant’s eye will create a fantastic show in May. This firm British favourite thrives in most conditions and is ideal for any garden. Tulips are one of the most spectacular flowering bulb groups, with such an array of bold colours,

shapes, and sizes, that they never fail to be the centre of attention. Dwarf varieties are superb for pot work, rockeries, and outdoor containers, and generally start to appear from March. Single early tulips are shorter in stem length than their taller cousins and flower early into April, and are perfect for open gardens, beds, and formal displays. The most popular group is the Triumph tulip, they carry the classic egg shape and are available in a multitude of colours and will flower throughout April. For the more adventurous gardener try Lily flowered, or the exotic Parrot tulip with its deeply ruffled petals and inspiring colour combinations proving to be a real treat for the garden in May. Traditionally, spring is the best time to start sowing new lawns, and to repair any patches after the long winter months so that you are ready for entertaining family and friends in the summer months. For ornamental lawns choose a nonryegrass mixture, while for family lawns or areas needing wear and tear, you should use a ryegrassbased mixture.

Place your bulb orders with an exclusive discount With many of your favourite varieties in short supply this year, now is the perfect time to place your bulb orders. Visit today and get an exclusive 10% discount with the code CHECKLIST21 at the checkout, valid for seven days.


2 Section

Get the most from your garden

Gardens 19

Feeling limited by your outdoor space? Here’s how to maximise the value of every garden, no matter how large or small hen it comes to your garden, does size matter? Not as much as you might think – while the instant visual appeal of a sprawling garden is undeniable, it comes with its own costs and maintenance requirements. And if you’ve only got a small garden space or even just a balcony, you can turn the constraints into advantages with some creative thinking. Here’s how to do it – in fact, these tips can help you breathe life into a garden of any size:

Keep it mobile

Don’t grow out, grow up

A large garden might be about overall consistency or subtlety, but in a small garden, adding as much colour in the space will make it seem larger and more detailed. Go for reds, with verbena and primula, or pinks, with sweet pea, dianthus and sedum.


Making use of vertical space is a must. Don’t just think ‘what should I plant next to each other,’ think ‘what can I plant above this?’ Trellises and planters are one way to do this – you can also attach a wooden pallet to a wall and attach a ‘grid’ of pots, vertically arranged. If you’ve got more eclectic tastes, you can even put up typically ‘indoor’ wallmounted objects, such as mirrors and paintings.

Large features such as raised beds can be impressive – but they’re a trade-off against the amount of space they require, and how difficult they are to move. Essentially, once you’ve got one you’re stuck with it, which can be more of an issue when space is at a premium. If you keep everything in pots and planters, you always have the freedom to move it when a garden rework is needed (or even if you just feel like it!)

Brighten it up

Something to think about A herbal remedy Want to get real practical value out of your garden? Plant a herb garden instead of a traditional floral assortment. This can work in the smallest space – even just a balcony will do. Herbs tend to prefer the sun, so pick a planter in an exposed area (which also means it will be more accessible when it’s time to harvest the herbs). Add a pot in the centre for the spreading herbs like mint – this also makes an excellent focal point.

Think about your plants Some species, such as lavender or euphorbia, will grow outwards as much as upwards, meaning a small space will be quickly colonised. For plants that stick to a given surface area, think ferns, herbs, bromeliads, succulents, and alpines.

Don’t just think ‘what should I plant next to each other,’ think ‘what can I plant above this?’ Block out the outside world Small gardens are often more ‘overlooked’ than others, so plan your garden to create some seclusion – the garden will also feel larger if it doesn’t feel like it’s jammed between two buildings. If a high hedge isn’t practical, try installing an arch or pergola, and plant climbers along its length.

In the spotlight EverEdge EverEdge have been producing steel lawn edging in the UK for over 25 years. The EverEdge Classic range is perfect for use in domestic gardens for edging around lawns and flowerbeds. Steel edging is long lasting, strong and flexible so it is ideal for gardens of all shapes and sizes. Find out more at

Sources: * **


Kress take robotic lawn mowers to the next level Robotic mowers should do more than just relieve the burden of pushing a mower a couple of times a week With an annual growth of over 20%*, robotic mowers are becoming increasingly popular with homeowners. However, their basic design has not significantly changed since the introduction of the first robot mower in 1995, until now. The Kress robotic mower range has been designed from the ground up and features several patented technologies that could set the industry agenda for the coming years.

Kress robots are enabled to make autonomous decisions to protect and enhance the health of turf grass. With unique INTIVA technology (Intelligent Navigation Technology Inbound Variable Angle), Kress mowers always know where to go to optimise their mowing route, requiring fewer passes than other mowers to get the job done. When a border is reached, Kress robots simply turn in the best direction, unlike others which can wear the lawn along the borders and especially in the corners. The INTIVA technology has also been implemented in the innovative ultrasonic Obstacle Avoidance System. The OAS allows the robot to avoid collisions, while also telling


Section 3

Kress mowers always know where to go it how to how to navigate complex areas such as a group of trees in the lawn. Temperature, precipitation, and solar radiation greatly affect grass’s growth rate, but with their connection to a network of local weather stations, Kress robots know what is going on in each garden and autonomously customise their work schedule accordingly. For sloped gardens, Kress mowers are equipped with a Regen technology that recharges the battery when the mower is running downhill, increasing the runtime. One of the biggest complaints robotic lawn mower owners have

is borders that have to be manually trimmed. The Kress mower’s blades are offset to mow the perimeter of the lawn as closely as possible. Instead of conventional charging stations sitting on a large plastic pad, which can kill the grass underneath it, the pad of the base is a grid which allows the grass to grow through it, making the base nearly invisible. Robot mowers are a great step towards reducing emissions as they run on very little electricity and can replace a petrol mower, which has 11 times the emissions of an

average car**. The Kress robotic mower range was launched in the UK in spring 2020 and is available at selected professional dealers.

Find out more Visit for more information.


2 Section 20 Gardens

Outdoor essentials From major additions to nifty gadgets, here are 10 ideas you need to spruce up your garden Pallet furniture

Pop-up greenhouse

Nowhere is the ‘homemade movement’ healthier than in garden furniture. Sofas and tables made from old pallets have a rustic feel, can be left out in all weathers, and are easily moved around to create different arrangements and spaces (especially if you put them on wheels). Feeling crafty? You can buy pallets from a reseller and make your own. It’s a case of stacking pallets, fi xing them together, and securing the sofa backs at the right angle.

Don’t want to take up space permanently with a glass greenhouse – or risk it being smashed when the kids tumble into it? There’s an alternative: a pop-up greenhouse made of clear poly. It doesn’t quite look the same as the traditional option, but it gives you the flexibility to move the greenhouse, put it up in a smaller space, or take it down entirely – all while protecting veg and flowers, helping you extend the growing season.

Seed subscription Admittedly, there’s a subscription service available for nearly everything these days – some feeling more essential than others (underwear subscription, anyone?). But in terms of value for money, a seed subscription is one of the ‘subs’ that’s most likely to go appreciated – it can deliver fresh ideas every month, while still fitting around your own creative preferences, planting and growing the seeds as you see fit.

Autonomous mower We know all about Roombas for indoor vacuuming – now the technology has come to lawnmowing, too. For example, Husqvarna’s range is diverse and powerful – the basic model, the Automower 105, can handle any regular-sized lawn (600 square

meters and inclines up to 25%). It really works as you would imagine – it can handle rain, narrow spaces, and even uses a guide wire to navigate back to its charging point when it’s fi nished.

Solar jars A must-have accessory for adding a festival vibe to your garden, these solar powered ‘light jars’ are simple in nature – a string of white or coloured fairy lights connected to a solar panel on the jar’s lid – but have a strong effect on the ambience, with a ‘twinkling firefl ies’ effect when viewed from afar. They are available in all sorts of colours and shapes to suit any garden – or you can even make your own for a more personal touch.

Outdoor essentials continues on page 23


The professional growers’ best kept secret is now available for your garden! Designed to permanently improve soil quality and boost the health and vitality of plants, Carbon Gold’s biochar is natural magic Biochar is a pure, high-carbon form of charcoal that can be added to soil for a number of benefits and is the key ingredient in all of Carbon Gold’s gardening products. As it is high in carbon, biochar’s presence in soil can improve a plant’s roots’ ability to get hold of the naturally occurring chemical nutrients they need from the soil. Its sponge-like structure also means that it’s good at holding both air and water long after they would leach away in normal soil. Plus, these sponge-like pores act as a house for the important plant-friendly microbes and fungi that plants need to really flourish, and which would

otherwise struggle to hold on during heavy rain or watering. All of this together noticeably boosts plant health and vitality, and Carbon Gold’s biochar products have been shown to prevent a number of pests and diseases, as well as reduce the impact of environmental factors like compacted soil or a lack of watering. Plus, because biochar is so pure, it doesn’t break down over time, so when you use it, you’re permanently improving the health of your soil. It also helps you to reduce your personal carbon footprint when you buy and use it because all that carbon is now permanently in the soil instead of in the atmosphere. It’s also completely peat-free. Carbon Gold have a range of Soil Association approved, FSC certified products with different mixes and ratios of biochar and other ingredients to suit specific tasks. Products include Carbon Gold Biochar Fertiliser, which is perfect for giving plants an extra boost to help them grow bigger and more resilient. For those struggling with poor soil quality, Carbon

Gold’s Biochar Soil Improver brings about physical and permanent improvements to soil, ensuring your plants are happy and healthy. Dubbed ‘organic rocket fuel’, Biochar Biology Blend is used by professional growers across the UK and is proven

to deliver quick root establishment and boost plant vigour, as well as reducing the need for watering and fertiliser.

Buy Carbon Gold biochar Carbon Gold’s full range of professional-approved products are now available in garden-friendly pack sizes. For a list of stockists, or to buy online, visit


Gardens 21


Gardens Section23 3

Outdoor essentials continued

Outdoor rug

Barbecue in a bag Everyone loves a barbecue – but you may not love the amount of space a ‘proper’ gas barbecue will permanently take up. Gelert’s versatile ‘BBQ in a bag’ may be the solution – it’s a charcoal barbecue that you can get out anywhere, and store easily when not in use. It may not be big enough to feed a family gathering, but for couples or small families it’s more than enough, while it’s also good for camping and doubles as a fire pit. Plus, the bag can be converted into a drinks cooler – handy!

There’s a growing trend for taking typically ‘indoor’ accessories and putting them in an outdoor setting – and the easiest place to start is an outdoor rug. More than just adding a splash of colour, it can also have a practical use by delineating areas – place your garden furniture on it to make a coherent seating area, for example. A polypropylene rug will be fully weather-resistant and won’t easily lose its brightness.

Outdoor movie screen Holding your own outdoor ‘movie’ event is all the rage – like going to the drive-in but without paying through the nose for popcorn. Rather than projecting the film onto a sheet draped between two trees, upgrade your movie screen to an inflatable job – available in many different sizes, and easily stored after the credits roll.

Insect house It’s possible to make your own insect house quite easily, by drilling holes into differently sized pieces of wood. However for those in search of a more professional-looking option, you should consider buying a pre-made ‘bug hotel’. These come in a range of shapes and sizes, primarily for bees or butterfl ies. These are not just for show– they can provide a nesting place, and solitary bees will use them to hatch young bees, which increases the number of local pollinators. So placing one near flowering plants could really help them to grow.

Smart plant monitor Take the guesswork out of looking after potted plants. Just install a soil monitor in the pot – they look rather scary, but they’re really the plant’s friend, keeping tabs on soil moisture, temperature and light to ensure the conditions are ideal. Should the plant need a water, or to be relocated to a different spot, the monitor will alert you via an app notification. Easy. ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE 2 Section

In the spotlight STIGA Battery Garden Tools Engineered for real-life working conditions, not just to pass a lab test. From mowing to trimming, or blowing to pruning, the STIGA EPOWER batteries maintain a high-performance capacity and still go strong after 600 charges. Find out more at


A rain watered garden is a happy garden Rainwater is widely known to be hugely beneficial for plant growth, and Prestige Water are synonymous with efficient rainwater capture When it comes to rainwater irrigation there is a rather baffling range of different options on the market. From diverters and filters to water butts and pumps, it can be tricky knowing which one to choose. Prestige Water provide the key points to consider for rainwater irrigation options.

Water butts One average-sized water butt can hold enough rainwater to fill a watering can 50 times. That is a lot of free water. It is not just the size that matters, the yield or capture efficiency is also important, which is why the Prestige water butt is designed to be more efficient during summer storms. When water is scarce, the Prestige water butt captures most of the storm water and not just a fraction of it.

Design, shape, and size When it comes to water butts, there are many styles and shapes to choose from. The Prestige water butt provides a neat, slim solution with a minimal footprint. When choosing a size, consider the amount of water that is used per day and the number of anticipated days

without rain. The Prestige water butt would serve two watering cans per day for 10 days, which is excellent coverage for UK rain patterns.

Exclusive to Checklist readers Save 10% on all orders in the Prestige range using code HGCP at the checkout. Visit to shop the range and fi nd out more.


What a sizzler! Beautiful, practical fire pits to cook on A Woodee Fire Pit can turn any outside space into an additional lounge area where family and friends can be entertained safely This beautiful fire pit makes a perfect focal point, will keep everybody warm and give out light and comfort.

Its stylish and practical design also means that anything can be cooked on it, from a paella to pancakes and bread to barbecues, so that everyone can enjoy wonderful alfresco dining. Made in rural Herefordshire by traditional and heritage craftspeople, the Woodee Range is a unique and contemporary collection of products which revolve around fire. Handmade using local sustainable materials, British steel, hand forged metal work and stainless steel,

every piece is built to stand the test of time and the great British weather.

Order now Visit the website at and get free UK delivery. Call 01981 550524 to fi nd out more.

2 Section 24 Gardens


Stay traditional with British-made hand-forged sculpture Tucked away in the Chiltern Hills countryside is the hidden British sculpture studio Elliott of London, a thriving haven of hand-forged metal artwork The Elliott of London sculpture studio was founded in 2016 by the young British sculptor Charles Elliott in his rural workshop. Since then, they have gone from strength to strength, as Elliott has helped the brand to earn themselves national and international recognition. With Elliott of London’s sculptures shown at various locations around the UK, including the prestigious Royal Ascot Racecourse, Cheltenham Festival, Hatfield House, Ragley Hall, Royal Chelsea Hospital, Kings Road Chelsea, Hampden Estate and Ashridge Estate, their reach is truly widespread. Elliott of London design and handcraft products for a range of clients across the UK and internationally. They produce a wide range of shapes, sizes and fi nishes, and are happy to tailor their designs and products to personal precise specifications. They also accept completely bespoke, oneoff commissions and are always delighted to discuss individual requirements with their clients. All Elliott of London staff are committed to offering a luxurious

product with a personal service, to cater for every individual detail of each product. The Elliott of London showroom is open for visitors, and onsite meetings can be arranged to discuss any potential future projects. Each piece is initially designed and handmade by Charles and his small, devoted team in their sculpture studio on the borders of Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. Every sculpture captures the real movement, character, and energy bringing each piece to life. The Elliott of London team always go in with a hands-on approach, using various traditional and modern techniques including some of the oldest blacksmithing methods, and a power hammer that dates back to the 1920s. The old loyal power hammer is a huge talking point for anyone visiting the studio, and this dinosaur of a machine creates unique texture for all of the items created at the studio. The variety of sculptures, materials, fi nishes and options available to choose from, prove that Elliott of London really do push the

Every sculpture captures the real movement, character, and energy bringing each piece to life boundaries of sculpture for each and every client. From the array of sphere sizes, designs, styles, and fi nishes, all the way up to the stunning characterful equestrian sculptures that they create, no two sculptures are ever the same! Elliott of London’s use of the very cleverly placed illumination kits give the sculptures yet another angle – making them perfect for any outdoor spaces. The interior art,

however, is not overlooked at Elliott of London, as the attention to detail and the quirky materials used for interior pieces make noise of their own for any home. At Elliott of London the team offer a variety of products and services to cater to any size project, and although they stock their own range of products, they also offer a variety of bespoke made-to-measure products. Elliott of London work with interior designers, architects, garden designers, retailers, and private clients, and can create work to order, to suit a variety of projects across the home counties and UK. So, whether you are looking for a small sculpture gift, an illuminated focal garden sculpture, or a large one-off sculpture, you can rest assured that each detail will be thought through thoroughly. Elliott of London sculptures are simply hand-forged British products at their very best!

With lockdown restrictions slowly easing, Elliott of London are now open to the public again for viewings and commissions. They are working on an appointmentonly basis for the time being to enable each visitor their time and safety.

How to get in touch Visit, email, or call 01494 758896. Viewing by appointment only – commissions and enquiries welcome.


Gardens 25


26 2 Section Interior design


Experience luxury underfoot with a wood floor solution by Havwoods Recognised for its global presence in the wood flooring market, Havwoods provides highquality, durable solutions for the modern home Flooring is a key consideration when it comes to planning the interior of a home. It provides a helpful starting point for any scheme and can help to contribute to a continual flow throughout any property. The correct board can help to ground a space, creating a calm and ambient base for more experimental and bold design choices. With a vast collection that includes engineered, solid, and reclaimed wooden options, at Havwoods there is a plank or block to suit any interior.

A characterful solution for a period home Set within the beautiful Lansdowne Garden conservation area, the Stockwell House project is the perfect example of Havwoods’ vast design expertise. One of the newest additions to Havwoods’ extensive project portfolio, the impressive and recently transformed Georgian terrace exudes eye-catching character. The design brief was to create a classic yet spacious interior scheme to reflect the stunning exterior alongside reinstating the original features of the home to complement the style and heritage of the property.

Fendi in a herringbone composition from the Venture Plank collection has been used throughout the two lower levels of the property, to deliver a noticeable sense of detail and cohesion. Chosen for its high class and luxurious visual appeal, the herringbone design was matched alongside exquisite Fendi planks across the bedrooms and landing to help add a calmer quality to the home, whilst differentiating the areas in the property. Each room embraces a deep monochrome colour palette that adds an instant wow factor to the interior. This monochrome theme was carried throughout the home, with hints of brass and ironmongery that help to lift and lighten the space. A mirrored drinks cabinet at the head of the dining room acts as a striking focal point, whilst the bedroom grounds the space and accentuates the building’s true heritage. The home is further characterised by vibrant pops of yellow and green with subtle botanical accents that tie the overall scheme together.

Versatility of choice The brand has recently enhanced its product offering, making the selection process even easier for consumers providing more pattern, size, and style options in its bestselling shades all in one place. For example, Fendi, as referenced in the Stockwell House project, can be ordered in a range of new and improved sizes and in a variety of grades. These stunning planks can be specified in a herringbone, chevron, or Versailles pattern to cater to a variety of individual design preferences. This approach makes it easy for customers to pick and

Photographer: David Butler Designer: Peter Lynn of _ing Architects Builder: Extend

Havwoods offers hundreds of wood flooring products, which can be viewed on the website and ordered as samples choose designs within the same product families. This ensures cohesion and allows for more experimentation, which can often result in more creative flooring design. In addition to Fendi, the other collections that have also been updated are the Arena, Blanco, and Amazon, with more to follow in the future.

Wood flooring for any interior Havwoods offers hundreds of wood flooring products, which can be viewed on the website and ordered

as samples. For customers who need more guidance or would like to speak to an expert before deciding, all four UK flooring showrooms are now open. The showrooms hold large panels of most products and allow customers to experience the products in real life. This will help homeowners to visualise how certain styles will work within the home. The dedicated team of expert showroom staff is there to answer any queries, even the most technical ones, and is on-hand to help you to find a wood flooring solution to suit any interior.

Find out more For further information, and to fi nd your local showroom, please visit the website at You can also call 01524 737000 or email


2 Section

Interior design 27

Your interior style guide From traditional to modern, discover your design persona with our guide to eight of the most popular design styles today Mid-century modern

Urban modern

One of the most common interior design styles, mid-century modern, takes its inspiration – as the name suggests – from the 1950s and 1960s, combining the simple and clean lines of a modernist approach with warmer organic materials and patterns. It starts with the structure of the house itself – exposed stone walls, wood-panelled ceilings, open-plan spaces – and continues with bright colours, geometric shapes and simple yet striking furniture pieces. Essential buy: Many design classics hail from this era, such as the Eames lounge chair and egg chair.

The modern style has unfairly been labelled as cold and characterless. Whoever thinks that clearly hasn’t seen urban modern interior design, which aims to recreate the feeling of a designer studio or loft conversion in a major city. Hallmarks include low-profile furniture that’s tailored to the space – corner sofas are common – and decorative accents to give even the smallest room a chic feel. Essential buy: Accessorise the breakfast bar with a set of backless white three-legged bar stools, and liven up the room with brass accents, such as plant pots and an audacious light fitting.

Industrial This is an on-trend style with real roots: it sprang from when factories were vacated after the industrial revolution ended, and were eventually converted into living space. These spaces retained their stark, rough-and-ready appeal: tall ceilings, exposed bricks, pipework and concrete. Today, industrial interiors pair these textures with copper accents, two-tone walls, and vintage furniture and accessories. Essential buy: There’s often a lot of space in an authentic industrial home, making it the perfect backdrop

for an oversized artwork. LS Lowry might be the industrial poster boy, but the choice of art is yours.

Bohemian ‘Boho’ is another area where a huge industry has spring up recently – which means you can fi nd just about anything advertised as boho online. In essence, it is a nomadic design style that encourages you to incorporate elements from different cultures and periods, casting a modern light on them. That might sound like just about anything could be classed as boho – but if you

want the real embodiment of this style, maximise your use of natural materials (such as textiles and bamboo), stack different patterns on top of each other (with cushions or rugs), and fi nd unusual ways to use everyday objects (such as hanging a guitar on the wall). Essential buy: A Moroccan leather pouffe might be the ultimate boho accessory – pick one up from or check the charity shops!

Your interior style guide continues on page 28


Creating spaces to fall in love with The sought-after Elizabeth Stanhope interior design house provides a classically contemporary approach to interior design Elegant country perfectly defi nes the brand Elizabeth Stanhope (Lizzie) established in 2002. “Our goal is to create spaces people will fall in love with” says Lizzie. “And to achieve that goal we listen and we interpret the client’s dream. We are meticulous in our approach.”

The design studios Creating interiors that make an impression, the team at Elizabeth Stanhope take projects from initial concept to manufacture and installation. Based in Rutland, the Elizabeth Stanhope design studios and showroom is the inspirational flagship for the brand. Challenging, creative, and spirited, Elizabeth

Stanhope have become established as prominent and sought-after interior designers. Lizzie says “At Elizabeth Stanhope the emphasis is on ensuring that the client receives the highest level of customer service, excellence in quality of design and manufacture and most definitely an enjoyable experience.” The Elizabeth Stanhope website takes a delightfully fresh approach to the digital interiors experience which immediately inspires the visitor as they arrive. Lizzie Loves – the aptly named online store – combines carefully curated leading brands and the beautiful ES signature range, giving your home an understated elegance.

A guiding concept and a design intent


Norfolk kitchen

Lizzie and Flossie in the studio

Follow the newly launched daily Instagram feed, for inspiration and design insights that are a must.

From concept to completion they took care of everything, we enjoyed every minute – Sarah, Berkshire Get the look The Elizabeth Stanhope fabric collection has evolved through Lizzie’s love of fabric and a wish to provide good quality, beautiful materials for less. From fabric and beautiful bed linen to gorgeous furniture and accessories, the ES signature range of products is stylish, classic, timeless, and resonates with quality. You may not need the complete interior design service, in which case you can also just enjoy ‘getting the look’. Lizzie says the go-to accessories this year are very much about natural elements. Earthy tones, terracotta vases, marble coffee tables, wicker baskets, and wooden furniture pieces. Then bring on the maximalist

elements styled in for greater effect. Statement vases have the power to transform an interior in an instant. Bringing much-needed joie de vivre to this year’s decorating, people want big, bold, oversized designs and unusual shapes are dominating this year’s collections.

Find out more Contact the team at or call 01572 722345. Visit the website at and follow @elizabethstanhope. You can also visit the Lizzie Loves website at and follow @shoplizzieloves.


28 Interior design

Section 3

Your interior style guide continued Scandi Scandinavian design has evolved from its Nordic roots and become an industry that spans a building style, a colour palette and an entire way of life. Countless books on ‘what makes a real Scandi home’ are available, but if you’re looking to adopt it, start with the basics: a minimalist room layout, simple whites and pastels combined with wooden surfaces, and restrained approach to decorations and details. The key is to create an airy, uncluttered and organic space. Essential buy: Lighting is key, and takes a central role in Scandi houses, not just a functional one. Invest in some pendant ceiling lights, geometric chandelier lights, and smaller downlights to maximise your illumination options.

Minimalist This contemporary design is based on the philosophy that function is key, and everything in a room should be contributing rather than getting in the way. It doesn’t mean you have to keep rooms completely empty – but it means that you should think about the most useful place for every object to be, rather than placing it randomly or “because I found a spot”. Then, pick one item – such as a striking light fi xture or bright orange sofa – to be the centrepiece of the room. With nothing to distract from it, its effect will really be felt. Essential buy: Minimalism is all about storage. Convert surfaces to storage spaces with floor-to-ceiling cabinets in the ‘handleless’ style with notched edges.

Farmhouse If you live in a barn conversion, the farmhouse style is for you: exposed wooden beams, wide plank floors, ample use of green oak and an open-plan Shaker kitchen are the hallmarks of this design. But it’s coming to a wider variety of spaces through the modern farmhouse variant, which combines the rustic with the refi ned: brickwork fireplaces, floor-to-ceiling windows, and tasteful use of salvaged objects as accessories. Essential buy: Mixed materials have become a core part of the modern farmhouse aesthetic. Pair your granite kitchen tops with a sliding oak door and black-and-gold metallic light fittings.

Traditional Though modern styles have become more on-trend, there is nothing wrong with the traditional aesthetic,

and millions still like it best. It’s inspired by European aristocratic designs, with ornate details, dark woods and stately, patterned furniture. Don’t be fooled by the name, though – traditional design still gives you a lot of room for creativity. It’s up to you to develop a strong aesthetic theme – a particular colour or floral pattern, perhaps – and develop it through matching pieces across the room. Essential buy: The trick to making traditional work is to treat windows properly. Full-height, heavy draped curtains are a signature of the style, best paired with intermediate net curtains. This makes the room feel tall, classic and imposing.

Something to think about Mix and match Who says you need to respect the rules? Even if you have an established aesthetic in your home, it’s perfectly acceptable – even encouraged – to introduce elements from a different era or style. For example, adding one or two traditional accents to a mid-century modern room makes them stand out. Even a full-on eclectic style, mixing icons from just about everything, can produce impressive results.


Meet the interior design company making home renovations more affordable

The UK property market has been on the rise since July, largely fuelled by the government temporarily cutting stamp duty. With the introduction of 95% mortgage schemes in mid-April, the housing market is welcoming a

record number of first-time buyers to the scene. Interior design has become a hot topic. Homeowners are looking for expert advice and there is a brand-new market for accessible, affordable design. My Bespoke Room, the awardwinning online interior design service, have experienced an influx of enquiries over the past twelve months. In total, the team have completed over 1,000 home and renovation projects – a 108% increase on the previous year. The team believe demand has

exploded not just because more people are moving, but because people now expect so much more from their homes. Furthermore, with fewer people being able to gather design inspiration from travelling or visiting venues inperson, demand for an online alternative has risen. The new trend for online, affordable design promises to make home renovations easy, accessible, and most importantly, fun! Teams of qualified and experienced designers can help you create your perfect home, in your style and within your budget (from £195 per room).

Designers are there to listen, and to help you create a home you want to live in My Bespoke Room’s professional designers work with you to achieve a cohesive look and feel, and will even incorporate existing items you may want to keep. They can work from architect drawings or a basic room plan to agree layouts and will even source everything to pull the fi nal look together with their free personal shopping service.


While hiring an expert may come in at an additional cost, it has been shown to save you money in the long term by preventing expensive mistakes that can happen when people impulse buy or follow fleeting fashion trends. With moving home recognised as one of the most stressful life events people can experience, having support with the interiors journey can really help, both emotionally and fi nancially. Designers are there to listen, and to help you create a home you want to live in.

Exclusive to Checklist readers Find out more about My Bespoke Room and their awardwinning design packages at and get 10% off by entering code CHECKLIST10 at the checkout. Available until 31 July*.


*T&Cs: deal cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers

My Bespoke Room promise first-class interiors expertise at a fraction of the cost of traditional services

2 Section 30 Property


‘Dalton Grange’ – a Lancashire gem This splendid Victorian country residence is set in the heart of Lancashire One of the finest residences in Dalton, having only changed hands twice in the last 50 years, Dalton Grange is a substantial Victorian country house built circa 1860 by John Prescott, one of the area’s principal landowning gentry, after he inherited the estate. The grandeur of the interior matches the property’s superb location, and this beautiful home has been exquisitely fashioned to provide an arresting combination of elegant spaces with retained features and meticulously considered presentation set over four floors and the exquisite home is surrounded by secluded, parkland style gardens and grounds.

The interior Offering a true sense of arrival, the impressive galleried reception hall with coffered ceiling, features a French stone open fireplace and fender. Painted panelled doors give way to the morning room, drawing room, dining room and inner hall, and the truly noteworthy oak panelled staircase rises and turns to the first floor. The morning room and drawing room both overlook the south facing side garden via French and picture windows with retained original shutters and have Adam’s style fireplaces. The original hand-painted vine patterned coving is an original feature displayed in the dining room which has unrestricted views over the

gardens and, off the inner hallway, the comfortable library has an array of hand-painted bookcases and gives way to the office and gymnasium. The dining kitchen presents a bespoke, classic range of Matthew Marsden carpentry to include cabinets, signature drawers, and central island breakfast bar in contemporary tones, and white porcelain counters inset with a Shaws enamel sink. A canopied nook houses the five-oven electric Aga, integrated appliances are by Miele and the walk-in pantry is an added bonus. Adjacent is the boot room and laundry. The lower ground floor comprises eight separate rooms which include four storerooms, an energy control room, the playroom, a wine cellar fitted with oak bottle racks and shelves, and a games room with space for a snooker table and a retiring room. The galleried first floor landing gives way to the master suite incorporating a principal bedroom, lounge, lady’s dressing room with walk-in wardrobe, a gentleman’s dressing room with bespoke oak furniture and a luxurious en suite. There are three further bedrooms and a bathroom on the first floor. Accessed from two staircases, one via a ‘secret bookcase’, the secondfloor accommodation includes two further double bedrooms and a very spacious bathroom.

The grounds Electronically controlled cast-iron gates give way to the sweeping driveway of the secluded Dalton Grange, which leads to a three-car

ornate timber car port with attached secure double garage, and two storerooms. The extensive grounds include a parterre rose garden at the approach, a south facing terrace with a Victorian three tier water fountain and overlooking the woodland garden and an ancient yew tree. Beyond this is the almost-centenarian pavilion, alongside the Japanese style rockery and Koi carp pond. To the rear, the extensive York stone terrace has stately stone steps descending to the box-tree lined croquet lawn. The lower lawn garden has deep herbaceous borders and specimen trees – including a 150-year-old mulberry tree – and the Victorian style Hartley greenhouse. An external lighting system runs throughout the grounds and

includes ‘dawn ‘til dusk’ lamps which line the driveway and garden edge, spotlighting showcases the property’s splendid stonework and specimen tree lighting enhances the garden structure. The terrace is also wired for an external music system. Ideally placed for commuter transport links, Dalton Grange lies 27 miles (43km) from Manchester, 15 miles from Liverpool, 18 miles from Preston and 68 miles from the Lake District.

Find out more Price on application via Maria B Evans Estate Agents. For further information or viewing please contact Davina Gill or Sally Wood on 01772 737888.


2 Section

Can you buy a home without seeing it? We may have been living through a pandemic – but the property market has been healthy throughout. In the era of social distancing, how can you ensure you get the perfect home?


t the height of the pandemic in 2020, we expected that house prices would fall amid a depressed market. The Bank of England even warned as such. Six months later, they bucked the trend and hit record highs. Today, house prices are on average 7% higher than when the pandemic began. It means that, despite the uncertainty, the demand for property never went away – in fact, it may have even intensified, with pent-up interest emerging after lockdown and with the government

running several schemes to support homebuyers, including a 5% deposit scheme and a stamp duty holiday. The good news is that if you’re looking to sell your home, you’ll get plenty of interest and a good price. But if you’re buying, you may not get the bargain bonanza you’d been hoping for. So, what’s the best time to buy, and how should you go about it? And with social distancing and avoiding travel still the norm, can you really inspect a house to your satisfaction? Here’s how to get the best buy…

Property 31 Is the market going crazy? In reality, it hasn’t been as crazy as you might think. Houses fluctuated, and in general they rose, but they never went ‘off the charts’ at either end. What’s worth considering is that, though house prices are quite high now, they may dip in the near future. Schemes such as furlough are supporting people’s income and buying power; whenever this ends, house prices might fall. So it could be worth waiting if you want to bag a bargain.

Should I race to buy a house now?

Something to think about How fast can you complete? If you’re looking to complete before a certain date, you may be in for an anxious wait. House purchases in the UK take notoriously long to complete, so much so that the Home Buying and Selling Group have pledged to try and speed up the process. Twelve weeks from offer to completion is not unusual. Want the lightning-fast option? If you buy a house with no chain, you may be able to complete in as little as four weeks. Get your mortgage and paperwork in order early, and cross your fi ngers for a smooth process.


It’s understandable to aim to buy before 30 June, when the stamp duty holiday ends. However, this isn’t exactly a hard deadline – more of a soft landing, as the rate-free cap will then go to £250,000 until September. So you won’t come off too badly if you complete later in the year – and it’s better than rushing to complete on a house you aren’t sure about.

What kind of house should I look for? As the days get longer and warmer, more properties traditionally come on to the market – which means more choice for you. Of course, it means more competition too. Cut that competition down by departing from the norm (which, right now, is a mid-priced suburban home in a growing region such as the North West.) Look for bigger rural properties, urban investments, ‘fi xer-uppers’, houses with land, or bank auctions.

How can I buy a house while socially distancing? Property sales have done an excellent job of moving online. With websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla already common, most of them have added ‘virtual first viewings’ where you can undertake a 3D ‘tour’ online. In fact, it’s possible to complete the entire viewing and offering process without viewing the house in person, if you’re in a hurry – though it’s not recommended if you can avoid it! Mortgage approvals and conveyancing have also gone digital, and if anything, they’re much easier that way.

Section 1


Think ‘smart’ for home ‘Openhearth’ house for sale security this summer Overlooking the Cruden Bay golf course is this grand, granite, south-facing house, originally built around 1900

*Module required.

As a long-trusted name in security, Yale share their 180 years of expertise to help you upgrade your home security – the smart way As the days get longer and warmer, attention often moves to the garden when preparing for home improvement projects. One area that many often forget to prioritise, however, is their home security. Sheds and outbuildings are at particular risk of opportunistic attacks, with bikes and outdoor equipment valuable targets. Yale recommend investing in a smart lock to ‘outsmart’ criminals, with their popular Keyless Connected Smart Lock offering a built-in tamper alarm, bank-level encryption, and incorrect pin code recognition. What’s more, the Keyless Lock offers complete security control for homeowners, providing remote access to those who need it via a PIN code, key card, key tag, fob, or smartphone*. Suitable for wooden doors with 60mm nightlatch, the Yale Keyless is simple to install and could fit to your shed or garden building for

Outstanding granite property The property houses seven large bedrooms, one single bedroom, a family bathroom, and shower rooms on each of three floors. The lounge has a wood burning stove, as well as fireplaces in the

living and dining rooms, and downstairs bedroom. The rear attic studio room has a sink, and the large dining kitchen has an Aga that can be converted to electric. The utility can be found on the mezzanine floor, and the house has plenty of storage throughout. Most inside walls have recently been insulated with Kingspan, and the property is double glazed and has a gas combi-boiler.

Generous garden grounds Outside, the sunroom opens onto the large, landscaped back garden, and there is a wraparound, pink granite drive and a new double-garage with an electric door and a pitched slate roof. The property is double gated with a walled garden and is safe for children and pets. There are three patio areas, one with space for two six-seater tables and a BBQ, as well as mature and new trees and plants, and three sheds.

Cruden Bay village

smart and secure protection for your home. For a smart front door makeover, the Conexis L1 Smart Lock utilises encrypted Bluetooth technology giving homeowners the freedom to control their home security anywhere, at any time. With this British Kitemark approved smart lock, you can benefit from secure, smartphone control of your home, from a security brand you can trust.


Cruden Bay is a friendly, pretty village with convenient connections to the A90. The Cruden Bay golf club is nearby, as well as Slains Castle ruins, a beautiful clean beach, and local amenities all a short walk away.

Find out more Marketed by Ledingham Chalmers LLP, £450,000, reference 332473. Phone Ledingham Chalmers Aberdeen on 01224 632500. For further enquiries call 07740 397382.

Find out more Visit, or order from major UK electrical and DIY retailers today.


32 Property 2 Section

Improve, don’t move? If you’re ready for the next step up the property ladder, there’s an alternative to moving: using equity to fund an extension to your current home


t’s a familiar situation: you’ve been in your home for years and are comfortable, but can’t shake the feeling that you need more space. Perhaps it’s for a growing family, for pets, your desire for a new man (or woman) cave, or just your growing collection of stuff. Either way, you’re becoming doubtful that your beloved house is really your ‘forever home’. So it looks like you’ll be moving. Right? Not necessarily. You can extend your house instead, and create the extra room you need without incurring the expense of

moving. That’s not to say there is no expense – you’ll need to stump up a fair chunk – but you’ll be spending on something that’s yours, that you experience and appreciate every day, and that contributes directly to your house’s value. You can extend outwards – anywhere from a garage conversion to a two-floor extension out of the back of your house – or upwards, with a loft conversion. Either way, the ‘improvement movement’ is gaining followers, and it’s not hard to see why when you consider the satisfaction from personalising your own home and, ultimately, being able to stay put.

Something to think about How much does it cost? There’s no getting around it: extending isn’t cheap. For a realistic figure, estimate £1,500 per square metre of additional living space. So a single-storey extension including two three by four metre rooms will cost in the region of £36,000 – though you should budget 10% to 15% of contingency on top of this, since with home renovations, unexpected costs can arise.

How can I get the money? Most people will borrow against the house itself to raise funds. You can do this via a remortgage, if your current mortgage isn’t fi xed; the terms will depend on what your mortgage provider is prepared to offer you. For a more flexible option, ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE 2 Section

you can opt to release equity from your home, which the provider issues as a lump-sum loan. Unlike most loans, however, you won’t pay monthly – it’s styled as a ‘lifetime mortgage’ and will be repaid in full whenever the house is sold. Competitive rates are also available on home improvement loans, though the more you borrow, the steeper the rate could be. You’ll have to repay this monthly, unlike an equity release. And if you’re only planning a small renovation, you might even be able to fund it with a credit card. Ultimately, the best option depends on you: your age, the size and type of extension you’re planning, your fi nancial situation, and the disposition of lenders.

Do I need planning permission to extend? In most cases, you should be able to proceed under ‘permitted development’ meaning you don’t need to apply for planning permission – as long as your extension meets some basic criteria, which contractors will be aware of. Mainly: you can’t extend forwards, can’t extend back by more than six metres (eight for a detached house), and you can’t go higher than the highest point of the existing building. For larger jobs within these limits, you might still have to get ‘prior approval’ from your local authority; for smaller extensions, you can feel free to start planning.


The new generation of solar Performance that real wood cannot match Ecodek are a champion of sustainability and ensure that their products look the part while also benefitting the environment Ecodek’s high-quality suite of products are carefully designed and crafted to provide all the benefits of real wood without the hassle, allowing you to relax and enjoy your garden in style. Their Wood Polymer Composite boards are solid, moisture resistant, and easy to install, meaning your outdoor space will last for years to come and truly give the ‘wow factor’. Ecodek’s ecofriendly decking is manufactured from 95% recycled and responsibly sourced raw materials and

is 100% recyclable. Most importantly, it is manufactured in a carbon-negative, UKbased manufacturing facility. All of Ecodek’s residential decking options come with extensive warranty periods from 25-40 years, providing you with the peace of mind that your stylish decking system will last for years to come. With several different ranges to choose from, you can find the exact style and type of board that is right for your project.

Find out more Ecodek have a wealth of experience in-house to help meet your needs. Explore the full range at or for further information contact the friendly, knowledgeable sales team on 01978 667840.

BIPVco manufactures integrated, lightweight, and flexible cutting-edge solar modules with industry leading technology Sustainable energy sources are a key consideration in new build projects – but the impression often is that heavy and fragile ‘glass like’ solar panels can limit design options. While this is still the case for the majority of solar, there are major leaps in technology led by BIPVco. Their cutting edge Flextron solar panels are lightweight, flexible, and generate more energy than ‘traditional’ panels. At only 3mm thick and weighing just 3kg per m2 Flextron solar panels really are the new generation of solar technology. Developed and manufactured in the UK since 2015, BIPVco provide

solar to a range of large-scale commercial, modular, and residential projects. Architects and roofing contractors gravitate towards BIPVco’s Flextron PV as it combines a stunning visual finish with simplified fitting and installing. The enhanced cell design generates more energy and is shatterproof and selfcleaning. Flextron technology has also been incorporated into mobile applications with MIPV Solar providing solar power for fleet, leisure, and commercial vehicles. Modular Building provider Portakabin are delighted to be associated with BIPVco, who have provided a solution that will enable them to further

reduce the carbon footprint of their new buildings with this pioneering combined roof and solar concept.

Experience the new generation of solar technology Visit to fi nd out more about their lightweight and flexible solar products.


Property 33

London & Monaco +44 (0)20 7193 8510


2 Section 34 Self-builds

How to get your self-build started Get your dream home and make a profit? Sounds too good to be true, but it’s not. Discover the world of self-built homes…


he UK has garnered a reputation for putting up identical new-build homes, but that fails to take into account the self-build movement that is currently gaining pace. Around 7% to 8% of newly built homes in the UK are some degree of self-build, from total DIY jobs to professionally custom-built houses. This could involve managing the construction from beginning to end, or just making key layout decisions. The appeal is obvious when you think of the opportunity to build a home completely tailored to you, from scratch – and even more so when you discover that the value of the fi nished house is likely to make the whole job profitable. Nevertheless, you need to be aware of what you’re getting into before you start. Self-builds have an up-front cost, require a lot of planning, and are more regulationheavy than simply buying a house. If you think a self-build is for you, here are the five things you absolutely must do before proceeding:

Decide your level of involvement

Get a basic plan together You don’t have to specify every tile and every tap yet, but you should know the essentials: how many storeys, how many rooms, the shape of the house, the type of frame, and an overall elevation and floor plan. You’ll need this to get quotes from suppliers, and to get permission. Unless you are an experienced selfbuilder, you should work alongside a specialist designer who can fill in the details.

Fulfil your legal obligations

Not all self-builds are alike, and not all self-builds mean you’ll be doing all the construction work yourself. At its simplest, you get a ‘package custom-build’, where a specialist company works with you to establish the right design and specification, then hires the contractors and gets the work done. You can also hire the contractors yourself, or at least hire one main contractor who sources subcontractors as needed. As with anything, these options are a compromise between your time and the overall price.

Find a plot You need land to build your house on. Perhaps you have been scouring your local area and spotted an ideal plot. If not, a package company can help you sniff out the perfect spot, or you can keep an eye on auctions and land listing agencies. Check the plot for existing planning permissions, access rights, covenants, access to utilities, and any legal complications.

As soon as possible after you identify a plot, register for Right To Build, which will mean your local authority is required to help you secure that plot and get your build underway. Then, before building work starts, you’ll need planning permission, which can be a lengthy process involving getting the land

surveyed and preparing detailed documentation. Be aware that planning permission comes with conditions, which you’ll need to adhere to – and there will also be several visits from the building inspector while the project is ongoing.

Budget, budget, budget You get excellent value-for-money with a self-build, but you still need to work hard to make sure costs don’t get away from you. Unexpected costs can arise from planning permission, insurance, ‘plumbing in’ utilities, temporary accommodation, project overruns and snags. It’s best to work out what you think it will cost, then add 20% of contingency. The good news is that, even if you use every penny of that contingency, your new house’s value is still likely to exceed the cost. What better reason to get started?

Something to think about Do you have to fund it yourself? Regular mortgages won’t be offered on a self-build project, but you do have one or two options if you don’t want to fi nance the project yourself. Some lenders offer self-build mortgages, which release funds over the course of a build rather than all at once. Other than that, they function rather like a regular mortgage, though the rate may be higher and you’ll have to submit extra documentation.



Modern self-build kit homes, designed by award-winning architects HebHomes offer a wide range of self-build kit homes with eco-friendly designs that are sympathetic to the surrounding natural landscapes

Award-winning Structural Warranty ABC+ Warranty cover all building works and are the perfect solution for both self-builders and large developers

different kit homes to choose from, ranging in size from one to more than five bedrooms, and their architects are happy to make changes to these designs to suit your needs and your specific location. Embarking upon a ‘selfbuild’ house project can be intimidating. HebHomes can take many of these worries away by providing a partial or full turnkey service, also offering essential extras such

as kitchens and bathrooms, as well as organising all statutory permissions and taking the build to completion.

Find out more Visit the website at for more information.

From new build dwellings to conversions and renovation works, ABC+ Warranty* guarantee to beat any other like-for-like quotation from any other Structural Warranty provider. The team at ABC+ Warranty have been inspecting properties since 1989. They are the only RICS registered Warranty provider in the UK and are quality assured. They have been rated ‘best’ for their customer service and are consistently rated five-star on Google reviews. ABC+ Warranty issue certificates in minutes, with no holding bonds, and no memberships

or renewal fees. They are also recognised CML members. ABC+ Warranty are Mortgage Lender accepted and will beat any other quotation! ABC+ Warranty have remained fully operational throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, unlike many other Warranty providers. They can provide additional inspections via Zoom, by their dedicated team of chartered surveyors, to run alongside their physical site inspections. This benefits existing clients by keeping costs to a minimum whilst assisting those potential clients in hard-to-reach locations of the country.

Find out more Contact their awardwinning team today by calling 0161 928 8804 or visit the website at architectscertificate. and get a quick quote in minutes at architectscertificate. for the UK’s fastest Structural Warranty quotations.


* ABC+ Warranty FCA reference: 314593

HebHomes’ self-build kits suit a range of budgets, taking you from the selection of your design to your finished dream home. Inspired by Scottish and northern European architecture and designed by award-winning Dualchas Architects, the HebHome houses are simple in form, but with open-plan living, floor-to-ceiling windows, and modern interior design. Rather than outdated timber studs, or block and brick, they offer the options of their closed panel ‘space studs’ system (CPS) as well as advanced ‘structurally insulated panels’ (SIPs) where the insulation is integral to the structure. For the ultimate green building, they also offer cross-laminated timber (CLT) kits. With off-site construction, their super-insulated houses can be built much quicker than you would expect. Hebhomes have over 40

Self-builds 35

Maximise your budget and minimise the hassle Building a new house • Converting a building into a new dwelling Bringing an empty dwelling back into use

Contact us now for a fixed fee quote

If you are building your own home, converting a building into a new dwelling or renovating a dwelling that has not been lived in for 10 years, then you could benefit from some VAT concessions. Remember, VAT could account for up to a fifth of

your budget…make sure that you get it right and you could build for less or have more to spend! We can guide you through the process to ensure that you are charged the correct rate and amount of VAT, and prepare and submit your VAT claim

upon completion. As a self-builder and qualified accountant, I am very experienced with the ins and outs, and ups and downs of self build projects and so well placed to help you. Note: Dwelling must be for you or your families own use and have no occupancy restrictions.

Contact Andrew McDonald | 01646 687599 |


36 Eco and energy saving 2 Section

Green homes of the future As we consider the environmental impact of our homes, a new green building revolution is getting underway. Here are the key milestones…


lobally, it’s known that construction is one of the ‘big emitters’ of CO2 – it could be associated with as much as 10% of emissions worldwide, making it the second most carbon-intensive industry. Balancing our need for housing with our need to respect the planet is at the heart of homebuilding’s future. We are entering the age of the eco home, one where energy efficiency and a low carbon footprint aren’t merely ‘nice to haves’ – they’re something every home is built around. That’s not just something being

driven by consumer demands – it’s being enforced by government regulations too. Between now and 2050, the standards for our homes will steadily increase – so if you’re engaging in a self-build or some home renovation, you’ll need to keep abreast of the changes.

To design, build and fit all the technologies that enable zero-carbon housing by 2050, we really need to start now

2021: From this year, newly built homes are expected to produce 31% lower carbon emissions than the base figure from 2020.

2025: In 2025 this target increases to a 75% to 80% reduction from 2020. By this point they will be classed as ‘zero carbon ready’, using low carbon technology.

2030s: In this decade, we’re likely to see widespread ‘retrofitting’ of homes that were built before 2025, giving them the technology that allows them to catch up with newer builds. That leads us to…

2050: This is the UK’s target year for becoming fully net-zero – something that efficient buildings will contribute to.

Something to think about •

• That last milestone may seem a long way off, but change is likely to occur long before then in a practical sense. To design, build and fit all the technologies that enable zero-carbon housing by 2050, we really need to start now. Which is why very soon, the standard British home could look like the following:

It doesn’t rely on fossil fuel heating (such as natural gas), using a combination of electricity, solar power and other renewables. It’s got a low-carbon heating system and a building envelope that traps and recirculates heat, reducing its energy demand. It’s future-proof: no further retrofit work is needed to enable it to become zero-carbon as the electricity grid gets greener.

By 2024, we’ll know exactly what an ‘eco home’ looks like; the government is bringing forward its Future Homes Standard legislation by this year, to be passed in 2025.

We’ve come a long way already Did you know? The UK has already managed to reduce the total emissions of heating and powering its homes by 43% since 1990. The UK was also the first major nation to pass a net zero emissions target into law. Fighting climate change is a constant challenge, and there are always new tools and techniques being developed to cut our emissions further. A few years ago, controlling your heating using a smartphone seemed futuristic; now it’s the norm. Who knows what will be next?


Individually designed and sustainably built houses

Baufritz building scientists have been researching and designing sustainable houses since the 1970s. All their houses are sourced from natural materials, primarily wood from certified and sustainably managed forests. As a house manufacturer, Baufritz operate a closed-loop manufacturing process whereby their waste is reused as much as possible. Baufritz believe that this is how a company should behave, so that their clients and the environment are not exposed to potentially hazardous chemicals, and when it comes to recycling Baufritz houses, future generations will not have disposal issues. Healthy and ecological living conditions are not a passing fad for Baufritz or a bandwagon that they have jumped on. Their foremost conviction has always been that health starts when building a home.

Health is at the centre of everything they do as a company. Baufritz also work hard every day to prove that the environment can be protected despite growing human needs and interventions, and they constantly ensure healthy working conditions in their team. Energy efficiency is key to tackling climate change and Baufritz houses are incredibly well insulated, with many projects achieving the Passive House Standard*. They use triple glazing on their houses, and their natural insulation is Cradle to Cradle Certified™. By including heat pumps, solar PV cells, and heat recovery technology, the internal

No two Baufritz houses are the same as they offer bespoke design and are able to build a wide range of building styles and finishes ambience and building carbon footprint is further improved. As a manufacturer Baufritz believe in being honest and open with their

clients, and that creating houses to match their requirements is ethically correct. All clients sign a fi xed-price contract at the very start of the process, so costs are fully understood, and risks mitigated. Processes and materials are externally certified to ensure the quality and sustainability of their buildings. The best part of creating a Baufritz house is that you are not limited by design choices. No two Baufritz houses are the same as they offer bespoke design and are able to build a wide range of building styles and finishes.

Find out more Visit to order your free catalogue or fi nd out more. You can contact the team on 01223 235632 or enquiries@



Building your own home is a once in a lifetime experience that should be memorable for all the right reasons

Eco and energy saving 37


A smart home that works for you The smart home may have evolved significantly in recent years, but Lightwave are taking it another step further

wiring to experience the benefits of premium home automation – simply swap out your standard switches and sockets for the Lightwave ones. When it comes to lighting, there’s no need to make every bulb ‘smart’, just change the switch instead.

Lightwave presents the UK’s leading installed smart home solution, and it bridges the gap into complete home automation, allowing a host of premium benefits at a fraction of the cost. If you’re thinking about home improvement, are in the middle of a renovation project, or you want to improve the safety and security of your home, it is defi nitely worth checking out what Lightwave has to offer. Lightwave products are designed as a retrofit solution, meaning that you don’t need any additional

Imagine a home that can provide you with peace of mind in knowing that your lights and appliances are turned off when you’re out of the house, or the ability to automate your lights to make it seem like you’re home when you’re away. The Lightwave app allows you to see the state of each device in your home, from wherever you are. Worried you’ve left the hair straighteners on? No problem, just turn the socket off from the app. These are just a few examples from a long list of what the

The benefits of Lightwave

Lightwave system can do. Voice control is another useful feature of the Lightwave system, which is compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit. Simply say “Alexa, it’s time for bed…” and trigger all of your ground floor lights to turn off, while your upstairs landing light turns on to 15% brightness.

The Lightwave app allows you to see the state of each device in your home, from wherever you are The Lightwave system can also send notifications to your mobile phone. So, if the lights in your kitchen turn on when you’re at work, or if your TV, gaming console, and microwave all get unplugged, the Lightwave app can notify you. On top of the safety and security benefits, this feature can also be useful for monitoring appliances; get notified if your fridge starts to pull too much power because the door has been left open or it’s in need of a service. For families with small children, Lightwave sockets can be locked, and they can even switch themselves off if anything gets unplugged.

Getting set up with Lightwave The Link Plus hub is the brains of the operation and is required to unlock app and voice control of the Lightwave system. You can pair hundreds of Lightwave devices to a single hub, and setup is very straight forward. Simply connect the Link Plus to your wireless broadband router and use the Lightwave app to


control your devices. Performance and reliability are assured through Lightwave’s proprietary wireless protocol which out-performs normal Wi-Fi and offers superior range with less interference. Simply put – it just works. The brilliant part about setting up your Lightwave system is that you can start with a few devices and expand over time to gain smart control of your entire home. You don’t need to commit to any re-wiring, re-decorating, or huge upfront costs to get started on your smart home journey. Lightwave’s sales and technical support teams are all based in their UK headquarters, and currently hold an ‘excellent’ rating on Trustpilot for their top-notch customer support. Feel free to give them a call or book

a consultation to get some expert advice. You can also check out Lightwave’s social handles to see how other customers use the system in their homes and gain some inspiration for your own!

Reader offer Lightwave are offering a special 15% off any Smart Series starter kit when you sign up for the Lightwave newsletter. Simply scan the QR code below. Alternatively give them a call on 0121 250 3625 or visit the website at today. You can also follow @lightwave_technology or @lightwaveRF


2 Section

Eco and energy saving 39

Lightbulb moments Think you’ve heard all the energy-saving ideas? Here are some less obvious ways to cut your home’s energy consumption…


ou’ve turned the thermostat down a degree. You’ve got LED lighting. There are draft excluders everywhere. And you’re constantly lecturing everyone about turning the lights off when they leave the room. When it comes to saving energy at home, surely that’s the limit? But, of course, it isn’t – there are dozens of ways you can cut your energy consumption, some less obvious than others. It can feel exhausting to track down every single one, especially if you’re ridden with ‘environmental guilt’ about your carbon footprint. Our advice is: don’t be guilty but do be proactive. The hard truth is that you won’t solve climate change just by switching from plastic to paper straws. Most of the emissions in the world are ‘pre-consumer’ – in other words, they are produced by the supply chains that manufacture products and deliver them to us, rather than by us when we use them. So our power to reduce emissions may be limited – but we all need to participate in the cleaner, greener society of tomorrow, and at home is a good place to start. By working to make your own home exist in harmony with the environment, you’ll have a better understanding

of the issues at hand, and be in a better position to demand real climate action from the companies you’re buying from, and from your local politicians. Plus, if that doesn’t give you satisfaction, your reduced energy bills surely will. Check out these energy-saving ideas you might not have heard before:

Brighten up the place A white building will reflect far more heat than a black one. That works on the exterior, but also on the interior – a coat of white or light-coloured paint will increase the amount of light and heat reflected around your home, making rooms feel lighter and warmer and lessening the urge to crank up the heating.

Something to think about You can generate your own energy You probably know that you can have solar panels installed – but did you also know that you can install a domestic wind turbine too? The ones mounted on a pole are most effective, but for a less intrusive-looking option, a building-mounted turbine can still reduce your energy demand significantly. If you’ve got running water on your property, you can also install a ‘micro hydropower generator’ – or water mill – which is renewable and extremely efficient.


*Source: Energy white paper: Powering our net zero future (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, 2020)

Track with an app

No, really – just make sure the light is the right size for the job. If you have a selection of lights – bright ceiling lights, downlights on cabinets, ambient room lamps and even torches – you can use the ‘smallest’ option you need at any time, and avoid the lighting equivalent of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

There’s an app for everything – of course there are several for managing energy consumption. Much like calorie-counting apps, they work with a simple aim: just track and count every joule you use every day. Over time, you’ll realise what’s really wasting energy and what can be cut down. Joulebug, My Earth and Energy Cost Calculator are some of the popular options.

Insulate, insulate, insulate Everyone knows about insulation, but you don’t have to pay a tonne for solid wall insulation to start making a difference. Focus on the details: check your heating ducts for leaks, look for tiny gaps around doors and windows, and seal them. Apply the ‘ribbon test’: dangle a ribbon in front of an outside-facing surface. If it moves, there’s a leak. Seal it and save.

Switch to a chest freezer We mean the kind that looks like a freezer turned on its side, that you open from the top. It’ll need more floor space – putting it in the garage or utility room is the done thing – but they are remarkably efficient. In general, a chest freezer’s energy cost will be around a third of a standard tall freezer.

Section 1


The boiler with a truly green heart

Win a bundle of Ecozone products, worth over £80! Enter online at

Discover cuttingedge innovation with the Intergas Xclusive boiler Did you know that 85% of UK homes use gas for heating and hot water?* This means that until there’s a reliable and affordable non-fossil-fuel alternative, it’s vital the next gas boiler you choose is the most energy efficient there is. Since 2005 it has been the law to install condensing boilers as they are extremely efficient, but the Xclusive from Intergas, goes even further. Thanks to the design of the Xclusive’s bithermic heat exchanger (the heart of every boiler), it meets demand faster than conventional boilers, saving energy and keeping carbon emissions and energy bills low. It also has the lowest nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions of any domestic boiler on the market. And, as there are only three plastic parts in this boiler, it’s 90% recyclable when it reaches the end of its life – which could take a while, as it’s so very reliable. This is no throwaway statement: the Xclusive only

Use more lights

Cleaning and home maintenance solutions that are kind to you, your home and the environment

has four moving parts and, with fewer parts there’s less to go wrong, but the biggest benefit is that their combi doesn’t need a diverter valve and a faulty diverter valve is the biggest cause of boiler breakdown in the UK. For a gas boiler that will look after you, your family and the planet, check out the greenest gas boiler on the market.

Find out more View the full range at or call to arrange a chat about what you’re looking for on 01527 888000. Follow Intergas Heating on .


Pipes can easily get blocked by small amounts of hair, food, and soap scum that get washed down plugholes. During the summer, this can become a bigger problem, as the warmer weather creates perfect conditions for bacteria to grow and cause bad smells. Unfortunately, many chemical drain unblockers can be damaging to your health, your pipes, and the environment. Ecozone’s drain maintenance range uses powerful natural enzymes to eliminate build-ups and blockages, meaning they won’t create dangerous fumes or corrode pipes. These ecofriendly products won’t upset the aquatic ecosystem when washed away and are safe to use in homes with septic tanks. As well as a Kitchen Drain Unblocker and Hair

Unblocker for the bathroom, their Drain Cleaning Sticks help prevent future blockages. Just one stick down the plughole will dissolve organic matter that passes through. Enter the competition for the chance to win the entire drain cleaning range, and more. Over 16 powerful products are up for grabs, including descalers, dishwasher tablets and rinse aid, biodegradable antibacterial wipes, and cleaning sprays targeted to specific areas of the home. There are also three microfibre cloths, each with its own unique weave to tackle many different surfaces.

Find out more Ecozone products are available at Ocado, Amazon, and many local and nationwide retailers. Visit to fi nd out more about their products.


2 Section 40 Technology

Turn on your Mesh WiFi!


Browse seamlessly as you walk from room to room, with strong WiFi for any purpose, anywhere in your home Many people have rediscovered their homes during the last few weeks and months. They have spruced up their living room, set up a gaming corner, or redesigned their home office, and many new favourite spots have been created in the process. However, seamless WiFi is often not available everywhere. The video stream glitches, conversations are interrupted, or the game download takes ages. Why? Because the router’s WiFi is just too weak to provide the entire home, and your new favourite spot, with fast internet. Now what?

devolo Mesh WiFi 2 is the solution devolo can cure weak WiFi signals with the perfect solution, that does not leave any chance of wireless gaps. The trick of devolo Mesh WiFi is that devolo units use the building’s own powerline to transmit data, as an additional data highway for connecting to one another through ceilings and walls. The advantage of this technical solution is that a hotspot can be created at any power socket. Transmission of the signal over a building’s power lines provides additional stability, and ensures that walls, ceilings, and closed doors can no longer block the WiFi signal. For best results, the router’s WiFi function can be switched off. In the majority of router models, you can do this by simply pressing a button. This trick enables you to use perfectly coordinated devolo Mesh WiFi, and your devices are no longer slowed down by outdated router WiFi.

Mesh WiFi in its best form The new devolo kits combine smart WiFi functions with one another. Thanks to ‘Multi-User MIMO’, multiple WiFi devices can be connected to fast internet simultaneously. This means that the WiFi connection can operate without any issues, even when the whole family is online at the same time. It also offers flexible connection options. To enable additional power

and LAN

devolo Mesh kits are as easy as pie to set up for use. Simply plug in, wait a short while and then get started!

connections, the devolo units have multiple Gigabit LAN ports and integrated electrical sockets. The new ‘Access Point Steering’ function ensures that mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets are always connected to the strongest WiFi hotspot in a fully automated process. This is especially important when users move from room to room or from one floor to another with their mobile devices. By using ‘Beamforming’, the devolo Mesh WiFi hotspots can also transmit data to mobile devices with even greater precision, thereby permanently optimising connection quality. These functions ensure that fast, stable, and continuous Mesh WiFi is available throughout the house.

Fully automated, devolo Mesh WiFi 2 installs itself devolo Mesh kits are as easy as pie to set up for use. Simply plug in, wait a short while and then get started! The devolo Home Network app is available free of charge. This app guides the user step-by-step through the set-up process and, after initial start-up, makes home

Now available

network management a breeze. Settings for data security, performance optimisation and smart WiFi options are all automatically synchronised in the network.

Finally, WiFi anywhere! This is how devolo Mesh WiFi can guarantee fast and stable WiFi. Even the latest episodes of your favourite boxset or eagerly awaited online game will finally stream and load without a hitch – driving away bad moods and bringing back your shine!

devolo Mesh WiFi 2 is now available in two different options. The Starter Kit contains two hotspots at a price of £199.90 (including VAT). For coverage of larger living areas, the devolo Mesh WiFi 2 Whole Home Kit offers three hotspots at a price of £299.90 (including VAT). devolo provides a three-year manufacturer’s warranty on all products.

Find out more Further information about devolo’s fast and stable WiFi solution can be found at


2 Section

What makes a home smart? The concept of the ‘smart home’ has evolved beyond a buzzword to mean something that connects and simplifies your home life. Here’s how to make it work

Something to think about Are smart homes secure?


hen it comes to smart home technology, old stereotypes abound. There’s an image perpetuated on social media of flashy but ultimately superfluous technology: lightbulbs that can be dimmed by talking to them, doorbells that email you to tell you they’re low on battery, ice cream makers that send you a notification when they’re at optimum temperature. It’s true that you can probably buy all these items with a few clicks in an online store. But they’re no longer the true embodiment of a smart home. Today, what makes an object ‘smart’ isn’t whether it exudes a vaguely ‘futuristic’ feeling. The crucial feature smart objects have is connectivity: not just with you, but with your home as a whole. A smart appliance could connect to your home hub for central management; to other devices such as safety systems, to share information; to your smartphone, so you can control it; and to a central dashboard, among other things. If you’ve been wondering how to cut through the jargon and make ‘smart home tech’ really work, stop

Ease of use

thinking about a collection of oneoff smart objects and think about the smart home as one integrated system, combining all sorts of devices, systems and connection mechanisms to make a fundamental difference to how you live in your home, rather than just being an added luxury. Think about the following technologies and traits:

Technology 41

The first step to making smart tech useful is making it usable. If it relies on dozens of different interfaces and controls, it’s likely you’ll never use most of it. Look for devices that tie in to your home hub of choice – whether it’s Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple Homepod or a thirdparty option. Running everything through a hub will put less strain on your Wi-Fi and enable you to control devices even when you’re not at home.

Customisation Of course, it pays to think about what you really want before spending money. Where will you really notice the difference: lighting, entertainment, security,

mobility, utilities, or something else? Bear in mind that the ‘small things’ matter – for example, the ability to say “good night” or “good morning” to a smart speaker and have it automatically dim the lights or turn on the heating. Get into the detail, run through your daily routine, and think about every area where you’ll notice the difference smart tech makes.

Two-way comms There’s smart-ish, and then there’s smart. Consider a Bluetooth-enabled door lock that sends your phone a photo of who’s at the front door. It’s smart-ish, but it only supports single-device communication – in terms of smart devices, it’s fairly basic. Now consider the next level

There’s no denying that having more connected devices increases the ‘attack surface’ of your home, since each one opens up another network ‘port’ that attackers could potentially exploit. In 2014, an HP study found that devices such as webcams, pet cameras, TVs and even garage door openers were vulnerable to exploits. The good news is that security has massively advanced in line with technology, and you have little to worry about when buying up-to-date devices. Just remember that you’re only as secure as your least secure device – make sure you’re using the latest generation of tech and that you accept all the software updates. up: a home kit-enabled lock that you can unlock or lock remotely, using your phone’s thumbprint function. More than that, the lock remembers when it was locked or unlocked, and sends you a report on demand. Now that it’s communicating more powerfully and in both directions, it’s really making a difference to your security.


Designer technology, from The Oasthaus

Black Nova, Italian designer keypad’ with marble finish

When integrated well, technology has the ability to further enhance the relationship one can have with a space and a building Great living starts with great design. With ever-present technology filling everyone’s lives, choosing the right products from lighting to home media while retaining the charm and character of your living and working spaces can often seem complicated. But now a group of global technology brands have come together to form a single design ecosystem – The Oasthaus. The Oasthaus only feature products offering a unique

opportunity for designers and architects to bring spaces to life with innovative technology. Such as an invisible speaker that uses vibrational technology to bathe a room in sound utilising the power of its surface, operating in much the same way as a natural musical instrument. One of the hallmarks of all The Oasthaus brands is that they are focused on providing fully customised solutions. From a

Living room featuring Amina invisible speakers installed

wide choice of materials, colours, finishes and form factors, choose the solution that works perfectly with your interior.

One of the hallmarks of all The Oasthaus brands is that they are focused on providing fully customised solutions Amina Technologies Pioneers of invisible sound, the innovators at Amina create a stunning soundstage with the ultimate design flexibility. Embedded into ceilings, walls or furniture, concealed behind surfaces from plaster and marble to leather and everything in-between, your interiors provide the style, while Amina take care of the sound.

Black Nova Black Nova creates control like never before with fully bespoke luxury keypads. Using sleek materials to


suit any interior, each keypad is customised to your needs, with interaction options from physical push-buttons to touch panels. Black Nova perfectly complements your space whilst staying in control.

Florian This collection of world-class bespoke seating can be found in the most exclusive private screening rooms, home cinemas and media rooms throughout the world.

Future Automation The market-leading display concealment specialists, Future Automation engineer solutions that allow homeowners to hide displays from view when they aren’t in use. This empowers designers and architects to seamlessly blend technology into a space while maintaining the room’s aesthetics.

Realise the potential of your space Whether you are working on your own home, are a professional architect or designer, or a specialist technology integrator, The Oasthaus team can help you realise the full potential of your space. Visit to fi nd out more.


2 42Section Furnishings, homewares and accessories


How much thought do you give it? Furnishing your home from mass produced chains can be devastating for the planet and it’s time that the ‘fast furniture’ craze had a wakeup call

Repel the space invaders Struggling to free up floor space? Feeling like your rooms are cluttered? Embrace creative, multi-purpose furniture solutions and win back that precious space

We all know chairs can be stacked. Nesting sets of coffee tables are fairly common too. But you can go further, such as with Muuto’s geometric shelving system (pictured: below), which can be stacked in a modular fashion, to any height or orientation you need. For the fully modular experience, the Aleph stackable blocks can be combined to fulfil any role – stool, coffee table, storage unit or workstation.

Folding furniture occupies a dual role by simply hiding one of its functions behind the other. Check out the Duty Box Wardrobe (pictured: right), which appears to be a full-height mirror and folds out to reveal a storage unit. Meanwhile, Bonbon’s LGM is a new take on the folding bed: a shelving unit that revolves 180 degrees to reveal the ‘study bed’, saving space and making you feel like a James Bond villain.

You may be making optimal use of your floor plan, but what about your floor-toceiling height? Getting objects off the floor can free up a surprising amount • of space. A kids’ bunk bed with desk underneath is one • example. For the adults, this is especially effective in the kitchen – such as with extratall cabinets, creating more storage where it’s desperately needed. Elsewhere, mount • shelves to the wall for extra visible storage – and for heaven’s sake, get that TV on the wall rather than sitting on a unit!

Extend it You may already have a dining table that can extend to accommodate more seating, for when you have guests. That concept is now being applied to more furniture units and more uses. One excellent example is Homary’s lift-top coffee table (pictured: left), whose extensive capabilities include drawers and a work-fromhome laptop stand.

Exclusive reader discount Use the code CUBBY15 at to get 15% off any purchase.


Summertime all the time Gardenman stock hundreds of stunning garden furniture sets, helping you prepare your garden for a summer filled with joy this year

Make more creative use of what you already have Go upwards

to make greener choices when it comes to furnishing their homes, but it’s also enabling the support of small independent businesses from all over the UK, which right now, is needed more than ever before. Visit Conscious Cubby for eco-friendly alternative furniture pieces that are not only kinder to the planet but unique and one-off drop dead gorgeous designs.

Go measure for measure It goes without saying that, before buying furniture, you’ll be taking measurements of your room to ensure the furniture you’re considering really fits, and won’t take half of the available space. However, one less obvious trick is to measure your belongings as well – which may sound obsessive but can allow you to use space more efficiently. Take your bedroom wardrobe – is it just a large void inside, with a single rail and shelf? You could add more compartments – say, a tall side for shirts and dresses, and a side with full-height shelving. Measure how much height you need for the tall clothes, and you’re most of the way there. The same goes for kitchen cupboards. Rather than placing a shelf halfway up each one by default, measure the height of your tallest appliances and containers, then designate a shelf specially for these. That allows you to pack in more shelves, and more storage, elsewhere.

From sofa sets, corner groups, fire pit dining, sun loungers, daybeds and more, Gardenman have something for every kind of occasion. If you are looking for a versatile set, many of their pieces include practical functions such as rising tables, integrated ice buckets, and recliners, perfect for a warm summer’s day in the sun. What’s more, they have free delivery on every single outside furniture set this summer, so you don’t have to

worry about a hefty shipping cost. With their vast collection from leading suppliers such as Maze Rattan, you will be sure to find the set that meets your garden size, shape, and aesthetic. The Gardenman range has incorporated sets that seat from two to 12 people so there is a set for every kind of garden, not to mention the range of modern and natural colour schemes that are available too. If you’re local to the Norfolk or Suffolk area, visit the

Gardenman Furniture Superstore at 1-23 Suffolk Rd, Lowestoft, NR32 1DZ, and try out many of the pieces in person.

Find out more Visit to view the full range and order online.


Repel the space invaders images courtesy of: Muuto, Duty Box Wardrobe, Homary

Stack it

Fold it

Repel the space invaders images courtesy of: Muuto, Duty Box Wardrobe, Homary


specially if you live in a smaller house or apartment, it can be a constant challenge to make the best of the space you have. You want to give your rooms some charm, but by the time you’ve added a sofa and chair, it already feels cramped – and you can forget about a rug. What can you do? It may be that you need new furniture 2 or Section – you may be able to make more creative use of what you already have. Look at your furnishings in a different way, and win back space, using one of these techniques…

With previously owned quality furniture outliving anything built these days, more and more consumers are choosing to buy restored or upcycled furniture over the mass produced or new. A website dedicated to sustainable furniture, professionally restored by artisan small business owners from all over the UK, Conscious Cubby is an ideal choice for the conscious shopper: a marketplace of quality furniture that’s not only kinder to the planet, but are unique and one-off designs. Launched in March 2021 by Lowenna Insular, Birmingham-based mum of four, Conscious Cubby has already proven hugely popular amongst the professional painted furniture sector, with over 100 approved sellers already signed up on the website offering their unique pieces. Conscious Cubby is not only enabling consumers

Furnishings, homewares and accessories 43


2 Section 44 Furnishings, homewares and accessories

Crafty multi-use furniture ideas Your ultimate inspiration guide for getting more than meets the eye out of your furniture This mirror is also a cabinet

This bookshelf is also a desk

This shelving unit is also a lamp

With a simple full-length design, you’d never guess what secrets this mirror holds. It opens out to reveal a jewellery cabinet complete with shelves, necklace hooks and ring slots. Every spare inch of space is used – and the unit is lockable and does a good job of concealing valuable goods. £162.99, Fleur de Lis via Wayfair

Using a simple design, this vertical bookshelf doubles its use by extending the central shelf for use as a desk, with a void underneath for cables and feet. Available in standard width or extra-wide, this is a versatile unit that works best when combined with others to create a full wall display that’s about utility as well as aesthetics. £314,

A genius space-saving idea, this modern tower lamp incorporates a compact shelving unit with a surprisingly bright lantern at the top. Use it as a side table or a display unit with a few well-chosen pieces. As for the light, it boasts a 20,000-hour bulb lifespan, and even connects to popular home hub software, meaning you can turn it on and off with your voice. £136.69, Brightech via Amazon

This dining table is also a pool table Who wouldn’t want a games room in the house? Then again, who has the space? Solve both issues in one with a ‘fusion’ dining table and billiard table. It first appears as a modern, fi nished wood table,

in either walnut or oak. But that minimalist design reveals a sevenfoot pool table when you slide off the cover. It’s a luxury, for sure, but this is very well done and you’ll never feel like you are compromising one use for the other.

This bed is also a shelving unit Beds that double as sofas are nothing new. But for a more permanent option, this bed doubles as shelving thanks to the recesses that run all the way around its edge. You can store directly in them or add storage boxes. It’s modern, uncomplicated, and makes the nightmare that is ‘bedroom tidying’ that bit easier. £615, ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE 2 Section

Bring new life to vintage and traditional The team at Koubeh buy, refurbish, and restyle pieces that come with a history, preserving the character of each piece Koubeh’s portfolio is primarily focused on transforming vintage and antique pieces, as well as decorating and designing a complete room for clients who are looking to update their home with something new, or to renovate and redesign their own piece of furniture. According to the Koubeh team: “We believe you don’t need to have a space in your place for a piece of furniture. We make furniture that you will open a space for.” At Koubeh they deeply believe in preserving the tradition and character of original furniture, which is why they use upcycling to save not only the materials, but also the history that comes with every piece. For this traditional style drinks cabinet (pictured above) Koubeh used a luxurious designer fabric by William Morris called Wandle Blue & Stone. Having fabric which is inspired by the surrounding landscape and plants can always help to create a more satisfying space in the home. To complement the fabric, Koubeh decided to paint some parts in teal, using chalk paint

The thing that Koubeh are thinking of most is detailing, detailing, and detailing! by one of their favourite brands – Lick – for a velvety and flawless finish. The rest of the cabinet has been sanded, stained, and varnished to the best quality finish. For this display cabinet (pictured right) they used designer velvet fabric by Boem Design called ‘Tempest Mineral’ which has an abstract landscape looking at horizontal contour to add modern touches to this beautiful vintage piece. Wood Green is the name given to

this stunning sideboard (pictured far right), as it has the calmest green shade complementing the walnut wood. Koubeh love this high-quality 19th century vintage sideboard for its beautiful, curved lines and curved legs. The piece was handpainted using Lick chalk paint, for a rich and velvety finish. For the front

drawers, a patina look was created on the wood using different sanding techniques, as well as applying stain and oil for the finish. Koubeh start their process by choosing the pieces of furniture with the most character, then the journey of transition begins, and a new-born piece is created without losing its original character. Their aim is to connect with the spirit of a furniture’s traditional style and make it more contemporary by hand painting it in various catchy colours, textures, and designer fabrics.

The thing that Koubeh are thinking of most is detailing, detailing, and detailing!

Find out more Shop the Koubeh range and learn more about the process at


Furnishings, homewares and accessories 45


2 Section 46 Furnishings, homewares and accessories

Pick your homeware personality Are you besotted with botany or enamoured with art? Do you prefer to fill every empty space, or give every piece room to breathe? Identify your style and choose the right accessories for you hen you’ve created your space and designed a room to perfectly fulfil its function, the fi nal step is to give it some personality. A smart selection of stylish – yet not too ostentatious – accessories will turn your room from a mere space into an expression of character. What character do you give it? The answer, of course, is your character: the ambience of a home says something about the people who live there. Identify your personality and the natural choice of home accessories will follow. Just identify yourself from this list:


The botanist We’ve all fallen in love with the outdoors since the pandemic began, as we came to rediscover just how valuable access to green spaces is. The botanist takes that a step further and brings the outside into the home. Everything from miniature potted cacti to a full-size rubber plant can live indoors – adding some bright colour and a natural feel, and supporting your well-being. Be aware that you’ll need to position your plants carefully so they get enough light – you can’t just plonk them wherever you like – and you may spend half your waking hours watering plants.

The rug addict Hardwood floors might be thought of as the practical option, but rugs have plenty of practical appeal: they delineate areas, mask any defects in the floor, and add warmth to living spaces. More than that, they can become the focal point of a room, especially when you select a patterned or textured rug. Collect furniture in a ‘set’ atop the rug to bring it all together.

The minimalist Who says you have to fill empty space? If you feel like most rooms you see are cluttered, lean into that feeling and take a minimalist approach with your own homeware choices. If you pick a single statement piece – like a brightly

coloured sofa or dining table – as your focal point, and add small accents of that colour elsewhere in the room, you can achieve just as strong an effect with fewer items (and less time spent doing the dusting – bonus!)

The art collector If you’ve permanently got an Etsy tab open on your phone, you may be the art collector. Think more widely than hanging framed prints from classical artists – you can collect all sorts of objects of interest and hang them creatively, such as by making a gallery wall or not hanging at all,

placing artworks on shelves instead. Rather than rushing to fill space, take time to gather art that reflects you. Music nut? Frame old vinyls or gig posters. Fashionista? Vintage Vogue covers are for you.

The mix-and-matcher No one said you have to stick to one particular style – selecting accessories that depart from, or even directly contrast with, your overall room style is a bold and impressive move. If that appeals to you, you’re a mix-and-matcher, using different textures to create a varied style where there’s always something new to uncover. Try pairing classic leather furniture with bright-coloured fabric upholstery; or topping vintage wooden cabinets with mid-century modern lamps and sculptures.

In the spotlight The Afghan Rug Shop The Afghan Rug Shop import fairtrade handmade rugs direct from the Northern Provinces of Afghanistan to West Yorkshire. Founded by RAF veteran James Wilthew after conducting reconstruction work in Afghanistan in 2003, James directly supports over 200 weavers in Afghanistan and is a Living Wage employer in the UK. Find out more at


Multum in parvo – much in little A visit to Barefoot Sunday brings to mind the beautiful simplicity of the Hamptons’ wooden-clad architecture, blousy hydrangea hedges, and picture-perfect coastal living Widely known as the smallest county in England, Rutland is currently experiencing somewhat of a boom in popularity. Post-pandemic priorities can find an easy home among its green fields, farm shops, and artisan bakers. Yet the undeniable tranquillity of Rutland’s inoffensively undulating countryside also houses some inspirational and stylish retail gems. At Rutland Garden Village, a flourishing development that includes a popular and ambitious garden centre with eco-aims and serious gardening credentials, you will find Barefoot Sunday, a singularly unique home and lifestyle store. Taking inspiration from the shores of Cape Cod and The Hamptons, owner and curator Katey Lester successfully delivers a relaxed Hamptons vibe to land-locked

Middle England. Katey explains: “The open and airy design aesthetic of the Hamptons make for a relaxed, but sophisticated, home. The key elements of light and space are calming in our stressful world and creating the look is reassuringly uncomplicated”. There’s a definitive colour palette in evidence at the store; white, blue, and taupe, with a dash of vibrant coral. It’s sand, sea, and sky. The hand-selected items are singular, yet cohesive, working together to create effortless style. Even better, given the neutrality of the ‘look,’ a visit to Barefoot Sunday will always result in finding treasures to enhance, or accent an interior space, regardless of its design. Barefoot Sunday present their range in an easy-to-emulate way and at an accessible price point. They offer soft furnishings, rattan basketware, contemporary accessories, ceramics, and textiles for both indoor and outdoor living. Taking the ‘relaxing at home’ ethos further, Barefoot Sunday offer a range of home fragrances and pampering products. Beautifully scented soy candles from Aery & Article White,

blissful foot and hand care from Margaret Dabbs, bath and shower oils from Aromatherapy Associates, and New York’s Malin & Goetz for cutting edge unisex skin and body care, in addition to an array of beautiful nail polishes that possess excellent eco and healthy manicure credentials from Nailberry and Kure Bazaar. Visiting Barefoot Sunday offers some Rutland therapy, with a retail team that are welcoming, interested, and knowledgeable; yet it manages to transport you to a realm of effortless ‘easy breezy’ style and relaxed living. The Hamptons may be 3,000 miles away but the aesthetic travels well and sits comfortably in this store.

Find out more Give Barefoot Sunday a call on 01572 335800. Visit or


Furnishings, homewares and accessories 47


48 Furnishings, homewares and accessories


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Furnishings, homewares and accessories 49

Top 10 décor ideas for 2021 From stylish centrepieces to finishing touches, find everything you need to give your home the look you want Light choices

Tasteful tableware

Lights aren’t just for the ceiling. Add layers to a room’s design – and allow different light levels to suit different times of day – by adding floor and table lamps. When you say ‘table lamp’ a functional, beige plastic desk lamp might come to mind – but that’s no longer the default, and there’s a huge range of options out there. For something totally different, we love this exposed-bulb design from West Elm.

Don’t neglect the smaller furniture pieces, as these are often where your personal style really gets the chance to shine through. For example, show your willingness to reject tradition and pick a modern piece – such as a two-part Barbara side table, or take a contemporary spin on a classical piece with a round gold table. Pick a simple accessory selection to top these – a lamp and plant, or stack of books, should do it.

Keep the fireplace relevant year-round If you’ve got a non-working fireplace – or you’ve simply decommissioned it for the summer – consider filling it to turn it into an artwork while it’s not needed. In this way, the fireplace can serve as an eye-catching piece even when it’s not in use. The simple option is to fill it with logs – or, for example, you could fill it up with books. For something a bit more special, you could get a selection of white pillar candles of varying sizes, arrange them in the fireplace, and add a white rug in front to tie it all together. The choices are endless and it’s sure to make an impact.

Drinks all round! Bring the past back to life, and create a stylish talking point while you’re at it. Add a drinks trolley to your dining room. A drinks trolley can add a splash of different material (they’re usually black or brushed gold, as opposed to the more commonly used fabrics like wood and leather), and you can get some practical use out of them at the same time. That said, you don’t just have to just put drinks on them – arrange plants, glassware, or any of your favourite design pieces instead.

Ditch the paint for wallpaper Rather than simply hanging paintings on the walls, you can just make the walls themselves part of the art by hanging striking wallpaper with patterns or artistic scenes. This can work as a perfect stand-in for your statement paintings, and be just as eyecatching. Our favourites are some of Graham & Brown’s full-height scenes, including jungles and ancient temples – though subtler murals, such as ombre shades, are also available.

Top 10 décor ideas for 2021 continues on page 50


Luxury metal art, striking homeware and jewellery Award-winning designer, artist and blacksmith, Charles Atkinson, combines traditional blacksmithing and metalworking techniques to push the metals involved to their limit From architectural metalwork and statement sculptures to striking jewellery and exquisite chef’s knives, Charles Atkinson creates eclectic metal art. All pieces are designed and forged by hand on Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, in Atkinson’s traditional workshop, which he describes as “a sort of Heaven on Earth”. Recycled and reformed metals and materials are always used when and where possible. Atkinson’s notable commissions include metalwork for Oxford University, Christ Church Cathedral, Braveheart, Highcroft House, and Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons among many others.

Extraordinary metal sculpture Lioness (pictured) is a statement piece, incensed by trophy killing and the loss of ancient Assyrian

Lioness I £5,950

Chef's knives for Valhalla

art. Made by repousse and chased from one piece of brass, bitumen, and oak; the piece also incorporates movable arrows. It is suitable for an extraordinary home or establishment. Forget Me Not (pictured) is dedicated to the 75th anniversary year of the Battle of Britain. Created by forged steel finished in graphite, aluminium and chrome painted finish, and distressed on the inside. It is designed to be mounted on a white wall, or preferably set against the sky. Atkinson says about this piece: “I felt compelled to express a feeling that so many would have felt at that time, distressed on the inside reflecting the raw emotion”.


Forget Me Not £3,950

Jewellery for all occasions Atkinson’s jewellery collections are inspired by natural shapes and organic forms, from the sea shore to the forest. Unique bracelets, rings and necklaces are available from TiMan and ViXen – Atkinson-art brands for men and women. Metal pendants are also available with a choice of 18 inch necklaces, from silver, gold or rose gold plated trace chain or a braided leather

Wolf & Dingo is an Atkinson-art brand of recycled high-carbon steel, 440C and Titanium chef’s knives. These stunning knives have a pinch-grip design, are ambidextrous, and come sharp as you like. Wolf & Dingo’s Kollell knife range is also stocked by Rick Stein, with prices starting from £69.

Discover more online Browse Atkinson-art’s creations online at


50 Furnishings, homewares and accessories

Top 10 décor ideas for 2021 continued Make fruitful efforts Is your ‘fruit bowl’ actually a place to store old batteries and receipts, and you’re a bit scared to see what’s lurking at the bottom? Promote the fruit bowl to a centrepiece by buying a designer bowl, getting some actual fruit in there and placing it centrally. The brighter the better – the idea is to bring some vibrant colour to the kitchen scene.

Section 3

Get bold with light fittings

Blanket policy

You don’t need to go for a stately chandelier to make an impact with your light fi xtures. Ditch that old lampshade and go for an industrial six-bulb fitting on your living or dining room ceiling (copper-andblack fi nishes are our favourite). It’ll take up a lot more space than you’re used to, but that’s not a downside – it’s a feature. Alternatively, hang pendant lights over a dining table or another fi xed object, allowing them to drop far lower than they otherwise could and become a real centrepiece.

‘Blanket art’ is becoming a real thing: more and more designers are using blankets or throws as an aesthetic piece in every room (and not just because you can shelter under it on cold winter nights). Use a neatly folded plain throw on living room ottomans; a woven throw to add pattern to sofas; and, most luxuriously of all, a faux fur throw from a designer such as Laura Ashley on the bed.

Inject colour with art The role of wall art has grown significantly in recent years. No longer is it merely a classical background, or a verticallyarranged family photo album: it’s an active, stand-out part of the feel of many rooms. Create a gallery wall for full impact; the beauty of a gallery wall is that not everything in it has to match, so let your imagination run wild with an eclectic selection of pieces. Alternatively, a large, colourful statement painting can have an equally striking effect. Use a single piece to inject a splash of colour into any space.

In the spotlight Koubeh Koubeh are a UK-based upcycling company working on traditional and modern furniture. Their speciality lies in bringing glory back to all pieces, through redesigning vintage and antique pieces into handmade designer furniture products. Each of their pieces is unique, with an abundance of love and effort put into the upcycling process. Find out more at

Good things come in threes When dressing a table or cabinet, remember the rule of three: a set of three matching objects in varying sizes gives automatic visual appeal. We’re in love with uneven earthenware vases, but the choice is yours – pick a set of three pieces in any colour or style, to suit your unique tastes. ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE 2 Section


If you’re looking for ideas to brighten up your outdoors this summer, look no further than Dress Up Ltd Dress Up Ltd are importers and distributors of a diverse range of products including LED furniture, t-shirts, novelty aprons, designer deckchairs, and much more. Relax in your garden on one of their deckchairs, listening to your favourite tunes and sipping your tipple of choice. The deckchairs are made from FSC sourced eucalyptus, and their canvasses are 100% polyester, removable, and fully washable. The deckchair has two positions, it is easy folding, and lightweight at 8kg. The range of designs covers everything from classical art to music icons, so there are designs to suit every garden. The LED lamps are the most versatile addition to your garden. They provide an amazing sounding Bluetooth speaker, a multitonal lamp, and a wine cooler, all in a single unit. Made from Polyethylene they are

Light at the end of the tunnel Create lasting and lovely memories with the help of Elsie & Tom candles, even if the tough times aren’t over Elsie & Tom candles are natural and sustainable and perfect for boosting your wellness. Emma Pratt started making candles as a therapeutic activity following a stroke. Emma soon found that particular fragrances benefitted her mental health and sense of wellbeing. Those very special aromas now form

the basis of her candle and wax melt range. Seriously good quality essential oils are blended by hand with sustainable, natural soy wax to form creamy, indulgent, environmentally friendly candles. They are vegan and cruelty-free, no paraffin or other nasties are used, no noxious fumes are

emitted, and no messy bits of black wick spoil the beauty. Emma says that: “The candles all burn clean. They’re calming, relaxing – and lusciously scent your surroundings. Even outdoors. They’ll add pleasure to those long-awaited get-togethers with friends and family and provide relaxation when needing some time out.” Elsie & Tom candle fragrances include Relaxing Embrace which is a firm favourite, Lavender Geranium and Black Pepper, Mediterranean Citrus, Rose & More, Oriental Orange, and Patchouli & Wood.

View the full range online lightweight and portable, can be used indoors and outdoors, and they come in three different sizes.


Visit or contact the team on or 07557 793936 for further information.

Shop sustainable candles now Use code FIRST ORDER to get 10% off when buying online at and if you have a burning desire to contact the founder and maker, email


Image credit: Clifford Hicks

Dress up your garden this summer