Home Inspirations John O'Connell Building Company Magazine

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“We love our new space and enjoy it every day’’ The Kitchen extension with the WOW factor


to add value to your home


Our top 2019 must-have kitchen gadgets


Choose the right builder


Outdoor living is here! Cover image by: Tazzy Bro Photography

Building Space for Life


Contents 01



PROJECT Kitchen Extension, Little Bromley Essex



Bringing the Outside Indoors How to Connect Your Home and Garden


Our Top 2019 Must Have Kitchen Gadgets


PROJECT Garden Transformation, Manningtree



Top Home Improvements


to Add Value to Your Home


TOP 5 TIPS How to Choose the Right Builder


Hot off the press!


Feeling inspired?

8 Cover image by: Tazzy Bro Photography Copyright Š 2019 by John O’Connell Ltd. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical or electronic, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Requests for permission or further information should be addressed to the Publishers. Published by: TWI, 5 Court Farm Business Centre, Brantham, Manningtree, Essex CO11 1PW. Tel:01473 326 907. Email: info@twi.agency Designed by: GCD www.gcd.agency


Welcome W

elcome to the first issue of Home Inspirations from the John O’Connell team. We are very excited about our new seasonal supplement, designed especially for all those

interested in homes, gardens and everything in between. Together, with our in-house team of experts we have put together our favourite projects, ideas and top tips to set you on the right path to extending, refurbishing, building, landscaping or decorating your property to increase its value and provide a more functional and modern living space for you, your family and friends to enjoy for many years to come.

SO, WHO ARE WE? We have been established for 20 years, and I’m proud to say that during that time we have built a great reputation and worked with many happy customers who recommend us to friends and family as well as asking us to carry out further renovations to their properties. If you are one of these, we thank you for your support. We know that any building work can be stressful, so we aim to support our customer throughout the process. From those


all-important first consultations to delivering on time and within budget. We will always keep a line of communication open and strive to keep any disruptions to a minimum. We are really proud of our work, and passionate about building and renovating properties. I hope this magazine inspires you and gives you the confidence to start planning your ideal home or commercial space, but as always, we want to hear your ideas, see your visions and work with you to bring them to life, so don’t hesitate to get in touch. Enjoy issue one of Home Inspirations and let us know what you think!

Sian and the JD O’Connell team



Kitchen Extension Project LITTLE BROMLEY


Home Inspirations








e worked closely with a lovely family in Little Bromley to design a kitchen extension and unique family

and entertaining space to take advantage of the property’s stunning views across the open countryside. The original kitchen in this family home was small and confined, with little to no dining/entertaining space. The resulting project provides the family with a huge living space and features high-specification units and appliances, quartz granite worktops, travertine flooring with underfloor heating, a large ceiling lantern (complete with colour-changing led lighting) and steel bi-fold doors to light up the room. The family is delighted with the impressive new kitchen/dining space and the enhanced lifestyle it provides them, including regular dinner parties for up to 20 people!

“The quality of work, communications and workflow were exactly as promised, and changes were slotted into the work schedule’’ Our team also fitted a large utility and boot room to the side of the house, to provide the family with extra space for a laundry area and for storing outdoor coats and shoes. Complete with matching shaker-style units, oak worktops, a butler sink and travertine flooring throughout, the end results are exactly what the family imagined. To complement the inside, we completed a substantial landscaping project outside, incorporating over 200 square metres of Indian sandstone paving, oak sleeper raised beds and willow fencing. The family can now enjoy the amazing country views from their kitchen and even sit outside and dine al fresco in the summer, thanks to the landscaping work completed by our friendly team. Since the project finished, our carpentry team has been back to install a new solid oak staircase and matching doors to complete the look.

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“This was a huge project for our home, and it was important to choose the right contractor. We worked with the team at John O’Connell to specify the project and ensure that we kept to budget and minimised disruption. The quality of work, communications and workflow were exactly as promised, and changes were slotted into the work schedule. We were so happy with the work that we went on to have major garden landscaping and internal joinery and have booked additional projects this year. We have recommended John and the business to family and friends, who are equally happy. We love our new space and enjoy it every day.”




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here’s nothing quite like sitting outside, drink in hand, relaxing in the sun and enjoying the fresh air. Unfortunately, here in the UK we can’t revel in this pleasure all year round and usually have to wait until at least May until we brave the outdoors. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. With

a few home adjustments, big or small, there are ways to bring aspects of nature into your living space and enjoy the great outdoors, from indoors, all year round. Our team of in-house designers and landscapers have put together their top tips on how to bring the outside indoors and create relaxing, open spaces that welcome light and nature, a trend that is increasingly being incorporated into house design and one that can add considerable value to your home.

1. WELCOME LIGHT WITH A SKY WINDOW If you are looking to extend your property to build a garden room or to increase the size of the kitchen or living space, try to incorporate some sort of roof/ ceiling lighting into the new design. The easiest way to integrate a skylight is with a flat roof extension on the ground floor of your house. We thoroughly recommend a large glazed roof lantern frame as this style not only looks fantastic, but the added height and shape allows light to bounce from different directions all around the room. If you live on an urban plot and you are conscious of privacy, roof glazing will be a good investment for you as adding extra windows and doors will only open your private space to neighbours.

2. FOCUS ON FLOORING The right flooring can really help you to deliver a space that welcomes the outdoors and combines living areas with hard-surfaced outdoor areas. For

find a room with a view. Install windows that look

instance, you can soften the threshold between the

out onto treetops or long narrow windows that

kitchen and garden by firstly eliminating any steps

focus the eye far afield. One of the big attractions

to the garden and then using the same or similar

of any new build or major home improvement

flooring in the kitchen as the patio area outside.

is that you have complete control over window

This is extremely effective and is a fantastic way to

positioning and can block off areas that are not as

blur the boundaries between inside and out.

pleasing to the eye. If your house sits on beautiful grounds or you


have lovely landscapes to enjoy, no matter how big

Focus your attention on the areas of your home

on the ground floor. Take full advantage of floor-to-

that provide the best views of the outdoors. You

ceiling glass and draw the eye from the entrance of

may need to leave street level and go upstairs to

the house to the view you want to enjoy.

or small, make this your artwork and frame this view with clever windows, doors and minimalist interiors




4. DELIVER A TRANSITIONAL SPACE A conservatory or sunroom is the more traditional way of connecting your home to your garden. Now, we are starting to see verandas and loggias becoming a part of contemporary house design to create a transitional space between the house and garden. Verandas and loggias are covered areas, more often attached to the back of the house, with one or more open sides, making the space partially open to the elements. They make fantastic dining and seating areas, for those who like to eat outside and the partial walls mean they block off heavy winds and provide a soft shelter from the sun in the height of summer.

5. CLEVER DOORS By installing sleek, long lengths of clever doors that slide or fold back you can really open up your sunroom, kitchen or the entire rear of the house to the outdoors. Bifold doors are our favourite as they are extremely practical, secure, and provide more access to outdoor space than any other door type. If you live in a bungalow, don’t forget that you can also install a sliding door into your bedroom that leads to the garden and can even create your own personal veranda.

“Bifold doors are our favourite as they are extremely practical, secure, and provide more access to outdoor space than any other door type’’ For more information about how we can help you


connect your home to your garden and create a

Choosing a similar décor and arrangement of

or sun room, please call 01206 396667,

materials in the garden to those in the house is one way of making the outdoor landscape feel part of the house. With concrete and stone interiors really on trend this year, this is a material to consider utilising for indoor and outdoor worktops and flooring. Using the same (or similar) plants and flowers inside and outside the house will also soften the threshold and introduce elements of nature into your home. 8 Home Inspirations


stunning new build, extension, refurbishment or email enquiries@jdoconnell.co.uk


Kitchen Gadgets 1

From smart TVs, mobile controlled lights and heating, to voice assistant technology, we’re all looking for ways to save time and make


everyday life a little easier to manage. If you’re a keen cook or want to update your kitchen space to make storing, prepping and cooking food that little bit easier, check out these really useful, must have kitchen gadgets that will modernise your kitchen, save you time and are definitely worth the time and money to install.




Instant hot water taps are growing in

If you are a coffee lover, you appreciate

popularity, for the simple reason that

a good cup of coffee and have a

you can enjoy a cold glass of water or hot

favourite blend, strength and heat. The

cup of tea at the touch of a button. They

Nespresso Prodgio is the first connect

are also useful for filling up saucepans

coffee machine that allows you to

before bringing food to the boil and are

personalise your coffee and have it

even proven to save water as most people

ready at your convenience. Simply use

overfill a kettle. Trust us when we say,

the Nespresso mobile application to

you will love this feature in your kitchen.

select your preferences and make the





For those who enjoy an on the go

Say goodbye to space hogging

breakfast or are looking to lose

refrigerator units with under-the-

weight and live a healthier lifestyle.

counter, sleek refrigerator drawers.

The NutriBullet is the perfect kitchen

They are ideal for storing bulky drink

accessory to help you make healthy

bottles and everyday produce and

smoothies and blend ingredients

allow you to have a smaller main

for cooking. You can connect the

fridge. They are a great space saving

Nutribullet to your phone and

solution for smaller kitchens.

measure calories and the nutritional


perfect cup of coffee every time.

content of your smoothie via an app.

3. SMART MICROWAVE Smart microwaves are very versatile and incorporate a range of cooking options to increase the number of ways you can cook food. They also include Wi-Fi connectivity, voice control, and other technology features to allow you to easily set cooking times and monitor when food is ready.

6. FOOD WASTE DISPOSAL UNIT Instead of storing and taking out food waste each week, a sink macerator will effortlessly grind food waste into small pieces and flush them away ready for processing at the local wastewater treatment plant. We recommended investing in a good quality unit, like this one from Insinkerator to ensure you can grind virtually any food waste, quickly and quietly, without any blockages.



Cool Building, Hot Tub MANNINGTREE

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fter a long day, what could be better than relaxing in a sumptuous summer house, or watching the sunset from your own private

hot tub with a glass of fizz? For one family in Manningtree, this dream has become a reality with the help of our in-house team of designers and builders, who, after listening to the family’s visions and preferences, constructed a beautiful, bespoke outdoor space for them to enjoy not only in the summer, but year round. The team built a stunning, fully insulated, heated summer house complete with a bathroom, shower and laundry room, wrapped in Siberian larch cladding with a fibre-glass roof and bi-fold doors to create a smooth transition from inside to out. The bespoke space, designed to provide the family with an additional living area and a selfcontained guest house, leads out to a luxurious hot tub area, complete with sleek black patio slabs.

THE BUILD Bespoke design and build summer house

Self-contained guest house fully equipped with electricity and heating •

Outdoor hot tub/spa area

Toilet and shower room

Laundry room

Living area with sofa bed

Aluminium bifold doors

Siberian larch cladding

Spotlights and ambient outdoor lighting

Landscaping and granite style patio

We can help source the perfect hot tub for your outdoor spa or garden room area to ensure you find the one that fits your space and budget. The hot tub featured in this project was purchased from Hot Tub Village, Suffolk and the bi-fold doors were sourced from Duration Windows.

12 Home Inspirations


“After a hard day’s work, we can relax in the hot tub with a drink and while away the evening in the summer house; it’s perfect!”


‘’The whole family loves our new outdoor space, and we have used it every day. The finished project has surpassed our expectations and provided everything we wanted and more. We love the unique design and attention to detail on the summer house. It not only looks amazing and fits with the style of our house and garden, but it’s extremely fit for purpose and has provided us with a spare bedroom and extra living space that we can enjoy even in the winter. After a hard day’s work, we can relax in the hot tub with a drink and then while away the evening in the summer house; it’s perfect!”




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f you want to work your way up the property ladder and eventually buy your dream home, you need to work out how to maximise the value of your current property. Even if you’re planning on staying in your existing home for the foreseeable future, it is still a sensible idea to figure out how to maximise

your home, perhaps as your family grows, and add value in terms of space, comfort and design. To help you decipher the best way to improve your home we have listed our top five home improvement recommendations that, with the right help, don’t require a lengthy time-frame to implement.

A NEW KITCHEN Many believe that the kitchen is the heart of the home and they’re right! People tend to not only use the kitchen for cooking, but also as a living, working and entertaining space. Because of this, the majority of buyers will be looking for an attractive, well designed, hygienic looking kitchen which is not completely cut off from the rest of the house. Before buying a new kitchen, firstly look at the shape and layout of the original space. Could you move anything to make space appear larger or make the flow of the house more appealing? You could even consider relocating the kitchen to a completely different room if you believe it would work better for you. If you’re struggling to picture

clothes, toys, bikes and kitchen appliances. Why

the new space, contact one of our team so we can

not utilise this space properly by turning it into

guide your decision and draw up your ideal kitchen.

additional living space or even a separate living

After deciding on a layout, think décor; what style do you want to achieve? You could go

quarters if the garage is large enough? If it is a free-standing garage you may need to

contemporary, traditional, country/ farmhouse, art

apply for planning permission, however in most

deco or simplistic and sleek. We simply suggest that

cases a garage conversion will fall under permitted

whatever you decide, make sure it complements

development. Ideally, you would want to make

the rest of the house, otherwise you may find

the garage conversion look like part of the house,

yourself needing to re-do every room to match

instead of a separate area. This is something you can

the kitchen. If you’re planning to move and want

work on with our in-house designers and architects.

to appeal to buyers, don’t be too bold or personal

Once completed a garage conversion can add an

in your design, keep it clean and simple and then

additional 10% to the value to your home.

add features such as a jazzy oven splashback or a marble worktop if there’s room in the budget. Make sure there is plenty of storage and everything is


painted and fitted to a high spec – viewers will be

The bathroom is often the most neglected and

sure to nit-pick if there is something wrong.

overlooked space in the home as many people choose to spend their money elsewhere. However,


the fact is a modern bathroom can add up to 5% to the value to your property and will not take copious amounts of time to install. People today see the

Some garages are rarely used for car storage and

bathroom as a place for relaxation and rejuvenation

more likely to be used as a dumping area for old

and often escape there to have 20 minutes of zen




time relaxing in a hot bubble bath. Adding features such as a walk-in shower, freestanding bath and built-in stylish cabinets can help the space to feel large and luxurious. But before ordering anything, get some inspiration and choose your décor theme and colours. This will help to narrow down the different types of floorings and fixtures and fittings that will complete your theme. Soft and warm tones will help to create a relaxing atmosphere whilst wall and shower tiles, mirrors and accessories can bring some design and texture. Our team can help you to completely re-design an existing bathroom or can even build an extra bathroom or en-suite if you have space. We also specialise in accessible bathrooms and wet rooms.

REMODEL EXISTING SPACE As previously mentioned, it is important to analyse the layout of a space before starting work. Sometimes the most added value can come from remodelling your home to create larger/ lighter

“Extra space can add around £50,000 additional value to the average UK home’’

areas. Take where you live into consideration as well. In the countryside you may want to think of smart ways to bring the outside in and create a flow from the house into the garden. In the city, you will


want to direct attention away from busy roads and

If you have plenty of living space downstairs but

neighbours. Creating a better layout will improve:

lack space and bedrooms upstairs, consider a loft conversion to bring your house into proportion.

· Traffic flow · Sociability and communication · Natural light · Flexibility/ multifunctionality · House value · Parental control (easier to watch children)

Lofts with a minimum head height of 2.3m are usually seen as fit to convert however there can be other obstacles, so the area will need to be reviewed by a professional before you can consider this as an option. Once work is approved, the extra space can add considerable value to your property, 21% additional value in fact – that’s around £50,000 for the average UK home. The extra space can be used as an additional bedroom and en-suite, an office or even a gym or games room. The added height will also allow you to take advantage of any views surrounding your property. Our extensive experience means that we can help you make the best use of even limited space, and source products that are perfect for your style and budget. If you would like to discuss your Extension or Conversion project or get some professional advice, please call us on 01206 396667 or send us an email to enquiries@jdoconnell.co.uk for a FREE, no-obligation discussion.

16 Home Inspirations


How to Choose the Right Builder


appointment. You can even ask questions over the

First things first, use trusty Google to gather a list

phone before deciding to meet them if you wish.

of all the local builders in your area. Then you can

Prior to the meeting, write down a few questions

browse their websites, read their reviews and see

and concerns you have about your plans and

pictures of their prior work. You can usually make

make sure you ask them. Sometimes, you may feel

a good assumption of a company by their website,

overwhelmed with information, so it’s important to

does it look professional? Do they provide helpful

be organised, ask lots of questions and understand

information? Are they easy to contact?

the logistics. During the meeting, you will be able to


get a feeling for the company and their work ethic. Are they listening to your needs? Are they someone you can work with for a long period of time? And

It is highly likely that a family member, friend,

most importantly can you rely on them to complete

neighbour or friend of a friend has had some

the job in budget without pushing for ‘extras?’

building work. Give them a call and ask about

“Sometimes, you may feel overwhelmed with information, so it’s important to be organised, ask questions and understand the logistics”

their experience, would they recommend their builder, or are they unhappy with the finished work? This might help to narrow down the list of local builders in your area and is a good way to get an honest opinion. If you don’t know anyone, remember a good building company will have positive online reviews; people are more frequently turning to reviews to express their joy or complain about their frustrations.

3. PREPARE A BRIEF This is your project, so write down everything you want to gain from your new build or


extension. You may need a certain number of

If you are happy after your first meeting, request

bedrooms and a large utility to accommodate

a quote for the building work you require, set your

the family pets, or you may simply want a nice

budget and make them aware of any constraints.

view of your garden in an extended kitchen.

Different building companies will provide different

Whatever you desire, talk to your family and

types of quotations. Some will provide you with

write down your requirements before asking the

an ‘estimated quotation,’ which means that prices

professionals for their advice. A good builder will

may fluctuate if they come across any problems

aim to accommodate all these requests if they are

or miscalculate the cost of materials. So be

in line with your budget and make sure the new

warned, what you pay at the end of the job may be

home fits your family lifestyle.

significantly more than the figure you are quoted


at the start. Other companies, on the other hand, will provide a fixed quotation, which, if you have

Once you have narrowed your search, contact

a particularly tight budget, would be the type of

your favourite building companies and request an

quote you want to secure.



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e are extremely proud to have had our work featured in a national publication – Essential Kitchen, Bedroom &

Bathroom magazine. Our team loved working on this house extension project with Joanne and her husband Stuart, who called upon our services after deciding they wanted to open up their restrictive downstairs space and install a stunning new Davonport kitchen and entertaining space in their four-bedroom home in Essex. Our team constructed a stunning single story extension across the full width of the house, complete with floor-to-ceiling folding doors that provide sweeping views across the beautiful countryside. The project was completed after the installation of an elegant, custom-made kitchen from Davonport in Colchester. So pleased with the outcome, Joanne and Stuart jumped at the opportunity to show off their stunning new living space in this national magazine. Kitchen by Davenport www.davonport.com Accessories by Jim Lawrence www.jim-lawrence.co.uk



FEELING INSPIRED? We hope you have enjoyed the first issue of Home Inspirations. If we can help with any aspect of your project, from a new bathroom to a brand new home, please get in touch for a home consultation.

20 Home Inspirations




looking to retain more heat with new double glazed


into an extension or new build, or increase your

windows, insert stylish new doors and windows

Our extensive team of in-house experts collaborate

living space by adding a conservatory, we are here

closely to design and construct bespoke extensions

to advise, source, supply and install.

and conversions that are tailored to your individual requirements to provide you with the space you


need, without the stress and expense of leaving

Our groundworks team at John O’Connell

your home behind.

comprises fully qualified experts in assessing,


clearing, servicing, landscaping and digging a range of sites, no matter how big or small, so rest assured

Regardless of your available space or budget,

this imperative phase in construction will be

contemporary kitchens and bathrooms offer

completed to high-quality standards. We even have

limitless possibilities with affordable luxury.

our own fleet of plant machinery.

Whether you are looking to maximise space, improve functionality, safety and sustainability or


increase the value of your property, remodelling

At John O’Connell we are proud to hold extensive

your kitchen or bathroom is a sure-fire way to inject

experience, skills and knowledge in delivering

the wow factor back into your home.

commercial buildings and have worked on several


exciting projects around Essex and Suffolk. From housing association projects to care homes, offices, retail spaces and schools; our team of professionals

Whatever you want to achieve, from a property

work hard to restore, re-brand or re-build

refresh to a complete restoration, you can be

commercial space to your exact criteria and budget.

assured that our team of architects, designers and builders have the skills and experience required to


restore your home to its full glory and more!

We understand how transformational adequate


disabled access and facilities can be in supporting independent living and improving overall lifestyle.

Whether you require a detached house, a starter

Because of this, our team of experts will work closely

home, a bungalow, or a commercial property, we

with you to understand your exact requirements and

will work with you to bring your ideas to life whilst

provide solutions to ensure your home is tailored to

providing a turnkey service. Our professional advice

your specific needs from accessible kitchens and wet

along the way will ensure your new build surpasses

rooms to ramps and lifts.

expectations and works to your budget.


 LOFT CONVERSIONS Whether you need an extra bedroom and en-suite,

At John O’Connell we believe that outdoor space

an office space, or simply want to enjoy a room

is equally as important as indoor space and we

with a view across your garden; our comprehensive

put as much care and consideration into creating

service will deliver a loft conversion that allows you

unique gardens as we do building homes. Beautiful

to utilise often wasted space and create something

outdoor spaces not only provide all-important

truly remarkable to enjoy for many years to come.

extra living and entertaining space, but a stunning landscaped garden will add value to your home and enhance your outdoor lifestyle.

If you would like a FREE, no-obligation discussion about your project, or to get some professional


advice on the full process of choosing to self-build,

We offer a full service in windows, doors, bespoke

Or head to our website - www.jdoconnell.co.uk

joinery and conservatories. So, whether you are

please contact us on: 01206 396667 enquiries@jdoconnell.co.uk.



Building Space for Life