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Kitchen Inspiration Natural grains, stone and bolder colour choices will all star in kitchens next year. Gabrielle Fagan finds out how to create a cutting-edge theme.


t’s the heart of any home - especially now that it’s where many of us congregate not only to eat but also to catch up and socialise - which is why choosing the right kitchen style is so important.


“Industrial style is very much in vogue and still will be next year,” predicts Rachael Burgess, creative director at Contour Kitchens, based in Cheltenham ( “One of our most popular finishes is concrete, as it offers a cool, grey colour palette along with a textured finish. We’re going to pair this with steel doors in our new collection next year. “The contrast of light and dark is still a classic combination in interior design,” Burgess adds. “A new colour is olive grey, a mixed green and grey hue, which combines well with North American hardwood, Robinia. Veined worktops - quartz, composite and Corian, which is non-porous and stain-resistant are leading the field in popularity. “There’s also a real trend for concealment, where a run of fitted cupboards can mask machines and utility areas and allow the area to be an uncluttered zone, perfect for entertaining.” Here are three more winning recipes for gourmet kitchen style...



home style


“Greys and darker blue shades are still a very popular choice when planning the colour scheme for a more modernlooking kitchen and work brilliantly, especially when combined with a clean, contemporary work surface,” says Melissa Klink, head of design at Harvey Jones ( “That being said, we’ve also seen a rise in homeowners who want a bolder focal point in their design. Choosing to apply a more vibrant colour to their kitchen, whether a brightly coloured island, accessories such as stools or appliances, or painted cabinetry, is a fantastic way to make a statement. “Interesting textures are a growing trend and this can be achieved with work surfaces in sandblasted timber, polished concrete, or even with an unpolished natural stone slab,” she adds. “Open-plan is still by far the most popular choice for lay-out, as people want to blend or extend the kitchen into the main living space, so it’s a social area during everyday family use and an entertaining zone when needed.” Decor Tip: Kitchens are the perfect area for experimenting with colour. When deciding on a shade for cabinetry, consider your space first. Bolder, darker colours work particularly well in large, well-lit areas, while vibrant shades for accessories, such as lighting and kitchen gadgets, can be sufficient to lift a more enclosed space.



“Maximilism no longer excludes the kitchen when redecorating the home, and increasingly people are looking for a kitchen that has impact,” says Nick Bell, sales and design director at Mark Wilkinson Furniture “Contrasting materials and bold shades have a strong presence in contemporary kitchen design. A kitchen island is the perfect place to be brave with a colour or finish and to embellish with luxury materials. “We’ll see a trend in kitchens gravitating towards more natural colours, textures and materials, such as bronze, burnt brass and timber. Next year, colours will begin to warm and soften,” he adds, “and contrasting patterns and textures will be more prevalent, reflecting a contemporary twist on classic design.” Decor Tip: Shimmer and sheen are all that’s needed for a luxe look. Metal finishes, such as bronze, steel and copper, are making their mark on everything from furniture and tiles to accessories, and can also soften the look of an edgier industrial style space.


interior design


“A lighter colour palette works well in most kitchens, because a variety of surfaces and textures reflect light and brighten it, giving the illusion of more space,” says Fred Horlock, design manager at Neptune ( “A blend of two, three at most, complementary light shades creates a calm and sophisticated space. Our colours, pale green Sage, subtle Old Rose and taupe Driftwood, work well individually or even combined. “Generally, islands are an essential ingredient in a kitchen because they act as a sociable hub and provide a perfect place for preparation,” Horlock adds. “We can configure ours in a variety of ways, so they can include a sink,

hob, an integrated fridge or chopping board cabinet, or be used purely for storage. “Seating’s always desirable and, where possible, we’ll also include a wine rack, so it’s the ideal spot to unwind and relax with friends.” Decor Tip: While whitewashed woods are in tune with the enduringly fashionable Scandi style, there’s a growing trend for showcasing the grain of different woods, which brings drama and character to a scheme. Exposed timber can add warmth to a pale scheme, contrast well with smooth surfaces, and is a natural balance for painted cabinetry.


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Patio Perfection Style it right and outdoor space becomes another ‘room’. Gabrielle Fagan shows how to make your garden patio the hottest place in your home. WRITTEN BY GABRIELLE FAGAN


ntertaining outdoors is part of the pleasure of lazy summer days and balmy evenings, and no matter what size your space - a grand terrace or a tiny balcony - it’s vital to make the most of it. This outdoor zone should be a beautifully furnished extension of your home, so check out our stylish and practical patio top tips for creating a piece of outdoor perfection.


Sleek contemporary style marries perfectly with stainless steel and metallic finishes. “Size does matter, and there’s nothing worse than overwhelming a space with bulky furniture,” says Nicola Gidlow, buyer for outdoor living, John Lewis. “Decide first on the space you can give over to a new range, and whether you want it to be something which can go indoors as well. Take time to measure up properly, so the dimensions of pieces work well with the proportions of your outdoor space. “Think of your garden as another room, and that way you’ll naturally choose furniture which matches your taste and lifestyle.”

top tips Matching the floor tiles in the room that opens onto your patio, and those used outdoors, can make the space feel larger. Tropical hardwoods, such as teak and eucalyptus, are naturally weather-resistant due to their high oil contents, which makes them easy to look after.


outdoor living



Neutral shades - so on trend indoors are making an impact outside, and a soft grey, ivory or cream palette features in many woven, rattan-effect ranges. “Chairs with woven seats and backs feature in many of the new ranges this year, and the attraction of this rattan-style woven effect is that it adds visual interest and is also ultra-comfortable,” says Tina Mahony, director of contemporary garden furniture specialists, Go Modern. Dress The Deck: There’s a big shift towards informal seating as we treat outdoor spaces as lounges, rather than solely al fresco areas.

Create harmony between your space and the outdoors, by choosing a natural material like wood. “Wood is our traditional choice for garden furniture, and its mellow tones will always enhance a setting,” says Katie Rushworth, a presenter on ITV’s Love Your Garden who has been acting as an advisor for Wyevale Garden Centres. “Don’t worry if your guests won’t fit around one table. Entertaining lots of people can be much easier if you also create lots of small seating areas. Try adding a bistro set, a mix of metal and weave chairs, or a swing seat. “Don’t overlook lighting, which transforms a space when the sun goes down,” she adds. “Candles, lanterns or strings of lights are essentials, and solar-powered accent lights can add drama and interest if you highlight paths or create focal points with spotlights.”

Living walls Living walls, where plants ‘grow’ on a vertical surface, are becoming popular, as they soften a space and inject colour. A Karoo Indoor /Outdoor Green Wall, comprises a box with nine compartments and special soil, as well as advice on suitable plants.


Property Knowledge Legal Questions & Answers

has sent me a copy of the lease Qandsolicitor told me to read it and let him know I am buying a leasehold flat. My

if I have any queries. I thought that my solicitor would check the lease for me. Can you give me any tips as to what I should be looking for, or be concerned by?

A to it. Check the floor plan matches the layout of the flat. This will reveal if

Consider the lease and plans attached

alterations have been carried out, for which the landlords consent is generally needed. Also check the length of the lease. The shorter the lease is in terms of years the more problematic this will be to sell on owing to the requirements that lenders have. Extending a lease can be expensive and mortgage lenders are not keen to lend on short leases, which can affect marketability of the flat. Ensure the ground rent payable does not escalate unreasonably, Some annual ground rents can double on a regular basis and this would not be acceptable to a number of Building Societies. Read the restrictive covenants and obligations – The repairing obligations – Building insurance requirements, and the sections dealing with service charge, to make sure you understand the provisions and are happy with them. Your solicitor should receive from the

seller’s solicitor a management pack and replies to leasehold property enquiries containing detailed information about the management of the building and service charge payable. Check the current service charge payable, whether there are service charge arrears, and if any major works are planned for the building. These are only a few initial pointers. Prior to exchange of contracts, once satisfied with the search results and enquiries, your solicitor should provide you with a lease report explaining the terms of the lease and any issues. are private tenants in a block Q We managed by a housing association.

Our landlady and the people living upstairs have bought their flats. There is a bad leak coming from the floor above our bathroom into our bathroom. The housing association will not speak to us as we are private tenants. The neighbour upstairs does not know where the leak is coming from. Our landlady is being very slow to respond. How can we get this sorted? It appears to be a structural issue rather than a problem with the upstairs flat. Can we withhold our rent to encourage our landlady to fix the leak more quickly?


Your landlady has sub let the flat to you, presumably with the consent

of the freeholder. Though she is not occupying the flat she is still bound by the terms of her lease. You will have a written tenancy agreement with your landlady who should deal with her responsibility for repairs, and you will be required to report necessary repairs to her. The freeholder of the block will be responsible for the common parts, structure and exterior of the building. Under the terms of her lease, your landlady will be obliged to report matters needing repair to the freeholder. Write and /or email her and the housing association explaining the problem. Copy in your neighbour. If there is no response, write and /email again. Keep copies. The problem may be covered by buildings insurance so ask your landlady to check. If your belongings are damaged this may be covered under your contents insurance. Do not withhold rent if your landlady fails to organise repairs. She could apply to a court to evict you. You could carry out minor repairs and claim back the cost back, but that may not be possible without accessing the other flat. Report the matter to environmental health if the leak affects your health, or take court action against the relevant parties to ensure the repairs are done.

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hitchurch draws its name from White Church. The first mention of the area was in 1126 when the land was granted to Llandaff Cathedral and a chapel was built where Old Church Road now stands. It remained a dependency of the cathedral until 1845 when it became a separate parish. After much resistance to the Norman conquest of England, the area succumbed to the Normans in 1266 who created the manor of Whitchurch which included Llandaff North and Rhiwbina, and who built Castell Coch to protect the approach to Cardiff in Tongwynlais. The castle became a ruin by the 16th century, possibly attacked by Owain Glyndŵr. Until the early 18th century there were no more than around 300 people living in about 50 farms and cottages in Whitchurch, but by the end of the 19th century, this had risen to nearly 5,000. An education report of 1847 reported that 8% of Whitchurch’s children attended school. In 1854, the area’s first national school was built, charging 2d a week. Whitchurch High School opened in 1937. In the 19th century, the Bute

family assumed responsibility of Whitchurch Common. Their attempt to produce wine on the slopes below Castell Coch was shortlived, bottling 40 gallons in 1887. The modern Cardiff Mental Hospital, later Whitchurch Hospital, opened in 1908 accommodating 750 patients and quickly gaining a national reputation for its research. In 1898 and 1922, parts of Whitchurch were absorbed into Cardiff, becoming amalgamated as a suburb of the City of Cardiff in 1967. Between 1951 and 1961, the population of the parish rose from 19,827 to 27,325. Melingriffith Tin Plate Works Built in 1749, the Melingriffith Tin Plate Works in north Whitchurch, on the bank of the River Taff opposite Radyr, was built on or near the site of an old corn mill that had operated as far back as the late 12th century. Melingriffith was the largest working tin factory in the UK, until the much later construction of the Treforrest Tin Works. The tin mills were powered exclusively by water drawn from the River Taff down the Melingriffith feeder stream.

CURRENT HOUSE PRICES Properties in Whitchurch had an overall average price of £212,915 over the last year. The majority of sales in Whitchurch during the last year were detached properties, selling for an average price of £307,539. Terraced properties sold for an average of £148,797, with semi-detached properties fetching £174,444. Overall, sold prices in Whitchurch over the last year were 6% up on the previous year and 6% down on the 2018 peak of £225,762. 18 / PROPERTYMAIL

The tin works closed in 1957, and today the only signs that the works ever existed at all are the mostly dry bed of the original Melingriffith feeder stream that still runs down from the River Taff from just above the Radyr weir, and the recently restored water pump standing opposite Oak Cottage. The works site itself has been completely cleared, and is now a modern housing estate. With the expansion of Cardiff in the 20th century, Whitchurch is no longer a separate village; although residents, old and new, refer commonly to “The Village” in preference to acknowledging its suburban status. The modern suburb contains a number of schools, a shopping centre, Whitchurch Library, Whitchurch Hospital, a psychiatric hospital originally built in the Edwardian era. In addition, adjacent to

Whitchurch Hospital is Velindre Hospital, a major cancer hospital in Wales. Whitchurch High School, the largest comprehensive school in Wales with around 2400 pupils and located on Penlline Road. Ysgol Gymraeg Melin Gruffydd, a very successful two form entry Welsh-medium primary school located on Glan-Y-Nant Road. Whitchurch Primary School located on Erw Las, is the largest primary school in Wales with over 700 pupils from 3–11 years on roll. The school opened its doors in September 2012 following the closure of Eglwys Newydd Primary School and Eglwys Wen Primary School. The school was officially opened by international footballer and former pupil Gareth Bale and its motto is ‘Work together, play together, succeed together’. PROPERTYMAIL / 19


Are you a cowboy customer? 5 ways you may be making business tougher for tradespeople, and more expensive for all of us BY LISA SALMON As spending on home improvements soars, tradespeople admit some clients can cause problems. Lisa Salmon finds out more. We’ve all heard about cowboy builders who do shoddy or overpriced work for unsuspecting householders. But have you ever considered that sometimes, the boot might be on the other foot and there might be cowboy customers too – and you could be one of them?

FMB chief executive Brian Berry.

Ben Dyer, founder of Powered Now


Research by Powered Now (, a mobile invoicing, quotation and admin app for tradespeople, has found that at a time when spending on home improvements has soared (their research reveals spending has increased by nearly 30% year-on-year during the pandemic) tradespeople – including builders, electricians and plumbers – are having problems with some customers that result in small, often one-man, businesses “being swindled out of vast sums”, according to the app. Ben Dyer, founder of Powered Now, explains that ‘cowboy customers’ can damage tradespeople’s businesses by doing things like paying late, being out when tradespeople turn up to give a quote or even do work, or unfairly criticising completed work in a bid to get money knocked off the price. “We

hear from tradespeople on a daily basis that they’re frustrated by the hoops they have to leap through in order to receive their fair payment,” he says. The Federation of Master Builders (FMB; points out that during the pandemic, many tradespeople have found it difficult to buy building materials, and prices have risen because of global shortages. In addition, there are serious labour shortages because of tradespeople catching the virus, or having to selfisolate after being pinged by Test & Trace. As a result, the FMB says it’s become much harder for tradespeople to accurately prepare for and price jobs – so the last thing they need is for customers to make their job even harder with unfair criticism, late payments and other cowboy customer behaviour. The FMB has advised its members to stay in regular communication with customers, and “be open and honest about the situation you (and the whole industry) is facing finding materials.” “The key to a successful building project is open, two-way communication between the builder and their client,” stresses FMB chief executive Brian Berry. “Cowboy customers can lead to lost time and earnings for builders, and

added stress. However, if customers are realistic about their budgets, have clear ideas about what they want, and are willing to listen to advice, the relationship should be smooth.” Cowboy customer behaviour can include… 1. Asking for quotes you’ve no intention of taking up. While it’s wise to get a few quotes to make sure you’re going to be charged a fair price for work, some householders ask tradespeople to take the time to come to their home to quote for jobs without ever intending to use them, and Powered Now estimates more than five million householders have done this, costing UK tradespeople a total of between £776m to £1.75bn of revenue. “While we recommend customers seek more than one quote before starting a job, be sensible about how many you ask if you’re not intending to act on them,” advises Berry. “Also, be patient; good quotes can’t be prepared overnight.” 2. Forgetting appointments If a householder makes an appointment with a tradesperson to either come and give them a quote, or actually do the work, and then forgets and goes out, they’ll probably just apologise (hopefully) and rearrange the

appointment for another time. But for the tradesperson, time is money, and that wasted time could’ve been spent doing another job. Powered Now calculates more than two million (2,496,000) Brits have forgotten about an appointment and been out when the tradesperson has arrived. And as the backlog for many builders to start work is currently an average of three months, customers who waste tradespeople’s time by forgetting appointments are simply adding to that backlog. That said, many homeowners may take the view that at least some tradespeople deserve a taste of their own medicine – research by Ratedpeople (ratedpeople. com), the trusted tradespeople finder, has found more than half of homeowners (53.7%) are annoyed when tradespeople don’t turn up as arranged, and over a third say tradespeople being late is one of the most irritating trade habits. 3. Unfair criticism If work’s not done properly, you should – of course – complain to the tradesperson who’s done it. However, sometimes, complaints are made so householders can wangle some money off their bill, says Powered Now. Its research estimates over a million

(1,282,000) British householders have unfairly criticised home improvement work in an unscrupulous bid to get a discount. 4. Late payment Not only do tradespeople need to earn money to live, they need money to pay for materials they use and staff they employ, so if customers are late paying for completed work, it can cause a tradesperson major cashflow problems – particularly if it’s a hefty bill from a small business. Certainly, the Ratedpeople research found a fifth of tradespeople think late payment, or not receiving the agreed amount for the job is, at the very least, annoying. The Powered Now research calculates 1,743,000 Brits have delayed payment to a tradesperson – not just because they’re disorganised or forgetful, but to try to negotiate a lower price. 5. Unfair reviews Along with unfair criticism, some householders may threaten to put unfair or even untruthful reviews on review sites in a bid to secure a lower price for work. These websites do their best to investigate suspicious reviews and prevent them – but that may not stop customers from threatening to post them. PROPERTYMAIL / 21



Are coloured wall tiles and a patterned floor too much together?


Not at all! Here we used a dusky pink wall tile with a green patterned tile on the floor. If the tones work together then colour on the walls and pattern on the floor can be a great combination to explore. Don’t be afraid to mix colours, you don’t have to stick to the same colours, be creative!

Patterned Tiles Q & A With The Tap End Justine Bullock Designer & Director at The Tap End Bathrooms, Pontyclun


I want a bold colour in my bathroom so I can use funky accessories etc, but I don’t want to use paint to achieve this as I want it fully tiled – are there any tiles you can suggest that are a block colour? This floor tile packs a punch when it comes colour blocking, but it is a hexagon shape, and has a white pattern on the surface which breaks it up a bit. This is a good way to bring in colour, and the white pattern works super well with white sanitaryware to create a fresh scheme. So essentially it’s like colour blocking but with a twist.


- Bathroom Design - Supply - Project Management -


My husband wants us to have a white bathroom, with white tiles everywhere but I am not keen on this because of the grout. What do you suggest when it comes to white bathrooms and grout?


Metro, linear and brick tiles in white are all super popular and look great but you are right, they are grout heavy! Instead of a white grout try a grey grout for contrast and that will stay looking cleaner for longer. Pair with a grey and white patterned floor like we did here to give an otherwise plain scheme a lift!

57 Llantrisant Road, Pontyclun, CF72 9DP 01443 449056

interior design

Home Design Q&A With Steve Bloom, founder of Space fitting furniture.


I’ve just bought a property and I’m looking to make some alterations, including an extension and knocking through a wall. What’s the best way to start?


We get asked this question a lot. Many people want to take on work but don’t know where to begin. We believe that the design stage is most important because you can start to think about the new layout, positioning of windows, doors etc. It’s easier to start designing before any construction has begun, as there is a blank canvas to work with. Once the scheme has been decided a builder can quote on that specific design. That way the quote will be more accurate for the works that need to be carried out.




Once I have decided to go ahead with the design process, what happens next?

We at Space fitting furniture can call out to your home to look at the space, we will chat through what you would like from the space and draw up a specification list. Alternatively, if you have plans drawn up already, you can make an appointment to call into our studio so we can look at the proposed layout. We will then use our expertise to work on the design and come up with ideas for the proposed scheme, creating 3D visuals and 360° VR views. This will give you a clear understanding of the potential space and what can be achieved. Clients love to see the transformed space, it is an impressive step in the design process, seeing the proposed design will make you excited to begin the project.


Will the disruption that comes with a renovation be worth it in the long run?



Taking on work can be daunting but there are so many advantages and they certainly out-weigh the shortterm disruption. Firstly, you will definitely add value to your existing home. Modernising the space will appeal to future buyers. More importantly, if you have taken on the project to make improvements for you and your family, the transformed space will improve your lives. The extra room you’ve always wanted, or that dated kitchen that needed re-designing, will be fulfilled and you can relax, socialise and enjoy spending time in your newly renovated home.




WWW.SPACES-DESIGN.CO.UK INFO@SPACES-DESIGN.CO.UK 02920 756840 Follow us on instagram @spacef itting


Kitchen feature

Kitchen Design Q&A

How can a kitchen can really stand out and be more personal to its new owner? After the crazy year or so we have had with the pandemic isn’t it about time we all had something exciting to look forward to. After staring at the same four walls for weeks on end, one of the things that has kept me going throughout has been planning our new kitchen, just like lots of you ladies out there. I spend my life planning other people’s kitchens, advising them on making decisions about colours, textures, design details to make sure that the end result is even better than they imagined, though it’s not quite so easy when it’s for yourself I have to say! But buying a new kitchen isn’t something you do every day so it should be an enjoyable experience from start to finish, from design through to fitting. With the right help, choosing all those little details, the right paint finish, worktop colour and the perfect handles will make your kitchen truly YOURS, not the same as anybody else’s and one that perfectly suits the way you and your family our customers absolutely love them. live. We all cook differently, enjoy different foods There is the misconception by many that and cater for lots of tastes so surely then your of Spaces they are purposely designed forPhotograph kitchen courtesy kitchen should be different to anybody else’s as islands this is not the case they will fit into well? By choosing a hand made kitchen, one that a standard depth 60cm worktop anywhere is hand made just for you, it will always be more within the kitchen, even under the kitchen individual, more perfectly suited to your lifestyle window as sinks are. They are the only and definitely have that all important “wow fachob that takes the steam and cooking tor” that everyone wanyts. smells directly from the source which Don’t settle for something ordinary, something is then either re-circulated or ducted poorly made that won’t stand the test of time, straight to the outside air. choose one of our Chalkhouse handmade They have the benefit of not needing kitchens because in times like these you really do any other form of extraction as with deserve something special. conventional hobs saving the expense and need for extractor hoods and the cost of ceiling bulkheads if fitted in an island.

Property Mail asks the experts Steve McCormick from SMC Kitchens Over the years you have been designing kitchens, what have been the main changes, and has any of the changes seen past designs or colours coming back into fashion? The main change in kitchen design as I see it is the fact that the kitchen is no longer seen as the room where the family meals are prepared (long overdue in the UK). Kitchen furniture has evolved over the last few years still keeping the main theme of kitchens but with the big emphasis on becoming more household furniture making it an easy transition into the lounge/dining areas (this is what I mean when I talk about integrated living to our customers). All this has been due to mainly German manufactures being prepared to invest in having a extensively large catalogue of units of different heights and depth that are on the shelf and ready to go that do not suffer a surcharge fee for designers being inventive it’s for this reason why I chose a German supplier. There has been quite a few changes in appliance design. Compact cooking is very popular in the way it looks. The system is mainly designed around the 60cm single oven a 45cm combination oven with grill and microwave and a 15cm warming drawer this provides all the functions modern cooks require in one area. Induction hobs have been around for awhile now and our best selling hob. They offer instant heat and are by far the easiest of hobs to clean even when in use. Bora self-venting induction hobs the most recent in hob design. They are still not that well known in the market place and are definitely worth a mention, when sold 26 / PROPERTYMAIL

Ceri Screem - Chalkhouse Kitchens

Bora self-venting induction hobs

Gadgets LED lighting has come a long way in kitchen design all our lights are integrated into the units (no cables can be seen) and all have emotion dimmer and can be individually remotely controlled.

Claire Bloom from Spaces How should readers budget for a kitchen, are there any hidden costs to look out for? If you go to a reputable kitchen showroom, all costs should be made clear from the outset. The only things that cant always be costed for are the unknowns such as, faulty gas or electrics, mostly the price you have given should cover everything you have discussed. Are there any tips you can give readers to help their kitchen be the “come to” social place of their home? Great design, good workspace and places for visitors for sit and have a drink, such as a breakfast bar. An open plan space is great if you are able to knock walls down and be open minded to what your space can provide. DECLUTTER your worksurfaces, so its more appealing for the social experience.These should all be discussed at the beginning of your design experience, so that it comes together to enhance both a practical and perfect social space.

David Alexander - LBS For our readers that have never thought about going to LBS for a kitchen, can you tell me more about what you do? 90 Years of creating homes!. In any kitchen or bathroom, it’s the experience that counts. Your kitchen is the heart of your home, while your bathroom is often the place to unwind at the end of a long day. Both are extensions of our primary living space and are every bit as important as any other room in the house. People are at the heart of what we do, and our experienced Designers will work closely with you to create your dream Kitchen or Bathroom to suit your lifestyle, project and budget. Our award-winning Showrooms display the latest products from industry leading suppliers, allowing us to provide you with the highest levels of customer service. Our entire offer is available to you through your LBS account, making the entire planning process simple and stress free. Be inspired and visit one of our beautiful Showrooms today for a browse or a free design consultation!

Photograph courtesy of Charles James

New York Kitchen -A contemporary handleless style kitchen The New York kitchen is a perfect addition to any home. It has a subtle handleless style that features an integrated ‘j-pull’ handle which creates a contemporary linear look. You’ll love the clean and effortless style that New York offers and create a timeless classic that won’t date. When combined with integrated appliances, New York creates clean, sleek lines that sweep effortlessly around your kitchen. New York fits perfectly into an open plan design where you have a more living kitchen style, the cabinets can be easily adapted to function as TV units, or Hannaway storage and ensures that you can take the design from one area to the next. The minimalistic style is available in a range of both gloss and matt painted colours. Laura Ashley - LBS Kitchens & Bathrooms is an exclusive retailer of the Laura Ashley Kitchen Collection. The collection, in partnership with the Symphony Group, features exquisitely designed ranges presenting the very best in British kitchen design.

The Laura Ashley Kitchen Collection features a mix of traditional and contemporary styles which have been designed for ‘the way you live today’. Kitchens within the collection will suit every type of home from urban apartment to country cottage. Each of the ranges are available in a variety of hand-painted matt or gloss finishes, all designed in the Laura Ashley tradition.


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Property Knowledge Property Questions & Answers

buying an apartment to rent Q asWhen an investment, what is the most

important criteria to consider?

you start viewing apartments A Before on your short list of properties,

ask the Estate Agent if there is any Restrictive Covenant, that prevents or restricts letting. There is nothing worse than incurring Surveyors and Solicitors costs, only to find out, at the last minute, that Letting is prohibited. Not forgetting the valuable time you have taken to find the apartment. If you do not ask the Estate Agent the question about any letting restrictions, they are not obliged to inform you, but most best practice Estate Agents would pre-warn you, if you have made them aware, that your sole intention for purchase, is to Rent.

do I need an Energy Q Why Performance Certificate (EPC) to sell my home?

A (EPC’s) provide information on how Energy Performance Certificates

energy efficient your house is and the level of carbon dioxide emissions. All homes, being either Sold or Let, are required by law to have an EPC. The Energy Performance Certificate is basically similar to the labels now placed with domestic appliances, such as refrigerators and washing machines. This requirement is the responsibility of the Homeowner/Landlord and is overseen by the Estate Agent or Letting Agent. The average cost of an EPC is £60, but this varies dependent on the assessor.



The rating measures the energy and carbon emission efficiency of your home, using a grade from ‘A’ to ‘G’. An ‘A’ rating is the most efficient, whilst ‘G’ is the least efficient. The average efficiency grade to date is ‘D’. The EPC allows prospective Buyers/ Tenants to see information on the energy efficiency and carbon emissions, so they can consider energy efficiency and fuel costs, as part of their investment/monthly outgoings. advice would you suggest Q What when considering removal companies to move house?

A smooth moving day.

Planning your move is essential to a

At least four weeks before the move date, obtain quotes from three removal companies who hold insurance for furniture in transit, ideally these from personal recommendations. Ensure they are members of the British Association of Removers (BAR), or the National Guild of Removers and Storers (NGRS). Colour-code boxes for each individual room. Do a floor plan for the removers, for where your furniture will go. Obtain a ‘Cancellation Protection Policy’, in case the date is changed at the last minute. Quotes depend on the day of the week, distance covered, size of the load, value risk, amount of furniture, who packs/ unpacks and ease of access to your property. Make arrangements for young children and pets to stay with a relative or neighbour, on the day of removal.

Ensure that your Estate Agent has a set of keys (including garage or shed) and any alarm details, preferably by or before 12 noon on the day of completion. On moving day, bring cleaning materials, toiletries, spare bulbs, refreshments and your mobile phone. Advise your Solicitor and Estate Agent, how you may be contacted on the day of completion, for retrieval of keys, once legal completion has taken place.


I am purchasing a house which has been extended. Do I need to be concerned about the Council Tax Band?

A property that has been extended, If you are considering buying a

you should be aware that the Council Tax Band could be increased, after the sale has taken place. Council Tax is a local tax based upon the value of each domestic property, at a fixed point in time. The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is the Government organisation responsible for allocating a Council Tax Band to all homes in Wales. There are nine bans, A to E, set by the Welsh Assembly Government, for all properties in Wales. Individual properties may have their Banding re-assessed, after the Council Tax List comes into effect. This may apply if a property has had improvements made to it since the 1 April 2005, which increased its value, the Banding cannot generally be reassessed until it is next sold, or at a re-valuation. It would be prudent to view the Property Council Tax Band List on, as not only will you find its Council Tax Band category, but an improvement indicator table, which shows if improvements have been made to the property, that might result in a Council Tax Band change, if a ‘relevant transaction’ takes place, for example, if the property is Sold.

Ask The Agent Do Home Improvements Add Value? Get all your Flower, legal questions withofour resident&solicitor By Nichola Owner answered and Director Stephens Partners Estate Agents

Well, the answer to this question is ….. maybe! Some might, and some are unlikely to. Some may add to the value, but some may be valuable in other ways. So, here, we at Stephens & Partners Estate Agents take a look at whether all home improvements are equal. We have bags of experience in property in and around Cardiff, so if you need some expert advice on exactly what could add value to your home, just get in touch. Call us on 029 2022 7603 or email us at info@

What classes as a home improvement? To start with, what exactly constitutes a home improvement? This is an interesting one. A new central heating system is undoubtedly an improvement, but chances are that a new system is being installed because the old one isn’t up to the job. So, yes, it is a home improvement, but it’s not the same as, for example, building a conservatory.

Get a bit lofty Many people are looking for a home that gives them space. Perhaps a growing family needs a couple of extra bedrooms, or a room is needed to use as a space in which to partake in a hobby or to work. There’s no doubt that in the right area, the number of bedrooms can help increase the price of your property. You could go up into the loft, making good use of a void, or you might decide to have an extension built. The thing to consider here though is why you are having the improvement done and what it costs. If it costs you £25,000 to have

your loft converted, and it will only add an extra £15,000 to the property, does it make sense? Perhaps not if you’re doing it to sell your home, but it will if you intend on staying there and need the space.

Kitchen improvements They say that the kitchen is the heart of a home. A tatty, tired-looking kitchen with units from the 1970s may well put people off. If you have a brand new, sparkling kitchen, then you can certainly up the value of your home. If you don’t want to go the whole way to getting a new kitchen, have you thought about putting new handles on cupboards, painting doors, installing a new worktop? There are alternatives.

Drive up the value You may be tempted to create space by adding a bedroom, office or playroom by converting the garage. But, put the brakes on and have a think. If you need to, fine. But, think about those who may buy your house when you sell. Are they likely to need a garage? So will you be driving up the value or making your property harder to sell? By changing the use of the garage, you may be devaluing the price and attractiveness of your home – particularly if you’re in a busy town or city centre where parking is at a premium. Decorating and landscaping You’ve chosen some lovely wallpaper. And while you were at the DIY store, you

picked up some ideas about landscaping the garden too. But, wait a minute. If you’re decorating or landscaping, you’re probably doing it to your tastes. That’s fair enough, but if a potential buyer comes along and really doesn’t like what you’ve done, you may not be getting any future value out of it – although landscaping may make your home more attractive and so easier to sell. It’s about the value of kerb appeal!

What’s the added value? It’s difficult to put a value on home improvements as they vary so much. A bathroom in one house may add £10,000 to a property, but a bathroom at another house that doesn’t match the same quality finish, may add just a couple of thousand. A decent loft conversion could add up to £30,000 to a property, but the profit depends on exactly how much it cost you in the first place. As you can see from a brief look online, a lot of “value” is based on estimates. Based on our experience and knowledge of the local property market in Cardiff, we can tell you what your property is worth now, and what it might be worth with a few home improvements. Stephens & Partners Estate Agents are your local property experts for the Cardiff area. Call us on 029 2022 7603 or email to chat with a member of our friendly and experienced team. PROPERTYMAIL / 32



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Marketing your business in Property Mail works really well. But don’t just take our word for it. CARDIFF HOMES Richard Slater Regional Manager We wanted to promote our company to potential customers that are looking for storage solutions due to moving house throughout Cardiff. We chose Proper ty Mail for a couple of reasons. Firstly, its proper ty related and therefore targeted at our core business user as people reading it may be in the process of moving or planning to in the near future and therefore likely to be requiring storage or related services. Secondly for its distribution, we know this is an area they are passionate about, which gives us the confidence that so many people are picking up the magazine and seeing our adver t. We have 89 storage facilities all over the UK. I’m happy to repor t that outside of the M25 our Cardiff store is one of the most successful. One major factor for this is down to regular marketing in Proper ty Mail.

THE TAP END Justine Bullock Co-Creator and Designer

We have used the Proper ty Mail for our local adver tising for around two years. Mitchell and the team know and understand our needs and are always on hand if we have any questions about our adver tising. They are a great team who we enjoy working with! Clients often comment on how much they enjoy reading the magazine, and we couldn’t be happier with the results. For us, we wanted to find local adver tising that was flexible and allowed us to run different types of adver ts based on our current/ completed projects, we are thrilled with how many people seem to recognise our company logo and how the magazine has resulted in more social media hits as a result.



potentially be divided include irises, bamboos ornamental grasses and anemones. To boost your chances of dividing plants successfully, the Royal Horticultural Society ( website suggests dividing plants when they’re not in active growth. For example, summer-flowering plants could be divided in spring or autumn. And make sure you keep your plants well watered.

TIP THREE Keep your black plastic pots and reuse them

Concern around the amount of stuff that gets thrown away - particularly lastics - has been growing in recent years. As many of the plants we buy come in black plastic pots, think about creative ways of reusing them for other purposes, whether it’s to pot on other plants, store garden tools in or to upcycle into something else.

Garden Tips Want your outdoor space to look its best while still watching the pennies? Give these top tips a go. WRIT TEN BY VICKY SHAW

TIP ONE Think small

Large plants can make an instant impact in the garden, but they can also be costly. You could save a lot of money by growing plants yourself from seed, or if that sounds too tricky some retailers will sell very young plants, which you can pot on at home until they’re big enough to be planted out. To boost your chances of successful growing to maturity, you’ll need to be prepared to give your young plants plenty of attention.


TIP TWO Divide plants

If your garden beds are looking a bit patchy, you don’t necessarily need to head out to the garden centre to buy new plants. Try splitting some of the plants that are already growing there into smaller clumps and dotting them around to fill in any gaps in your planting. As well as multiplying the number of plants you have, it could encourage any tired- looking perennials to grow more vigorously, giving them a fresh lease of life. Plants which grow in clumps and can

TIP FOUR Make your own compost

Just add vegetable peelings, soft hedg e clippings, cut grass and old bedding plants and you’re good to go. Spring can be a good time to get started, as the warmer months help the compost rot down more quickly.

TIP FIVE Finally, look after your plants

Many plants fail due to being watered too much or not enough. So try to get the balance right and make giving them regular care part of your routine. Plants in pots will particularly need your attention. If you cherish your plants, you’re less likely to need to spend money on replacements.

We need

LAND If you own, control or are aware of land or buildings with development potential, we want to hear from you.

WE NEED We are keen to find out more about any opportunity. With a strong track record in turning liabilities into valuable assets, we are also interested in exploring sites that may otherwise be regarded as redundant, difficult or problematic. Refused and appealed cases, land assemblies and sites with difficult histories are welcomed.

• We operate throughout Cardiff,

We Want to Hear From You

• Medium and longer-term investment

We are willing to consider every opportunity and can often make things work where others have failed. We are able to negotiate quickly and tailor each land transaction to suit your needs. If you own land you think might have development potential, Contact Us Now.

Tel: 029 2022 7603


The Vale and surrounding areas

• We develop sites ranging from a single plot to schemes with no upper limit

• Vacant possession is not a necessity opportunities considered

• Conversions of existing buildings • Contaminated and difficult sites are welcomed

• Mixed-use schemes

Disaster Chef Even the worst disaster chefs can learn to cook, say Nadia Sawalha and Kaye Adams WRITTEN BY ELLA WALKER


n the front cover of Nadia Sawalha and Kaye Adams’ new cookbook, Disaster Chef, the Loose Women presenters are mid food fight. “That was a bad idea,” says Adams, 55, shaking her head (“That was so fun!” Sawalha, 53, shouts over her). “I really cannot recommend cold noodles in your cleavage.” But Sawalha stands by it. “In the world of Instagram, when so much of cookery is about, ‘This is what I am and you’re not; I bet you wish you were me; I’m so wonderful I could eat myself ’, if that doesn’t say who we are, what does?” she asks with a cackle. This is the duo in a nutshell. Best friends for more than two decades, they chat haphazardly over one another, sniping, laughing, buoying one another up and bickering. “She drives me up the f****** wall,” says Sawalha fondly. “She’s so condescending, patronising, interfering, domineering - ugh, she’s very - eering,” responds Adams affectionately. 39 / PROPERTYMAIL


Their lack of artifice, whether on telly or on their YouTube channel, is crucial, and without the latter, there’d be no cookbook. The pair are bona fide “middle-aged social-media sensations” - despite their kids’ initial protestations (they have two daughters apiece). “My eldest daughter can’t stay far enough away from it, she’s wholly embarrassed and wishes I would crawl under a stone,” says Adams. 18,000 subscribers are tough to ignore though. They test products - and recently got a million hits for a video in which they tried cosmetic tape for holding your neck and face up. “It’s basically medical grade Sellotape,” says Adams with a grin - chat about everything from hair loss to alcohol addiction, and on Thursday nights, stream live from Sawalha’s kitchen. “We usually just go, ‘Oh, let’s film something’. We open the fridge, have a look and just get going, we don’t have

food & Drink

“WE COOKED THE FOOD IN THE HOUSE AND MY HUSBAND TOOK THE PHOTOS. SHE DID THE WHOLE THING” any plan,” says London-born Sawalha. “We’re quite juvenile. We’re reclaiming our immaturity,” adds Adams. They started cooking together because “Kaye really was, there’s no doubt about it, disaster chef ”, explains Sawalha, who won Celebrity MasterChef in 2007 and has a slew of her own cookbooks already. Adams pulls her phone out and scrolls to a picture of a brown flip-flop-shaped mess that is apparently ‘pitta con funghi’ (“We should definitely film people’s reactions to it,” says Sawalha, with another cackle). They started posting Adams’ not-so appetising dishes on Facebook and realised a lot of people could relate cooking together on camera became a no-brainer, and the book brings everything together.


“I’m not cheffy at all, I’m only a home cook. I’ve never done caramel baskets or anything, but Kay made me realise that not everyone knows what it means when you say, ‘Fry the onions until they’re transparent’,” says exEastEnders actress, Sawalha. Disaster Chef is full of “real food, to get you through life”, says Glasgowbased Adams, and is peppered with basic tips and tricks from Sawalha - from getting your steak out of the fridge half an hour before cooking it so it won’t be tough, to tipping your drained potatoes back into the hot pan to dry out before mashing them. Stuff she’d assumed people knew, before

Stirlingshire-born Adams pointed out that we don’t all have the “building blocks to jump in there”. “I’ve managed to successfully make it through life ‘til this point, I just missed out on the cooking thing,” says Adams. “I don’t have the cheffy language, I don’t have the references. It was never something I felt a great connection with. My mum wasn’t particularly into it; you go to university, you’re eating crap, it just passed me by.” She even remembers at school making a pineapple-the-right-way-up cake by accident (“I did get top marks in the theory though”). But Adams is learning. “She made this,” says Sawalha, pointing at the book’s berry pavlova recipe. “We didn’t have any home ecs, or stylists. We cooked the food in the house and my husband took the photos. She did the whole thing - I was really, really drunk there, you can see how pissed I was in the pictures (it was an accident, I hadn’t eaten!). “I’m well proud of her - but anyone can make that. If you do every single one of these things, you will create that; simple as that,” she says, stabbing the instructions on the page for

All photos from Nadia And Kaye Disaster Chef, photography by Mark Adderley, £20. Available now.

emphasis. “Without those specific instructions,” says Adams, “I’d think, ‘Well this is a disaster, I can’t make a pavlova, I’m a rubbish cook’, and walk to Waitrose, whereas it’s a lovely moment when you follow something and it works. You think, ‘Wow’.”


For Adams, despite her improvements, cooking will always be something of a chore. “Even if I get better at it, it’s not going to be the thing that makes me relax and calm down,” she says. “At the end of the day, the kids need to be fed, it’s another thing that ‘needs to be done’.” But for Sawalha, the kitchen is her happy place. “My husband will be like, ‘You’ve had a really hard day, don’t be silly, we’ll get a takeaway’. No! I’ve had a really stressful day, so I want to cook!” she says. “But just because I can cook doesn’t mean I want to be using 20 different ingredients and spending two hours in the kitchen every night - I don’t, I

While their YouTube channel has been a terrific success, and Disaster Chef has done wonders for Adams’ culinary powers, the whole thing has induced a sad state of affairs for their relationship. “I don’t think we’ve been for a meal or had a glass of bloody prosecco at the end of a show,” says Sawalha, comically outraged at their lives being forever captured onscreen. “When we’ve got the camera on, it’s all very fizzy and organic,” Adams deadpans. “When it’s off, we sit slumped, slack-jawed in the back of the car, staring at each other.”



14-25 November Interiors emporium Rockett St George, is renowned for its quirky eye and distinctive, glamorous look - and capturing these vibes in your own home has never been easier, as brand founder Jane Rockett and Lucy St George have shared their secrets in a new book, Extraordinary Interiors.Here, Jane and Lucy talk to us about how it all began, staying inspired, and how to recreate their style in your own home... their secrets in a new book, Extraordinary Interiors.Here, Jane and Lucy talk to us about how it all began, staying inspired, and how to recreate their style in your own home...

1 over a medium heat. Add the onions Heat the oil in a large frying pan

and garlic and cook for two to three minutes, stirring, until softened. Add the tomatoes and stir.

2 (if using), and stir for one minute. Add the rice, saffron and paprika

3 the heat to bring up to the bubble

Pour in the sherry or wine. Increase

for one minute, stirring to burn off the alcohol, then reduce the heat to medium.

4 cover, and simmer very gently for 15 Add the stock and seafood mix,

minutes over a low heat, or until the rice and fish are cooked. Add the peas three minutes before the end. Don’t stir.

5 liquid is absorbed, you’re ready to When the rice is tender and the

go, with a good squeeze from the lemon wedges, and a flourish of chopped parsley. Tip: Feel free to add chunks of fried chorizo, if you eat meat. Nadia And Kaye Disaster Chef by Nadia Sawalha and Kaye Adams, photography by Mark Adderley, is published by DK, priced £20. Available now.


INCREDIENTS * 2-3tbsp olive oil *2 onions, sliced *3 medium tomatoes, cut into 8 *3-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped *300g basmati rice *Pinch of saffron threads *1 heaped tsp smoked paprika (optional) *150ml dry sherry or white wine *400ml hot fish stock (from a cube is fine) *400g pack of frozen seafood mix *100g frozen peas *Lemon wedges, to serve *Handful of chopped parsley leaves, to serve



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