3 ways to add design flair to your kitchen

The kitchen has to be a practical room in the house, of course, you need somewhere to prepare meals and store ingredients and utensils. However, there is no reason why you can’t use some creativity and add some sparkle to the design to make the space fun as well as functional.

From fixtures and fittings to lighting and decor there are lots of ways to fit a feature in your kitchen. Check out these 5 ways to add design flair to your kitchen for some inspiration:

Add a feature splashback

A quick way to make an impact in the kitchen is to add some colour or texture in the form of a feature splashback. These hard, smooth surfaces usually made from glass or acrylic protect your walls from stains when cooking and are incredibly easy to keep clean – simply wipe clean.

Splashbacks almost make a great design statement! Most suppliers like Simply Plastics offer coloured acrylic splashbacks in a wide range of colours, materials and finishes so it is easy to find the right one to suit your kitchen units and colour scheme.

For a bold look choose a material in a bright colour or pattern which catches the eye or for a more subtle look try matching your splashback to the cabinets, worktops and other fixtures.

An eye-catching extractor hood

Gracefully enhance the kitchen and add a sense of style to your living space with a feature extractor hood. Originally designed to remove airborne grease, odours, and cooking fumes from your kitchen these practical appliances now come in a range of styles and be a real feature.

There are five types of cooker hoods to choose from; built-in, chimney, freestanding, integrated and island. If you’re looking for a sleek modern look try a chimney style hood; these hoods are shaped like a chimney and need to be fitted to a wall. They are usually made from a modern stainless steel and they can incorporate a stylish glass canopy to catch steam and a telescopic section to extend to the ceiling

Undercabinet lighting

Having good lighting is important in a room where you will be using knives and other potentially dangerous utensils. For something a bit different why not try undercabinet lighting which helps brighten a kitchen and provides crucial task lighting for meal prep and cleanup.

Under cabinet lighting allows more variations of light bulbs than the common ones. You can explore more and add variation based on your bulb choice. LEDs come out as the best option as they use around 10% of the energy of halogen bulbs, and about 40% of the energy typically consumed by a fluorescent light making them an efficient option.

Does your kitchen have a funky design feature?

stylish modern kitchen

5 DIY Safety Tips #MoveOrImprove

I have to admit that DIY is not my strength, having experienced frustration and impatience at putting furniture together and a slight fear of hitting my thumb with a hammer. I have massive respect for anyone who takes it upon themselves to make updates or upgrades to their own homes. If you do choose to do it yourself, then take heed of these 5 DIY safety tips inspired by the below infographic from Slater & Gorden.

Be Prepared with First Aid

No one wants to have an accident when doing DIY, but you have to be prepared for anything so ensure your first aid kit is stocked and close at hand to address any scrapes, scratches or bumps during your renovation.

Clothing

Be aware of your clothing when doing DIY as getting something caught in a tool or snagged on materials could cause an accident. Be practical and sensible about you attire when doing work on your home, avoid wearing jewellery or any loose clothing with free-flowing fabric. It is important that you wear the relevant protective gear for your job such as goggles or earplugs to reduce the chance of damage to eyes or ears.

Power Tools

I definitely worry anytime a power tool surfaces in my house and it should go without saying that you need to be vigilant and very careful when using them. Ensure that they are unplugged when not in use, and keep out of the reach of children. Be aware of any power cables around you as tripping when using a power tool can be disastrous. Never carry a power tool around by the cord, keep the cable away from sharp edges, oil and heat and avoid yanking a cord out of the socket.

Your Surroundings

It’s not just the tools you use which can potentially cause damage; if you’re not observant of your surroundings you could harm yourself or others. Be mindful of who and what is in your workspace, be sure to clear any unnecessary things from your renovation space and keep track of any other people (or pets!) who might inadvertently get in the way or cause a problem.

The Ladder

I am not a fan of ladders; I hate the idea of accidentally falling off of one and really hurting myself. There is a simple way of avoiding these sorts of problems and that is the 4-to-1 rule: For every four feet in ladder height, the bottom of the ladder should be one foot away from what it is leaning against.

It is important to make sure you read the ladder instructions which will guide you in choosing the right ladder for the job and take note of any warning labels. Always use a ladder which is long enough and welded so it is strong enough to support the weight.

See the infographic below for more information about health and home improvement.

DIY safety infographic

Bathroom Design Questions that are Worth Answering

We do all sorts in the bathroom, with many of us using it as a retreat, as somewhere to get away from the hustle and bustle of family life. The fact that it is such an important room means that you really need to stop and think before you change it. You need to get the design right if you want to avoid unnecessary problems.

Is the toilet high enough?

Simple things like installing a toilet that is not too low will make it easier for the men in the family to pee comfortably and reduce the chances of them missing the pan. This means less cleaning and far fewer arguments. You can buy all styles of toilets from betterbathrooms.com, so there really is no need to scrimp on this very important fixture.

Is a shower all you need?

Increasingly, families are installing showers instead of a new bath. For most, this works out well, at least in the short term, but many end up regretting the decision to rip out their bath.

Many homeowners find that they miss being able to spend an hour soaking in the bath, away from distractions, and being able to relax totally. Showers are nice, but for most people they are invigorating rather than relaxing.

There really is no reason to keep at least one of your baths, they are no longer an expensive luxury. These days, it is not difficult to pick up a new one for less than £100. As a result, a bath is a luxury most families can afford.

Is one bathroom enough?

If you only have one bathroom in the house, it really is worth considering creating a separate toilet. Taking this approach will help to cut down on the length of that early morning queue and reduce arguments as a result. In most homes, there is enough space to do this. You just need to check with a plumber whether there is enough room for the pipe work to laid out to accommodate setting your toilet up in a separate room.

As your children get older it is also well worth considering setting up a sink, or small shower unit in the corner of their bedroom. This is not always possible, but it is definitely an option that is well worth exploring.

Do my new bathroom plans meet the regulations?

Another important concern many homeowners completely forget about when they redesign their bathrooms is whether their new plans are compliant with both national and local building codes. This is an important consideration because failing to comply can result in your being fined and having to rip your new toilet, shower cubicle and bath out and start again.

Not complying with the regulations is an expensive mistake that you really do not want to make. You also have to bear in mind that the regulations are there to protect the health of your family by making sure that the waste you produce flows safely away from your property.

The pros and cons of laminate flooring

When our current house was undergoing a renovation before we moved in I was given the choice of flooring, and having lived with laminate in our London flat and having found it to be a positive experience I chose to remain carpet free in our new home. Laminate flooring was invented as an inexpensive alternative to real wood, which can be very pricey, and today you can find a huge range of types of wood from oak, hickory and heartwood pine to more exotic species such as tigerwood.

Laminate flooring is made from a core of fibreboard backed with a moisture safe bottom later and covered on top with a high-resolution image of real wood or other materials, coated in a clear top layer to prevent scratches and dents. Laminate can come in all sorts of styles such as antiqued and rustic allowing you to create the perfect real wood look in your home but for a fraction of the price. You can also get laminate which looks like stone, tile and metal perfect for a more modern look! Check out this range of laminate flooring for some inspiration.

If you’re not sure if you want to go with laminate then check out these pros and cons to help you make up your mind.

The positives

  • Installing laminate is easy – it comes in planks or tiles with edges which have been designed to snap together so there’s no need for expensive and complicated tools or glues.
  • Laminate can be installed on top of most other floors (not carpet!) as it sits on top of a thin foam underlayer, so there’s no need to spend hours ripping up old flooring before laying it down.
  • The flooring has been designed with a stable construction which prevents the seams from opening during changes in moisture level, so you don’t need to worry about trip hazards.
  • Laminate has been designed to be very touch and hardwearing which makes cleaning and maintenance easy. It is perfect in a functional setting where practicality is your priority – our house is home to a labrador puppy who loves to get muddy! We have found that a quick mop and sweeping/hoovering every week or so keeps it looking new and paw-print free.
  • Solid hardwood can stain and is vulnerable to strong sunlight; laminate does not suffer from these problems.

The negatives

  • Although the flooring is protected against moisture, even the best flooring will become damaged with frequent exposure to high humidity. Avoid using laminate in rooms where there is a good chance of high moisture such as laundry rooms, bathrooms and basements which tend to flood etc.
  • Unlike real wood which can be refinished after a period of use, laminate needs to be replaced when it is worn out so check the warranty when making your purchase. It’s generally worth spending a bit more on your laminate to get a product which will last longer whereas cheaper options can wear out faster.
  • Although laminate looks like real wood it is, of course, different and doesn’t have the same feel when being walked on – although this has never bothered me!
  • Laminate flooring can be a bit slippery underfoot as it has a smooth surface. If you’re concerned about accidents occurring be sure to use floor coverings on large areas.
  • Hardwood and engineered wood give you better value when selling your property than laminate but of course, these are much dearer to purchase.
  • Sadly laminate contains plastic that doesn’t degrade in landfills and some chemicals such as formaldehyde which can be damaging to the environment.

Overall for our lifestyle laminate has been the best choice, perfect for dealing with countryside life and the abuse from an often muddy dog! Would you give laminate a go in your home?

The environmental benefits of underfloor heating

Sustainability, non-renewable resources versus renewable resources, environmentally friendly, being green… they are all phrases that we have become accustomed to in recent years. The drive to have warm, cosy homes that don’t cost the earth to heat, both physically and financially, is an activity that we must all consider, especially during the winter months!

With this in mind, you may have been persuaded that the best and more environmentally-friendly heating option is to invest in underfloor heating kits. Before you rip up the floorboards and start laying pipes or electric mats, what is the truth around underfloor heating? Is it all that it is cracked up to be?

What is powering your underfloor heating?

The environmentally-friendliness and subsequent green credentials of any heating system depends on the source of energy being used to power the heating system. So how can underfloor heating be powered, and which is the best green option?

  • Combi-boiler – gas or oil

Gas and oil are two examples of non-renewable energy. A natural product forming over millennia, supplies are running low and so advocating using these sources of power seems faintly ridiculous.

However, our use of these resources in the past have been wasteful. For every kWh of heat, they produced, we used very little and we didn’t use it efficiently.

With underfloor heating kits and systems, they use less energy to heat your home to a pleasant, comfortable temperature. And when combined with a modern combi-boiler that uses energy more efficiently, you will use less energy to heat your home to the same level.

  • Solar energy

If you opt for electric underfloor heating, you may consider using them with solar panels. If you have a south-facing roof and plenty of roof space, pack on the solar panels and start capturing all that energy in the sun.

  • Ground source heat

Sinking pipes deep into the ground and using the earth’s heat to warm water that then flows through the pipes of your underfloor heating kit is also a means of using renewable source of energy to heat your home. It never runs out and is perfectly reliable. And, like solar energy, produces no carbon emissions in operation either.

How are you using it?

We have all known it: your house becomes too hot and stuffy and you simply must release some of the heat by opening windows or doors. This, of course, defeats the object and is also incredibly wasteful, both to the environment and to your budget.

With underfloor heating, manufacturers and installers agree that the best way of using it to its maximum efficiency is to have the most responsive thermostat that your budget will stretch to.

A smart thermostat is paired with your smart phone and via an app, you can have minute control over the temperature in your home, every minute of the day. Pre-setting the thermostat is all well and good but it may be that one day, you are going to be late home from work. Rather than the underfloor heating system belching out heat to warm an empty home, you can delay it. And then, when you have finally left work, you log on to your app via a Wi-Fi or data connection and tell it to decrease the heat or vice versa.

Underfloor heating is also different in how it works to the central heating system we are also familiar with. Whereas central heating belches out heat with a surge in energy, underfloor heating works by maintaining a pleasant, but lower temperature in your home.

If you want a roaring hot home, invest in the biggest fire place you can but, underfloor heating will give off a far more pleasant heat, and cost you far less money too.

How insulated is your home?

Lower running temperatures means less energy consumption, whether the underfloor heating system is connected to your combi-boiler or running off ground source heat.

But, you can take this one step further and insulate your home to super-duper levels. This means using environmentally friendly insulation in walls and the loft, as well as fantastic insulation beneath your underfloor heating pipes or mats so that no heat is lost to the ground.

Is underfloor heating the best in environmentally friendly heating options?

It is certainly close to the No.1 spot if it is not already occupying it. It uses less energy to deliver a level of heat that is pleasant, cosy and comfortable. Can you think of another heating system that delivers this and consistently too?

New Year, New Bathroom!

If you’re looking to give your bathroom a fresh new makeover for the new year, you will have some important decisions to make including choosing the perfect lighting. The kind of lights you pick for the busiest room in the house can have a big impact. You need to consider safety as well as style based on the kind of lighting you’d like to pick, and how close the lights will be to water.

You need to consider safety as well as style based on the kind of lighting you’d like to pick, and how close the lights will be to water. Lights must either have a pull cord if it’s in the bathroom or, a light switch which needs to be situated outside the room. Once you’ve thought about all of the safety aspects and have made sure there are no hazards, it’s time to think about the style.

Ceiling Lights

A lot of bathrooms now feature spotlights as they are safe and practical as well as being minimal and stylish. They can be dotted around the ceiling to highlight specific areas in your bathroom so, if you want light focussed on the bath then these are a great option. They also work really well situated above mirrors to give you perfect lighting while getting ready. Spotlights easily achieve a clean and modern look but, if you don’t have dimmable ones, the light can be quite harsh and not particularly relaxing.

If you want something a little more stylish, you can go for a pendant light or chandelier. This will be more of a bold statement but you have to keep safety in mind. Ceiling lights need to be around 8 feet clear of the highest point of your bath to avoid any sparking issues. This might be fine if you have a very big bathroom, but if not then it isn’t worth the risk. A compromise for smaller bathrooms could be decorative wall sconces with candles which will add a stylish feel but also a relaxing atmosphere for a long bath.

Illuminated Mirrors

Another way to add some focused light into your bathroom is with a glamourous illuminated mirror, like the ones from Pebble Grey. You might think these mirrors would be more in place in a celebrity dressing room but, they have great practical uses too. Bathrooms often lack in light due to frosted windows so an illuminated mirror is perfect for doing your makeup or for men while shaving. These mirrors won’t light up the whole room, they will just add a soft glow so this won’t be the main source of light in a room.

Bath/floor lights

For a futuristic look, you could go for some lights that are integrated into your bathtub or bathroom floor. The bathtub lights are perfect for a long bath and adding lights into the floor are great for nighttime bathroom trips. You’ll have to consider safety when going for this hi-tech look and get a professional electrician to help you select and fit them. If you’re looking for a talking point for your bathroom, this could certainly be it!

Modern Family Bathroom

Why and How to Stage a Property

These days most of us move on a regular basis. The majority of people end up moving regularly throughout their life. For example, the average American moves 11.4 times in their lifetime. Putting a property up for sale is something many people need to get used to do doing.

If you are in the process of selling your home, or are thinking of doing so in the near future this page is for you. It is all about home staging. Below, I explain, what it is, why you should do it, and give you a few pointers to help you to do it the right way.

What is home staging

Simply put, staging a home is simply making it look as appealing as possible to prospective buyers.

Why stage a property

The reason it is important to take the time to stage a property that you are selling, or planning to let out, is that doing so will help you to get more for it. How much more you will get depends on the market and the price or property in your area. But, we are talking about being paid thousands of dollars, or pounds, more. Add in the fact that well staged properties sell far faster, and you can see why it makes sense to do it. If you are still not convinced, I suggest you click this link to read the actual statistics.

How to stage a property

Fortunately, dressing a property is not that difficult. In all likelihood you will be able to do most of the work yourself. Here are some easy steps:

De-clutter

Studies show that people find it hard to see the full potential of a space when it is cluttered. Small rooms look smaller, and even large rooms can be overwhelmed if there is too much furniture, and many other items scattered around.

Getting ahead of your packing and boxing up everything you are not using makes a lot of sense. It is also a good opportunity to throw away anything that you do not want to take with you when you move.

If there is too much furniture in a room it can seem smaller that it is, and look tatty to a prospective buyer. Therefore, you really should get rid of any items that you do not really need. If you do decide that you want to keep everything consider putting some of it into storage, or asking a friend to keep it in their garage.

A deep clean

Once you have de-cluttered, you should go round and thoroughly clean your home inside and out. Doing so, will make your home look its best and uncover any work that needs doing.

Carry out obvious repairs

The last job to do is repairing anything that is obviously broken. Little things like broken gutters are enough to put off many buyers. This is because people tend to see the fact that basic repairs have not been carried out in a negative light. They tend to wonder what else is wrong, which is the last thing you need when you are trying to sell a property, for a good price.

How to Maximise Space in a Small Area

We don’t all live in lofty apartments and mansions with more rooms than you know what to do with. Living in a compact space is not about squeezing everything in, irrespective of how and when you need or want to use it. It isn’t about throwing all your stuff out so that you live in a blank canvas. It is, say designers, a question of thinking outside the box.

Some of these hints and tips will suit you and your family, and the home in which you live, and some may not. But the lesson is this: with some tweaks of the traditional, you can have a small space that is light, airy, full of storage options and a fun space to live in.

Paint it white

White is a great colour. Made up of all the colours of the rainbow, it reflects light in a space, allows it to play and bounce around. In some spaces, it may not be a practical colour; it shows up scuff marks and other stains that come with happy family life. My suggestion is to always invest in a high-quality white paint, that boasts a range of properties from low odour to tough and washable.

If you feel that white it simple too stark, then opt for paints in light colours that are a ‘hint of’ a shade. Blues are great for making a space feel bigger, but if you need more warmth in the colour, opt for beige or cream shades.

Think in sections

You need several functions out of a space – you may live and eat in the same space and thus, you may want a space to eat that then folds away, leaving you with lounging space.

Nothing has to be fixed in a small space but when they are, think minimal as well as stylish and functional. For example, glass shelving with glass clamps create the perfect storage solution, with a minimal impact on light and the feeling of space being consumed.

Use different colours in different spaces

Painting walls and ceilings white gives you a blank canvas but it can also have a side-effect in a small space that once you have your stuff is in situ, it looks chaotic. The reason for this is simple: there are too many colours and no order, nothing pulling it together.

Interior designers suggest that by using a limited palette of similar colours in one space, you can create a far more ordered look to it, far more pleasing on the eye but also a key factor in maximising space in a small area.

Full-size furniture

Admit it! You have thought that because the space is small, it makes sense to use smaller items of furniture. Here in lays the problem: small furniture (half height furniture and so on) make the room appear smaller.

And it offers less in the way of storage. Thus, as counterintuitive that it seems, use full height and full-sized furniture as this can be very helpful in hiding the things you don’t want on show.

Art work above eye level

Another clever trick that until someone points it out to you, you will not have thought of! Gather together your favourite bits of art work and photos and hang them as high as possible up the wall, toward the ceiling because this clever trick alone, will add a sense of height.

Multi-purpose furniture

There are all kinds of clever furniture solutions that bring dual-purpose to a small space, making it a valuable addition;

  • Guest space – struggling to accommodate an overnight guest? A slimline day bed doubles as an occasional ‘put-me-up’ but most of the time, acts as a pleasant day seat. I have a day bed in our office/guest room and is a perfect funcional space saver.
  • Storage space – utilise furniture to store things such as a bedframe with integral drawer space to store bedding, towels, shoes and clothing.
  • Additions – there can be wasted space in even the most cleverly designed pieces of kit. Adding components utilises more of this space, like wire rack, stand-alone shelving in kitchen cupboards.

And sometimes, the most obvious storage solutions are ones that are deemed fit for another purpose. For example, glass shelving has long been associated with the bathroom but makes the perfect solution for the lounge, the kitchen, the hallway…

Constant editing

You may not have the immediate ‘skills’ to live in a small space but they come with time and experience.

When you live in a bijou pad, you need to be constantly editing. You need to be tidy with immediate effect, no allowing things to hang about for a while until you clear them away. As your things change and your life changes, you may need to seek new storage solutions.

What have you learnt from living in a smaller space?

Revamp your garden for property desirability

When trying to sell a property it is worth reviewing the small things as well as the big things which make a home more attractive to prospective buyers. One major attraction of any property is outside space so the garden can have an important impact!

The good news is, you don’t have to rip out your garden and start again if your outdoor space is looking a  bit unloved, there are some simple changes you can make which will really make your garden and ultimately your home stand out to potential purchasers. Here are my top tips for revamping your garden:

Garden Furniture

Selling a property is all about telling a story to the prospective buyer so that they can really picture themselves enjoying life in their new home – your old one! Spin a story in your garden by using beautiful furniture t o create an outdoor eating or entertaining space which will really sell Summer BBQs and garden parties to them.

I love using natural materials and textures in my garden and would go with elegant pieces from Rattan Direct for waterproof and practical outdoor furniture. Just as property experts will tell you that the interior of your home should be selling a lifestyle, so too should your garden.

Lawn edging

This may sound a little odd, especially if you were expecting ideas that took far longer to implement and at a great cost. However, there is no substitute for ensuring that the edges of your lawn are nice and neat, it makes any prospective buyer think that the garden has been well cared for and loved. Keeping lan edges tidy also creates the impression of the garden being bigger, a bonus!

Solve problems with plants

Busy roads, overlooking neighbours, overly shady areas and more can all be disguised with some clever planting. Shrubs and trees make great wind and noise breakers, and for shady areas choose drought-loving plants to add greenery and interest.

Mulch, mulch, mulch!

Mulch, along with gravel and bark, is the ideal spread across bare soil around and under plants as it suppresses weeds which is perfect if you want a tidy looking outdoor space for when prospective buyers come to view the property and but you don’t want to spend all your time weeding! It also adds a sense that the garden is well-maintained and looked after. Stay away from highly-coloured barks and stick with the natural, more neutral looking ones.

Limit plant species

If you are not much of a gardener, it can be tempting to spend an afternoon at a garden centre, buying all kinds of coloured shrubs and flowers, of all types and species. The problem with this is that once planted, it can all look a little jumbled.

If you are planting fresh plants specifically to sell your home and garden to prospective buyers, opt for similar species and group similar plants together.

Look after the lawn

Back to the patch of green, green grass… or is it? Bare patches of earth and yellowing grass is not a good look and frankly, can be off-putting to buyers. There are lots of products out there to help give your lawn a boost so it’s worth investigating these to help fill in those gaps, alternatively you can lay a new lawn if the majority of the grass isn’t looking so good. Learn how to maintain your lawn here.

If you cannot afford to lay a new lawn, buy in the services of a specialist lawn company that can feed and fertilise the grass that is there and make it look lush and green.

Add colour and form for interest

On one hand, you may think that a blank canvas garden is the answer, after all most people will want to put their own stamp on the house’s interior and the garden. However, your garden can also be the aspect of a home that makes it welcoming. Think about first impressions! Try a few hanging baskets with pretty, colourful blooms, along with flowers and shrubs of varying heights in the border all add notes of interest here and there.

Potted plants also make lovely points on interest. Colourful pots stand out nicely without being overbearing. Bear in mind the colour of the flowers and plants you use with the pots so that the colours complement each other. See some great advice on potted plants here.

Prune shrubs

Evergreen shrubs are perfect for any garden, providing all-year-round colour in the garden. As spring arrives, they shoot up and out in all directions and what was once a tiny shrub in the corner of the garden, is now fairly substantial in size.

The temptation is to grab the shears and prune it back to a shadow of its former self. However, this can leave you with a rather-straggly looking specimen and so say expert gardeners, prune back shrubs but be conservative. Prune them back in to shape so that they are in keeping with the other plants around them.

country garden path

My interior design bucket list

Are you inspired by interior design programs on TV and have a list of things you want to do to update or upgrade your home? Me too! Check out my interior design bucket list below.

Rooflight Tunnel

I love natural light, especially for when I am taking photos to use on my blog! In my current home, I only have a couple of rooms which have really nice natural light and I would love to be able to add more. Roof lanterns offer a great way of improving the lighting of a room; open up a low ceiling, add some natural light, or simply add an interesting feature to a room. There are lots of different styles and materials roof lanterns come in including traditional hardwood or contemporary aluminium materials, and include skylights, rooflights, domes, and flat roof windows. I just love the traditional roof lanterns which is a ceiling window at the centre of the room which allows for lots of natural light, without taking up much space.

Bi-folding Doors

I am always so jealous when I watch a program like Grand Designs or Homes under The Hammer and the renovations include some stunning bi-folding doors. I just love the idea of being able to open my home up and being more connected with our garden and nature. I really enjoy watching the birds and other wildlife in our garden and having doors which fold all the way back would give me the best view from the lounge/dining room. I also love to host BBQs in the summer and this would be so easy with this style of door, with guests able to go between garden and lounge/dining room without having the fuss of opening and closing a door and ultimately allowing conversations to flow without interruption. For more info on bi-folding doors click here.

Kitchen Island

Around a year ago now my parents re-did their kitchen, having had their old one for 25 years, and one of the main features of their new kitchen is an amazing island designed as work and storage space. The island really adds both aesthetically and practically to the kitchen as there is plenty of worktop space which is great when cooking for the family or when my mother and I bake up a storm. The island has a lovely granite worktop with generous storage drawers and cupboards beneath for keeping utensils, pans etc. It also has it’s own power supply which is very handy when using a mixer or other electronic appliances. I really would love one!

Orangery

Originating in the 17th Century as a place to shelter citrus trees through the winter and evolving into a way for inhabitants of a home to enjoy walking despite bad weather, an Orangery is much like a conservatory but with different construction methods and architecture.  Orangeries are made from a mixture of a brick and stone for the base, a wooden framed with glass mounted panels and a roof lantern to allow maximum light to enter. It is possible to customise lots of different aspects of your Orangery design to make the best fit for your home – I love the idea of being able to have drinks with friends in the summer in a sheltered space which lets me see nature around me.

Bay Window

I have always loved the idea of having a bay window with a window seat where I could sit and read a book with a cup of tea and enjoy watching the world go by. There are lots of different oak windows which can be used to create a bay window, with the traditional styling and warm colours of stained oak making your living space more homely and welcoming. Bay windows have panoramic views, so they allow more natural light to enter from multiple directions and you already know that I love natural light! They are definitely expensive but have a big impact on the look of a home and ultimately add value.

Loft Conversion

I’ve saved the biggy to last! My husband and I currently live in a large bungalow and I would love to extend up into the loft and convert the currently empty space to create a larger home. Our home currently has two double bedrooms, one single bedroom, a lounge/dining room, a kitchen, a bathroom and an extra toilet. We are currently using the extra bedroom space as individual studies/offices as we are both self-employed and need space to keep our businesses organised. Of course, this leads to problems when we have visitors or if we decide to expand our family we will need more space! I would love to move the bedrooms upstairs and be able to open up downstairs into more modern open plan living space with a larger kitchen. A girl can hope!

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