An Interiors To-Do List for 2018

There’s something about a new year that makes us want to change everything about our lives (don’t ask me why).

You’ve already written a long list of jobs for the OH to get done this year, and you’ve decided which rooms you want to change and freshen up. It can be an exciting prospect but also a bit daunting. Your interiors to-do list is never ending, and before you know it you’re looking for somewhere else to live on Zoopla. DON’T PANIC.

What you need to do is prioritise your jobs. Instead of looking at all the jobs as a whole, break them down either by priority or by how long they’ll take. I’ve listed a few things that me and Jay have already done on the house, and what still remains to be done (boy, is that a long list)

 

A Light Touch Up

As backwards as it sounds, it might be best to get all the little jobs out of the way. These are the jobs on my interiors to-do list that I dread, and the jobs that seem to take the longest because they’re so faffy. Fill in all the holes in the walls, change the handles on the kitchen cupboards, touch up some painting. These jobs will make a big difference.

 

Warmth

I believe warmth and insulation is a priority. It’s an annoying one because you spend £100 on loft insulation, as we have just done, and kind of feel like you have nothing to show for it. It’s not like a new chair which everyone will be able to see. BUT you will feel the benefits of this one every day. 

Take the time and spend the money on keeping your home warm in winter. Because with better heating, like underfloor heating, your house will feel so much more like the cosy home you want it to be.

 

An Extension

Okay, this is quite a big job. But if you’ve been umming and ahhing over extending, it could be time for you to bite the bullet this year. You might already have the money in savings and are too scared to hand it over. Or you might have to start saving for it. If it’s something that you’ve been thinking about for a while, then work on your extension before doing any other jobs on your house.

 

Security

One thing that often gets underestimated is security. When you live in a nice area, you always think you’re going to be okay. But that’s not always a given. So you may feel better, and more secure, by looking into CCTV installation for inside and outside. Again, it’s not the nicest thing to spend money on, but it might save you money on insurance claims in the future. With security in place, you’re going to be protecting everything that you’ve built, and it will give you more peace of mind.

 

Landscaping

The last thing on my interiors to-do list is landscaping and the garden. It’s so easy to forget about the outside of our homes, but it’s what everyone else sees. Me and Jay are desperate to get our driveway done. It’ll be completely flattened, paved, and will look so much nicer. It’s also currently a nightmare to park our cars, so we’ll extend the opening to the driveway so it’s not so much of a tight fit.  

 

 

Home Improvements: DIY Or Call In The Pros?

Now that we’ve entered into a new year, one of the things that’s going to be pretty high on a lot of people’s list of priorities is home improvements.

Whether they want to sell their home or simply use the space they have more effectively, the new year often gets people thinking about the things they could do in order to get a little bit more out of their home.

And when people start to think about this, there’s one question that comes to mind above pretty much all others: do you deal with it yourself or do you bring in a professional? Here are a few things that you can consider in order to make that decision just a little bit easier.

 

Money

Money is almost always the biggest factor that people consider when deciding if they can handle a home improvement project themselves. Let’s face it, most large-scale home improvement projects are going to end up being pretty pricey when you consider the labour costs involved.

However, doing it yourself may not work out that much cheaper since you’re going to end up having to pay for all of the materials yourself, as well as pay for any tools that you might need but don’t have. At least with builders, you’re going to know what you’re paying right at the start rather than having your budget spiral way out of control.

 

Time

The other important issue is one of exactly how long a project is going to take. After all, the last thing anyone wants is to spend their days on a building site for months on end.

If you try to deal with the project yourself, then it could end up taking a long time whereas professionals are more likely to get things done more quickly.

Then again, if time isn’t really an issue for you, then you might decide that the DIY approach is better.

 

Expertise

The reality is that professional builders are almost always going to have greater expertise than any amateur and when it comes to your home you might decide that you don’t want to take the risk of making mistakes.

If you do decide to go the DIY route then there are plenty of resources out there that you can use. There’s information online about practically everything, and no matter what your project calls for, you’ll be able to find some way to learn about it. Just remember that knowing how to do something and actually being able to put it into practice aren’t always the same things.

 

You can’t often get all of these three things together. Someone who has good expertise might be quick, and will do a good job but won’t come cheap. You can set a low budget, but the job might take much longer, especially if you’re doing a lot yourself. Think about what your biggest priority is. If you want the job done quickly, you may end up paying more.

There are going to be those who know exactly what they’re doing and can handle any project, no matter how big it is, and there are others who have so little DIY expertise that they will want to call in a professional no matter what.

Most of us exist somewhere in the middle and having these things to think about can make the decision of whether or not to bring in a professional or to handle it yourself that much simpler.

 

What to Remember when Planning a Home Extension

Planning a home extension is a huge project. Here are some things to keep in mind.

If your home is in the perfect location and you like most things about it but it’s no longer big enough for your family, you’re probably tempted to build a home extension.

But is that a suitable project for your home? In order to answer that question and make the big decision, you need to know what you’re getting into and what you’re likely to face once it all begins. Read on to learn more about the process itself and what you need to think about when planning a home extension.

 

Your Neighbours Could Block Your Plans

The people around you have the power to veto the construction work. If they think the new extension will negatively impact them, they can make a point of it. Things like the ‘right to light’ do exist. If you block light that would otherwise reach your neighbours by building in front of it, you’ll be running the risk of having the whole project torpedoed.

It would be respectful to ask them beforehand if you’re on good terms. Or at least tell them of your plans so it doesn’t come as a shock. Many neighbourly feuds come from doing things that involves them without permission. Talk over your plans, don’t just build a large extension right up to their garden fence. Be polite, and they’ll more than likely be fine with your home extension.

 

Costs Will Probably Become Higher Than You Anticipate

As you should already be aware, this isn’t going to be cheap for you. You need to be prepared for the costs that you’re likely to incur. Even then, you’re probably not going to calculate the costs with 100% accuracy. There might be some hidden fault that needs to be fixed, e.g. dodgy foundations.

In truth, most building projects go over budget, so whatever you expect the work to cost, add some more money on top of that. Easier said than done, I know. But it’s always worthwhile having a backup plan.

 

Don’t Forget the Insurance

Site insurance is a vital aspect of this project. If you don’t have it, you’ll be putting yourself at risk. Things can always go wrong, and when you’re undertaking constructions projects like this, they often do.

If you forget to take out site insurance and something does go wrong, you’ll be left with the financial burden as you attempt to pick up the pieces and get things back on track.

 

Get it All Assessed at the End

Even when the work’s done, the work still isn’t really over. That might sound like a contradiction, but you have to make sure that it’s all safe and ready to use. If it isn’t, further work might be necessary. Companies like Allcott Associates Chartered Surveyors can help you with the survey. This will ensure the structure is secure and meets the relevant building regulations.

 

Be Sure the Benefits Outweigh the Hassle

Just be sure that the extension you end up with is going to be significant enough to justify all the things you need to go through. There certainly is a lot of work and expense involved in creating what is essentially a very small structure on the side or back of your existing home.

As long as you feel that the benefits outweigh any of the hassle involved, you should be ready to get started.

It might also be worth thinking about the selling costs. I know that with our house, building an extension would be a waste of money. The house will only ever be worth so much because of its location. Even if we added 3 bedrooms, a triple garage and a hot tub in the garden, we still wouldn’t get more than about £185k. Think about whether you extension plans will actually make you money in the future.

 

The final decision as to whether or not you should push ahead with these plans is up to you. However, don’t expect an easy or smooth ride because that’s never how it goes when you’re planning a home extension.

 

 

 

 

*This post contains affiliate links which means I may get a small commission when you buy a product/service after clicking my link. 

Makeover Your Roof for Winter

The roof is the most integral part of any home. It is what provides us with warmth, protection and stops us from experiencing the elements outside.

Our roof is the most important part of the home to keep maintained. Eventually you may find that you want to update the roof of your home to make it more secure. Before your choose to undergo roof maintenance, make sure you take in the following tips.

 

Do your research



Make sure you really take the time to look around when you are trying to find the builders for roof maintenance. Many people make the mistake of choosing a roofer solely on the price point, but actually this isn’t always an accurate measure of competence.

Ask around your family and friends for who they would recommend. Try visiting sites such as certainteed to see if your builder has got a good reputation in the field.



Strip It



You’ll have to have the old roof taken down and stripped ready for a new one to be installed. The big advantage about having your roof stripped ready for the builder to come in is that they will be able to install different layers of installation to protect your home from harsh weather conditions as well as stop damp getting into the house.

If you have the original wood shingles up in the attic you will need to get on some steel trestles and get those removed too to make way for the new roof. It is at this point you may decide that you want a roof window.



Good Quality



The roof isn’t like other parts of your home. You will only need to replace the roof every decade or maybe even less depending on how well they last. This is why it is crucial that you save your money and really fork out for the best quality roof. It isn’t a job that you want to be redone any time soon so make sure it doesn’t have to be. You can even buy 50-year-shingles if you can afford it.


Read The Small Print



Roofing requires a lot of different paperwork. This is most likely because it is an incredibly crucial part of the home. Everything needs to be planned well in advance and needs to be of the highest standards.

You will likely need a building permit if you have work going on outside the home, a contract between you and the builders to make sure you get the best deal and you understand the terms. This is what you need to take the time to read over to make sure that you are 100% happy before going ahead with the work.




Make Sure They Clean Up



Whatever you do, don’t pay the roofers until they clear up the nails they have stripped from your roof. As they strip the old shingles, up to 10,000 nails can come with it and scatter around your garden. This can be dangerous for your children and animals if they don’t get picked up.

 

Roof maintenance is the key to a healthy home. If you maintain it properly, it won’t need replacing as often. It’s a job best for the summer so that you’re prepared as we move into the colder months.

7 Home Improvements That Don’t Require Planning Permission

Are you bored of your home, but don’t want building work to go through planning permission? I’ve outlined 7 home improvements that don’t require planning permission, so you can start straight away!

The decision to improve your home is an exciting one for any homeowner, but it can quickly become stressful.

First, you’ve got to save up enough money, then you’ve got to find the perfect contractor, and then, on top of everything else, you have to get planning permission. Unfortunately, I can’t help you out with the first two, but the last one is another story.

There are plenty of home improvements that don’t require planning permission, so don’t let it hold you back. Here is a list of seven major ones to give you some inspiration.

 

  1. Remodel The Inside

You can usually remodel the inside of your house however you like, without the need to seek planning permission, so you can do anything from adding new flooring to taking out entire walls (as long as you comply with building regulations).

This means that you can install one of those Classic Kitchens that you’ve had your eye on, buy a new bath, or even create an open-plan space for your kitchen, dining room, and living room.

 

  1. Loft Conversion

Converting your loft into a new bedroom, a games room, or an office is a great way to utilise loft space, especially considering how little disruption it causes within your home and the fact that it usually doesn’t require planning permission.

As long as your loft isn’t more than forty cubic metres, you don’t intend to add height to the property, and the materials used are similar to the originals, you should be fine.

However, some areas don’t allow loft conversions at all, so always be sure to check.

 

  1. Add A Porch

As a general rule, you always need to ask for planning permission if you intend to extend the front of your house. Adding a porch, however, is an exception to this rule.

As long as your porch is three metres or shorter, covers no more than three metres squared, and isn’t within two metres of a footpath you shouldn’t need planning permission. You also need to be sure to keep your original door where it is.

 

  1. Garage Conversion

Garages are rarely used to store cars nowadays. Instead, they become sort of like a shed, holding tools and the occasional piece of forgotten gym equipment. This is a waste of space that could easily be used for a bedroom, an office, a family room, or a gym.

As your internal garages are a part of your home, they don’t usually require planning permission. But don’t extend the garage, as this does need permission.

 

  1. Construct A Conservatory

Conservatories are a great way to increase space in your home and can be the perfect place to spend your time, especially in the summer.

There are a few rules that you need to follow if you want to build a conservatory without planning permission. For example, it can’t be higher than your house, and can’t cover more than half of your garden. As long as you follow these rules, you can be on your way.

There are so many options to choose from with conservatories, so pick one to suit your style.

 

  1. Build An Outbuilding

If you wanted a home office or a den that’s away from your home, then you’re in luck.

Certain types of outbuildings can be built without obtaining planning permission. Like with your conservatory, your outbuilding can’t cover more than half of the size of your garden, so as long as you have a large garden, you should be okay.

However, you have to remember that all extensions are taken into account to reach this total. If your conservatory covers a quarter of your garden, your outbuilding has to cover a quarter or less.

 

  1. Two Becomes One

Nope, I’m not referencing the Spice Girls. I’m talking about converting two separate homes into one.

Do you live in a house or flat that’s attached to the one next door? You might be able to buy it and knock down a wall to double the size of your home.

However, don’t assume that you can do the opposite too. If you wanted to convert one home into two, you would need planning permission.

 

If you’re bored of your home, then I hope that these home improvements that don’t require planning permission inspire you.

Just make sure that you don’t undertake any work without checking with your local planning authority first. There is always a chance that the rules or regulations are different where you live.