Give Your Home’s Exterior Some Extra Attention

Wondering how to dress up your home’s exterior?

When it comes to dressing up your home, you may find yourself focusing more on the interior than anything else. If that’s the case, then you’re not alone, because it’s something that many of us do. But you need to focus on your home’s exterior just as much.

After all, we tend to spend more time inside the home, looking at the interiors, and less looking at the outside of the home. But it is actually what people first see when they look at your home. Curb appeal is so important!

So if you want to make sure that visitors are going to be impressed, and that your neighbours can get home envy too, then you’re definitely going to want to focus on giving your exterior a little extra attention.

 

Spice Up The Door

First of all, you’re going to want to start with the door. This is often an area that you can have a lot of fun with.

If you live in an area where many of the houses look the same, giving your door a little TLC can be a great way to ensure that your home stands out. You might want to think about getting a new door put in, or even just paint the one that you have.

But don’t just stop there. Definitely consider the ways that you can make it shine. With door accessories, plants, and even lights, you will be able to dress up the home’s exterior in a simple way.

 

 

Do The Same To The Windows

While you’re there, you’re also going to want to think about doing something similar to your windows too. Because if you have a super sexy doorway, you need to make sure that your windows aren’t left out.

Think about upgrading to double glazing if you don’t have it already, and even change the colours. Sometimes, all you will need to do is paint the frames that you have, but sometimes choosing to replace them altogether can really jazz things up.

 

Dress The Driveway

Then it’s on to your driveway. Because this is another area that you should give some serious TLC. Even if you only have the smallest of spaces to work with, you can really show things off with a bit of decor. Give your driveway a good clean, and then add in anything from trees to lights to line it with. Then, it will be really shown off in its best light.

 

 

Work With Water

But it’s not just the front that you should be thinking about. You also need to do something with the back too.

A great way to make sure your back garden stands out, is to work with a bit of water. Whether that’s a water feature, a hot tub, or a pool, think about how you can make the space sing with whatever you choose to put in.

 

Add Something Just For Yourself

And finally, you should think about putting your own little space in too. Whether that’s a rose garden, or a little reading nook, definitely think about working with space that you are really going to enjoy and want to spend a lot of time in.

 

Life Update: House, Weddings, Cars

So much has been going on recently, so I thought I’d do a brief (ahem…) life update.

Time is going far too quickly at the moment. I can’t believe it’s already November which means that my wedding is five months away (172 days to be precise…wow, I wish I hadn’t worked that out).

We’re still trying to continue to update our house, but funds are tight with the wedding, so we’re not getting quite as much done as we’d like. And now we have a cat too!

 

The House

I’ll start with a quick house update. We’ve finally used some money to invest in well needed accessories, such as rugs, mirrors and lighting. Our dining room mirror (pictured) is doubling up as our wedding table plan.

My dining room with rug, pendant light and mirror

It wasn’t hugely expensive, but it seems a shame to use it just on one day. That space in the dining room looked so empty, and the mirror fills it perfectly.

The next big job is to box up the stairs. I’ve, of course, been using Pinterest to plan this one. Currently all our fuse boxes and wiring is on show under the stairs. Jay will use leftover kitchen units to build something like this,

We're building our stairs so they have more storage space in like this. Stairs with cupboard and shelves built in

Credit: http://www.jamesmayor.co.uk

 

It’ll help to keep things looking tidy and is ideal for storing extra wires, or anything else we can think to fill it with.

The only difference is ours will have a hidden door so we can still access the fuse box easily.

 

My Car

I loved my little car. It was a present from Jay (for absolutely no reason). He just brought it home one day for me, complete with a bow!

 

Life Update: My Ford StreetKA died this week

 

We spent £120 on parts and many hours of labour (on Jay’s behalf) trying to get it working. It overheated one day when I let the coolant get too low. Turns out the head gasket had gone which we were quoted £900 to fix. The car only cost £700 so it just wasn’t worth it.

I needed something more reliable to get me to and from work anyway, so I’ve used this as an excuse to treat myself to an Audi A1. I’m justifying it because my insurance has come down by £200, and the tax has reduced by 65%. It also does more miles per gallon, so petrol consumption is much less.

I’m still sad to see my car go. Jay’s going to fix the gasket himself, for much cheaper than a garage, and sell it for money towards our wedding.

 

Wedding

Talking of weddings….

I’ve found that stress comes in waves. I’ll have a couple of months where I don’t really think about the wedding, or don’t have any supplier meetings. Then suddenly they come all in one go.

I’ve already had my hairdresser cancel, and my florist sell her business. These issues have now been sorted.

I’ve also bought my bridesmaid’s dresses which are currently being made, and chosen the groomsmen’s suits.

 

Life Update - I bought these Ebony Rose Kimberly bridesmaids dresses

Credit: Dresses from Ebony Rose http://www.ebonyrosedesigns.co.uk/

 

I also splashed out (accidentally) on some stunning blossom trees as our centrepieces which will suit the venue.

Now that I need to get a new car, I’m not able to save as much for the wedding as I’d like. I’m still getting editing work from my business, Sarah Macklin Editing, which is helping.

We’re trying to save wherever we can, and every little bit goes into the savings account. Even the odd couple of pounds. I’m hoping this will all add up quite quickly.

 

So there’s a quick life update of everything going on with me! Things never slow down. We’ve got three weddings this month (of which I was bridesmaid at one), and Jay’s birthday. January will be nice and calm only for February to be full of supplier appointments and final decisions (and table plans, urgh).

Consider These Little Details When Planning a Wedding

The little things mean a lot, and this is especially the case when you are planning your big day.

Wedding planning is something that can completely consume your life, from the moment the question is popped all the way through to the day itself.

The difficult thing in planning your perfect day is that you want it to be so perfect that there are going to be things that will go wrong. This is inevitable. But there are some small things that a lot of us do not consider when we are planning our wedding. Consider these little details when planning a wedding before you do anything else!

 

Guest List Above Anything

Don’t rush into organising things too quickly without sorting your guest list first. Not your venue, or your cake, or anything else!

How can you possibly decide on a venue, when you don’t know how many guests you will have?

The guest list is the thing that determines the other aspects of your wedding. It’s not the most exciting part of planning, especially if you are struggling to decide which aunt you want to invite.

If you’d set your heart on and booked a small cosy venue that houses 60 people, but then invite over 200, how will that work? If you’ve paid a deposit, that’s down the drain, which could be a couple of thousand pounds.

Think very carefully about what type of wedding you want. Close and intimate? Or big and bold? If you want a large wedding, pick a big manor house, marquee or hotel. If you want a small and intimate wedding, pick a boutique hotel or a tipi.

These things also tie in with budget. You can’t invite 200 guests if you have a budget of under £5,000. It’ll be impossible. Work out how much you can spend, or are willing to spend.

So sit down, create your guest list and then look at venues that fit the bill.

 

Doing It Yourself

It makes a lot of sense to take on wedding planning duties yourself, mainly because it’s cheaper.

Some duties may appear simple at first, such as designing the invitations on your computer and then printing them out to mail off to the invitees. But this is never as easy as you first think.

There can be a lot more hassle to get this one little thing done when there are so many other things that are important. By stressing over DIY invites, you might be losing sight of some of the bigger, more important issues that crop up.

So, for things like invitations, place cards, and little trinkets, is there any point in making them yourself, which will be endless late nights, for them to turn out not quite what you wanted? These little details when planning a wedding can turn into big ones!

You’re better going online and finding companies that do wonderful bespoke designs, and you can find plenty on Etsy, but also invitation design sites like Pure Invitation.

It might work out slightly more expensive, but if it saves you precious time and stress, it’s worth it.

 

Think About The Worst Case Scenario

Most people don’t want to think about the worst case scenario. So they ignore it!

But, anyone planning a wedding needs to understand that there will very likely be some tiny flaws, maybe now, maybe on the day, or maybe all the way through the wedding planning.

When you hit a problem, it can feel like a big deal. The important thing to do in this instance is to stop, take a deep breath, and think about if these things will matter a few years from now?

Will you look back on your big day, on your one year anniversary, and think about how the table linen was white when it should have been off-white? It’s very unlikely!

And on the other end of the spectrum, if there are extreme worst-case scenarios arising, such as the band not turning up, you need to think about a way around it. Contingency plans need to be thought about, because if you don’t have a backup plan, then you’ve got nothing.

So, if the band doesn’t turn up, have a pre-made CD ready.

If the hairdresser hasn’t done your hair perfectly on the day, can a bridesmaid or guest redo it?

If there are concerns with the weather, is there a backup option to have canapes away from the terrace?

There is always a solution to a problem, so make sure you have one in your back pocket. It’s very unlikely you will need it, but it will make you feel a lot better during the planning process.

 

Not Assigning Duties For The Day

Everything should run like clockwork on the day/ The order of service, the time of the meal, and everything in between and afterwards should be scheduled in. Your best method, rather than doing it all yourself, is to spread the duties.

You shouldn’t give any duties to yourself. It’s your day, you don’t want the stress. Similarly, don’t assign all duties to one person. That isn’t fair, and they won’t enjoy your day either.

If you make a list of duties, and deal them out between 5 or 6 people. This could be bridesmaids, best men, ushers, etc. It’s better for everyone to have a couple of duties which takes the strain off.

 

These little details when planning a wedding can turn into big problems if not addressed properly. We think we can organise everything ourselves, but this adds more work. Think about the little things way in advance. And prepare for every situation.

 

A Nature-Lover’s Guide To Embracing The Great Outdoors At Home

There’s nothing quite like the simple joys of nature. And those connotations of relaxation, health, and natural beauty can work wonders for your home.

Even if you aren’t particularly passionate about nature, gaining this look and feel brings many benefits. From improved vibes to increased efficiency, those rewards will transform your home life for the better. And here’s how you can achieve those goals in just four easy steps. Embrace the great outdoors at home.

 

Go Green

The human race is now far more aware of the need for green living than it was in the 20th Century. Most older properties aren’t blessed with the facilities needed to reduce carbon footprints and energy usage. Rectifying this issue should be top of your agenda.

Insulation is the first aspect to consider, which is why improved roofing and double glazed windows are key. Meanwhile, water-saving toilets from the Green Age can cut water waste in four. On a similar note, modern kitchen appliances can have a hugely positive impact.

Simple gestures like switching to LED lights will aid the cause too. In addition to enhanced vibes, you should see a noticeable improvement to cost-efficiency.

 

Opt For Wood

When it comes to designing rooms, choosing natural materials brings a natural atmosphere. Moreover, you’ll often find that they offer greater longevity while they also tend to make a far bigger statement too.

Doors from George Hill Timber can also aid the insulation properties compared to some materials. Meanwhile, wooden tables and seating offer luxury and style. Another great thing about wood is that every tree is slightly different, meaning you’ll always get a unique appearance.

Finding an artist that can create wood sculptures can be highly rewarding as you look to inject a sense of personality and style too.

 

Encourage Light

One of the most important aspects of getting the great outdoors at home is lighting. Lighting is one of the most important features of any home design. This is especially true when trying to embrace a natural vibe. Dressing the windows to encourage sunlight to enter the home makes rooms feel brighter. Moreover, the heat can be very beneficial during the colder months.

There are several aspects to consider, such as privacy. If this could be an issue, decorative films offer a translucent finish for the best of both worlds. Furthermore, you may wish to consider the use of lamps and other lighting features.

One way or another, making the home feel lighter and brighter is sure to work well with the nature-related ambitions. When added to the fact those upgrades create the perception of increased space, this is a no-brainer.

 

Choose Natural Designs

Embracing nature doesn’t always include using natural materials and ideas. Appearances are everything in home design, and a little faux nature can be just as useful as the authentic thing. Better still, it makes the maintenance work a lot easier.

There are many ways to handle this process. Autumnal-inspired designs are a particularly popular solution to bring living room spaces to life. Meanwhile, subtle natural tones can also be used to enhance kitchens, bathrooms, and other parts of the home.

A little natural enjoyment goes a long way to improving the happiness throughout the home. Even if you don’t wish to embrace all of the tips above, every homeowner can benefit from incorporating some. Moreover, now is the perfect time to do it.

 

Creating a Home Extension Fit for Work, Rest and Play

Whether you’ve started to grow your family or you’re simply outgrowing the space you’re in, creating a home extension could help you avoid the stress of moving.

But how do you make sure the space you create is fit for all that’s asked of it? And just where should you put those extra feet and inches? If you’re struggling to find a quiet spot to do your daily yoga, need a nook for all the kids’ toys or an office space to call your own, these are the points you can’t gloss over when creating a home extension fit for work, rest and play…

 

What, where, how?

Sometimes it’s really obvious where you should put new walls. Other times, your options aren’t quite so clear cut! For the most part, extending over existing structures, such as adding a bedroom over a garage, tends to be the most fuss-free option.

Check your foundations

You’ll need to check the strength of your foundations to make sure the room below can take the weight and also apply for planning permission to cover any increase in height or change in roof pitch, but it can be a very cost effective way to add space. If your home is in a high demand area you could also add a substantial amount on to the value of your home, particularly if you add a bedroom.

If you do have a garage and you don’t use it for car or other storage, converting it into an extra room might be another savvy way to get some additional room without too much expense. Unless you live on a new build estate, you shouldn’t need planning permission to carry out this kind of conversion. However, if you decide to build beyond the existing walls of the garage, an application is required.

Location

Before you start shifting your motor and moving your sofa, think about the logistics of not having a garage and how it might impact you in the future. If you’re a car owner, do you have another safe and permanent spot to park your car? And, if you were to sell your home in the future, could having no garage potentially hold back a sale? To cover all bases, you could ask your architect to plan a conversion that can easily be reversed if necessary.

Finally, if you’d like a totally brand new area to completely transform your home, choosing where to locate it is all about where you can afford to sacrifice outdoor space without intruding on neighbours’ boundaries. You’ll find some great tips for staying neighbourly and avoiding disputes in this article.

When you’re extending past the walls of your current home, you will need to apply for planning permission and of course, consider how your new layout will work. Will you need to go through one room to get to another and if so, will it disturb the general use and purpose of the space in question?

Layout can be even more important than size and space. If you get the layout wrong, your extension may not get the use it deserves.

 

Let there be light…and warmth too!

Once you’ve thought about how and where you’ll grow your home, it’s time to move onto the finer details. The level of electrical work you’ll require will depend how near your extra feet and inches are to existing wiring and if you’re planning to run heating or just lighting into the room.

If you’re creating a home extension downstairs or converting a garage, bi-fold doors can make a sensible addition to your plans. Choose something energy efficient with floor to ceiling panes like these from Vufold. You’ll have the bonus of lots of light when needed along with an attractive and convenient route to your outside space.

Your choice of doors and windows will impact any heating requirements too. You may want to match the style of those elsewhere in your home. Energy efficiency should also be a checkpoint on your list. Especially if your extension isn’t sheltered by other areas of the building.

For more compact spaces where you don’t want to sacrifice floor and wall space to radiators, underfloor heating can be a worthwhile, though not inexpensive, investment.

 

Hopefully this post has given you a few pointers for creating a home extension. If you’ve already completed your extension of dreams, maybe you could enter your efforts into the don’t move improve awards?