Plans for our Forever Home

I know, me and Jay have only had our first house for a year, but we’re already thinking about what we’re going to do for our next home, hopefully our forever home.

I always think it’s good to think into the future. We both want to build our own home, and so this will take a lot of saving, a lot of planning and a lot of hard work. It’s something we both really want to do, so we’re planning it now to actually make it happen.

The idea is to buy a plot of land, then buy a caravan to sit on site which we’ll live in while the house is being built. The good thing about building our forever home is that it will be exactly as we want it. We’ll also be able to claim back 20% of what we spend in tax. The plan is to live in it for 30/40 years until we have to downsize.

I’m not one to move around much, so once we build our home, I’ll be quite happy living in it for that amount of time. We’ll redecorate every now and then to keep it looking fresh.

So what do we want in our forever home?

 

Aluminium Windows

At the minute, our windows are uPVC and over time they’ve expanded and shrunk so that you can feel a slight draft around them. Aluminium windows are much stronger and more durable so this won’t happen. They’re also more efficient, keeping more heat in and therefore reducing your heating bill over time. They look so modern and contemporary too.

I’m not too keen on the industrial look, so Aluminium windows don’t just come in dark grey but also in white which is perfect for the look we’re going for.

Our forever home will have white aluminium windows like these.

 

Space

I know this is something a lot of people are after in the UK at the moment. With so many new houses being built, space is difficult to find. We would love a nice big back garden that is safe for children to play in. A dog isn’t something we can get right now as both of us work full time, so I feel it isn’t fair, but we’d love to get a Black Lab or an Alsatian. I’m sure the cat will love us for that decision….

I’d also love a large drive. The sort you can fit 4/5 cars on. Me and Jay currently have a very small drive. Though we have plans to make it bigger by removing the raised flowerbeds, it can still only fit two cars on. I’d love a big spacious drive where you can easily park 3 cars without having to move another one to get out.

 

A Utility Room

If I couldn’t get any of the other requirements on this list apart from a utility room, I’d be happy. Our current situation is that any laundry ends up drying in the living room. Drying bedding is a nightmare (we don’t have a tumble dryer yet) so it gets draped everywhere on clothes horses and wherever else we can find a space for it. Cleaning products are also shoved under cupboards. The ironing board is upstairs meaning I have to bring it down every time I do the ironing.

A utility room means all your appliances are tucked away out of sight of the kitchen. At the minute our washing machine is in the garage which I wanted, as opposed to it being in the kitchen. But a utility room would house it all. No more trekking outside in the freezing cold to stick the washing on.

Double garage outside Mediterranean looking home

Double Garage

Me and Jay have a double garage at the moment. I always think once you have something, you can’t not have it any more. If you’ve got a five bed house, you can’t go down to a three or four. You’d have to throw so much out. Our garage is full, and I couldn’t imagine not having one. Jay loves to play around with cars. As a mechanical engineer, he loves taking things apart and putting them back together. We currently have two written off cars sat in the garage at the moment, waiting to be fixed and sold.

He’s got so many tools, power tools and equipment that we couldn’t not have a double garage any more.

 

So there’s my list of requirements for our forever home.

What to Check When Buying an Old Home

Thinking of buying an old home? You might need to think of these potential problems first.

I love old homes: their exposed brickwork, the wooden beams in the ceiling, and the potential they have to become a stunning family home. They have something that modern homes just don’t have.

That’s why so many people choose them over the more contemporary options on the housing market. However, you need to be careful whenever you’re considering buying an old home because there could be problems lurking that will cost money to fix.

This post isn’t about putting you off, just making you aware. You should know what to look for when house hunting. So, here are the things that you should be looking for when buying an old home.

 

A Deteriorating Roof

The roof is the one thing that’s easy to ignore. It’s all the way up there, so you’re not about to get a ladder out and climb on it yourself. There are no obvious signs you can see, but you have to go out of your way to have the roof properly assessed. However, it’s important not to ignore this vital issue. Old homes tend to have roofs that are deteriorating and becoming weaker. If they have been neglected for a long time, work will probably be required.

 

Structural Issues

Structural problems can be very expensive to deal with in some circumstances. Of course, that all depends on what the precise structural problem is. You should always be aware of issues before you sign any documents or hand over any cash. A home’s value can be seriously limited if there are big underlying structural problems. The sooner you find out about them, the better it will be for you. A detailed survey will give you all the information you’re likely to need. Just make sure you pay for the most expensive survey as this will really show up any potential problems.

 

Hazardous Materials

There are a couple of hazardous materials that you should be on the lookout for when you’re scouting out old homes. First and foremost, you should find out if there is any asbestos present in the property. This will need to be removed by a professional team that can get it all done properly and safely. It’s a very dangerous substance so should be taken seriously. On top of that, you should find out if there is any lead in the property.

 

Signs of Woodworm

Woodworm is a problem that’s pretty easy to spot because you will see damage to any wood in the home. It looks like lots of little holes in the wood. This is a sure sign that there’s a problem that needs to be treated as soon as possible. Over time, it weakens the wood and can even lead to major collapses. There are plenty of companies out there that can offer woodworm treatment services. Make the most of them if you do find a problem.

Buying an old home can cause tonnes of problems. Window with crumbling plaster and rotten wood.

Problems With Outdated Plumbing

Old plumbing systems that have seen better days might cause you a lot of problems if you don’t deal with them in the right way. It’s definitely the kind of change that you might want to consider making as soon as you buy a property. A modern plumbing system won’t take away from the home’s period character in any way, but it will have a big impact on how you use and experience your home.

 

Damage Caused by Termites

Termite damage can be just as disastrous as woodworm damage, so you should be sure to look out for that too. Swollen floors and wood that seems to be buckling are two symptoms of a termite problem. Despite the cost, time and disruption associated with getting rid of a termite problem, that work needs to be done so don’t be tempted to put it off.

 

Mould and Mildew

Any walls in the home that have been exposed to too much moisture over the years will likely be affected by mould and mildew. These can cause gradually increasing damage to your home and its structure. You will probably notice the smell as soon as you walk into the property, so seek out the source of the problem with your nose and be sure to get it fixed up as soon as you can.

 

Old homes are great for anyone who enjoys renovation work. It allows you to put your own stamp on the property, and that’s got to be a good thing. However, don’t turn a blind eye to the problems you’re likely to face with a home that was built a long time ago because doing so will only cause you more problems later.

An Update on our Study Renovation

All the way back in December, I wrote this post about renovating our study. 

We were planning on having it finished at the end of January, but we have barely even started it. This is just a quick post to say we will renovate our study at some point, but who knows when that will be. Here are the problems we’ve come across with the renovation so far which has stopped it before it even began.

 

Problem #1

So obviously funding is an issue, and we have a wedding to pay for at the end of April . We borrowed some money out of our wedding fund to invest in a written off car. The car belonged to my cousin, and had minor damage to the bumper, front wing and front quarter panel. We got the car for free with plans to spend money on it to hopefully sell it and make a fair amount back.

We’ve borrowed money out of the wedding to buy all the parts we need (new number plates, new alloy wheels, new bumper, new headlights, new wing mirror, etc.) with the hope that we’ll sell the car before the wedding and make all our money back plus extra.

But to be able to use this money for the wedding, we need to sell the car in March/April, which means it needs to go on the market kind of soon. And it’s no where near ready. So Jay’s priority is fixing the car so we can sell it, over renovating the study.

 

Problem #2

We were going to order bits for the study renovation from Travis Perkins in December, but it said there would be two weeks delivery wait. We decided not to order the bits but get a man with a van. Unfortunately, this idea didn’t work out, so we ended up ordering our pieces two weeks later, and then having to wait two weeks for delivery again. So we’re four weeks behind.

We had quite a lot to order. We’ve redone the insulation last week, so the house is toasty. We had to buy plasterboard so we can get rid of the horrible artex on the ceiling. We also bought some other plastering bits because the walls aren’t great. We’ve got lining paper, wallpaper, and paint already, but can’t put it on yet!

 

Problem #3

Although we have everything we need to complete the study renovation, finding the time is difficult. Jay’s working a ‘shut down’ at work, which means three weeks of 12 hour days. When on earth is he going to find the time to plasterboard and skim a ceiling, put lining paper and wallpaper up, and work on the car which we need to sell ASAP?

 

This is the image I’m focusing on until we can start properly concentrating on it:

 

Home office renovation ideas. Photo collage of wallpaper, pink paint, oak desk and wooden floor

 

Our beautiful wallpaper is from Graham and Brown, and our paint is from the Valspar range.

 

Keep updated for when we do actually begin work properly!

Choosing The Right Radiator For Your Home

Okay, so I know that radiators aren’t the most interesting topic, but choosing the right radiator can make a huge different to the look of your home.

You might be familiar with the classic boxy radiators that take up half of your space, aren’t the nicest to look at, and are dust traps. But now there are LOADS of other options available that look sleek and modern. Choosing the right radiator isn’t difficult when you know what your natural home style is. It also helps to know where you’re going to put it so you can take dimensions.

The key to choosing the right radiator is to know how much space you are willing to give up in your room. You also need to think is the radiator going to be on display or not. If no one is ever going to see it, then you might not need to worry so much about what it looks like.

With so many options available, it can be difficult choosing the right radiator for you. So here’s how you narrow the search down to what you want. 

 

The Room

We’re starting with the room itself. You need to think where your radiator is going. This is important because you may need to get a plumber in to move pipes around if you’re moving the radiator from its original location.

If it’s going under a window, you’ll need a long, narrow radiator. If you have an unusual space for it to go (like my Mum did) you can get a six-foot tall radiator which takes up less wall space lower down. And, to be honest, makes a bit of a statement too.

 

Me, my mum and my sister with a large six foot tall radiator behind us.

 

The Style

There are so many different types of radiator available. If you look at a site like Radiator Outlet you’ll be able to see loads of styles and sizes to fit anyone’s idea of perfect. 

The good news is modern radiators tend to be much more energy efficient than their older counterparts. So if you want to update your style and bring it into the contemporary realm, you will be able to do this and not miss out on the practicality. It might be worth talking to your plumber to ask whether you are able to install a smaller radiator than the one you currently have. Most of the time this shouldn’t be an issue.



The Best Material

With the variety of radiators available on the market, you’ll be surprised at the different materials on offer to you when you do come to look for a radiator.

There is the classic painted metal variety available everywhere. You might even want to change the colour so it blends in with your walls, or paint it a different colour altogether. Radiators don’t have to be an eyesore, but can become a part of your decor. 

The most common modern design is stainless steel. It looks sleek, has a chrome effect and is incredibly popular in modern homes and apartments.

The material you use will depend on the room you plan to use it in and whether it will be on display. Generally, radiators which are not painted get a little bit hotter to the touch, so it might not be a great idea to have these all over the house if you have children.

 

I hope this guide has helped for those choosing radiators in their homes. There really is so many to choose from it can be a bit baffling! What kinds of radiators do you have in your home (or wished you had)?

The Best Time to Redecorate Your Bathroom is January!

I know you don’t want to risk losing hot water in January, but it’s actually the best time to redecorate your bathroom.

It’s still cold outside in January, and so the last thing you want to do is cut off your hot water supply and lose the chance of having a nice warm bath. However, January is actually the perfect month in which to redecorate your bathroom for a number of reasons. Read on to find out what they are.

 

Get bargains in the sales

Obviously one of the most important reasons that January is a great time to redecorate your bathroom is the sales.

The January sales are way better than any bank holiday offers that you might come across later in the year for the simple fact that they cover all type of products. That means not only are bathroom suites and paints discounted, but you can also achieve some huge savings on more specialised items like towels, shower curtains, and even made-to-measure blinds.

All you need to do is check out Make My Blinds and other stores like them online to see just how much you can save. Remember the more you save, the closer you get to having your dream bathroom without clearing out your bank account.

 

You’ve joined the gym anyway

January is a great time to redecorate your bathroom because it’s the time of year you are most likely to have joined a gym. Bear with me here, as there is some real logic to this if you think about it.

If you’re having your bathroom done, it means you can’t use it, at least for a few days. That means you will have to shower somewhere else, and where better to do this than at the gym every morning after your workout and before work? You won’t even have to pay extra for a gym membership as, like everyone else in the country, you’ll have signed up to get rid of the Christmas excess anyway! Free showers, perfect!

 

Redecorate your bathroom in January because you can use the gym showers instead. Picture of a shower head with water coming out.

 

No guests to worry about

January is also a great month to do any bathroom renovations because everyone has returned to their own homes after Christmas. You’re done with entertaining tonnes of neighbours and family members.

That means there will be no guests to disrupt the household and you can get on with ripping your bathroom out, putting the new one in, and not worrying that it’ll add to your household stresses.

 

No going out saves money and time

You have to remember that January is usually a fairly boring and uneventful month. Everyone’s recovering from Christmas so there’s not much going on. That means any money you save on going out can be put towards the discounted cost of redecorating your bathroom space.

The best bit is that you will have loads of energy to get the project completed too because there will be no hangovers on a Saturday or Sunday morning to worry about either.