My latest ramblings.
Enjoy! I definitely got important things to say
My latest ramblings.
Enjoy! I definitely got important things to say
A toilet is, some would argue, a necessary evil in the house. It isn’t that long ago that this particular function was relegated to the great outdoors; the small, vulnerable-looking building attracting many nicknames over time. With the advent of indoor plumbing many sighed in relief that it was now no longer necessary to brave the weather for a little light relief. Unfortunately toilets tend to be the ‘littlest room’ in the house, many feeling quite claustrophobic, and the worst examples having hand basins that squeeze the user into strange contortions when using this ‘convenience’.
A lot of modern houses have toilets that are situated in the bathroom, sharing space with multiple functions including hand basins, showers, and baths. The obvious drawback of this option is the reticence, and quite reasonably so, of most of us to allow simultaneous occupancy mixing these functions. Long live the toilet room – a single function chamber with outdoor ventilation. While indoor toilets are a blessing, few really consider its benefits or that it can be more than just the littlest room.
A toilet installation can be a DIY task but let’s face it, it is probably the smallest room with the least access to what can be a tricky task. After sweating profusely over the challenge of getting behind the bowl and connecting the cistern up to the mains, sealing the water and waste connections and admiring your barked knuckles (why do they put toilet seat nuts in such awkward and invisible places?), it is finally ready for use. Unfortunately when the first person to use it flushes, discovering it leaks – into the house, what do you do? If you’re looking for something a little longer lasting and durable, leave it to professional toilet renovators.
The roof is vital to the function of a house, keeping out water and maintains the internal temperature. These two statements are obvious. We build the value of a roof up in our minds to such an extent that when it is mentioned in a negative light in a structural survey, we panic. That is because of all parts of a house, the roof is seen as something arcane and mysterious – we rarely look at the underside, and when we do it is just something we accept as being there.
When you look at a house, one of the primary things that defines its looks, and hopefully it beauty is the roof. The colours of the tiles, the shape of the structure, its complexity or even simplicity is as important as how it mates with the walls. From slate rooves, tiles of different colours, all the way through to thatched rooves all add their appeal to the house, giving it a ‘presence’ on the street.
Fortunately the need for complete re-roofing is comparatively rare. A surveyor will flag up issues that require attention to prevent leakage from causing damage to the existing structure. The older a roof, the more likelihood that it will have problems, but remember, if it has stood for a hundred years or more, it will stand for a while longer yet so don’t ever rush a decision on roof renovation. Leaks are the commonest problem for any roof; so regularly go into the loft and with the light off and in daytime check for light penetrating the gloom – rain can use the same hole. Look at the wooden slats for water staining or moulds and fungus development.
The top two reasons for roof renovation are renewing the existing materials, and joining an extension to the current infrastructure. Cement tiles, developed and used extensively in the seventies and eighties only have a life expectancy of around 25 years, so if you’re looking to buy, a good place to start is to interrogate about the age and materials used on your roof. An ageing roof on a domestic property can lead to leaks and other problems inside the home. Keeping up with maintenance will ensure a large bill doesn’t come out of the blue; a little expenditure little and often will save a lot of money in the long term.
Specialist contractors do not come cheap, but their experience is essential and will certainly save you money in the long term. Many people think that a damaged roof will have to be stripped and re-laid but specialist contractor have modern solutions to roof problems, allowing the homeowner to save both time and money. Flat rooves might be mistakenly thought of as simple, but unless ventilation and drainage are done properly, they become a long term headache and money pit. Employing a roofing contractor may be a more expensive way to go but it is still less costly than having problems and will give your house a quality feel when it comes to selling.
Although not generally regarded as a structural element of a property, the ceiling conceals the underside of the floor and the roof structure. It is something that is often overlooked when planning the renovation of a room. Of course, ceilings are more complex than you might imagine; if you own a period house it may be listed in which case you may have to use unorthodox materials such as horse-hair in the plaster as was done at the time of original construction. Modern homes usually have featureless, flat surfaces and so only really require re-plastering, but older ones, especially those of Victorian construction are often have features such as complex cornices, roses around light fittings, etc.
Ceilings are the least considered of all the surfaces in a house. Originally they were constructed to reduce draughts and to hide the uglier features of a house such as the slat-work now replaced in modern homes by plasterboard. Nowadays they hide much more; false ceilings help cover up a multitude of sins such as cabling for electricity, networking, or air conditioning ducts and access tunnels. If a room has a picture rail, it is a good idea to paint the area above it, including the ceiling, a lighter shade of the wall covering or even using a contrasting, lighter colour. This has the effect of brightening up the room.
Most people live in houses where ceilings offer little in the way of value to the overall appearance, modern homes especially because of their boxy construction. Adding cornicing can reduce the harsh, functional appearance of the ceiling. If you are keen on gadgets and this particular room cries out for technology, say, for a study, a kitchen or a living room, then by adding a false ceiling cabling can be added easily to support the modern features you need around a house. Often a ceiling requires renovation because of the presence of Artex, a hard-wearing yet easy to apply substance mostly used to cover up a poor surface. Today it is outmoded and problematic as it also collects dust and grime over the years and so this becomes the number one reason for renovation of a ceiling.
Ceilings are the last place you want to renovate as a DIY challenge. Plastering is not something I would tackle for two reasons. The first is working upside down or with your neck at a strange angle for long periods of time will almost certainly require you to consider the extra cost of physiotherapy, and the second is that small imperfections will stand out in relief because of the shallow angle of the ceiling lights relative to this surface. Another good reason for employing a contractor is the need to ensure ceiling materials remain on the ceiling. Collapsing plaster work is heavy and could seriously injure anyone under it, especially small children. Skimming to remove the evidence of Artex is a skilled job, and unless you have this particular skill it is more likely you will make it look worse than it did at the beginning of the exercise.
After the kitchen, the bathroom is the second most complex and most-visible room in the house. That is why, along with the kitchen, it is usually the last room to be renovated. A quality, functional bathroom is essential to the smooth and clean running of a home. It offers high drama, at least once a day – the morning rush; with multiple occupants in the home, a single bathroom can be a frustrating choke-point, especially in the morning when everyone needs it at the same time. Obviously a second room would be ideal but not always practical for all homes.
After the kitchen, the bathroom will be the second biggest expense in decoration/renovation terms. This is because it needs to be the most-hard wearing room in the house – going through significant changes in temperature, atmospheric steam, and splashed water from showers and baths, it is the environmental recipe for disaster. If it becomes unusable, it will become clear, very quickly just how important this room is to the house.
When moving into a new home, or even after living in one for any length of time, the bathroom, along with the kitchen, is the one room that requires a facelift, either because it falls out of fashion or starts to look neglected, no matter how clean it is kept. It is almost always left until last because we all know it will require a lot of work and will be out of commission for long enough during this process for it to become a real problem.
Different to your kitchen, the bathroom is more of an emotional, almost spiritual room to renovate. Where will you start? Do you put in a traditional bathroom, a wet room, double basins? Do you add a toilet? Don’t skimp on good lighting – essential for ambience and around the mirror. Already you can begin to see that every bathroom renovation is going to be pretty much unique, the market offering an enormous variety of options. Most of what you can do, as well as the price will depend upon the original structure – wooden or solid floors, size of the room, and whether both a bath and a shower are required. Modern bathrooms, especially smaller ones, forgo the luxury of a bath; most people prefer showers these days, they are quicker and you feel fresher afterwards. Buy quality components – durability and good looks are the key to an attractive bathroom. For example, the classic claw-foot tub is pure art, making it popular still – it has an inherent beauty that outclasses most acrylic versions.
From what has been discussed above, you can see that unless you have very specialist skills, the bathroom is very definitely a room for the experts. Renovation consultants will have the skills to build that sophisticated look, be it simple or more complex. If you are looking for a wet room, knowing a trained professional has built it will offer you long term reassurance that the bathroom remains something to be proud of over time.
Your bedroom is one of the most important areas in the house. It is your sanctuary away from the stresses of day to day living. No matter the size of the room you can undertake a suitable bedroom renovation to give you that personal space you deserve.
Firstly it is important to assess what is actually required to update or modernise the bedroom, and decide you can decide on a budget to meet your goals. If money is tight an inexpensive start to your bedroom renovation would be to repaint the walls. Choose a soft palette for a sophisticated yet relaxing style. Brighter colour notes can be added through the addition of accessories such as lamps, rugs and artwork.
As the bed itself is most often the focal point of the room, you can update the style of the bedroom simply and inexpensively by adding a new headboard and new bedding. There is no need to splash out of expensive linens as good quality bedding sets are readily available through online outlets and department stores. All you need to do is choose a style of bedding that fits in with your colour palette and style for the overall makeover. Modern styles include jewel colours and soft metallic shades. The addition of throws and throw pillows adds a touch of luxury and can easily be swapped out to fit in with the changing seasons.
Good quality, thick curtains or blinds are essential for a restful night’s sleep and there are a huge variety of styles available to satisfy most budgets and colour schemes.
Old furniture items such as chest of drawers and bedside tables can be renovated with a lick of paint to fit into the bedroom renovation scheme – this is a popular way to make simple changes.
Storage is essential in a bedroom and as part of the bedroom renovation you might like to consider your storage needs. Too many pairs of shoes cluttering up the floor?Clothes piling up on chairs due to lack of wardrobe space? There are specialist furniture companies that will design a bespoke storage solution for all your bedroom requirements. At the budget end of the scale you can purchase a huge variety of storage boxes and bags to hide your clutter and keep your bedroom looking fresh and clean.
The simple addition of a fitted wardrobe or built-in shelves will dramatically increase storage space and streamline the look of the bedroom.
Lighting is a very important thing to consider during a bedroom renovation project. Recessed ceilings lights are modern and stylish and will have a big impact on the look of the room. Alternatively, think about adding a number of lamps around the room, and don’t forget the addition of scented candles to create a sophisticated/romantic ambience as required.
A more extensive bedroom renovation project could include the addition of an en-suite bathroom to make the master bedroom that bit more comfortable and add considerable value to the property.
When it comes to renovating a living room it is important to research and prepare so you don’t waste time and money. These days, renovating a living room is not just about choosing the right paint and carpet, it’s about deciding what you want to use the room for. With the demise of the formal dining room in most people’s lives, this is the one room in which to escape from the kitchen-diner for a little bit of social relaxation.
This room is the one where most of the family will spend most of their social time. Whether it’s watching the TV, listening to music, or just retiring for a little quiet, the living room has it all. As a result, getting it right first time is essential. It is important to set a budget for the costs of material and labour and allow for hidden problems. If you need to make structural changes such as moving a wall get a professional contractor.
Most people put a television in a living room; this one appliance has become a central focal point of the family, commonly sitting in front of it during mealtimes. With the advent of more sophisticated technology for that cinema effect, a large, flat screen TV will be mounted on a wall, and all of the additional speakers and chairs will be arrayed for optimum viewing. These same systems can also be used solely for music, only without the restrictions on where you sit for the best sound. These days most services such as TV or music are piped in via a computer network. Ensuring networking jacks, power sockets, and a host of other considerations are readily available will make sure you are happy with your financial outlay. Of course, there are those who like more traditional features as well. Fireplaces and perhaps a drinks cabinet are the sort of things that add to the quality feel of this room. Flooring is just as important, and whether you have fitted carpet, rugs, or wooden flooring, a well-though out room will offer so much more for a lot longer. Another consideration is whether or not the room is to be child or pet friendly. There is no point putting a Bose Lifestyle or Bang &Olufsen entertainment system low enough that sticky fingers or wet noses can reach.
Anyone, well almost anyone, can paint a wall a new colour and add a little change to a room. If you want to inject technology for best effect it is better to get a professional consultant in to ensure wiring is done correctly or wireless options actually work – many homes have steel joists that will absorb Wi-Fi, leaving you with patchy reception. Trust me, if you want trouble free viewing through the Internet, get it hard-wired. Sometimes it is a good idea to speak to a professional to understand the options you have for your living room renovation – there are new technologies and ideas coming out all the time and a renovation consultant will be aware of them.
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