Archive for the ‘diy’ Category

House maintenance – 10 ways to maintain your biggest investment

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

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House in handsimage credit

Your home is probably one of the most expensive things you’ve ever bought, so it’s important to keep it in tip-top shape. A little revamp here and there will ensure your property stays in great condition for a long time, so here are 10 useful maintenance tips:

painting garage door muralimage credit

  1. Paint your garage doors

A fresh lick of paint is a well-known way of giving rooms a quick and relatively easy makeover. But don’t neglect the outside of your property. The look of your house contributes to what is called ‘curb appeal’ – how attractive it appears, which is particularly important when it comes to getting a valuation. Painting garage doors can instantly transform the appearance of a house. Just ensure you use a specialist paint supplier, like Rawlins.

cleaning carpetimage credit

  1. Have the carpets deep cleaned

Your carpets might not look particularly dirty, but you’ll be amazed how much dirt and grime has been ground into the material over time. One of the best ways to remove all this is to have your carpets professionally cleaned – you’ll be surprised at the results.

washing windowsimage credit

  1. Wash the windows

On the next warm, dry day, head outside with a bucket of bubbly water and clean the windows using a squeegee. Don’t want to do this yourself? Then there’s sure to be a local window cleaner who’ll do the job for you.

Caulking around a bathtubimage credit

  1. Get caulking

As a home-owner, it’s essential to check the caulking around showers and bathtubs and repair as needed to prevent leaks.

cleaning a shower head with vinegarimage credit

  1. Clean sediment from shower heads

Shower heads can become blocked with all kinds of gunk, so if you’re in the mood for some maintenance, pull on your rubber gloves and clean out the sediment. One of the easiest ways to do this is to submerge the shower head in a bag of vinegar for a few hours.

polishing furnitureimage credit

  1. Give your furniture a polish

There comes a time when furniture can start to look a bit dull and worn, but you can bring it back to life with a good polish. And you don’t even need to buy expensive products as olive oil is a great cleaning agent and ideal for polishing wood.

screwing hinge into cupboard doorimage credit

  1. Tighten loose screws

Once in a while, go through the house with a screwdriver and tighten any screws that are a bit loose on cupboards, draws and such like.

fixing a door lockimage credit

  1. Check all locks and deadbolts

The security of your home is of paramount importance, so check all locks and deadbolts. If something doesn’t work properly, replace it.

clearing fallen leaves from roof gutteringimage credit

  1. Clear out your guttering

Don’t forget to spruce up your outside space too by getting rid of all the leaves, mud and whatever else might have found its way into your guttering.

cleaning patio with power washerimage credit

  1. Give your patio a deep clean

There are many ways to improve your outside space, but cleaning your patio is definitely one of them. Use a pressure cleaner and you should find it makes a big difference without taking too much time.

So there you have it – ten simple, yet effective ways to maintain your home.


Everything you need to know about building your dream home

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

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The Glen self build by Reid Architectsimage credit: Reid Architects

Did you know that almost 20,000 people a year in the UK fulfil their dreams and construct their own homes? The website Self Build suggests that as long as you follow some basic guidelines this vision can become a reality for all.

Regent Road self build by architecture:mimage credit: architecture:m

Start with a legal search

The budget is always important, but so is the availability of your chosen building site. You may have seen the most desirable plot of land in the world, but it’s no use starting to dream of house building until you have verified that the land can be used for building purposes. If you’re planning to build overseas, then you should use the services of Vanner Perez Notary Services who can offer translation as well as legal services for land and property purchase overseas.

Wedge House by Soup Architectsimage credit: Soup Architects

Set a realistic budget

Don’t just take the cost of the build into account. It’s a good idea to remember that very few building projects run to plan, so, if possible, include contingency funding within your budget. You’ll also have to include the cost of a good architect, planning permission fees with the local authority, as well as your own living expenses while the project is ongoing.

If you’re a good organiser, then by all means take responsibility for project management yourself. If you feel at all uneasy about this role, then appoint a manager for your self build. This appointment could save you money, and you’ll be confident that all aspects of the project are being completed to your satisfaction.

passivhaus self build by Forrester Architectsimage credit: Forrester Architects

Getting a mortgage for your self build

You can’t build your own home unless you have the financial means in place. Special mortgages for self builds are available but you’ll also need to have funds or savings of your own in order to get the project started. The Build Store website is an excellent resource for accessing building societies and other information concerning finance and self building.

The most popular type of mortgage is the ‘advanced stage payment’ that will release the funds before the build starts so that you can get going with the job. Funds will continue to be released at regular intervals throughout the project. The ‘arrears stage payment’ mortgage only allows money to be released after each stage of the build is completed. This might not be such a good option if your workforce needs money in advance in order to proceed with the build. You’ll have to prove that you’re able to maintain the mortgage payments whilst the project is in progress.

New House, Stow self build by Jefcoate Anderson Architects Ltdimage credit: Jefcoate Anderson Architects Ltd

Enjoy your project

Despite worries about finance, builders and a thousand and one other niggles, building your own dream home is rewarding. You’ll end up with a house that you have planned to suit your tastes, and your family’s needs. Many self builders have slashed their utility bills by designing an eco-friendly property; others have created innovative gardens around their new home. The possibilities for creating the house of your dreams are endless. Once the project is completed you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy the benefits that come from building your dream home.


1Wall Creative Collage

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

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sheets of font characters from the 1Wall Creative Collage set

We just received this Creative Collage set from the lovely people at 1Wall.

1Wall Creative Collage box set

The box contains 64 A3 sized sheets with which to create random patterns or specific words & phrases.

1Wall Creative Collage box set

Possibilities are endless with a choice of typefaces, letters, numbers and symbols.

sheets of font characters from the 1Wall Creative Collage set

All the sheets can be applied en-mass to a feature wall or designs can be room-specific; food-related for a kitchen diner, bathing for the bathroom – or relaxation for a lounge or bedroom.

sheets of font characters from the 1Wall Creative Collage set spelling out Noel

We also think that they’re great for use as Christmas decorations – and we’ve been experimenting in our own house this week.

sheets of font characters from the 1Wall Creative Collage set spelling out Happy Xmas

They’re very easy to use. The sheets can be applied directly to the wall using the paste mixture supplied or mounted on movable & re-usable boards which adds a further dimension of flexibility.

sheets of font characters from the 1Wall Creative Collage set spelling out Happy Xmas

Perfect for both domestic or business use – retailers in particular might find them useful. They’re ideal for a shop space or market stall – spell out company names, product ranges, messages to your customers etc.

sheets of font characters from the 1Wall Creative Collage set spelling out H is for Home

It’s a wonderful Christmas present – the recipients can mull over ideas with a mince pie, then get creative in the New Year.

In addition to this Typography set you also have the choice of Cityscene and Map collage designs. If you’d like to give it a go yourself, just enter the promotional code ‘nuffnang15‘ (valid until 31 Jan 2015) which will give you 15% off purchases on the 1Wall website.


Locker clean up

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

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Word cloud decal on a renovated storage locker

Justin picked up an old metal storage locker last week. Initially, it was going to be a case of a quick wash then off to the antiques centre. We then decided it would make a great home for all our cleaning stuff which is scattered around the house in various corners & cupboards. So it became an up-cycling project instead.

partly undercoated green locker

The weather was still gorgeous then – the perfect job for a sunny afternoon in the garden.

detail of partly undercoated green locker

The metal was primed, then painted a warm buttermilk cream colour to match other pieces in the kitchen.

top of repainted locker

We bought some clear, sticky-backed vinyl which can be printed on using a ordinary ink-jet printer. Then designed a little word cloud with appropriate housekeeping terms and ran a couple off (more of that later).

2 cleaning word clouds printed on to clear vinly labels

This was then attached to the door.

detail of word cloud on refurbished locker

The locker is tall enough for mops & brushes which is ideal. There’s space for buckets and also a shelf on which sit polishes & sprays. We have a small section of wall between the window and door to the garden. It’s exactly the width of the locker so it’s found a perfect home.

Completed refurbished cleaning storage locker

We’re very pleased with the results. If you fancy doing something similar, we printed off two copies of the word cloud. We can post the other one off. You could use it on a similar locker, a wooden box – or perhaps an existing cupboard that you have in the house. Anyone interested? Just leave a comment on the post and we’ll pick someone at random in a week or so!

3 Tips for Measuring Kitchen Cabinets

Friday, September 27th, 2013

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vintage electric blue 1960s Geneva metal kitchen cabinets
image credit: Joe Wolf

Starting a kitchen remodel can be an exciting time – it can also quickly become a time you can’t wait to just be over and done with. Many homeowners don’t realise all that is included in a kitchen renovation, but with some additional knowledge, the task can actually turn into something that can be fun!

Here are some tips to follow when starting out in selecting new kitchen cabinets.

Use all the Free Tools Available

Many home improvement and cabinet stores have great cabinet materials that can help you start measuring your cabinetry and see what options are in stock that will fit your needs. This material is typically free and can save you a lot of time in planning. It’s important to keep in mind that unless you’re doing custom cabinetry, you’re fairly limited to the cabinets that are kept in stock.

In addition to brick and mortar stores, many companies have online tools that can be very helpful in laying out a new cabinet design. Often, they will then tell you exactly what cabinets you will need to finish off your new design. It’s almost like having a personal kitchen designer to help you from start to finish.

Use the Measurements from Old Cabinets

If you like the general layout of your current kitchen, but want an updated look or wood, use the measurements from your existing cabinetry to give yourself a starting point for your design.

This can be especially helpful if you’ve lived with the existing cabinetry – you know what drives you nuts about the current layout and what improvements should be made for a better functioning kitchen. Use this knowledge to your advantage!

Another alternative is to simply refinish your existing cabinets with new hardware, stain, etc.

Often times homeowners are shocked that their existing materials can be refinished into beautiful, updated pieces to give their kitchen a whole new look. While this might not be for everyone, it’s definitely an option to consider.

Things to Consider

If you decide to go with in-stock cabinets, keep in mind that some cabinets require an additional cabinet to sit next to it, or a separate trim piece needs to be purchased to make the cabinet have a finished look. Also, this might seem obvious, but most DIY-ers are surprised to find out that cabinets aren’t finished on the top. They are designed to have a counter top placed on top of them to finish them off. This is important to consider if you’re considering in-stock cabinetry for other uses besides traditional kitchen or bathroom use.

Also, have you ever noticed that in typical kitchens the cabinets above the fridge are actually deeper than the rest of the cabinetry? This is done on purpose. Many people learn the hard way that this isn’t just a style preference. The cabinets are designed to be deeper so that they are more easily accessible. Keep this in mind when designing your kitchen layout.

Additionally, you might want to consider adding electricity to your cabinets, especially if you’re adding in an island. This can save you a lot of headaches, and it allows you to use kitchen appliances on your island, adding to your overall available work space.


Author biography: Alex Orton is a PR and content marking professional living in Washington DC. He has worked in both the software and non-profit space and enjoys writing, politics, and running around the nation’s capital.  Alex enjoys writing articles for companies like Knotty Alder Cabinets.

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