As a nation, with an ever-growing population and the competition for space becoming increasingly fierce, we are being forced to reassess our traditional conception of property design. This is because many of the millennial generation are simply not in the financial position to buy a ‘big house with a garden in the suburbs’ and will struggle to get their foot on the property ladder unless something dramatically changes.
Interestingly, the ‘tiny house movement’ is beginning to gain momentum in the UK as the country looks for solutions to its housing shortfall. Recently, the UK housing minister Gavin Barwell has shown an interest in this “private sector innovation”, looking into getting spacing standards to be relaxed, claiming that it will help first-time buyers get on the housing ladder.
Arguably, it can be viewed that we’re already doing this. In Europe, we’re known as a nation of tiny houses as this graphic from the Telegraph shows:
However, while making property smaller is a controversial move, there may be some unrealised benefits to this approach. Firstly, tiny houses, with the right design, can look fantastic and the reduction in space for the property often results in an innovative and forward-thinking design. Plus, these spaces require less upkeep than larger properties which often incur expensive running costs. Thus, if you’re a career-driven person with few commitments and a hectic lifestyle, then a tiny house might be a good choice for you.
Around the world, there has been a movement towards prefabricated factory built housing. This approach can reduce build time, increase quality and lower costs compared to traditional house construction. Here are a few examples of tiny house done just right:
KODA is a movable prefabricated tiny house prototype from Estonia and has been shortlisted for a prize at the World Architecture Festival 2016. It is a free-standing house, which allows it to be re-assembled endlessly. This type of housing may be a forward-thinking approach as your home can adjust to your needs.
Image source: http://www.kodasema.com/
As a country known for its tight spaces and tech/design innovations, it’s no surprise we’ve featured this incredible Japanese tiny house from Fujiwarramuro Architects in Nada Hyogo. Measuring in at under 40 square metres in size, its use of natural light and clean building materials really enhances the perception of space. This minimalist approach is not only incredibly stylish but functional too.
With skyrocketing rent prices, many major cities have their own housing crisis and New York is no exception. An award-winning architecture firm nArchitects has now built its vision for the future; Carmel Place in Kips Bay. Costing $600 dollars a month rent, it’s an absolute bargain for a Manhattan property. These units also feature several amenities that are usually more associated with luxury builds such as a gym, lounge, community room, storage facilities and roof terrace. You can enjoy a communal lifestyle while your own private space is cosy and personal. The best of both worlds?
Image source: http://narchitects.com/work/carmel-place/
We have been impressed by the new designs cropping up in the luxury mobile home industry. This ‘Alpha Tiny Home’ has been made by New Frontier Tiny Homes and features beautifully charred wood skin, transformable furniture and has 240 square foot of living space. The flexibility of the design is reinforced by the fact the property is fully transportable too.
Overall, a tiny abode may also help you understand what is really valuable to you. The theory goes, the more possessions you have, the more you have to worry about and we’re sure that we can all think of things that we haven’t used in years. Perhaps small houses will help us declutter our lives? We’ll just wait for the car boot sale boom…
When we reach the colder, wetter months of the year it is really important that we make sure our homes are as flood proofed as possible to avoid extensive destruction. Whether it is flood prevention or mitigation of its effects, follow our tops eight tips below on how to prevent flooding from damaging your home and contents. Furthermore, we also recommend you carry out these three autumn home maintenance checks too.
When you think of flood protection, the chances are most people will instantly think of sandbags. This is because they can be very effective in stopping flood water entering your home for short periods of time, crucial when flash floods occur. Furthermore, their use prevents all of the silt found in flood water from getting in and damaging your home. Whilst they are the ‘go to’ flood prevention method, they are not always 100% effective, as they often allow water to slowly seep through. Thus, it is recommended that you place large, heavy duty plastic bags in between the sandbags and your property’s walls to reinforce your flood defence.
Despite this, sandbags are still a worthwhile way to flood proof your home, particularly when used in conjunction with other preventative measures listed below.
Invest in door and window guards
For when the flood is unexpected, for example when sudden summer storms occur, easy-to-fit guards for your windows and doors can be clipped on quickly, helping to stop the flood water from getting in through the gaps. The cost of these protective guards can range from £10 to over £500 in price depending on the level of protection you require, but they are a worthwhile investment.
Look into ventilation brick covers
Often these bricks go unnoticed and can be easily forgotten about when you are trying to protect your home from a flood. However, it is vital that any vents may allow water into your property are addressed. There are a number of options here; you can buy brick covers to stop the water from getting into your home or, alternatively, you can fit a water resistant air brick at a slightly higher cost, but it means you don’t have to remember to cover it every time there is a flood threat.
Check your valves
Sometimes during a flood, water gets back up through the pipes and into toilets and sinks causing flooding to affect your home. Fitting “non-return” valves to your drainpipes will prevent this from happening and, at less than £500 in cost, it is a good measure if you reside in a flood prone area or a location with a high water table.
Seal your floors
As water can easily get in through your floors, it is vital that you ensure that any wooden floors are properly sealed as a preventative measure. Another long-term option is to replace your floor with a damp proof concrete and seal around where the floor and walls join. If you are on a flood plain, consider having tiles instead of wooden floors and have rugs instead of carpets which can be easily stored away in case of a flood.
Upgrade your skirting boards
To help mitigate the effects of flooding in your property, a quick method is to varnish any existing wooden skirting boards prior to the event happening. This inexpensive solution is a great way to protect the skirting boards from water if your budget cannot stretch to installing water resistant plastic skirting boards. The plastic option may not look as aesthetically pleasing as their wooden counterparts, but they are less absorbent meaning that if flood water enters your property it is likely to result in less damage to your home.
Protect your appliances
Electrical sockets can be easily damaged by household flooding, so it is beneficial to raise their location on the wall as well. As a precaution, it is advised that they are placed at a height of 1.5m or above. While this is not always a preferred location for them, damage to them may cost more than the outlay of this move (around £1,000-£4,000). Furthermore, protect your household appliances by moving them away from the ground floor. If that is not possible, stand them on plinths where they are located.
Seal exterior walls
It is not just ground water that may affect your property during a flood. With heavy and constant rain, damage may arise from flood water seeping through exterior walls too. To remedy this, apply sealant to the exterior walls. This will cost around £500, but damage to exterior walls from flooding may cause internal damp in bricks if they are in a bad condition. This can damage your property’s structure and even your health. When applying the sealant, check the condition of the exterior walls, looking for small gaps and holes, particularly those at a level that could be breached by flood water.
We hope these tips have been useful if you are in a situation where a flood may affect or has affected your property. If you wish to move away from a flood-prone area and are struggling to sell your property fast, why not get in touch with us and we can make you an offer in one hour.
In this day and age, new, problem-solving inventions are abundant, particularly when it comes to kitchen gadgets. To save you trawling the internet for the most amazing kitchen gadgets you never knew you needed, we have shortlisted some of our favourites below.
Have you ever got half way through the day and realised you had forgotten to take the chicken out of the freezer for dinner? Well ThawTHAT! Is going to solve all of your problems. This nifty board thaws food up to two and half times faster than traditional defrosting without using any electricity, making it much more eco-friendly than the microwave!
Check out the ThawTHAT!Deluxe here.
With smartphones and other gadgets rapidly evolving to help us with everyday tasks, it wasn’t going to be long before we would be able to cook a meal from our phones. Range is a smart thermometer which allows you to cook your food to perfection; there are pre-sets for meat and sweet making and you can receive notifications when your food is done!
Get the Range smart thermometer here.
It wouldn’t be a list of kitchen gadgets without at least one mention of Joseph Joseph. This super handy wooden rolling pin has four ring sizes to pop on to the ends, ensuring you get the exact thickness you need – no more undercooked pie lids!
Roll your way to perfect crusts here
Many of us have probably been in the situation where getting the stone out of an avocado is an impossible task. This handy kitchen gadget by OXO solves that issue! Not only does it help with removing the stone, it also has a plastic blade to cut through the skin and a fan blade to perfectly slice and scoop out the avocado.
Get yours here.
We all know that feeling when you go to the fridge for a nice cold glass of wine after a long day at work, only to discover that you forgot to put it in the fridge. Well, now there is a solution! This instant wine chiller gadget slots onto the wine bottle and chills it as your pour, meaning no waiting and no messy ice bucket. All you need to do is keep it in the kitchen freezer and it will do the job for an entire bottle of wine or 60 minutes.
Quite often recipes require you to dedicate a huge chunk of time to stirring. Well, not anymore; this automatic stirrer is adjustable to fit most pots, has different speed options and lets you sit down whilst it does all of the hard work. Relax your way to perfect risottos, porridge, stews and more!
Get this nifty kitchen gadget here
If you’re a kitchen connoisseur, check out our top 6 cheap and chic tips to upgrade your kitchen on a budget!
Much to everyone’s displeasure, summer is sadly over. So farewell to the days of flip flops and shorts, barbecues in the garden and counting sheep with those lovely, long summer nights. With the return of the rainfall and the temperature dropping week on week, it’s now time to bring back the thick duvet, switch on the heating and set the hibernation mode on.
Just to make sure you make the most out of this autumn/winter, award-winning property maintenance experts aspect.co.uk have put together a list of seasonal property checks – and they are an absolute breeze. Plus, these small tips are also useful if you’re looking to sell your house fast too
1. Clean out gutters
With the leaves falling off the trees, the wind getting stronger and the rain heavier, it’s important you know how to keep your home’s guttering obstruction-free, allowing rain water to flow and avoiding mould, mildew, leaks and even flooding. To prevent this from occurring, just follow these four simple steps:
With all debris swept and the water flow tested, we can tell that the guttering system is in good condition. However, do keep an eye on them regularly in case dust and debris stack up quickly!
2. Check radiators are in good working order
One of the most essential seasonal checks this autumn is finding out if your radiators need to be bled. This is easy to tell: if the top of the radiator is cold but the lower half is hot, it means that trapped air has been building up over time and your radiator needs to be bled. Thankfully, anyone can learn how to bleed radiators and make sure they are ready to keep the house warm. This is how you do it:
This is a really simple but effective check that you should perform this month. It will ensure that your heating is energy efficient, saving you money on your heating bills – which is vital when the truly cold days in winter happen.
3. Fix draughty windows
One of the biggest causes of heat wastage this time of year is caused by cracks and gaps in windows. Not only does this put extra pressure on your home’s heating system (and your bills!) but can also be the source of potential damages to your property should rainwater infiltrate. A quick, simple and effective fix is sealing any gaps with caulk – a resistant filler and sealant. Just follow these three easy steps:
Having sealed your draughty windows, do regular checks to ensure there aren’t any new gaps and that the applied caulk has not cracked. If drafts keep reappearing, it may be worth thinking of replacing the window with a newer one. This last tip is really important if you are looking to sell your house or attract property buyers.
Now that gutters are cleaned, radiators are bled and draughty windows are sealed, all that is left is to get your duvet back in place and put your PJs on. Happy hibernating!
If you feel unsure about performing any of the above tasks or simply prefer an expert to get their hands dirty, do give aspect.co.uk a call on 0844 273 0920 and their experienced team of trade-accredited engineers will be more than happy to help.
We recently added an outside office to our home to allow us to separate our work space from our family living areas and we have found it has helped us to have a better home/work balance. Although we wanted to get our files and laptops out of the living room, we still wanted the new office to be a wonderful environment to work in and have succeeded by following these helpful tips!
Tech it out
By far the most important thing is making sure you have the technology to be able to do your work efficiently and with ease. Gone are the days of dealing with hundreds of wires and clunky computers; a laptop connected to a monitor, accompanied by all of the wireless hardware you can think of (keyboard, mouse, charging station) will make for a clutter-free desk with the ability to work in a more agile fashion. Alternatively, if the budget for fancy new equipment is low, make the most of what you have with a cable tidy.
Invest in a good, no GREAT, chair
Whilst they aren’t cheap, a well-supported desk chair it is a great investment. You will be spending a lot of your day in this chair and it is important that it’s not only comfy but supportive to avoid you developing any back aches or issues. For this reason, you’re best off opting for an ergonomic chair to ensure you have the support you need.
Lighting is key
All too often good lighting is neglected in a home office. Make sure you have sufficient lamps around your desk to avoid you from straining and damaging your eyes, whilst also trying to get as much natural light flowing into your workspace as possible.
A room with a view
Staring at the same four walls for eight hours a day can have a negative effect on your mood, which is the last thing you want when working. Having a window not only allows natural light to flow in (essential for those all-important endorphins) but it gives you something to inspire and energise you. Whether it is looking out onto your garden or over city buildings from your flat, this view into the world will keep you happy and staring out can often give you fantastic ideas!
Clear desk = clear mind
Everyone knows that clutter is the enemy when it comes to productivity and creativity. Leave your desk clear of mess so you can be as efficient as possible and avoid distractions. To help with this problem, invest in some shelving or storage – you can pick up floor to ceiling storage from IKEA which are cheap, whilst also looking modern.
Make it personal
Nobody wants to be spending all of their working days in a dull, lifeless room staring at blank walls. Adding personal touches like family photos, colourful prints of your favourite artwork and other trinkets adds character to your workspace and make you feel more comfortable and relaxed, whilst also boosting your creative brain cells.
Develop your green fingers
Plants aren’t just a nice addition to a room, we see them as a necessity! Not only have they been proven to reduce stress which is great for when you’re working, but they also increase productivity. So get an orchid or a cactus and watch your pile of work disappear…!
Whilst a home office is meant to be a place to work, this doesn’t mean you have to spend your whole day at a desk, in fact it definitely doesn’t mean that! Make sure you have a comfy sofa or a bean bag to kick back and relax on for 10 minutes or for a change of scenery if you are in need of some creative thinking.
Plus, if you’re always on the hunt for innovative additions to your home, why not check out 6 amazing kitchen gadgets you may never have heard of!
The kitchen is often regarded as the heart of the home, meaning it is really important that it’s a room you are proud to show off. Whether it’s cooking a Sunday roast for your family or enjoying some wine on a Friday with your friends, the kitchen is social hub filled with love. So, if you are starting to feel less than enthusiastic about cooking or are looking to spruce it up before you sell your house, follow our top tips to upgrade your kitchen without forking out a huge sum of money.
With the recent trend of interior fashion leaning towards kitsch country or minimalist and monochrome, there is little room for bright, garish tiles. Whilst replacing all the tiling in your kitchen is very expensive, painting them is relatively cheap and easy to do. Use a neutral cream if you are looking for a country look or be bold with a dark grey if bachelor pad is more your thing and give your tiles that all important facelift that they deserve.
Kitchen cabinets are by far the most expensive outlay when redoing your kitchen but there is nothing that a bit of cabinet paint can’t do to make your kitchen look like it has had a complete refit. Did you know that there are many types of paint specifically formulated to revamp your existing doors without much prep? From normal paint for a rustic look to spray paint to get a more even finish, there’s a paint out there which is perfect for your cupboards.
If you are looking to sell, but the above still seems too expensive (or too much hard work!), get in touch with us by clicking ‘get an offer’ at the top of the page! As a property buying company we will buy your house as seen, meaning that you don’t need to put yourself under any stress or carry out time-consuming DIY just to sell your home fast.
As spring becomes summer, gardens are starting to come into full bloom and sun hats are replacing our umbrellas. With the days becoming longer and temperatures beginning to rise, we’ve all suddenly realised that we haven’t paid attention to our gardens in a while and the in-laws are coming over for a barbecue next week! Before you trip on your rake looking for the watering can, it is important to note that gardens are now becoming an increasingly important part of house sales too. Traditionally, most people look inside when they are looking to sell their house, such as putting in a new bathroom or sorting out the kitchen, but more and more house buyers want kerb appeal and having an impressive yet simple garden is the best way to sell your house fast. Here are our top gardening tips to make your house look great even if you’ve not got a lot of time on your hands.
While you should always enjoy your garden, always remember that it is a valuable asset. Gardens are the first thing people see when viewing your house so it is always important to leave a good first impression. Subsequently, they play a big role in the house selling process, so if you live in a city and have a garden, it can be quite rare so it’s important that you capitalise on a potentially unique selling point. Alternatively, if your house is in the suburbs or countryside where gardens are far more common, it is important that your house and garden stand out from the competition.
Nevertheless, if having green fingers is your worst nightmare and perhaps you do not even have a garden at all and are wondering how to sell your home fast, there is always Vivo Property Buyers. We buy homes fast and your property is sold as seen. To get in touch, fill in a simple enquiry form and you could sell your house in 7 days!