interior decorating

Sell your homeIn our blogs we talk about making changes to your home to make it work better for you, but for some people this isn’t possible or maybe it’s the location that you don’t like? So, you’ve made the decision to move, but how do you get your home ready to sell? Here are our top tips…

Improve the outside and boost kerb appeal
Stand at your gate and look at your home. What do you see? Peeling paint, dead plants, weeds, grass in need of cutting? These are simple things to address but will mean your potential purchasers will be walking through your door excited to see if this is the home for them. A poor exterior is likely to make them wonder if the inside is just as bad.

Time to tackle those repairs
You might find that dripping tap or squeaky door easy to ignore, but a prospective buyer will notice it, and it might start them wondering what else you’ve failed to maintain. Getting on top of these small jobs will mean that buyers aren’t detracted from seeing the best that your home has to offer.

Too much clutter makes your home feel smaller
Before putting your house on the market, why not visit a show-home on a new development. Notice how tidy everything is and how little clutter there is. It’s easy for them, they don’t have a family living there, but in reality, that could be your competition. Take a walk around your house with a critical eye. What do you have out that could be put away, or even into storage? Remember that your potential buyer is trying to imagine themselves in your home, so leave them some space!

Create a homely feel
If it’s cold outside, make sure your house is warm; light a fire if you have one. If your house doesn’t have much natural light, turn all the lights on before any potential buyers arrive, also brew a pot of coffee and put some bread in the oven – they’re old chestnuts, but they work!

Pets…
I think that dogs and cats can be great companions, but not everyone agrees. Some people think they’re dirty, smelly and flea ridden. Now, yours obviously aren’t, but your potential buyer may not realise that, so if you have the option, when they’re due to visit, why not get someone to take Fido for a walk, or suggest to Tiddles that she plays out in the garden. It goes without saying that smelly litter trays should be removed and the room well aired.

Updates worth considering
If you’re home décor is tired and your garden overgrown, consider spending some time getting them “sale ready.” Inside your home, consider redecorating and adding new carpets – neutral is the look you’re going for. It means that people can move in and take their time adding their own touches, rather than feeling that everything has to be done immediately. This can be off-putting to the average home buyer.

Externally, low maintenance is key. Most people love a nice garden, but not everyone wants to spend every weekend keeping it looking that way. Your local garden centre can advise you on which plants require little or no maintenance – some of these, along with a nice lawn (if it’s a family home) and maybe some herbs and you’re ready to go.

It really is worth making some of these updates if you want to achieve the best possible price for your home in the shortest amount of time. Good luck, and do remember us when you find your new home and are considering any work. We can help you with garage and loft conversions, re-plastering walls, extensions or indeed new builds.

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waving goodbye to cold, damp and mouldy roomsThis particular house was built in the mid 1950’s and despite being well looked after, there was a damp and mouldy smell in both rooms at the front of the house. The paint was peeling off in one room and the wallpaper was coming away from the wall in the other. The front of the house was quite exposed and the rooms were difficult to keep warm.

It was determined that the insulation needed to be upgraded, but as the house didn’t have cavity walls, that wasn’t an option. This meant that insulation needed to be added to either the outside of the walls, or the inside. The property owners decided that they’d prefer to have it added on the inside, and as they were fairly large rooms, it wouldn’t be a problem in terms of space.

When the fitted furniture was moved it revealed walls that had been blackened with mould, so the first thing to do was remove the mould and apply a mould inhibitor. Once this was finished and had dried completely, a 100mm thick sheet of insulation was fixed to the walls that had originally had mould on them. They also happened to be the most exposed walls. After this came the plaster board and a skim of plaster. Already the room was feeling warmer and the damp smell had disappeared.

The clients opted for a pale colour on 3 walls, with a bright accent colour as a feature wall. The job was completed within a few days and has made an enormous difference to the feel of the house.

If you have experienced this problem in your house, please call us and we will be happy to find a solution that works for you.

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Invest in your home with K.J. Hill Builders in BedfordInvesting in property is one of the best ways to protect yourself financially, and has become a way of life for many families in the UK. Throughout the economic turmoil of recent years property has remained a sound investment, all be it a long term one. But you don’t need a limitless pile of cash to buy up every property in the area; by carefully adapting your existing property you can ensure that you’re increasing its future saleability and/or value.

There are many different ways to invest in your property, from smaller updates such as improving insulation, which can have a significant impact on your energy bills, or larger alterations such as a house extension, loft or garage conversion, a granny annexe or even a complete new house if you have the land for it! Look at what you have available and what opportunities present themselves for you to increase the value of your home – either in terms of comfort or monetary value.

Outbuilding Conversions
Starting outside, do you have any outbuildings that could be put to good use? Depending on the size and location, existing outbuildings can be converted into office space, a studio or workshop, a granny annexe or even a new home. Having extra usable space is a real asset for a property and is likely to increase the value of your home. It could also generate you a regular income if you’re able to convert an outbuilding into a work space that you can use or hire out, or a living area that you can rent out either long term or as a holiday let.

Loft and Garage Conversions
Before you look at house extensions, do you have unused garage or loft space? Loft conversions and loft extensions provide a unique space to use as a master bedroom, office, gym or play room. Converting a dark, unused space into a light and airy feature for your home will add value and provide you with much more space for your needs. Your loft may be full, and yes you will need to find space to store some of your things, but I’m willing to bet that a lot of it you will never use again. Why not have a clear out and donate to your local charity shop or sell your unloved items to someone who will make use of them? Car boot sales, eBay and Facebook are all good ways to do this.

Converting a garage will also make a great difference to the available space in your home. Whilst garages often appear high up on people’s priority lists when they’re looking for a new home, they’re very rarely used to keep a car in, especially if the house comes with sufficient driveway space. A more useful asset would be a room with lots of neat storage space. This means you can store the important things, but you’re not so tempted to hold onto something “just in case”. Just in case what exactly?

A garage conversion can have many different uses, from extending an existing room such as a kitchen or living room, to providing a whole new room for work or play. You’ll wonder what you ever did without it!

Extensions
If you live in a desirable area then extending your property so you have more space, and differentiating it from every other house in the street, is a great way to potentially add value.  You don’t need to extend a property by much to make a big difference to the feel of the home, especially if you extend more than one storey. A garage conversion and first floor extension over it will create valuable space in a family home, and could add to its value.

If your extension is designed and built to a high standard, and doesn’t negatively affect the proportions of your home, then you can see a good return on your investment. Designed and built poorly, with no thought to how it fits with the overall house could leave you out of pocket with a house that suits nobody.

Smaller Investments
If your budget doesn’t run to major investment, but you’d like to make some improvements we would recommend improving your insulation, there are a number of ways this can be done, but Monocouche render is one you may not have considered. Of course, good double glazing and doors will also keep you nice and snug over the winter, and should also result in reduced energy bills.

There are many ways to invest in your property to create a better family home or to increase the sale price. If you’re not planning on moving, then we would usually recommend you consider what changes will add value to your way of life, rather than what will improve the value of your home. If they are one and the same, and you have the budget to support it, then it almost becomes a no-brainer.

Like any investment it’s important to get professional advice, and when it comes to the building side then experienced local builders can smooth the way with professional consultants such as architects and surveyors. A feasibility consultation and detailed proposal can then move the build forward with confidence through to completion, and unlike many builders we are happy to do the lot, leaving you with a finished extended and decorated new home – until you want to sell and realise your investment.

 

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Loft conversion of a houseConversion of unused loft space may appear a daunting challenge but, in the hands of experts, can be a relatively straightforward project. Loft conversions can be fairly quick and easy, with most of the work taking place in an enclosed environment, with little disturbance to downstairs living until the breakthrough stage is encountered and stairs or services need installation.

Loft conversions can be a great way to increase the value of your home, but most people consider them for the benefits it will bring them now, and measure the return on investment in terms of comfort and convenience on a daily basis.

If you were to convert your loft, what would you use it for?

  • Spare bedroom
  • In conjunction with a garage conversion, create a granny annexe or teenagers flat
  • Studio
  • Hobby room
  • Teenagers “flat”
  • Luxury bathroom
  • Study
  • Change a bungalow to a 2 storey house

Laying loft insulationMaybe you already have your own ideas? Maybe now is a good time to turn that dream into reality? We can liaise with your architect, local planners, building control officers and stair builders. If you have the dream, we can help make it come to fruition. Watch as your truss filled loft is turned into a beautiful open space, with electrics, maybe a bathroom and then completed with plasterboard, skimming and decorating to your taste. So much more useful than a place to stash stuff that you’ll probably never use again!

Experienced builders like K.J. Hill in Bedford can make the difference between a simple conversion and a very difficult one; our experience with all trades and professions in the building industry ensures that we can support our clients throughout, so why not pick up the phone and ask us how we can help you – 01234 765050

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Building extensions

12/08/2014

House extension in Green End, RenholdIn the present climate of once again rising house prices, a building extension may well prove a financial and practical proposition. With this in mind many home owners find that after taking appropriate advice from a financial adviser, they can capitalise on the increased value of their property to fund an extension, which both extends its capacity as a family dwelling and could perform a valuable role as a financial investment, maybe as part of a retirement plan.

Once a home owner has decided this may be a viable prospect then a builder such as K.J. Hill in Bedford can help with feasibility studies and hand holding as project managers from concept through design to construction and decoration/ finishing.

We worked on a job recently where a 3 bedroom detached house with 1 bathroom was being extended to include 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. In effect this would double its footprint and turn it into a property that suited the current situation of the owners without the need to move.

House extension in Green End, RenholdThe outside of the house changed quite dramatically. The existing flat roof extension was re-worked into a pitched roof which not only looks more in keeping with the original house, but is far more durable. We managed to locally source a batch of reclaimed tiles which meant that the new roof section didn’t look new but blended beautifully with the original structure. The outside was completed by rendering the front and partially rendering the back. Even I was surprised at what a difference the rendering made to the look of the house!

House extension in Green End, RenholdInternally there was a lot of remodelling and consequent steelwork as we completely opened up the rear of the house and blended it with the new extension to create a lovely space where we fitted a beautiful kitchen diner. New bathrooms were also needed, which we were happy to fit, along with new windows and internal and external doors throughout. We completed the job with the necessary plastering and decorating to turn this extensively remodelled house into a beautiful home.

Whether you’re designing a new-build, planning a house extension or having a loft or garage conversion it’s essential that you take advice on what is possible. Give us a call today to discuss your requirements 01234 765050

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Wooden flooring

14/11/2013

Dark wood floorWooden flooring has a classic and timeless feel that is appropriate in traditional and contemporary homes alike. Let’s take a look at the following:

  • Solid wood
  • Engineered wood

Solid wood flooring is made from a single piece of wood, it’s often cheaper than engineered wood floors, but the installation costs are usually higher, so when budgeting do remember to factor this cost in. It can be sanded back multiple times and either left unfinished, oiled or lacquered. It would be an asset in any house, and ages wonderfully.

Engineered wood flooring consists of layers of wood which are pressed and glued together to the desired thickness. Not all engineered flooring is equal: the thicker the top layer, the more expensive, but they can be refinished in the future, unlike thinner, cheaper versions. So if your floor is going to be down for a long time, or is in a high traffic area, do consider how well it will age.

The downside with a wooden floor is that it doesn’t have the same cosy feel as a carpet, so you may want to add a rug just to finish it off. This can also add a luxurious feel to the room and is a practical interior design choice.

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Wood Laminate

12/11/2013

laminate flooringWood laminate flooring is one of the cheaper interior design options. If cost is a major factor when you’re renovating your home, then laminate is an affordable, clean and stylish option, which is also easy to install. Laminate flooring can be susceptible to scratches and damage, but it’s very easy to keep clean and mop up any spillages, making it a great option for young families.

Again, you will get what you pay for with wood laminate. Expect the more expensive options to be more durable and have an overall better finish. However, if you’re renovating a home for resale, or your living room won’t experience much footfall then a cheaper laminate flooring option will provide a good, clean, neutral finish.

It’s also a good option for serial decorators; if you change the colour of your walls on a whim, then neutral flooring will see you through many a re-design.

 

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Tiles

07/11/2013

floor tiles in living roomTiles may not seem like the natural choice for a living room, but they can be a wonderful interior design choice. The main downside of tiles in a living room is that they can be cold; therefore often under-floor heating is considered with a tiled floor. Before you look into what tiles to go for, discuss with your builder what will be suitable for an under-floor heating system.

Slate, ceramic or stone tiles can work brilliantly in a stylish home and make a dramatic statement. Slate and stone are well suited to a traditional British home, and the colours that are available in ceramic are perfect if your home is inspired by the Mediterranean. Due to the quality of the materials and the installation costs, tiles are an expensive option, but they’re a great investment and very long lasting.

Tiles are easy to clean and maintain, provided you’re aware of any furniture that could scratch them. They can feel cold underfoot, but a thick rug will add comfort, warmth and cosiness. A tiled living room may not be suitable for young families, due to the bumps and bruises that may occur, although spillages can be easily mopped up. It’s also very unforgiving if anything is dropped, so if you’re a little accident prone, it probably wouldn’t be the best option for you.

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Carpet

05/11/2013

lounge carpetCarpets are the traditional interior design choice for living rooms. They are cosy underfoot, warm and inviting. The choice of colours and patterns are seemingly endless, as are the textures and qualities. Carpets can be a popular family choice, as it’s comfortable to sit on and young children won’t get hurt if they fall over.

If you want to go for a bold choice of colour, ensure you have thoroughly thought it through first. Deep colours make a space seem smaller and affect your mood. Light colours will open a space up, but are also prone to stains. Patterns and flecks can hide a multitude of sins such as stains and the odd crumb!

Wool carpets will provide you with the best quality, but also carry the higher price tag. A wool and nylon blend carpet may be a more affordable choice. Wool is generally considered the best quality and will hold up well against a high footfall, however it can be hard to remove stains and can be prone to fading from sunlight.

If you have small children, a continually muddy dog, a messy teenager, or you simply don’t want to worry about the inevitable red wine spillage, then look towards man-made fibres. They aren’t always eco-friendly, but can be reasonably priced and very enduring against all of life’s little accidents. Acrylic, polyester and polypropylene are all good options, unfortunately the pile will not hold up as well to heavy footfall as a wool carpet.

You also need to consider the type of person that you are. Will this floor be down until it wears out, or are you likely to tire of it in a couple of years and want a complete change?

If you’d like to add any other considerations, please do so in the comments section. We’d be very happy to hear from you.

 

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Living roomIn many houses the living room is the focal point of the home and when renovating, your living room has to reflect both your tastes and lifestyle. Choosing the correct flooring will have a huge impact on the overall interior design of your living room, so it’s a decision that’s worth spending some time over.

As with any renovation project, the first decision that you need to make is what you can afford. Measure your living room and decide how much you’re going to spend per square metre. Don’t just include the cost of materials, but hidden extras, such as underlay if you choose carpet, installation costs if you choose tiles, or treatment if you choose a wooden floor. You’ll get what you pay for with flooring, so expect more expensive options to last longer and be of an overall higher quality.

Over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to look at the following alternatives and examine the pros and cons:

  • Carpet
  • Tiles
  • Wood
  • Wood laminate
  • Natural flooring

If you have anything to add, or other alternatives that you’re considering, please tell us about them in the comments section.

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