Many of us are working from home for the first time this week.
It can be a difficult transition, with lots of people now working alone instead of amongst the hustle and bustle of a busy office.
So if you’re currently working remotely, we’ve come up with 10 top tips to help you stay on track. Also, if you want to check out some dreamy properties on a tea break, you’re in the right place!
1) Start your day right
Set your alarm for a similar time you’d usually wake up, make a nice breakfast, and change into something comfortable – as long as it’s not your pyjamas.
Making a little effort will go a long way towards feeling productive and ready to work.
2) Revamp your commute
Make the most of the extra time you have by not having to commute, and redirect it into a new morning routine. How about reading or a quick 20 minute work out at in your living room?
3) Set up your workspace
Dedicate a space that’s yours for a specific time period so you can be distraction-free, where possible. We’ve heard of people sharing their desks with their kids so we know it’s really challenging. If you’re used to a busy office, play music or a podcast to fill the empty space and help get in the zone if you can.
4) Make WFH friends
Reach out to friends or people who are also working from home (WFH), and plan to Facetime or even set up a productive working hour together.
Simply talking it through with others can be extremely beneficial.
5) Flowers at home
Bring plants into your workspace, they are living, growing and thriving and are known to help with stress. Plus they look pretty too!
6) Put your phone away
Try dedicating time in the morning and afternoon for socialising on your phone. Or, log out of your favourite social media networks so if you do get tempted, you’re met with a log in screen that should put you off distracting yourself.
7) Keep moving
Experts recommend that you get up and move around every 30 minutes. Even if it’s a quick stretch or a trip to the kitchen, your body will benefit from movement.
8) Don’t slouch
Good posture can be hard work, here’s what you should remember:
Sit all the way back on your chair, so your back is supported, and your legs are at a 90 degree angle to the floor
Keep your shoulders back and relaxed, and your spine straight so you don’t slouch.
9) Don’t become Cinderella
Sure, tidy up or get some washing going before you start work and keep the place clean, but too much decluttering can disguise itself as procrastination too!
10) Stay positive
Prioritising your mental health and wellbeing is vital during challenging times. Many of us have little experience working from home, but it does have its advantages.
Most importantly, don’t forget to wash your hands.
Rishi Sunak today announced any homeowner who is adversely affected by coronavirus will be eligible for a three month mortgage payment ‘holiday’.
The Chancellor this afternoon set out a massive economic stimulus package designed to keep the UK economy afloat as the outbreak hits business hard.
Mr Sunak pledged to make available at least £330 billion in government-backed and guaranteed loans which struggling firms will be able to access to pay workers and suppliers.
But he also unveiled unprecedented help for families as he said anyone in ‘difficulty’ because of the virus will be able to get a three month reprieve from payments on their homes.
The announcement is likely to be warmly received by workers who may be fearing for their jobs due to the government’s lockdown policy which has left many sectors facing financial carnage.
However, Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell suggested the package did not go far enough and questioned what would be done by ministers to help people in the private rented sector.
Standing next to Boris Johnson in 10 Downing Street, Mr Sunak set out a raft of measures designed to stop the UK economy crumbling in the weeks and months ahead.
He said Britain had ‘never faced an economic fight like this one’ but he insisted the nation is ‘well prepared’ and will ‘get through this’.
Repeatedly stressing that the government will do ‘whatever it takes’, Mr Sunak said financial support would not be restricted to business alone.
He said: ‘Following discussions with industry today, I can announce that for those in difficulty due to coronavirus, mortgage lenders will offer at least a three month mortgage holiday – so that people will not have to pay a penny towards their mortgage while they get back on their feet.’
Mr Sunak did not explain how homeowners will be asked to demonstrate to banks that they are in financial trouble due to the outbreak.
The Chancellor also said that in the ‘coming days’ he would ‘go much further to support people’s financial security’.
He vowed to work with industry and trade unions to ‘urgently develop new forms of employment support to help protect people’s jobs and incomes through this period’.
‘I want to reassure every British citizen, this government will give you all the tools you need to get through this,’ he said.
‘We will support jobs, we will support incomes, we will support businesses, and we will help you protect your loved ones. We will do whatever it takes.’
Mr McDonnell said many workers were already being laid off due to disruption caused by coronavirus and that Labour was ‘disappointed that this package does not address their concerns’.
He added: ‘The further announcements laid out by the Chancellor lack the certainty required amidst growing public anxiety, and still do not go far enough in protecting workers, renters and those who are losing their jobs, or in fully supporting businesses at the scale necessary.’
Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leadership challenger, said it was ‘obvious’ the economic measures put forward by Mr Sunak ‘don’t go far enough’ as he also bemoaned a lack of support for people who rent their home.
PM: We’ll support businesses, families and individuals’
He said: ‘There is no support for millions of renters, no new money for social care or the elderly, there is no clarity on employment support and no new money for already stretched public services.’
Lib Dem MP Layla Moran echoed a similar sentiment as she said: ‘Renters should be offered equal relief to homeowners, in the form of a three-month break from payments, should they need it.’
Paresh Raja, CEO of the bridging loan firm Market Financial Solutions, said: ‘This is welcome news and builds on the bold commitments made by the Chancellor in last week’s budget.
‘Mortgage holders struggling to stay on top of their repayments will now have a three-month window to reassess their finances.
‘This announcement could also not come soon enough – the COVID-19 pandemic is posing significant challenges for consumers, investors and businesses alike, with the situation changing every day.’
Browsing for home office ideas? With us all working from home A LOT more it’s important to have a space that is practical and inspiring. So how to get it right? The trick is to get the balance between decor – colour schemes, soft furnishings and wall art – and practical additions like storage and office furniture just right.
So, whether you have a dedicated home office or you just haul up in the corner of your living room, we’ve got you covered with our home office ideas and tips to help you create a space you (almost) won’t want to leave…
1. KEEP YOUR HOME OFFICE MULTI-PURPOSE
If your home is slightly on the small side, having a space that is purely dedicated to working from home, may seem like an impossible dream. But just because you don’t have an extra room to turn into a home office, that doesn’t mean you can’t squeeze in a small desk and some essential home office storage into your bedroom or living room. When you aren’t WFH the space could double up as a sideboard or a dressing table.
We love this home office idea! There are plenty of wall planners and noticeboards on the market to help you organise your time, but if you fancy a project, why not make your own? All you need is some masking tape and chalk paint to get started, or alternatively some corkboard and spray paint if you need something you can pin notes to.
3. HIDE A HOME OFFICE UNDER THE STAIRS
Reclaim the space under your staircase with this home office idea. Not only can office shelving be designed to fit right up to the underside, it’s a great opportunity to create a feature by displaying favourite items and photos. Opt for purpose-built office furniture so you can incorporate useful components, such as slide-out cupboard shelves that are ideal for housing printers and scanners or bulky equipment that you may not want on show.
4. WFH NOT QUITE WORKING? BUILD A GARDEN OFFICE
For properties that may have planning restrictions, having a standalone garden room is an efficient use of outdoor space and a great home office idea. Designate it as a work space from the outset and it can be fitted out accordingly with power points, tailored lighting solutions and natural light from large windows. Properly insulated, it will be as comfortable as any room in your home.
5. OPT FOR AN ALCOVE OFFICE
Alcoves are usually a pretty neglected space so put them to work and use the empty space create a small home office. Even if you cant squeeze in a desk you could install a wall mounted work surface with shelves and cupboards fitted above.
6. KEEP YOUR HOME OFFICE CLUTTER-FREE
Look for adaptable home office storage solutions to that can grow and be adjusted as your needs change. Open storage is also a great option for a home office, they are easier to keep organised and accessible. The storage system from String is incredibly versatile and can be built to perfectly fit your space, there are also drawers and cupboards too that can be added.
7. SAVE SPACE WITH A WALL MOUNTED DESK
If you have some extra-wall space in your home but not enough space to put an actual desk, a wall-mounted drop down desk is a great home office idea. Pair with an adjustable chair and modular, freestanding storage and you’ll have an instant mini office.
8. CREATE A WORKSTATION WITH A LADDER DESK
Proof that you can fit a home office into the smallest of spaces – a ladder desk includes everything you would expect from a home office but doesn’t take up any precious square footage.
9. CHOOSE FREE-STANDING FURNITURE FOR FLEXIBILITY
If a fully fitted home office is beyond your budget, find freestanding solutions that are more mobile. A double-sided desk is useful if you’re sharing the space, and opt for drawers on wheels that can be rolled under a desk and easily switched around for a fresh new look.
10. PICK A PAINT COLOUR THAT WILL BOOST YOUR PRODUCTIVITY
Different colours affect our moods in different ways, so choosing the correct paint colour for the room you plan on working in is no small matter. While plain white may be tempting, an all-white room can create an overly clinical atmosphere. Surprisingly, the colour that has been revealed as the ultimate productivity booster is . . . orange. This does not mean that you have to paint your home office a garish shade; choose a stylish hue such as Picture Gallery Red from Farrow & Ball. If reds and oranges don’t appeal, try a combination of soothing greys, greens and blues.
11. OR GO FOR A NEUTRAL COLOUR SCHEME
If you know you get easily distracted, yes maybe even a colourful wall is enough to pull you from your work, then choose a calming, neutral colour scheme. Sometimes it does take a polished, professional looking home office to get you motivated.
Having the desk in a central position makes it the focus of the room, plus is a good idea if you work with clients from home so you need seating on both sides of the desk.
12. ADD SOME GREENERY
That on-trend cheese plant won’t just look great on your office shelves, adding houseplants to the space can also help purify the air, apparently helps absorb noise (who knew?) and improve productivity. When choosing the right plant for your home office, consider the light levels it might require and its watering needs – staring at a brown, shrivelled plant isn’t going to do much to boost motivation on a Monday morning.
13. TAKE YOUR HOME OFFICE SEAT SERIOUSLY
We all know that the key to WFM is having a designating place to work, a desk rather than say the kitchen table, or the sofa, or your bed. Physically sitting at a desk gets you into that “work mode” and a good, comfortable chair is all part of that mentality. So make sure you get your home office chair right, it’s worth perusing reviews and testing out a few models before you pick. Be sure to check out picks of the best office chairs.
14. LET THE LIGHT IN (OR KEEP IT OUT) WITH SHUTTERS
A good work area needs plenty of light, but at the same time you don’t want any glare on your laptop or computer. Black out blinds are a great home office idea. That will obviously stop any glare issues but then you are sat in the dark, same goes for curtains. Shutters however will allow you to control the amount of light coming into the room throughout the day.
Tracking the décor that’s trending is often more about inspiration than instant overhaul. Afterall, the style that speaks to you may be a reflection of your personality rather than a prescriptive one-size-fits-all formula.
But every now and then we could all use a little change. And whether you’re tired of looking at the same old design scheme, need a small refresh or simply like to follow what’s new now, taking your cue from design trends can help you figure out just how to update your home. We asked top design pros for their take on what’s hot for 2020.
More and more, people are forgoing stiff, formal interiors that feel more like museums than actual homes in favor of relaxed living.
“We’re noticing that interior design seems to be loosening up, that tastemakers seem less concerned with creating spaces that are models of perfectly good taste and are pushing boundaries in ways they hadn’t before, even at the very high end,” said New York-based Anthony Barzilay Freund, 1stdibs editorial director and director of fine art. “In these stressful times, people are increasingly seeing their homes as sanctuaries, so it follows that a more relaxed, even rumpled environment feels more soothing and comforting.”
There’s been a move toward liveable luxury and curated design, said Tania Cassill, owner/interior designer of Laguna Beach, California-based Huit Laguna. “It really tells more about the person and what their favourite things are. The most beautiful interiors have a sense of pieces collected over time: iconic leather Togo Fireside chairs next to a stunning new crushed velvet sectional—all atop a vintage Moroccan rug they could have acquired on their recent visit to Marrakech,” she said.
A big part of this look is mixing vintage with contemporary pieces. “Authentic and found pieces from varying eras that somehow work together to create a more personal design aesthetic,” Ms. Cassill said.
Slow design, which focuses on the materials, origin of the piece and how it’s made, taking the environment and sustainability into account, has become more mainstream, said Adriana Hoyos, principal designer for ADRIANA HOYOS Furnishings in Miami. People are caring more about the provenance of a piece that’s well rather than instant, click-to-order mass production. “Designers will have to overcome the idea of the ‘extreme makeover’ and start investing their ideas into juicy statement pieces of lighting, furniture and accessories,” Ms. Hoyos said, noting that design in 2020 will also prioritise the idea of mixing traditional pieces with the designs of today.
Sculptural pieces with layers of textures and materials subtly done also further this type of aesthetic, explained Georgina Wood, design director of London-based Taylor Howes Designs. “We’ve had the modern clean look, and maximalism looks incredible, but every day, it can be too much for the eye,” she said. “We are now in between the two: a laid-back luxury with an infusion of vintage and new, and mixes of colour.”
Perhaps the most important aspect of the style is a sense of individualism.
“With the ubiquity of design images online, there’s a greater drive to create a space that is truly unique,” Mr. Barzilay Freund said. “A home filled with an assortment of treasures—some old, some new, some gleaming, some showing the hard-earned wear and tear of a beloved heirloom—appears truly special and memorable.”
Jeffrey Beers of Jeffrey Beers International in New York said the trend is, in fact, not to be trendy. Instead it’s about making decisions that take the environment, health, longevity and quality into account. “We’ll see very individual choices based on personal taste and personality, or neutrality for the sake of timelessness,” Mr. Beers said.
This means natural and matte finishes with a focus on sustainability and timelessness rather than high-gloss or statement finishes. “Furnishings will be less about one style, such as Scandinavian modernism or industrial chic, and more an accumulation of looks based on individuality, need, purpose and functionality,” he said.
“True elegance means not having to try too hard,” Mr. Barzilay Freund explained, noting that not everything in a room needs to be in mint condition or in, what’s traditionally deemed, good taste. “European aristocrats have long known this (think of a sitting room in a stately British country house with its plump sofas covered with an assortment of pillows and dogs and books and newspapers). American consumers of luxury design are starting to catch on.”
Materiality Made to Order
Due to a strong interest in superior craftsmanship, quality and materiality are key, said Andrea Magno, Benjamin Moore director of colour marketing & development.
“Consumers are more interested in the backstory of what they are bringing into the home,” she said. This means, they’re more concerned with buying quality over quantity to create a bespoke home.
Ms. Wood and her team at Taylor Howes are increasingly asked to reinterpret old custom methods such as marquetry, crushed eggshells or cracked gesso for unique furniture pieces clients haven’t seen before. An example of this is Taylor Howes Indigo Skies coffee table and cabinet from their furniture collection, which is crafted by master artisans and features metallic pewter leaf trims and hand-dyed parchment. “These finishes bring a further layer of understated sophistication to the pieces, and it is this understated sophistication that our clients are looking for,” Ms. Wood said.
Ms. Hoyos has been spotting custom takes on curvilinear Victorian-style furniture. These include upholstered chairs, sectionals and sofas done in unconventional materials such as leather and wool bouclé and mixed with the era’s traditional characteristics like bold silhouettes, sharp curves and shapely arm details. She’s also noticed a rise in high-contrast textiles and the mixing of muted tones with over-the-top colours and patterns as well as the blending of materials to make edgy combinations of high-gloss finishes with rustic textures, textured surfaces with plain patterns and metallics with matte.
Mixing metals in unique ways is another example of how the look is expressed—a nickel faucet with brass lighting or oil rubbed bronze hardware and satin brass accents, for instance. “The mix is purposeful and elevates the design,” Ms. Cassill said.
Colours that soothing and easy to live with, are showing up in everything from wall colours and furnishings to fabrics and accessories, Ms. Magno said. “We are seeing these soft, pretty hues act as a safe way to move into interior colour, as many people have expressed a sense of colour deprivation after several years of neutrals dominating the colour schemes of many interiors,” Magno said.
Benjamin Moore’s standout hues for 2020 include First Light 2102-70, a soft blush that has been named its Colour of the Year 2020; Crystalline AF-485, a pale green and Windmill Wings 2067-60 a lavender blue hue. These shades are used as all-over colour, in monochromatic tonal iterations as accents in an otherwise white room, or in a wide range of home accessories and fabrics, Magno said.
Mitchell Parker, an editor with Houzz, an online platform for home remodelling and design, has observed these tranquil palettes, such as light greys and blues, particularly in kitchens on Houzz and expects to see more of them in 2020. “Colour experts think it’s a reaction to this year’s rise in popularity of moody hues,” Mr. Parker said.
Natural woods with tones varying from bleached to dark are not only coveted but they’re also being given expression in interesting ways, Ms. Cassill said. They’re coming in to play through unique touches, such as vertical cording on kitchen cabinetry, which adds both texture and an unexpected design element.
Among Houzz users, Mr. Parker is noticing more creative uses of wood.
“Designers are adding visual interest to white cabinetry by breaking it up with wood drawers, shelves and pullouts. We’re even seeing people adding wood accents to range hoods, which brings a little bit of warmth and texture into the sightline and helps break up large expanses of cabinetry that are often painted white or grey,” he said.
Wood flooring sets a warm tone for a home’s vibe, and designer Jeffrey Beers is working with a light colour stained white oak wide plank flooring with natural quarter sawn wood grain patterns for a recent project at 277 Fifth in New York City to provide a warm luxurious canvas for the home. He’s also using light colour stained white oak for kitchen cabinetry.
Aside from traditional woods, there’s also been increased interest in next-generation timber, such as cross-laminated timber and glulam, engineered wood beams composed of wood laminations. “The sustainability and cost-saving aspects provided by these materials are attractive to clients and create a faster, more efficient building process,” said Hans Baldauf co-founding principal at BCV Architecture + Interiors based in San Francisco and New York.
There is no better way of painlessly revamping an interior than by an imaginative use of tiles. They are an interior designer’s secret weapon and can be used to pull focus, alter dimensions or add a much needed splash of colour.
What’s more, there’s a plethora of them available from patterned, geometric to different shapes and textures most of which are pretty affordable. So where to begin?
Kitchens and bathrooms
Kitchens tend to be filled with strong horizontal and vertical lines created by cabinetry, islands and appliances, so geometric mosaics are a fantastic way of introducing visual contrasts,’ said Fired Earth’s creative director Colin Roby-Welford.
‘Tiles in striking shapes such as chevrons, triangles and hexagons will subvert horizontal and vertical lines, while the sweeping curves of Arabesque or fanshaped designs will soften a scheme and prevent it from looking too linear.’ Try Fired Earth’s Nebula Green Hexagon £9.60, which will give some oomph to a tired kitchen or bathroom (firedearth.com).
One of the most popular and enduring styles are Andalusian and Moroccan tiles.
‘Moroccan tiles are famed for their intricate patterns and decorative style which bring drama to any decor,’ said Harriet Goodacre, Topps Tiles style consultant.
A few Topps Tiles Archivo Bakula Tiles arranged as a splashback (£1.11 a tile or £71.04/m2) is a reasonable way to make a change.
Lee Thornley, founder of Bert & May, was so entranced by the art of reusing tiles that he moved from London to Andalusia and set up a reclaimed tile company.
Bert & May tiles have an attractive chalky finish and come in array of soft colours this ‘washed out’ look is very of the moment and easy to blend with the other aspects of your interior (bertandmay.com). Stars are a bestseller for them (Luna Saphire £3.50 per tile) and they report a trend towards busier patterns and intricate detail.’ Check out the Fluer Tile £3.88 or the geometric Soho House Redchurch tile, £6. Those with a bigger budget might want to investigate the Antique replica collection, which starts from £30 a tile.
The vogue now is to experiment with using tiles in more unusual places, such as kitchen islands units, staircases and headboards for maximum impact.
Americans Caitlin and Samuel Dowe-Sandes set up Popham Studio in Marrakech. ‘I think we are in a golden age of utility meeting decorative potential,’ said Caitlin.
Alongside traditional places, she suggests using them ‘for feature walks, alternative headboards and chimney surrounds’ (Popham tiles from £225 per sq m at daytrue.com).
Those not ready to embrace patterned tiles could experiment with layout. ‘The most popular style we are finding currently is the ordinary brick effect tile but used in multiple different ways such as “brick style”, chevron or staggered herringbone,’ said Louise Ashdown, head of design at West One Bathrooms.
Hit the floor
While using floor tiles is nothing new, ‘people are beginning to realise that floor space is a bit of a blank canvas – almost a fifth wall,’ said Fired Earth’s Roby-Welford. (Encaustic tiles £8.99, firedearth.com, each make for a bold floor statement.) There are, however, a few rules to consider when playing with tiles, according to London based interior designer Lizzie Green, ‘laying parquet tiles the length of a room can make it seem longer and laying tiles vertically can make the ceiling feel higher.
‘I recently laid a border of tiles around the top of a high ceilinged bathroom to draw the eyes up.
‘In small spaces I wouldn’t use huge tiles and the same goes for large rooms, I would only lay large tiles to eliminate the lines of grout.’
Before you choose a new shed, it’s important to think carefully about what you want to use it for and where best to put it. To help you, three experts consider the design, materials, groundworks and maintenance issues of everyone’s favourite outbuilding and provide information for you to share with your garden designer or shed installer.
Professional advice from: Jim Gabriel of Inside Out Oxford; Peter Reader of Peter Reader Landscapes; Aaron Priestman of Brighton Bike Sheds.
Which design should I choose for my space? Form should follow function, say our experts, so the first step is to consider what you need the shed for and make sure the design you choose has enough space for everything.“Think about logistics, too – aspects such as head room, door width, and whether you want a wood floor or a window,” Peter Reader says. “Sheds can also be multi-functional; for example, a shed with large windows can act as a cold frame in which you can start seeds off.”It’s worth investing in a bespoke shed, particularly if your dimensions are different to standard flatpack designs. “A good designer and builder of bespoke outbuildings will work with you to craft something that fits the garden, reflects your preferred shape and finish and is robust,” Jim Gabriel says.
Which material would you recommend? “Treated wooden shedsare widely available and are generally the cheapest option,” Peter says. “However, if security is a concern, consider metal options, which can be securely locked and often come with methods of securely fixing them to the ground. If you’re looking for minimal maintenance and longevity, then sheds made from composite materials [such as a mix of wood, reusable polypropylene and weatherproof resin] are a good option.”Aaron Priestman offers six types of timber cladding on his sheds, which are primarily designed for bicycle storage, from vertically fixed, untreated UK larch at the lower end of the price range, up to painted European, pressure-treated pine and western red cedar tongue and groove.“Durability of all the options is high,” Aaron says, “especially if they’re treated biannually with a suitable preservative or oil. Often the decision on cladding is aesthetic and so the choice is personal taste.”
Where should I put the shed? A good garden designer or shed installer will be able to guide your decision on where to locate your shed.“Think about ease of access and how frequently the shed will be used,” Peter says. “There’s no point squeezing it into a tight corner if you can’t open the door properly or if you’ll struggle to take heavy or awkward-shaped items in and out. Nothing puts you off using an item more than having to move things in order to find it. Equally, having to cross a boggy lawn to get to the shed can be a major disincentive.“Also think about access for maintenance,” he continues. “Ideally, it’s nice to be able to get to all sides for this, but, in a small garden, it’s usually not possible, so at least allow for some air circulation and the ability to put an arm around the back.”
How is the ground prepared? It’s best to ask for the shed to be placed on a reinforced concrete base laid over an MOT type 1 sub-base (a compacted aggregate), Peter recommends. “Depths for these vary depending on the soil you have, the weather[in your area]and the size of the shed,” he says. “Generally, depths of 75mm to 300mm are quoted.“It’s best to have the top surface of the concrete 1cm to 2cm above the level of the ground, so the shed doesn’t come into contact with the soil,” he continues. “A shed laid on a bed of correct-depth concrete will not sink or shift, and the concrete will prevent animals such as foxes making a den underneath.“For very small sheds, a compacted MOT base may be sufficient on its own,” he adds. “It’s best to take advice from the supplier of the shed, bearing in mind your local conditions.”
Concrete isn’t the only option, though. “You don’t have to use concrete,” Jim says. “We design our garden rooms and sheds on timber bases, damp-proofed and anchored to the ground with screws, which is a lot better for the environment.”
Paving slabs set into sharp sand are another option, according to Aaron, “or eco-base type products [ie those made from recycled plastic]. In all cases there should be a sub-layer of compacted hardcore and ballast,” he says.
Whatever you choose, Jim adds, your installer needs to “consider rainwater run-off and the base of the shed not rotting due to standing in something damp”.
How long will it take to put up a shed? “Some off-the-peg flatpack sheds can be put up in under an hour,” Jim says, “while a bespoke shed that’s built for you on site can take a few days.”“The installation of our sheds takes two to three hours for our installers,” Aaron adds.
What are my storage options? “A bespoke shed can be built to carry great weight, whereas building shelves into a lightweight flatpack shed is not recommended if you’re planning to store anything heavy on them,” Jim says. A common solution is to use floorstanding shelving systems instead.“We offer side storage that’s partitioned off from the main bike section,” Aaron says. “We also offer bin and log storage as added extras.”Storage options can include bespoke shelving, large plastic containers, work tables, and hooks and hangers. “Many things can be stored in a shed,” Peter says, “but bear in mind that things will get damp due to condensation in the cold, and they’re likely to get lived in or on by insects, spiders and possibly rodents. Use storage materials that will not suffer in the damp, so avoid cardboard boxes, for example.”
What if I want to add power and lighting? This should be straightforward and done by a qualified electrician, “but be aware that getting power to your shed might be an expensive exercise if there isn’t already a supply nearby,” Jim says.“An electrician should drill a small entry hole of around 12mm through the cladding,” Aaron says. “Once inside, they can route cables along the structural members and install charging points for e-bikes, alarms, security lights, motion sensor lights and so on.”“Electricity outside can be very dangerous if not installed correctly,” Peter says. “Cables need to be armoured and buried to protect them from mowers and shovels. Connections and plugs need to be designed for outside usage (including where they’re brought out of the house), and safety features, such as circuit breakers, are a good idea.”
Can I have a water butt attached? “We can install gutters and drainpipes to take the rainwater off the shed directly to the ground,” Aaron says. “You don’t want water dripping off the roof edge and running into the cladding on the walls, rotting the shed – especially at the base. Water butts can be fitted directly onto the rainwater pipe.”“A water butt has many advantages,” Peter says. “Firstly, you can use the collected rainwater on the garden, saving on the water bill. Secondly, having the rain collected from the roof will reduce the risk of run-off causing local water pooling and saturation of the soil.”Jim agrees. “It’s a good idea, provided any overflowing rainwater that doesn’t go into the butt can find its way to a soakaway, a French drain [a trench filled with gravel or rock or containing a perforated pipe that redirects surface or groundwater] or equivalent.”
Is it easy to add a green roof? “Green roofs are relatively easy to add, and there are a number of skilled fitters on the market,” Peter says. “They can make a shed look better, provide more biodiversity in the garden, and slow water drainage into the soil.“One very important consideration, though, is to make sure your shed roof is strong enough to carry the weight of a green roof,” he says. “Plants and wet soil are heavy, and even a sedum roof (the lightest and simplest green roof) can weigh 80kg per square metre.”Jim advises against putting a green roof on top of a flimsy flatpack shed. “If you want a green roof, commission a bespoke building – the extra strength required can then be built into the carcassing of the walls, and steels can be used in the roof,” he says.
How do I protect and maintain my shed? Most wooden sheds will come with some form of protection on them, but the products used vary in the amount and length of protection they provide.“If your shed has been constructed with good, solid, relatively thick protected timber,” Jim says, “it should go for years without any real maintenance or protection, providing it can dry out after a rainstorm.”“Many timbers used to make sheds are simply ‘dipped’, which just coats the outside of the timber,” Peter says. “Sun and rain fairly quickly degrade this, so the wood is at risk of rotting. Such sheds will need to be re-treated with a suitable product at regular intervals, depending on exposure.“Other sheds are made from wood that’s pressure-treated,” Peter continues. “This means the preserving product is driven into the wood, so it’s protected all the way through. Such wood is very resistant to rot (provided it can dry out and is not covered in soil) and can last many years.“Metal and composite sheds require much less maintenance,” he adds, “although it’s worth checking how effectively a metal shed is protected from water and rust.”
“Timber cladding requires a biannual check, and a wood preservative or wood oil can improve long-term durability,” Aaron says. “We recommend a clear product, because the coloured or tinted versions can look patchy or faded in places quite quickly. On our cedar sheds, we prefer a wood oil.
“Beyond this, be sure to check gutters for leaves and debris, and clear anything piling up around the base of the shed. The cladding must be kept free to breathe,” he says. “Locks and hinges may require oiling periodically and a green roof requires some watering in dry spells and a bit of light weeding as and when wind-blown weeds self-seed.”
Original source: https://www.houzz.co.uk/magazine/everything-you-need-to-know-about-having-a-new-shed-installed-stsetivw-vs~130783067
Want to store your bedding sets more efficiently? A very simple way to do this is ‘once washed, fold and store in one of the pillowcases.’ This keeps everything compact to store, and easy to grab the whole set straight away.
2. Storing your towels
Got no towel rail? ‘Try hanging a mounted wine rack in your bathroom and storing rolled up towels on it.’
3. Spice racks
Think outside the box – a spice rack doesn’t just need to be for spices. ‘You can use them as mini shelf racks – perfect for kids books or for toiletries in the bathroom’. A great alternative for any room.
4. Storing mugs
‘Mugs take up lots of room in a cupboard. Instead attach them using hooks dangling from the shelf above.’ It’s then easier to get a mug out when you fancy a cuppa too.
5. Vertical shelves
Use every spare inch of space, shelving inside cupboards doesn’t have to be purely horizontal. ‘Put in a few vertical shelves and in between store baking sheets, frying pans, chopping boards, cake tins and more.’
6. Lazy Susan in the cupboard
‘Place a rotating tray in your cupboard to store tins and in the fridge to store jars and condiments.’ Extra handy while we may have larger amounts of tinned goods stockpiled.
7. Opened packets
Want to store opened snack and crisps packets? The experts suggest ‘attaching sticky backed hooks to the inside of your cupboards, add a peg and hang them.’
8. Battery storage
‘Instead of having batteries all over the house in different cupboards, store in a fishing tackle box. You can easily sort by battery size and they’ll all be in once place.’
9. Untangle cables
The dream is an organised draw with separate compartments, but if you want a quick and cost-effect solution ‘fold cables and store then in empty toilet roll tubes.’ No more tangled leads around the house to cause mess and chaos.
10. Sorting Bin bags
Take the fuss out of putting out the rubbish. ‘Put bin bags on rollers on the inside of your under the sink cupboard. Simply pull and tear one off.’
11. Use suitcases all year round
Rather than keeping suitcases empty in the loft or on top of the wardrobe, use them as extra storage. ‘You could use them to store clothes ready for next season, blankets or spare quilts.’
12. Tension rods for lids
‘Insert a tension rod into your saucepan draw and use it to store pan lids. It keeps them in one place and out of your way.’
‘With the big spring clean just around the corner, now’s the time to begin to declutter and get all those cupboard and storage solutions sorted,’ says a spokesperson for Net Voucher Codes.
‘Rather than do it all at once, take a cupboard or problem area one at a time and do it bit by bit. That way the task doesn’t become too overwhelming.’
The average asking price of homes across the UK has hit a new record high, new Rightmove data has revealed.
This month’s 1% monthly rise has pushed the average up to £312,625, an increase of 3.5% compared to a year ago, beating the previous record set in June 2018 by some £3,186.
Rightmove’s property expert Miles Shipside said: “Many more properties are being bought, and bought more quickly than at this time last year. This is further fuelling the existing shortage of property available for sale, driving up prices to a new record high.
“New supply to the market has failed to keep anything close to the pace of demand. Purchasers in a position to buy have been snapping up what’s currently on the market, rather than waiting for the usual post-Easter flurry of fresh supply.
“There are marginally more owners putting their properties on the market compared to this time last year, but it is usual for sellers to want to wait for another month or two until there are more leaves on the trees to soften the starkness of their photographs and harden up their pricing prospects.”
Properties are selling an average of 6% faster nationally compared to this time last year, with the average time to sell now 67.0 days, down from 71.4 days a year ago.
It is hard to predict how this post-election boost in market activity will be affected by the unknown impact of the Covid-19 coronavirus.
Last week’s Budget mainly focused on this issue rather than on housing and major stamp duty reforms. Whilst any savings in stamp duty would have been welcomed by purchasers, Rightmove’s latest statistics indicate that the market fundamentals remain broadly sound.
Miles Shipside added: “The market has been waiting for several years for a window of certainty, and 2020 seemed set to be the year when many would look to make a move and satisfy their pent-up housing needs. However, the current fast pace of the housing market could now be temporarily affected by the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.
“We expect that housing market statistics, like other economic indicators, could be prone to volatility over the spring and summer.
“However the market fundamentals are still very sound, hence the current surge in activity, which has included Rightmove’s five busiest days ever. There have been no signs so far of a drop in buyer activity or interest in the housing market.”