Design and Inspiration

Design and Inspiration

Bathroom Renovations: Things to Consider

Why renovate your bathroom? 

A more efficient bathroom will save you more money in the long run and reduce strain on the environment. Remodelling gives you the chance to refresh your bathroom and make it perfect for you. 

Different styles  

  • Contemporary style 
  • Eclectic style 
  • Modern style 
  • Traditional style 
  • Asian style  
  • Beach style 
  • Craftsman style 
  • Farmhouse style 

Pros and Cons  

Pros  

Increase homes value  

Renovating your homes bathroom will increase your home’s value. Bathroom renovations can add value by 5% of your homes buying price. Homebuyers that are looking to buy will appreciate a modern and contemporary appearance compared to an outdated design. Remember, newer features, plumbing and design will attract more buyers if you’re wanting to sell. 

Your dream designs  

When remodelling you get to decide exactly what it will look like and everything that will go with it. For example, you get to have any style you like and add any extra touches such as: 

  • Storage space  
  • Energy saving features  
  • Heated towel rack  
  • Mirrors  

Cons  

Its costly  

Renovations are never cheap, especially bathrooms. If you’re wanting to completely remodel, you’ll need to know the costs of toilets, bathtubs, showers, sink and any other maintenance that will be needed. Other factors you need to consider is tiling, mirrors, plumbing and painting expenses. Also, you need to be aware of any outdated or broken pipes as you will need to replace them. Before you start renovating you should create a budget and make sure it’s realistic. 

The effect on your household  

When renovating your bathroom, it will have a huge effect on your household. The process of remodelling can become a nightmare for you or anyone else that lives in the household, especially if it goes wrong, it can decrease your home value. 

Time  

It doesn’t matter what you plan, the timeline to this project is out of your control. Sometimes small or large problems will appear that needs to be dealt with, the labourers may not be as punctual as you hoped. Therefore, don’t expect your planned 3-week renovation to take the correct time as it will most likely take longer. 

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Design and Inspiration

Showers: Which One Works Best For You

Different types of showers 

  • Electric  
  • Mixer  
  • Power
  • Digital  

Electric shower 

One of the main advantages of an electric shower is that a hot water supply is not needed from your boiler. These showers have been proven energy efficient as you do not need to heat your boiler tank for an electric shower. Also, electric showers are simple to install. However, this shower needs a good water pressure either from your main supply or water pump. An electric shower can instantly heat up water instead of taking the hot water supply from your boiler tank. No more waiting for your boiler to heat up! One downside to an electric shower is that your existing water pressure isn’t good, your shower may not be very powerful. 

Mixer shower 

A mixer shower is different to an electric shower as it needs an existing source of hot water. The shower does exactly what the names says it does. This shower mixes your hot and cold water together before the water comes out the shower head. An advantage to a mixer shower is that it is more powerful than an electric shower. The water comes out a lot stronger.  

Power shower 

These showers a perfect with homes that have low water pressure. A power shower uses a pump to improve the flow rate of the water it using. One of the  benefits to a power shower is that flow rate is instantly increased for a powerful shower. Also, the installation is quick and simple and many power showers come with eco-friendly options.  

Digital shower  

Digital showers are at the top of bathroom technology. This shower stands out due to the control panel that can change the temperature and the flow rate. This means you can adjust the temperature by the degree. Key features to this shower are that some are even compatible to smart devices and there are many options of different digital showers available. There are different types of digital showers to suit almost any water system, this is why they are the perfect showers. 

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Design and Inspiration

Window: Everything You Need To Know

Need a new window? There are many different windows you can have and here are 20 of them listed. 

  • Awning 
  • Casement 
  • Double hang 
  • Single hang 
  • Picture 
  • Jalouise  
  • Tilt and turn  
  • Fully reversible  
  • Bay  
  • Sash 
  • Cottage 
  • Egress 
  • Slider  
  • Roof 
  • Skylights 
  • Glass roof 
  • Arched  
  • Garden 
  • Storm 

Casement windows  

The casement is the oldest and the most versatile style of frame in UK. They are easy to open and close due to their configuration and many can even be installed alongside automatic openers. Double-glazed casement windows offer superior installation and security. They allow a lot of lights into the room. These windows are not compatible with screens or storm windows meaning you will not be able to use casement windows as they open outwards. There are 3 types of casement windows which is single framed, double and push-out. 

  • Single framed are most commonly installed and tend to be cheaper. 
  • Double used to be known as French casement windows. 
  • Push-out come in both single and double. 

Double-hung windows  

A double-hung window has two sashes in a single frame, with both sashes able to slide up or down independently of one other. Double-hung windows are easy to clean and is an ideal fit when the height is taller than the width. These windows have outstanding security, with low profile, double cam locks that join at the sashes for an extremely secure and tight seal. Double-hung windows can be found in multiple places in the home. However, these windows are best in the bedrooms due to their ability to have both lower and upper sashes opened. This allows maximum ventilation. 

Jalouise windows  

Jalouise windows gets their name from the French word jealousy, or to screen something from view. The parallel slats or panes of these windows would open much like the slats on venetian blinds. When in the open position, they would allow maximum ventilation. There is little to no security with these windows as one can easily reach inside of one these panels. Also, having this type of window will make it difficult to keep the warmth in your home in cold weather. 

Fully reversible windows 

Fully reversible windows are one of the house styles that rotate fully and give you easy access to each side for cleaning. This window can give full ventilation when open. This modern style of window can give full ventilation when open. This modern style of window is perfect for high rise locations, such as flats or offices, where space around the window could be an issue. However, the window rotates on its own axis, opening to allow airflow and then rotating further so that the outer glass can be cleaned. 

Tilt and turn windows  

Tilt and turn windows have a mechanical hinge that opens on two axes. It has a single handle that you can use to tilt the window from the top to let in a light breeze or turn the handle to open the window from the side and open it wide for full ventilation and easy cleaning. Benefits of tilt and turn windows are that it has better air seals and they are made more secure. These windows have really good ventilation. 

Awning windows  

Awning windows are hinged on the top and open outwards from the bottom, allowing for ventilation and protection from the rain. These windows provide protection from the weather while still allowing ventilation. This allows little no leakage from rain when open. Awning windows are ideal for high wind locations, less prone to the wind which usually blows from the sides, rather than the top. 

Picture windows 

A picture window is a large, fixed pane window. This window gets its name from the fact that is designed to give a clear view of your surrounding without any obstruction essentially acting as a picture frame for the scenery outside the window. Picture windows are stationary and can’t move or open. 


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Architecture & Building, Design and Inspiration, Interior Design

Swimming Pools: Things You Need To Know

There are 3 types of in ground swimming pools  

  • Concrete  
  • Vinyl-lined 
  • Fiberglass 

Concreate pools 

Concrete swimming pools take longer to install than most. Generally, it takes between 3-12 weeks. However concrete pools are the strongest and most durable. Unlike other types of pools, existing concrete pools can be remodelled, enlarged and updated. 

Vinyl pools 

Vinyl pools are made from a performed flexible liner that fits into the evacuated hole. It’s secured to a reinforced frame made of steel, aluminium or non-corrosive polymer. The majority of vinyl pools are rectangular. Its takes about 1-3 weeks to construct this pool. When wanting a vinyl pool, you must be aware that pool toys, pets and sharp objects can puncture the liner, needing it to be replaced. 

Fiberglass pools 

Fiberglass pools are factory moulded into one giant bowl, which is set into the evacuated hole by a crane. Pools made from fiberglass can be installed much faster than other pools. It can take as little as 3 days. Fiberglass pools are extremely durable and stain resistant. However, fiberglass pools come in fewer sizes and shapes meaning you may not be able to have one if you have a small or uniquely shaped back garden. 

Frequently asked questions about  

What is the most efficient way to heat pools? 

If you want an energy efficient way to heat your pool, you should consider using a pump pool heater in mild climates. Solar water heaters are cost competitive with other types of water heaters and have low annual operating costs. 

Which is better a heat pump or gas heater for pools? 

Heat pump heaters cost more than gas pool heaters. Gas pump heaters typically have lower annual operating costs because of their higher efficiencies. However, with decent maintenance heat pump heaters last longer than gas pool heaters. 

Is a heated swimming pool worth it? 

Pool heaters have potential to be an incredibly worthwhile investment if you want to use your pool all year round. 

What is a conventional boiler? 

Conventional boilers provide both heating and hot water with the use of a cold-water tank and hot water cylinder. 

Do solar rings work to heat a pool? 

Most solar-rings can absorb up the top 50% of the sun’s energy to heat water in your swimming pool. 

How efficient are pool heaters? 

Pool heaters can operate between 80-90% efficiency. 

When should I start heating my pool? 

Using the heater only when the water clips below a certain point keeps the energy consumption down. For the average person, a pool that is at 78 degrees or higher is comfortable. 

Cheaper ways to heat your swimming pool 

  • Use of solar cover 
  • Pool heat pump 
  • Solar sun rings 
  • Combine a solar cover and heat pump 
  • Liquid solar pool cover 
  • Black hose trick 
  • Windproof pool enclosure  

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Design and Inspiration, Materials

Flooring And Its Pros And Cons

Wanting to change your flooring at home? Heres a list of different types of floors and their pros and cons.

Types of flooring 

  • Timber  
  • Laminate 
  • Bamboo 
  • Vinyl 
  • Cork 
  • Tile  
  • Carpet 
  • Rubber 
  • Poured floors 
  • Wood  
  • Engineered floors

What are the main types of flooring? 

  • Wood 
  • Vinyl 
  • Tile 
  • Carpet 
  • Engineered floors

Pros and cons  

Hardwood Pros 

Hardwood flooring is adaptable in its looks and can complement all types of interiors. 

  • Many options available 
  • Expensive  
  • Can be refinished multiple times (However this can be expensive) 
  • Strong and durable  
  • Increases home value 

Hardwood cons 

  • Expensive  
  • Can incur scrapes, scratches and dents 
  • Avoid water contact – You should avoid large amounts of water that will destroy the flooring with seepage. 
  • Cupping – This happens when the edges of the wood board is higher that the centre, due to the moisture content which has slowly happened will cause the wood to expand. 

Engineered wood pros 

  • Price 
  • Better temperature resistance  
  • Adds value to your home 

Engineered wood cons 

  • Maintenance 
  • Fading 
  • Potentially weak 

Carpet pros 

  • Warmth 
  • Cost 
  • Variety 

Carpet cons 

  • Stains 
  • Cost 
  • Variety 
  • Restricted (You don’t tend to find carpet in the kitchen or bathroom) 

Tile pros 

  • Easy to maintain 
  • Water resistant  
  • Durable 
  • Cost 

Tile cons 

  • Cold 
  • Heavy 
  • Slippery and hard 

Vinyl pros 

  • 100% Moisture resistant  
  • Low maintenance  
  • Easy to clean 
  • Easy DIY installation 
  • Cost 
  • Variety of décor options  

Vinyl cons  

  • Difficult to remove if glued down  
  • Can be punctured with very sharp objects  
  • Can dent with heavy objects on top 
  • Not bio gradable 
  • Can fade and discolour 

Things to consider when choosing flooring for your home 

  • Location – Not every type of floor is suitable for every room. You should pick wisely when picking flooring as engineered floors would be perfect for a kitchen however carpet would not be.You need to take into consideration what the use of the room will be before purchasing flooring for the space. 
  • Durability – Durability is important factor in your flooring decision because the quality of your floors can influence the value of your home. 
  • Price – Floors can vary in price. Stone floors are extremely expensive whereas tile and laminate flooring is quite reasonable.  
  • Family’s lifestyle – You need to consider the activities that take place in your home. For example, if you have children or pet’s carpet would be best. However, if it is just you and your partner you can take the pick of whichever suits you best.  
  • Maintenance requirements – it advised to check maintenance requirements of any floor so you know if your able to maintain it after it’s been installed.  

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Design and Inspiration

Doors, Which One Is Best for You?

There are many different types of doors you can have in your home. For example: 

  • Wooden
  • Glass
  • Pocket
  • Aluminium
  • Roller
  • Pivot
  • Metal  
  • UPVC
  • Fiberglass
  • Flush
  • Dutch   
  • Sliding
  • Roller  
  • Hollow core
  • Hinged  
  • Veneered Timber
  • Composite  
  • Bi-fold exterior
  • French   
  • Panelled  
  • Barn
  • Saloon
  • Steel
  • Battened ledged

The best doors to use in your home  

  • Wooden  
  • Glass 
  • Fiberglass 
  • UPVC  

Pros and cons  

Wooden Pros 

  • Considered to be secure  
  • Wooden doors complement all styles of homes 
  • Decent wooden doors start around £100 and upwards  
  • Noise reduction  

Wooden cons  

  • High maintenance – you need to paint and varnish a wooden door re-applying as it weathers 

Glass pros 

  • Natural light – It does not matter if the glass is clear, tinted, low iron or satin it will not block the natural light. 
  • Strength – Toughened glass doors are known for their strength and durability. 
  • Glass is easy to maintain 

Glass cons 

  • Lack of privacy – You can see straight through glass but this can be sorted. 

Fiberglass pros 

  • Durable – Pet friendly, people friendly and weather friendly. 
  • Performance – Energy efficient Saves money on energy bills 
  • Easy maintain 
  • Versability 

Fiberglass cons  

  • Price – Fiberglass doors are more expensive. 
  • Sizing – The material is not easy to cut, so this is not great for exterior doors that are not normal size. 
  • Installation – The entry system comes with a full unit with the frame, it must be installed by an experienced professional. 

UPVC pros  

  • Durability 
  • Ventilation  
  • Low maintenance  
  • Security 
  • Soundproofing 
  • Eco-friendly 
  • Weather resistant 
  • Insulation  
  • Fire retardant   

UPVC cons 

  • Structural Integrity – UPVC is prone to sagging due to their light weight and also because they are structurally not as strong. Too much heat can result in a rupture of their frames. 

Types of doors  

Glass  

  • Textured glass 
  • Decorative glass 
  • Insulated glass 
  • Stained glass 
  • Frosted or etched glass 
  • Clear glass 
  • Clear class 
  • Single glass 
  • Double glass  

Wooden 

  • Internal 
  • External 
  • Solid oak 
  • Solid hardwood timber 
  • Hollow softwood timber 

UPVC 

  • Slide and fold
  • French  
  • Sliding
  • Casement
  • Lift and slide 

Steps to take that will make your front door safer 

Wooden doors are secure but just like any you will need a good lock. Other steps you can take to increase security are: 

  • A peep hole 
  • Door chain 
  • High-quality glass 
  • Secure hinges 

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Design and Inspiration, Interior Design, Materials

Double-Glazing and Triple-Glazing Advantages

Advantages of Double Glazing and Triple Glazing 

What is double-glazed glass? 

Double glazing is used in all kinds of glass installations and involves two panels of glass set in the same frame that are separated by a thin layer or air or sometimes gas such as argon. Double-glazed windows keep the cold out and the warmth in keeping away the draft. 

What is triple-glazed glass? 

Triple glazing is a window that has three panes of glass separate my argon gas. This extra layer makes it even more difficult for heat to escape and cold to come through. 

The benefits of Double and Triple glazing 

Double glazing 

  • Reduces heat loss and drafts – Double glazing reduces heat loss by not allowing the heat to escape. 
  • Provides acoustic insulation – This attempts to prevent sound leaving and coming into the home. 
  • Increases security – This increases security as it’s a lot more difficult to break than standard glass, making burglars want to avoid trying. 
  • Reduces build-up of condensation. 

Triple glazing 

  • Reduces condensation on your windows 
  • Reduces heating bills – This keeps the heat in your home and the cold outside. This will prevent the heat leaving your home meaning you don’t need to use the heating as often. 
  • Makes home noticeably more comfortable  
  • Reduces carbon output and greenhouse gases. 

Types of double glazing 

  • Low-E glass 
  • Float glass  
  • Laminated glass 
  • Toughened glass 

Advantages of Low-E glass 

  • Makes your home more energy efficient  
  • Potentially saves money on heating bills 
  • Reduces the glare from the light 
  • Reduction in your heating bills correlates to a reduction in total energy usage, reducing carbon footprint. 
  • Low-E glass helps keep unwanted UV rays out of your home that can damage your skin or furniture. 

Is Low-E glass worth double-glazing? 

High-efficiency double-glazed Low-E glass is really good at reducing heat loss saving on bills in the long run. 

Advantages of toughened glass 

  • Strength – This glass is known as a safety glass is five times stronger that regular glass.  
  • Sound reduction  
  • UV protection 
  • Impact resistance 
  • Heat resistance  
  • If broken the glass will shatter evenly into small pieces so there are no shards or splinters of glass causing less risk of injury. 

Toughened glass is commonly used for car windscreens, greenhouses, shower screens, glass shelves and table tops. 

Advantages of Float glass 

  • Float glass has a complete even surface. 
  • Environment friendly  
  • Displays – its crystal-clear transparency   

Advantages of laminated glass  

  • Has a plastic layer between the two panes of glass which holds the shards when broken. 
  • Easy to apply colouring  
  • Reduces the effects of harmful UV rays. 
  • Improves sound insulation 

Laminated glass is commonly used for external and internal doors, shop fronts, car windscreens, shelving and security glass. 

Questions that are commonly asked  

What’s wrong with single-glazed windows? 

There is nothing wrong with single glazed windows, it still does its purpose but single pane windows can cause heat loss, noise and condensation. 

Do I need planning permission? 

You don’t need to apply for planning permission to double glaze windows. However, if your home is in a conservation area or your home is a listed property you may find yourself to be under restricted rules only being allowed single pane windows. If you live in a conservation area or listed property, check your restrictions before starting anything. 

Is triple-glazing more expensive than double-glazing? 

Yes, it is. Triple-glazed glass costs up to 33% – 50% more expensive than doubled-glazed glass. 

What frames can I use? 

  • Timer 
  • Aluminium  
  • PVCU 

There key benefits: 

Timber:  

  • Natural appearance  
  • Renewable raw material  
  • Excellent insulator  
  • Durability  

Aluminium  

  • Durability  
  • Easy care 
  • Modern look 
  • Eco-friendly 
  • Light weight 

PVCU 

  • Easy care  
  • Long durability  
  • Very good insulation properties 
  • Versatility  
  • Many colours available  
  • Light weight  
  • Lower price  
  • 100% Recyclable  

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Design and Inspiration, House Renovation

Renovations That Increase Your House Value: Part 1

Renovations to consider when wanting to add more value to your home 

Loft and garage conversions  

These two conversions are the most popular way of extending and adding value to the property. Converting these into living space will add value by 15%. A garage conversion will increase the value by 20%. People convert these to create more living space and storage. 

Energy efficiency improvements  

This can fall into two categories: 

  • Simple low-cost improvements 
  • High-cost improvement works 

From research energy saving improvements to your property can raise the value by 14%. For example, improving lost insulation, cavity wall installation, double glazing and adding a high-performance boiler would decrease energy bills giving the home more value. 

Outdoor décor (garden landscaping and external works) 

Maintaining the garden area can add value by 10% – 20%. The things people keep in mind about the garden is: 

  • Privacy and security  
  • Good lighting  
  • Well thought terraced area  
  • Flat lawn  

Other renovations that can increase your house value  

  • Garage conversion 20% increase 
  • Loft conversion 15% increase 
  • Energy saving 14% increase 
  • Balcony 12% increase 
  • Outdoor décor 10% – 20% increase 
  • Open living plan 6% increase 
  • Kitchen 6% increase 
  • Central heating 5.4% increase 
  • Bathroom 5% increase  
  • Paint and decorate 5% increase 
  • Fireplace 5% increase 
  • Conservatory 5% increase 
  • Flooring 3% increase 
  • Roof 3% increase 
  • Decking 2% increase 

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Design and Inspiration

Everything You Need to Know About Installing a Balcony

How much does it cost to add a Balcony? 

Depending on the complexity of the job would depend on the price. The estimated price to installing a balcony would vary between £1,500 – £5,500. 

The estimated cost would cover: 

  • Size
  • Design  
  • Labourer costs 
  • Material costs 
  • How complex the job is. 

Types of balconies  

  • Stacked – The most popular and common. Easy to install. 
  • Juliet/Faux – This is a faux balcony that may contain a small standing area but usually does not. A Juliet balcony contains a balustrade connection to the building without flooring to walk on. 
  • Hung – This structure is made out of stainless-steel cables that are fixed on the sides of the structure. These balconies are less common but have great strength. 
  • Cantilevered – This structure can be made from concrete, steel or timber. This type of project needs to be planned accordingly as the job is quite complex. 
  • Mezzanine – They have a large decking area with railing. This structure gives you more space. 

Do I need planning permission to install a balcony? 

If your home is in a conservation area or your property is listed you must apply for planning permission. 

In other cases, if your balcony is smaller that 300mm you may not have to seek planning permission but it is always best to do so. When submitting your planning application form expect to pay a fee. 

Installing a Juliet/Faux balcony means you won’t have to apply for planning permission, unless you decide to add flooring to walk on and then you must. 

Will it raise my house value? 

There are no guarantees that this will raise the price value, but they have been known the raise the value up to 12%. 

What are balconies used for? 

Balconies are used for extras space, kind of like an outdoor room. Many people like to use their balcony like a garden. For example adding a barbecue or flowers onto it. Others like to use their balcony to admire the views the structure allows them to see and relax on it. 

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Design and Inspiration

The In-Detail Description Of Urban Design And Why It’s Important

What is urban design? 

Firstly, urban design is the art of creating and shaping cities and towns. It involves the arrangement and design of buildings, public spaces, transport systems, services, and amenities. In addition, the urban design blends architecture, landscape architecture, and city planning together to make urban areas functional.  

Who are urban designers?  

For instance, urban designers are typically architects, town planners, or landscape architects. Their skill is to bring together ideas from developers, local communities, architects, planners, traffic engineers, and many others. Involving all of these skills and people will resolve problems and conflicts in order to create better places for everyone.  

What do they do?  

Urban planners decide how spaces will be used, considering the impact of development on an entire area. They evaluate long-term factors, such as demographics and economic trends, and make recommendations for the level of development in an area. They decide what types of buildings go where and what elements are needed to support growth.  

The difference between urban planning and urban design –  

Urban planning is the act of planning the structures of a city, including its policies, infrastructure, neighbourhoods, building codes, and regulations. In fact, the focus is more technical and political and is on the strategy, structure, and policy level.  

Whereas, urban design is the creation of city features based on plans. It is focused on design and user experience and operates at the features and systems level.  

Both careers involve the use of similar software programs, such as GIS and AutoCAD. Urban designers largely focus on the look and feel of the space, while urban planners are more focused on making sure everything meets local standards and regulations.  

The key job responsibilities for an urban designer include:  

  • Creating a detailed estimate of costs along with a timeline for completion which they then present to their client’s.  
  • Researching areas to create design pans that fit with existing spaces.  
  • Regularly visiting worksites to ensure the project is moving in the right direction and matches up with the blue prints.  
  • Meeting with locals and getting to know what they want and need to get the most out of their city.  

Good urban design focuses on public places where people like to be and will feel safe. Consequently, if the streets are empty, spaces feel isolated, uncared for, and potentially risky or dangerous.  

Finally, there is strong evidence that good design of public places offers many benefits, including:  

  • Improves physical and mental health  
  • Encourages physical activity 
  • Less car use  
  • Supporting the development of children by encouraging play 
  •  Improved sense of wellbeing and happiness  
  • Improved air and stormwater quality  

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