Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Improve Dont Move

Improve Dont Move!

One of my customers remarked recently that they were going to do exactly what their home was designed for – and that was to live in it and enjoy it! When you’re happy with the area you live in, the thought of having to move in order to get a bigger bathroom or an extra bedroom can be daunting and costly. A reasonable estimate of the cost is about 10% of the price of the property you’re selling. That means if you live in a three-bedroom house worth £300,000 and decide to move into the identical three-bedroom house next door, you’ll pay around £30,000 on fees, stamp duty, legal costs, removers and the rest. 

People underestimate moving costs because they pay them a bit at a time and don’t necessarily add them up. It often pays to improve rather than move – especially as house prices are high just now, buoyed up by the lack of properties for sale while owners hold back until the market is more settled. Extensions, loft and garage conversions or creating a basement will add the most value. Open plan living is now very popular and knocking down a wall to open up a space that is filled with light will always appeal to potential buyers. Replacing an outdated kitchen will increase the value of your home. If the configuration of your kitchen works well and the carcasses are sturdy then keep the layout as it is and change the doors. Fitting a new work surface and smart new tiles will bring it into the 21st century.

Here's one we prepared earlier  - Before

During........ remember to call in the professionals!

Beware of the cowboys!  Be very wary of one man bands changing career from the stock market to becoming a builder, or the curtain maker working out the back of her shed in the garden. It does pay to shop around but make sure you are comparing like for like quotes so you know what you are getting for your money.  You’ll need to bring in professionals to carry out this kind of work and also contact your local authority to find out if planning permission is required. Talk to people who’ve had similar work done to get their advice.

                                        And Happily Ever After being Honeysuckled.......

Remember book early to avoid disappointment – the really good trade’s people are always busy.  If you’re thinking about having a project completed ready to entertain at Christmas now is the time to get organised. 

Monday, 15 August 2011

The Best of British - Our day out at Cole & Son

Located on a very ordinary industrial estate in north London we recently visted Cole & Son leading  manufacturers of exceptional quality wallpaper .  It is refreshing to learn that despite those awful riots last week, there are still some things that our country does exceptionally well  and Cole & Son have a product Britain can be proud of. 

We've had a Cole & Son account for a long time and when the team were invited for a talk and factory tour  (and lunch!) thought it would be a great opportunity to see how they justify in excess of £60 a roll for their wallpaper!  
The whole day was inspiring from start to finish we all came away buzzing and with so much more product knowledge - and our conclusion that at £60 plus a roll was truly excellent value for money.

The biggest surpise for us all that though famed for making wallpaper for Buckingham Palace, The House of Parliament, the White House (to name drop just a few) the company despite its size feels like a family run business.  It boasts one of the largest archives of over 1800 block designs, 350 screen print designs and an enormous collection of original drawings and wallpapers from the 18th, 19th and early 20th century.  It's not all about the old stuff though, their current collections have really modern excitng designs too.

Now I'm not going to get all super wallpaper nerdy as Colin Edwards did a brilliant job at that for us on the day! - but you could not help but be ovewhelmed by his knowledge of the product and his infectious enthusiasm for the company.  After we had our talk in the boardroom our tour of the factory was like stepping back in time.  How wonderful to see the original machinery and blocks still in use and how manual  and uncomputerised the processes were.  The results were magnificent the quality outstanding - but then so were all the people we met in the factory who take a real pride in their work.

It starts here....

Real flock wallpaper that you can scrub hanging up to dry- how amazing is that?

Colin showing us an example of an archive  - they keep a little of everything just in case!

Wow! screen printing - Cat walk we all loved this!

Hope these photos give you a flavour of Cole & Son - if you want to find out more come and see us or check out their website

More cat walk!

Print rollers  - how clever!

Nothing adds texture and warmth to a room like wallpaper - we're all completely converted and from now on we'll be recommending Cole & Son with a real sense of pride!