Renovation or Restoration

lightbulb momentI am not sure what the image above has to do with this post, maybe it represents my lightbulb moment, or maybe I just liked the picture, but either way welcome to my blog! I hope my tips and tricks that I have picked up along the journey of my life will help you to maintain, restore or repair whatever project you are working on.

I find I am constantly being asked by younger relatives and friends for their advice on project in the home related to maintenance, which is why I decided to turn this old defunct hotel related website into a one stop DIY advice centre. The project is obviously going to take some time, and I  am not the worlds fastest typist, but we are on the way to creating a useful website.

So are you renovating or restoring, are you repairing or upgrading, I suppose it all boils down to the same thing; you have a room of some kind that needs work. It could be your kitchen, bedroom, garage, attic conversion, whatever, the basic principles are always the paint

You should decide which parts of the room you would like to keep, and which you need to remove or change. Think of how you might be able to use the things that you already have and change them for the better, rather than throwing away and buying new. Very often just a coat of paint or new handles can transform an old dresser or wardrobe. Try to use reclaimed materials too whenever possible, they are cheaper and environmentally friendly.

Consider too what the room will be used for, if it is a damp location such as a bathroom or wetroom, be sure to use materials that are designed for such use, such as mould resistant paints and drywall or treated timber made for a damp environment.

Planning is the key as with most things. Decide the end result you want, then plot a path to get there by sourcing the materials you need, or by finding a local trades person that can do the job for you.

It is sometimes surprising to learn that you can get the job done for you at about the same cost as if you did it yourself. For example, a painting company gets paint at a large discount, because they are constantly buying from the supplier. You however pay full retail price. If you are considering a large paint job, the paint savings that the professional gets can offset his labour charges, getting you the job done for the same price, and saving you the hassle. Worth considering.

This is also usually true for new window installations, insulation projects, tiling and decorating. It is always worth arranging a free estimate to find out. You could save yourself hours, which can then be spent on other projects.

Another way to save money is to use recycled materials, such as paint, windows, carpet, roof tiles etc. The list is endless. Try to find an outlet near you that specialises in selling these items, or find websites, such as where you can find all kind of items, including furniture and even cars that people are just wanting to be taken away. Cool!

So that’s it for the first entry, I hope you found it useful, and I will start working on the next. Of course if you want to send me something that would be beneficial to any readers, such as hints tips and ideas, then contact me through the form on the site.

I thought I would include the video below, which is about preparing a wall prior to painting. One of the biggest mistakes that people make is not doing any preparation, so here are some worthwhile tips to consider before starting your next paint project.

What Goes Into Designing A Beautiful Kitchen?

new kitchen designIt is not surprising that the kitchen is the favourite room for most people. In fact, it has been said to be the heart and soul of the home. This is for the simple reason that it is where the family gathers in the morning to start the day and it where most will gather to wind down the night over supper.

What’s more, the kitchen is the part of the home that forms poignant childhood memories of a warm stove, a simmering pot, and a mom.

It is not surprising then that the kitchen should be given due attention in terms of design, given the value that is attached to this section of the home.

There are a myriad Kitchen designs that can add intrinsic value to your home.

Today’s kitchen designs borders on a closed kitchen, meaning there is a wall that secludes it to an individual room or an open kitchen that flows into another room usually the living room or dining area without any separation. You can click here to know more about kitchen design.

The latter is becoming more popular.

If your house floor plan leans toward an open kitchen, then it means you would need to make a deliberate effort to have an exquisite kitchen because it is visible to everyone who walks into the house. This being the case, exquisite does not necessarily mean expensive but simply visually appealing.

An open kitchen also gives you an opportunity to take advantage of showcasing your creativity such that the kitchen not only serves the function of cooking, storage, and a gathering point but also as ornamental complementing the rest of the house.

What Goes Into A Kitchen Design?

There are several aspects that go into designing a kitchen. We take a look at few below;

  1. What do you intend to use the kitchen for?

Other than the obvious reasons of cooking washing and storage of cutlery, one has to figure out what they want their kitchen to be.

Naturally, people in the house will gravitate toward the kitchen albeit not linger too long after getting what they need.

If you envision having your family and friends gathering there, then it makes sense to incorporate an island that may serve as an extra storage space as well as a seating area where the kids can get their homework done and family can keep you company as you cook.

  1. Construction Materials
  • Cabinets

This is an important aspect of design as the material you choose for your cabinet doors will determine how your kitchen looks like.

The upside is there are a variety of colours to work with that will suit your fancy, whether you want neutral colours or something more eclectic and loud like luminous orange.

Cabinet material options include

simple kitchen design

  1. i) Solid wood
  2. ii) Decorative laminate Veneer

iii) Medium density fiberboard (MDF)

iii) Polyethene

  1. iv) Aluminium
  • Kitchen countertops

Kitchen countertops play a crucial role in the design element as they should complement the cabinets in terms of aesthetics while remaining absolutely functional, tough, easy to clean, and durable. Options to choose from include;

  1. i) Granite
  2. ii) Marble

iii) Quartz

  1. iv) Stainless steel
  2. v) Composite Granite
  3. vi) Wood

vii) Glass

viii) concrete

  1. Lighting Options

Light is an amazing component that can be incorporated into kitchen design to accentuate the ambience of the home and the kitchen.

Secondary lighting in cooking spots or inside strategic places such as corner cabinets with glass doors can also help to add beauty to your kitchen.

When constructing or remodelling your kitchen, engaging a qualified kitchen designer is advisable as he can help you sort out the technical aspects such as plumbing and heating as well as the aesthetic parts so that you end up with a beautiful harmonized kitchen that works for you.

Save Space in Your Fitted Bathroom with Corner Baths

1359315390Maximising available space is always of utomost importance when upgrading a hotel, and is a problem that I had to wrestle with for most of my working life. Now that I am renovating my own home, I am facing the same old problems again in some of the rooms, especially bathrooms in an old house.

Luxury and comfort cannot be achieved without giving attention to space. Space enables people to maximize their share of fun. However, most homes today tend to have little rooms that make it quite hard to have fun around your home. But it can get so enjoyable when one takes time to relax in the baths particularly after a hectic day.

Thankfully, one has the opportunity to install corner baths which is an excellent option when you want to maximize space in your fitted bathroom. While I may still have the knowledge and drive to do all of this renovation, I am no longer physically able to do the hard work required, so many thanks to my local bathroom renovation business – Fitted Bathroom Solutions Derby and their most helpful and accommodating team.

How Corner Baths Add Style and Save Space
Ordinarily, corner baths are quite larger than the standard baths but very well designed to fit in smaller spaces. You might have a bigger bathroom but you will usually discover later that there’s never enough space for all the elements you want to install. It’s in the effort of trying to free up more room and adjust the layout to match one’s taste, style, and preference that corner baths come handy.

Presently, there are various types of corner baths you can install in your fitted bathroom. All of them can suit almost any type of design and make your fitted bathroom not only spacious but uncluttered. And in choosing a corner bathtub, several factors have to be put into consideration.

Deep or shallow corner bathtub
You have to decide which one you want to choose between the two since that will have an effect on the cost of buying and installation. Money is definitely an important aspect to many people. Most common corner style baths are the average capacity, with a 60-70 gallon bathtub being quite common. Compared to deeper corner style, these ones are quite cheaper. Deep corner style baths are like deep soaking tubs. Most of them often hold 80-90 gallons. You can as well soak yourself in them up to chest height or even deeper.

Size is always important
You also need to decide whether you need a larger unit or the common size. Larger units can take up more than two people at the same time. However, choosing a corner style bath that features a round bathing furniture1area will usually be enough for two people to sit in comfortably. Smaller units will only take in one person at a time. Nonetheless, both styles and sizes can be purchased in seated versions which allows for a very comfortable experience.

While installing it in your fitted bathroom, you can always arrange it with shelving units and also storage cupboards. Fit them above the bathtub. This will allow you more space rather than using the floor space.’
Generally, the ultimate joy of designing or remodeling your fitted bathroom is that you can go for options that suit you best.

Most generic homes hardly realize the pleasure they could be missing when they are without corner baths. Much as it takes almost the same space as the regular times or sometimes even smaller, the level of style you’ll have incorporated into your fitted bathroom will be one you will live to enjoy.

With the right care and attention to detail, you can easily turn your bathroom makeover ideas into reality. Besides giving the much-needed space, corner baths will as well offer that comfortable and relaxing environment we all wish to have.

Inexpensive But Sleek Bedroom Storage With Sliding Doors

fitted doorsI am pretty good ad DIY… I should be, having been doing it for 40 years, so I am prepared to take on most projects, but one thing I have learned over the years is that sometimes things are better left to the professional. And the thing I am thinking about mostly is design.

If you find yourself needing a new kitchen, bedroom, bathroom etc, then it is of course possible to do the design yourself, but an experienced kitchen designer for example  can bring so much more to the finished design than you will ever do yourself.

After the design is done, then I am quite happy to roll up my sleeves and get into the installation, but I think that the design is always better left to the guy with the correct tools and experience.

My next project is going to be bedroom storage, and we going to opt for wardrobes with sliding doors, mainly because of the space saving aspect, but also because of the cost savings.

If you want to efficiently utilize the space of your expensive flat or house while keeping it beautiful, useful and modern, a built-in wardrobe can provide the ideal solution. Quality built-in wardrobes set a standard of luxury in any interior.

Built-in wardrobe provides a feasible solution for any room including bathroom, living room, bedroom or hall. Wherever set, they offer a great deal of adaptability and ensure an optimal use of space. They can be well-fitted to the space between two walls and can be set the way as they are leaning against the wall. The height of such wardrobes can be from floor to ceiling or lower if you want. They can be designed to suit your preferences.

Before you finalize built in wardrobes designs for your space, it is important to consider a few things. First and foremost, you need to decide where you want to set the wardrobe and for what purpose you require it. Make a research on the internet and visit the websites of a few service providers to choose your options. If possible, visit them in person and share your requirements with them to get more personalized fix.

Seeing piece of furniture live is very important as it can highlight both sides of the coin – advantages as well as disadvantages. If feasible, call the professional team at your home so that they can create an accurate and detailed assessment of your area to install wardrobe for better space optimization.

Easy to organize
Most of the people use traditional wardrobes for storing their clothes, footwear and other possessions. However, many people prefer walk-in-wardrobes which is the new arrival in the market. There are many reasons for the popularity of walk-in wardrobes. One of the main advantages of this storage solution is that it is an easy and excellent way to organize your clothes. Besides, it can provide ample space for storage. You can reflect your preferences and taste by choosing the right walk-in closet designs. You can customize the designs of such storage units based on your interests and needs.

A popular storage optionstorage options
Walk-in wardrobes are very popular throughout the world. It is highly suitable for people with busy lifestyles. You can find this type of storage solution to suit the tastes of every type of people. It is not difficult to choose a suitable design of walk-in Wardrobe Singapore that is line with the times. These storage units can match the idea of modern furnishing with variety perfectly. Walk-in closet system can be standing out from traditional storage facilities because of the benefits that it offers.

Plan your walk-in wardrobe
If there is any unused space in your home, you can turn that into a Walk-in Wardrobe. For that, you can take the help of a designer -cum- furniture maker as he can easily make a walk-in wardrobe to store your dresses and other possessions. You can find perfectly fitted, high quality walk-in wardrobes at attractive rates from the suppliers of Singapore. The highly skilled installers from this country can do floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall walk-in-wardrobes without any fault.

An amazing storage solution
Walk-in wardrobe is an excellent way to storage your possessions effectively and perfectly. Even though traditional storage methods provide many facilities, many people prefer walk-in closet units because of the advantages that it offers. If you have customized and assembled such storage system in the perfect way, it can be a staple feature for your home. You can use this Wardrobe Singapore based on the design ideas of the master bedroom. By using proper lighting, you can make your walk-in closet system more stylish and sophisticated.

Wardrobe manufacturers can make the best unit that might fit against oddly shaped walls, under staircases, over a variety of furnishings, or following the structure of the room. Not only will fitted wardrobes optimize the available bedroom space, they will also fit every facet of the client’s lifestyle instead of forcing her to stay for an ill-fitting piece-and that’s precisely what good, made-for-you style is about.

I know I keep banging on about this, but trust me, take my advice and you will be glad in the end that you did. There are many installation videos on youtube to give you some ideas, I included this one because it has some really good tips.

How to install a new gate post

Another of my little projects that I wanted to brush up on so that I didn’t do something stupid. When you haven’t done things in a long time, it’s easy to forget the little stuff and wish you had done a bit of research.

So here is another reminder from the University of DIY!

fence post

How To Re-Felt A Shed Roof

I thought this video was worth sharing….

I had a problem with my shed roof, been leaking all winter, but I thought I would wait until spring to get it repaired. I called in a couple of local companies because I am getting lazy and couldn’t really be bothered with doing the work myself, but what a shock. They both wanted a couple of hundred pounds to fit new felt to my roof!

I soon forgot about being lazy and decided to do it myself. I have done this several times in the past without a problem, but wanted to get a refresher video just so that I didn’t forget anything. I found the video here and thought it well worth sharing.

I got the whole roof done for under £40. Result!!

Kitchen Cabinets – To Replace Or Not Replace – That Is The Question

kitchen remodelI found out recently that one of the fastest growing areas in home renovation is kitchen makeovers.. that is, not just a complete refit, but more of a facelift, just replacing the doors and drawers, handles and worktops, to get a gleaming new look kitchen, but without all of the expense and inconvenience of a full remodel.

It is something that I have done on many occasions to hotel rooms that had small kitchens included in the room, and it was just for a few cabinets in that instance, but I didn’t realise that it was such a hot home remodelling subject.

When you design your new kitchen, one of the major decisions that you need to make is concerning the cabinet doors. Since the cabinet doors are one of the largest surface areas that you see in the room, you should make sure that the doors you pick are the ones that best fit the look and style that you were looking for.

You also have to consider that your cabinets, while still solid and serviceable, are probably a size that is no longer supported by the major manufacturers, but you will find that the specialist replacement door businesses, such as this guy local to me, can help you to find what you need.

I contacted him and he tells me that he is able to source just about any size colour and finish to suit existing cabinets, so I am sure there will be a similar business close to you that can do the same.

When you are looking at furnishings for your home it makes sense that you shop around, weigh up all of your options and make sure that you find something perfect for you. When it comes to actually buying items there are some purchases that we spend more time considering than others.

When considering a kitchen remodel, the best thing to keep in mind is that the kitchen cabinets are the most important aspect of the entire project. There are so many kitchen cabinet doors to choose from and this can make the remodel project a bit more confusing and overwhelming.

So you’re remodeling what we are told is probably the most used room of the house. You were told right! Making improvements to an existing kitchen/kitchenette could increase the worth of the house considerably. There are numerous items to consider here, including the style of the rooms that are adjacent to the kitchen too.

The kitchen is the area in the house which we hold dear to our hearts. Unfortunately, it’s also a space which gets abused like no other. People are opening and closing doors and using and abusing the area every day.

Whether you are planning on marketing the house or staying in it, modern cabinets are a desirable way to update the room plus add more storage. Kitchens and bathrooms are 2 of the largest selling points for any home sale, so you can be sure that you will always recover any expense that you put into your new kitchen.

So if you are looking for a new kitchen for your home, consider changing the doors and drawers to get a classy facelift for less than the cost of a full remodel.

The video below has some ideas to get your creative juices flowing… the kitchens are very expensive looking, but there are design ideas to be gained by watching.

Home Security Ideas

home-security-systemsOne of the biggest problems we had while running a hotel was the problem of security. When you have lots of room, with strange people coming and going all the time, people are relaxed and not thinking so much about their security, things can easily happen.

One thing that is always a constant is how the security breach happens, and it is usually through a door or window, or a chance opportunity theft as belongings are left unattended.

So it is clear that by securing doors and windows, and fitting a good alarm system, your chances of suffering a home break in are greatly diminished.

I found this infographic that shows in detail how, what and when these problems are most likely to occur, so I thought I would share it here. I intend to discuss further the types and qualities and advantages of various lock types in a future post, but in the meantime I hope that this serves to remind us all how to take care of our homes, families and belongings.


home security


One further thing… it is not always the value of the stolen item that is the most distressing, it is often the fact that it can never be replaced. I know this from personal experience. It could be a piece of jewellery from a deceased relating that holds memories of parents of family members, or it could be a keepsake from a trip or ceremony such as a wedding. These things cannot be replaced and need to be secured.

Very often doors are fitted with inexpensive and easy to break mortice locks. It is fairly easy to replace with a high quality 5 lever mortice lock of the same size. The video below from B&Q takes you step by step through the process.


6 Reasons to get New Double Glazed Windows for your Home

new double glazing derby window imageYour windows make up a key part of your home of your entire home. If you have the wrong windows you might face the problem of your home getting too cold or hot. Other problems that might arise if you have the wrong windows includes too much noise or have problems with moisture and condensation. Double glazing helps to reduce and eliminate these issues and offer many other benefits in your home too.

I have lived in houses with these types of windows and without. In the UK where the winter seems to last for 9 months, good insulation and draught proofing is a necessity. Not only that, the maintenance of wooden windows that have to be gloss painted inside and out to protect the wood every couple of years is such a pain, that installing upvc frames alone is almost worth the investment.

This is the reason why they have become very popular among  people in the entire world. To help you gain more understanding, here are 5 reasons to get new double glazed windows for your home.

Double glazed windows are thermally efficient

Double glazed windows are thermally efficient because there are two panes. It is between these two layers that the air gets trapped. As a result of their design, it becomes hard for cold or heat to enter or leave the home through your house window. With this, it means that you will spend less on cooling and heating your home. In addition, it means that you will minimize your greenhouse emissions because of the reduced usage of your air conditioner or heater.

Triple glazed windows are also an option, but unless you live in a particularly cold or noisy environment you probably will be ok with less expensive double glazing. A call to your local installer who can advise you of the advantages of both systems in probably a good idea before you order your new windows.

Minimize sound transmission

The design in which the windows are made means that in addition to being thermally efficient, they are also acoustically efficient. This makes them more effective at minimizing noise transmission, making the inside of your house extremely comfortable. The level of noise entering your home gets minimized by almost seventy percent in some instances.

Help in eliminating condensation

Condensation happens when the warm air inside your house meets the cold surface of the window, making the water to bead up. With the double glazed windows reduces condensation problem because there is a barrier between the outmost glass pan and the inner glass pane. This happens because the inner pane does not get cold enough to allow condensation to occur.

Double glazed windows provides you with freedom in window coverings

If you have been facing a lot of problems because you have to use heavy window treatments as a way to try and stop cold or heat entering through the single pane windows, double glazed windows will help. With these windows all your problems will be resolved and will be a thing of the past. It offers a lot of efficiency because you do not have to use heavy treatments. You can use lighter curtains that provide you with privacy, but for less cost. It is also possible to get rid of the curtains and just use blinds, which looks more modern and are cheaper and easy to change.

Provide more securityimage of double glazing air gap

Double glazed windows offer more security in your home compared to the normal windows. This happens because the single pane windows are weak and can be broken easily. The double glazed ones have two panes that are thicker than normal glass. There are also some special ones that are laminated, thus they are hard to be broken into. This makes you have peace of mind because you know your home is secured.

Draught exclusion

New made to measure expertly fitted windows fit properly! No more draughts through old wooden frames that don’t fit the opening properly and that have warped or twisted over time, breaking the seals and allowing cold wind to enter the house.

As I said, I have owned properties with both types of windows, and for me new double glazed windows are a priority, and I recommend anyone upgrading a property to make new windows a priority. You will recoup your investment in just a few years and enjoy all of the benefits in the process.

Always consider the thermal efficiency of any glass that you are thinking of installing. The video below has some tips that you might find useful.

Top Floorboard Refinishing Tips

If you are considering refinishing the floorboards in your house, hopefully this blog will make things a little easier for you, make your experience more enjoyable, and save you from some of the complications and stress. The video above will give you an overview of what is involved.

This is a job I have had to do on several occasions, not one that I have enjoyed particularly, but the end result has always been worth the effort.

1 The floor needs to be prepared
The first thing which needs to be done during the Floorboard refinishing process is to make sure that your floor is prepared. This involves taking out anything from the room which can be damaged, such as the furniture. If you leave anything in the room then you need to know that it is going to get be covered with dust, and that includes things that you might just forget, such as pictures, curtains and light fittings.

Then you need to see if there is any boards which have become loose and if so, thenyou have to nail them back immediately. If you find any nails  have started to stick out of any of the boards then just nail them back then and there. Moreover, if you find any stains of water which are present on the floor then it has to be sanded out. If the room is small then you can actually sand that area by hand. However, if the room is bigger, then you would require getting the proper size sander.sanding the floor

2. Make sure that you are sanding in the exact direction of the floorboards
As you begin your floorboard refinishing, you have to make sure whether you are sanding in the exact direction of the floorboards. You have to go over each portion with your sander until tyou can only see baree wood. You also have to use an edger as it is very important to get into those portions of the rooms where the drum sander cannot get.

You need to make sure that you hold the machine level on the floor as it can leave marks if it is held at the wrong angle. If you find any holes after sanding, then don’t forget to fill them with the latex wood filler. After the sanding is complete, clean all the debris and dust completely.

3. Stain the floor
If you want to, then you can always stain the floor. However, you need to know that it is optional. You have to keep in mind that if you are expecting to get a lot of scratches on the floor and if you are using stain then it would actually make them even more noticeable. So, it is always advisable to avoid staining if your floor is in a high traffic area.coating

4. Finish the wood
The final step in Floorboard refinishing is to finish the wood. A lot of people use polyurethane as it is water based and it provides a stronger finish. Another type of finish is urethane which is not so durable. However, it won’t stain the floors yellow which the polyurethane can. They are available in matte, satin, semi gloss and high gloss finishes.

You should apply the finish first around the perimeter of the room then do in the remaining portion of the room. During this process, you need to wear a mask as there would be strong fumes.

Once finished, you can step back and admire your beautiful new wood floor. As I said at the start of this blog, the process is not particularly enjoyable, due to the dust and noxious fumes, but the end result is always a winner.

How to landscape your garden on a budget

landscape-design-ideasLandscaping is an art that involves changing the features of a piece of land, making it look more attractive and visually appealing. It is done through meticulous passion and planning but you will not have to spend a large amount of money if you follow our ideas on how to landscape your garden on a budget.

The most important step for landscaping is unity of the different elements of landscape so that it can perfectly fit together, creating a beautiful and attractive garden. You will need to incorporate different elements like plants, trees and other natural elements, and also consider how to mix and match them to make your garden look beautiful.

There are different steps to landscape your garden on a budget which includes-

Keep things simple- if you want to achieve the desired look of your garden then you will need to keep things simple. This can be done through minimalism and simplicity, and can be achieved if you do not over design your garden with different textures and colors.

Balance the design- when you balance the design of your garden, you will be able to make the garden look beautiful but for this you will need to keep a sense of equality in mind while you are planning your new landscape. Beautiful gardens can certainly be achieved on a limited budget by reducing the number of features that you want in your garden. This will save you a considerable amount of money.

This video below has some great ideas as you will see:

Determine your garden’s design- you will need to draw up the landscape gardening ideas based on the layout of your home. This will help in deciding the kind of design you will have for your garden and for this you will need to add specific details relating to the garden which includes layout of your home and other structures within the immediate vicinity.

Create a cost projection- you will need to allocate the amount that you are willing to spend on your landscaping project. You will need to create a list that will include the plants you want in your garden as well as other materials and tools that you will need for the landscaping job. If you want to add wood and rock in your garden, then you should also include it into your list as it will help you in determining the actual cost of landscaping.

Deciding on the different elements- the cost of landscaping depends on the different elements like the kind of materials and elements that you plan to use for creating them. You can always achieve a classy landscape which includes perfect lawns, flowering ground covers and beautifully meandering pathways even following a strict budget. You will need to balance the hardscape like trees, shrubs, ground cover, gates, fountains, pavers and many other elements.

Inexpensive building materials- the use of affordable building material can reduce the cost of landscaping your garden without being a burden on your budget. You can get everything on the internet, from brick, stones to hoses and lawnmowers that will help you to landscape your garden on a budget.

And don’t forget to look for used or recycled materials. Many times people advertise their unwanted bricks, retaining timbers and hardcore or gravel. A good website that I have used many times is and look for more excellent ideas on youtube.