Choosing The Right Countertop For Your London Kitchen

When it comes to a kitchen refurbishment, the one point that gets many of our clients stuck is choosing the right kitchen countertop surfaces. From style and colour to durability and function, there are so many factors to take into account. If you’re struggling to choose the right countertops for your London kitchen, here is how you decide. 

Questions you need to ask when choosing a countertop

Butcher block kitchen countertop

Before you make any decisions, you should narrow down your choices by asking yourself the following questions:

Who is going to install your countertop? 

Professional installers are the best option to give you a great finish. On the other hand, you could DIY, but unless you’re a professional builder, you probably won’t achieve that seamless look you’d like from your new kitchen. 

How much space have you dedicated to the countertop?

Between oven towers, pantry cupboards, and that appliance garage you fell in love with, there’s usually not much space for counter space. 

Have you planned enough space for your kettle, appliances, dish drying rack, microwave, and all those other things you need out on your countertops? As well as plenty of room for food prep and washing up? 

If you’re building a kitchen extension, remember to include a nice long run of counter space. 

Are you good at cleaning up after yourself immediately? 

Marble kitchen countertops may look fantastic, but they are tough to clean. If you spill oil or sauce on the countertops, you’ll need to clean it up immediately to keep them looking crisp and clean. If you’re likely to leave cleaning until after dinner, you’ll need a lower maintenance material (we’ll look at different types of kitchen countertops below). 

What colour and texture do you want? 

From solid oak to pristine marble, there is a colour and texture to suit pretty much every style. If you don’t at least narrow it down, you’ll be drowning in choices when it comes time to choose. 

Think about which colours will go with your cabinets and if you’d like to add texture or keep them smooth. 

What kind of budget do you have?

The cost of kitchen countertops in London varies widely depending on the size, thickness, and material you choose. Here are some average costs in London to give you an idea of what to expect:

  • Granite – £270/m2
  • Marble – £315/m2
  • Quartz – £475/m2
  • Ceramic – £450/m2
  • Wood – £100/m2

Choosing the right kitchen countertop material

Kitchen countertop samples

Whether you want a modern, seamless look for your countertops, or a warmer, country style for your kitchen refurbishment, you’re probably wondering what is the best material for kitchen countertops?

Quartz

Quartz kitchen countertop

Quartz kitchen countertops look and feel just like marble, but are much more resistant to stains and heat, making it a good choice for those who love cooking regularly alone or with kids who tend to make a mess. It’s a man-made option so can also be customised to different spaces with ease. 

Pros

  • Stain and scratch resistant
  • Low maintenance
  • Looks just like marble

Cons

  • Not heatproof
  • Expensive

Ceramic

Ceramic kitchen countertop

Ceramic worktops have a matte, textured, non-porous surface that is completely stain and heat resistant. It’s incredibly easy to keep clean and looks great in both classic and modern kitchens. However, they are one of the most expensive options because of their durability. 

Pros

  • Heat and stain resistant
  • Easy to clean
  • Hygienic

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not scratch resistant

Glass

Glass kitchen countertop

Crushed glass countertops are more affordable than quartz or marble, but it’s still an expensive option. Most people go for this option because they love the texture effect of the crushed glass which gives a beautiful speckled effect that’s at home in any modern kitchen. 

Pros

  • Heat and stain resistant
  • Non-porous
  • Looks unique

Cons

  • Prone to chipping
  • Difficult to repair

Granite

Granite kitchen countertop

Granite kitchen countertops are a more affordable and hard-wearing alternative to marble. Granite comes in a range of colours and finishes to suit almost any kitchen and is easy to keep clean. It does need to be treated every so often, but this is easily done with granite cleaners.

Pros

  • Low maintenance
  • Variety of colours and finishes
  • Scratch and heat resistant

Cons

  • Needs to be treated

Marble

Marble kitchen countertop

Marble is incredibly popular because it looks beautiful and it’s so unique that no two slabs have the exact same veining. It’s also incredibly versatile, looking great in modern or classic kitchens with either shaker or modern cupboards. 

Pros

  • Timeless and beautiful
  • Unique veining

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Very high maintenance
  • Stains easily

Corian

Corian kitchen countertop

Corian is a great option if you’d like your countertops moulded around your sink to give that seamless finish. It can also be moulded up the wall or over the edge to give the most seamless overall look. However, you do pay for this privilege and the cost of Corian is one of the highest. 

Pros

  • Invisible joints and seams
  • Moulded edges and sinks

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Not scratch or stain resistant

Wood

Wooden kitchen countertop

Solid wooden kitchen countertops are usually made from oak or walnut. They look fantastic in country-style kitchens paired with shaker cupboards and a warm colour palette. Compared to stone kitchen countertops, wood is also relatively cheap.

Pros

  • Naturally warm
  • Characterful
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Hard to clean
  • High maintenance

Laminate

Laminate kitchen countertop

Laminate is an affordable option that can easily mimic real wood countertops. Laminate kitchen countertops are also heat and stain resistant, and extremely low maintenance making them a great option for busy families with kids. 

Pros

  • Most cost-effective
  • Low maintenance
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Prone to chipping
  • Prominent joints and seams

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel kitchen countertop

Stainless steel countertops are most at home in modern kitchens that are used regularly. There is a reason these are used in commercial kitchens – they are extremely hard wearing and easy to clean. They are also relatively cheap compared to stone alternatives. 

Pros

  • Strong and durable
  • Heat and stain resistant
  • Hygienic

Cons

  • Cold to touch
  • Too commercial looking for some

Still Not Sure What to Choose?

Getting a new countertop is certainly a big investment. The important thing to remember is to take your time and assess your needs, your budget, and exactly how you would like to use your kitchen. If you’re struggling with making the decision, feel free to reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help!

Patio Doors: What You Should Know

Patio doors are a fantastic way to update both the interior and exterior of your home. Beautiful, modern patio doors immediately elevate the style and are a huge bonus in the eyes of buyers. 

If you’re wondering how to install patio doors, which doors would work best for your home, or simply don’t know where to start in the process, this guide will give you everything you need to know.

Turning your small backyard into a welcoming, functional space not only creates more usable living space for your family to enjoy but it also boosts the resale value of your home. 

No matter the size of your yard or how hopeless you might think it is, there are some easy ways to transform it into the garden you’ve been dreaming of. 

How Much Does It Cost To Install A Patio Door?

Sliding patio doors with black frame

The cost of patio doors will depend on the type you’re after. uPVC sliding doors are generally the cheapest option, whereas aluminium bifold doors are the most expensive. 

Here’s a quick breakdown of what you can expect to pay in London (this includes the price to install the patio door):

  • uPVC sliding doors – £900
  • uPVC french doors – £1200
  • uPVC bifold doors – £2500
  • Aluminium bifold doors – £3000 to £3500

Do You Need A Permit To Install A Patio Door?

Minimalist style patio doors

Unless you live in a conservation or heritage area, you don’t need planning permission to install a new patio door. 

However, any replacement doors are subject to building control regulations. This means that your new doors must comply with thermal performance and safety standards. 

Don’t stress though, if you hire a qualified installer, they will ensure your new patio doors meet these requirements. 

What and Who Do You Need?

There is a huge range of patio doors to choose from, but not all options are suitable for all homes. The last thing you want is to buy a new patio door that doesn’t fit or isn’t the correct type for the opening. 

This is why it’s important to consult a professional. A builder will be able to measure the patio door opening and give you a range of options that will work in the space. 

They’ll also be able to give you specific doors they recommend from reputable suppliers to ensure your new doors meet regulations and look fantastic. 

How Long Does It Take To Install A Patio Door?

The entire process takes less than a day to complete. Although it is possible to install patio doors yourself, you’ll get the best finish if you hire a professional who knows what they’re doing. 

Let’s take a look at how you install patio doors so you know what to expect:

The process of installing patio doors

1. Old doors removed

First, the old patio door is taken off its hinges and the frame is removed. Removing patio doors may require a reciprocating saw if the frame or door jamb are difficult to pop out.

2. Cill fitted

The cill is the first part to be installed. High-grade silicone sealant is used to attach it and give a waterproof seal. 

3. Outer frame fitted

Next, the outer frame is fitted using the same silicone sealant. Fittings are also used to attach the frame securely to the wall using a hammer drill. Once done, the handles and locks will be installed in the frame. 

4. Glass fitted

This takes at least two people since the glass is large and heavy to lift into place. If you’re doing it yourself, make sure you have someone to help you fit the glass. 

Beads and packers are used to keep the glazing in place. These need to be firmly pushed into place with a rubber mallet.  

What Should I Look For When Buying A Patio Door?

When it comes time to buy patio doors, there are several key factors to look for:

Type of patio door

There are many different types of patio doors, all with distinct styles:

  • Full glass sliding doors: modern, minimal and the most affordable. 
  • French doors: more traditional, country style, and slightly more expensive. 
  • Bifold doors: Ultra-modern, give the largest opening, most expensive. 
Ceiling to floor glass patio doors

Door frame material

Most patio doors are either uPVC or aluminium. These are two popular options, both with their own advantages:

  • uPVC: durable, low maintenance, low cost, but can degrade over time. 
  • Aluminium: extremely durable, low maintenance, looks modern, more expensive.

Colour

It’s important to think about both the interior and exterior of your home when choosing the best colour. Popular choices are white and anthracite grey, but there is a whole range of colours to choose from. 

White is the most popular because it goes with any style and interior palette. Although grey, black, or a bright pop of colour might look great from the outside, they can end up clashing with your interior decor if it’s more neutral. 

Consider the colour carefully and remember, your patio doors are going to last much longer than your interior colour palette, so make sure it’s a timeless choice. 

Want More Advice on How to Install Patio Doors?

Hopefully with this short guide we’ve helped you see what you should take into consideration when installing or replacing patio doors in your home. If you feel that you need more information or want to schedule a consultation, don’t hesitate to contact our experts in London!

How To Plan Your Very Own Small Backyard Oasis in London

Create your own backyard oasis in London

Do you find yourself scrolling through Pinterest wishing you could have a small backyard oasis? When your back garden is tiny, it’s easy to think you simply don’t have room to design a peaceful retreat you love. But creating one is much easier than you might think. 

Turning your small backyard into a welcoming, functional space not only creates more usable living space for your family to enjoy but it also boosts the resale value of your home. 

No matter the size of your yard or how hopeless you might think it is, there are some easy ways to transform it into the garden you’ve been dreaming of. 

Planning the Layout

The planning stage is the most crucial part of getting your garden just right. There are so many different functions a garden could have and it’s important to know exactly what you want your garden to achieve. 

1. Make a list of wants and needs

Is it going to be a relaxing sitting area, an outdoor dining area, or an area where kids can play? Maybe you’d like to have multiple zones with different functions to keep the whole family happy.

Create a list of backyard improvement ideas for your dream garden. Begin with the most important and carry on to the least. You might not be able to include them all in your garden, but you’ll have a great starting point.  

2. Draw up a design

Grab a tape measure and take down the measurements of your garden. Then scale it down to create a rough design idea on paper. This will make it easier to visualise. 

Don’t forget to add in basics like locations of outdoor taps, lighting, drainage, etc. 

Do Your Research

There are several important factors to research when creating a small backyard oasis.

A cozy outdoor dining area

When it comes to materials, always prioritise durability over aesthetics. You want materials that are durable and low-maintenance. Some ideas include:

  • Composite decking – doesn’t need painting and won’t rot
  • Porcelain patio slabs – hard wearing and won’t fade over time
  • Artificial lawn – low-maintenance and looks good all year

The average cost of a small backyard remodel in the UK is £800 to £1000. Of course, this can vary considerably depending on the size of your garden and the level of work required. 

  • Patio – £80 per sq metre
  • Decking – £70 – £200 per sq metre
  • Turf – £20 per sq metre
  • Artificial lawn – £60+ per sq metre
  • Earth removal – £150 to £300
  • Labour – £120+ per person per day

For small garden jobs, you may just need a local landscaper to help dig beds, lay new turf, or build planters. 

However, for large projects that require professional design, landscaping, and project management, a contractor will oversee all aspects of the project and ensure the it runs smoothly.

Light Up Your Oasis

It’s easy to overlook lighting when planning an outdoor space. But the right lighting in your garden oasis can make all the difference. 

Add string lights to your small backyard oasis

Here are some backyard oasis ideas to consider as part of your renovation:

  • Suspended festoon lights for a festival look
  • LED sticks for a modern appeal
  • Garden path liners to help visibility
  • Lanterns and candles for a rustic vibe
  • Wall lights to give the best visibility late into the night

How to Landscape a Small Backyard

Landscaping will be a major part of your project. Whether you want a new stone path or lots of greenery, landscaping is going to bring it to life. 

When planning your landscaping, it can be difficult to think about what to do with a small backyard. But start by thinking about the style and functionality of the garden. 

Do you need a garden path to reach a shed? Perhaps you’d like more flower beds to grow plants in the spring. Or maybe you want a large area flattened and turfed to give your kids room to play. 

Whatever your needs, make sure to plan enough time and budget for the landscaping requirements. 

Think of The Amenities

This is the fun bit where you get to accessorise your garden and give it personality. Without these finishing touches, your garden will look stark and uninviting. 

Ideas for backyard amenities

Here are some ideas to add into your tiny garden:

  • A small fire pit to stay cosy on chilly nights
  • A mini fountain to create a zen retreat
  • A DIY movie screen for family film nights
  • A pizza oven for outdoor cooking
  • A corner sofa to give a peaceful place to meditate

Create Your Own Backyard Oasis

Remember, creating a backyard oasis doesn’t have to cost you a ton. All it takes is careful planning and research in order to choose the right components for your outdoor space. We’d be thrilled to do the research and planning for you, so feel free to give us a call or send us an email!

Choosing the Right Exterior Window Style in London

White wooden framed glass windows
Are you thinking about updating the windows of your London home? When it comes to how to choose windows that suit your home, there are some key things to consider. From energy efficiency to functionality, this guide will break down everything you need to know.

The Different Types of Windows

If you’re confused about the different types of windows, here are some pros and cons of the most popular types:

Sash Windows

A sash window is made of two framed panes which overlap. The different parts of the window overlap to open and close. 

Made from: uPVC, wood or aluminium

Pros

  • Double or triple glazed are extremely energy efficient
  • Well-insulated so don’t allow a draft in
  • Side-hung offer good ventilation

Cons

  • Fairly easy to snap in high winds when fully opened
  • Side-hung can pose a risk if installed in a child’s room
  • Opening them can be obstructed by screens or trees outside the window

Casement Windows

These are widely used in new-build properties. They have a hinged pane which opens outwards using a lever handle. 

Casement windows can either be side-hung or top-hung. Top-hung have small windows that open at the top, whereas side-hung have large windows which open up half of the entire window. 

Made from: uPVC, aluminium or timber

Pros

  • Energy efficient
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Easy to clean and open

Cons

  • Older versions used for restorations are not as energy efficient as new models
  • Can only be opened halfway, limiting ventilation
The different types of windows and styles

Bay Windows

These are the large, rounded windows you often find on the front of Victorian homes. Just like a glass extension, bay windows increase living space and offer a lovely focal point, increasing the value of your property. 

Made from: uPVC, wood or aluminium

Pros

  • Add more floor space
  • Allows a lot of light into the room
  • Add value by making the front of the house aesthetically pleasing

Cons

  • One of the most expensive options
  • Harder to install or replace
  • Take up outside space if installing for the first time

Tilt & Turn Windows

As the name suggests, these windows tilt and turn to open. The hinged mechanism allows the top of the window to tilt open, giving just a few inches of open space. Or when the handle is turned, the window opens fully, giving fantastic ventilation. 

Made from: uPVC or aluminium

Pros

  • Good security
  • Safe for children as the “turn” feature can be locked
  • Great ventilation

Cons

  • Limit the use of blinds since they open inwards
  • Can allow rain to enter if tilted open during a storm
  • Expensive to install or replace

How to Choose Windows

Choosing new windows

Here are the top three factors to key in mind when choosing windows:

Functionality

Above all else, you need to consider the functionality of new windows. Do your current windows function well? If not, what are the issues you need to overcome?

For example, if you struggle with ventilation, your best option is windows that have wide openings to allow better airflow. 

Your Home’s Style

If you live in a 19th-century cottage, anthracite aluminium windows are going to look out of place. On the other hand, if you live in a modern new build, vintage casement windows might not be a good fit. 

Energy-Efficiency

When it comes to the type of glass for windows, ensure they carry an approved energy efficiency rating. This is usually a star system. If you’re unsure, your builder or supplier should be able to help.

Window Installation: What you need to know

Windows with a black frame

If you’ve never had windows professionally refurbished before and you’re wondering what the process is, here is what you can expect:

Step 1: Measure the Window

Your contractor will come to your property and measure the openings of your existing windows. This will ensure they order the correct size for an air-tight fit. 

Step 2: Remove the Old Window

On the day of installation, all parts of the window will be removed, including the glass, window frame, and all traces of sealant around the opening.

Step 3: Weatherproof the Opening

This step is known as flashing and research shows 60% of builders don’t get this right, leading to issues with drafts and leaks down the road. 

Installing flashing correctly ensures the window is completely waterproof and any rainwater can easily run off without causing damage. 

Step 4: Installing the Window 

The frame is then lifted and gradually pushed in until the nailing fins are flush with the wall. Nails and screws are used to secure the window firmly in place. Finally, sealants are used to make the glass airtight. 

Final Thoughts

Replacing your home’s windows is a great way to update your home, increase energy efficiency, and increase the value.  If you’re still stuck on how to choose windows and you need help determining which window style is best for your home, let us know. We’re experts in window installation in London and are happy to help!

What You Need to Know About Second Floor Home Additions in London

Do you wish your house had more functional space? Adding a traditional extension to the back of your home is a nice idea, but it can eat into precious garden space, which is rare enough in London. Instead, why not think about adding a second floor to your London home? UK planning regulations have changed recently making this a much smoother process.  If you’re wondering if this is a viable option for you, this guide will give you everything you need to know. 

How Much Does it Cost to Add a Second Story?

Cost of adding a second floor

The building cost of adding a second story to your house in London will cost on average £2,200 per square metre. For an 85 sq metre home (the average size of a house in London), a second floor addition would cost £187,000. 

When calculating the cost of your addition, you also need to factor in costs such as upgrading plumbing and adding a staircase, which can cost around £15,000-£20,000 more. 

Building Regulations for a Second Floor Addition in London

From September 2020, planning regulations have changed in the UK. Old planning laws restricted extensions above a certain height and the planning process was lengthy. This put many homeowners off adding a second floor to their home. 
White house with second floor additions

However, new regulations have sped up the approval process, cutting it down by half to just eight weeks. And although local authorities will still have to liaise with neighbours, the ability to block extension plans is greatly reduced.  

Under new guidelines, you can add up to two storeys to your home with a relatively straightforward planning process. 

Of course, if you live in a conservation area, you’ll need to go through the full planning process to get permission.

Reasons for Adding a Second Floor

Benefits of adding a second floor

If you’re wondering why you’d add a second floor to your home, rather than the usual single-storey extension, here are X reasons to consider it. 

1. A Chance to Redesign

Adding a second story to your house completely changes the functionality and aesthetics. You can take this opportunity to create a design that works perfectly for your family. It’s also an opportunity to make some upgrades to the first floor, since your contractor will be making necessary adjustments anyway. 

2. Not Losing Outside Space

A normal extension to the rear of the property eats into usable garden space. By adding a second floor, you don’t lose any valuable garden space. 

3. No Need to Move

Most families move when they outgrow their home, but if you’ve been in the same house for years, it’s incredibly hard to let go. Adding a second floor means you don’t need to move and can keep the family home you’ve created all your memories in. 

What and Who Do You Need?

If you’re overwhelmed thinking about the logistics of a second floor addition in London, here are some key things you’ll need.
Remodelled attic as a second floor

A Reliable Contractor

Your contractor will oversee the entire project, bring in specialists as needed, manage the build team, and ensure your project stays on budget and on time. This will be the person you check in with for updates throughout the extension process. 

A Structural Engineer

They will assess the foundations of your house to ensure they are strong enough to withstand a second floor. If not, they will give you recommendations on how to build a second floor. 

An Architect

The architect will draw up a plan for the second floor, including room sizes, shape, materials, etc. This will be used by the build team to get the project completed. This is an important step as your architect will be able to give their expert advice on roofing, window placement, optimal layout, and more. 

Timeline of Second Story Additions

White house with a second story

As you can imagine, it’s not a quick process adding an entire second floor addition to a house. Here is a rough timeline to give you an idea of what you can expect:

Preparation: 2 – 4 weeks

We cannot stress how important it is to take the time to plan your extension. In the first few weeks, you should:

  • Finalise your budget
  • Put together some ideas of what you need (number of rooms, bathrooms, etc.)
  • Get quotes from several architects for design plans
  • Research the planning permission process in your area

Design: 2 – 5 weeks

Once you’ve found your architect, they will need several weeks to draw up design plans. This will involve a survey of your home to get measurements, a meeting to discuss your second story addition ideas, and drafting up the plans. 

Planning: 8 weeks

Thanks to new laws, submitting plans for second story additions is now relatively easy and should take no longer than eight weeks. 

Tender process: 2 – 4 weeks

Once plans have been approved, you can submit them to builders to get quotes for the build. Make sure to look at past projects to get a sense of the quality of the build they offer. 

Building: 2 – 4 months

The build time will vary depending on the size of the extension and the level of complexity in the build. For example, large windows or fully glazed extensions take longer than traditional builds. 

Adding Another Level of Space and Functionality to Your Home

Wondering if you should have a second floor addition? They can be a great way to increase the curb appeal of your home and bring more life to it. Contact us today and let’s build it together!

Glass Extensions: Planning And Designing Your Own

Concrete house glass extension

When most people think of a glass extension they immediately picture a conservatory. Although these are a lovely addition, they tend to become incredibly hot in the summer and too cold to use in the winter. This means they become a dumping ground for storage or worse, wasted space.

A glass box extension is the modern version of a conservatory. They look fantastic, are heated just like a normal extension, and are valuable extra space you’ll get use of all year round. If you’re thinking about building an extension in London, let’s take a look at why you should seriously consider a glass box over a conservatory or conventional addition. 

How Much Does a Glass Room Extension Cost?

The average cost of a medium-sized glass extension in the UK is between £24,000 and £37,500. When it comes to London, that price can go up to £72,000 or more depending on the size and quality of the build.

If you’re thinking of having a traditional roof and just glass walls, you might be wondering what do glass walls cost? They will set you back around £2000 per metre squared. 

Building Regulations for a Glass Extension

Most small to medium-sized glass extensions tend to be covered by UK Permitted Development Rights. However, it’s always best to contact your local planning authority in London to check if there are any restrictions. This is especially important if you live in a conservation or heritage area. 

A large-scale glass box building may be subject to Part L limits on construction. This limits the number of glazed elements or openings to 25% of the floor area. These limitations help to reduce heat loss and increase energy efficiency. 

Glass roof seen from the inside of a house

Large glass extensions are known as “over-glazed” and your design plans may be rejected by planning authorities if they fail to meet regulations. 

When working with an extension contractor, they’ll ensure your glass box is compliant so your project isn’t stalled.

How to Make a Glass Box Extension

There are many stages of a glass extension. Here is a rough timeline of what you can expect:

Week 1: Hire a contractor

Your contractor will oversee the project, organise materials, order glazing, and give input on aspects of the design. 

Your contractor should be familiar with the build of glazed extensions and have connections with a glazing specialist who can provide the materials for your project. They’ll also be able to advise you on how you can save money on your extension

Week 1-6: Hire an architect & get planning permission

No matter how well you think you can design this yourself, it’s always best to hire a professional architect to draw up plans for your glass box building. They will address any issues with your designs, make use of every inch of available space, and ensure the structure is sound.

Hiring an architect will also help your plans get accepted by planning authorities much more quickly. But it can still take around 8 weeks to get planning permission in London. 

Glass extension near pool

Week 9: Building the framework

Once planning permission has been granted, your build team will begin with the framework. The “box” needs to be connected to your exterior walls. If you’ve opted for a frameless design, this frame will be hidden in the building finishes as much as possible to give a seamless look. 

Week 10: Installing the roof & walls

Depending on the size, the roof may be one solid piece of glass or may be broken up into sections to reinforce the structure. 

When it comes to how to build glass walls, they are fixed in place using a high-grade silicone sealant. These glass panels are incredibly heavy, so this is a slow, steady process.

Glass Extensions to Inspire Your Project

If you need of some ideas for your glass extension, here is some inspiration:

Glass extension with high ceiling

The timber framing used here gives a more rustic vibe. If you love the idea of incorporating wood into your glass sunroom, this is a great way to do it.

Modern glass extension

This one is much more modern. The pitched roof not only looks great but also gives additional ceiling height inside the property. And the anthracite framing is a popular finish. 

Classic style glass extension

This conservatory-style glass sunroom floods the room with light, making it the perfect spot for a dining table. And the tall french doors give the room connection to the garden.

You can just about make out the scale of this glazed structure in the reflection of the glass. The sloped roof and square pattern of the glass make this ultra-modern yet industrial. The thin grey framing looks great and is a nice idea if you don’t want a frameless extension. 

Love the idea of a glass extension on your home?

Glass extensions make for a lovely addition to any house. Reach out to us today and let’s plan and build a room flooded with natural light.

Building an Ensuite Bathroom in London

Bright marble and gold ensuite bathroom

If you spend your mornings negotiating with your family for time in the bathroom, you’ve probably already thought about how much easier life would be with an ensuite bathroom. Nothing quite beats the peace and privacy of your own space that isn’t cluttered with everyone else’s shampoos and lotions. 

Fortunately, building an ensuite bathroom in London isn’t as daunting as it might seem. If you’ve thought about how it could work in your home, this post will answer some of your burning questions. 

How Much Will an Ensuite Bathroom Cost?

The average cost of putting in an ensuite bathroom in London is £12,500. But this doesn’t include VAT or the price of tiles, which can run into the thousands by themselves. 

Here is a breakdown of the main costs you can expect when building an ensuite bathroom in London:

  • Bath: £300-£500
  • Shower: £100-£200+
  • Shower enclosure: £300-£600
  • Wetroom enclosure: £500+
  • Basin: £200-£300
  • Toilet: £150-£300
  • Taps: £100+
  • Labour: £120+ per person, per day
Relaxing ensuite bathroom

There are also some additional costs that might pop up when adding a bathroom to your house:

  • Scaffolding (if drainage connections on the outside of the property are needed)
  • Replacing a cast iron soil pipe (if it has to be moved)
  • Replastering
  • Stud walls
  • Creating new entryways or closing up old ones
  • Adding a window
  • Underfloor heating

Do You Need a Planning Permission?

White ceramic ensuite bathroom

If you’re adding another bathroom inside the existing structure of your home in London, you shouldn’t require planning permission unless you live in a listed building. 

However, your project will have to comply with building regulations since it will involve plumbing, heating and electrical work. When necessary, a qualified electrician or gas safety engineer will need to provide you with safety certificates for the work. 

Planning and Designing The Layout

You probably already have so many ensuite bathroom ideas and know what you’d love your new bathroom to look like. But when it comes to a bathroom renovation, there are several important factors to keep in mind before you even think about tile colours:

Size

The minimum requirement for an ensuite shower room is 1.8 metres by 90cm. Although space in London comes at a premium, it’s important not to cram your ensuite into the smallest space possible. When planning the size, make sure to take functionality into account. 

If you are working with a small footprint, a small shower cubicle, pocket door, or compact basin are some space-saving solutions. 

Heating & Plumbing

When planning the layout, make sure to consult a plumber when choosing the location of the different facilities. Water and waste pipes will need to be routed to the exterior of the building to meet up with your main stack.

If your master ensuite is in an awkward location, you may need to consider a macerator toilet. These can be installed anywhere, regardless of where the main drainage pipe is located.

You also need to consider the efficiency of your boiler. If it’s not sufficient enough to handle an additional bath or shower, it may need to be upgraded as part of the project.

glass shower in ensuite bathroom

Building walls

If you’re partitioning a room or adding a completely new room to space in a hallway, you’ll need stud walls. These will need to be constructed using water-resistant plasterboard to prevent damp or mould. 

If you plan on having a wall-mounted toilet or basin, these walls will need to be reinforced with steel prior to plastering to ensure they’re strong enough for the load. 

Stud walls will add an average of £15 per square metre to your budget for construction alone. If any additional wiring or plasterwork is needed, this will be an additional cost.  

Bathroom Lighting

Lighting is often overlooked when building a master ensuite bathroom, but it is crucial to have a well-lit space. 

Bright light is best over mirrors, whereas gentler lighting is much more relaxing for bathtubs (if space allows). To accomplish this, opt for bright vanity lighting over the sink and warmer ceiling lighting to set the mood. 

When choosing lighting, make sure all fixtures meet the minimum IP rating for bathrooms. This is crucial to pass regulations and get signed off by an electrician. If you’re unsure, your build team will be able to give you advice on this.

 

Call us for a free ensuite consultation today

If your mind is racing with all the master ensuite bathroom ideas you’d love to bring to life, contact us and let’s add another layer of privacy and relaxation to your home today.

Tips and Tricks on Mounting a TV

So, you’ve just purchased a shiny new smart TV. It’s got 4K, HDR, and spans many inches. But how do you get it on the wall? Mounting a TV might seem simple, but it’s trickier than you’d imagine. You also have to think about things like what to do with the wires once it’s mounted. However, with a little know-how, you can save yourself the cost of paying someone to do it. In this post, we’ll take you through how to wall mount a TV, as well as some tips and tricks you can use while doing so. 

Wall mounted flat screen TV

Before you start

You’re probably desperate to get your new TV up on the wall. However, it’s not a project that you want to rush. There are many things to think about before you mount your flat screen to the wall. 

Firstly, you’ll want to think about the type of walls you have. For example, you may want to know how to mount a tv on a plaster wall without studs. However, a large TV can be quite heavy, so you don’t want to mount it with no studs and without the proper equipment, as it will most likely end up on the floor. 

You also want to consider the type of room it’s going in. If you’re putting it in something like a garage conversion, you can put it at the centre of your entertainment space. However, if it’s in a living room or bedroom, you want to think about the layout as well as the size of the TV. 

TV mounted on wall in a contemporary apartment

Equipment you need

When you’re thinking about how to wall mount a TV, you also need to consider the tools that you’re going to need. You might already have some of these, but there are a few that you might not. 

It’s well worth making sure that you have everything before you start. Not only does it mean you don’t have to rush to the store midway through the install, but it also makes the whole process much easier. Here are some of the essentials: 

  • Screwdriver 
  • Adjustable wrench 
  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • Drill 
  • Saw suitable for drywall 
  • Spirit level 
  • Stud finder 
  • Masking tape 
  • Mount
  • Lag bolts (if not included)

None of the tools on here are overly expensive. Perhaps the most costly will be the mount itself. It’s worth researching this and making sure you choose a sturdy and reliable one. 

Mistakes to avoid

TV Mounted on a living room wall

There are a few mistakes that people often make when they’re trying to figure out how to wall mount a TV. For example, you’ll often see people as ‘how to mount a TV on the wall without studs’. Although it is possible, people don’t usually do enough research to figure out the equipment needed.  

Another common error is failing to take into account the room’s lighting. There’s nothing quite as frustrating as mounting your TV and finding out that at certain times during the day you get horrendous screen glare. 

Finally, make sure you account for the wires needed for a wall-mounted TV. As well as the power cable, you also need to think about thinks like HDMIs and optical cables. 

What to do about the wires?

On the subject of wires, it’s definitely considering a solution before you mount your TV. As with any project related to updating your home, a little planning can go a long way. So what should you about wires when you wall mount a TV

One option is to hide your cords inside the wall itself. Although the easiest solution, it’s often the neatest. You’ll most likely need to get a professional to help you with this, but the results can look incredibly neat and tidy. 

Another method worth considering is having a power socket installed behind where the TV is mounted. Of course, this only solves the problem the main power cable, so it depends what else you plan on plugging into the TV. 

Finally, there are various devices that will conceal or cover your wires. These are a relatively inexpensive method of hiding the messy cords, although they’re somewhat more noticeable than other options. 

How to wall mount a TV – final thoughts 

So, mounting your TV on the wall can look fantastic, but it takes a fair amount of planning. You’ll need to make sure you consider the space you’re fitting it into, as well as whether you have all the necessary tools. 

If you’re planning on mounting it on a wall without studs, make sure you research the appropriate equipment. Similarly, think about where the wires are going to hang once the TV is mounted. 

Don’t want to go through the hassle of mounting your TV? This is why we’re here. Contact us today and let us know how we can help you.

A Short Guide to Wood Panelling

When it comes to updating a room in your home, it can sometimes be hard to find inspiration. There are many different styles, features, and flourishes that can help to transform your interior. One option worth considering is to add some wood panelling. This versatile feature can be used in both classic and contemporary designs and make for a real statement piece. We take a look at what to do with wood panelling and provide some ideas for inspiration. 

What Is Wood Panelling?

White wall panelling

If you’re taking on a project to update your home, wood panelling can be a fantastic design choice. It’s a feature that comes in many different styles and types. However, it’s usually wooden (or wood-like material) boards that cover some or all of a wall. It’s an aesthetic that dates back as far as the 13th century, where it was used to coat the walls of grand mansions. 

Today, wood panelling can be used in all sorts of designs. It adds flair to a room and gives you an extra element of customisation. You might want to use it to emphasise a feature wall or give an entire room a rustic feel – the possibilities are plentiful. 

Types Of Wood Panelling

You’ll find that there are several different types of wood panelling available. These give you the freedom to choose one that suits your needs and design choices. However, each one comes with some considerations. Here are some of the main types available:

  • Shiplap. This is one of the most popular styles at the moment. It uses grooved boards that fit together, forming a waterproof seal. Design-wise, things like farmhouse and beach house styles often use them.  
  • Tongue and groove. Similar to shiplap, although they use a different joint to connect with. They look pretty much the same but are often far cheaper than the alternative. 
Wall with brown wood panelling
  • Reclaimed wood. Another popular style, this uses wood that has been reclaimed from old properties. It has a distressed yet warm look. People often use wood boards to achieve this look, rather than expensive reclaimed wood. 
  • Board and batten. This look often appears in bathrooms and dining rooms. It features boards and planks of wood, and it fits in many different designs. 

With each type, you’ll need to consider the care and upkeep. For example, you’ll want to know how to clean wood panelling as well as how to paint varnished wood panelling if you’re redecorating.  

When it comes to how to install wood panelling on walls, some are easier than others. You can buy imitation board and batten or reclaimed wood that you can fit yourself. However, with tongue and groove and shiplap, you’ll likely want a professional to install it.

What Would Work Best For Your House

It can be difficult to decide which type of wood panelling to use in your home. In reality, the decision depends on a variety of factors. However, there are certain styles and designs where particular types of panelling work best. 

For those looking to create a rustic farmhouse look, reclaimed wood is always popular. It brings warmth and character to the walls and can create a really cosy environment. As such, a study would also benefit from this type. 

If you’re looking for a more light and roomy design, shiplap or tongue and groove are both good choices. A beach house bathroom or kitchen would benefit from horizontal shiplap with a neutral colour, for example. 

Elegant room with dark wood-panelled walls

Finally, for those seeking a classic design with some grandeur, a jacobean board and batten choice of wood panelling can look fantastic. If you’re wondering how to paint wood panelling walls, your choice should act to contrast or complement your design scheme. 

Of course, with all of these designs, you need to make sure that your walls are suitable for installation. Make sure to check with a professional if you’re unsure. 

8 Wood Panelling Design Ideas

If you’re short of inspiration for your wood panelling wall design, we’ve picked out some ideas to get you started. No matter where you’re planning on installing or building this feature, you can find some styles below:

Wall panelling painted white

In this room, the light and airy design is complemented by full-length panelling. The grey tones contrast nicely with the natural wood flooring.

Wall panelling in a dining room

This board and batten panelling covers half of this dining room’s wall. It brings an additional elegance and adds to the natural tones of the rest of the room.

White panelling in a dining room

The wooden panelling in this room is the ideal contrast to the colour of the wall. It serves to break up and lighten the grey and adds some class to the room.

white panelling in an empty room

This single line of dado rail also serves to break up the block of colour on the wall. It works well with the skirting board and coving.

Modern wood wall panelling

This modern twist on wood panelling gives a really striking effect in this room. The straight lines are mesmerising, and it really sections off the dining area of this room. 

Wooden panelling in a living room

The reclaimed wood effect of this room makes it feel both rustic and modern at the same time. The natural colours complete the look, and it fits perfectly with the rest of the decor. 

Chair near a dark brown panelled wall

The darker tones of this wooden panelling create a look that’s classic and cosy. If you’re looking to create a calming effect, this is a good choice.

Dark brown panelling on wall

Again, the panelling seen here gives a traditionally cosy feel. It’s reminiscent of that you’d see in a grand manor house years ago.

House Extension Costs You Can Avoid Spending in London

Living Room house extension idea

Have you always dreamed of a house extension but the cost is too daunting? Maybe you’ve done some research on a spacious new kitchen or additional bathroom, but you’ve never been able to figure out exactly how much an extension would cost. 

We’ve put together this guide to help you navigate through the financial commitment of a house extension in London so you can finally figure out if it’s the right move for you. 

How Much Does It Cost To Build An Extension On A House?

The cost of your project will depend on whether you’re opting for a single or two-storey extension. As well as whether or not you need any plumbing work added. 

Costs for a dining room house extension

Single-storey extension

For a high-quality single-storey extension in London, it will cost around £1300 to £2,000 per m2. You can bring this price down by using basic materials, but you won’t get the same high-end finish. 

For example, if you’re looking to add a rear house extension that’s 5m x 5m, that’s going to cost you anywhere from £32,000 to £50,000. 

You’ll also need to budget for architect fees, planning permission, a structural engineer, a contractor, and a build team. All of which can cost anywhere from £8,000 to £20,000, depending on the complexity of the extension. 

For example, a terraced house extension is going to be more difficult if the rear of the property is difficult to reach with materials. 

Two storey extension

If you’re going for a two-storey extension, this will be around 50% more than the cost of a single-storey. Plus an additional 10% for fees and labour. 

Taking the example above, you’d be looking at an additional £16,000 to £25,000 for the build. Plus an additional £800 to £2,000 for fees and labour. 

Plumbing Work

Extensions become pricier if you’re looking for a kitchen or bathroom. This is because additional planning permission is required for plumbing work and then a professional plumber is needed to run all new pipework. 

A bathroom will cost an additional £5,000+ on top of the build. Whereas a kitchen extension will be anywhere from £10,000 upwards, depending on the level of finishes you choose.

How To Finance A House Extension

A terraced house extension

If you love the idea of an extension but you’re not sure how you could afford it, here are some options:

  • A home improvement loan: A home improvement loan is usually cheaper than a personal loan and is added to your mortgage. This loan is secured against your home so it’s important to keep up the repayments to avoid your home being repossessed. 
  • Remortgage: Mortgage rates are usually significantly lower than loans and usually allow overpayments without additional fees, meaning you can pay the additional money off sooner. 
  • Personal loan: If you don’t like the idea of securing a loan against your home, you could apply for a personal loan. These often have much higher fees than home improvement loans though, so make sure you’re happy with the fees and repayments. 

How Much Does An Extension Add To The Value Of A House

When valuing a home, estate agents take into account the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and the overall square footage. 

If your extension adds an additional bedroom or bathroom to your home, you can easily add around £20,000+ to your home depending on the quality of the extension and the location of your home. 

Dining room house extension

That’s not to say a garden room extension won’t add value – it is still adding square footage to the property. But it won’t be as valuable as a kitchen or bedroom. 

A kitchen extension is another type that can add significant value to your home. However, it’s important not to overspend in order to maximise the return. 

5 Tips on Cutting Your House Extension Costs

You should never compromise on the quality of materials used during an extension build, and you definitely don’t want to rush through the job to cut costs. Instead, here are some house extension ideas that will help you cut costs effectively. 

1. Take Advantage of Connections

Do you know anyone in the trade business? Tradespeople and contractors often have access to discounts that the general public don’t. Reach out to any friends or contacts in the industry and see if they have any trade accounts you could take advantage of. 

2. Avoid Bespoke or Custom Made

Features such as custom-built roof lights or a bespoke kitchen can significantly increase the extension cost. Instead of opting for bespoke features, try to buy off the shelf first. 

Many elements such as roof lights that come ready built look fantastic and save a chunk of the budget compared to architectural glazing. 

Living Room house extension tips

3. Avoid Relocating Fixtures and Pipework

If you can leave the boiler where it is, we recommend you do. The same goes for toilets or other plumbing fixtures. 

Having to replumb pipes to new locations is costly, especially if you plan on relocating to an awkward location. It might also involve planning permission which is an additional cost. 

4. Negotiate

When undergoing an extension, you’ll be working with many service providers and purchasing dozens of different products. Although it can take more time, negotiation will get you the best price for everything, helping keep the budget in check. 

When finding the right team for different services, make sure you get several quotes for the same job so you get the best price. 

Negotiating well for services and products can easily save you up around 20% on the total cost – which is a pretty sum when taken off the total of the project. 

5. Choose the Right Build Team

You’ve probably heard horror stories from friends and family of builders who started a project and then disappeared with the purse.

This is why it’s incredibly important to find the right build team that you can count on when planning an extension. 

At Master Build Team, we’re upfront about the house extension cost, timeline, and keep our clients in the loop throughout the whole project. 

Having a specialist build team you can rely on is one of the easiest ways to keep your budget in check and take advantage of professional connections. 

Thinking About Building an Extension on Your Home?

All of our clients have the same issue when they come to us: they love their family home but just wish they had more space. 

That’s the beauty of an extension – you get the additional space that would make family life so much easier without having to say goodbye to your beloved family home. 

Are you planning to extend your home? This is why we’re here. Contact us today and let us know how we can help you.