Transform Your Kitchen with a Side Return Extension

In London Side Return Extensions have become a very popular way to extend a house, and create beautiful new light and airy modern kitchen in victorian homes. Other major towns in the UK have also seen a rise in popularity for this way of extending a kitchen.

In case you are wondering – a side return is the space at the side of a Victorian house that tends to get gather cobwebs, and store the occasional bike or bits of gardening equipment.

What better way to make use of this space than by knocking down your kitchen walls and extending outwards?

I have a couple of friends with Victorian terrace houses with side extension kitchens, and they are beautiful. You will be surprised just how huge a difference these kind of modern kitchen extensions make to a home.

The extension will make the kitchen open plan, and will bring a whole lot more light into the house. These become great kitchen for hosting or just hanging out in.

Interior decoration advice for your Side Return Extension

Exposed Brickwork is beautiful

I love exposed brick work which will work really well for a side return kitchen extension.

Side Return kitchen extension exposed bricks

It gives a very earthy yet modern feel to your kitchen and will save the added time of plastering.

If possible try to reuse the bricks from the original kitchen walls to build your side extension and this will save you some money too.
Glazed ceilings for your side return extension
If you love a bright kitchen I suggest going for a completely glazed roof for your extension.

side return with glazed roof

This may cost a bit more than a slated roof with velux windows but it will be well worth it.

That being said make sure you also fit a blind system for your side extension for when it gets really hot in summer, otherwise it may be like having lunch in a green house!


Tiles for your Kitchen extension.
I love these large Mexican style Saltillo tiles for a kitchen extension:

kitchen extension tiles

kitchen extension tile with paw printThey come with blemishes and rough edges, and even dog paw prints, yet they are really hard wearing and will look great in your new side return extension.

You can get them here:

These kitchen tiles come out great when they are varnished, and have the modern rustic look I really love.

The Cost of a side return extension

The cost of a side return extension can cost between £35,000 to £60,000 on average, all depending on the size and quality of finish.

You have to factor in about 12 weeks in total for the building of your side extension and some extra time if you need extra planning permission.

For more information about your side return extension and to get a quote I recommend getting in contact with: Family Home and Building – Side Return Extension Specialists.

Please share with those who are also thinking about extending their kitchen.

Cool Loft Conversion Ideas

Ok so we all know that loft conversions or attic conversions are very popular right now, especially here in the UK where there are thousands of old attics getting a new lease of life.

Where I’m living in South London there are loads of loft conversions as people make extra space for their growing family or simply want to add more value to their property before selling up and moving on, possibly out of the big smoke all together.

Friends of mine recently added 20 % to the value of their property with a loft conversion! Which is more than double what they actually spent on the work.

If you can put up with about 3-6 weeks of work and have the money – I really recommend doing it!

loft conversion south london

source Flickr Martin Thomas

original photo Martin Thomas

You can add a beautiful new space to your home which can be enjoyed as a bedroom, entertainment room, or simply a space to hide with the cat, read your favourite book and listen to music in peace.

Here are the three main types of  loft conversion.

Velux loft space conversions.

To create lots more light in your attic the Velux conversion is the most popular type .  You probably won’t need planning permission which is good and it’s usually the most budget-friendly.

Among the major reasons it does not set you back much to carry out this conversion is mainly because the loft does not expand beyond the original line of the roof so the work is less and you don’t need planing permission, though it is recommended that you still check just before accomplishing any one of the 3 kinds of loft conversion.

The Velux sort of loft space conversion is best on attics that have good enough headroom or where you just can’t get planning permission to extend your roof. Where the clearance is not large enough, then the property owner could opt for mansard or dormers, which are other loft conversion types that require extending the room. The fitting of Velux rooflights on these loft space conversions is pretty quick.

One thing to remember is that your room will be flooded with light especially in Summer which may make it hot! The solution is to get some good blinds.

Dormer loft conversions.

A dormer loft conversion is an extension that is made to an already existing roof which allows added flooring area and clearance, all within the same loft conversion. They often project from the ski slope of the roof mainly at the back side of the structure and also could be done in numerous styles. Inside it, the ceiling is developed flat while the walls are vertical. If your loft space is limited in space, then dormer conversion is the best solution.

If you choose to go with a level roofing dormer, it needs to be kept in mind that although you will acquire sufficient area within the loft space conversion but I would recommend the extension to happen at the back of the house otherwise it will appear very ugly. This is perhaps the most complex conversion and its important you get a good company.

Mansard loft conversions.

A mansard roofing system features double window pitches, and the one fantastic advantage of the mansard loft conversion is the optimal area obtainable from the loft space.

The contractor of the loft conversion raises the gable walls on both sides of the property to obtain the preferred area and afterwards continues to developing the wood framework for the conversion. This kind of loft space conversion is most often found on older residential properties. If you decide on the mansard loft space conversion, it should be kept in mind that permission will most certainly have to be secured from your regional planning authorities.

Ok so here are some cool loft conversion ideas I found online:

Loft conversion bathroom

original image Flickr Holland and Green Architects


Loft bathroom conversion

Original Image Flickr Bill Hails

Converted Loft Office and bed

velux loft conversion london


A converted barn


loft barn

Original image from Kablan UK

Space Age Loft Conversion idea

Space age loft idea


A Library in the Attic

attic library bookcase

Original image Dezeen

Ok hope this gave you some ideas as the the potential of your loft or attic space.

For more info detailed information I recommend getting in contact with The Loft conversion Company London who do a great job.

What ever you decide to do with your loft, make sure you inject some of your personality into it and do it with love!



Simple Tips for Transforming your Garden

Simple landscape gardening is a brilliant way to improve your home’s general appearance and feel, and with the following tips and pointers, you can start to become a better landscaper. But even if you just take on a small project to improve your garden’s appearance you will get a great deal of satisfaction from it. The article below discusses some of the best ideas to improve the look of your home through landscaping.

Bringing some flowers, new plants and some simple features can bring a whole new feel to your home and is one home improvement I really recommend anyone to take on.

Before you do anything

This make sound a bit specialist, but before starting a landscaping project, make sure you check out the soil. Get a soil testing kit from your local gardening centre. After your soil has been tested properly, you can then work out what nutrients are present and which, if any, need to be brought in before adding plants into the mix. Your plants will thank you by growing to their fullest potential and making your yard look great.

Starting Out

Why not re-edge any flowers and rock beds in your garden to give it a crisper fresher feel? Curved beds create a contemporary vibe compared to sharp, rigid corners. The fresh edges are a cost effective way to improve the look of your yard and flower beds.

Raised Beds

Raised flower bed

If you are going to start planting flowers raised beds not only look great but they give added control to your growing environment by separating the plants from various pests and allowing you to cultivate the soil easier. My tip is to ask scaffolding companies if they have any old scaffolding planks they no longer need as these make excellent raised bed walls!

Tressels for climbing plants.

Do you have a bare ugly wall in your yard? Why not attach a wooden tressel and get some climbing plants to make their home their? Honey Suckle and Clematis are favorites here in the UK. You can also put them along your fences.

Watering systems

Invest in a watering system which is a drip style for your yard. This is because irrigation systems like these are easier to install and can leave the plants fed with continuous water. It is also much more sustainable as it uses a lower amount of water.

Get creative with building

Landscaping can be a lot more involved than just planting trees. You can get really creative and add in cement, iron or wood structures for a more varied feel. What about building a gazebo? adding a pond? Maybe with a bridge? Work out your budget and then let your imagination loose!

Shopping for home improvement products

Buy your products online and in bulk to help save money. There are many online websites where you can find well-made products at very affordable prices. Try Amazon for example!

Here is the Amazon gardening section.

Check the reviews on the product and retailer before you make your purchase. Remember to compare prices of different websites.

Remember to measure your work area before you go shopping for materials. This will help you to figure out the exact amount of each product you’ll need for your project.

There are many places to buy discount supplies, but the quality is often questionable. If you’re new when it comes to landscaping, specialized garden stores can give you the best advice advice and guarantees, even though they are more expensive.

When your garden is shady

Does your garden have a shade providing tree? If so it can be hard to plant flowers beneath it. In this case Ground cover is a much better choice. Not only will this make your yard more beautiful, it’s simple to keep up with. Many people recommend sweet woodruff and hosta as great ground covers.

Consult with garden and landscape professionals prior to beginning. Even if you will be doing the landscaping, talking to a professional in your local garden centre with experience is a good idea. Even If you think you know what you are doing, a second opinion on the matter can still be very helpful.

As you can now see, landscaping is easy when it’s done right. Apply these tips and see the landscaping results you want! Once you’ve learned enough information and spent some time in the field, you will be a landscaping pro. Now is the time to get moving on your quest to create a beautiful outdoor environment for your home.

Quick Fire Tips for Stress Free Home Improvement Projects

DIY home improvement

Often people believe that most home improvement projects are too difficult to do. People try to improve their home daily, only to fail. Home improvement is not as difficult as people think. In this article we have put together some quick fire tips to better your home.

When to carry out your home improvements?

I really recommend that homeowners should do additions and renovations in the middle of a slump in the real estate market. Homeowners can save much money on large home improvement projects during a housing market slump due to contractors searching for work. Home improvements generally last for a long time. When you make renovations during a downturn, your home will increase in value when the market bounces back again.

Drywall Perfection.

Get great looking drywall with a simple sponge! Don’t sand your drywall seams, sponge them. Once you get the hang of it, you can smooth out drywall seams with a damp sponge which is as effective as sanding. Remember that sponging doesn’t cause anywhere near the amount of dust as sanding.


It is not necessary to buy art at the store, try something different like some tiles. Choose tiles in two complementary or contrasting colors, such as blue and green, and arrange them in an interesting mosaic-style pattern on the wall to create your own original work of art.

Shabby Chic or Highly Refined dresser?

Is your bedroom dresser getting on your nerves? You don’t have to live with old furniture the way it is. Sanding and refinishing will give them a fresh new look. By refinishing furniture you already have, not only do you save money, but you get a great looking piece of furniture and the satisfaction of knowing that you made it look great. There are many colors you can stain your furniture, too.

How about replacing your floors very cheaply?

Does your flooring look somewhat dated or old? You could consider pulling up your old flooring and lay down sticky wood flooring instead. While this type of flooring is considered cheap by many, it is a very nice alternative. It’s also pretty simple to lay!

Wallpaper Magic

Put up some artwork or wallpaper trim to provide your bathroom with a fresh look. Wallpaper trim is inexpensive and come in a wide variety of styles. It doesn’t require a lot of effort to install. You can totally redesign your bathroom with just a few inexpensive pieces of artwork.

Getting the help you need

When seeking help on your home renovation project, you should make sure to find some potential friends that will be there for back up in case the person you have helping you proves not to be very helpful. You should always have a backup plan. This is smart advice in this situation.

Are you a fan of good circulation?

In order to get good circulation throughout the house, use ceiling fans in the areas most frequently used. Fans help limit your air conditioner usage and they also help warmer air fall lower, increasing the efficiency of your furnace.

Getting Creative with Trees

Tree planting can have several benefits, for you and your property. Planting trees can also make your home worth more. In general, each fully grown tree you plant will up the value by a thousand dollars or Euros.

Kitchen Tiles

Improve the looks of the kitchen or bathroom by installing ceramic tile. Plain colour tiles are every effective and can be versatile, although patterned tile adds color, design and texture to a room.

Ceramic flooring while more expensive than lino or wood is easy to install and will add value to any home.

Under floor Heating!

It can be easy and inexpensive to add a heat source beneath tiled floors. Before beginning a floor replacement project, consult a knowledgeable sales person. The sales person will be able to guide you on which type of flooring should be used as well as the options available for radiant heating. This option is a luxury that will also wow future buyers.

Alternatives to Carpet?

Placing carpet in areas where there is a lot of traffic such as entryways and hallways will surely cost you a lot more money than what it’s worth. It won’t take long at all before the carpet is ruined. All it takes is a few people tracking their mud across it to ruin it for good. It won’t be as long before this carpeting needs to be replaced. Instead, add tile, linoleum or other wear resistant and dirt resistant materials.

Painting brings new life to any room

Paint a room with decorative paint in order to give a dramatic effect to it without spending lots of money. When compared with other improvement options, painting is very inexpensive and can make a huge difference, especially if you get creative with it.

Keeping the drains keen – Save on Plumbing

Here’s a quick plumbing tip. Invest in a snake for your drains. Doing this means you won’t need to purchase drain cleaners all the time. Drain snakes are not for the completely inexperienced, so you may want to have a plumber show you how to use it the first time. Invest in a snake that’s the correct size or you may damage your pipes.

Getting rid of the rubbish

To avoid stress later on keep this in mind. Make sure you have a plan to dispose of the debris that results from your home improvement projects. Removal of debris can be expensive; however, with proper planning, your project can stay on budget.

Keep it simple

Clearly, home improvement is not rocket science. Many people are unsuccessful at making home improvements because they make it too complicated. The reality is that the process doesn’t have to be such an arduous ordeal. Just keep the advice you’ve read here in mind, and remember that you can always hire professionals to help you.

We will be recommending some professional services throughout this blog.

Some more ideas…. 

Dedicated to Home Improvement

This site is dedicated to giving you tips about creating your dream home and adding value to your property.

We will cover home extensions, landscaping, furnishings, attic, and loft conversions, bathrooms kitchens and more.

Where ever possible we will recommend professional services that will help you create the home of your dreams.