The Home Improvement Centre can reveal a new website to provide homeowners with accurate consumer pricing for all manner of home improvement projects.
What Cost? has been launched to provide pricing data for home improvement projects ranging from replacement boilers and central heating to more modern green and renewable technologies including solar, heat pumps and wind turbines.
David Holmes founder of What Cost? commented “Demand for accurate pricing data is becomingly increasingly important especially in times of austerity. Homeowners are being urged to obtain several competitive quotations which is entirely correct but initially it’s important to establish whether it’s worth obtaining quotes in the first place, and are increasingly turning to the internet to establish a benchmark price in which to work from, which is where we can help.
What Cost? collects pricing data from a range of sources that have been verified to ascertain the accuracy of information and ensure published pricing information is unbiased and relatively accurate, providing consumers with a ball-park figure from which to work from.”
The website which is free from advertising will grow as more data becomes available and entirely free to use. For more information visit www.whatcost.co.uk.
The latest laundry and ironing products from John Lewis are designed to help take the grind out of your daily chores.
From washing machines that offer much more than the standard wash cycle to tumble dryers that use steam to dry your clothes and ironing boards that will change the way you iron forever, the new utility room range by John Lewis is sure to save you time and effort.
This dryer has ActiveSteam technology to dry your clothes without creasing, saving the average household an incredible 10 days per year of ironing. It also enables you to quickly refresh dry clean only items, saving both time and money. It is fully automatic and has a large 8kg capacity, which benefits from a sensor drying option that automatically detects how damp your clothes are and adjusts the amount of steam generated for perfect results every time. Intelligent sensors continually monitor its progress, adjusting where necessary.
This A++ rated washing machine has a clever Bio Cycle programme for the toughest stains and a unique Medic Cycle that removes all traces of detergent, which is ideal for people with sensitive skin. It washes a large 9kg load, which is great for families. The Direct Drive system means all the parts in the motor are integrated within the drum providing quieter, more energy efficient results with less vibration.
Other benefits include nine wash programmes including handwash and handwash wool, and five wash options featuring extra rinse and crease care.
This high-quality ironing system is designed to deliver professional results, making quick work of your laundry while still caring for your clothes. The iron heats up in just three minutes and has a powerful constant steam pressure of 3.5 bars, producing 200 litres of extra fine steam a minute, leaving no damp traces on your clothes.
The foldable ironing board has a choice of six heights and plays an active role in your ironing, incorporating a two-speed silent blower/vacuum system to dry your clothes immediately, to prevent creases and mark seams easily.
This A++ rated machine ensures that you will use the correct amount of detergent, thanks to its integrated measuring system – i-Dos, which measures and dispenses exactly the right amount of detergent to wash your clothes more thoroughly. The machine automatically works out the laundry amount, degree of soiling and textile type, then adjusts the wash program and detergent amount for the best results.
It is particularly good for washing woollens, with a gentle drum cradle action and a special ‘ultimate woolcare’ system.
For more information on these products visit www.johnlewis.com
Late last year experts at IMM Cologne, an exhibition and event business, revealed that minimalist interior design would be hot in 2011. And now we have proof!
According to findings compiled in the book ‘Interior Trends 2011′, ‘Emotional Austerity’ is to be a big trend this year.
As a result of the credit crunch, IMM Cologne believes that people are questioning what it is they need to live well. This is leading to a greater desire for simplistic, formal or severe designs that combine the basic and old with the modern and the high-tech.
The Home Improvement Centre has indeed noticed a growing number of simple yet stylish room designs and accessories cropping up in the interiors world.
Kate Jacobs, home interior stylist for the Guardian, for example, recently created a variety of looks for the kitchen, bedroom and lounge, all devoted to caramel and nude hues. By blending a host of natural colours together, Kate says homes can avoid looking dull but instead be subtle and lavish.
She said: “I love white, but too much of it can be boring, so I like to use it with other neutrals.”
The Daily Mail’s Design File also tipped chic white accessorise as a celebration of the minimalist trend.
Their reporter, Emma Love, said: “Could there be anything more clean and crisp than pure white? It’s fresh, spring-like and a big trend for interiors this season.”
So to get you back to basics, here are some of our favourite items for 2011 inspired by Emotional Austerity.
Top to bottom:
Megan left hand corner unit by Homebase.
Washed Linen Bedlinen, Natural, (£25 standard pillowcase and £220 super kingsize duvet cover) by John Lewis.
Ombra Chair (£125 set of two) by Next.
The Ideal Home Show is currently underway at Earls Court in London.
The multi-award winning show has brought together more than 600 quality exhibitors from all over the UK to offer a unique shopping experience for all areas of the home.
The show is being divided into categories including ideal Interiors sponsored by Dulux, ideal Home Improvements, ideal Gardens sponsored by Hydropool Hot Tubs, ideal Gadgets and ideal Food & Housewares.
The exhibition will be running until March 27. During its time it will see presentations and appearances from celebrity guests, features including the latest home gadgets, demonstration theatres, a live kitchen theatre, a beauty bar and catwalk, and the iconic show homes.
The Ideal Interiors area of the show is being overseen by Linda Barker and it will provide the very latest trends in interior design.
Habitat is hosting a Spring Spectacular with thousands of items on sale up to half price.
Items include all kinds of homeware products from furniture to accessories, including lamps, cushions, sofas and kitchen utensils.
Discounts are being offered at 20 per cent, 30 per cent and 50 per cent off.
Stand out items include the Emlyn three seat sofa (Was £1,300.00 Now £1,040.00), the Trude medium wall box mirror (Was £110.00 Now £55.00) and the Mews large wardrobe (Was £1,600.00 Now £1,120.00).
The Habitat Spring Spectacular is taking place online now. To visit the website click here.
A competition to find and renovate Britain’s ugliest bathroom is nearly complete.
The contest is being run by Grohe, a bathroom fittings firm, to find the nation’s most unsightly bathroom. The competition’s judges are currently deciding who will win the title and have whittled the shortlist down to five of the best atrocities. The owner of the bathroom deemed to be the worst will be offered a £10,000 first prize to be spent on renovation.
Potential winners include the owner of a brown and beige suite which is over 25-years-old, and a shocking pink design.
Grohe’s official website states: “The bathroom should be an oasis of calm and luxury, where we can escape from the stresses of everyday life. Therefore design and performance of the taps, showers and thermostats are crucial to your showering or bathing experience.”
It’s clear something went very wrong with these five finalists!
Voting closes on Monday, February 28 (today). To view the finalists, visit mydeco.com.
According to new research open plan room designs could be going out of fashion.
Spaceslide.co.uk, the home storage solutions company, has stated that the trend for open plan living in UK homes may be drawing to a close.
A survey commissioned by the site revealed over half of UK adults are now opting for, or have a preference for additional rooms in the home. These can be used for a number of functions such as a child’s play room or a study area.
The findings are backed by the company’s increasing sales of room dividers which rose by 36 per cent last year.
Jon Gough of Spaceslide commented: “We set about researching what was driving this trend and whether there was a backlash to open plan living – which we believe there is.
“Compared to 10-years-ago, there is increased home-working, more teenagers having bigger and better entertainment systems comprising large screens, games consoles and computers that benefit from being left set up separate to the TV viewing family area, and more students living at home – all major new ways of life for families that lend themselves to private rooms rather than open plan living.”
B&Q’s biggest ever range of decorative homeware lines for spring and summer has been launched.
The Silhouette decor range is a romantic take on a classical floral design for inside the home. It incorporates rich plums and aubergines colours. Blend together with silver detail and velvet to capture a real sense of luxury.
Perfect for spring, this is a collection described as ‘country with a twist’. Main features are bold patterns and textures in shades of green, taupe and teal. Great for kitchens.
The B&Q design team have come up with this concept with contemporary living in mind. Key elements are monochrome graphics, textiles and glossy lighting and floor tiles.
As the name suggests, this is something for the young and young at heart. Fun! is all about brightening up living spaces. B&Q have 10 new matt colour paints, from electric yellow to cool slate grey, ready to shake up any feature wall.
Making improvements to your bathroom or adding an extra facility is one way to improve the market value of your property.
The claim has been made by Rosie Millard within an article for the Daily Telegraph. According to Millard, modern bathroom accessorise and a clean, stylish space can make a home more desirable for potential buyers.
Noel de Keyer, head of houses at Savills, told her that an extra bathroom or living space could increase the value of a home by around five per cent.
The advice by Millard is that anyone looking to invest in a new bathroom suite should opt for all white, as this will reduce the appearance of tidal mark from limescale which is more prominent against colour.
She also states that bathrooms should be kept minimalist as rooms free from clutter create a more relaxing space.
She commented: “Ideally, a bathroom should be a sleek sanctuary.”
For ideas and inspiration, visit the Bathstore at www.bathstore.com
According to an article by the Independent, homeowners are defying the recession aftermath and embracing stylish household gadgets.
The must have accessories this year reflect domestic comfort and glamour. So if you’re thinking about starting a new project in your home, here’s are few ideas to consider, as well as some (slightly more) budget friendly alternatives.
Us Brits love our wine. According to Vinexpo figures we consumed 1.7 billion bottles last year and spent more on wine than the French! These statistics could help to explain how a “must have” trend for wine cellars has developed in the UK.
Spend – Combining style and technology, a stainless steel wine cellar can in some cases hold almost 2,000 bottles. Top of the range cellars feature LED lighting, glass panels and temperature controls.
A Cylindircal wine cellar from Spiral Cellars can store 1,870 bottles, from £14,500. Visit www.spiralcellars.com for more details.
Save – Wine fridges are becoming increasingly popular with new fitted kitchen installations. John Lewis stock a varied range with prices starting from around £199.
A conservatory is an easy way to add value to your home or simply create some more living space. But if you’re looking for something a touch more modern then an orangery may be for you.
Spend - An orangery can cost around £40,000. Taking a step beyond conventional conservatories these rooms feature more brick than glass but can also boast energy saving technology thanks to insulating membranes. To view some beautiful examples, visit www.theenglishglasshouse.co.uk.
Save – A conservatory can be just as stylish as an orangery (in our opinion) but without the high price. A basic 3m x 3m style can be from £10,000.
The coffee machine is today an essential gadget in the kitchen with appliances coming in stand alone or built in options.
Spend – The latest award winning coffee machine from Dualit, the Espressivo, costs approximately £175. The advantage of this product is that it enables you to use both ground beans and capsules, making it much more versatile. Take a look at www.dualit.com.
Save – If you just can’t get enough of your coffee but want it at a friendlier price tag, check out the Dolce Gusto. This product retails at £99 and can be purchased at www.dulce-gusto.co.uk.