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Industrial Features for Modern Homes

Industrial Features for Modern HomesEver since I was a teenager and saw the film Shooting Fish, I’ve had a thing about industrial spaces which are repurposed as homes. In that film, they live in an old gasometer and it always really appealed to me, as does the idea of old factories, warehouses – anywhere with acres of spaces which can be carved into living areas. However, the reality might not match the fantasy, so with that in mind, I thought I’d look at some industrial features we could incorproate into a more traditional home to give a similar feel:

Grated Walkways

Mini mesh grating is what is used for walkways in many industrial spaces and actually makes for a great industrial look in a home. I’m not usggesting that you use it for all of the hallways in your home, but for a staircase in a concrete home it would look absolutely fantastic. It’s also much easier to construct than regualr stairs, too.

Reclaimed Scaffolding

Scaffolding poles are SUPER cheap to buy from reclamation yards – usually about £1.20 per meter, which means that they make great handrails which are eco-friendly and good value. You can paint them to give them a different look or leave them as-is for a super industrial look, but they can be used all over the home to great effect.

Bare Walls

Whether your home is make of brick, concrete or something else, one of the simplest ways to give your space an industrial feel is to strip it back and have bare walls. An exposed brick wall would make a fantastic accent wall, and also means that you can change the colour scheme of the room whenever you want. The concrete look is an extremely simple, yet stylish looking feature. This can be easily incorporated by using cost effective cement boards.

Exposed Pipes and Beams

Leaving pipes, beams and other structural features exposed is another great way to make a space look more industrial. Metallic pipework looks especially pronounced against white and muted paint jobs, and it’s often designed with an intentionally weathered look to reinforce the gritty, industrial motif. If you want to achieve this look but don’t want to gut your entire home, you can fake it by creating shelves out of copper pipes or making an industrial desk lamp.

Lighting Features

High ceilings with dramatic lighting is a major trend. It’s common to find light globes hung with wires or even stage lighting in modern industrial designs. Pendant lighting such as filament lights with Edison-style bulbs is another unique way to create a retro industrial look. Choosing fixtures with rustic metals and creative details is a simple, effective and COST-effective way to add to the look.

DIY · Home

5 Alternative Materials for Modern Home Renovation

Gone are the days when houses were all built using bricks and mortar – these days, there are MANY alternatives to the usual house building materials when embarking upon a home renovation. Many of these alternatives are much better for the enviromnment and some even go back to old fashioned methods which seem like they should have dissapeared long ago! With this in mind, I thought I’d take a look as some surprising materials that you can use when renovating or building your property:

GRP Grating

Some of the materials whioch people are now using in their homes were originally designed for more inductrial settings. GRP grating is a non slip flooring constructed from fibreglass, and is an ideal and cost effective alternative to traditional grating materials like wood, mild steel and stainless steel. It’s got many different uses and you could use it in many different ways when renovating your space.

shipping containers home renovation

Shipping Containers

Years ago, Husband and I say a programme on the TV where people were using shipping containers as the bones of their home and we loved the idea! Instead of needing to build from the ground up, shipping containers were placed on a foundation and bolted together, then made livable on the inside. I’ve since seen loads of people doing it and some companies even pre-fabricate them and deliver them ready to go. It’s super green too as you’re recycling old materials.

Bamboo

If you’ve spend any time on the internet in the last decade, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen those crazy videos of the builders using bamboo scaffolding to climb up and down huge buildings when on site. However, bamboo can be used for more than just scaffolding. Thanks to its composition, bamboo is extremely durable. It has no rays or knots, unlike wood, so it can withstand more stress and it’s also better suited to glueing than hardwood.

Straw Bales

Taking things back to several hundred years ago, lots of people are building eco homes using a combination of straw bales and lime plaster. The process can take a while and it’s not always cheaper if you’re paying someone else to do it as not many builders have the specific skills needed but the result is fantastic. The combination of materials is also a good insulator and is said to keep buildings warmer than your average building materials.

Wood

Although timber based homes are not commonplace in the United Kingdom anymore, their significance is again being realised. Those living in the large cities among the noise and pollution feel the need to spend a few days in a relaxed environment that will allow them to live a calm and healthy life. Wooden houses offer these advantages and accordingly there has been a growing demand for wooden houses in the UK as a second or holiday home.

DIY

Four Jobs That You Should Leave to the Experts!

Four Jobs That You Should Leave to the Experts!
Photo by Emmanuel Ikwuegbu on Unsplash

Husband and I both come from long lines of people who do things for themselves. Whether it’s decorating, car maintenance, home renovations or any other type of repair, we all get stuck in and do it ourselves and calling in a professional is usually a very last resort. Just a few years ago, I remember having a conversation with some friends where they were really surprised to find that I do things like changing car batteries myself, considering this to be something for the ‘other half’ to do!

There are, however, a few jobs that I would steadfastly avoid, in favour of leaving it to the experts. Here are a few of them:

Electrics

I know lot’s of people do their own electrical work and are very capable of doing so – Husband’s Aunt is one such person and she’s a bit of an idol of mine when it comes to women who get stuck in with the tough jobs. However, electrical work is something that I would MORE than happily leave to an NICEIC Approved Electrical Contractor who knows their way around a circuit board so that I can avoid getting the inevitable shocks!

Gas Work

If you smell gas in your home, you should never attempt to tackle the leak yourself. Instead, immediately turn the gas off at the meter – if it is safe to do so – and call the 24-hour Gas Emergency Services line. An operator will be able to confirm the next steps and arrange for an engineer to be sent out to your home. Where possible, make sure you open doors and windows to allow the gas to escape and avoid using any light switches – this could spark an explosion. Definitely one to leave to the experts!

Tree Removal

Removing a tree can be a lot trickier than you might think. If the tree is quite small, you can easily do this yourself by getting a chainsaw or an ax. However, if you have a full-sized tree, this is another situation where you want to get onto the phone and call a professional to come over and deal with it for you. There are many horror stories out there of people who didn’t properly brace the tree as they cut it down, causing it to fall onto their home or vehicles, causing major damage. There are also stories of people climbing up to trim branches and falling down, injuring themselves. Experts will ensure that the tree falls down in a safe area and that the stump is removed afterward.

Structural Changes

There may be times when you want to change the layout of a building, add a new building or add an extension to an existing structure. This type of work requires a lot of planning, needs the right materials and needs to be completed by professional builders who know what they are doing. Instead of attempting to carry out structural work yourself, you should always ask yourself if there is a reliable and professional local builder who can do this work and ensure that the structure they build will be safe and sound for many years to come.

DIY · Home

Five Original Features You Should Definitely Hang On To

Original features - tiling

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

While there’s something appealing about the thought of moving into a new or relatively new house where everything is clean and well-maintained, there’s a lot to be said for older houses with renovation potential. As well as maximising your investment by adding value to an older property, there are a few “original features” which, should you be lucky enough to have them, you should definitely consider keeping. Here’s a few of them:

Radiators

While you may want to get your plumbing looked at by a professional or even totally updated, traditional cast iron radiators  are definitely an example of an original feature that you should keep and restore, rather than removing and updating. Aside from looking fantastic, they’re actually a really valuable asset and can add value to a period property if they’re properly taken care of.

Fireplace

It may seem like having a fireplace is a lot of work (yearly sweeps, maintaining liners, etc) but having an original fireplace in your property can not only add value, it can help you to save money in the long run. Using a fireplace for heat is cheaper than gas or electric heating and it’s also a more carbon-friendly method of heating a property if you burn wood, rather than coal.

Doors

Many newer houses come with cheap, hollowfibre doors with flimsy modern handles, wheras older properties usually have hardwood doors with brass doorknobs. The beauty of original doors is that you can sand them down, refinish them to your liking and even add new door furniture. It might be a little bit more work than hanging new doors, but the results speak for themselves.

Windows

Houses that were built before World War II didn’t have windows with plastic UPVC frames. Instead, most got built with sash windows – the ones with wooden frames that slid up and down to open. In England, the oldest surviving sash windows date back to the late 17th century! Although sash windows might not have the benefits of modern uPVC, the look of original features are far more suited to a modern property and secondary glazing can be added to help with insulation for heat and sound.

Tiling

In many period properties, lifting carpet and other flooring treatments will very often reveal ornate tiling, especially around fireplaces or in hallways and bathrooms. It’s often possible to restore tiling to it’s full glory with a bit of polishing or re-grouting, and it’s even possible to find reproduction copies of your tile pattern if you want to replace broken ones.

DIY · Home

Five Easy Ways to Brighten Up a Kitchen

Something we’re currently dealing with in our house is a pretty dingy kitchen. It’s a long, narrow room with windows at one end, which means that you need to have the lights on in there no matter what time of day it is to be able to adequately see. I’ve been brainstorming some ideas recently of how we can brighten the room up, seeing as adding another window isn’t an option, and this is what I came up with:

Lighter Kitchen Units

white kitchen unitsOur current kitchen units are a beech colour, which is fairly light, but I think that white units would make a huge difference to how bright the room looked, especially if they were the type with a high gloss finish, which are pretty trendy right now. I’ve seen some kitchen units for sale but that;s obviously quite a big investment, so I’ll have to save up if I decide to take the plunge!

Mirrors in the Kitchen

Kitchen mirror wallSomething which is cheaper and easier to add to the room right now is mirrors. Mirrors reflect light and give an appearance of space, and there are mirror tiles which are really cheap and easy to fit which would make a huge difference. I also like the fact that you can use mirrors in frames of different styles, hung at different heights which gives a really ecclectic, designer look to a space.

Add Lights

Clamp Lights in the Kitchen

Adding additional lights to your kitchen doesn’t have to be difficult, and there are plenty of options which mean you don’t even need to wire them up to the mains. Strip lights can be added under counters, under eye-level cupboard units, along kick-boards under your cupboards and anywhere you think they’d help. You can also get some great-looking clamp-lights which are versatile and give your kitchen that vintage industrial look.

Brighter Bulbs

This one may seem like a massive no-brainer, but a lot of people persevere with bulbs which aren’t bright enough for their space and it never occurs to them to change them! Kitchens can benefit from bulbs which have a white tone, as its bright and allows you to see more detail, and if they’re 60 watts or below, they’re not bright enough. Experts recommend at least 80 to 100 watts in your kitchen.

Glass and Wire Lampshades

If your kitchen has pendant or celing style lighting, then the type of lampshade you use will make a HUGE difference to how much light you get from them. Anything which is too opaque will cast light downwards, but will prevent the light from bouncing off of a white ceiling, which can really affect how your lighting is amplified. Opt for a glass or wire lampshade and this will give your bulbs the maximum reach to hit and reflect off of every available surface.

Do you have any tips or tricks that cn help to brighten up a dingy kitchen? Have you been through all of this and found an amazing solution? Please leave me a comment below – I’d love to hear your secrets!