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House Renovation in the North East UK

Most of the United Kingdom is urbanized with almost no area for new residential projects on most of the bigger cities. Space is a premium asset that can blow up the budget of a family. Because of that, most people in the big cities of UK live in terraces, flats or micro-flats that weren’t designed thinking in their way of living. Instead of buying or building a new house, a more affordable approach is house renovation.

This renovation trend started in London, were a few strategies and challenges that are more common. One of the challenges is the design restriction that are imposed on buildings located on conservation areas. These are regions that are designated to safeguard areas of architectural or historic interest, the character and appearance of which it is desirable to preserve. Often, houses that are in these areas must pass a strict aesthetic code to get a planning permission. In London, there are 27 conservation areas. However, not only Londoners has to face this problem. There are over 10.000 conservation areas in the United Kingdom[1]. Architects in the North East UK, also have the same problem. There are, according to Durham County Council[2], 93 conservation areas in County Durham, and, according to North Tyneside Council[3], 17 conservation areas in North Tyneside.

One of strategies that can be used when renovating a historic building is to use contrasting materials and elements on the areas that we are renovating or extending. By contrast, we create surfaces and volumes that helps others understand what is new and what is original in the building and, by using materials that are now more available to us, we also can solve problems, like the lack of natural light and natural ventilation, that didn’t have an affordable solution when the house was built. Glass and metal are some of the most popular materials used to cause contrast in house renovations.

Another challenge that architects most face is finding a way to enhance the quality of life of their clients. One way of doing this while working with the strategy related above is creating openings made of glass. According to a research made about the impact of natural light on our overall health[4], daylight exposure is important to promote longer and better sleep and has a potential to make people more physically active. Crittall doors, windows and akylights allow plenty of natural light to enter the interior of the house.

Since the clients wanted a design that enhanced their quality of life and their original house had a lack of natural light, part of the design focused on creating new openings that lead to more daylight exposure. Below we can see, when comparing the first image with the second, how the architects used crittall doors, windows and skylights to allow plenty of natural light to enter the interior of the house.

However, most of the conservation areas restrictions only allow these solutions to be used on the back of the house, creating a new problem: how brighten the rest of the house with natural light without creating new openings. One popular solution is to open the floor layout, specially the ground floor, knocking down walls that divide the kitchen, living and dining area. By doing this, we allow the light to flow freely inside the house without creating new openings.

Through a close collaboration with their clients and with a strategic approach to the planning process, changes can be made that allow the house to access a greater amount of daylight and create a better flow between each room. These improvements not only have a potential to improve the quality of life of the clients, but likewise increased the overall value of the house.

[1] HISTORIC ENGLAND. “What is a Conservation Area?”. Retrieved June 07, 2019 (

[2] DURHAM COUNTY COUNCIL. “Conservation Areas”. Retrieved June 07, 2019 (

[3] NORTH TYNESIDE COUNCIL. “Conservation Areas in North Tyneside”. Retrieved June 07, 2019 (

[4] Boubekri M, Cheung IN, Reid KJ, Wang CH, Zee PC. Impact of windows and daylight exposure on overall health and sleep quality of office workers: a case-control pilot study. J Clin Sleep Med 2014;10(6):603-611.

renovating your home to sell

Ideas For Renovating Or Remodeling Your Home To Sell

Homeowners are always reaching out for advice during various stages of projects they are taking on for their homes. Whether constructing a new home or getting ready to sell their existing home, they need help. Some homeowners are adding on or renovating to increase its value when they decide to put it on the market.

Homeowners are looking for professional advice for their projects in the hope of increasing the possibility of their home selling faster now or sometime in the future.

Always remember, people who are looking to purchase a new home want to see a home as a place they can call home. They do not want to have to imagine if they’d feel at home after they do the work. To increase the value of your home, you may need to take on some projects, whether adding on to or through renovations. Here are some ideas to help you give your home an added boost and will pay off in the long run.


Accessories Flooring Fixtures

Accessories, Flooring, And Fixtures

Anything that you can put your hands on should be in good condition and good quality. This includes faucets, door knobs, cabinet pulls, etc. An item that can be touched is seen as adding value to your home. Scratched up or damaged worn out floors are going to give a negative reaction to potential buyers. That does not mean you should just ignore items that are not seen, they should be in good working condition as well.

It’s a good idea to consider replacing or repairing worn out old faucets, toilets, sinks, and the list goes on. Taking care of these items will definitely add value to your home and will increase the possibility of selling when you are ready. If your home was built a long time ago, get rid of old light fixtures, they are a real turn-off to potential buyers.




A good coat of paint always adds value to your home and gives it a fresh, new look. Many homeowners have found that even though their fixtures and floors are in great shape, the walls haven’t been painted for some time. Repainting can make a room brighter, cleaner, and looking brand new. Picking up paint swabs at our local home improvement center might just give you some great ideas. You might consider a completely different color that will make a dramatic difference to a room.

Consider having an accent wall in a room that is a different color from the rest of the walls. It can give you are really nice look and even add depth to the room. Stay with white ceilings as colored ceilings are not popular and can actually detract from your room.

If you are considering painting the exterior of your home, have approximately 3 different paints. One for the body of the home, another for the trimming and possibly a different color for your main door. Get some color ideas and talk to professionals to help in choosing colors that work together and will compliment your home.

Many new homes are using natural materials that provide texture and color for a very effective look. If you have natural materials, such as stone, rock, or brick you might consider having them professionally cleaned and you really shouldn’t paint these materials.



Bathrooms And Kitchens

Bathrooms and kitchens have always given homes the best value. Unlike 30 years ago, kitchens are no longer a place to just prepare meals, they are places where people come together. Because they have become a center point, it’s really important that materials are good quality and up-to-date. Replacing worn-out old appliances, fixtures, and flooring could add great value to your home. That said, do not go overboard! You must keep in mind the price range of your home. If you spend more than what you can expect from your home, you are throwing money away. Potential buyers do not want to pay for high-end items that are not necessary, so stay within a realm of reason.

If you decide to upgrade your bathroom and you don’t have decent storage you might want to bring in more. Whether storage or fixtures, it does not have to be expensive, speak with people at your local home improvement center to get cost efficient items that will add value to your bathroom. If you have space, consider adding a powder room to your bathroom. Ceramic tiles for the floors and walls are still the leading materials for bathrooms. If you will be expanding your bathroom, you might want to consider bringing in a professional unless you know what you are doing. A bad job will end up costing your more.




If you want to renovate or add a room to your home, hire experts to get the job done correctly. Unless you are really good at doing these projects, you could make your home look even worse and lose value. An expert will also know any codes that must be met before you can proceed on additions. A professional will know what will work but not become overwhelming for your style of home. They will look at your space, design a plan, and give you a layout that flows. Experts will be able to address any issues that might detract as well as what might increase your home’s value.



Landscaping is extremely important for increasing the value of your home whether you are planning on selling or simply want to improve your home’s appearance. Landscaping will be a first impression for potential buyers so it needs to provide a really nice appearance when potential buyers stop by. Again, consult with professional landscapers who can provide you with a really nice laid out plan for your front and back yards. Don’t go overboard with personal touches, if you are selling, as your taste might not be what a potential buyer finds appealing. Furniture, accessories, window treatments, and gardens can be easily readjusted by a future owner.


contemorary interiors

Final Touches

When getting ready to show your home, remove personal items that can get in the way and distract from a room. You want potential buyers to see themselves living in this home without feeling they are moving into “your home”. If you are renovating your home for yourself, then you have a great deal more flexibility. Still, keep in mind that one day you might want to sell your home and will not look forward to starting all over again.

Home improvements do not have to cost you an arm and a leg. You can improve your home quite simply by applying new paint to each room. Changing out old faucets, toilets or sinks will make your home more appealing to potential buyers. Keep an eye out for appliance sales and talk with the experts at your local home improvement center.

If you plan on staying in your home for some time, spread out your projects so you are not overwhelmed!