RELOVE YOUR HOME

PUBLISHED: 14:37 13 February 2017 | UPDATED: 12:16 30 August 2017

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It is January, the month of making plans - is 2017 the year you move into your dream home? But with a few minor investments you may already be there

The Christmas tree has gone to the recycling depot, the last stray shred of tinsel has been swept up and your favourite baubles are all wrapped up and put away safely for next year. Somehow your house looks forlorn. As you go room to room, suddenly it feels worn out and tired, the damp patches, the drafty windows or the pokey kitchen are all in desperate need of work – it all seems like so much work – perhaps it would just be easier to move?

Estate agents rub their hands as we approach the peak time for selling up and looking longingly in their shop windows. But it doesn’t have to be this way – for a little investment you can fall in love with your house again. Grab a pad and pen and create your dream shopping list...

We need more space

After all the Christmas guests have left, you can end up with quite a shopping list for home improvements highlighted by their stay. Need an extra cloakroom? An extra bedroom? The chances are getting in an architect and builders will still be far cheaper than moving house.

A typically-sized loft conversation offering up an additional bedroom with ensuite will cost £17,500-£20,000 from a specialist loft conversion company. And if it’s well-done any costs will be added to the value of your home (unsurprisingly its typically listed as one of the top three ways to add value to your home (alongside a new kitchen). For lofts always consider adding at least one dormer window and ensure you check out planning regulations or your loft conversion may be downgraded. Pricetag: From £17,500.

Conservatories – we often consider these as summer rooms, but today’s wood-burner heated, triple-glazed models are a very easy way to add an extra all-year round room. Ensure it is well-insulated (don’t forget the floor) and consider the cost of blinds for all that lovely glazing - and you won’t want to scrimp in order to ensure maximum thermal and black-out qualities and design. Pricetag: Budget from around £500 per square metre upwards.

Damp

Living in the glorious south west has its challenges. Among them is the many stunning old houses, made of single stone walls. And this means those little black patches can appear in every room – especially at this time of year.

I’m loved up with dehumidifiers – and not just any but one that saves the elephants. Intrigued? Read on. The Meaco Zambezi offers not only a digital temperature and humidity reading (ideally your room should sit between 30-45 per cent) as it counts down. But it also manages to warm the room. It has a cut-off switch when it is full – and having been using one for several months now, the black patches have disappeared and my addiction to headache-inducing mould removal sprays has been cured. Recently given the thumbs up by The Which? review team who gave it a Best Buy endorsement, Zambezi can extract up to eight litres of water from the air each day, has three fan levels and a clothes-drying function for all that radiator drying. Its ioniser cleans the air. Pricetag: RRP £249.99 (£2 goes to the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation to assist their Elephant conservation work in Africa) stockists: meaco.appliancesdirect.co.uk. Other ways to reduce damp include good ventilation when cooking or bathing and ensure rooms are well ventilated and heated.

Bathroom

Perhaps all the Christmas season parties combined with too many cocktails underlined the need for an extra loo in your home. But where, how? Nothing could be easier than adding a downstairs loo – it’s just a question of deciding where – perhaps an upstairs closet can become an ensuite? The space under the stairs is my favourite choice. Bare in mind all domestic toilets need adequate ventilation. If there is no window (which is more than likely the case) you will need to fit an extractor fan. Where there is no easy access to the mains sewage – the favourite choice is Saniflo (saniflo.co.uk for stockists) who boast they can add a loo pretty much anywhere. Pricetag: depending on where you put it and what you want it can cost anything from £500.

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