Character New Homes For Sale, In Hampshire

plot-one-castlebrook North Warnborough Property For Sale
Plots One to Four Castlebrook

7th March Open Day Viewing

Make a diary note to visit the Castlebrook creation by T A Fisher, who have made the centrepiece of their new development the converted Edwardian Jolly Miller village pub into four beautiful and very different new homes with all the passion and care that they are renowned for.

This is a beautiful building carefully bought back to life, and this news item is showcasing plot one, which is for sale freehold at a guide of £450,000.

We have used some photographs with digitally staged furniture, carpets etc., just to help you visualise how wonderful this beautiful property could be as a home.

Plot One Kitchen / Diner

The fine living room space then leads to a fantastic kitchen / diner dual aspect room, with a fully fitted kitchen space which includes a Bosch double oven, a Bosch induction hob, a Zanussi integrated dishwasher, and a Zanussi Integrated Fridge/freezer.

The Living room overlooks the part walled garden, which also features the T A Fisher garden shed as a nice benefit.

Plot One Cloakroom

On the first floor there is a lovely master bedroom, with a superb en-suite shower room. Bedroom two and the family bathroom are also on the first floor.

Plot One En-Suite To Master Bedroom


The location of Castlebrook is perfect for those who want to be on the doorstep of outdoor opportunities from a great selection of places to shop to a wide range of places to eat, drink and relax through to walks and cycling around the Basingstoke Canal and nearby King Johns Castle.

king john's castle Odiham Hampshire McCarthy Holden estate agents
Nearby King John's Castle - Aerial View By

For more details about the open day viewing event on 7th March, telephone 01256 704851

You can go to this link if you would like a download pdf brochure 

Romantic Meets Rock ‘n’ Roll: Steal Pearl Lowe’s Electric, Bohemian Style

Pearl Lowe Faded Glamour

It's all about 'faded glamour' for Pearl Lowe and her designer friends. Gabrielle Fagan finds out how to get the look.

Singer-turned-fashion designer Pearl Lowe is renowned for her quirky, individual style – so it’s probably no surprise that she defiantly dances to her own tune when it comes to her decor choices too.

Her home – a rambling 11-bedroom Georgian mansion in Somerset – showcases her trademark blend of grand, romantic chic and cool rock ‘n roll.

“Many people might regard my style as quite ‘eclectic’,” observes London-born Lowe. “That’s fine by me, because I don’t believe there should be any rules – unless you want your house to be a hotel,” the 49-year-old declares with a smile.

She sums up her interior style as “faded glamour” – and this is also the title of her new book, which celebrates her approach to decor and creating spaces she loves.

Pearl Lowe Faded Glamour

Faded Glamour gives us a glimpse into not only Lowe’s own home, but also the private spaces of her super-creative designer friends, including Solange Azagury-Partridge, Alice Temperley and Sera Hersham Loftus.

There are colourful living rooms, intimate bedrooms, and plush bathrooms which showcase the many different ways ‘faded glamour’ can be interpreted – from urban to rustic, and bohemian to vintage.

“I’d say it’s a gloriously decadent yet well-lived-in decorating style. I think of rooms that are elegant yet whimsical at the same time,” muses Lowe.

Pearl Lowe Faded Glamour

She shares her own home with her musician husband, Danny Goffey (of the Nineties band Supergrass), and their children Alfie, 23, Frankie 20, and Betty, 15. Her daughter, model Daisy, 31, is a regular visitor too.

Throughout the property, Lowe has managed to deftly mix precious pieces of antique furniture with contemporary colourful pieces from flea markets, which happily sit alongside 18th century mahogany wood and 1950s plastic retro.

Wear-and-tear and the patina of age aren’t hidden. Instead, they’re revered and deliberately embraced.

“To me, an object that was once the height of elegance but is now a bit battered has far more allure than something brand new,” says Lowe.

“What I enjoy is the mix, the alchemy you create when you play around with styles… where chintz sits alongside animal print and sultry velvets; rococo suddenly goes a little rock ‘n roll, and a freestanding 1970s Anglepoise lamp sets it all alight.”

Pearl Lowe Faded Glamour

As a designer, she draws inspiration from many quarters: art, film, photography, music, travel and – above all – her friends, especially Rachel Ashwell, the designer and writer who introduced us all to ‘shabby chic’ back in the Nineties.

Ashwell, says Lowe, “taught me how to create spaces that are not just decadent and stylish, but deliciously inviting and alluringly comfortable”.

Here, we take a sneak peek at some of the homes bringing ‘faded glamour’ to life…

Colourful Faded Glamour: Solange Azagury-Partridge

This interior literally “sets your spirit soaring”, enthuses Lowe. This is a home where sofas and chairs are covered in a giddy array of colourful fabrics and throws, and who’s style takes influences from the East.

It’s a harmony of surprising contrasts – a sofa in a Sanderson flowery chintz sits alongside one dressed in an Ikat print, while yellow velvet clashes with shocking pink toile de Jouy wallpaper, and mismatched Moroccan rugs form a rainbow patchwork across the floors.

Fabric used for walls adds to a sense of warmth as well as enriching the palette of shades, while the woodwork is painted baby pink.

“Solange’s bold use of colour is full of wit and wonder and brings a smile to your face,” says Lowe.

Pearl Lowe Faded Glamour

Jewels for the home

Chic Faded Glamour: Alice Temperley

Award-winning fashion designer Temperley, who dresses some of the most stylish women in the world – from the Duchess of Cambridge to Beyonce – playfully mixes old with new in her home, a Regency mansion.

Giant disco balls hang from original plaster roses on the ceiling, and black-and-white photographs and contemporary art line the walls of wood-panelled reception rooms.

A mix of intriguing finds from local flea markets – twinkling candelabras, vintage glassware, bespoke china and stacks of rare books – are just some of the treasures that embellish the space and enhance character and interest.

“What I love about this house is that despite the grandeur of the building itself – which in other hands could look austere and formal – Alice has, with her inherent romantic aesthetic, created a whimsical, enchanted world here,” Lower says admiringly.

Fashion a glamorous home

Bohemian Faded Glamour: Sera Hersham-Loftus

Fashion and interior designer Hersham-Loftus has banished walls from her London apartment, and transformed it into a giant living space simply divided into areas by beautiful panels of fabric.

Hand-made muslin curtains – appliqued with vintage lace and hand-dyed – hang over windows, and ceilings are painted black. She’s furnished with day-beds, antique furniture and a jungle of vast potted plants throughout, which conceal subtle lighting effects.

The designer’s style, says Lowe, is ever evolving, and “sumptuous, seductive, exotic, and highly unique”.

Go natural

Faded Glamour: Inspirational Interiors And Beautiful Homes, photography by Amy Neunsinger, is published by CICO Books, priced £19.99. Available now.

Pearl Lowe Faded Glamour

Are we Harming Garden Wildlife with Plastics, Toxic Food and Bad Design?

dont harm wildlife

Dodgy seed mixes, plastic netting and leftover scraps can all hamper garden wildlife. Here's how to remedy bad habits.

World Wildlife Day is on the horizon, meaning gardeners will be thinking about how to attract more creatures to their plot through nectar-rich plants, bird food and good garden practices.

But what if you are killing your wildlife with kindness? Are you unwittingly putting out the wrong scraps for animals, creating a pond in which creatures become trapped, or tidying your garden to the detriment of nests and sheltering spots?

Here are some common mistakes gardeners make when trying to be kind to wildlife, and advice from experts on how to keep wildlife safe.

dont harm wildlife

DON’T… Serve up fat balls in plastic netting

Peanuts and fat balls are regularly sold in nylon mesh bags. Never put out any food in mesh bags, the RSPB ( advises. These may trap birds’ feet and even cause broken or torn off feet and legs. Birds with a barbed tongue, such as woodpeckers, can become trapped by their beaks.

Instead, hang a half coconut filled with fat balls in a tree or from a bird table, the RSPB advises.

DON’T… Feed birds dodgy seed mixes

The RSPB advises bird lovers to avoid seed mixtures containing split peas, beans, dried rice or lentils, as only the large species can eat them dry. They are added to some cheaper seed mixes to bulk them up. Any mixture containing green or pink lumps should be avoided as they are dog biscuit, which can only be eaten when soaked.

Poor quality peanuts can carry the aflatoxin fungus, which can kill birds if they eat it. Instead, make sure you buy peanuts that are guaranteed aflatoxin-free from a reputable supplier. And buy seed mixes from a reputable source such as the RSPB, checking which species the mix is likely to attract before you buy.

dont harm wildlife

DON’T… Use pesticides

Many gardening experts agree that chemical pesticides are mostly non-specific, so will destroy beneficial insects as well as the nuisance ones, which will then start to upset the balance of nature.

Instead, go organic and opt for different methods. You can use beer traps or hand-pick slugs and snails off your plants after a downpour, wipe or wash aphids off badly affected plants as they appear, and use parasitic nematodes as a biological control for vine weevil.

DON’T… Cut hedges at the wrong time

Resist cutting hedges and trees between March and August, as this is the main breeding season for nesting birds, although some birds may nest outside this period, says the RSPB.

dont harm wildlife

DON’T… Box creatures in

You may love seeing creatures visit your garden, but wildlife is not a pet, and should be free to roam in and out of the garden. So don’t box wildlife in with mile-high fencing – a hedgehog, for example, needs to walk a mile a night searching for food and a mate.

Instead, create safe corridors from your garden to the one next door, by making gaps at the base of your fence.

Also, let some of your lawn grow longer. Voles, shrews, frogs, toads, beetles and hedgehogs like to move through long grasses rather than out in the open, the RSPB advises.

DON’T… Tidy your garden too much

If you remove all your leaves and other garden debris from your beds and borders, you’re effectively depriving any visiting wildlife from shelter and food.

Instead, tidy up (if you have to) in spring, when wildlife is waking up rather than going to sleep. And at least plant some strong perennials such as Sedum ‘Herbstfreude’ whose seedheads will be left standing when you prune the rest, to provide birds and insects with shelter and food.

When pruning, save some of the bigger branches and logs to make a log pile in a quiet, sheltered part of the garden, which will provide insects with a haven in the cooler months.

dont harm wildlife

DON’T… Let creatures drown

Yes, wildlife will always be attracted to water, but getting in and out of a pond can be tricky if the pond has a hard edge that sits above the water level. Hedgehogs, for instance, are adept swimmers, but if they can’t climb out of steep-sided ponds or pools, they will drown.

Instead, use a pile of carefully positioned stones, a piece of wood or some chicken wire to create a simple ramp to allow creatures to exit, Hedgehog Street ( suggests.

DON’T… Give milk to hedgehogs

You may be tempted to treat your visiting hedgehog to a bowl of milk instead of water, but it doesn’t agree with them and can cause diarrhoea, says the RSPCA. Instead, give them a shallow bowl of water and some additional food, such as meaty cat or dog food, and hedgehog food.

dont harm wildlife

DON’T… Think that only the most showy blooms will attract insects

Flowers that come from intensively bred plants, with huge double flowers, may not offer much to visiting insects in the way of nectar.

Instead, go for good nectar plants including foxgloves, wallflowers, Verbena bonariensis and heleniums, as well as herbs including chives, borage and rosemary. For a list of nectar-rich plants visit the RHS ( .

World Wildlife Day is on March 3. For details go to

Renting your Home to Holidaymakers – Here’s what you Need to Know

rent your holidayhome

Lots of people now rent out their own properties to make extra cash while they're away. Lisa Salmon finds out more

Many of us would love to make a bit of extra cash – but could you be sitting on an easy money-making opportunity right now? We’re talking about your own home.

Renting out your home, or just a room, can earn you anything from about £15 a night to more than £4,000 a month, depending on its size, location and facilities, and whether you’re just renting out a room or the whole property – and you don’t have to be a second-home-owner to do it. A number of people now rent out their homes while they’re away on holiday themselves, or rent out a room to travellers while they’re still there.

rent your holidayhome

Your home doesn’t need to be in a typical tourist destination to be worth renting either: holiday rental companies like and point out that people may need somewhere to stay because of a family event nearby for example, or if they have business in a particular area and don’t want/can’t find a room in a hotel.

“Owning a property, whether a secondary home or the home you live in, is an opportunity to tap into an additional income channel,” says Karen Mullins, HomeAway regional director UK & Ireland. “Property owners are in an ideal position to make financial gains through short-term rentals. If you ensure you’re compliant with local laws and regulations, it’s a great opportunity to earn additional income to assist in paying off the mortgage, making home improvements, funding the children’s education or even funding your own holidays.”

Here, Mullins and Jeroen Merchiers, Airbnb’s Europe, Middle East and Africa regional director, answer some of the questions homeowners may have about offering some or all of their property as a holiday rental…

rent your holidayhome

1. Does location matter – what if you don’t live in a tourist destination?

Mullins says: “If you’re the legal owner of the property, you’re able to rent it out to holidaymakers – even if it’s outside of popular tourist destinations. Holiday rentals provide holidaymakers with the opportunity to experience destinations and neighbourhoods they want to visit no matter what the occasion, for instance a family visit or a family event.

“If you’re near local amenities, either walking distance or a short drive, make it clear on your property page. Whether that’s local shops, restaurants, pubs or attractions, this will be very attractive to families who want to stay within the area. There are also families who are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of reality and enjoy the peace and quiet of a secluded area.”

Merchiers adds: “Guests booking on Airbnb are discovering more than the traditional tourist areas, thanks to locals opening up their homes and unique spaces, allowing people to travel in previously undiscovered areas.”

rent your holidayhome

2. What facilities do you need to offer?

Hosts should check everyday appliances in the property – like the fridge, oven, microwave and kettle – are in good working order, clean and ready for use. Ensure there’s hot and cold running water, and provide basics like tea, coffee, sugar and store cupboard supplies, advises Mullins. She also suggests hosts should also consider leaving washing-up liquid, dishwasher tablets and toilet roll.

It’s also worth providing a welcome pack, including information like where to find extra towels, bedding and kitchen utensils, etc. “A welcome pack gives your home a personal touch,” says Mullins.

Impress guests further by including home comforts like TV subscriptions, and it won’t hurt to offer little extras like toys for kids, treats for pets, or a welcome gift for grown-ups like a bottle of wine. “You’ll make your guests’ stay extra-special and inspire them to leave a positive review,” Mullins points out.

“And make sure you have Wi-Fi – children, teenagers and parents will want to know they’re connected. And for parents, that could mean total sanity, relaxation and peace.”

In addition, Merchiers suggests hosts provide safety essentials such as a fire extinguisher, smoke alarm, first aid kit and a carbon-monoxide detector, as well as fundamental amenities. “These are the items guests tell us they consider important for a comfortable and safe stay,” he says.

rent your holidayhome

3. How much money can you make?

Airbnb and HomeAway hosts set their own prices. Airbnb charge 3% commission, plus guests pay a service fee of up to 13% on top of their booking total. HomeAway charge 5% if hosts choose their pay-per-booking option, plus a 3% payment processing fee.

To help decide what price to set, hosts can search for comparable listings in their area, or use tools such as HomeAway’s online calculator (, or Airbnb’s online calculator ( to help determine the going rate.

HomeAway data shows average nightly rates for full holiday home rental in the UK, for example, range from around £84-£500, and nightly rates for a private room rented through Airbnb range from around £15-£30.

rent your holidayhome

4. What time period can you rent a room/house out for?

“Hosts manage their own calendar so they can host at times convenient to them,” explains Merchiers. “Some hosts list their space when they go on holiday, some when their children fly the nest, some ahead of major events in their area, and some for a little extra income.”

rent your holidayhome

5. How do you protect valuable possessions in your home?

There are several options for how to store your valuables if you’re renting your home while you’re away, says Mullins, such as a lockable pantry, bedroom or cupboard.

“If you don’t want to do that, store them with family members close by or trustworthy neighbours,” she suggests. “Renting your house or flat while you’re away also helps to make the property less of a target for burglars, because your home isn’t empty for days or even weeks.”

6. What safeguards are there?

Before you rent your property to holidaymakers, make sure it’s not in breach of your lease or mortgage agreement. Airbnb and HomeAway provide hosts with up to $1 million USD (approx £768,000) of property damage protection and third party insurance to cover stays reserved through them.

Angel Strawbridge: ‘Your Home is a Place to have Fun, Explore and be creative’

Angel Strawbridge decorate your home

As she launches her Sainsbury's Home range, Gabrielle Fagan talks to Escape To The Chateau's Angel Strawbridge about style, dreams and finding joy.

Angel Strawbridge decorate your home

Meeting Angel Strawbridge – unmistakable with her bright red hair and trademark mega-watt smile – is like encountering a whirlwind of energy and enthusiasm.

She and her husband, Dick, have found fame as the eccentric and totally irresistible couple on Channel 4’s popular series, Escape To The Chateau.

Viewers have been enthralled by their challenging journey renovating and transforming the dilapidated 19th century Chateau-de- la-Motte-Husson in France into a stunning family home and wedding venue, where they live with their children, Arthur, six, and Dorothy, five.

Angel Strawbridge decorate your home

Their love for each other is as much a part of the show’s success as their love for the chateau. Dick, as cheery as he appears on screen, keeps a vigilant eye out for Angel’s pet dread – spiders – whenever they crop up.

“That’s so lovely but the only trouble is he often mistakes my false eye lashes for spiders and throws them away too,” says Angel, 41, giggling affectionately.

“But ours truly is a big, fat love story. It was love at first sight when Dick and I met. My heart literally was fluttering and pounding when I saw him. After our first date, we both knew we didn’t ever want to leave each other.

“Then we moved to France and I had another love-at-first-sight moment, when I saw a picture of the chateau online. I really trust my instinct and would have bought it without visiting, but Dick sensibly insisted we check it out first!”

That life-changing moment came in 2015, just after they’d traded in their two-bedroom flat in Essex to move to France – and has undoubtedly paid dividends. They paid just £280,000 for the 45-room property and endless grounds, but it’s now a hugely successful enterprise.

Angel Strawbridge decorate your home

They’re just about to embark on a nationwide UK tour (Feb 23-March 23) talking about their adventures – and Angel’s launched her own home accessories and fragrance range, The Chateau by Angel Strawbridge, for Sainsbury’s Home.

The pair seem perfectly matched in skills as well as outlook. A former Lieutenant Colonel in the British Army, engineer and chef Dick has a wealth of TV experience – appearing on Scrapheap Challenge, It’s Not Easy Being Green, and Celebrity MasterChef.

Angel is an entrepreneur, designer, author of The Vintage Tea Party book series, and a successful Dragons’ Den contestant.

“We’re both genuine grafters, who aren’t afraid of hard work,” says Angel. “Dick’s a brilliant troubleshooter and totally practical. His favourite expression is: ‘the harder you work, the luckier you get’.

“I have the view that if you just have the courage to give something a go, you can achieve anything you want, so we’re a good combination. We didn’t want to just dream about a fantastic life in France, we wanted to create it.”

Angel Strawbridge decorate your home

What does the chateau mean to you?

“We’ve given this our all but it’s been a real bonding experience too. It’s definitely our forever home. The work transforming it has felt relentless at times but so enjoyable.

“We’re both so proud of it – when we first moved here in the middle of winter there was no running water, heating or electricity, bats in the bedrooms and the only sanitation was the moat surrounding the property. You had to love the place, otherwise you’d have given up.

“For me, it’s a brilliant combination – a truly beautiful home, where we can raise our kids and run our weddings business. I’m a total wedding junkie and would carry on doing them even if I ever became a millionaire.”

How would you describe your style?

“Eclectic, whimsical and always vintage, because that’s the underpinning of everything I do. I’ve been a fan from five-years old and spent my pocket money collecting Fifties’ trinkets and tea sets from car-boot sales and second-hand shops, then moved onto clothes as a teenager.

“My mega collection of tea sets and British and royalist memorabilia is brilliant for curated displays. I can never resist a little bit of fantasy, like one wall decorated with 3D butterflies, and the kids’ playroom with its vintage helter-skelter.

“I’m always using foliage from our garden to bring nature into the rooms. In my book, you can create anything you want in your home – it’s a place to have fun, explore and be creative.”

Angel Strawbridge decorate your home

Where do you get your inspiration?

“I have a very open mind, partly because I’m dyslexic – I didn’t learn to read until I was 11. In a way, it was brilliant because I never had my brain swamped by academics, which allowed my creative side to flourish. I was always good at business though, I’m a qualified accountant, and the two skills are a great blend.

“Often, something inspires me when Dick and I go ‘thrifting’ – one of our favourites outings – when we browse French second-hand markets and antique shops for everything from linens, china and glasses through to taxidermy.

“The children love it too. Dorothy’s inherited my passion for tea sets. She’ll squeal with excitement and say, ‘Mum, you will love this!’, if she spots something.”

What’s your colour palette?

“When I was living in London, it was very much red, white and blue and a little bit of Victorian darkness. But now the house reflects a brighter kind of French Provincial style, with loads of ochre, dusty pink, lavender, and greens.

“I’ve used the same soft colour palette for my new Escape To The Chateau fragrance range for Sainsbury’s, and the scents are inspired by the plants and flowers that surround the house.

“I rely a lot on my sixth sense, my intuition, and I’ll just shut my eyes and think, ‘Will this look or that colour look right?’, and make my decision based on that. It usually works.”

Angel Strawbridge decorate your home

Do you and Dick agree on all the decor decisions?

“Dick pretty well allows me a free rein. We never fall out but we have passionate discussions – if you’re madly in love like we are, those are just fluff around the outside. We’re not arguing about values – just the little details.

“He has one rule that we’re not allowed to redo decorating while we’re still finishing the chateau. But I’m naughty and can’t resist adding new details and changes here and there while Dick’s away! It’s a bit of a joke between us.”

Angel Strawbridge decorate your home

How do you feel about this time in your life?

“I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. There’s never enough hours in the day – I often get up at 2am so I can get a head-start on work before the kids rampage into our room. This year, we both want to focus on a bit of ‘me’ time – the nearest I get is half an hour soaking in a bath!

“But it’s wonderful being together as a family – my parents live in a converted outhouse next door and are a great support. Although people may recognise us from the TV when we go back to London, in France we’re just ‘the people who do weddings and live in the chateau’.

“It’s wonderful watching the kids grow up here and they’re involved with everything we do, helping with the cooking and chores.

“You can have a really tough day but when they get home from school, we spend time with them, no computers or phones on, and it’s like a natural medicine. Any problems melt away.”

Angel Strawbridge decorate your home

What’s your ambition for the future?

“We are literally in this whirlwind of amazing-ness and it’s been such a journey, with ups and downs and huge highs. We’re always just trying to be better at doing what we do, and be a great example for the kids.

“But really we don’t look too far ahead, because what we’re really good at is enjoying every moment and never taking anything for granted.”

7 Ways to Add Value to your Home

add value to home

From ambitious building projects to timely tidying up, Luke Rix-Standing looks at how to boost the value of your property.

add value to home

Keen to add value to your home? Whether you’ve just moved into a decrepit bedsit, or have lived in a mansion for years of domestic bliss, there is still plenty of mileage to adding value to your property.

Doing so could help improve your own quality of life while you’re still in the property (if buyers find something appealing, odds are you might too), and keep you well placed on the property ladder, regardless of whether you’re currently looking to sell.

From five-year plans to on-the-day dust-ups, here’s seven ways to add value to your home…

add value to home

1. Loft conversion

Perhaps the gold standard of home improvements, loft conversions are not for the faint of heart, but can come with major domestic and financial rewards if done well. Adding square footage is a guaranteed value-boost, while the market fixation with number of bedrooms means that adding one can practically ensure a hefty payday when it comes to selling.

“The average loft conversion costs around £40,000,” says Chris Smith, regional director at estate agents Yopa, “but can increase your property value by an estimated 21%. They’re usually more of a long-term strategy, so you might not see all the money back if you sell immediately.”

Loft conversions are not cheap – and not suitable for every property of course – but they often perfectly prove that old adage, that you have to spend money to make money.

add value to home

2. Brush up on kerb appeal

First impressions matter, and putting your best foot forward is key to getting customers through the door. “We estimate that simply by improving your property’s ‘kerb appeal’, with a freshly painted exterior, clean windows, a tidy driveway and a new front door, can boost the value of a property by up to 10%,” says Smith. “The outside of your property is the first thing potential buyers will see, both when browsing online and in person at a viewing.”

On modern properties, buyers may probably expect double glazing – a savvy way to save on your energy bill in the meantime – along with up-to-date security and draught-proofing.

add value to home

3. Go for open-plan living

Open-plan living has been in vogue for some years now, and it’s clearly not going anywhere anytime soon. Most modern house-hunters are looking for spaces that are practical and adaptable, and it seems distinctly old-fashioned to cook your food in one room and then have to transport it to another to eat it.

Open-plan living spaces don’t have to be giant, or rectangular – you’re looking to create areas that are connected but distinct. Consider sliding doors or curtains that can pull back during the day, waist or shoulder-high partitions, or doorway-like arches that demarcate your space.

These are the golden rules of open-plan living: separation without isolation; continuity without uniformity.

add value to home

4. Refurbish the kitchen

A recent report by Norton Finance mapped out the most expensive home improvements performed by homeowners in their first year in a new property, and kitchen renovation ranked second only to furniture.

The centrepiece to so many homes, it’s no surprise that the kitchen commands so much attention both before and after a sale, and a well-designed room can easily pull in extra thousands.

“If your budget can only stretch to renovating one room, that room should be the kitchen,” says Smith. “You can cut costs by painting cupboard doors yourself and adding new, fashionable handles.”

add value to home

5. Add a conservatory

The stars have to align somewhat for conservatories to be sensible investments, but if the cap fits, they can enhance a property with ease. Aside from the necessary financial clout, homeowners will need to ensure proper planning permission, while those with smaller gardens might want to think twice before sacrificing valuable yard space.

Though often associated with summer, conservatories really earn their keep during the winter months, when they provide a portal to the outside world, free from the cold, damp and dark.

“The addition of a traditional British conservatory typically costs around £5,000,” says Smith, “and can increase the value of a property by around 10% when done well. To add real value, make sure your conservatory is fully glazed and blends in with the style of the rest of the property.”

add value to home

6. Redecorate

Consider any second-hand shop – regardless of what it sells – and consider the price difference between products marked ‘used’, and products marked ‘like new’. This one’s a no-brainer, and just a fresh lick of paint can make pokey rooms immediately more marketable.

Your house isn’t new – but it’s new to your potential buyers, and you’ll be doing your bank balance a favour if you can make it look that way from the moment they cross the threshold.

add value to home

7. Add an extra bathroom

As with bedrooms, the number of bathrooms appears like a ranking next to your property, and it’s a crucial integer in the valuation equation. Broom closet, pantry, cupboard under the stairs – a small downstairs loo doesn’t take much, and it can be a delightfully canny way to carve profit out of otherwise wasted space.

“You can add up to 5% value to your property by adding a second bathroom,” says Smith. “An average bathroom costs £4,500, and according to NAEA Propertymark, 70% of estate agents say an additional loo helps to sell a house.”

Valentine’s Day Decor: set the Scene at Home with these Heartfelt Touches

valentines day home decor

Planning a romantic night in this Valentine's Day? Gabrielle Fagan reveals her top picks for February 14.

valentines day home decor

Love can, of course, be shown with just a look, a touch or a few words… but woe betide if you don’t pull out all the stops on Valentine’s Day!

Face it, even the most unromantic soul will appreciate a small gesture that marks the event and shows you care – and if you’re courting, wooing or planning to propose, setting the scene is key.

So show your home some love with flirty, fun or down-right romantic touches that could reveal your feelings, celebrate what you share, or simply make rooms more ‘love-ly! Here’s our top picks…

Pick an ever-lasting bouquet

A bouquet of roses is a classic Valentine’s gift but those blooms soon wilt. Instead, spoil a wall with a rose-print wallpaper – digital techniques are now so good, they look freshly picked – which will transform a bedroom into a feminine, sensual boudoir.

Flirt with fun details

Keep it subtle and follow a soft pink theme – rather than full-on red – and use just a few pretty accessories to show you care. They’ll be perfect for that Insta-moment too!

valentines day home decor

Serve up sweet somethings

Avoid PDAs (Public Displays of Affection) by creating the perfect setting for that romantic meal at home. Follow a hearts and roses theme, with a red table runner, heart scatter, and napkin tied with ribbon adorned with a single rose.

Make a loving statement

Inject colour and passion into a room, with saucy accessories that could signal your intentions.

valentines day home decor

Romance the room

The colour red is traditionally associated with feelings of love, passion and desire, and a dramatic red roses backdrop will leave a partner in no doubt about your feelings.

A garland or a balloon (follow the ‘less is more’ rule here for best effect) could be just enough to set a heart fluttering.

Shine a loving light

If all those hearts and flowers make you cringe, make a witty, playful statement with funky, quirky accessories instead. Neon’s bang on trend, and a Neon Heart Light or ‘Hello Gorgeous’ Neon Palm Print (£36.95, unframed) from Audenza, could be just the thing to float your rebellious decor boat.

valentines day home decor

Look out for love

Turn away from the predictable and keep it subtle with monochrome. A window blind design that celebrates hearts could ensure a romantic outlook throughout the year.

Spell out your desire

If long declarations of love aren’t your style, keep it short and sweet with a few accessories that tell all.

Toast your love

Special occasions require a toast. Do it in style, with beautiful glasses that could become treasured mementos.

valentines day home decor

Let it glow

Candlelight’s not the only ingredient for an intimate setting. A string of heart-shaped lights, hung in a hallway or arranged on a mantel, could be a surprising but effective touch.

Tempt with a treat

Little gestures mean so much. Breakfast in bed will be extra special if it’s served on a tray with Valentine-themed tableware.

valentines day home decor
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