When buying properties, my criteria for the ‘finished product’ has always included the following three things: off road parking, south facing garden and a social kitchen.
We can’t change a property’s orientation so I make an effort to source properties with a south facing garden and the potential for creating the other two points. I’ve found this to be a great way of adding value to a property and also makes selling them on after completion of the works as easy for myself as possible.
There are of course lots of other things to consider like the area and what schools and other amenities are accessible, but once you’ve chosen your preferred area then it’s hard to go wrong if you tick off those three items. Check out the rest of the properties on the street too, you don’t want to overdo it and end up trying to sell the most expensive house on the street.
It seems like our desire for the social kitchen is now greater than ever with 80% of build projects we take on for clients involving the creation of an open plan living area with either bi-folding or sliding doors being a huge priority. The expanse of glass and the ability to open our rooms and incorporate the indoors with the outdoors is satisfying our cravings for space and openness in our homes.
During the height of the lockdown and the great weather we had, our sliding doors were rarely closed during the day and the rest of the house almost became surplus to requirement as we enjoyed soaking up the sunshine both in the house and garden. Lunch and toys were frequently brought outside which proved the theory that with the doors opened up, the garden really was an extension of our living space.
We have also jumped on the bandwagon of AstroTurf. We fitted it during lockdown and I can’t praise it enough and dare I say it, it’s actually more beneficial when the weather isn’t so great! The kids and the dogs can go out regardless of the weather and the worst that happens is they get a little wet, but that's it… no more muddy paws!
I’m not sure if I just hadn’t been listening before but it was only after we fitted the AstroTurf that I heard people commenting on how warm it can get from the sun. During the month of May we had continuous temperatures in the mid to late 20s and I can confirm that the AstroTurf did get really warm - actually to the point of it being slightly uncomfortable. We discovered that with a small sprinkling of water from the hose, it kept the temperature down, but it wasn’t like lying on the cool grass of a normal garden or park.
When weighing up the fact that I no longer need to mow the lawn, that it never looks untidy and that the dogs aren’t going to destroy it over the winter, I think its heat retaining quality is far from a reason to be put off, and with a busy lifestyle I am not missing the maintenance.
Now when I get home in the evening I can relax and enjoy a G&T in the garden, guilt free and not at the expense of mowing the lawn!
Builder / Developer / Investor
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