Posts filed under ‘Interiors’

COMPETITION: Win tickets to The Homebuilding Show with celebrity interior designer Julia Kendell

DIY SOS and 60 Minute Makeover interior designer Julia Kendell has revealed her worse TV experience ahead of this weekend’s London Homebuilding & Renovating and Home Improvement Show.

Julia Kendell 2

On one of the early editions of 60 Minute Makeover, Kendell tells Zoopla she used a quick drying floor paint that refused to dry during the show’s half an hour lunch break.

“I tested it at home before the show and the paint seemed to dry very quickly. But it didn’t work on the day and the floor was sopping wet when the furniture was brought into the room.

“It meant the workers had to tie plastic bags on their feet when they went into the room. It was an absolutely chaotic mess, but it was all filmed and made for great TV.

“The decorators stayed afterwards, of course, to do the floor properly,” she added.

Julia Kendell 1Kendell is one of a host of celebrity experts at this weekend’s London Homebuilding & Renovating and Home Improvement Show, which is running at London’s Olympia from September 26 to September 28.

She explained: ” If you are barking on any kind of project then this is the show for you. It is all very well watching how to do things online, but here you get to touch and feel things.”

Other experts include Piers Taylor, co-presenter of the BBC2 hit series The House that 100K Built, Charlie Luxton from More 4’s Building the dream, Matt James from ITV’s Love Your Garden and Michael Holmes, editor-in-chief of Homebuilding & Renovating magazine.

The show features more than 300 exhibitors, free daily seminars and masterclasses and bespoke advice from 11 property experts. Topics that will be covered include eco living, architectural design, interior design, financial and planning permission issues.

To win a pair of tickets to the show, let’s us know why you’d like to attend in the comments section at the bottom of this article and the winner will be emailed this Thursday.

Renovate show

September 23, 2014 at 11:43 AM Leave a comment

COMPETITION: House makeover unveiled via Greg Toon of ‘Potential etc…’

If you’re looking to sell your property, but need a helping hand to show buyers its potential, architect Greg Toon has the solution. He is offering the winner of a monthly Zoopla competition the chance of a property makeover. Here, he unveils the results of the first competition – the makeover of a three bedroom cottage in Scunthorpe.

The before and after pictures…

07.07.14 Greg 1      14.07.14 Greg

  • This design study aims to improve the layout of the existing accommodation to demonstrate the flexibility of the property and show how it could be adapted for a new owner’s needs.
  • The existing house has three bedrooms, but the third bedroom is located on the ground floor, adjacent to the rear garden. Most buyers would normally prefer the living areas to be adjacent to the rear garden so that they can enjoy the views and get access to the outdoor space by opening up the doors.
  • The proposed layout moves the third bedroom to the front of the house, freeing-up the rear room for a living space. Optionally, and as shown in the plans and artistic impression, the rear room could be increased in size to provide a larger living area. A vaulted ceiling with exposed trusses and skylights would ensure it is a dramatic space. At the end of this newly created living area, doors open to a West-facing patio area. The patio can be screened from the driveway with a box hedge or dwarf wall planter.

 If you would like the chance to win a house makeover for the home you’re selling, send your name and Zoopla property listing to Zoopla’s website editor Myra Butterworth at

  • By inserting a beam and removing a section of wall, the kitchen can be extended in size, taking some of the space from the generous existing hallway. Rooflights in the kitchen roof slope would bring daylight into the deeper space. The dining room could be placed in the front room and left open to the kitchen. Off the kitchen, a utility/boot room can be created. Being near the garage, this could act as the secondary entrance to the house and is a way of removing noisy laundry facilities from the more open-plan family kitchen.
  • The existing utility can be removed to give a more conventional front entrance, complete with coat storage.
  • Upstairs, an inexpensive alteration can be made to form an en-suite for a master bedroom. Optionally, a separate W.C. could be installed off the landing.
  • Externally, the house can be easily painted (or even rendered) to brighten it up.
  • The double garage has potential to be converted to provide good-sized home office accommodation, either within the mezzanine or using half of the garage that faces the garden.

07.07.14 Greg 3


  • If the existing kitchen and bathroom wing was built along with the rest of the house, then the proposed extension to the rear room would fall under permitted development as it projects less than 4m from the rear wall.
  • The hipped roof to extended rear room will keep the height down so as to reduce the impact on the neighbouring property.
  • In theory, planning permission is required for the proposed changes to the rear windows and for any new windows added. It should not be difficult to attain planning as there are no genuine overlooking concerns.


  • A beam would be required to support the removed section of wall needed to expand the kitchen area. Further local support beams may be required dependent on assessment by an engineer.
  • If the rear room is extended, the current structure could be partly re-used (subject to investigation). This would save costs.
  • Additional structure would be simple strip foundations, cavity walls and  beamed trusses with rod ties. The wide rear window or bi-fold door opening will need a beam above. Lintels could be used elsewhere.
  • A structural engineer should be appointed to assess the implications.

Outline costs

  • Internal re-configurations (inc. new kitchen) £25,000
  • Extended rear room £20,000

Greg Toon photoGreg Toon is the founder of Potential etc…, an architectural design company that specializes in illustrating the potential of homes for sellers, buyers and owners.

Visit if you would like to commission Greg to prepare a full design scheme for your property.

07.07.14 Greg 4

July 11, 2014 at 10:00 AM Leave a comment

COMPETITION: Win illustration makeover to help sell your home

You might have seen architectural designer Greg Toon from Potential etc… tackle readers’problem homes in his regular column for The Sunday Times Home section. Well, now he has joined Zoopla to help you sell your home. Every month, one home seller will win a free design scheme from Greg and it will be featured here for all prospective buyers to see.

Greg Toon photo

To be in with a chance of winning a design scheme by Greg Toon, please send a link to your property that you are selling on Zoopla to website editor 

Greg Toon has 18 years experience in the architecture business, working in London practices on residential and commercial projects. His extensive experience includes designing everything from warehouse conversions and hi-end offices, to restaurants, social housing and millionaires’ mansions.

12.06.14 Greg 1In 2012, he moved out of London with his family and set up Potential etc… after renovating their tired looking 1960s home. The before and after photos below show the transformation of the house that many of his friends thought he was mad to buy.

12.06.14 Greg 3     12.06.14 Greg 4

Realising that some people find it hard to look beyond dodgy wallpaper or awkward room layouts, Greg created a unique service, providing design schemes for sellers – instant make-overs in the form of artistic perspective sketches and proposed floor plans – to illustrate their property’s potential and help them to sell it.

The concept is that buyers are investing in the vision for the home rather than just the property as it stands. By doing this, the property is opened up to a wider audience. Properties with Greg’s design schemes have sold faster and for more money, something that no lick of paint or expensive kitchen refit can guarantee.

12.06.14 Greg 2

A. A typical artistic sketch and proposed floorplan showing Greg’s design for a reconfigured kitchen area, now providing a family kitchen, dining and courtyard within a side return

June 13, 2014 at 7:00 AM Leave a comment

House staging tips – making every room have a purpose

Have you been to view a house recently? Were you walked into a kitchen and told – somewhat unnecessarily – ‘this is the kitchen’? It is common practice for those showing people houses to announce the title of each room as it is entered, writes house staging expert Anna Hart. But when showing buyers a house, it is usually best to keep quiet and let the room speak for itself.

09.06.14 Hart 2

It is best to make it as obvious as possible to buyers what the purpose or identity of each room is – in your photographs, your floorplan, and when they visit the house for a viewing. This is especially important if your house has more than four bedrooms, or its floor plan is unusual in any way.

When we search for a new house there are a few basic parameters that we type into Zoopla to narrow down the available options so the search only returns those we’re likely to be interested in. Location, price and number of bedrooms are the three major criteria, and number of bedrooms is the common way to judge how large a house is.

While there are dozens of uses for a bedroom other than for sleeping, when you’re selling, my rule is that you’re best to give buyers what they will feel comfortable with, what they expect, and what they can understand.

09.06.14 Hart 3 09.06.14 Hart 4

That means if you’re selling a house that is listed or described as having a living room, dining room and four bedrooms, then you need to show your buyers a living room, a dining room and four bedrooms – not a living room, an office, two bedrooms, a gym and a storage room.

Many people find it difficult to imagine things any other way than how you present them. So if they’re looking at photos expecting to see four bedrooms and they only see two, the first thing they have to do is work out which of the other photos are the dining room and the missing two bedrooms. This makes extra work for buyers, and that’s never a good idea if you want to wow them and keep them happy. You want to tick their criteria boxes immediately, not make them work.

Anna’s top 5 tips for presenting easily identifiable rooms:

  1. property_viewingIf a room counts as one of your advertised bedrooms, put an appropriately sized bed in it. It means double beds for double rooms, avoid king size unless it really is large enough to take it, and use single beds for smaller rooms.
  2. If you’ve got a downstairs room that’s not a kitchen, utility room or lounge, then put a dining table and chairs in it and call it the dining room.
  3. Try to define and present a positive use for extra rooms, such as rooms upstairs that are not listed as bedrooms, or additional living spaces downstairs. Office, studio or library are far more attractive than ‘dumping grounds’ or storage areas.
  4. Always have a floor plan on your internet listing, and make sure the room names match up with the image you’re presenting in the photos for each room.
  5. Ask your estate agent to name each photo on your internet listing appropriately, such as using the terms ‘master bedroom’, ‘family bathroom’ and ‘en-suite’.


09.06.14 Hart

This four bedroom semi-detached house in York has room names on the photographs, which is especially useful in pictures eight and nine where they identify the ground floor bedroom and shower room. The third bedroom is named but has no bed in and so putting a single bed in this room would help buyers be confident that a bed would actually fit into this small room (provided of course that a bed will fit). The floor plan is useful as well, but would be even more helpful if the ground floor bedroom was named as such to match the photographs, instead of simply ‘reception room’.

03.01.13 Anna photoAnna Hart is an expert in staging homes for sale, working with house sellers to maximise their chances of selling as quickly and as profitably as possible. Anna’s ebook ‘How To Sell Your House For Top Price, Fast‘ brings her practical and proven house sale preparation strategy to sellers across Britain, and there’s a special offer on her books for Zoopla blog readers here.



June 9, 2014 at 11:10 AM Leave a comment

What does your perfect pancake kitchen look like? Ten of the best

From Nigella Lawson to Jamie Oliver and Michel Roux, there is a plethora of perfect pancake recipes available ahead of this evening’s Shrove Tuesday celebrations. But do you have the perfect kitchen in which to prepare the mix of eggs, milk and flour? Zoopla highlights 10 of the best kitchens in properties currently for sale.


1. Seven bedroom detached house in Somerset for £8m

03.03.14 Kitchen 1

2. Five bedroom detached house in Hertfordshire for £1,895,000

03.03.14 Kitchen 4

3. Four bedroom detached house in Chulmleigh for overs over £500,000 (plenty of room for tossing pancakes)

03.03.14 Kitchen 3

4. Five bedroom detached house in Trevone Bay for £850,000

03.03.14 Kitchen 2

5. Seven bedroom property in Halifax for £1,290,000

03.03.14 Kitchen 5

6. Six bedroom detached house in Surrey for £10,950,000

03.03.14 Kitchen 6

7. Three bedroom detached house in Kent for £695,000

03.03.14 Kitchen 7

8. Five bedroom detached house in Kensington for £11m

03.03.14 Kitchen 8

9. Five bedroom detached house in Bristol for £1,995,000

03.03.14 Kitchen 9

10. Six bedroom terrace in London’s Eaton Square for £34m

03.03.14 Kitchen 10

March 4, 2014 at 8:00 AM Leave a comment

Older Posts

Zoopla Mobile & Tablet Apps

Grab the App

Search over 1 million properties for sale or to rent on our site from more than 18,000 agents and developers, including all of the UK's leading names.

Posts delivered hot and fresh to your inbox. Signup for free to subscribe, (No spam... ever) and join over 16,000 others.

Enter your email address below:

Recent Posts

Follow Zoopla


About the Zoopla blog

The Zoopla property blog is maintained and edited by the Web Content Editor @ Zoopla Property Group Ltd Myra Butterworth.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 602 other followers

%d bloggers like this: