A new study has found that the average homeowner in The Three Counties is willing to spend as much as £13,000 on special features to give their home added ‘wow factor’.
When it comes to adding special features to home, residents are willing to spend big, with 86 percent agreeing that they would pay more money for added extras. A large garden (47 percent) and a great view (39 percent) are the features most likely to be splurged on, with homeowners valuing outdoor space more than any other region in the country.
Some are even willing to go to extreme lengths to ensure they get exactly what they want in their home, with one in 10 saying they would be willing to reduce all other household expenditure to be able to afford the upgrades they want. What’s more, over one in 20 admit to financially overstretching themselves in pursuit of the perfect home.
When considering moving to a new house, homeowners in The Three Counties are also happy to compromise on the overall size of a property in order to get the features they want. The study found that over three-quarters of residents would sacrifice square footage for certain features, with a large garden, an en suite, and a great view all considered more essential than space.
Top 10 Most Desirable Features in a Home
- Natural light
- En-suite bathroom
- Large garden
- Outdoor seating area
- A great view
- A quality front door
- Walk-in wardrobe
- Kitchen island
The survey, commissioned by Origin, the UK’s leading manufacturer of aluminum doors and windows, found that the most sought-after feature in homes in the East of England is ample amounts of natural light, with 60 percent of local homeowners agreeing that this is important to them. This is followed by storage (56 percent) and an en-suite bathroom (55 percent).
Interestingly, homeowners in the area are less likely to compromise on the location of their home than the size or price, suggesting that location remains king. With the cost of homes rising year on year, it is no surprise that more than a quarter of Brits (26 percent) believe they are unlikely to ever afford a home with all the features they look for, no matter what sacrifices they make. Almost the same number (24 percent) claimed it is impossible to have a home with all desired features as one can never be truly satisfied.
Commenting on the findings, Property Consultant Alex Goldstein, said: “The results prove that people are often willing to pay a premium for the features that really matter to them. Having worked in the property sector for nearly 20 years, it is no surprise to me that natural light and storage take the top spots. However, we are also seeing new and emerging trends, like en-suite bathrooms and outdoor spaces, becoming far more important.
“Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, people are spending even more time in their homes and they have had to become multi-purpose – suitable for work, rest, and play. During the lockdown, people have had time to consider what they really want and need; be it designated workspaces, more accommodation for the children or a bigger garden. Once they have decided, they go the extra mile to get it, as they know they will get good use out of it and it will make the additional time spent in their home more enjoyable. An Englishman’s home is his castle, and, in his mind, he deserves all the comforts that go with it.”
What’s more, people are optimistic about how much value features can add to a home, with a great view expected to add up to 10 percent to the value of a home and natural light and outdoor seating both considered worthy of an eight percent increase. It is, therefore, no surprise that 15 percent of British homeowners intend to boost the value of their home by adding some extra ‘wow’ factor.
New kitchen and bedroom showroom opens in Marlow
Kitchen manufacturer, Optiplan Kitchens, and bedroom manufacturer, Spaceslide, are hosting a special launch event to celebrate the opening of a new showroom in Marlow, which can be found in the converted 17th century cottage, Barmoor House, situated on Clay Lane.
Taking place on Saturday 25th January from 11am to 3pm, the launch event will provide guests with the opportunity to view the impressive range of kitchen and bedroom collections. In addition to being treated to a glass of fizz on arrival, at 11am and 2pm visitors will have the chance to listen to expert talks from the resident interior designer about the latest trends in interior design and gain an understanding of how these can be incorporated into the home.
Visitors to the event will also have access to exclusive offers which include an extra 5% all kitchen furniture and an extra 10% off all bedroom furniture.
Situated at the entrance of the popular Notcutts Garden Centre in the village of Booker, just 1.5 miles northwest of Marlow, the showroom is now positioned in the recently-renovated cottage which previously stood as a local florist and grocery store.
The ground floor of the cottage features five brand new Optiplan Kitchens’ collections, whilst upstairs is home to four new bedroom room sets displaying the latest fitted storage from Spaceslide. The displays showcase the vast array of sliding wardrobe door design options that can be created by varying the colour, finish, and size of the wardrobe doors.
Barry Beech, Showroom Manager, said, “Optiplan Kitchens has had a presence in Marlow for 12 years, during which we were located within the Notcutts Garden Centre. We made the decision to open our own space in the period cottage on the grounds of the garden centre in order to showcase both our brands to their full potential.
“We’re delighted to see the showroom come to life and we’d encourage anybody interested to pop down to our event to view the quality design and finish of both our kitchen and bedroom storage ranges.”
Optiplan Kitchens is one of the UK’s leading manufacturers and retailers, selling high quality, handcrafted kitchens from a network of 14 showrooms across the country.
Optiplan Kitchens Hemel Hempstead
Optiplan Kitchens Hemel Hempstead is located just 5-minutes’ drive from the town centre and 24 miles northwest of London. Extremely well-connected, it is easily accessible from a number of large towns including Hemel, Leverstock Green, Boxmoor, Harpenden, South Harrow, Welwyn Garden City, St Albans, Bovingdon, Berkhamsted, Amersham, Pinner, Stanmore, and Watford. Reach us by car in just 15 minutes from St. Albans and Watford, and less than 20 minutes from Luton.
Optiplan Kitchens Marlow
Optiplan Kitchens Marlow is a short 10-minute drive (3.5 miles) from High Wycombe. The showroom can be found on Clay Lane just off junction 4 of the M40. It was opened in 2008 and has been creating kitchens in High Wycombe and beyond ever since.
Watford homeowners are staying put
21% of Watford homeowners do not think they will ever move to a new house again according to new research from Audley Villages. When discussing their current homes, it was found that those in the town have lived in it for an average of 14.2 years, slightly lower than the national average of 16.2 years.
Research out today from retirement village provider, Mayfield Villages, shows 21% of homeowners in Watford do not think they will ever move to a new house again. When discussing their current homes, it was found that those in the town have lived in it for an average of 14.2 years, slightly lower than the national average of 16.2 years.
When asked about addressing the UK housing shortage, two in five (40%) of those living in Watford pointed to greater support for older people who want to downsize their property as a means of stimulating the housing market. The research also revealed strong support for a reduction in stamp duty and more suitable housing options for older people with 38% and 33% of those surveyed calling for this.
Although there is little current appetite to move home, over two in five (44%) of those in Watford have an unused room in their home suggesting a greater amount of living space than is necessary. Alongside this, well over half (56%) have a spare bedroom and on average they have used it just 8 times in the last six months.
With the number of over 75s in the UK likely to double in the next 30 years1, the issue of limited housing options is becoming an ever more pressing concern. Specialist housing, including retirement housing, currently only accommodates 5% of the over-65 population2 so supply will need to significantly increase to even maintain existing levels of provision as the population ages.
Nick Sanderson, CEO at Mayfield Watford, commented: “For those looking to move, their great motivation can also be their greatest barrier. They are desperately looking for the right property but they simply don’t exist or are currently filled, a fundamental flaw in the UK’s housing system and one that needs immediate attention.
Many in Watford are living in homes too big for them yet have no plans to move. Rather than solely focusing on first time buyers, policy makers should be encouraging downsizing while taking a crucial look at building high quality specialist housing which can meet the demands of the ageing population. This should come hand in hand with other initiatives like a reduction in stamp duty which would support those looking to move out of their family homes. Only with a multi-pronged approach will we be able to solve the housing crisis, and the government need to start by looking at our ever-increasing ageing population and their needs.”
Five key questions to ask your interior designer
Attempting something for the first time can be overwhelming and hiring an Interior Designer is no exception. Will your visions will align? Are they qualified professionals? How long will the project take to complete? And most importantly; what is billable?
Identifying what a client and Interior Designer partnership is going to look like should always be considered at the very beginning. Most Interior Design studios will earmark a certain amount of consultation time without charges before design fees commence.
Interior Designers are experienced professionals who have met with a variety clients and so of course will have their own pre-prepared questions as without detailed thought before an initial consultation clients could feel ‘put on the spot’ and have inaccurate or unrealistic expectations.
I’ve put together five key questions to ask any Interior Designer as well as five important questions to ask yourself – for clarity and peace of mind from the very beginning of the process!
1. HOW DO I KNOW THAT YOU ARE A PROFESSIONAL INTERIOR DESIGN SERVICE?
There is a difference between hiring an Interior Designer to that of an Interior Decorator – Interior Designers are technically skilled, experienced and formally trained in executing bespoke structural visions. All good Interior Design practices will be able to demonstrate skill, knowledge and experience through a portfolio of work.
If you are presented anything that you don’t understand, technical drawings for example, ask the designer to explain these to you – this will provide you with an even better understanding of both the designers technical knowledge and experience.
2. DO YOU HAVE A PREDEFINED DESIGN STYLE OR ARE YOU ABLE TO DESIGN BASED ON MY AESTHETIC ASPIRATIONS?
Some clients seek a particular Interior Designers services as way of achieving a particular predefined style – which in most cases the designer is well known for, whilst others prefer to work with a designer as a means to finding their own unique aesthetic.
A reputable designer will be able offer both, catering to the individual client their own vision through various principles. At The White House we consider many factors when designing a space; with an emphasis on textiles, colour, function & ambience, we’ve developed a reputation for capturing the nuances of our clients needs and aspirations.
3. ARE YOU ABLE TO WORK TO MY BUDGET, WHICH IS…
It is extremely important to approach design budgets with a realistic and transparent approach. Experienced designers are able to design spaces which meet budget requirements and will provide honest feedback from the beginning if a budget doesn’t align with the clients aspirations.
An Interior Designer won’t be able to provide an exact figure for the project as a whole from the very beginning as it takes time to develop a design and to identify the specific associated costs. They will however be able to explain what is billable such as design fees, admin and project management as well as how they invoice and purchasing procedures.
4. HOW DOES YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN PROCESS WORK?
Every interior design studio will have their own processes and structure and will be able to explain this in advance, clearly and concisely. Interior design is a process and takes time, anyone promising short time scales for deliveries should be approached with caution – it’s likely that the work produced will not be thorough.
Good designers will be working with multiple clients in tandem and producing works catered to each individual client, managed effectively with specific studio time allocated to each client.
5. HOW MUCH INVOLVEMENT IS REQUIRED FROM ME?
The purpose of paying for an Interior Designer is to outsource the time, knowledge and skills required to create a truly tailored, beautiful and functional space so make the most of the opportunity.
Your Interior Designer should be happy to do everything possible for you, whilst encouraging any feedback and thoughts at key stages during the design process – to ensure their vision aligns with the project brief. As a client it is important to make time for meetings with your designer and to eliminate any distractions so that honest and thoughtful feedback can be used to progress designs in a timely manner.