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5 tips to Upsize your Downsized home with Marianne Shillingford

July 13, 2016

Downsizing: you’re thinking of it, you’ve done it but how can you maximise your minimal space?

I spoke to Marianne Shillingford from Dulux about this – she has so much experience and love of colour and she explained to me that you can trick the eye and senses and make interiors feel more spacious and welcoming. I love colour but when it comes to decorating I’m so unadventurous- I keep reaching for the magnolia…everywhere! Marianne however, has some brilliant tips and insight to share with us, so here they are

                   5…4…3…2..1

Marianne Shillingford Creative Director of Dulux and Design Director of the Dulux Design Service

Marianne Shillingford Creative Director of Dulux and Design Director of the Dulux Design Service

Tip 1: Creating a guest room/ home office combo

Whilst it may seem difficult to catch the balance between creating a productive home office and cosy guest bedroom it is important to remember that both spaces should encourage serenity.


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Go with the Flow …busting 6 myths about stairlifts

May 24, 2016
Buildmumahouse stairlist stannah stairlift jola piesakowska

There is a load of old twaddle about stairlifts. There are more jokes about stairlifts than any other mobility aid. People love ’em or hate ’em and some people can’t use their upstairs without ’em.

Stairlifts can mean that people can stay living in their home and don’t have to move so that they can reach their bedrooms easily. I installed a stairlift in my mum’s house and built a wider staircase to give it a wide berth, but if you are adapting a home and your staircase is narrow, or has a turn or two in it, there is a stairlift that solves that problem. The Flow 2. I checked it out at the Naidex show so, let’s bust some myths about stairlifts

Myth 1 My walls aren’t strong enough to support a stairlift.

You know what, the trackflow2 stairlift detail that a stairlift rides on is attached to the stairs, the design is safer this way because all the weight is sent downwards. Plus, the brackets that hold the rail aren’t attached to every step and that’s why installation can be done in a few hours.

 

Myth 2 If I leave something on the stairs the stairlift will crash into it and cause an accident.

Stairlifts move slowly and smoothly and modern sensors work to stop the chair well before you get too close to that handbag that someone left half-way up the stairs… And they won’t run your cat over either.

Myth 3 My stairs are too narrow I’ll hit my knees …and my stairs are too steep.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 20.37.42

Have a look at the Flow 2 stairlift, it has a swivelling and levelling motion that means that when the seat rides up or down at an angle it rotates and stays level: making steep and narrow stairs a doddle.

 

 

 

 

Myth 4  My legs are too long and my feet will drag on the stairs, my wife’s a lot short than me.

Sorry, the stairlift chairs are easily and fully adjustable.

Myth 5 It’s easy to be thrown off it

All stairlifts comScreen Shot 2016-05-24 at 20.36.52e with seat belts and the Flow 2  has an extra feature – the armrests are curved so that they wrap around you, you’re are almost cradled in the arms of your chair.

 

Myth 6 The chairs are ugly.

I think the rail on the Flow2 is very nicely designed but when it comes to the seat..Yup I agree. Go for the neutral colour upholstery and it won’t offend.

 

If you aren’t sure about stairlifts and would like some more information about them, drop me an email buildmumahouse@gmail.com. Let’s talk.

 

 

How to make cooking easier and more enjoyable at any age – 5 design features that Howdens Inclusive kitchens deliver on

May 18, 2016

Howdens, the best kept secret in kitchens. If you’re not a builder with an account with them this is how it will stay. You won’t find out that this is a company with a fantastic attitude to delivering well thought out kitchen options across the full range of their designs and to suit your budget.

If your builder doesn’t have an account with them, you won’t find out that when they design a kitchen for you its well designed, delivered on time and if there are any problems they get sorted out straight away. You won’t know that when you, the client, go into Howdens they are really friendly and sort out your question quickly.

So… I’m unlocking the Big Secret for you – they make Inclusive kitchens. Really good ones. In all colours, finishes and prices. I couldn’t get my hands on these until I went to Naidex the UK’s largest disability, rehabilitation and homecare event … and these are the top 5 secrets that I’m sharing with you.

1. Accessible Wall Cupboards

This is my favourite secret, wall cupboards with shelves that come down to you. I took these pictures at Naidex, you can see that if you are in a wheelchair this makes your stuff easy to reach- but this is just as important for anyone who is elderly and can’t reach up to wall cupboards or in fact anyone who finds a step stool a bit precarious.

Standard pull-down shelf 2 wire base baskets with a smooth, adjustable operating piston mechanism. Compatible with 600mm wall cabinets.

Standard pull-down shelf 2 wire base baskets with a smooth, adjustable operating piston mechanism. Compatible with 600mm wall cabinets.

2. Adjustable base unit height.

There are two plinth heights with the Inclusive option, depending, on your needs you can have all of your kitchen lower or higher for easy access.

You can sit with your feet under the hob and you can option to make this adjustable.

You can sit at the hob and cook with ease.

 

The really fantastic features in the base units, though, is the sink and hob. With both of these you can sit down either on a stool or in a wheelchair, put your knees under the unit and get stuck in with the cooking (or peeling the spuds over the sink). Both have an option to be raised or lowered with the flick of a switch- which is good if your family has a range of needs and ages.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Easy to use appliances.

Howdens supply their own appliances range called Lamona, as well as AEG, Neff and Bosch. It’s the easy to reach ovens that really understand what people need. The side opening Lamona oven is ideal for easy access for anyone in a wheelchair, support or elderly. Read my review of electric ovens for more information. Match this oven with the Inclusive tower unit and you can install it at a lower height than usual, and add a telescopic shelf beneath the oven. This shelf is so useful for that hot or heavy dish coming out of the oven – ideal for safe use. Just wish the oven came without a clock. How many carers get the call to go over to reset the oven clock?

And the cooking extractor with a remote control. Simply Brilliant.

4. Door Handles

The kitchens on display at Naidex had integrated door handles. This really isn’t much good for anyone elderly, with a weakend grip or restricted movement in their hands. A ‘D’ handle is ideal, a comfortable shaped door handle for opening drawers and cupboards. Howdens do a good range of handles and the good thing is that the Integrated features can be added to any kitchen in their ranges. But do shop around – I found some lovely well designed, easy to use, well priced ones in Ikea.

5. Good range of bright worktops.

Elderly people or anyone with a poor eyesight will benefit from the definition that a light and bright kitchen worktop will give. I was delighted to see that Howdens have a lot of choice across all the price points and again they seem to have lots in stock with short delivery lead times.

So.. that’s the five big Howden secrets that will help you plan a kitchen for yourself or for an elderly parent, or for someone who wants to remain independent and continue to enjoy cooking and entertaining. You will also find a good list of tips and hints on the Which? website but have a look at my Pinterest boards for more inspiration for a kitchen that addresses mobility issues and is on trend.

 

 

 

 

 

Why move house when you can adapt your space? 5 reasons to go prebuilt.

May 3, 2016

Why move when you can adapt? Young families are opening up their attics or digging out basements so that they can have more space without moving home. Now ‘older’ families with reduced mobility issues are looking at creating more downstairs ground level space so that they can stay in the same home where the kids grew up and the grandchildren like to visit.

I’ve been looking at home living modules as a solution to create single level living and wheelchair accessible home extensions. These are house extensions designed to your specifications and choice of décor, but with a huge difference – they are built, wired, decorated, plumbed and tested off site.  C3S is one such company, based in West Yorkshire, they build the entire extension as a module in their factory, using a team of highly qualified and experienced professionals. These guys won’t leave you with an extension that isn’t quite finished or a wetroom that leaks.

5 reasons to consider a prebuilt extension:

 

1. Disruption to your life is minimal:

the foundations are dug in your garden and then the entire unit is delivered by lorry and craned into position. In a matter of days it’s ready for use, fully connected and commissioned.

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Watch the delivery of this extension on You Tube!

 

2. Customise it.

A Mira shower is included in the standard specification but you can choose exactly what fittings you prefer. Have fun and get exactly what you want and need. Whether you go for the modern clean lines of the HEWI bathroom range,

HEWI basin with integrated grab rails and lots of surface area surrounding it

or a touch of luxury with easy to use taps.

So many beautiful lever taps to choose from @cphartbathrooms #design #agespanning #house spoilt for choice @buildmumahouse

So many beautiful lever taps to choose from @cphartbathrooms

 

From the positioning of electrical sockets, to carpets and colour schemes, the choice is yours. If like me you’re a bit nervous about using colour in your new bedroom, Marianne Shillingford Creative Director of Dulux suggests downloading the free Dulux Visualiser App on to your smartphone or tablet to get inspired. With this super easy app, take a photo of one of your favourite things and sample the colour using your phone or tablet’s camera. The app uses virtual reality to show you how that colour would look on your walls. Click on this link, try the app – it’s a lot of fun!

3. They’ve done it before.

The C3S team includes a project manager to oversee the entire job, the team can draw up the plans, the quote and even sort out the planning permissions. Their units are Local Authority Building Control England and Wales (LABC) approved and if you go the website they have details and assessments

Our solution is fully compliant with current building regulations and is certified under the Local Authority Building control (LABC) approval scheme
Mark Willis – Health, Safety, Environment & Quality, C3S.

4. It won’t break the bank

If you have wondered how much these basement extensions are costing your neighbours, the price, according to Back to Basement   is £2,200-£3,000 per sq m if new basement has to be dug out Source: Real Homes

An en-suite bedroom  modular unit from C3S includes the standard fixtures and fittings: walk in shower, grab rails, tiling painting, Altro flooring, starts at £23,000. In my calculations that’s about £1,160 per square metre including module construction, fit out, electrics and plumbing but not including groundworks, delivery or installation.

Altro flooring

Altro Flooring can be fitted to curve up the walls -ideal in a wetroom

Running costs of these prebuilt units are affordable too, fully insulated and energy efficient C3S fit UPVC A rated doors and windows.

5. No Need to Move

AND FINALLY, The Best Reason: You stay in your own home with your friends, neighbours, your life and memories around you …. with a new found freedom and comfort.

For more bathroom and bedroom decoration inspiration read my blog posts about HEWI bathrooms and Marianne Shillingford’s Dulux Colour space-creating tips and colour trends.

Then pop over Buildmumahouse PInterest to look at some fantastic bathroom ideas that address mobility issues and are on trend.

 

 

 

 

Is this the most luxurious sleep ever?

April 5, 2016

Getting a good night’s sleep is pretty high up on my list of ‘must haves’, having a luxurious night’s sleep is a dream.

The usual gripes are that the bed is too soft, too hard to lumpy but there are lots of other factors, your other half is too hot, too cold, gets up at night, needs a higher/lower bed than you, tosses and turns until the early hours…. Along with the downsizing and age proof living decisions comes the thorny subject of the new bed – couples with different needs considering ‘investing’ in single beds…

I’ve taken a look at beds that can be for singles or doubles that offer a luxurious night’s rest and solve a lot of the demands that all of us have at night time – or at other times; taking a nap or watching tv or reading a good book. Beds that can be raised with no effort to lift and support your legs, to lift your head and shoulders, to sit you up, beds that can be raised up so that getting out of bed is easier, bed frames that has a light that gently shines to help your way at night. All without disturbing your other half. Or as a single bed that genuinely suits you.

I’m talking well sprung mattress plus a mechanised bed frame, and it doesn’t get classier than Treca Interiors. I had a look at their beds and I was  delighted that so many physical (and emotional needs) were addressed and with a serious eye on high quality finish, smooth mechanisms, beautiful design and luxury finishes.

Treca Interiors Platinum Supercad bed base

 

50 years ago,Treca Interiors Paris developed their first articulated bed base called the CAD: Couché, Assis, Détendu : sleep, sit, relax. Now their range includes the Supercad with a travelling base that lifts your head and also slides back to close the gap between the headboard, and also the Trecaflex M5 that has suspension slats and pocket springs for added comfort and support beneath the mattress.

The Supercad is the top of the Treca Interiors range, it has four silent motors that smoothly move five independent sleeping surfaces. Everything is made for comfort and reliability: a “travelling” system slides the the frame and enables you to remain near to the headboard when your head and upper body are raised in the reclining position.

All of this is controlled by a radio remote control rather than a control attached to the bed.  Using the control you can adjust the bed frame so that you can find your ideal position and if you get muddled up with all that, don’t worry your favourite three can be memorised in the control. I love that you could also programme it to control other electrical appliances such as your tv and even your bedroom lights – fewer remote controls on your bedside table to rummage through.

Motorised Bed Lift

Motorised Bed Lift

The Supercad has three useful extras that are also remote controlled. Firstly, there is a heating pad that can be placed on the mattress at your legs. As with everything that they do Treca produce these using high tech heating elements and finish it in luxurious fabrics.

Secondly, there are motorised bed legs that can be added to the adjustable bed frame and allow either mattress to be lifted and lowered using the remote control. This is a real help in the mornings to get out of bed, or lift the bed up to make getting into bed easier for you. I like this feature because it means that once you are in bed, your half can be lowered to match your other half’s.

And thirdly, there is the ingenious ‘why I didn’t I think of that’ feature: soft downlights on the edge of the bed that shine down to the floor, lighting up your path in the night as you walk past the bed – no need to put the bedroom lights on and you won’t disturb your partner’s night.

All of this plush upholstery and high quality engineering is topped off with a range of specialist mattresses designed to use with the Supercad bed and made from the finest materials, put together with traditional craftsmanship. Silk, Horsehair, Alpaca….

material beds

Put together by hand….

making the mattress

cross section

 

and just when you thought it couldn’t get any more luxurious, embroidered details and all finished with a customised topper…

TIP_OE_Handle_Paris-Istanbul

 

Treca Supercad combine high quality engineering and luxury hand crafted mattresses to provide supreme comfort. Their styling, attention to detail and flexibility make you realise that these beds are not only for the elderly or the infirm but are genuinely luxury age proof items for any age. Adjustable beds are ideal for resting, relaxing and sleeping well and for couples, genuinely accommodates both sets of needs. If you are planning to downsize, this could be your new bedroom splurge! Have a look at the video:

 

The Easy Way to Unlock your Front Door from the Inside

January 23, 2016

I had a lot of fun choosing the front door. Hours of late night pinning on Pinterest https://uk.pinterest.com/Buildmumahouse/buildmumahouse-front-door/  ..digging around looking at doors – I decided to keep it modern, solid, simple panels and oak. It was this Pinterest board that set the look of the rest of the house; the internal doors, oak parquet floor and the oak kitchen.

But when it came to the door locks, well…it began to look like I was looking for the impossible- a latch and a deadlock that could be opened and also locked easily from the inside.

I needed the locks, a latch and a mortice deadlock, to be:

  • A latch that is easy to open from the inside for a weak grip and arthritic hands
  • A deadlock that locks from the inside WITHOUT a key and with a large, smooth action lever
  • Key turning that has a smooth, positive action, easy for a weak grip
  • Secure and solid
  • Chrome (it looked modern and bright  on Pinterest boards)

I began to investigate around and what I read began to make me sad. There were references to people who found opening the latch difficult and so they didn’t go out much. Stories of people not locking their front door properly, leaving it open but on the chain so that they could answer the door easily. I read stories of how some people were helped by innovative ways of extending the latch. These guys at remap who design and custom-make equipment to help with accessibility issues, made a door latch extension with a screwdriver:

A lady with arthritis that restricts hand movement asked if we could help her get out of her house. The problem was that she found it difficult to operate the small latch on the front door. Remap engineers looked at the problem and provided a simple solution: they made the latch bigger by grafting on a screwdriver handle! The client now gets out more.

(c) http://www.remap-southbucks.org.uk

(c) http://www.remap-southbucks.org.uk

and then there are websites with all sorts of innovations, such as the

The Doornuts Door Knob Turners are great for arthritis, MS, Carpal Tunnel, recovery from stroke or surgery, weak hands, or fingers. As an arthritis product, the door knob turner allows the doorknob to be turned without the use of the hand. Door opener fits any size doorknob and installs in 1 second, no tools needed. Openers and enlargers make a door easy for anyone to open.

I was determined to find a latch and deadlock that solved the problem and looked smart. I just didn’t want to install something that needed me to start going all Blue Peter.

Back to Google and Pinterest and a lot of latches with tiny handles and loads of deadlocks that need to be locked internally with a key. I did find a few Yale latches that I though might be ok but the deadlock became my bugbear, I started to fret about lost keys, getting locked in and that keys can be difficult to turn in a hurry.

And then I found the easy way to unlock a front door from the inside (by the way I had also ruled out a keypad lock) : the Banham Rim Deadbolt and their Thumbturn deadlock.

The latch handle is large and easy to grip it can be pulled forward with a flattened hand. I was delighted with the deadlock mechanism, it’s designed so that an internal lever that is easy to turn and its not fiddly, flips to lock the deadbolt.

…and all in chrome finish – perfect!

The next few steps weren’t as easy as they should be, firstly I couldn’t find a supplier so I rang the London office. On the phone I found it difficult  to get a quote, get a booking and for Banham to get the address right. But, I persevered and because I had done my research I got the locks that I wanted. The  Banham engineer who did the installation was brilliant. He positioned the locks so that they would be easy to reach, not too high, not too low.  That bit was EASY and I’m very pleased with the result. There is an added bonus, Banham can set the locks up so that both can be unlocked by the one key. Have you seen the size of the mobility, arthritis aid key holders?

This Banham set was the only set of locks that I found that address accessibility issues, that are secure and look good. I’m just wondering if any of you have found an easy lock solution too? I would love to hear from you, email me at buildmumahouse@gmail.com and share your finds.