Monthly Archives: June 2012

Top 10 things before renting a home!

As you all know, Kelly and I have been desperate to move from our rented accommodation. If you’re in our shoes and are thinking about renting a new (or old) home, our list of “Top 10 Things to Think about Before Renting a Home” can help to get your search off to the right start. Whilst the number of bedrooms, condition of the kitchen and bathroom, and size of the yard are important, there are other key things to consider before you start renting a property.


For us, this is the deciding factor on any property we rent in the future. You can live with practically any imperfection in a home if you love the neighbourhood and your neighbours. I mean you can change almost everything else, whether it is with a lick of paint or new carpets. But, once rented, you can not change your home’s location – unless you’re willing to pay out in admin fees again! When you go rented house hunting, consider any potential home’s proximity to your work, the neighbourhood, how the home is situated on the plot, ease of access, noise from neighbours, traffic, crime statistics, and access to local shopping amenities, schools, and public transport.

Situation Factors:

Beyond location look at the particular site of the home. If the home is on a main road, will this cause a problem getting your car off your drive? Do neighbours windows appear to look directly in to the potential home? If there is a garden, is the garden suitable for children, pets, gardening, and other uses? Is the access to the property safe – i.e driveway elevation, stairs up to (if any) the front door?

The Neighbourhood:

If your like Kelly and I, and have had a really bad experience with noisy neighbours, make sure the neighbourhood meets your expectations, not just the home – after all, what will your visitors think, first impressions count! A good idea is to check out potential neighbourhoods on a week night and especially on weekends – as weekends are renowned for neighbours partying etc. Also, seen as I have OCD, it’s a good idea to consider if the neighbours gardens and driveways are well kept – who wants to be living next to a scrap yard?! Another thing to consider is if the neighbourhood is safe enough for people to walk, run, or bike around.

Curb Appeal:

The appearance of your home says a lot about you – whether it’s rented or not. Your home should reflect your lifestyle. If you live a laid back life then you may not wish to live in an old formal Victorian style home – most probably you want something simple and modern, with all the modern luxuries. Take in to consideration the exterior of the property – a brick home is easier to maintain than a pebble dashed home (which from my experience leaves pebble dashing on your front door step every morning, resulting in the must have investment of a quality broom!) Also, consider the roof – is it in good condition. Is the landscaping attractive and are the sidewalks leading to the home safe?

Size and Floor Plan:

You may walk in to a potential rent property and think WOW this is amazing, but have you considered the size of the living area and floor plan – is it capable of fitting your sofa in? Are the bedrooms big enough for that king size bed (if you have one)! Also, consider if it has an en-suite with a bath and over bath shower, do you really need the luxury of an en-suite of this size when the main bathroom is adequate – added luxuries like these cause more cleaning! A large home can give you that all important extra space you’ve always wanted – but remember, you’ll pay higher heating bills and have higher taxes. Also, such a property will take more furniture to furnish and money to decorate. The best way to consider the size and floor plan is to think about how the new home space will be used and whether it will fit your lifestyle now and in the future.

Bedrooms and Bathrooms:

It is important when looking to rent a home that you consider how many bedrooms and bathrooms you really need. We advise that you only look at homes that meet your criteria, as it would be a shame to fall in love with a cosy, charming home that just isn’t big enough! Also, remember that an extra bedroom is always a plus and can always come in handy as it can be used for a home office or guest room.

The Kitchen:

If, like our home, the kitchen is the heart of your home, don’t settle for a home with a kitchen that just won’t work. You need to ensure that the potential rented property has sufficient work top space. It would be disastrous if you decided to rent a property, paid all those admin fees and then realised that by the time you had put your microwave, kettle, tea sugar and coffee canisters out that there was no room to prepare your Sunday dinner veg!

Closets and Storage:

Older homes tend to have small wardrobes and not a lot of storage space. If your like us and have lots of clothing, sports equipment, out-of-season clothes and holiday decorations, be sure you know where it will all go in your new rented home. Newer homes tend to have bigger storage spaces and built in wardrobes. Remember, you can always add storage space – but this may mean you have to sacrifice living space in your rooms.

Windows and Lighting:

The question is, do you love a bright room or do you love privacy? When looking at a potential rented home remember to keep light and sunshine in mind, as well as air ventilation. It’s no good if your a curry lover renting a home with no kitchen window! Also look at the locations of electrical outlets and fixtures – will they accommodate your lighting needs?

Finishing Touches:

Some times the simplest home looks spectacular because of the installation of mod cons, hardware and a possibly a fireplace. If these elements are important to you, look for them while house hunting or be ready to add them after you move in – if your landlord approves of this of course! If you keep these specific elements of a home in mind, your rented house hunting will be more successful, and you’ll likely end up with the rented home of your dreams – whether it be a house or apartment!

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Luxurious apartment: what a disappointment!

Well, as you will all know, Kelly and I recently ventured off ‘the Bronx’ to view that luxurious apartment I was blogging about. Here’s how it went!

First impressions were great; it was situated at the end of a lovely street which consisted of some huge privately owned houses. Kelly and I thought the apartment at the Gatehouse was going to meet all our expectations and more, but in true fashion we were highly disappointed! The main entrance to the apartments was drab, dull and very unappealing – but we thought it’s only the main entrance after all. We went through the front door of the apartment to find quite a wide space, which was something I wasn’t expecting. The carpet was filthy, but that’s nothing a rug doctor wouldn’t have sorted out. Straight away I noticed there was an alarm fitted, which I thought cool – as we haven’t got an alarm in our current flat. As we walked in to the living room I was gobsmacked at the size of the place. It had the same filthy carpet, but the size and potential of the room was awesome!

Sadly, as we entered the kitchen Kelly noted there was no window – which meant there’d be no chicken curry for us in a hurry! To my further disappointment, I walked in to the bedroom and was very disappointed at how tiny the main bedroom was. There was not a chance I was going to fit a king size bed in there, let alone anything else. Seriously, I am not exaggerating – the main bedroom was the size of a shoe box!

At this point, Kelly was well and truly heart broken and said there’s no point seeing the rest. I, however, wandered in to the second bedroom – which was actually no smaller than the main bedroom. I was not impressed. The bathroom however was lovely; all it needed was my OCD in there with a good old bottle of bleach!

Over all we were disappointed, and felt we had been mislead by the estate agents who claimed it was a ‘luxurious apartment’. Luckily for us, we’re like a rubber ball and bounce back – so today we are set to look at an apartment which I know is luxurious, as I have been to view it several years ago. My only hope is that its last tenants have treat the place with some TLC. I will keep you guys posted!

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neighbour from hell!

Hi guys, I know it has been a while – I have been VERY busy lately, but that’s no excuse! Anyways, since the Bank Holiday and Queens Jubilee, Kelly and I have had nothing but bother regarding our nightmare neighbour (I guess everyone has one, but this one takes the biscuit!) This factor has actually contributed in Kelly and I being desperate to move, so as a result we have spent days searching for that perfect home!

I was set on getting a lovely house on Mistral Drive in Darlington, but unfortunately there is a long viewing list – so chances are we would not have got it anyway! Plus, it was rather big for the pair of us, but I did actually think about this property this morning and I can’t help but picture Kelly and I living here peacefully with a tasteful décor throughout, foster kids, a lovely landscaped garden, the cats off itsapussycatslife sat on our window sill, a plain white Japanese Akita in the garden and that all important small family car sat on our drive – the perfect life if you ask me.

With the above dream down the swanny Kelly and I have found a perfect location, which for the time being I will be referring to as ‘TSL’ (Top Secret Location!) This property is an ideal location for Kelly’s bus route to work, and also I am still on good links to the office. We are actually going to visit this property over the weekend, so no doubt I will have lots to blog about! Until then, I hope you all enjoy your weekend.

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Cotswold 3 drawer bedside cabinet review

Last night, Kelly and I decided to assemble our three drawer white bedside cabinet – which turned out to look stunning!

Unlike most flat pack furniture this Birlea Cotswold nightstand came with all its parts.  Kelly and I wasted no time in sorting through our screws and ordering the parts in to some kind of sequence – as you do!  The instructions were very easy to follow and the screws were easy identifiable – due to their individually lettered plastic packets (as shown below).  Check out the in detail shots of Kelly and I hard at work.

Once Kelly and I had our bedside table assembled, we wasted no time in placing the white wooden bedside table in our guest room – it looks fantastic!

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Bed SOS: offering you the chance to win £250!

Following the success of Bed SOS’s first competition, Bed SOS is offering one lucky winner the chance to win a £250 voucher to spend at Bed SOS. The winner will have the opportunity to renew their bedroom with anything from their online store.

All you have to do is click here and submit the entry form before the closing date on Saturday 30th June 2012. Good luck!

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Darlington winner Grace Moulder bags £3,000 with her Dior interior designs!

Being from Darlington, I was immensely proud to see a young Darlington interior designer win the National Design Academy’s (NDA) prestigious competition. After a year of hard work, Grace Moulder’s creation was unveiled on 31st May 2012, and she was awarded £3,000 for her winning design.  There were over 500 entries and Grace Moulder, a Teesside University graduate, was picked to carry out the re-design of the rooms which are based in the River Crescent apartments in Nottingham.

The competition was to create a design for a £1m penthouse apartment, and this 22 year old certainly did this. Grace had £100,000 to spend on the apartments furnishings. Grace had a look around the other River Crescent apartments and noted that they were all based around famous designers such as Paul Smith, Chanel and Hugo Boss to name a few. Grace decided to base her interior design around Dior, using simple clear streamlines and a classic mineral colour palette, she stated.

Grace created a layout which had clearly defined zones, by using shapes and materials to mould them. She also used key focal points to draw people in with a bit of ‘wow’ factor. Here at Home Desirable we absolutely love the winning design!

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How big is your desktop?

Remember that small office space which needed a ‘revamp’?  Well here it is so far.

The walls have been finished in Dulux white silk, which took no time whatsoever.  The desk was purchased from Ikea over a year ago, and has served me extremely well.  Also from Ikea are the two sliding curtains, which I will be renewing the next time I visit Ikea.  I love Ikea, their products are affordable, smart and very modern.  I will keep you guys updated on this work in progress…

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Who needs DIY when you have Handyman Northeast?

Speaking of our guest room, Kelly and I have been so busy recently with working overtime and me holding the fort at Tic Watches that it seemed we had no time whatsoever to wallpaper our guest room feature wall with the teal striped wallpaper we purchased at Wilko’s. Luckily we had come across a handyman via Facebook who was willing to take the job off our hands.

Handyman Northeast arrived on time with all the necessary tools. He cracked straight on with carrying out the task in hand. I was amazed at how affordable he was for a professional! The wallpapering took him no time to complete and the finished work looks amazing!  Such a friendly individual, I would definitely recommend!

Kelly and I decided to opt for horizontal striped wallpaper, I mean its all the same – but we wanted it hanging across the wall instead of down the wall. Our intention of having stripes across the wall was to create a wider room, which is what has been achieved. Although the guest room is still not quite finished, I just absolutely love the colours, style and bold look of such a small bedroom.

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DIY: Its a Pussy Cats Life!

Recently Angel, from itsapussycatslife, once again involved herself with the decorating – only this time, she brought along her older brother Diesel.  Not only did Angel help with the decorating, she checked out our carpet underlay and had the final say of what goes where whilst Diesel just assumed his usual pose – muttering on to himself in ‘kitty language’.  Check out the pictures below of Diesel and Angel and their lovable antics!

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Bathroom DIY: decorating ideas

Our latest task (which is still in the pipeline) is to revamp the bathroom.  This one I am leaving in the hands of Kelly!

Kelly is often complaining about the black in the bathroom as she is extremely bored of it.  Unfortunately for Kelly, some of the bathroom wall tiles are black so we are not entirely able to rid the whole bathroom of the colour black – not unless we fancy re-tiling, which we don’t!  I must admit though, although the floor tiles have served us well I will be happy to see them go.  I’m hoping Kelly opts for a clean white flooring of some description, as this means we can add splashes of vivid colours through our choice of bath mats.
I think the beauty of having a white bathroom, like ours, with chrome bathroom accessories means any coloured towels and bath mats will look great!
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