Boydens - Life at Home | Winter 2022 - Issue 01

HAPPY NEW MOVE! Expert tips and inspiration for your next home HOME LIFE AT –– A magazine exclusively devoted to proper ty buyers, sel lers, tenants and landlords –– HOT TRENDS Discover the latest ‘must-haves’ for 2022 Winter 2022 Issue 01 AFresh START WE’LL BE WITH YOU EVERY STEP OF THE WAY PERFECT LOCATION Why Sudbury is the place to be for work, rest and play

Telephone: 0345 8500333 Website: Email: [email protected] The Leading Independent Regional Land & Property Auctioneers Covering Southern England Entries are continually invited If you own a property or parcel of land which may be suitable for a sale by auction please call us for a no obligation appraisal. If you have any questions regarding our online auction process, however small, please do not hesitate to contact us - we will be happy to help! Whether BUYING or SELLING each member of our team is committed to providing a friendly, professional service for all of our clients Join us on: DISCOVER a great way to buy and sell all types of property and land 03 Welcome Welcome to Boydens’ Life at Home magazine! I am delighted to bring you the first issue of this quarterly publication, giving you useful hints and tips, as well as the latest news on the property market. As a family business stretching back three generations, we know that the personal touch is so important when you’re considering selling or letting your home. With extensive experience, at Boydens we’re renowned for our straighttalking and friendly, open style. We take great pride in helping our clients in their home moves, knowing that this is one of the most significant life stages. The property market in 2021 was exceptionally buoyant and brought us significant challenges and opportunities as we all re-evaluated our lives in the light of the pandemic. We saw a welcome return to the market of first-time buyers and buy-to-let landlords as demand outstripped supply for much of the year. There were also noticeable levels of pent-up demand for more space and some relocation to the country from London as the pattern of commuting changed to add to what was a complex property jigsaw. If 2022 is the year you are starting your own property journey, we are ready and eager to help. Whether you are buying, selling, renting or letting (or you are looking for Block Management services), Boydens is ready to help you. I hope you enjoy this first edition of Life at Home. David Boyden Managing Director, Boydens

Wayside, Plains Road, Little Totham, Essex. CM9 8JF [email protected] 05 Life at Home Contents 06 Homes with style Browse our shopping pages for inspiration and ideas for your home. 13 News Check out what’s going on in the property market and pick up essential advice. 16 Riding the mortgage roller-coaster Mortgage consultant Chris Pargin on the white knuckle ride of borrowing during a pandemic. 24 Let the sunshine in Shoe designer and blogger Jacqueline Mercer chats to us about her stunning kitchen makeover. 30 Cooling the cost of living Discover 12 ways to take the heat out of your energy bills this winter. 36 Hot home trends We take a look at some of the big ‘must-haves’ for interiors in 2022. 44 Making wishes come true ‘The Home Genie’ Georgina Burnett gives her top tips for buying or selling a property. 48 Sublime Sudbury Find out what makes this market town in Suffolk such a great place to live, work and visit. 53 ‘I would not want to work anywhere else!’ We catch up with Angela Jeffery, Boydens’ Sudbury Branch Manager. EDITORIAL EDITOR Anna-Marie Casas ADVERTISING SALES EXECUTIVE Chantell Keston, Debbie Taylor CREATIVE ART DIRECTOR Lee Thomas MARKETING CREATIVE MARKETING MANAGER Dominic Littler PUBLISHING PUBLISHING DIRECTOR Clara Deeks MANAGING DIRECTOR Allistair Hunter OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Tracy Norton-Mead CONTACT Life at Home Magazine, DS Media, 7 Faraday Close, Oakwood Industrial Estate, Clacton-On-Sea, Essex CO15 4TR Advertising Enquiries: 01255 221322 Editorial Enquiries: [email protected] Life at Home Magazine is published by DS Media on behalf of Boydens estate agency. The contents of this magazine must not be reproduced without permission. Life at Home Magazine is available FREE for property buyers, sellers, tenants and landlords registered with Boydens in North Essex and South Su olk. 54 Make your move Our handy guide to prepare your home for sale. 58 Plugging in We assess the rise of the electric car and how properties need to adapt. 64 Home and dry Damp and condensation in a rental – who’s liable? 66 The rental safety net Why a rental guarantee is vital for landlords who want to protect their income. HAPPY NEW MOVE! Expert tips and inspiration for your next home HOME LIFE AT –– A magazine exclusively devoted to proper ty buyers, sel lers, tenants and landlords –– HOT TRENDS Discover the latest ‘must-haves’ for 2022 Winter 2022 AFresh START WE’LL BE WITH YOU EVERY STEP OF THE WAY PERFECT LOCATION Why Sudbury is the place to be for work, rest and play 16 48 58 Cover image courtesy of Furl, showing the London Storage Sofa in Aqua Grey Velvet Corduroy, £1,550. Shopping 06 HOMES WITH STYLE Samara Table Lamp Base, där lighting, £90 The Samara is a tapering, handmade glass table lamp with a heavy glass base. Finished in rich emerald green, with an ivory, twisted braided cable and warm brushed gold work, the tall, elegant shape makes it so easy to place in a bedroom, or living room. Fargo Desk and Chair in Pure White, Little Folks Furniture, £410 The Fargo study desk is a top-notch work station, with superb storage to boot. There’s an easy-access shelf below the large desk top for those half-finished pieces of homework, as well as lots of extra space for study folders in the footwell. Awake the Senses, Wonky Wheel, £195 An inspiring oil canvas by Cambridge artist Sue Rapley, available at Wonky Wheel art gallery in Finchingfield. Awake the Senses captures the essence of spring with the first of the season’s cow parsley and its delicate ‘lacey’ white flowers unfurling and bending in the breeze. Perfect for bringing nature to intimate interior spaces or creating a collaged wall in your home, the image extends over the sides of the signed canvas to create a 3D effect and is surrounded by a white wood frame, ready to hang. H24 x W24 x D3cm. Blue 3210, Blueair, £159 This compact air purifier is perfect for smaller rooms such as a nursery and can be easily moved depending on where you need it. Blue removes at least 99.97 per cent of airborne particles as small as 0.1 microns in size, including pet dander, pollen, dust, and VOCs from the air, thanks to Blueair’s HEPASilent™ technology. It’s also great at removing unwanted odours from the air from pets or cooking, so is great to have running before a property viewing. Get inspired with our curated selection of beautiful furniture, furnishings and accessories...

07 Shopping Model 05 2 Seater, Swyft, £1,095 The Model 05 2 seater, shown here in Blush linen, is fun, bold and comes with bags of personality. Making four new colours exclusive to this collection, it’s guaranteed to add a ton of character to your interior. W170 x H83 x D91cm. 08 Shopping Touchstone, Composite Prime, £44.99 / sqm A luxurious flooring system with a 3D textured surface that delivers the authentic appearance of hardwood or stone flooring with increased durability and reduced maintenance needs. Fire, scratch, and indent resistant, Touchstone is perfect for kitchens and bathrooms and comes in 16 wood and stone textures, from the traditional to the ultramodern (shown here, Knightsbridge). Mosaic tiles, Ceramique Internationale, from £14.99 / sheet Eight new tiles have been added to Ceramique Internationale’s mosaics range, offering the everpopular mixed-material styles as well as several attentiongrabbing, plain coloured shapes. Shown here are Ibiza White, left, (260mm x 300mm sheet) and Alpha Silver (283mm x 245mm sheet) Shopping 09 Brooklyn Cone Pendant, Industville, £79 This stunning pendant with a matt black finish and copper holder adds effortless refinement and character to your space, elevating any room with a clean, modern look. The eye-catching design is also available in pewter, brass and copper finishes. IP20 rating, 7 inches. Drino Velvet Dining Chair in Grey, Dwell, £119 The Drino quilted dining chair, shown here in grey velvet, is a feminine design with a heart-shaped back, slender black splayed legs, and feature metal struts. Equally at home around a dining table or in a bedroom, the chair is also available in teal velvet. Minerva Helix 4-in-1 Electronic Instant Boiling Water tap in Copper, Franke, £1,697 A stylish and practical addition to any new home, the Minerva delivers boiling water for your hot drinks or food preparation tasks in an instant. The tap has a simple push-button functionality with pre-set 30 and 60 second programmes for dispensing 100°C boiling or filtered cold water. Available in other colour finishes as well as stainless steel (£1,644). Daphne Rug, Laura Ashley, £150-£370 Hand-carved with a 2cm pile height, the Daphne from Laura Ashley is a durable, stain-resistant and easy-to-clean rug that comes in a range of colours and sizes. Shown here in Navy Midnight Seaspray. E-NEO3C Electric Stove, ACR Stoves, from £1,135 The E-NEO3C Electric is a contemporary styled stove with the distinctive feature of two side window panels allowing the flame effect to be viewed from the sides as well as the front. Standing on an open cupboard base to give additional height and presence, this makes an ideal choice for open plan living and conservatories. Made from lightweight steel and finished in a matt black powder-coat finish for durability, with the option of 1 or 2Kw heat output or flame effect only. H:1067mm x W490mm x D390mm, weight 45kg.

New Year, New Home? Start 2022 as you mean to go on. If you are hoping to move home in the early spring, now is the best time to put your house onto the market. The property market tends to pick up in the new year, with families moving into bigger homes or changing location in order for their children to attend their preferred school. Conveyancing Rated Excellent Review Solicitors have rated Attwells Solicitors as being excellent value for money. In addition we’re rated 4.7/5 on Feefo with over 1,450 clients reviewing our service and our Colchester office is rated 5 stars on Google. Visit or call: 01206 766333 Shopping 11 Arden Rectangular Table in Oak, Sofas & Stuff, £1,388 The Arden is lovingly handcrafted from sustainable premier grade oak to a superior finish for lifelong durability to be enjoyed for generations to come. With its unusual St George Cross pattern across the top, it’s sure to be the centrepiece of the room. There’s ample storage in the two double-sided drawers too. sofasandstu .com Luxe cushions, The Rug Seller, from £32 Add pattern, texture and colour to your sofa, chairs and beds with cushions that scream comfort and style. Whether you’re looking to inject some fun and personality to your interiors or you want to add some snuggly finishing touches, the addition of new cushions will create that welcoming haven after a busy day. Shown here Lapis Pebbles Cushion in Teal Blue, £64; Preen Metallic Feather Cushion in Blue Green, £32; Senna Geometric Cushion in Yellow, £43. Rose King Size Bed Frame, Button & Sprung, £1,145 Move away from sharp rectangular bed designs, towards headboards with adventurous curves. In bespoke Linwood Omega ‘Pinot Noir’ fabric with a flat base and Walnut traditional turned legs, this shape lends itself particularly well to both pastel and bold coloured velvets, creating a visual contrast when situated in a pared-back bedroom scheme. Bone Inlay Mirror, Indigenous, £295 This stunning, monochrome mirror is handmade and follows an intricate petal and star pattern, combining an artisan design with a glamourous touch. The frame is created by setting sustainably-sourced bone into dark resin and fixing it onto a timber frame, made from local mango wood. 800 x 600 x 30mm.

Personal friendly legal advice from a trusted Solicitor in the heart of the Colchester area 01206 767 112 [email protected] Audley House, Berechurch Hall Road, Colchester, Essex CO2 9NW Conveyancing Probate Wills LPA We are fully committed to providing the very best in legal advice for all our clients We could save you £116* on your home insurance in Colchester 01206 481 281 If you’re looking for competitive prices, but fed up with trawling through online quotes every year, then let us take care of you. Our expert advisors work with a panel of top insurers to help find you the right cover at the right price – year after year. To find out more, speak to your Colchester branch today we are open and available in branch and on the phone. *75% of new home clients saved money, with an average saving of £116 between August 2019 and January 2020. A-Plan Insurance is a trading style of A-Plan Holdings who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered office: 2 Des Roches Square, Witney, OX28 4LE. Registration number 750484. 13 News 5 Home Hacks to Help a House Sell While some experts expected the housing market to slow once the Government’s stamp duty holiday expired at the end of September, housing indexes and estate agents are indicating that demand for homes that are meeting buyers’ biggest priorities remains high. Research by internet service provider Zen Internet has revealed five key ways to increase the saleability of a home in a post-pandemic world, based on new insights into what housebuyers are looking for. For those selling, it could help homeowners achieve beyond the current 7.4 per cent increase in average house prices and get the top end of their asking price. Steve Warburton from observes: “It is clear that the housing market is continuing to boom, with buyer demand rising to more than double pre-pandemic levels, according to Rightmove.” He adds that it had been predicted that more houses would have been sold in 2021 than at any time in the past 14 years. “Yet, despite demand and a shortage of houses on the market in some areas, our research has revealed that buyers are not willing to compromise on finding a house that meets big trends in certain ‘needs’.” 1. Showcase your homeworking space Even if this means putting some other furniture in storage for a while – or create a home office in a spare room. Over a quarter (27 per cent) of homebuyers surveyed cited the need for a property more suited to long-term home working as the reason to buy a new home, with a further nine per cent wanting a home office due to Covid. Clear out the clutter, create a Zoom-worthy backdrop, dress the windows to get the lighting right and showcase how you have space for all of the office essentials. If your desk and office furniture was purchased specifically to suit that area, you might want to consider including it in the price of the sale. 2. Spruce up the garden Gardens are higher on the priority list than ever before. The research shows that homebuyers are searching for more space and gardens, many moving away from urban areas because they no longer need to be near an office or commute route. Don’t rely on your buyer’s imagination to sell them your outdoor space Gardens are as much an entertaining space as kitchens and dining rooms, so think about dressing your patio area with tables, chairs, lights and an outdoor heater to really show off its potential. Even a good tidy up will work wonders and don’t forget your front garden either – poor kerb appeal has been shown to knock up to five per cent off a house price. 3. Highlight hi-tech Broadband connectivity has quickly become a crucial dealbreaker for homebuyers. A massive 75 per cent of house hunters surveyed would NOT buy a home if they knew that the internet connectivity was poor; and three quarters surveyed are more inclined to buy a house that’s fully fibre-enabled! Do your homework in terms of what broadband speeds your home either gets or can get – and include this in the sales pitch when you are showing viewers around. And get rid of unsightly wires – homes full of ugly daisy-chained extension cables to power tech are a no-no. Even if you need to get in an electrician for a day to tidy up, investing in smart sockets in key areas of your home could significantly increase its appeal. At the very least, unplug any non-essentials and hide them during viewings! 4. Channel your inner interior designer A high-impact revamp can be achieved with a new rug to instantly make a floor feel new and inviting; if your carpet is looking a bit tired and worn, give it a new lease of life with a rug (that can also be used to hide a multitude of sins). A new doormat is also a great idea for making an all-important first impression. Freshen up walls with on-trend colours that are shown to have a positive mood enhancing effect. Just remember – if you are going to get the paintbrush out then stick with a colour that is relatively neutral and not in any way polarising. Bring in plants – don’t underestimate the power greenery has to bring your home’s décor to life. Adding potted or hanging plants to a room quickly transforms the environment from stale to vibrant. And you can then take these with you after you’ve achieved the sale. 5. Phone a friend! Ask a friend to come and check out your space to identify anything that you have overlooked that might put a buyer off. For example, while a buyer will want to feel that a home is loved and lived in, they also need to picture themselves in the space. You could therefore look to remove some family pictures and children’s artwork and replace them with neutral prints, hide away toys and clutter – young professionals might not picture children in their near future, so make sure they aren’t put off by a playroom or excessive children’s toys. News 14 1. How much do I need? The crucial question: How much you need before you buy your home is the number one topic asked by prospective homebuyers in the UK, with 22,270 monthly searches. While the total upfront cost can vary from home to home and buyer to buyer, the average house price for a first-time buyer in the UK for 2021 is £256,057. 2. How much should I spend? Following up on the question ‘How much do I need?’, Googlers asked ‘How much should I spend?’ 4,970 times per month. Understanding the value of the house you can afford is essential when applying for a mortgage. 3. Is now the time to buy? If you’re wondering if now is the right time to buy, you’re not alone. Every month there are 3,240 searches for the topic. The answer can depend on individual circumstances; the real question is whether you are ready to buy. First-time Buyers’ Top Google Questions New research has revealed first-time buyers’ most pressing questions on Google. The data, uncovered by property developer St Mowden Homes (, reveals the key concerns that new homebuyers have, including: Remember Water Supplies in the Rush to Move In Water Regs UK is reminding house buyers to check plumbing systems and water supplies in the rush to move into their new home. Experts are reporting that the process of buying a home is taking as long as 16 weeks to complete in the current property market. With many potential housebuyers hoping to move in early in the new year, Water Regs UK is urging people not to take shortcuts when it comes to checking the water systems in their new home. Water Regs UK helps to protect public health and encourages water efficiency by promoting and facilitating compliance with the Water Fittings Regulations. As well as advising building owners and managers, designers, installers and manufacturers, its role also includes advising householders on how to make sure the water systems in their own homes are compliant. Julie Spinks, Managing Director of Water Regs UK, comments: “Moving into a new home can be a really exciting event and many of us can’t wait to complete, having found the property of our dreams. “Often we want to speed things up when setting up once moved in, given how long it takes to complete a house purchase, but the water supply in your home isn’t one where you should be looking to cut corners.” Water Regs UK has produced a list of checkpoints when it comes to checking the water supply in a new home: 1. Find out who your water supplier is 2. Check if you have a water meter 3. Know where the stop tap is and check that it’s working 4. Know where the boiler is and when it was last serviced 5. If the seller offers to leave appliances behind, check they are water efficient 6. Use compliant fittings and a qualified installer if you do need to make any improvements – check out 4. Do I need a good credit score? The higher your credit score, the better. There are 1,290 searches per month asking this question. Buyers should aim to have a good credit score before they apply for their mortgage, as it suggests that they are reliable. It can also help reduce interest rates on the loan. 5. When should I apply for a mortgage? Preparation is key when applying for a mortgage. You need to get your finances in good order and understand the type of mortgage you need. As with any preparation you do, the sooner you start this, the better. There are 1,090 searches asking when to apply for a mortgage every month.

Tag us on Social Media #HatfieldsAtHome Peartree Road, Stanway, Colchester, Essex CO3 0LA 01206 765444 Save up to 25% OFF this Winter! Discover Quality Furniture, Flooring, Beds & Accessories In-Store! Da Mosto Louis De Poortere Rug Faro Dining Collection Auburn Bedroom Furniture Lavinia Sofa Collection Finances 16 ROLLER- COASTER Mortgage consultant Chris Pargin, of Pargin Financial Solutions, talks us through the white knuckle ride of mortgage borrowing brought by the pandemic and how things now appear to be levelling out. the mortgage Riding 17 The last 18 months in the mortgage market has been every bit as turbulent as the rest of the economy as mortgage lenders have navigated their way through the global pandemic, trying to second guess what will happen with lending rates as well as with house prices. Alongside regular restrictions and policy changes owing to Covid-19, lenders have also had the effects of Brexit to contend with, so although the constantly changing goalposts from lenders have provided me with plenty of challenges as a mortgage broker, they do have my sympathy for what they have had to contend with. About me To offer a short introduction, I set up Pargin Financial Solutions in 2017 after working as a mortgage broker for around five years prior within a large corporate estate agency. It was here that I initially formed good relationships with local estate agents and wanted to take the knowledge and experience that I had gained into the independent local agents when the time was right for me to do so. 18 Finances “It was clear that the effects of Covid were unknown, as lenders struggled to forecast what would happen to house prices .”

Finances 19 Having been in the corporate world for this long and having worked directly for lenders for another five years prior to this, there were a lot of working practices that I have taken from these roles into my own business, but the big driver in setting this up was having my own ideas and opinions on ways of working. At the start of 2021, I was joined by a personal friend and former colleague of mine, which has been great and incorporating a second advisor into the business has been made a lot easier for us this year by a busy housing market. Lockdown woes Initially, however, as the pandemic struck, like many others we didn’t see this as presenting an opportunity for us ahead! When the first lockdown was implemented, the entire economy ground to a halt and that of course meant that I could not trade also. As with anyone that was selfemployed, it became quite a scary time for me personally, and although I have always been set up to work from home if needed, my clients were not able to leave their homes to view properties, and valuers were unable to go out in order to assess properties. The market was effectively closed, and I found my role change overnight. Instead of looking to help to save clients’ money, overcome certain criteria or just to make lives easier by arranging mortgages for their purchases and remortgages, I had become a point of contact for my clients who were facing harder times and had become genuinely concerned about their financial circumstances. Unfortunately, some of my clients did lose jobs, or were unable to go out to work where they were selfemployed, and a lot were placed on furlough meaning that their income was temporarily reduced. Payment holidays The great thing that did come in very early was the opportunity for mortgage borrowers to apply for payment holidays from their lenders without this having an impact on their credit score. The process in applying for this was made quite easy with most lenders, who set up systems quickly to enable their borrowers to log on and request a payment holiday online. Once approved, they could then have a few months without needing to make their mortgage payments, the interest of which would then be spread across their remaining mortgage term once repayments started again. I feel that this halted a lot of panic and was quite refreshing to see in such a time of uncertainty. Uncertain times Although support for current borrowers was good to see in the early stages of the pandemic, new purchasers were somewhat neglected as mortgage schemes were removed en masse. It was clear that the effects of Covid were unknown and, in my opinion, as lenders struggled to forecast what would happen to house prices in an environment where there was a potential of future mass unemployment, they really tightened the purse strings, removing any borrowing with a higher element of risk, which meant withdrawals of all schemes across the higher loan to values. Finances 20 My big consideration here was for clients who already had a mortgage that was due to come off of its fixed rate over the next few months, where again options were limited, but we did have some available to us as brokers in order to assist in this circumstance. Restarting the market After the initial period of lockdown, the first market to reopen was thankfully the housing market. It did seem a bit strange that viewing houses came back quicker than a lot of things, but I must say, in my position, it was nice that some of my clients were able to get out there again and start looking at their options to move. It was a while until the lenders followed suit and enabled borrowing at higher loan to values again, bringing these back very slowly which made it tough for clients who were looking to get on with moving. The Government did reduce the Bank of England base rate to 0.1%, which helped and is the lowest that this has ever been in the bank’s 325-year history. Doing so enabled mortgage rates to remain low and, slowly but surely, lenders began to gain confidence and release products at higher loan to values once more. Although it already seems a while ago, I remember one big lender coming to market with a restricted number of products at 90% loan to value before other large lenders were willing to do so. The result was an abundance of brokers logging onto the lender’s application system first thing in the morning in order to try to secure products for their clients in a situation not too dissimilar to a scramble for tickets for a gig or festival on the day of release. It was quite bizarre, but something that was hugely important to communicate to my applicants in order to get across the challenges that we both would face if they were looking at purchasing during this time. As brokers, we just couldn’t be assured of products being available for clients, so it was a period that wasn’t without its challenges. As the Government started to lift restrictions, they had also brought in a couple of big policy changes, which contributed to a frantic time in the housing market for us all. Furlough was of course assisting many of the population who couldn’t go out to work, and on top of this a stamp duty holiday was implemented. This meant that the housing market took off in a big way as people saw the potential to save thousands of pounds in stamp duty liability by moving during this time. Working from home Working in East Anglia, I also saw lifestyle changes adding a silent third intensifier to our local market. I had a lot of contact from people looking to move out of London and the surrounding areas as they perhaps saw the requirement of a daily commute as a thing of the past. Our area saw a wave of demand as a result, and I definitely know of buyers who felt it was the right time to look for properties that were a bit larger, perhaps with outside space that were that bit further from their normal workplace. I also feel that during lockdown some people started to despise the four walls that they had been forced to spend so much time in, and just felt that now was the time for a change. “The housing market took off in a big way as people saw the potential to save thousands of pounds in stamp duty.”

21 Finances Top 5 mortgage tips for the self-employed: 1Gain your latest 2 years’ Tax Calculations and Tax Year Overviews from your accountant or online 2Also ask your accountant for your accounts if a Ltd company director, as the net profit figure and salary can be looked at by some lenders rather than the salary and dividends figures 3Provide your adviser with your recent business bank statements to display your current trading levels 4Be sure to advise whether you have been in receipt of any grants during Covid, and find out when and how much was received 5Plan early and gain advice as there have been a lot of changes following the pandemic Finances 22 As demand began to soar, house prices began to increase as well. Furlough was well supported initially by the lenders, and I was working flat out at this time trying to assist all of my current clients looking to move as well as new clients looking for properties. Although it was tough going, personally, I was both pleased and very relieved to see the return of the housing market. First-time buyers As time went on, first-time buyers who were finding the new market tough also received some support in the way of higher loan to value products returning. Again Government-led, 95% loan to value schemes, which had been withdrawn for the best part of a year before returning, were re-introduced, so a lot of first-time buyers who had this deposit amount accumulated found that they were now in a position to start to look for properties again, which was a welcome relief to many. Self-employed Gradually, we did start to see support for furloughed workers fade away from lenders, with many insisting on clients having returned to work before they would enable them to borrow. The selfemployed and company directors have also seen big changes, with lenders taking opposing views on those who have been in receipt of grants, as well as looking at recent trading in ways that we had not seen prior to Covid. My advice for anyone who has been impacted, or continues to be impacted by the last 18 months, is to speak to an adviser early, as certain aspects are likely to impact the self-employed at least until the start of the tax year in 2022 and possibly beyond as income is accounted for annually in this sector. Levelling out After a bit of a roller-coaster ride during the last year and a half, the mortgage market seems to have settled, and although policy changes still exist, I feel that a lot of people now anticipate that things are different and understand where additional documentation is requested, or additional questions are being asked. It will be interesting to see what policy changes are brought in during the next year, and how the demand for housing changes. Although it has been a hugely demanding time to be a small business owner, and to work in a field that has seen so many changes like a lot of other industries out there, I’m very grateful for the way that the market has reacted and know that I have been very lucky to have been supported by some fantastic agents, and of course by some fantastic clients both in using my services and also recommending me to their friends and families. I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all of you out there for that and for enabling me to continue doing what I enjoy. Article by Christopher Pargin of Pargin Financial Solutions 01206 580185 [email protected] Your property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

SPARKING CURIOSITY. IGNITING WONDER. From Nursery to GCSE [email protected] To book a place please email: Open Day Friday 25 February Real Homes 24 sunshine Let the InJacqueline Mercer is a freelance shoe designer and blogger, whose eye for great style extended to home improvements with the complete renovation of her London property. Triggering a passion that led the mum-of-two to starting her Instagram account @tinyandthehouse, which has over 40,000 followers, the ambitious project includes this stunning, bright kitchen overhaul. 25 Real Homes

Real Homes 26 Tell us a little about your home… Our house is a classic, three-bedroom, Edwardian period property. We have lived in it since 2015 I think…time is flying. You’ve been busy renovating your home – what are the main improvements you’ve carried out so far and did you buy the property as a ‘project’? The house was a complete project – it needed everything doing. It was in such bad condition we were refused mortgages and our builder said it was the worst house he had ever seen. We repaired the roof, added heating, changed the windows, rewired, replastered – you name it, we did it. It was a lot of work, but we took it in our stride at the time and I’m so glad we did a project. What’s your favourite part of your home and why? It’s so hard to pick a favourite room, I feel like they all have something special about them; they all have calm energy. I love the kitchen in winter, in particular, though – it gets the most beautiful light…there’s also a lot of glass, so it feels like a greenhouse. Tell us about your kitchen project – what did you want to achieve, what have you had done, and did you do it yourself ? The kitchen was the worst room of the house; it had no floor in part of it, all the windows were boarded up and the back wall to the garden was falling down. On top of that, next door’s house was letting water in under the floor that we did have. The garden was so overgrown it was right up to the window. So, with all this in mind, I focused on making it feel airy and spacious. We had builders because it was so much more than a DIY project – we needed real help. The only features we could keep were the bay window and expose some of the brick. You chose a lovely bright yellow for your British Standard by Plain English kitchen cupboards – why did you choose this colour? “After the last couple of years, I think we need to have some fun with our houses. We have been home so much, it’s nice to really enjoy the space and the colours. Colour can have such an effect on your mood!” 27 Real Homes 28 The kitchen units were navy before that with tall larder cupboards in ‘mustard gloss’. I just loved the mustard gloss so much, I felt like changing to the yellow it is now. I felt like a change, and this was so different to the navy which was gorgeous. But I just wanted something a little more fun, but still timeless. And after the last couple of years, I think we need to have some fun with our houses. We have been home so much, it’s nice to really enjoy the space and the colours. Colour can have such an effect on your mood! What’s your favourite part of the kitchen? I love the larder cupboards; they feel quite statuesque. I had always wanted larder cupboards even as a child, I’m not sure why, they just seemed quite special. I wish I had room for more! What’s the next home improvement project? We are in the process of starting to plan for a loft conversion, so a great project for spring 2022 – I can’t wait to go again! What advice would you give anyone who is thinking about moving to a new home which requires a bit of work? Be brave and go for it, you can do it. Do your research as thoroughly as you can; there are so many tools these days like Instagram, Pinterest… which can help so much. Focus on your own personal taste, get ideas from others, sure, but edit the ideas to your style, how you want to live. It’s important your house is as you want it, not what anyone else has or likes. And take your time – it’s so easy to rush it, but sometimes it’s better to sit back and let it come together naturally. British Standard by Plain English cupboards come in a range of standard size cupboards, starting at £535. An average sized kitchen comes in at around £8,000. Available at Imagery courtesy of British Standard by Plain English “It’s important your house is as you want it, not what anyone else has or likes. And take your time – it’s so easy to rush it, but sometimes it’s better to sit back and let it come together naturally.”

At Dulux Decorator Centre we offer you: Find us at: Dulux Decorator Centre Colchester 36-38 Crouch Street, Colchester, Essex CO3 3HH Tel: 0120 676 8338 Or search for your nearest store at Visit Dulux Decorator Centre Colchester for all your decorating needs • Click & Collect • FREE same day delivery • Expert colour matching • Can recycling • Collect Nectar points with every purchase • On hand expert advice on products, techniques and more... • Over 240 stores nationwide • Trusted brands such as Dulux Trade, Armstead, Zinnser, Osmo, Purdy and many more... 5095_007 DDC Colchester Ad_133x93mm_v4.indd 1 13/01/2022 15:14 Utilities 30 H ouseholds are facing a steep increase in their energy bills due to a range of factors within the global wholesale market. This has driven up the price paid by providers to their highest levels in decades. Those increased costs are now being passed onto consumers, placing significant pressure on household incomes. The rise in energy prices has been caused by a combination of factors. There was a historic plunge in global energy consumption in the early months of the Covid-19 crisis in 2020 that drove the prices of many fuels to their lowest levels in decades. Since then, wholesale prices have rebounded strongly, mainly as a result of a rapid global economic recovery, a cold and long winter in the Northern Hemisphere, and a weaker-thanexpected increase in supply. COOLING LIVING the cost of As energy prices become a hot topic, Boydens’ Marketing & PR Manager Paul Howe looks at 12 top ways to reduce your energy bills this winter. Utilities 31 Utilities 32 HOW TO SAVE ENERGY AND REDUCE YOUR BILLS While price rises are inevitable, there are some small, regular actions that will help you save gas and electricity at home and have a significant impact when it comes to reducing energy bills. In addition to reducing costs, cutting energy consumption will also be good news for the environment. 02 INSTALL A SMART THERMOSTAT Smart thermostats make your heating more efficient by only warming those rooms in use. They learn how long it takes to heat your home, so they can have it at the right temperature at the right time and can also be controlled by your phone, which means you won’t have to come back to a cold home. Install room thermostats, programmers and thermostatic radiator valves for maximum savings impact for a typical saving of £75 per year. 03 TURN DOWN YOUR THERMOSTAT Almost half the money spent on energy bills is absorbed by heating and hot water costs. Turning your heating down by just one degree will help to save money, and you will probably hardly notice it. Doing this could save around £80 per year. 04 PURCHASE EFFICIENT APPLIANCES Throwing out a perfectly good appliance will not save you money, but when it is time to upgrade, opting for one with a high energy-efficiency rating will be well worth the investment. An A+++ washing machine will typically use £65 less energy than an A+ one over an 11year product lifespan. A modern, efficient dishwasher will typically cost around £7 less a year to run compared to an older model. An A+++ fridge freezer will save around £320 in energy bills over its lifetime compared to an A+ model. 01 TURN OFF STANDBY APPLIANCES Turning appliances off at the plug saves energy and you can also use plug sockets which can be controlled via your phone, to make sure you switch unused appliances off, giving you ultimate flexibility and control. Alternatively, you could use cheaper timer plugs to schedule turning appliances off for a typical saving of £30 per year.

Utilities 33 05 INSTALL A NEW BOILER When the time comes to replace your boiler, upgrading to a new A-rated condensing version with a programmer, room thermostat and thermostatic radiator controls would be a wise move and could save an impressive £300 per year in the process. 06 WASH CLOTHES AT A LOWER TEMPERATURE Washing at 30 degrees rather than 40 degrees will help reduce energy usage and is as easy as flicking a switch. If you can cut out one wash cycle per week, you will save even more and typically reduce this bill by around £5 per year. 07 CHOOSE WHEN YOU WASH Many electricity providers charge reduced rates during different times of the day, according to peak times when there is most demand, and times when there is reduced demand. Waiting until the evening or at night when rates are lower to run loads of laundry or run the dishwasher could save you money, for a simple lifestyle change. 08 BE SMARTER WITH WATER You can save around £25 a year by washing up in a bowl rather than using a running tap. A more efficient shower head can save you as much as £18 per person a year on energy bills, plus an additional sum if you have a water meter. If you fit a shower timer in your bathroom, you could save up to £7 per person each year by cutting just one minute off every shower. The indicative savings included have been estimated by the Energy Saving Trust. Utilities 34 10 DRAUGHTPROOF YOUR PROPERTY A cold draught causes your home to lose heat, making it more tempting to turn the heating up. Draught excluders or draught-proofing kits are an effective way to prevent this. Seal cracks in floors and skirting boards, line your letterbox and block an unused chimney to reduce your heating bills by up to £35 a year. 11 INSULATE THE ROOF Insulating your roof will stop heat escaping from your home, however, the process can be complicated, so it may be best to employ an expert to do this. While insulating your loft can cost several hundreds of pounds, it can also shave around £135 off your energy bills each year if you live in a typical semidetached house. 12 MONITOR YOUR USAGE Keeping a watchful eye on your consumption levels can help you decide if and when you have to change the way you use energy. Installing a Smart Meter lets you track your consumption with accurate and real time information, and you may be surprised where the most energy is used in your home. 09 INVEST IN DOUBLE GLAZING Double glazing insulates your home from the cold and helps reduce your heating bill, as well as keeping the noise out. If your semi-detached home is entirely single glazed, you could save as much as £110 a year by installing A-rated double glazing. If you are struggling to pay your bill, you should contact your energy supplier to explain what you can pay and when. They are bound by Ofgem rules to listen, consider your ability to pay and to act to support you fairly. Low income households, especially pensioners, can get a £140 rebate on their energy bill under the Warm Home Discount. Remember also that switching to a one or two-year fixed deal gives you greater peace of mind because it provides some protection from volatile global fossil fuel prices. Equally, if you don’t want to switch supplier or you are unable to, contact your supplier who should be able to put you on a better deal and make sure you have access to all the support you are entitled to. SUPPORT IS AVAILABLE

Whether buying or selling We can make it happen Our expert residential property team are here to support you Freehold | Leasehold | Investment purchases | Shared ownership purchases Property transfers | Re-mortgages | Landlord and tenant advice | Lease extensions [email protected] 01206 574431 Home 36 Eco paint Graphenstone's Spring Summer 2022 palette, curated by Betsy Smith. Shown here, Damask (wall) and Persimmon (square) with furniture from The Conran Shop Home We take a look at some of the interior features forecast to be big in 2022, from hope-inducing hues to banish the pandemic blues to multi-functional, family-friendly rooms for work, rest and play. 37 HOT HOME Trends The home that does it all Since the start of the pandemic, our homes have become our workplaces, our sanctuaries and our entertainment venues – and the need for multi-functional space that keeps the whole family happy has never been greater. “The past two years have caused the public to demand more of their homes – as a result, the trends in kitchen design have evolved in a similar fashion,” observes Richard Davonport, Managing Director of kitchen specialist Davonport ( “One of the biggest trends we have seen in kitchen design is the inclusion of a home bar or dedicated drinks area/cabinet,” adds Richard. “With social events having to be hosted at home, whether that be a romantic date night, or an evening to host and entertain guests, there has been a surge in the popularity of home bars.” Play hide and sleek The trend for ‘innovative and beautiful’ storage solutions will continue to dominate kitchen spaces throughout 2022, according to kitchen company, LochAnna ( As work-from-home continues to be a reality, homeowners are reclaiming their space from clutter and tidying it away into practical, designated spaces, while tenants are seeking the same level of space calm. From bespoke lifestyle larders to pull-out storage, there has been a huge increase in demand for integrated solutions. Homes are moving away from open-plan living to a broken-plan style, creating smaller areas of intimacy within larger open rooms to allow the whole family to use a connected space for a full range of activities while still enjoying a degree of privacy when required. A calm and bright outlook After all the doom and gloom of 2021, the predicted colour trends signal hope for the future, with a desire for rebirth and fresh beginnings. According to Kayleigh Jordan, interior design specialist at e-commerce photo frame and print seller, Photo Frames and Art (, colour choices are reflecting the mood post-pandemic with some moving towards calming neutrals while others have chosen to immerse themselves in positive, vivid colours, reaching for optimism sky-high. Dulux’s ‘Colour of the Year’ for 2022 is Bright Skies, an airy, uplifting and fresh but soothing shade that breathes new life into any space and is a gamechanger when used on the ceiling, giving the effect of it melting away. Meanwhile, global colour authority Pantone has unveiled Very Peri – a dynamic periwinkle blue hue with a vivifying violet red undertone – as its new Colour of the Year. “Very Peri possesses the calming qualities of blues with a hint of excitement from its red violet undertone – Home 38 resulting in a colour that’s soothing yet not flat or boring which makes it great for a wall update,” says Rebecca Snowden, Interior Style Advisor at Furniture And Choice ( Escape to the country The pandemic prompted a rush to the countryside as people reconnected with nature, and the country look in the home “experienced a revival, perhaps in part due to the emergence of cottagecore and the stylish rural properties that continue to feature on our Instagram feeds,” observes Alex Main, Director of The Main Company ( “As we enter 2022, this desire for a country-inspired interior has evolved slightly, with a softer colour palette and more modern approach to this timeless trend. “We’re seeing many more homeowners experimenting with materials, creating a contrast between the classic and contemporary to create truly innovative and unique kitchen designs. Exposed beams and distressed brickwork continue to remain popular, but these are cleverly off-set by metallic accents, high-specification appliances and eye-catching lighting.” Paint with personality Last year saw the revival of hand-painted kitchens – and this kitchen trend will continue into 2022, according to interiors specialist Brandt Design ( “Personality and flair is very much at the heart of the modern kitchen, with rich, painted finishes proving the ideal way to create an individual kitchen living space, which enhances both your lifestyle and your family’s needs as we look ahead to 2022,” observes Commercial Director Julia Steadman. “A painted kitchen provides the opportunity to explore a limitless variety of colour, which can bridge home and garden, reflect and enhance your new home’s architecture, or quite simply bring a shade you love into the kitchen. It’s wise to consider which direction your kitchen is facing and the impact of natural daylight on your intended colour scheme.” Eco-friendly homes Homeowners are increasingly asking for eco-friendly alternatives to traditional products and materials, such as water-saving and energy-saving features, and materials manufactured with the environment in mind. Bathtubs made from naturally occurring metals, reclaimed or recycled timber for kitchen cabinetry, and VOC-free paints are set to be more popular than ever before. Ditto heating throughout a new home, with environmental impact an increasingly important consideration for buyers. “We are finding new appetite for heating solutions that provide homeowners with all the advantages of warmth and style without the environmental impact, and so this needs to be factored into the overall ‘design picture’ from the outset,” says Steve Birch, Sales Director at premium radiator specialist Vogue (UK) ( Luxury and hygiene Over the last two years, bathrooms have received an extra dose of love as an inner sanctuary away from the craziness of the outside world.