Get SUPER ideas by looking closely at other homes..

If a property grabs my attention as I'm walking or driving by I always try to make some time to take a proper look. What is it that's really making the difference?

The two photos below are good examples, snapped during a brief stroll down a few streets near the parade in Leamington Spa; the first - ok  I really love stucco frontages but it's the detail above the window openings on the first floor that are unusual. Fixed pelmets on the outside frame the windows beautifully - and this is a relatively easy look you can try out on any period property.

The second photo shows some (I assume) original sash windows, however, the stand-out feature that made me stop is of course the black painted timberwork, which really makes for a dramatic, modern look.

leamington spa sash windows

I'm itching to try out the new dark grey option now available as standard from our window supplier - grey is a more versatile colour choice as it compliments traditional red brickwork more readily than black.

Decorative metalwork is a winner!

Loving this newly restored mid victorian shop window in Coventry's Far Gosford Street ('FARGO') area... 

decorative metal window panel

It would be great anyway with all that fantastic attention to detail, but hey, look what theyve done to provide security... beautiful decorative metalwork instead of ugly standard shuttering. Apparently made by a guy in one of the small industrial units just off the main street. Nice job!

Autumn is here.. time to think about roller blinds?

I love the look of a good Victorian, or Edwardian window - and a particular feature of the way craftmen put these together is the use of chunky architraves and mouldings to frame the inside opening.

This Autumnal image I took earlier today shows a simple '1 over 1' Heritage Range sash window that we installed into our own attic conversion apartment in Coventry,  with nice ogee-style mouldings. 

It's a relatively dark room, being north-facing and having just this small'ish window so we wanted to maximise the light coming in, and went for blinds rather than a more traditional curtain arrangement. We've used a regular £15 IKEA 'liselott' roller, with an attractive floral design - and this is my top tip - we've installed it so as to only just cover the visable glass area.

This maximises available light the room, and whilst providing some basic privacy screening -  it  also allows for a great view of the beautiful moulding detail around the interior of the window.

On larger bays that would normally require bulky curtains, this is a particularly effective solution for dressing window openings - allowing you to emphasise size and grandeur - and really make a 'WOW' feature of original detailing.

Interestingly, combined with heavy curtains, the majority of Victorian and Edwardian houses will have originally been built with roller blinds operating in this manner as  they were regarded as an important fixture for maintaining a pleasant environment during the daytime - helping to reduce warming due to sunlight in summer, and holding back colder air during winter. We regularly see evidence of the original brass fixing plates when we restore properties.