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New TV show Flat Out Fabulous helps Generation Rent transform their homes

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Flat Out Fabulous! New TV show aimed only at tenants helps Generation Rent transform their homes for the cost of a big night out

  • Flat Out Fabulous is a new TV makeover show aimed only at tenants
  • The first episode sees the makeover team help seven students living in Salford 
  • The show is on BBC Three from this Sunday and repeats on BBC One next week

There are plenty of TV makeover shows for homeowners, but there is little on offer for Generation Rent.

This is where a new TV show comes in that aims to redress the balance and transform unloved rentals.

Flat Out Fabulous sees interior designer Whinnie Williams and her co-host Tyler West visit housemates across the country to help redecorate their rental homes in a stylish but thrifty way, with the landlord’s permission, of course.

Flat Out Fabulous is a new makeover show for tenants, with this living room transformed in a Roaring 20s style by interior designer Whinnie Williams

Flat Out Fabulous is a new makeover show for tenants, with this living room transformed in a Roaring 20s style by interior designer Whinnie Williams

The first episode of the new TV show sees the Flat Out Fabulous team help seven students living together in Salford

The first episode of the new TV show sees the Flat Out Fabulous team help seven students living together in Salford

The BBC programme is a fresh take on makeover shows that have largely been aimed only at homeowners.

The rental transformations still all happen on a restricted budget – for the cost of what the housemates would collectively spend on a big night out.

The show reveals plenty of ideas for tenants on buying, decorating and upcycling, proving that it is possible to add as much style to rentals as a property that you own.

There are, of course, restrictions on rental properties that do not exist on owned properties. Permission needs to be obtained from the landlord and more information on tenants’ responsibilities are outlined in tenancy agreements.

Before: The students' living room needs updating
After: The students' living room is transformed

Before and after: The students’ living room is transformed into a designer space on a budget

Before: The uninspiring living room contains second-hand red sofas and a dated coffee table

Before: The uninspiring living room contains second-hand red sofas and a dated coffee table

Before: The living room was previously in neutral colours with darker flooring and furnishings

 Before: The living room was previously in neutral colours with darker flooring and furnishings

The Flat Out Fabulous team: Interior designer with herWhinnie Williams and her co-host Tyler West

The Flat Out Fabulous team: Interior designer Whinnie Williams and her co-host Tyler West

Before: The old furniture

After: The new furniture

Before (left) the living room was dated, but it has been transformed into a modern space (right)

Flat Out Fabulous is available on BBC Three – available on iPlayer – from this Sunday. It repeats on BBC One, with the first two episodes on BBC One at 10.35pm and 11.05pm on Tuesday, July 20.

The first episode sees Whinnie and Tyler in Salford to meet seven students who want to give their rental home a new lease of life.

Housemates Elliot, Jemima, Toby, Charlie, Max, Anna and Stan felt their living room wasn’t an appealing space, with second-hand red sofas and a dated coffee table.

They wanted a stylish space where they could entertain friends, watch movies and relax.

The housemates were provided with a space where they can entertain their friends, watch movies and relax

The housemates were provided with a space where they can entertain their friends, watch movies and relax

On a designer budget: Winnie creates her own version of a gold palm leaf standing lamp

On a designer budget: Winnie creates her own version of a gold palm leaf standing lamp

The housemates all agree on a love of neutral tones. But Whinnie ignores their ideas and injects some colour into the room. She adopts a roaring 20s cinema theme, with snakeskin wallpaper and a gold ceiling.

There’s a snack station fireplace, a teal velvet sofa and cinema seats. And Whinnie involves the housemates too by upcycling a coffee table with gold leaf. She also creates her own version of a gold palm leaf standing lamp.

Whinnie explains: ‘We got all of the landlord permissions. We wanted to make it as realistic as possible. Everything we’ve done, if you were moving out, can be fixed with a lick of paint, by filling a few holes and it is back to how it was.’

And Tyler added: ‘If you don’t have permission, you still have options. There’s’ still some things that Whinnie does if you’re on a budget, such as put a rug down to cover the carpet or put a new bit of material over a sofa.

‘Whinnie delivers some hacks and tutorials if you don’t have permission. This is instilling skills in, and inspiring people that no matter where you’re renting, you can do something with your space.’

  • Flat Out Fabulous, episodes one to five are available from July 18 on BBC Three
The coffee table is upcycled with gold leaf

The new living room has a smart teal velvet sofa

The new living room has a smart teal velvet sofa and a coffee table upcycled with gold leaf

Do I need to ask my landlord’s permission to make changes? 

There are usually restrictions on redecorating if you’re renting property and so you will always need to check with your landlord first.

While a landlord’s and tenant’s responsibilities are outlined in the shorthold tenancy agreement – and this may cover redecorating – is it still worth outlining your plans in writing.

Nathan Emerson, of Propertymark, said: ‘It is always good practice to check in with both your landlord and letting agent ahead of any significant redecorating.

‘Often landlords will be more than happy to let you spruce the property up with a lick or two of paint. 

‘If your landlord is open to the idea of you decorating your rental property, you should make sure to agree who will pay for the materials, a colour scheme for the rooms you wish to decorate, and a schedule of work, in order to eliminate any difficult conversations or disputes further down the line. Confirmation of permission to do so in writing is always preferable.

‘There are also a few personal touches you can easily put on your rental home without prior approval and just because you’re renting it doesn’t mean you can’t make the space your own. 

‘Invest in some indoor plants to add some life and a homey feel to your rental property, and add your personal stamp to a rental home by displaying interesting art pieces throughout. 

‘There is also an increasing number of temporary decorating measures you can take, such as self-adhesive wallpaper which can be removed at the end of your tenancy without a trace, as well as vinyl sheet flooring that can be ripped up within minutes when no longer needed.’

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Orange warning in place for five counties on west coast

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Violent storm force 11 winds are expected off the west coast as Storm Barra approaches on Tuesday morning.

Met Éireann has upgraded its marine weather warning to red, the highest category, on Irish coastal waters from Galway Bay to Bantry Bay from 3am on Tuesday morning to 11pm tomorrow night.

A status orange warning is in place on land for the counties of Galway, Clare, Limerick, Kerry and Cork from 6am on Tuesday morning until the same time on Wednesday morning.

Counties included in orange warning could see damaging gusts of up to 130km/h which will head to high waves, high tides, heavy rain and storm surge.

The rest of the country will be under a status yellow warning for the same period with the possibility of localised flooding.

Met Éireann head of forecasting Evelyn Cusack told Newstalk Breakfast that the storm system is developing rapidly over the Atlantic at present and will hit Ireland’s western seaboard on Tuesday with strong gale force winds which will quickly extend across the country.

There will be heavy rain turning to sleet and snow on higher ground, she warned.

Met Éireann will meet with gardaí, local authorities and emergency services this morning to update the progress of the storm and provide advice on what precautionary measures should be taken.

“It will be a pretty horrid day,” added Ms Cusack who advised against cycling.

The high winds and heavy rain will continue throughout Wednesday but they will have moved on by Thursday.

On RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland, senior meteorologist Liz Walsh warned that trees could be knocked down during the high winds. She also advised that outdoor street furniture should be taken in or tied down and cautioned that Christmas decorations could be damaged.

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Coronavirus rules for driving tests spark complaints

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Claims of rude testers, of not being allowed to cough and having to drive with windows open due to Covid-19 were among the complaints received from people who failed driving tests recently.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA), which oversees driving tests nationally, released a sample of the 1,505 complaints received since the start of last year under the Freedom of Information Act.

New figures show the driving test centre in Cork had the highest pass rate with 75 per cent of people passing, while the lowest was Charlestown in Dublin with a 42 per cent pass rate.

One person complained he had told his tester he had asthma and might need to cough because he had recently changed inhalers, causing irritation to his throat.

“I was advised that if I coughed at any stage, the test would be over immediately. This was difficult to control while under exam pressure and added a huge amount of unnecessary stress and pressure,” the individual complained.

Another individual complained their tester said if their face mask slipped “a little bit from my nose” while driving, the test would be ended.

“I’m in shock how he treated me that day,” said the complainant.

Another learner driver who failed said their car was hot and “very uncomfortable” because the tester said the hot air de-misters had to be kept on to prevent the windows fogging up because the back windows had to be kept open due to Covid-19.

One complainant said the tester seemed to have prejudged the test when they spotted a small stain on the driver’s seat as the car was supposed to be “spotless”.

‘Anxious’

“The tester was clearly taking it too far. I was complying with all Covid precautions as I had just Hoovered and sanitised the car and it was simply a mark on the seat.”

There were general complaints beyond Covid-19 issues. One person complained about feeling “anxious” because the tester was “sitting there shaking his head”.

Another said their tester repeatedly shook his head and sighed several times, and then made notes on the score sheet, which was “extremely off-putting and really unfair”.

Another driver said the tester was “extremely condescending and patronising” and mocked their answer to a signpost theory question about an “unguarded cliff edge”.

“We don’t drive along cliff edges in this country,” the tester was quoted as saying.

The RSA has been dealing with a backlog of driving tests due to the pandemic.

The centres with the next highest pass rates were Clifden (71 per cent), Killester in Dublin (70 per cent), Birr, Co Offaly (70 per cent) and Cavan (69 per cent).

The test centres with the next lowest pass rates were Dublin’s Churchtown, since closed (44 per cent), Nenagh, Co Tipperary (44 per cent) and Mulhuddart (45 per cent) and Raheny (46 per cent), both in Dublin.


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Former US presidential candidate Bob Dole dies aged 98

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Bob Dole, the long-time Kansas senator who was the Republican nominee for president in 1996, has died from lung cancer. In a statement, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, founded by Dole’s wife, said: “It is with heavy hearts we announced that Senator Robert Joseph Dole died earlier this morning in his sleep. At his death at age 98 he had served the United States of America faithfully for 79 years.”

In late February, Dole announced that he had advanced lung cancer and would begin treatment. Visiting him, President Joe Biden called Dole his “close friend”.

On Sunday the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, like Biden a Democrat, ordered flags at the Capitol to be flown at half-staff.

Born in Russell, Kansas in 1923, Dole served in the US infantry in the second world war, suffering serious wounds in Italy and winning a medal for bravery.

His wounds cost him use of his right arm but he entered state politics and soon became a longtime Republican power-broker, representing Kansas in the US House of Representatives from 1961 to 1969 and in the Senate until 1996. He had spells as chairman of the Republican National Committee and as Senate minority and majority leader.

In 1976 he was the Republican nominee for vice-president to Gerald Ford, in an election the sitting president lost to Jimmy Carter. Two decades later, aged 73, Dole won the nod to take on Bill Clinton.

Against the backdrop of a booming economy, the Democrat won a second term with ease, by 379 – 159 in the electoral college and by nine points in the popular vote, the third-party candidate Ross Perot costing Dole support on the right.

Dole received both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest US civilian honours.

In the Trump years and after, Dole came widely to be seen as a figure from another time in Republican politics.

On Sunday, the political consultant Tara Setmeyer, a member of the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, tweeted: “I cast my first ever vote for president for Bob Dole in 1996. A war hero with a sharp sense of humor ? another piece of a once respectable GOP gone.”

However, Dole remained a loyal Republican soldier, telling USA Today this summer that though Donald Trump “lost the election, and I regret that he did, but they did”, and though he himself was “sort of Trumped out”, he still considered himself “a Trumper”.

Dole called Biden “a great, kind, upstanding, decent person”, though he said he leaned too far left.

He also said: “I do believe [America has]lost something. I can’t get my hand on it, but we’re just not quite where we should be, as the greatest democracy in the world. And I don’t know how you correct it, but I keep hoping that there will be a change in my lifetime.”

On Sunday, Jaime Harrison, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, said: “Sending heartfelt condolences and prayers to the family of Senator Bob Dole. We honor his service and dedication to the nation. May he Rest In Peace.”

– Guardian

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