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Versatile living: Stylish furniture that works Indoors or outdoors

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The once firm distinction between indoor and outdoor furniture is fast disappearing, as people seek out smart and durable pieces that will adorn both the exterior and the interior.

This new attitude is partly based on minimising the CPU (cost per use) of any item. We may all hope that the sun will shine during the coming Bank Holiday weekend, and that many glorious weeks will follow, allowing us to enjoy our gardens or balconies.

But it makes economic sense to invest in tables, seating and tableware that can work just as well inside for 52 weeks of the year, if the summer weather disappoints.

Dual-purpose: The Morso outdoor log oven will cook dinner while keeping guests cosy

Dual-purpose: The Morso outdoor log oven will cook dinner while keeping guests cosy

Another reason to opt for the indoors and outdoors piece is the shortage of dining sets and other outdoor essentials that’s being caused by the post-lockdown surge in garden socialising. 

If you have to wait several weeks for delivery, it’s consoling to know that something will still be a source of pleasure and utility when the nights draw in.

Also isn’t it better (and more environmentally friendly) that an outdoor item should earn its keep inside, rather than clutter up the shed, or be stacked on a balcony?

Opting for the indoors-outdoors items has the added benefit of bringing what architects call ‘biophilic’ design into the home. It seems that our well-being is enhanced if we are surrounded by items that evoke every aspect of nature.

For example, the Zuiver Ranger Outdoor rug (£399 from Cuckooland) comes in two different palettes; green and gold and grey and gold, conjuring up the colours of the most beautiful British landscapes. Uplifting in a garden, but also in a sitting room in winter.

The Blenheim outdoor range starts from £249

The Blenheim outdoor range starts from £249

All-seasons seating

The first Lloyd Loom chair was created more than a century ago, and this seating, made not from cane or rattan, but from twisted paper and steel, still looks perfect in any type of garden, or indoor space (sitting room or bedroom).

The Blenheim outdoor range starts from £249. B&Q offers the Apolima bench (£126) or chair (£63), either of which could make the move from the terrace to a contemporary living room.

Colourful cusions 

Weatherproof outdoors cushions can withstand the elements, a quality that also keeps them looking spruce indoors in busy (or clumsy) households.

Bazaar's range of cushions (£19.99 each, bazaar-group.uk) features lemon trees and other exotic patterns

Bazaar’s range of cushions (£19.99 each, bazaar-group.uk) features lemon trees and other exotic patterns

Warner House supplies cushions in glorious 18th century chinoiserie prints that add glamour to anything from a rattan chair to a grand sofa (£40 each).

The collection from Andrew Martin includes muted designs, like Gypsum rock and the vibrant Volcano Lava, an amber and white ikat pattern (£70 each).

The range from Bazaar (£19.99 each) features lemon trees and other exotic patterns that would transport you to a foreign shore on a gloomy November evening.

Turning the tables

A trellis table such as the Baunton table with two benches from the Cotswold Company (£699) is ideal for dining under the stars, or for kitchen suppers in midwinter.

If you are looking for a budget buy, the grey slatted top polypropylene Dunelm Trabella table (£99) is serviceable and elegant.

Take it inside and it makes a stylish working-from-home desk that many will believe is wood, not plastic.

If you may be returning to the office, what’s the point in laying out a large sum for a desk?

The Brabantia Bo Touch four-legged bin in red

The Brabantia Bo Touch four-legged bin in red

Statement bins

The Morso outdoor log oven, a Danish creation for cooking pizza, steaks and salmon, is this year’s choice for those who like to exhibit their chef skills. 

But anyone who is splashing out £999 on this status symbol needs a decent bin for food preparation and other alfresco dining trash. 

The Brabantia Bo Touch four-legged bin in red, white, silver and black has two compartments, for rubbish and recycling (£164, Wayfair). This is a bin that would cut a dash anywhere.

Perfect crockery

At stately houses in the past, the family watched peacocks strut across the lawn while being served drinks on the terrace.

The peacock feather print trays from the home range of Matthew Williamson (£80 to £110) pay homage to this elegant era.

John Lewis (johnlewis.com) has clear and blue glasses (£5 each) and tumblers  (£4).

The peacock feather print trays from the home range of Matthew Williamson (pictured, £80 to £110, matthew williamson.com)

John Lewis has clear and blue glasses  at £5 each (left). The peacock feather print trays from the home range of Matthew Williamson (right), £80 to £110)

Plastic glasses may offend the sensibilities of many wine lovers, but they are practical and ideal for larger indoor gatherings when these can happen again. John Lewis has clear and blue glasses (£5 each) and tumblers (pictured left, £4).

The bamboo and melamine dinner plates (£17.50 for a set of four) from the Marks & Spencer outdoor range have images of fish and would supplement white crockery all year round.

the £99 'go-anywhere, rechargeable, portable and dimmable' Bud Light from Heals

the £99 ‘go-anywhere, rechargeable, portable and dimmable’ Bud Light from Heals

Alfresco lighting

Candles, lanterns and festoon lights create atmosphere for alfresco entertainment, but for real illumination you need a portable lamps such as the £99 ‘go-anywhere, rechargeable, portable and dimmable’ Bud Light from Heals.

It can serve as a night light in a child’s room or as extra lighting if you want to read in a darker corner of a sitting room.

Anne Ashworth

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Sirius Real Estate sells London business park for €18.8m (GB)

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Sirius Real Estate has agreed to the sale of an asset in Camberwell, London, for €18.8m (£16m), representing a NIY of circa 2%. The property formed part of the portfolio Sirius acquired in November 2021 with its purchase of BizSpace, the leading provider of regional light industrial, workshop, studio and out of town office units across the UK. The sale price represents a 94% premium to the valuation at the time of Sirius’ acquisition of BizSpace.

 

The multi-tenanted business park, which comprises approximately 34,700ft² of industrial and office space is 91% occupied following a series of asset management measures delivered through the BizSpace platform. The sale is expected to complete in July 2022.

 

Commenting on the transaction, Andrew Coombs, Chief Executive Officer of Sirius Real Estate, said: “This disposal is further proof of the latent value in the BizSpace portfolio we acquired late last year, the price being significantly ahead of last September’s valuation on which our purchase was based, and the attractive sale follows our recent announcement that we had since improved like-for-like rental income across the portfolio by 7.5%. The sale will allow us to invest in new opportunities for BizSpace in the UK as we continue to build our acquisition pipeline. Bringing together the Sirius and BizSpace platforms, with a strengthened management team at BizSpace, is already delivering strong results and operational synergies that will enhance our UK portfolio.”

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Southwold beach hut which is 10ft wide with no running water or electricity up for sale for £250,000

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A beach hut in an upmarket seaside town which is famed for its celebrity visitors has gone on the market for a record £250,000.

The price is believed to be the highest ever to be asked in the UK for a hut which people are not allowed to sleep in – and is double the cost of a three bedroom terraced house just 10 miles away.

The hut, numbered 149 and called ‘Here’s Hoping’, measures 10ft 6ins wide and is in a prime position on the promenade in the Edwardian town of Southwold, Suffolk.

The resort has always been a popular retreat for well-heeled Londoners and celebrities including Chris Evans, Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis.

Beach huts on the south coast can be more expensive with selling prices for some in Dorset exceeding £500,000.

But the huts in Southwold, which have no electricity or running water, are subject to strict local by-laws which ban anyone from sleeping overnight.

A beach hut called 'Here's Hoping', pictured, which sits on the promenade of the upmarket seaside town Southwold in Suffolk, Doset, famed for its celebrity visitors, has gone on the market for a record £250,000

A beach hut called ‘Here’s Hoping’, pictured, which sits on the promenade of the upmarket seaside town Southwold in Suffolk, Doset, famed for its celebrity visitors, has gone on the market for a record £250,000

The price is believed to be the highest ever to be asked in the UK for a hut which people are not allowed to sleep in. The hut, called 'Here's Hoping' and numbered 149, measures 10ft 6ins wide and is in a prime position on the promenade in the Edwardian town

The price is believed to be the highest ever to be asked in the UK for a hut which people are not allowed to sleep in. The hut, called ‘Here’s Hoping’ and numbered 149, measures 10ft 6ins wide and is in a prime position on the promenade in the Edwardian town

The resort has always been a popular retreat for well-heeled Londoners and celebrities including Chris Evans, Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis. Beach huts on the south coast can be more expensive with selling prices for some in Dorset exceeding £500,000

The resort has always been a popular retreat for well-heeled Londoners and celebrities including Chris Evans, Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis. Beach huts on the south coast can be more expensive with selling prices for some in Dorset exceeding £500,000

The buyer will still have to pay annual ground rent of £998 and will only have 18 years left of a 30 year lease, although there will be an option to renew.

They will be able to enjoy spectacular views from a veranda overlooking the beach and the North Sea, while being just a short walk from pubs, restaurants and shops.

But just 10 miles away in Lowestoft, Suffolk, there are several homes up for sale, priced between £120,000 and £140,000.

But the huts in Southwold (pictured), which have no electricity or running water, are subject to strict local by-laws which ban anyone from sleeping overnight

But the huts in Southwold (pictured), which have no electricity or running water, are subject to strict local by-laws which ban anyone from sleeping overnight

Southwold beach (pictured) has always been a popular retreat for well-heeled Londoners and celebrities including Chris Evans, Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis

Southwold beach (pictured) has always been a popular retreat for well-heeled Londoners and celebrities including Chris Evans, Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis

Huts in the best locations within Southwold, which is famed for its Adnams brewery, pier and lighthouse, are rarely on the market and some have been in the same family or generations

Huts in the best locations within Southwold, which is famed for its Adnams brewery, pier and lighthouse, are rarely on the market and some have been in the same family or generations

Several semi-detached homes in the area offer three bedrooms, one bathroom and two reception rooms, and is located 0.1 miles away from Lowestoft railway station.

Another property on the market is a £90,000, three-bed semi-detached bungalow at Broadlands Park and Marina in Lowestoft which has a garden, one bathroom and one living room.

The listing for the beach hut boasts that it has ‘glazed double folding doors’ and ‘a number of storage cupboards’.

The previous highest price asked for one of Southwold’s 300 beach huts was £150,000 in September 2018.

Prices have soared since then as property prices have continued to increase and the demand for staycation breaks following the Covid epidemic has boomed.

Huts in the best locations within Southwold, which is famed for its Adnams brewery, pier and lighthouse, are rarely on the market and some have been in the same family or generations.

Several semi-detached homes in the area offer three bedrooms, one bathroom and two reception rooms, and is located 0.1 miles away from Lowestoft railway station

Several semi-detached homes in the area offer three bedrooms, one bathroom and two reception rooms, and is located 0.1 miles away from Lowestoft railway station

Many are rented out for around £600 a week to visitors who flock to the town.

The latest asking price is more than double the price of a three bedroom terrace house on the market for £110,000 around ten miles away in Lowestoft, Suffolk.

More than half the properties in Southwold are second homes and the full-time population is now below 1,000, putting extra strain on local services.

Earlier this year, councillors unveiled plans to try and stem the number of second homes in the town and make more affordable housing possible for local people.

A spokesperson for estate agent Flick & Son, which is selling the hut, said: ‘I am sure it will go very quickly.

‘There is a high demand for huts and we expect there will be a bidding war in the end.’

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EU will retaliate to any unilateral action on NI protocol, Coveney warns

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British prime minister Boris Johnson has been warned of the consequences of unilateral action on the Northern Ireland protocol, including the prospect of “retaliatory” action from Europe.

On the eve of Mr Johnson’s visit to Belfast, the Government and Sinn Féin said moves to disapply parts of the protocol risked damaging east-west relations.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney spoke of a “landing zone” for negotiations and indicated that the European Union was willing to make adjustments through “partnership and dialogue” due to what he said were “legitimate concerns” within unionism about the operation of the protocol.

However, he also said that if London moved unilaterally it would make matters “significantly worse” and that “then the EU will be forced to respond to that with some form of retaliatory action”.

Mr Coveney said it was not “helpful” to expand on what form that might take, but that a response “would be very negative”.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said “there is a real and urgent obligation now” for Britain to engage with the European Commission “in a real and professional way to resolve issues that have been raised”.

Powersharing

Ahead of talks between Mr Johnson and Northern Irish political leaders aimed at restoring powersharing at Stormont, Sinn Féin’s northern leader Michelle O’Neill said unilateral action would “represent an appalling attack on the international rule of law”.

“Only through joint agreement with the EU can solutions to problems or concerns be resolved,” she said.

“I will be telling Boris Johnson that unilateral action deepens political instability and economic uncertainty and must not happen.”

Ms O’Neill is to meet Mr Martin in at Government Buildings Dublin on Monday morning ahead of her meeting with Mr Johnson.

Mr Coveney travels today to Brussels for a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council and will later speak with EU negotiator Maros Sefcovic and British foreign secretary Liz Truss, who is expected to announce legislation on Tuesday that will unilaterally override central elements of the protocol.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Coveney said Mr Sefcovic is open to making “significant progress” on the protocol.

“I believe there are solutions we could pursue and we can agree relatively quickly if there was an attitude to do so on both sides,” he said. “But we need a partner in London to do that, not a partner that is making threats of unilateral action.”

Envoy

The Minister also said he believes it is “likely” that US president Joe Biden will appoint an envoy to the North, saying the US administration is “extremely interested” in marking 25 years since the Belfast Agreement next year with “its institutions intact and functioning as they need to be”.

Mr Johnson is expected to affirm his commitment to the agreement and assert that he is not seeking to scrap the protocol. But Downing Street said ahead of his meetings with the North’s party leaders that he will not drop his government’s threat to unilaterally disapply parts of the protocol, which Mr Johnson agreed with the EU in 2019.

Downing Street said in a statement that Mr Johnson will tell party leaders that the door will always be open to “genuine dialogue” but that “there will be a necessity to act” and protect the Belfast Agreement if the EU does not change its position.

Writing in Monday’s Belfast Telegraph, Mr Johnson outlined that the protocol “has not been adapted to reflect the realities of the [Trade and Co-operation Agreement]”. He will signal that there is “without question a sensible landing spot in which everyone’s interests are protected”. However, he said that if the EU’s position does not change, “there will be a necessity to act”.


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