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A touch of GLASS: Striking, steel-framed window panels are popping up in homes across the country 

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Well, is it finally time for the bi-fold door to concertina to one side and let another glazing style have a look-in?

Because Crittall – dramatic, steel-framed walls of glass, dissected by slim bars – is wooing interiors fans looking to add a more edgy, studio feel to their living space, both indoors and out in 2021.

If you’re not familiar with the name, you’ll certainly recognise the style. Until now, Crittall has been the preserve of urban loft apartments, trendy bars craving an industrial look and historic buildings – including the Houses of Parliament. 

Clear style: An arched screen by Crittall Windows separating off a kitchen

Clear style: An arched screen by Crittall Windows separating off a kitchen

Victorians, the Art Deco movement and Modernists all loved Crittall long before we gave it an Instagram hashtag.

Where did it begin? Enterprising ironmonger Francis Henry Crittall first brought steel windows to the market in 1884, from his workshop in Braintree, Essex. 

By 1909, he had created the Fenestra joint, a super-strong welding bond that allows linear bars to be as slender as possible, ensuring sight lines aren’t intrusive. Steel frames promise reduced noise, good insulation and security.

Francis’s company, Crittall Windows, remains an ongoing homage to British manufacturing, selling worldwide, with just 13 suppliers in the UK trusted to fit its frames.

You’ll need deep pockets to install them though. Authentic Crittall costs around £2,700 per square metre, although the arrival of copycat aluminium frames has made a ‘heritage’ look much more achievable.

Adding Crittall-style elements to your interior via shower screens, doors, even a beautifully arched mirror, offers the look with less noughts on the price tag. 

Interior designer Kelly Hoppen is a huge fan, having used Crittall on design projects across the globe, buying up frames powder-coated in her trademark taupe – although black remains the classic choice.

‘It was really architects that first used them on the outside of buildings and now people have started to use them for open-plan living with a studio look,’ she says.

If you’re lucky enough to have originals in your home – a pretty set of 1930s French doors can fetch hundreds, if not thousands, on eBay – then celebrate them, says Hoppen. ‘Simply make your interior eclectic to enhance them.’

And for those with champagne tastes and lemonade pockets, Hoppen offers up a bargainous hack: humble lead tape, which costs around £10 a roll. ‘It sounds weird coming from me,’ says Hoppen, ‘but it can work, I’ve seen it done really well.’

The biggest downside to all that glass? You’ll need a patient window cleaner.

INTERIOR WINDOW WALLS

Striking, versatile and positively de rigueur, the window wall is coming to a Georgian townhouse or Victorian terrace near you. 

Open-plan living gifts light and space but also increases noise; listening to a thundering washing machine while watching Netflix is a reality many discover when the brickwork has long gone. 

An interior screen offers compromise, a partition that preserves the flow of light and creates stylish zones in the home.

Get the look: A Crittall Innervision internal screen costs from £5,894 including installation.

BYE-BYE BI-FOLD?

Our passion for gleaming panels of glass that seamlessly merge the outdoors with the indoors remains entirely achievable with this look. 

Narrow glazing bars still let light flood in but bring a gridded, utilitarian feel that makes almost any kitchen style, from shaker to minimalist, shine. 

Black double-height French doors with matching fixed panels and a satin brass Art Deco-style handle finish an open-plan kitchen-diner or extension.

Feeling bold? Many companies will let you mix and match panel sizes and spray frames in any colour from the RAL spectrum – telemagenta pink, anyone?

Get the look: Aluminium heritage French doors with fixed side and top panels cost £5,260, including fitting, from 1stfoldingslidingdoors.co.uk.  

IN THE BATHROOM

‘We’ve seen shower screens become statement pieces in the last year,’ says Jodie Andrews, at Crittall Windows. 

One simple panel of framed screen, or a mirror with glazing bars, can be instantly transformative, giving monochrome, marble or grey bathrooms a fresh, urban aesthetic. Ideal for wet rooms.

Get the look: Framed wet room panels cost from £179 each at victoriaplum.com

OPEN-DOOR POLICY

Single MDF or wooden doors are big light blockers in a living space, so replacing them with a transparent alternative lets natural daylight chase shadows away. Affordable and easy to install; there’s no need to tamper with brickwork.

Get the look: A Soho internal door from The Posh Door Company costs £229 (excluding fitting, with hinges and handles extra).

What your home really needs is a… TERRARIUM 

In the mid-1840s, a London doctor called Dr Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward gave the world the terrarium, an ornamental indoor garden in a glass container. 

The word terrarium evolved later, by substituting ‘terre’ (land) for ‘acqua’ (water) into the aquarium.

You should have one of Ward’s inventions because Victoriana is a growing trend. Terrariums are beautiful, fascinating and require little up-keep.

The Urban Botanist supplies ready-assembled miniature gardens, such as the Wardian Bonsai Greenhouse which is on sale for £109.95 - or you can create your own design

The Urban Botanist supplies ready-assembled miniature gardens, such as the Wardian Bonsai Greenhouse which is on sale for £109.95 – or you can create your own design

The ferns, mosses and other plants suitable for this type of cultivation flourish thanks to photosynthesis. 

Light comes through the glass of the container. The water vapour, created by the evaporation of the plants and soil, gathers on the sealed container walls and trickles down to provide moisture. 

If you prefer cacti and succulents, opt for an open terrarium which has to be misted with water.

The Urban Botanist supplies ready-assembled gardens, such as the Wardian Bonsai Greenhouse, (£109.95) or the DIY Grande EcoSystem (£119.95).

If you prefer to create your own design, Waitrose Garden stocks stones, soil, tools and a 5-litre terrarium bottle (£36.99). Wayfair has a lantern-shaped container (£29.99).

A terrarium plant collection costs £29.99 at Crocus.

Anne Ashworth

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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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Bournemouth is the most popular coastal town for buyers, says Rightmove

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The most popular seaside location for house hunters this year has been Bournemouth, new research has revealed.   

Rightmove identified the top ten most in-demand coastal areas in Britain, based on the highest number of buyer enquiries via its website.

The Dorset resort is the most popular, followed by Southampton, Hampshire and Brighton, East Sussex, with the South coast dominating the list. 

Rightmove has identified the top ten most in-demand coastal areas in Britain

Rightmove has identified the top ten most in-demand coastal areas in Britain

The top ten list also includes Blackpool, Lancashire – a coastal resort known for its amusement arcades and donkey rides – where prices have increased 8 per cent in the past year to £137,301.

It compares to the average house price in the top 10 locations, which rose 6 per cent this year. 

It is just ahead of the national average rise of 5 per cent, from £318,188, to £333,037. These figures are based on an average between January and November 2020 compared to January-November 2021. 

At the same time, Rightmove provided a list of coastal locations that have seen the biggest increases in house prices this year.

Padstow in Cornwall topped that list of coastal hotspots, with prices rising 20 per cent this year, from from £548,382, to £658,588.

The most popular seaside location for house hunters is Bournemouth (pictured), according to Rightmove

The most popular seaside location for house hunters is Bournemouth (pictured), according to Rightmove

AVERAGE ASKING PRICES IN COASTAL HOTSPOTS 2021
Rank Location Average asking price 2021 Average asking price 2020 Average asking price increase 2021 vs 2020
1 Padstow, Cornwall £658,588 £548,382 20%
2 Whitby, North Yorkshire £254,218 £217,620 17%
3 St. Ives, Cornwall £473,161 £411,484 15%
4 Porthcawl, South Glamorgan, Bridgend (County of) £307,051 £270,505 14%
5 Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire £173,612 £153,140 13%
6 Newquay, Cornwall £317,846 £281,204 13%
7 Filey, North Yorkshire £214,617 £189,914 13%
8 Pwllheli, Gwynedd £222,607 £197,213 13%
9 Brixham, Devon £299,127 £266,604 12%
10 Preston, Paignton, Devon £303,684 £272,029 12%
Source: Rightmove       

It was followed by Whitby, in North Yorkshire, which came second, with prices rising 17 per cent from £217,620, to £254,218. 

Cornwall’s St. Ives is in third place, with average values rising 15 per cent from £411,484 to £473,161.

A house with a good sea view and location will cost you, as it will probably be worth at least 40 per cent more than the equivalent inland, if not more.

Robin Gould – Prime Purchase 

Robin Gould, director of buying agency Prime Purchase, says: ‘Many people love the idea of living beside the sea, even more so since the pandemic struck and we have all been spending more time outside. 

‘However, a house with a good sea view and location will cost you, as it will probably be worth at least 40 per cent more than the equivalent inland, if not more. 

‘A frontline house is arguably worth 30 per cent more than one immediately behind it.

‘I recently bought a “frontline” house near Polzeath in north Cornwall for a client, which was right on the cliff top with stunning coastal and sea views.  

‘Although the house itself was very “vanilla”, most people would have forgiven it anything to have that ever-changing, interesting view.’

Also among the most popular coastal locations for homebuyers is Brighton (pictured)

Also among the most popular coastal locations for homebuyers is Brighton (pictured)

QUICKEST COASTAL MARKETS TO FIND A BUYER
Rank Location Average asking price 2021 Average time to find a buyer 2021 (days) Change in time to find a buyer 2021 vs 2020 (days)
1 Saltcoats, Ayrshire £111,419 19 -35
2 Troon, Ayrshire £178,666 22 -8
3 Westward Ho, Bideford, Devon £297,138 24 -46
4 Ayr, Ayrshire £161,301 25 -15
5 Kessingland, Lowestoft, Suffolk £219,538 25 -22
6 Littlehampton, West Sussex £364,180 26 -28
7 Goring-By-Sea, Worthing, West Sussex £396,078 26 -23
8 Marske-By-The-Sea, Redcar, Cleveland £181,882 28 -15
9 Canvey Island, Essex £308,261 28 -23
10 Weymouth, Dorset £283,585 29 -25
Source: Rightmove       

The red hot property market this year has translated into the time it takes to find a buyer hitting a record low number of days.

The average time find a buyer across the whole of 2021 is 44 days, 15 days quicker than the average in 2020.

Saltcoats in Ayrshire is this year’s quickest coastal location to find a buyer, at 19 days on average.

Troon in Ayrshire came second at 22 days, and Westward Ho, in Bideford, Devon was third at 24 days.

Calshot beach was included as Southampton, which features in the top ten most in-demand coastal areas in Britain

Calshot beach was included as Southampton, which features in the top ten most in-demand coastal areas in Britain

THE INCREASE IN COASTAL SEARCHES IN 2021
Rank Location Average asking price Increase in searches 2021 vs 2020
1 Morecambe, Lancashire £164,424 32%
2 Blackpool, Lancashire £137,301 21%
3 Great Yarmouth, Norfolk £194,066 15%
4 Swansea, Wales £180,603 15%
5 Saltburn-By-The-Sea, Cleveland £227,611 15%
6 Southampton, Hampshire £249,053 14%
7 Llandudno, Conwy (County of) £235,316 13%
8 Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, South West Wales £319,587 12%
9 Southport, Merseyside £215,838 12%
10 Scarborough, North Yorkshire £191,879 12%
Source: Rightmove     

Meanwhile, Morecambe, Lancashire saw the biggest jump in coastal buyer searches compared to last year, up 32 per cent, followed by Blackpool, up 21 per cent, and Great Yarmouth, up 15 per cent.

Tim Bannister, of Rightmove, said: ‘After a year where coastal locations really captured the imagination of British buyers, it’s interesting to reflect on how the overall picture looks at the end of the year.

‘In terms of average asking price growth, homeowners in Cornwall and Devon are the real winners this year, with properties in some areas outpacing the national average, though this does mean that it is increasingly difficult for some locals to get onto the ladder.

‘The speed of this year’s market really is astounding, seen in the time to find a buyer in some areas, particularly in Scotland.

‘Overall, this has been the year that either through changed lifestyle priorities, or the ability to work remotely, living in coastal areas has become possible for more buyers, which is reflected in the data we’re seeing in this study.’

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UK to require all incoming international travellers to take Covid-19 test

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All international travellers arriving into the UK will be required to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test – while Nigeria is being added to the British government’s travel red list, British health secretary Sajid Javid has said.

Mr Javid said the government had decided to move after receiving new data about the spread of the Omicron Covid-19 variant, which emerged in southern Africa.

“Since we have learned of this new variant our strategy has been to buy time. We have always said we will act swiftly should new data require it,” he told broadcasters on Saturday.

“Over recent days we have learned of a significant number of growing cases linked to travel with Nigeria.

“There are 27 cases already in England and that’s growing. Nigeria now is second only to South Africa in terms of linked cases to Omicron.”

Mr Javid said that the number of cases of Omicron in Britain had now risen to about 160.

Under the new rules, from 4am on Monday only British and Irish nationals travelling from Nigeria will be allowed into the UK and they must isolate in a government-managed quarantine hotel on arrival.

And from 4am on Tuesday, anyone travelling to the UK from countries not on the red list will be required to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test a maximum of 48 hours before leaving, regardless of their vaccination status. – PA/Reuters

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