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Get a new-look kitchen without the price tag with these clever tweaks

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Few want to admit it, but the countdown to Christmas has begun. And after missing out last year, many of us are planning to welcome family and friends into our homes — and so come the inevitable thoughts of a kitchen revamp.

A new kitchen costs from £4,000, according to a survey by RatedPeople, but, of course, the options are endless, from bespoke, hand-crafted creations to High Street offerings. Or, with a few clever tweaks, you can create a new-look kitchen yourself, without the price tag.

‘The kitchen is the heart of the home,’ says Seb Bishop, chief executive of tableware store Summerill & Bishop.

Heart of the home: A new kitchen costs from £4,000, according to a survey by RatedPeople, but with a few clever tweaks, you can create a new-look, without the price tag

Heart of the home: A new kitchen costs from £4,000, according to a survey by RatedPeople, but with a few clever tweaks, you can create a new-look, without the price tag

‘It’s a place where you can sit with loved ones, mull over decisions, share your day and put the world to rights. There has never been a more appropriate time to embrace this.’

Doors to the future 

Changing the doors on your kitchen units gives a quick yet dramatic update. A ream of cool new companies has sprung up to offer new cupboard fronts designed to fit existing carcasses, from Norfolk-based Naked Kitchens to South London company Pluck and Wood & Wire, based in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire.

A cheaper option is a lick of paint. If you have wooden doors, sanding them down to repaint is relatively easy; for acrylic cabinets, try Rust-Oleum spray paint.

Moody lighting

Installing the right lighting is crucial to designing a successful scheme. It is helpful to build in different elements — spotlights, pendants and side lamps all enable you to vary the mood.

‘In the kitchen, where you might need a little more direct and focused lighting, inbuilt cabinet lights are a practical solution. 

They avoid overbearing glares, and you can still see what you’re doing,’ says George Miller, home designer at Neptune Fulham.

For a statement piece above a table or an island, Ochre has recently launched its Drifter pendant, made from recycled cricket bats (from £5,850, while Neptune has a range of table lamps, such as its Dalston design (£130).

Floor upgrade

Ripping up old vinyl is one of the first things people do when they embark on an upgrade, but then what? 

Sanding and varnishing floorboards is an inexpensive option if the boards are in good nick. If not, opt for a few coats of floor paint.

For cosiness, add a rug. ‘You can layer up by opting for multiple rugs in different finishes that overlap, for instance a woven rug paired with sheepskin,’ says Wil Law, home design stylist at John Lewis.

Choose one that’s easy to clean, such as the range from Weaver Green (made from recycled plastic bottles), for peace of mind (from £45).

Mind the tap

Changing the sink taps sounds like a small update, but it can be a room-altering decision. 

A new sink tap can change the look of your kitchen, without costing the earth

A new sink tap can change the look of your kitchen, without costing the earth

‘If your kitchen is clean and minimalist, go for a high-quality tap with a tarnished look in brass or brushed steel to add warmth and depth,’ advises Niki Brantmark, founder of the blog My Scandinavian Home. ‘Always go for the highest quality you can afford, as you use it all the time.’

For vintage taps, try waterandwood.co.uk, or Samuel Heath has a range from industrial to modern.

It’s not just the taps — upgrading all hardware from light switches to handles can make a big difference. Try Crofts & Assinder Bioko Cabinet Pull Handle (£18.30) or Ikea does a range of leather ones (£10 for two).

Set the table

Danish researchers found that eating at a table with a cloth on made people enjoy their food more.

‘From our 27 years of professionally laying the table, we know that this not only heightens the enjoyment of your meal, but also extends the time spent at the table,’ Bishop says.

Add circus fun with Summerill & Bishop Le Cirque Linen Tablecloth (£275) or try a washed linen tablecloth from H&M (£39.99). Layer up the scene with coordinated napkins, plates and glassware.

What your home needs is a… pleated lampshade 

Next stocks the Laura Ashley Helmsley range (pictured), ( £40 to £50, next.co.uk)

Next stocks the Laura Ashley Helmsley range (pictured), ( £40 to £50, next.co.uk)

Sometimes the emergence of a trend can be puzzling. Pleated lampshades are a case in point. They may be pretty, but they do require a lot of dusting.

A pleated lampshade (also known as shirred or gathered) is an easy way to soften the décor of a room at little expense — which is the reason why your home needs one.

Wilko has a pink velvet shade for £20, for example. 

At The Range, you can find a grey lamp and shade for £27.99. 

Next stocks the Laura Ashley Helmsley range in blush pink, cream, crimson red, dove grey, ochre, sage green and silver (£40 to £50).

John Lewis offers the Lymington lampshade in blush, grey or navy (£40 to £45).

But this is also a chance to bring some print into your interior. Shades bearing the Indonesian ikat pattern cost from £29 to £138 at Pooky.  

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Russian TV host refuses to apologise for report on mock nuclear attack on Ireland

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The Russian state television host who broadcast a graphic of a simulated nuclear attack destroying Ireland has rejected a request from Taoiseach Micheál Martin to apologise for the programme.

In a follow-up report broadcast on state-owned television channel Russia-1 on Sunday night, television host Dmitry Kiselyov refused to apologise for the animated graphic broadcast earlier this month showing a nuclear strike off the Irish coast erasing Ireland and Britain from the map.

On Sunday’s programme, Kiselyov, a Kremlin supporter and state propagandist, described Ireland as “collateral damage” in a potential nuclear attack by Russia on the UK in any escalation of tensions between the countries over Russia’s war on Ukraine.

While distinguishing between Ireland, a neutral country, and the UK, Kiselyov repeated the assertion in the original report that “the whole British archipelago was basically a sinkable island” and that Russia has “every capability for such a nuclear retaliation”.

Referring to Irish political and public reaction to the original report broadcast at the start of this month, the Russian TV host said: “Ireland literally flew into a rage. Of course as a neutral country, it wasn’t nice for Ireland to become collateral damage in Britain’s clash with Russia.”

The news report, according to a translation tweeted by the BBC digital journalist Francis Scarr who monitors Russian state television, quoted the Taoiseach describing the Russian media report as “very sinister, intimidatory tactics by the Russian Federation”.

“I don’t think anyone’s going to be intimidated by it. I think it reflects a mindset that is worrying and not in touch with reality. I think there should be an apology forthcoming,” the Taoiseach was quoted as saying on the Russian programme against a photograph of Mr Martin.

Kiselyov said he completely agreed that an apology should be forthcoming but that it should come from British prime minister Boris Johnson, falsely claiming that the UK leader had made a “groundless threat to strike Russia” that had led to the original report and simulated attack.

“But we’re not intimidating anyone. Talking about capabilities has an anti-war modality. As they say, let’s not start. It will end badly. It’s better to live in peace,” said Kiselyov.

Fianna Fáil MEP for Ireland South Billy Kelleher said the Russian state-owned station still owed an apology to the Taoiseach and the Irish people over the report and mock attack.

He described the Russia presenter as “a mouthpiece” for Russian leader Vladimir Putin and that “anything said by him were effectively the official views from the Kremlin”.

“It shows how delusional their foreign policy is. It shows how removed they are from understanding what neutral countries are,” he said.

“It is indicative of Russia’s view of the world and how they believe they can obliterate a nation if they feel that is necessary to protect themselves even if there is no threat coming from Ireland.”

The reports on the Russian national broadcaster were “outrageous”, “completely unacceptable” and “indicative of the delusional state of the entire Putin regime,” he said.

“We simply cannot have what are official media outlets relaying huge threats to wipe Ireland off the face of the earth, a neutral country that has never once threatened Russia,” he said.

Labour Party foreign affairs spokesman Brendan Howlin TD described the host’s comments as “both delusional and menacing on a number of fronts”, including how the television station was conflating Ireland and Britain.

“Ireland is a neutral country but as the people of Ireland have very ably demonstrated in the last two months, we are not neutral in relation to the illegal and immoral assault on the people of Ukraine by Putin,” he said.

“We will not be intimidated by grandiose, farcical threats emanating from Russia. This is not a comic book; this is a painful reality for millions of Ukrainians.”



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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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