London house prices hit a new average of £434,000 last year after rising 12 per cent over the year, which means, according to Office of National Statistics figures, that a house costs almost 12.7 times the average Londoner’s annual earnings of just over £34,000. With stamp duty of more than £13,000 on top of that, few of us can afford to go anywhere any time soon.
But it isn’t all gloom for 2014. This is the year to stay put and improve what you’ve got. Go up, out, and sideways. Open out at the back with lots of glass to make a garden room that will transform daily living; go up into the loft making full use of permitted development rights and easier planning rules; glass over that useless side extension for a sunny breakfast/dining room. If you live in a flat, why not reconfigure the rooms you’ve got to make them work better for you; swap the bedrooms and the living rooms around; take down that pointless stud wall; or even just redecorate throughout — it makes such a difference.
On Saturday 25 January you can get a 25-minute session of free advice from an architect who specialises in projects just like this, at the Building Centre, in Store Street, W1, in association with New London Architecture, Heal’s, and the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID).
Twenty architectural practices, all shortlisted in NLA’s recent Don’t Move Improve Awards, for which Homes & Property was a judge, will be on hand to give consultations during the day, which runs from 11am to 4pm. There will be interior designers from BIID on hand too.
To inspire you further, look round the stunning exhibition of 46 winning and short-listed ‘Don’t Move, Improve’ London projects, all done in the past three years, which include extensions, whole houses, stunning makeovers, an incredibly curvy garden shed, a house built round a bookcase, and much more.
Just round the corner at Heals on Tottenham Court Road, interior designers including a colour consultant will be giving one-to-one interiors advice as well.
This is a great chance to get ideas, meet like-minded Londoners, and architects who can help get your year of change off to a flying start.
To find out all the details and book a free consultation, visit newlondonarchitecture.org/DMIday2014
Hurry, places are limited.
- NLA is at The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, W1. Free interior design consultations bookable at Heal’s, 196 Tottenham Court Road, W1.
- The NLA exhibition, Don’t Move, Improve, runs until 6 February, free entry.