Taking on a home improvement project can be a daunting prospect. No matter how much you want it! The thought of planning and organising alone can leave you in need of a good lie down. Whether you are attempting a small repair or a complete overhaul, though, there are a number of steps that you can take to help smooth your path.
5 Ways to Take the Stress out of your Home Improvement Project
When you’re planning a beautiful new extension, you don’t want anything standing in your way.
Planning permission can be a real headache, but if your project needs it there can be severe penalties for not having it in place. Not all extensions and building projects will need planning permission, but the rules can be complicated and it’s not always easy to figure out.
To make life easier, we’ve created a simple planning permission calculator that will help you work out …
Planning permission is a pain. There, we said it. Introduced back in the 17th century, it’s main aim was to prevent tumble down shacks and the squalor of the less affluent areas of town, affecting those better off. Today though, it has many aims: safety, preservation, conformity, social cohesion and many more, and all in all, it does help to ensure that our communities maintain good standards for living.
As we all know the alphabet goes right from A-Z – and do does the A-Z of Apropos Outdoor Living. So, this week we’re bringing you the part we like to call 2! If you missed last week’s instalment, you can find it here.
N – is for late Nights out in the garden, under the stars.
O – is for the cultural phenomenon that is Outdoor Living.
Today we’re sharing with you another of our case studies from the archives. This garden room was commissioned for a period building and so needed to be sympathetic to this aesthetic. When we talk about sympathy in architecture, what we mean is that the two styles marry well, and this gorgeous garden room is a great example.
It’s not surprising that one of the most frequently asked questions on our Facebook and Twitter pages is how much will it cost? In order to efficiently plan for a new conservatory or extension you’ll need some idea of the overall budget, after all. Being bespoke though, means it’s not always easy for us to provide exact costings and off the peg quotations.
Each and every one of our modern glass and aluminium conservatories is entirely bespoke. Custom made to the exacting design specifications for each of our clients and …
Despite our country wide dismissal of expert opinion in recent times, it still stands to reason – if not poll results – that consulting an expert, when looking to make a big decision in a field you’re unfamiliar with, is the best way to go.
At Apropos, we have a vast wealth of knowledge in architecture in glass; the term we like to use for our modern glass and aluminium conservatories, …
Start any conversation about architecture, anywhere, with anyone, and you can guarantee that within the first five minutes, form and function will be mentioned.
Goodness knows, we’ve mentioned them enough on these Apropos blog pages! They are the ever-driving forces behind the craft, the yin and the yang that make up the whole, but can they be separated and prioritised? Is it possible to say which matters most?
It’s easy to hazard that for the majority of people the gut instinct …
Back in the days before cheap package holidays abroad became the mainstay of the British holiday scene, Apropos had a holiday attraction to match Blackpool Tower or Brighton Pier. Rhyl’s Floral Hall was so popular with tourists that it was bestowed the ‘Royal’ prefix.
Opened in 1959, it was built by Apropos’ predecessors, Hartley Botanic, for the local council. It immediately became a huge favourite with visitors enjoying the exotic plants and foliage that thrived in the warm, favourable conditions inside the Hall.
For over 50 years Apropos have been designing, manufacturing and installing breathtaking glass and aluminium structures for use in stately homes and domestic properties alike; each one unique, and each one perfectly tailored to our clients needs.
Still today we design and manufacture our bespoke aluminium and glass extensions right here from our Manchester based factory, before heading out across the UK to marry them with …
With modern glass and aluminium structures, the days where conservatories were abandoned, along with the flip flops, at the end of every August, only to be reopened in time for a Spring cleaning, are far behind us; now you can be comfortable in your glass structure every day of the year.
Our resident Sales Manager; Paul Schofield, tells us how.
Will a modern conservatory affect insulation within client’s homes …
We’re often asked about which structure would be best for particular clients, and always asked what the differences between our structure types are. Being a bespoke company, we find it hard to define the different structures we design, as each one is actually just another bespoke structure. However, there are a few ways to tell your way around the three main structure types – which we’ll share with you today.
Planning can be a minefield, and even the most carefully planned and designed project can come a cropper at the planning stage. Nonetheless, some great structures can be created within permitted development rights.
For instance, adding a conservatory to a house is considered to be permitted development, not needing an application for planning permission, subject to the limits and conditions listed below:
No more than half the area of land around the “original house” would be covered by additions or …
Forgive us for spelling it out quite so plainly, but we’ve recently received a wave of enquiries referring to the use of our conservatories all year round. With people across the social stratosphere then going on to debate the finer points of how this is simply not possible. Well, we’re here to tell you – it is. Apropos’ conservatories, extensions and orangeries are super thermal and energy efficient – and that’s official!
Apropos’ Paul Schofield is back – and this week he’s providing you with all the dos and do nots of adding value to your property with a bespoke glass and aluminium design.
“What are the best ways to add value to your home?”
“High quality, bespoke extensions are a great way of adding real value to properties at a time when you want to get the most out of your property,” says Paul. “Beautiful bespoke conservatories and orangeries can give properties a …
Sympathy in architecture is often discussed, but what exactly do we mean by a ‘sympathetic structure’, and how can we achieve it?
It’s a question that can be split into two distinct categories; built environment and natural environment; does a building enhance or detract from the aesthetic of the place in which it is situated; and is it environmentally – ecologically – sound? Achieving both of these goals could be easier than you think.
If there is one architect to have gone down in the annals of American history, it has to be Frank Lloyd Wright. It seems almost unfair that one man should have been subject to so many revolutionary ideas, but it’s to him that we owe such a great number of the theories and techniques that have shaped the architecture of the modern world.
Honest expression was Wright’s first passion; the belief that no …
Apropos’ commercial manager, Paul Schofield, answers questions about the increasing popularity of glass in building design. So grab a cuppa’, sit down and relax whilst we take you through everything you need to know about modern glass design.
Q: Why has glass grown in popularity?
A: “Historically, the modern day popularity of glass can be traced back to 1851 – effectively Year Zero in the history of modern …
Apropos used to out-source all its powder coating to external companies. However, we brought the process in -house for three reasons:
We wanted to produce even higher standards of finished paint quality, and we believe we have achieved that via a six-step testing process that ensures we consistently achieve an optimum paint coverage on all parts of our bespoke structures.
We have been able to introduce an innovative environmentally friendly process …
We’ve been designing architecture in glass of the highest quality and standards for decades now. With award winning designs that stand the test of time, add value, space and light to your home and help to bring your property firmly into the future.
Glazing though, is a constantly evolving industry as is the world of architecture, which is why we’re always on the lookout for ways to keep our offerings …
Homeowners wanting a lean-to conservatory in time for next summer should be considering their options now, according to conservatory experts.
A bespoke lean-to conservatory cannot be created overnight. As a unique piece of architectural design, all of Apropos contemporary orangeries, glass extensions and bespoke conservatory designs take time to devise, create and install. And, depending on whether or not your lean-to conservatory requires planning permission, …
Ever increasing standards in the aluminium windows industry means aluminium windows are stronger, slimmer and more energy efficient than ever before; providing homeowners with unrivaled standards in quality and value.
Apropos is one company leading the way – our aluminium windows have the highest energy rating available on the market; but, what does this mean?
Aluminium windows now have to adhere to a ratings system that measures their energy efficiency. The …
Permitted Development is a wonderful thing; allowing us to create the extra room space we need in our homes, without the added hassle of a full planning application. This information however, is still unknown by some and can often deter homeowner’s from taking on home improvement projects.
However, provided your intended building project meets the criteria of permitted development law, you can accomplish much more than you thought – without involving your local council. We’ve put together some examples below to help give you a better idea of the type …
Apropos’ glass and aluminium structures are super thermal and energy efficient – and that’s official!
Conforming to the highest regulatory thermal and energy efficiency standards, Apropos’ lean-to conservatories can be enjoyed in the summer months and the closer seasons. Apropos’ aluminium conservatories offer thermal efficiency to rival most alternative building materials.
So, what does this mean for the homeowner?
It means that during warm weather, temperature will be …
Planning permission can be a daunting thought, often enough to keep any thoughts of a home renovation way off most people radar. But, what most people don’t always realise is that many home improvement projects can be completed under your permitted development rights – which allow for certain construction to be undertaken without the need for lengthy planning applications.
So, here at Apropos, we thought, with the weather being so predictable…well unpredictable, we should give you some expert advice on utilising your conservatory when it takes a turn for the worse.
With modern glass and aluminium structures, the days where conservatories were abandoned, along with the flip flops, at the end of every August, only to be reopened in time for a Spring cleaning, are far behind us; now you can be comfortable in your glass structure every day of the year.
Considering a bespoke conservatory? Here are the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions, to help get you started!
Will my bespoke conservatory need planning permission?
Planning permission and building regulations will be required unless your proposed bespoke conservatory is acceptable under ‘permitted development’. If in doubt, seek advice from the local planning authority or the Government’s Planning Portal.
Improving, rather than moving, may no longer be as necessary as it seemed a couple of years ago; with the economy slowly recovering and the housing market back in motion. But, that’s not to say there is no longer any reason to improve or add to your home.
Whether you’re looking to sell your property, and reap as many rewards as you can, or simply wanting to make …
Planning a new conservatory is an exciting time, but it’s easy to find it scuppered by planning permission in the later stages if you don’t do your homework first.
Under the regulations that came into effect on 1stOctober 2008, conservatories are considered to be permitted development, that means they don’t need planning permission. However this is subject to local planning permission and building rules, plus other regulations such as whether your house is listed and the area in which you live.
The housing market is tentatively on the up and many people may be wondering about whether to move or improve in order to take advantage of this rise in property value.
Improving remained in vogue throughout the lull across housing prices and has the added benefit of adding value to the home you own. So why stop now? If all you want from the home you have is a little extra breathing room, less droughts and lower bills or if you’re after a more ambitious grand designs style face lift, …
If you’re a regular visitor to the Apropos news pages, you’ll probably have noticed that there are a number of terms we bandy around quite often when discussing glass architecture. What we don’t often discuss is what those terms mean, and whether or not they’re likely to work for you, so today we thought that we’d take a look at one of our most popular items – the Lean-to Conservatory.
We’re very environmentally aware here at Apropos. The three Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle – feature largely in our ethos, and it’s one of the reasons we like to construct our glass architecture with aluminium frames; yes, it’s strong, malleable and durable, but it’s also eminently recyclable, so when many years hence your Apropos doors, windows or conservatory are no long needed, the frames can go on to find a new life elsewhere.
What does worry us though, is what happens to all of those doors and windows that Apropos …
Formal permission from a local authority for the erection or alteration of buildings or similar development.
1. This planning permission application is such a headache.
2. Your planning permission application has been declined.
3. Argh! The stupid, nit-picking, pedanticism of the council planning permission board!
It’s funny how much stress a simple piece of paper can bring into your life, but there’s nothing like a planning permission application to grind your teeth to stubs. It’s not just the hair-splitting, although there’s plenty enough of that; …
With more and more people extending their homes to maximise space potential, roof lights have become an increasingly important part of modern architecture, delivering an attractive, practical and financially viable natural light source.
Available in various forms – flat, peaked, lantern – skylights can transform a dull, stuffy room into a bright and airy space, without taking up room on …
Design, of any kind, is subject to fashion, and trends change at the drop of a hat. While couture and interiors can be fixed with relatively little expenditure, when it comes to architecture, you’re in it for the long haul, so when today’s classy cutting edge becomes tomorrow’s brutalist monstrosity, the choices are limited: like it; lump it; or foot the bill to change it.
With any domestic structure, whether building a home from scratch or adding an extension, it pays dividends to keep in mind that you’re building for …
If there has been one dominant domestic topic in 2014, it has to be saving energy. There is hardly a household in the whole of the kingdom that wouldn’t like to see their energy bills reduced, and there’s a very good many searching to do their bit for the environment. So why should it stop for the festive season? The answer is that it shouldn’t!
What’s at the top of your Christmas wish list this year? Lovely presents? A lottery win? A happy fuss-free day without any culinary disasters? A recent survey by Duette®, a leading energy-saving blinds company, has revealed that what more than 40 per cent of adults are really wishing for is lower heating bills… Possibly not the easiest thing for Santa to wrap up and leave under the Christmas tree!
If you’ve happened to be watching Channel 4 on Wednesday nights for the last six weeks, the chances are that you would have watched Grand Designs. The show has been on our screens for 15 years, showcasing some of the best – and occasionally the worst – of British architecture in action. Whether it’s been done poorly or well, there is one thing that the programme has made clear; glass is becoming an ever more important aspect of the modern home.
Planning permission. Utter those two words in home-building circles and you’ll hear heaved a collective sigh strong enough to blow away a small village in Shropshire. It’s the bane of many a life, and yet it does have its benefits; if you can’t build a twelve metre high viewing platform at the end of your garden, neither can your neighbours!
Avoiding the planning police is a simpler affair than you …
Think of an orangery, and many people will conjure up visions of grand stately homes, the likes of which few of us could ever afford, but while orangeries do have an air of elegance and luxury, it’s perfectly possible to incorporate one into an average family home. And unlike the conservatory which can require the requisitioning of a fairly large area of external space, with some canny design, a bespoke Apropos orangery can be squeezed into the most diminutive plots.
So much for a gentle decline into autumn – October has come in with storming fury; a timely reminder that winter is near at hand.
A season of mixed blessings, winter is probably the time of year that needs the most preparation: the weather is miserable, and yet there are many events to plan for; the happiness of spending time with loved ones is tempered by the problems of having to accommodate them; money is finite, yet the demands for it are infinite. October is a good time to make …
There are many reasons for deciding to commission a home extension, but ultimately, they all come down to space.
Your house seemed perfect when you laid down your deposit, but that was before you had children/started working from home/became a model rail enthusiast/needed somewhere to store the bodies. If it’s the latter scenario, Apropos may not be the right firm for you – it’s quite hard to conceal anything when you’re working with glass, although Switch glass, or Ultra White Laminated may be an option! – but even so, the …
If you’re already an Apropos customer, or toying with the idea of becoming one, you’ll probably already know that we employ aluminium frames in all of our structures, from the tallest atrium to the smallest skylight. It’s super strong, it’s eco-friendly, it can be recycled endlessly and it’s incredibly malleable, making it uniquely useful in the glass architecture field.
So, that’s what you already know. Here are some fun facts that might not be …
Just over 75 years ago Apropos founder, Vincent Hartley, patented the world’s first aluminium-framed glass building. It was a greenhouse. Although the company went on to develop and diversify, we’ve had three quarters of a century to get to know every part of our trade, and that includes both learning the basics and staying close to our roots. As such, we’ve picked up a handy hint or two about greenhouse maintenance. With high summer here and seedlings being hardened off, unless you’re growing tender fruits your greenhouse shelves will be …
We all talk a lot about energy efficiency these days, and so we should. By maximising the efficiency of our homes, we’re directly influencing the amount of money we spend on our fuel bills, our carbon emissions, and the damage we inflict on the environment. Our windows, doors and glazed extensions are usually the primary cause of heat-loss in our homes; as uncoated glass is intrinsically thermally sensitive, it allows heat and cold to pass almost unhindered.
So, you’ve saved a deposit. You’ve consulted a mortgage advisor. You’ve secured your finances. And, you think, you’ve found your dream home. Sure it’s seen better days; it’s ragged around the edges and the lay out isn’t perfect, but it’s got great bones and there’s nothing wrong that a few bottles of disinfectant, a lick of paint, new carpets and – when you’re feeling brave – may be an internal reconfiguration won’t fix… Is there?
One of the most expensive aspects of building or extending a home is the employment of an architect. The reason for this is that it takes skill, knowledge and experience to get the best from a property. However, it is possible to reduce fees by beginning your design yourself.
At Apropos we regularly work with customers who wish to create their own designs, so we know what it takes to …
Glass extensions have always held appeal for home-owners, bringing a new dimension to a property. The problem is that once you’ve got your conservatory or orangery, it can be difficult to find a way to make it your own. So, how can you stop your glass box from looking like every other?
Starting from Scratch
If you are planning to build a glazed extension, the simplest way to instil personality …
It can be difficult and perplexing to navigate UK planning regulations. While developing your home can be rewarding and comes with many benefits, working out what does and does not fall within current ‘permitted development rights’ has been known to induce headaches in the best of us.
The problem is that rules change and caveats are linked to almost all statements, with period properties, flats and those situated in Conservation Areas, National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads, each having their own additional legislation.
Extending your property can be hugely rewarding, but there are a number of considerations to take into account before you embark on a building project.
We want our customers to get the very best from their Apropos experience, and to do that we believe that knowledge and preparation are key. Here are six things for you to think about before beginning a home extension.
There are a number of questions that we’re regularly asked at Apropos, but there’s one that never goes out of the top ten; what is the difference between an orangery and a conservatory, and which would be better for my property?
On the surface, the answer could seem like a case of semantics; after all, both structures are home extensions made from glass, but there’s a little more to consider if you truly want to get the best from your home.
It is often said these days that there is no such thing as community spirit. For many of us, our only interaction with our neighbours is a quick hello in passing; many more don’t even know what their neighbours look like, let alone their names. But even if you are on friendly terms, willing to provide the proverbial cup of sugar, you can bet your bottom that if a home extension is on the cards, your relationship will change.
A conservatory can dramatically enhance both the functionality and aesthetic of a home, but there are a number of points to consider in order to get the very best from your investment.
A sensible place to start is with the question, why do you want a conservatory? These days, conservatories are used for a variety of purposes; dining, relaxing, socialising, growing plants, or any combination of the above. The way in which you intend to use your conservatory should always play a part in the design process to avoid expensive …
It’s such a small word; why. And yet, it produces manifest emotions. Why sits at the heart of everything we do, and while some of us hide from it, others hunt it down. At Apropos we embrace it.
Because we’re proud of what we do.
Changing your home in any way can be a daunting prospect. You want the best, but you don’t want to spend too much; it can be difficult to know where to look for assistance. Selecting a contractor can be fraught with risk, and when …
They’re simple things, windows. Every house has half a dozen and we’ve been making them for thousands of years, so here at Apropos we thought it only fair that we share some of our knowledge with a handy how-to. Here’s our recipe for making windows.
Firstly, prepare your glass.
You will need the following:
Silica sand Sodium carbonate Calcium oxide (or magnesium or aluminium oxide for added …
We’re an approachable bunch here at Apropos, always willing to answer client’s questions. However, we know that there are times when you need to know now, so here’s a list of our top twelve Apropos FAQs.
Q) I have a period property, could an Apropos extension work for me?
A) Yes, but every project should be defined by its own merits. If …
If there are any two words likely to bring a shiver to the spine of an experienced home renovator, they are planning permission. Forget dry rot, subsidence and dodgy contractors; planning permission has turned more heads grey. At Apropos we deal with local Planning authorities everyday and we’ve picked up a tip or two throughout the years.
If you’re thinking of enhancing your home with an Apropos glass extension, we …
Have you heard of the phrase blue sky thinking? For most of us, it has been consigned to that annoying section of the English language generally referred to as Office Speak. There it is joined by expressions such as think outside the box, paradigm shifting, transitioning and kick into touch; pointless jargon intended to lyrically obfuscate the listener while the speaker pretends that they know what they’re talking about. Just occasionally though, there’s an exception to the rule, and with Pilkington Activ – it’s blue skies all the way.
This week the Head of our Design Team, Brendan Day, took some time out to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Apropos and kitchen design.
Q: Can an Apropos kitchen extension work on a period property?
A: There are few property styles or periods that can’t work well with an Apropos structure. Because our system is bespoke and we manufacture what we need, we can usually ‘manage the architecture’ of the property and either reflect it or …
Moving home is said to be one of the most stressful life events, second only to bereavement, and yet the debated benefits of moving vs improving always roll on – largely because many people don’t comprehend A) what can be achieved with a little bit of imagination, and B) that a large budget isn’t always required for life-changing results.
This week we’d like to show you a few examples of just what you could get for your money if you choose to improve with Apropos.
Q: What connects the moon, your smart phone, sapphires and your Apropos conservatory?
Aluminium is one of the most plentiful metals on the planet (and on the moon, apparently!). It can be recycled more or less limitlessly. It is incredibly strong – four strategically placed six-packs of aluminium cans will support the weight of a 1.8 tonne car. It has a melting point of 660.4°C (1220.7°F), so even the most ferocious of house fires will not bring it down. And with skill, it can be cast …
It can be a complicated business, renovating your home. First there’s the design, then you have the technicalities; what materials should we use; how will we insulate; will it be light/dark/private enough; is it secure. Then you move onto the glass; life seemed simple when the question revolved around single, double, or triple glazing and cost was the main concern. Now, there is such a diverse range available that it …
We don’t wish to labour the point, but conservatories have got bit political lately. With its crystalline transparency, you might think that the glass house would be anathema to politicians, but at the recent party conference Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander, forthrightly said that anyone who didn’t understand the aspirational pull of conservatories was not fit to lead the Labour party. Strong, and somewhat controversial, words.
For a couple of years we’ve been hearing about the troubled housing market, and although things are now tentatively on the up, your home may still not be ‘worth’ what you originally paid for it. Especially if you purchased during the heady days of boom. While it is widely acknowledged that home improvements can increase the value of a property it is a tricky path to tread – with many unwary home-owners inadvertently spending money to no discernible effect. However, there are ways and means to not just increase the …
With wages frozen and the cost of living creeping ever upwards there’s little wonder that we’re once more becoming a nation of make-do-and-mend-ers. Wherever you look someone is offering how-to tips on up-cycling, free-cycling, recycling and getting the most from your home for the least amount of cash. But while Kirstie Allsopp and Sarah Beeny make it all look so easy, can it really be that simple to both save …
So, you’re thinking of having an Apropos glass extension?
Adding light and value to your home, increasing functional space and improving quality of life are all within easy reach; you just need to settle on a design. That, however, can be where the confusion starts, not least when it comes to the conservatory/orangery debate.
So what is it that separates these two glass extensions? Superficially, it would seem that it comes down to brickwork, but the story is slightly more complicated than that.
Let’s talk about doors. There’s not a day goes by when we don’t use a door and yet we never really think about them. Wooden, metal, glass, hinged, sliding, automatic; like so many minor pieces of architecture, they are ignored until they go wrong. But at Apropos we know what a difference a door makes. They’re not just things of functionality; a carefully chosen doorway can enhance a space; completely changing the aesthetic of a room and the way we live within it. Therefore, we think that they deserve some …
Summer is such a short affair here in the UK and it seems real a shame to waste it, so although we hate to be party-poopers we thought that we’d let you know that the time is drawing near when we’ll be forced to call ‘last orders’ for summer sun – or at least, for a guaranteed Apropos installation in time for summer.
Whether you want to kickback in a conservatory, get away from it all in a garden room, or gaze at the world from your glass veranda, there …
The new building scheme, which will see extensions being such as conservatories being added to homes and businesses without planning permission, may continue for more than the proposed three-year period, the government has said.
It was revealed earlier this year that planning permission will be dropped in order to encourage people to carry out extensions in order to support the construction industry and to “encourage entrepreneurial activity”
Minister Nick Boles has said that the scheme could be retained if “everybody is happy”.
This week the government has unveiled controversial new plans to shake up the laws of planning permission; something which usually elicits a large groan, accompanied by one horror story or another, from the majority of those who have had any experience trying to get their renovations through the system. Luckily, here at Apropos, we handle all planning applications and building regulations for you; in order to relieve you from the pain and suffering caused by long delays and unjustified refusals.