CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

How to get maximum value from your redecoration project

PUBLISHED: 16:20 24 January 2017 | UPDATED: 15:54 03 February 2017

For those hoping to make the most out of their redecoration project, Bruce Clark has some pointers

For those hoping to make the most out of their redecoration project, Bruce Clark has some pointers

Archant

Heritage expert Bruce Clark from built environment consultancy Nash Partnership highlights the problems DIY can cause for an old property and explains how to get the maximum value from a redecoration project

Many people seek historic surroundings because they prefer the sense of permanence and the style of old houses. Yet no matter how well a property has been kept or how good a condition it is in, most new owners seek to redecorate a property to suit their own sense of taste and lifestyle. This raises the conundrum of how to keep the sense of history while updating the property without copying the past. Certainly with listed properties, solicitors increasingly need proof that all alterations were carried out with the proper approvals.

Condition is key

In the past, ‘style’ was the preserve of larger property owners, who employed professional designers and tradesmen to do the work. The largest properties often kept rooms unaltered for decades after the initial expense. A large portion of the population rented property and had neither the time nor the funds to re-decorate.

The period of skills and material shortages after the war saw the start of a DIY revolution in Britain. People repaired and upgraded properties that had suffered years of enforced neglect, often with severe problems arising from the lack of maintenance.

The post-war years also led to the use of new materials that can be harmful to the fabric of historic buildings as well as a loss of the traditional skills base. Decoration and refurbishment done by well-meaning amateurs who intended to improve the property often led to the loss of historic features that people now cherish and/or long-term damage to the main building fabric. This includes, for example, damp as a result of indiscriminate use of cement renders or the removal of fireplace surrounds when central heating was fitted. Yet unattended buildings fall into a spiral of decay and, in time, become un-suitable for living in.

Redecoration project - Exterior before updating the propertyRedecoration project - Exterior before updating the property

Get value from your investment

As well as updating a property to suit modern lifestyle and tastes, most people decorate as part of a maintenance regime to retain or improve the value of a property both aesthetically and financially, making it more marketable whether for rent or sale.

To get maximum long-term benefits from redecoration, the building must be understood and issues with the substrate should be properly addressed. Otherwise, the benefit will be for the short term only, and the work could be harmful in the long term. If surface conditions or substrate are not sound, the decorating process is compromised and the results can be very short lived. Plasterwork, masonry and timber fillers can fail to harden and unsuitable paint can peel, crack or fail to dry completely. Wallpapers can fail to stick and (water) stains can appear through the paper.

However, decoration and style can add financial as well as aesthetic value to a property if they are well thought out.

Examples

The decoration should work with the building, not against it, but this does not mean recreating the past. Indeed, what most people refer to as ‘restoration’ is a modern take on history, viewed through the lens of current expectations. Modern expectations and experience, particularly with regard to light and colour, are very different from historically correct schemes. To modern eyes, these schemes often look either garish in modern lighting, or gloomy with very limited colour palates.

Photography by Tony Mcateer for Mayberry Fine InteriorsPhotography by Tony Mcateer for Mayberry Fine Interiors

Where one seeks to re-create or restore traditional joinery or plaster, the correct profiles and materials should be used. Many modern copies that appear reasonable in isolation stand out as ‘mean’ or too decorative when directly compared.

Summary

Often, less is more. Work done simply and well will enhance the property more than a complex decorative scheme carried out with inappropriate materials or poor workmanship.

Nash Partnership is a built environment consultancy with conservation expertise. We have nearly 30 years’ experience of conserving built heritage for private owners, local authorities, trusts and national companies. We’d love to hear from you if you’re interested in the subject. Please contact Bruce Clark at Nash Partnership on 01225 442424.

Enjoy reading about all things property? You might like...

3 top tips for renovating or buying an old property

London property market: why people are relocating to the West

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Homes & Gardens

From 1970s horror to 21st-century chic, Sami and Kate Attia have transformed their beautiful Regency apartment in the city of Bath

Read more
Monday, November 19, 2018

Property prices across Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds have risen steadily over the last few years, reflecting the trend across the country. But which area has shown the most dramatic hike in prices recently, and how does your postcode and house type compare with others in the area? You may be surprised to see the results...

Read more
Monday, November 19, 2018

From mini Norway spruces to luxury Nordman firs, here are eight of the best places to get a luscious, green tree in the Cotswolds this festive season

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

After a new home in the Cotswolds or looking to relocate within the region? We bring you 16 of the best housing developments in the area

Read more

Neil and Alison Smith wanted a project, but then their old coach house began to reveal its interesting little glitches

Read more
Monday, October 22, 2018

When your wood flooring is in need of TLC, help is at hand, says Scarlett Harris of ATC in Cheltenham

Read more
Friday, October 12, 2018

Martin Smart, a director at Shipston-based Hayward Smart Architects, extols the value of appointing an architect

Read more
Friday, October 5, 2018

We look through the keyhole of some of the Cotswolds’ most luxurious houses on the property market

Read more
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

As we head into Autumn, the change in season is all around us. From the leaves on the trees turning burnt orange and fiery red, to dark mornings and nights bookending our days. As we put the clocks back an hour to battle the darkness, here’s some top tips on how you can keep your home warm and costs down this Autumn.

Read more

Sometimes it can seem like destiny plays a hand at where we end up living, as Fiona and John Owen discovered when they found their dream converted chapel in Chalford

Read more
Friday, August 31, 2018

Rural energy provider, Calor, gives some top tips for homeowners wanting to make their houses cosy and warm in time for the colder months.

Read more

Water voles and trench warfare were just two of the problems faced by the family renovating a 1720s hunting lodge

Read more

The small, dark rooms of this 1850s cottage near Tetbury were completely reconfigured to open up the space

Read more
Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Cirencester based kitchen manufacturer and showroom has won a prestigious national trade award for the second year running

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search