New build oak framed cottage - HerefordshireCountry Kitchen, West Midlands
What Houzz contributors are saying:
Bulk buy vinegar and baking sodaA dream cleaning duo, bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar can supplement, or even take the place of, many conventional cleaning products, saving you cash as well as ridding your home of unnecessary chemicals. Look for stockists that sell large bottles of each to cut down on cost and excess packaging, and have a browse online for cleaning tips – there are plenty of great ideas and tutorials out there.Why every home needs this eco-friendly miracle cleaner.
Protect the sink area“The sink is the area that needs the most care,” Helen says. “However, if you’ve oiled it a lot at the beginning, and at regular intervals afterwards, it shouldn’t be a problem. We would recommend the underside of the sink is well sealed around the basin to prevent water getting in below.”Pia reiterates these points and adds, “If you’re not having a different material around the sink area, you have to be very careful about wiping away water as soon as the sink’s been used. Also re-oil the area around the sink more frequently than in other areas of the kitchen.”Tell us…Are you planning to install wooden worktops in your kitchen, or have you had them for a while? Share your tips and tricks for keeping them in good condition in the Comments section.
Invest in everyday itemsThe things you touch and use each day should be of good quality and bring you a little bit of joy on a daily basis. That doesn’t mean splurging on expensive taps, but investing in a new set of linen sheets, a pretty soapdish, a good pair of kitchen scissors or a well-made, wood-handled broom. These small things will make a difference to how your home looks and feels, and are a quick fix before you start the decorating.
Remove shelves and drawersNext, remove all of the shelves and drawers, and set them aside for a good scrub while the freezer is out of action. A good soak in hot soapy water or a mild disinfectant will get them squeaky clean, but bear in mind they will be storing food so steer clear of strong chemicals and use natural products where possible.
Arrange financeMortgage lenders who provide self-build loans will release the funds in stages. “There are a number of lenders who are 100% up on the self-build process and recognise it’s a step-by-step approach,” Eitel says. “They offer money on a stage-by-stage basis and would usually inspect the work on site, so they have peace of mind it’s been done. It can be a very personal arrangement and might be up to the individual to agree the stages.” Bowen adds, “The availability of finance for a new-build project is often linked to the type of build. Left-of-centre methods are more tricky to get finance for, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. However, that’s why many people will opt for traditional building methods, as it takes away the stress of getting finance.”Bowen does recommend the Ecology Building Society, however, which encourages projects that respect the environment. “They are extremely helpful,” he says.Take a look on government websites for new-build grants, as well. “Check with your local authority to see if any grants are available,” Eitel advises. “There have been grants for sustainable initiatives, for example. Remember, you don’t have to pay VAT on a self-build property, so that has a big impact on whether the project is feasible.”