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Published 03/03/14

Let architects and designers inspire you, in Henley Town Hall.

Longer days, lambs, daffodils …. but do not start spring-cleaning yet.

Take a moment to look around your home with fresh eyes.

Imagine how lovely it could look if you made some really bold changes. Maybe move the staircase? Add an extra room? Swap round your kitchen with your dining room?

If you are thinking about a major makeover for your home, the Henley Design Day on Saturday, March 8 is for you.

From 10.30am to 4pm in the Town Hall, you can meet more than 20 local architects and other design specialists to talk through your ideas and inspire your creativity. Admission is free.

Last year, about 300 people flocked to the first Henley Design Day and discussed their building needs and desires with architects.

This year, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), who organise Henley Design Day, will add interior designers, landscape gardeners, planning consultants and other specialists to the mix.

Architect Mark Shipton of Oxford Architects, who took part in the Design Day last year said that visitors were surprised at the range of specialisms on offer. He says: “Whether you need a building conservation expert, are interested in sustainability, refurbishment or self-build - you will find an architect to suit your need in Henley Town Hall.”

Mark is chairman of the RIBA South region which represents about 2,500 architects. He says: “The Design Day is a fantastic, unique way for you to come and chat about practical ways to achieve what you want and need from your building.”

Spring really can be a time for new beginnings - and you can start by exploring the building design talent on your doorstep.

For further information contact Sarah Miller on 0118 987 4900 or email her at sarah.miller@riba.org

EVER thought: “I must get round to doing those home improvements” or “We really do need a new makeover for the home”? Perhaps you have been thinking about a new kitchen or bathroom?

The beginning of the year is a good time to start planning for them. GD Evans Interiors can help with all aspects of home improvements and also assist with design ideas.

Although GD Evans Interiors are kitchen, bedroom and bathroom design and installation specialists, they also carry out all aspects of home improvements including complete home makeovers.

Whether it is a simple room redecoration project, new flooring, a new kitchen or bathroom, internal structural alterations to gain extra space or an additional bathroom or cloakroom, they can assist with all these and more, including new electrical and heating systems.

They fully project-manage all aspects of the design, supply and installation too, so there is no need to get involved with organising separate trades and ordering products.

So many things can go wrong — and delays occur as a result — so why not leave it to the professionals? They will get it done for you, on time, within budget and hassle-free.

With many design options and products available on the market, they can help with the design by providing images for the rooms via their CAD system and associations with many quality manufacturers of home improvement products.

They also guarantee their installations and are official members of the iKBBI (Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Installers).

Treat yourself and your home to what you have been wishing for. All designs and quotations are free of charge too, so contact Gary Evans on (01491) 244244, 0118 947 4744 or email gdevansinteriors@yahoo.com to arrange a survey, and look forward to a new-look home.

Original timber sash windows add character and appeal to a period property and, if fully functional and well maintained, can also enhance its value.

For these reasons, it’s vital that they become part of your plans when caring for the exterior of your home. Timber windows are often perceived to be in much worse condition than they actually are so renovation should always be considered first to preserve the original features.

The renovation experts at Ventrolla can assess the level of deterioration and operational issues, and offer a sustainable solution.

This can involve either the timber being salvaged or a bespoke replacement put in its place, along with the installation of their unique perimeter sealing draught-proofing system to improve energy efficiency - all of which will not affect the aesthetics of the property. The advantage of a renovation is not only minimal disruption and costs. The benefits of draught-proofing, noise reduction and elimination of rattles, will give them a new lease of life.

For more information or for your free, no-obligation quotation call (01491) 412141 or visit www.ventrolla.co.uk

RECTORY STONE in Watlington is one of the unsung treasures of the stone fabrication world, where real craftsmen with pride in their work still exist.

This firm is one of the best-kept secrets of the building trade. Inside is a huge workshop filled with ancient and beautiful slabs of stone being crafted into the most marvellous tabletops, bathrooms and stunning kitchen surfaces.

This hive of industry boasts a small, well-stocked stone yard where you can choose the very stone that will be cut on the premises for you. The showroom on site displays an immaculate inlaid floor with underfloor heating, and beautiful examples of their work. The whole job is handled here, from the templating to the fixing. This ensures that your job is always of the best quality.

Vincent Schofield has been in the stone industry for more than 30 years. He and his skilled craftsmen can make you anything you like, to the highest standards.

Shed Head are manufacturers of high quality bespoke timber sheds, log stores and garden storage solutions, with more than 15 years of experience.

All of our products are constructed to your specification and size requirements.

If you are unsure of what you want exactly then our experience and expertise can assist you in finding a solution that truly matches your needs ensuring all of our end products are not only fit for purpose but also built to last.

All products are built individually to meet your specification and requirements.

Doors and window positions can be altered to suit. Using only traditional methods along with sustainable timber sources, we take pride in our work and the environment around us. We can offer a wide range of roof coverings and colour options to fit perfectly into their surroundings.

Providing bespoke sizes and designs on all of our products, whether you have a small space where standard sizes won’t fit or you require a design fit for purpose, all of our products are hand-made and constructed either on site or at our workshop.

For an informal, no-obligation conversation about your requirements please contact Shed Head on 07748 762017 or visit www.shed-heads.net

Brown and patchy lawn? Most probable cause: being waterlogged from all the rain we’ve had.

Spring and warmer weather should remedy the situation, but in the interim, advises Louise Venter, try to keep off of your lawn as much as you possibly can to avoid compaction.

Louise adds: “I would suggest delaying any scarifying and seasonal treatment for a few more weeks.

“If there are any bare patches and the soil is not too wet, add a layer of lawn sand, aerate lightly with the use of a border fork if need be, prior to over-seeding. Finish by raking over gently.

“My personal preference is Rolawn’s Medallion® Premium Lawn Seed which you can order online, if not available from your local garden centre.

“Now is also a good time to finish tidying overgrown hedges, taking care not to disturb any nesting birds. Reduce and shape overgrown shrubs and climbers.

“Buddleja benefit most if cut back hard to at least a third of existing growth. Clematis montana varieties can be cut back in a similar fashion to Wisteria.

“Remove all the wispy and tangled growth to within a couple of buds from the main stems.

“You will be rewarded by not only a more aesthetically pleasing shape overall, but the plants will have more energy to produce flowers.

“Remove diseased or remaining dead foliage from herbaceous perennials. Apart from being unsightly, it provides shelter and therefore perfect breeding conditions for slugs and snails.

“Delay moving any plants or dividing until the soil has had a chance to dry out, as this, too, will lead to compaction and damage to the soil structure.

“It is not too late to sow sweet peas. I prefer soaking them overnight and popping into deep root training propagators in a heated greenhouse or on a warm windowsill.

“Do enjoy the plethora of snow drops to be seen everywhere. “

l Louise Venter has extensive plant knowledge and is a practising garden designer. For more details call 07803 583687, email Louise_Venter@yahoo.co.uk, or visit www.louiseventergardendesign.com

SASH WINDOW RESCUE is a family company.

They provide restoration, repair, replacement, draught-proofing and double glazing for sash and casement windows throughout the Thames Valley area.

They pride themselves on providing a friendly and professional service, and by running the administrative side of their business from home, they can offer customers cost-effective prices, too.

Sash Window Rescue’s draught-sealing and overhaul service is designed to bring new life to any window and will dramatically improve window performance at a fraction of the cost of replacement, while retaining the aesthetic character and charm of your home.

The benefits include:

* No more draughts and annoying rattles

* Reduced external noise levels

* Improved insulation

* Correctly balanced windows that operate smoothly

* Extended window life

* Improved security.

Sash window and casement draught proofing:If the sashes and main boxes (frames) are in good condition they remove the parting and stop bead, replace with new high-performance draught-proof nylon pile that is machined and bonded into the timber, upgraded to the same specification as their new window replacements and remove sashes to enable the replacement of existing pulleys and sash cords.

Sash window and casement replacement: They replace the whole of the existing window including internal architraves and sill boards, retaining all the period details to keep the character of the windows and incorporate high-performance nylon pile weather seals to the parting and stop beads to ensure a draught- and dust-free window.

All double glazing units comply with local building control and are made of low E warm edge spacer bar and Argon gas-filled.

Other glazing options available include acoustic noise reduction, toughened, obscure, triple and stained lead work.

They also offer double-glazed units which fit into the existing system without the need to replace the whole unit, making your windows even quieter and warmer.

Call (01491) 413966 for a free quote, or visit www.sashwindowrescue.co.uk

THIS winter think “Hire” — why purchase gardening and building equipment when you can hire professional-quality equipment at a fraction of the price?

Southern Plant have all the equipment you’ll need whether you are building an extension, decorating your living room, mowing the lawn or converting your loft. With more than 20 years’ experience in the industry, Southern Plant is Henley’s number one specialist plant and tool hire company.

Since 1987, Southern Plant have been supplying hire equipment to construction, engineering and landscaping professionals offering a comprehensive range of plant and DIY equipment and tools. Southern Plant have an extensive selection of tools and equipment for hire and purchase, from small power tools and generators to forklifts, excavators, dumpers and platform lifts.

They also stock everything for your DIY needs including floor sanders and multipurpose drills to wallpaper strippers and upholstery cleaners.

Your safety is also important and they stock high-visibility protective and safety work wear including hi-vis jackets, hard hats, gloves and a great range of stylish safety boots and clothing. Southern Plant’s trade counter promises you the best deals on any item. Their hire service is fully complemented by their transportation and repair services along with the highest standards of safety.

If you are unsure what piece of equipment you need for a particular job, the trade counter offers professional expert advice and demonstration guidance for your hired or purchased equipment.

Why not call the trade counter on (01491) 576063 or visit the shop for expert and friendly advice and hire the correct piece of equipment to get the job done? Their service and hire rates are second to none. The staff look forward to hearing from you.

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