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A word from your Welsh Home Improvement blog editor

June 25, 2012

Welcome to our Welsh Home Improvement blog, where we will be featuring home and interiors tips, advice and insights for our readers in Wales and beyond. We hope that you enjoy reading, and look forward to reading your comments. If you have any queries or are looking for advice to do with your home, please get in touch and we will try our best to help!

My name is Sarah Cleevely, blog editor and Nolan uPVC Marketing Manager. By day, our team sells and installs double glazed windows and conservatories, manufactured to client specifications right here in Wales.

Our team of design specialists have a passion for making space work as hard as possible, and for turning houses into homes that our customers are proud to show off. So we will be using the decades of experience and our love of all thing interiors to bring you this blog, which we hope will be a place you’ll visit time and again to check out the latest trends, hints and tips to help you make the most of your home.

Naturally, my team thought we would start by giving me a good grilling about my personal style and tastes. So here goes!

First things first, let’s find out what you like in your home, Sarah. What is your most important room in your house?

The most important room in my house is the lounge. It’s the biggest room in my house and where I like to end up after finishing work with a cup of tea and a biscuit. I’ve just finished decorating the room too, so I now feel it has my own stamp on it and a change from the monotonous cream walls you get throughout when you buy a new build property! My two dogs also seem to love this room. They like to curl up on the sofa with you while you’re watching TV. It’s the room where all the family are at the end of the day!

Sounds lovely, Sarah. So what’s your favourite piece of furniture and is it in your much-loved living room?

Yes, actually it is! My favourite piece of furniture at the moment is the pebble lamp in my lounge. I bought it from Vincent Davies in Haverfordwest and I love it because it reminds me of the beach and the sea where I spent a lot of my childhood growing up in Tenby. People often pass comment on how lovely and unusual it is.

To pick up a bargain, but quality, product for the home, what shop would you visit?

I have bought a number of quality, fit for purpose items from Argos. I have moved house quite a few times, and still have furniture that has stood the test of time and hasn’t needed replacing. For niche, one off items, though, I like to shop in some of the boutique shops in Narberth and Saundersfoot. You can often find some really nice, hand-made one off pieces like photo frames and ornaments.

As you work for a home improvements company, does that mean you enjoy making home improvements to your own home? If so, what is the best improvement you have made?

Well, since my house is only two years old, it doesn’t really need any immediate improvements. However, we have started to add a personal touch by decorating and so far we’ve completed the hall, stairs and landing, kitchen and lounge. When we bought the property we were able to choose the final fixtures and fittings for the bathroom, WC and kitchen. This means we won’t need to make improvements to these rooms as we were able to choose how we wanted them to look from the outset. That’s definitely one of the benefits of buying a new build property!

Do you like watching home improvement TV shows? If so, what programme is your favourite?

Yes. My favourite programmes are Grand Designs and DIY SOS. I like to see the transformation the properties go through and the unveiling at the end of the programme. Grand Designs recently featured the renovation of the old lifeboat station in Tenby where I grew up. Clearly money was no object, but it was nice to see an iconic childhood building converted into a home. It was amazing how they had transformed the unusual shaped building into a functional home. Sometimes you do pick up some ideas and tips from these programmes for your own home.

Great programme selections, Sarah! Do you have a favourite interior designer that you find gives you inspiration?

I don’t really have a favourite interior designer. I tend to get ideas and inspiration from friends and families’ homes and sometimes from magazines. I’m quite a creative person and so tend to choose colours and furnishings that I like and that fit with the overall theme of a room.

So what colours do you think can accentuate your home?

I love the colour purple. I wasn’t allowed to use it in the bedroom as it would have made the space too girlie, so instead I have decorated the hall in damask style wallpaper in lighter and darker shades of purple. I also like warm reds. I think they bring a sense of warmth to a room. The lounge is decorating in warm reds and browns. I think it’s important to choose colours that complement your existing furniture, which in our lounge has always been dark woods and with the wooden floor, red works really well. If I’ve decided to wallpaper a room, I will wait until I have found the wallpaper I like and then work the colours for the furnishings like curtains and cushions around that.

If you were given a million pounds, would you make changes to your home or buy a new house? If you bought a new house, what type of property would it be and what would you want it to have?

If I was given a million pounds, I’d have to consider the options of buying a new house or having one designed and built to my specification. If I was to buy a new house, I would buy a detached property, perhaps a barn conversion in a rural location with land. I’d like a property with outbuildings that were already converted or could be converted to run a self catering holiday cottage business. If I decided to have a house designed and built, I’ve always wanted a sweeping staircase with balcony overlooking a grand hallway.

As you have such a busy job, what activities do you like to help you unwind?

I have two beagles, and so my husband and I really enjoy taking them for walks. There are so many great walks straight from our front door. They love the beach! Having moved back to Pembrokeshire four years ago now, we also enjoy spending time with family and friends. In the winter there’s nothing better than curling up on the sofa reading a book (on the iPad) or watching a good drama or a film.

Keep reading to discover helpful tips and guides from Sarah and the Nolan team!

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