Quirky Advice on Home Improvements from George Clarke

Quirky Advice on Home Improvements from George Clarke

Restoration Man, Amazing Spaces presenter and well-known TV personality George Clarke recently teamed up with the Guardian’s Fixology section to answer some quirky questions on improving your home.

When he isn’t filming for TV, attending conference shows or being an ambassador for Truedor, he has taken the time to answer some of the public’s questions.

Mr Clarke was thrown a lot of unique questions from the audience, from improving their front gardens, kitchens and increasing space in a flat.

We’ve picked out the best of the Q&A for you…


Unique suggestions for a large front garden…

A tennis court or cricket pitch screening on your front garden could put a stop to bottles coming over the fence from inconsiderate passers-by.  Astro turf is a good choice over gravel – gravel is pretty awful for a garden space.


Tips for increasing storage space in a flat

High-level storage if you have large ceilings.

Under-the-stair integrated storage so compartments make the storage area more efficient rather than items being piled up on top of each other.

Lofts or eaves storage that is easily accessible (and not an assault course).


Do you recommend concrete work surfaces?

Personally, no.

They look great but they are hard to make work, whilst they are also difficult to clean and maintain.  And they are heavy!

I love the look of them but the reality of living with it is somewhat different.

My favourite kitchen work surface is Corian, but not a Corian sink as they stain.


What makes a good mezzanine?

I’m a big fan of mezzanines, provided they function well and have enough space and headroom.  They are a pretty good idea if they free up space for another bedroom.


Extending the kitchen and dining room into the garden…

Patio doors are fine as the only entrance to your garden.  The size of the extension needs to be sensible so that you don’t lose too much garden, but you’ll also want the extension to be big enough to suit your lifestyle.

You are also required to be within permitted development for planning permission, otherwise you’ll make it a more costly and time-consuming planning application.  Start by designing the interior layout and the size will become obvious to you.


Smartening your drive on a low budget…

Porous block pavers are great and eco-friendly and should be affordable on a low budget.  The cheapest solution for a driveway is gravel with a good drainage system.


Is it worth plastering and papering over wood-chip wallpaper before renting out?

Painting over ‘ugly’ wallpaper is suitable enough for rental.

If you try to scrape/burn it off, it could take forever and the labour is often intensive.  If you were living there full-time it may be worth full removal, but for renting out it’s not worth it.


Any downsides to a glass roof on an extension to provide enough light?

A glass roof will help a lot.  Even skylights in a solid roof will work really well.

Opening the living up to the space will help a lot, but consider installing doors (even sliding doors, depending on the size of the room).

If you use doors, make sure there are large glazed panels in the doors to allow as much natural light flow in.


George Clarke is best known for his work on television over the past decade or so, as seen on: Property Dreams (2004), Dream Home Abroad (2005) and Build A New Life in the Country (2005-07), all for Channel 5.  And:

The Home Show (2008-ongoing), The Restoration Man (2009-ongoing), The Great British Property Scandal (2011) and George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces (2012-ongoing), all for Channel 4.

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