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A city pad with garden retreat and space to work


A city pad with garden retreat and space to work

Homeware buyer Jayne Stewart has an eye for the visual. With a demanding job in retail, necessitating constant travel, and a need to work from home regularly, Jayne embarked on a project in 2018 to reconfigure her home to give her the extra space she needed to fit a home office, an extra bedroom, a walk in shower and allow her to completely change her garden area.

Purchasing her home in 2007 Jayne’s house sits on a corner site in a development with passing traffic. When she bought the house a large driveway dominated the outdoor area leaving very little garden space, and what was there, was heavily overlooked by the house at the back.

With big ambitions and a passion for design she began to rethink the space she had available and the true potential of her home.

“It all started with natural gas.” She said. “I knew that natural gas was available and that by installing it I could get rid of water tanks, pipework and boilers allowing me to reclaim much needed space. I asked an installer to come out and provide me with a quote. At £2k I figured the price wasn’t too bad especially as I had every intention of staying in my home long term. I was even offered the opportunity of spreading the cost over a year making it an easy choice.”

Installing gas couldn’t have been easier. The installer was in and out in a day taking my oil tank and water cylinders and boiler away and leaving me with one sleek box which allowed me to control my new heating system and firmus energy made it super easy to get connected. Then I got stuck in to improving my home.”

My ambition was to create a separate home office in a contained space where I could keep files and folders and home paperwork.  I began to look at my attic as a great place for this, and a chat with an architect, confirmed I had the head room to do the job properly. Working to a tight budget I inserted an unobtrusive staircase into a third bedroom to give me access to the third floor, then it was a matter of replastering and painting. This space now houses a fully functional office, complete with a printer, filing cabinets and space for all my work and home paperwork. I was also able to build in extra overspill storage space for little used items which allows me to keep clutter away from the rest of the house. Importantly for me, as I often work from home, it means I can keep my work and downtime separate. Once I come down the stairs, I’ve walked out of work. And because it’s on another floor I don’t see the office from the rest of the house. Perfect!

Jayne simultaneously reconfigured her bathroom adding a walk in shower to the space and with family and friends staying often, having a walk in shower has made her life easier.

But the home improvement didn’t stop there. Last year her focus was to create a private outdoor sanctuary out of fairly limited space in her outdoor area.

She says: “With the oil tank gone the space was much cleaner. I fenced in the area I had available and extended it into the driveway reconfiguring it so that the space worked better, added decking and then painted it up. I planted bamboo cane which not only gives me privacy but a beautiful sound with the breeze flows through it. Then I added raised beds for planting and even added a bird nest.”

Solar lighting, outdoor mirrors, a fairly inexpensive table and chairs, a built in barbecue and outdoor work surfaces all have added to the functionality of the space and helped Jayne give the area a beautiful ambience at night.

She says: “I’m really pleased with it. Despite only being 30 square feet the area is quite cool and friends and family tell me they like hanging out there day and night. It must be alright, two birds have even decided to make it their summer home and have nested there!”

And in terms of budget? Jayne says: “I didn’t have a huge budget for the improvements - even the attic conversion! I’m pretty good with a drill and ikea isn’t too far away. But the money I have invested, has made a real difference to the way I live. It’s made my life easier. With a place for everything I feel more in control and I really love hanging out at home. I had my house valued recently and evidently I’ve made the money invested back three-fold so I’m pretty happy with that! 

To date, over 100,000 customers have connected to natural gas with firmus energy and are enjoying the benefits that natural gas brings - from constant hot water, to more space in the garden, more efficient boilers to simply being a better choice for the environment. Homes and businesses interested in making the switch to firmus energy natural gas can find out more by calling 0330 024 9000 or visiting




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