Top 10 tips for purrfect interior design

Top 10 tips for purrfect interior design

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With about half of UK households owning a pet (according to latest RSPCA figures) how can you live in interior design harmony with your furry friends?

Stacey Sibley, Creative Director of leading interior designers Alexander James Interior Design, and herself the proud owner of two Westies, Alfie and Piglet, offers her top 10 tips for transforming your home into a ‘purrfect’ sanctuary for your four-legged friend:

  1. Fur-Free Upholstery 

Think carefully about the fabrics you choose to upholster and how likely they are to gather fur.

Avoid: Fabrics that are a magnet for pet hair e.g. velvet, mohair, corduroy, velour or chenille. Steer clear of any delicate materials that could be damaged by your adorable little friend e.g. silk.

Opt for: Smooth tapestries, leathers and synthetic fibres. Invest in quality textiles that will withstand the test of those claws!

  1. Furniture – Not Toys

Beware of any exposed wood on your furniture – an excitable puppy may see it as their new favourite teething toy!

Avoid: Furniture with exposed wicker, rattan and sisal furniture.

Opt for: Metal and chrome will leave your would-be teether searching for another toy.

  1. Squeaky Clean Flooring 

In light of the inevitable rainy, muddy days and those early months when your puppy/kitten is still learning to toilet-train, we highly recommend flooring that is easy to clean!

Avoid: Hardwood floors that dent/scratch easily and require rapid cleaning should a puddle appear (hardwood floors stain very quickly)! If you are absolutely set of those beautiful wooden floors, then opt for harder woods e.g. mahogany or oak.

Opt for: Laminate flooring, stone or ceramic tiles. These also have the additional benefit of keeping your pets cooler during hotter weather.

  1. The Ultimate Playzone 

An all-important part of every pets’ day, they need space in the home to play.

Avoid: Letting your energetic little friend run riot around the whole house. They need to chase balls, roll excitedly around and play tug of war, but there are some areas of the house in which this is less desirable.

Opt for: Creating a designated ‘play space’ which your pet knows is suitable for play and where they can enjoy some quality ‘me’ time. Keep their toys stored neatly away and out of view but easily accessible.

  1. Spotless Kitchens 

Pet friendly interiors are all about keeping your space as tidy as possible, allowing that stunning new kitchen to glisten without unsightly doggy/kitty bowls smudging that perfect vision.

Avoid: Leaving food bowls out in plain sight.

Opt for: Sliding them underneath the toe kick of your kitchen cabinetry, bringing them out for food time, and slotting that water dish around a corner so your furry friends always have fresh water available.

  1. Furry Walls

Don’t overlook walls – they could become a headache to clean if you don’t consider their texture.

Avoid: A highly-textured wall will attract pet fur, even if the little rascal isn’t rubbing against it.

Opt for: Satin or a semi-gloss paint, helping to repel fur and to keep those walls glistening clean.

  1. A Throne for a King/Queen

An essential part of pet friendly interior design must surely be the addition of their very own comfy pet bed.

Avoid: Mismatching with the rest of the room’s decor i.e. don’t place a traditional tartan pet bed into a swanky, sleek apartment, rather select a simpler, more contemporary design that will enhance the rest of your interiors.

Opt for: A pet bed made of high quality materials, creating a sumptuous space for them to relax, unwind and recharge after their busy day of play.

  1. Mud Room Sanctuary

Imagine the scene – you’ve just been out on a fabulous walk, exploring the vast open fields and returning with wellies caked in mud and a pup that used to be white but is now an unattractive murky brown colour. The door opens – the gateway to your beautiful home. And before you know it, your hound is through that entrance, drying off on the sides of your magnificent new sofa.

Avoid: Allowing this nightmare to happen.

Opt for: Install an entry-way door to offer you an entrance space in which to dry off and wash down your doggy before they can enter the home. Store pet wipes, dog treats and other essentials in a cupboard at this entrance to keep the area harmoniously tidy.

  1. Savvy Window Treatments

Every pet loves to peer out of the window to watch for their owners coming home and to bask in the sunshine on those sunny days.

Avoid: Thick fabric curtains – don’t deprive them of their joy!

Opt for: Lightweight, sheer fabric curtains that will allow them to enjoy their view.  If you have blinds, make sure you pull them up so the little darlings don’t bring them down accidentally.

  1. Harmony at Home

A pet friendly home must make special considerations for just how many accidents can happen around bushy tails and clumsy paws.

Avoid: Tables that sit too low – the candles, glasses and other breakables sitting atop may fall to their calamitous end if a tail wags too close.

Opt for: Carefully considering the space in your home and thinking about how you can avoid any unfortunate mishaps – after all pets aren’t always aware of their surroundings and don’t mean to cause any trouble.


To find out more about creating the ‘purrfect’ interior for your home contact Stacey and the team at Alexander James Interior Design on 020 7887 7604 or visit

Homes spas undergo a scentsual revolution

Homes spas undergo a scentsual revolution

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  • Essence dosing is latest trend to grip home spa owners (Aqua Platinum)
  • Sense of smell is more closely linked with our emotions than any other sense (Brown University)
  • Eucalyptus found to be the scent of choice for promoting a sense of wellness and sanctuary (Aqua Platinum)

The interaction of scent with mood, memory and cognition has long been of interest to the scientific community, yet it was only from the mid-1990s onward that olfactory modality and its psychological impact began to be approached in a more scientific way. The result is that our understanding of the relationship between scent and mood has increased dramatically.

Scent can be used to enhance concentration, promote relaxation and encourage de-stressing. It’s something that aromatherapists have known for years. Indeed, there is evidence of the use of lavender as a massage oil dating as far back as Ancient Egyptian times. More lately, science has contributed quantitative, medicine-based evidence to the wealth of anecdotal evidence that already exists. This has led to scent being used in a range of new ways.

“We’ve seen a marked trend for essence dosing recently, with clients looking to achieve the ultimate health spa scent at home. We link the essence dosing system to our specialist air handling plant. It injects small quantities of vapour into the supply air stream, giving pool halls and spa areas a subtle smell, just like a health spa.”

Aqua Platinum spokesperson

According to Rachel Herz, assistant professor of psychology at Brown University, our sense of smell is linked with the limbic system, connecting to the amygdala and the hippocampus. This is the most intimate link between sense, emotion and associative learning that humans have, meaning that scent has a unique way of becoming associated with our memories and being able to trigger particular moods.

Herz argues that we begin learning to associate scents with things even before we are born. Studies have shown that mothers who are regularly exposed to strong odours during pregnancy give birth to infants who prefer those smells (when compared to babies whose mothers weren’t exposed to them).

During childhood, many of us learn to associate certain scents with certain emotions, and that learning sticks with us throughout life. Health spas are a wonderful example of this. Lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, bergamot, spearmint, lotus blossom, orange blossom and lemongrass are all used to delight the olfactory senses in health spa settings, blending to create a wonderful aroma that hits you the moment you walk into the spa. To breathe in that smell is to begin unwinding and de-stressing. That learned association is what is inspiring so many home spa owners to wish to recreate the health spa scent in the privacy of their homes.

“We’ve found that eucalyptus in particular is proving popular for home spa essence dosing. Eucalyptus has a long-standing association with health spas and herbal health remedies. It is an incredibly clean, refreshing and energizing scent with a range of healing properties. Many inhalers use cineole, eucalyptus’ primary component, due to its beneficial effect on the respiratory system. Eucalyptus also works as an insect repellant, a decongestant, an antiseptic and much more, offering those who essence dose with it a wide range of benefits to their health and their mood. It’s about providing the whole package – why delight the other senses with a home spa and then ignore the sense of smell?”

Aqua Platinum spokesperson

As a high end swimming pool and spa design and building company, Aqua Platinum is well positioned to highlight the most recent trends in the wellness industry. The company has found that the increasingly stressful pace of modern life has led its clients to seek out new ways of achieving wellness and creating a sense of sanctuary within their homes. Scent dosing is the latest innovation in the pursuit of wellness – the scentsual revolution has begun!

 For more information, call 0203 362 0442 or visit

Dressing for PRS success: Changing the look of build-to-rent

Dressing for PRS success: Changing the look of build-to-rent

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  • Contemporary tenant demand means rental homes are stylish and uncluttered, with bright, bold colours (Alexander James Interior Design)
  • 20% of UK households now rent privately (English Housing Survey)
  • Interior design increasingly important to PRS developers, landlords and tenants alike (Alexander James Interior Design)

The 2015 – 2016 English Housing Survey confirmed the continuing importance of the private rented sector (PRS), which now houses 20% of UK households (around 4.5 million households in total).

The growth of this sector over the past decade, combined with the increase in buy-to-let investment in the UK and the introduction of build-to-rent schemes, has changed the dynamics of the rental sector – and the look of it.

For many young people, buying a home in the UK simply isn’t an option, so instead they are happy to rent a home that’s better located and better dressed than they would be able to afford to buy.

Stacey Sibley, Creative Director, Alexander James Interior Design


Based on Zoopla listings for furnished versus unfurnished properties available to rent (using Manchester as a sample city), some 76% of properties are available furnished, while 17% are available unfurnished (with the remaining homes being part-furnished).

In Birmingham, 60% are furnished and 27% unfurnished. In London (using Clapham as an example area), the same search criteria produce 56% furnished properties, 25% unfurnished and 19% part-furnished.

According to the experts at Alexander James Interior Design, the growth of the private rented sector has led to a keen interest from both developers and private landlords in dressing their properties for maximum impact, as they seek to keep up with demand from tenants seeking stylish furnished homes.

“Quite simply, the better a property looks and the greater the flexibility it offers to an occupier, the more people will want to live there. With this, we see homes commanding higher rents and minimised void periods, making for a better investment for landlords.

This is a key factor behind the increasing demand for interior design services across the private rented sector. In an environment of competing new build properties, where one apartment can be identical to the next, savvy build-to-rent developers and professional landlords are looking to make their properties stand out from the crowd – interior design can do just that.” 

Richard Angel, Managing Director for London, Alexander James Interior Design

However, it’s not just those owning and managing properties that are placing increasing value on interior design when it comes to the rental sector. Tenants have become more discerning as the sector has expanded.

“People of all ages are struggling more to get on the housing ladder than used to be the case. This has definitely influenced the style of the PRS in several ways. Millennials, for example, are looking for ultra-contemporary rental properties with outstanding design and a whole host of stylish features. They demand the best and the PRS has stepped up to provide that in its efforts to court the spending power of this vast market.”

Stacey Sibley, Creative Director, Alexander James Interior Design


Clean, uncluttered design, natural elements and bold splashes of colour all work well for this market, according to the Alexander James team.

Paints, furniture and fabrics are selected with durability in mind, due to the nature of the rental sector but not at the expense of stylish design.

With the average tenancy length now just 18 months, according to Direct Line for Business, properties can be refreshed regularly in order to keep up with evolving trends.

As the private rented sector continues to grow, so too will the importance of interior design. Good design can turn a house (or apartment) into a home, ensuring that tenants want to live there long-term and look after the property. This offers longer-term security to tenants while also minimising landlords’ costs and ensuring that their valuable investment is carefully looked after.

For more information, visit Alexander James Interior Design at or call 0203 362 0472.

UK property industry gets up CLOSE and personal with Build to Rent

UK property industry gets up CLOSE and personal with Build to Rent

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Over 100 of the UK property industry’s finest, along with high profile provocateurs and enablers from other sectors, met at Dartmouth House, Mayfair yesterday for the inaugural CLOSE event.

Organised and hosted by Naomi Cleaver, design consultant, writer and broadcaster, together with Phillippa Hardman, Founder & MD of on-site gym and well-being consultancy RCH, CLOSE: Build to Rent & the New Community delivered a symposium on the emerging revolution in the way we live today.

“Build to Rent is a paradigm shift in the way we live today and as pressures on population and space grow, we find ourselves living in ever closer proximity with others. Build to Rent delivers one solution to our 21st century housing needs but I believe it’s critical that the needs and desires of those living within these newly created communities are thoroughly and sensitively studied through discourse at events such as CLOSE.”

Naomi Cleaver, Design Consultant, Writer & Broadcaster

 A series of carefully selected speakers took to the podium to share their views and experiences of Build to Rent and community. Below were their headline messages:

Debra Yudolph, Founder SAY Property Consulting: A survey of 1,000 people revealed the chasm in perception and attitude towards Build to Rent between the public and the industry.

Karl Kalcher, MD of MindFolio: Work needs to be done to address Build to Rent’s primary target audience, young professionals and millennials and their inherently negative view about renting.

Jenni Carbins, International Placemaking Strategist, Mark London: Investment in commercial spaces and public realm within Build to Rent developments is on the rise. Placemaking creates value for tenants and the bottom line.

Phillippa Hardman, Founder & MD, RCH: The UK is at the forefront of global wellness which is driving demand for onsite fitness & wellbeing facilities. Virtual training and group exercise are top trends.

James Lynch, Fforest: From art graduate Shoreditch property developer to advocate of living in the thick of nature, the built environment is only as potent as its place in nature.

Rev Alan Gyle, Vicar, St Paul’s Church, Knightsbridge: Turns out that De La Soul were right, 3 is the magic number when it comes to community. Engaging in triadic discourse between investors, Build to Rent developers and tenants is key to creating for the needs of tomorrow.

Gerard Greene, CEO & Founder, Society: There is a very real absence of technology in Build to Rent yet it can be successfully used as an enabler for the creation of, and engagement in new societies.

Siobhan Frost, Co-Founder & Creative Director, Tee & Frost: Creation of a Build to Rent brand is more than just an attractive logo but a strategic process which should be engaged in from the very start.

Tim Lowe, Founder & Director, Lowe Guardians: The repurposing of vacant space in the heart of cities through guardian tenants offers a real solution to housing shortage and offers compelling lessons in creating genuine communities.

Peter York, Social Commentator & Author: The voice of reason – think beyond the ghastly marketing language of Build to Rent; creating communities is hard work! Oh and never include a laminate floor in a development, you’re only one step away from a prison.

Over cocktails and canapés in the courtyard afterwards, feedback was heartening:

“It is hard to think of an industry event that dares to treat the audience to such a spectrum of impressions, from the very tangible to the quite philosophical.”

Karl Kalcher, MindFolio Ltd

 “ Thoughtful and provocative. An imaginative, eclectic cast of speakers who have left me with a lot to think about. We need to have more conversations like this and then put these great ideas into practice.”

Andrei Popovici, Real estate developer, UK & US

 “Brave and stimulating. We in the construction and property industry need to connect with the people we are designing and building homes and CLOSE was truly mind expanding.”

 Nick Riley, Whittam Cox Architects

 For more information on CLOSE: Build to Rent & The New Community, key takeaways, the speakers and details of the next event, please contact Naomi Cleaver on or visit Phillippa Hardman on 020 8789 9600 or visit

Stylish staycations: How to style your UK holiday home to maximize summer rental returns

Stylish staycations: How to style your UK holiday home to maximize summer rental returns

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  • Stylish holiday homes can command higher rents (Alexander James Interior Design)
  • Owners need to focus on practicality as well as style
  • Fabulous photographs are key to attracting higher paying holidaymakers

Holidaymakers are more likely to rent a property if it looks good, so it’s important to take care when furnishing and styling a holiday home in order to maximize its rental income potential.

However, the experts at Alexander James Interior Design point out that practicality is a key consideration too:

“When considering the décor of your holiday let, you need to think not only of the appeal of the interior décor but also the practicalities of it. It needs to be easy to maintain. Paint is much easier to clean and touch up than wallpaper, wood/laminate/tiled floors rather than carpet.”

Stacey Sibley, Creative Director, Alexander James Interior Design

According to the Alexander James team, there are 10 things that holidaymakers are looking for from a rental property:

  1. Are dogs are allowed? There are plenty of people with dogs in the UK who want to take their furry friend away with them.
  2. Nice linen. The White Company bed linen and towels, with wool throws and cushions is ideal.
  3. Tech. That includes iPod docs, Sonos sound systems and TVs with freeview and Netflix.
  4. Wi-Fi. This is a non-negotiable in this day and age.
  5. Kitchen comforts. Holidays should be about relaxation and doing as little as possible, so dishwashers, Nespresso machines and the like are rapidly becoming essential.
  6. Good quality china and glassware. Chipped and scratched Ikea white plates won’t cut it!
  7. Parking
  8. Outside space. This should ideally include a BBQ area with plentiful seating.
  9. Comfy mattresses.
  10. A welcome hamper. These are becoming increasingly common, with guests expecting a few essentials upon arrival (wine, bread, milk and butter as a bare minimum).

Owners who can tick off all ten of these are onto a winning combination, but their work still isn’t done.

“Think about your furniture layouts. Is it a two bedroom cottage that sleeps four? Then make sure you have enough seating in the lounge for four people without it being overcrowded.

“Bedrooms that you can change from two single beds that can be zipped together to create a double are very appealing to potential renters, as this provides greater flexibility. And certainly don’t just use old bits of missed matched furniture left over from you home that you would otherwise throw out!

Stacey Sibley, Creative Director, Alexander James Interior Design

Styling a holiday let as a boutique-style retreat that looks amazing in photographs will set it apart from the competition and enable its owners to charge a higher rent.

Therefore, when taking photographs of a holiday property, it’s important to use props to stage it. For example, don’t just take a picture of the bathroom – first light candles around a bubble-filled bath, add a few designer beauty products and place a stack of big, fluffy white towels in the shot. In the kitchen, dress the table with cream teas. Beds are a quick win here too – use plush-looking linen, throws and cushions, then add a breakfast tray complete with croissants, jam and fresh orange juice.

The key is for owners to ensure that anyone viewing the photographs will instantly be able to imagine themselves in the property. Those lacking in inspiration can look at holiday let websites like Unique Homestays and Boutique Retreats for ideas on how to style their photographs. The Alexander James Interior Design team would also be happy to help!

For more information, visit Alexander James Interior Design at, email or call 020 7887 7604.

A sacred conversion – Bellis Homes brings Grade II listed convent school house back to life

A sacred conversion – Bellis Homes brings Grade II listed convent school house back to life

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A recent survey undertaken by RICS and YouGov identified that 9 out of 10 British people think that historic buildings are a symbol of national heritage, with 89% believing it is of a high importance to protect them.

Mill Hill in Barnet, North London is home to several historic buildings worthy of protection. One of London’s hidden gems, oozing with historic flavor, the village-cum-suburb of Mill Hill is ideally situated between Finchley and Edgware and is said to be the London district most influenced by the Christian faith.

This Christian influence can be clearly seen in the historic Rosary Manor Estate in the heart of Mill Hill village.

An altered house of late 17th-century origin, Rosary Manor was purchased by The Sisters of Charity St Vincent in 1887 and expanded it into a convent. The neighbouring St Vincent’s Roman Catholic School opened in 1896 and was run until 2007.

Now, the abandoned schoolhouse and West Lodge (a detached property left in a dilapidated state) is set to be brought back into use by luxury housebuilder Bellis Homes through the development of 11 high quality apartments and a detached house for completion in 2018.

As well as being a Grade II Listed building, the Rosary Manor Estate is ideally located within the Green Belt, the North Barnet Area of Special Character and Mill Hill Conservation Area.

It is understood that Charles II often visited the estate in the 16th century to shoot on the grounds and on Milespit-Hill, there is the non-denominational Mill Hill cemetery which was formerly known as the ‘Paddington District Cemetery’ where the iconic 1960’s pop singer Billy Fury is buried!

“We are seeing more and more clients interested in converted historical properties and the stunning architectural qualities they carry. They want all the charm and character of an older property yet all the convenience and amenities of a new build home. Rosary Manor offers the best of both worlds and with such stunning views out across green fields to London and rich history, we know this conversion will be in high demand.”

Henry Fordham, Director, Bellis Homes

The 11 apartments range between 1 and 3 bedrooms and between 1,800 sqft and 4,000sqft. Bellis Homes has submitted a further application to provide roof terraces on several of the units which will offer spectacular views across the Mill Hill countryside towards the City of London.

In addition to this, Rosary Manor residents will also be able to enjoy large communal grounds, architectural detail, high ceilings and allocated parking spaces. Mill Hill East underground station is close by served by the Northern Line and Mill Hill Broadway station also easily accessible making the location perfect for those who want the balance city and countryside living.

Apartments at Rosary Manor are available from £1.1 million – £4 million, for more information, contact Bellis Homes on 01279 424 733 or visit

Make a splash this summer in the Venice of the North with the brand new Royal Canal Works

Make a splash this summer in the Venice of the North with the brand new Royal Canal Works

United Kingdom ,
  • Manchester house prices predicted to grow 28.2% by 2021 (Hometrack)
  • Around 4,000 jobs set to be created in the Manchester region over the next 5 years (Savills)
  • Up to 25% boost in house prices from the restoration of canals (Canal & River Trust)
  • Waterside living in Manchester from just £105,000 (Surrenden Invest)

Growing faster than any other city in the UK, it is predicted that house prices in Manchester will grow by an impressive 28.2% by 2021 according to Hometrack.

In addition to residential property growth, Manchester is expected to see faster office-based growth employment than Greater London and all key UK regional cities over the next five years reports Savills.

Increasing demands from a range of sectors such as media and technology are estimated to create around 4,000 jobs in the Manchester region over the next 10 years, with demand for housing also rising in line with this progression.

With one of the highest population densities outside the capital, living space within Manchester is at a premium forcing housebuilders to seek alternative areas of the city within which to build new homes.

Known as the “Venice of the North” due to its miles of canals (including the 36-mile long, 19th century Manchester Ship Canal which at the time was the largest river navigation canal in the world), Manchester holds a long and affectionate history with its waterways and now views them as pivotal to the making of the city once again.

Millions have been spent on clearing and restoring Manchester’s waterways, enabling formerly derelict canal side land to be put back into use thus creating communities with space, leisure activities and high living standards.

Indeed, a report by Dr Nicholas Falk for URBED found that the urban waterfront is a vital part of national heritage and the Canal and River Trust suggest that property values can be boosted by as much as 25% from the restoration of canals.

“Waterfront living provides welcome breathing space for people living in overcrowded communities. Living on a canal has and always will hold great appeal; the calming nature of being close to the water combined with the leisure activities available makes homes such as those at Royal Canal Works a true urban oasis.”

Jonathan Stephens, Managing Director, Surrenden Invest

Royal Canal Works, available through leading investment agency Surrenden Invest, is a brand-new canal side development adjacent to the tranquil suburb of Choltorn – one of the most sought after areas to live in southern Manchester.

A stunning contemporary collection of 43 beautifully appointed one and two bedroom apartments with private terraces and waterfront views, Royal Canal Works offers architecturally landscaped gardens and a courtyard along with secure parking and CCTV.

Being just 15 minutes from the city centre, Royal Canal Works boasts city standard living but all of the perks of life in the suburbs. The apartments are expected to be highly prized by families and young professionals who have been priced out of the city centre but are not prepared to compromise their standard of accommodation.

Apartments are available from just £105,000 with an attractive 6% NET yield. For more information, visit or contact Surrenden Invest on 0203 3726 499.

Property buyers increasingly drawn to Liverpool’s magnetic North

Property buyers increasingly drawn to Liverpool’s magnetic North

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  • Liverpool named top place to invest in the UK with up to 8% NET yields (Private Finance)
  • Liverpool offers low average rents and house prices (Private Finance)
  • Eldon Grove, offering 7% NET yield for 2 years, attracting investors to north Liverpool (Aspen Woolf)

More and more property investors have been steering towards the north for great investment opportunities.

Latest research by mortgage brokers Private Finance has revealed Liverpool to be the next hotspot for property buyers, naming it the best place in the UK to invest.

The study also found that Liverpool can offer net yields of up to 8% once mortgage costs are taken into account. Not only does the Northern Powerhouse city benefit from such attractive returns but it also boasts low average house prices (£122,283) and strong rents (£1,021 pcm).

Indeed, Liverpool is proving to be a promising market in all aspects with the recently appointed Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, calling for the government to prioritise rail investment in the north by committing to building the HS3 rail link, also known as Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Other recent investment in Liverpool’s connectivity is already yielding positive results as the city’s extremely popular cruise terminal broke records on its 10-year anniversary this month contributing £1.5 boost to Liverpool’s tourism economy.

Further reports also stand testament to Liverpool’s magnetic appeal with the city experiencing a boom in the buy-to-let market as demand for quality rental accommodation continues to vastly outweigh supply.

The Mistoria Group revealed a surge of tenant demand at 19% year on year with an average of 6.6 tenants chasing every shared room of a new rental property in the city. A trend also being seen by leading buy-to-let investment agency, Aspen Woolf.

“We are seeing no end of interest in the Liverpool investment market with over 70% of all enquires are for the city. Whilst the city centre remains popular, we are seeing more and more investors being drawn to the northern areas such as Vauxhall where prices are lower yet demand and rental returns remain high. Our Eldon Grove project in the heart of Vauxhall is just that and with a 2-year guarantee of 7% NET rental income, it really is a market-leading investment opportunity”

Oliver Ramsden, Founder & Director, Aspen Woolf


Eldon Grove provided some of the best pre-war social housing built by Liverpool city council, setting a new standard for the whole country which it was officially opened by the Countess of Derby in 1912. The layout, with its central square, well-maintained garden and bandstand, along with the chocolate-box look, helped create a vibrant community, lifting up some of Liverpool’s poorest residents.

Falling into disrepair, Eldon Grove is now being brought back to life 100 years later. Incorporating three original Grade II-listed blocks alongside three newly built blocks of stylish and contemporary apartments, New Eldon Grove has been carefully designed to preserve the heritage of the site while serving the needs of a new generation. Comprised of 45 apartments including 1,2 and 3 bedroom units, New Eldon Grove is set within peaceful surroundings of inner city Vauxhall (where once the late Cilla Black called home) yet on the edge of the vibrant Liverpool city centre.

Apartments situated in the original blocks have been re-imagined for 21st century living, with fully modernised fitted kitchens and bathrooms, while benefiting from the character of the Tudor buildings, with mullioned bay windows and their own front doors leading from the external walkways.

New Eldon Grove residents will also benefit from a community garden and shared landscaping, as well as parking, bicycle storage and secured entrance hallways. From just £94,950, with ready to rent furniture packs available, New Eldon Grove provides investors with an assured 2-year NET rental of 7%.

For more information, visit or contact Aspen Woolf on +44 203 176 0060.

Aqua Platinum reports boom in home spa market

Aqua Platinum reports boom in home spa market

United Kingdom
  • Global wellness industry now worth $3.7 trillion per year (Global Wellness Institute)
  • Elite athletes like Andy Murray spreading knowledge of how to achieve wellness
  • Bio-saunas, Russian banyas & aquarium walls hottest at home spa trends for 2017

The Global Wellness Institute reports that the global wellness industry is a $3.7 trillion market and high end swimming pool design and build company Aqua Platinum has revealed that consumers are taking an ever more educated approach to their wellness.

“The wellness and vitality industry has boomed in recent years and as the range of products and experiences on offer has expanded, so too has consumers’ curiosity. As we become more appreciative of the value of wellness to our daily lives, consumers are educating themselves on how best they can take advantage of both ancient traditions and modern technology.”

Aqua Platinum spokesperson

The sauna is a prime example. The centuries-old Finnish concept, present in almost every Finnish home, has long been a favourite of spa-goers in the UK.

Now, increasing numbers of UK homeowners are opting for one as part of a personal suite of spa facilities, along with a plunge pool (maintained at 5-10°C) that they can jump into immediately afterwards, for maximum benefit.

This combining of treatments in order to use them most effectively is catching on. Heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill, tennis player Andy Murray and runners Paula Radcliffe and Mo Farah are among several elite athletes who have spoken out about the benefits of ice-cold water on muscles and blood flow.

Consumers are also becoming interested in different sauna styles. While the hot, dry, atmosphere of the Finnish sauna has long been popular, cooler, wetter bio-saunas are now very on trend, along with the Russian banya (a high humidity room that is similar in many ways to a bio-sauna).

“It’s not just about having an indoor pool any more. Those who are committed to their health and wellbeing are opting for saunas, steam rooms, Jacuzzis, plunge pools, experience showers and spa pools with volcano jets and sprays for back, neck and shoulder massage. It’s about blending scientific advances in fields like sports exercise with ancient relaxation wisdom to create the ultimate bespoke vitality experience in your own home.”

Aqua Platinum spokesperson

The mixture of traditions and environments allows for some exciting design elements. Saunas remain simple in their presentation, with wood and natural stone constituting their main elements. Soft lighting is concealed beneath benches and backrests, while fibre optics can provide a delightful twinkly effect in the ceiling.

One more modern design feature that is becoming increasingly popular in home spas as well as many hotel spas is an aquarium wall. According to Allan N. Schwartz, PhD, “fish tanks are a wonderful way to further reduce anxiety and stress” when combined with other stress-busting activities. Aquarium walls are the ideal example of blending ancient relaxation knowledge such as this with modern design techniques.

As the high-end home spa market expands, so too do the range of facilities and treatments that are on offer. It was once enough to have an indoor pool. That’s now only the beginning.

For more information, call 0203 362 0442 or visit

Brazilian economy set for US$3 billion boost as World Cup countdown begins

Brazilian economy set for US$3 billion boost as World Cup countdown begins


With only 15 days until the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off, it’s all eyes on the largest country in Latin America, Brazil.

According to the Brazilian government some 3.7 million World Cup visitors are expected, generating an impressive US$3 billion boost for the economy. Raising its estimate of the number of overseas ticket holders attending the World Cup by 66% to 500,000, the impact of foreign tourists, who are forecast to spend the most, will be felt in particular.

Taking into consideration the average spending of tourists at last year’s FIFA Confederations Cup, Brazil’s Ministry of Tourism estimates that direct World Cup tourists will attend an average of four games, spending almost US$2,500 each, not including airfares.

Andrew Thompson, Group Sales Manager of leading Brazilian property developer Ritz Property, who himself is attending a number of World Cup games, comments;

“With the slight slowdown in the Brazilian economy seen in recent months, the US$3 billion forecasted income generated by the World Cup will be most welcome. Direct spending of some US$1.83 billion by visitors is expected with another US$1.19 billion set to be spent on other events and festivities linked to the FIFA World Cup.

“The revenue won’t all be from foreign visitors though, domestic spending, especially from the ever-growing Brazilian middle class is forecast to be significant. You only have to look at the consumer market where sales of TVs on Walmart’s Brazilian site have surged by 35% since the Brazilian soccer team was announced earlier this month!”

The positive effects of travel and tourism on the Brazilian economy in 2014 are also echoed by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). In the WTTC’s Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2014 – Brazil report, the total contribution of Travel & Tourism to Brazil was BRL443.7 billion, some 9.2% of GDP in 2013. This is forecast to rise by 5.2% in 2014 and by 4.1% per annum to BRL696.6 billion by 2024.

Indeed with reduction of unemployment one of President Dilma Rouseff’s priorities, the WTTC’s report prediction that the number of jobs directly supported by Travel & Tourism will rise by 2.8% in 2014 and a further 1.9% to 3,787,000 by 2024 is yet more welcome news.

So with the Brazilian economy set to score a billion dollar hat trick this year, isn’t it time that you considered investing in this thriving market? Offering double digit capital appreciation and generous rental income, investing in real estate in the booming North East of Brazil is a shrewd move.

One example of hot property for sale in the North east city of Natal is Ritz Property’s Costa Azul in the upmarket district of Petropólis. Here two and three bedroom luxury apartments offer breathtaking views towards the Potengi River, the Atlantic Ocean and the Fort of the Three Wise Men, and are fitted with contemporary décor and stylish appliances. A bar, pool, gymnasium and spa complete the luxurious experience and provide Costa Azul residents with a private retreat.

Prices start from R$411,488 / £111,000. To find out more, contact Ritz Property today on +44 207 183 7565 or visit