Media Release: Latest renovation trend… ‘ugly duckling’ transformations



ACCORDING to the experts from The Scottish Homebuilding & Renovating Show, which is back at Ingliston, Edinburgh on 24 and 25 October, the big trend in renovation right now is in taking ‘ugly duckling’ homes and turning them into something altogether more wonderful.

Commenting, Jason Orme, one of the experts who will be at the show in Edinburgh, says: “Forget the characterful little cottages or the charming period homes, buying an ‘ugly ducking’ home is smart in several ways: you have a blank canvas on which to make the home your own, they are often overlooked by traditional renovators, they are often postwar homes, well built and usually require little structural repair and, best of all, they’re quite easy to find – the only problem is overlooking them!

“The best ones to look for are the ones located in better locations – the worst house on a great street – which gives you plenty of scope to enjoy a big uplift in value with only modest aesthetic improvements.”

Here are Jason’s top tips on how turn an ugly duckling home into a swan:

* New cladding;

* Many ugly duckling homes have an unattractive ‘skin’ – the external facing might be a poor quality brick, or harling, or cheap stone 1960s stone cladding. It’s quite easy to add a new, attractive cladding – perhaps over external wall insulation at the same time – and it can have a huge, instant benefit in the way your home looks. Try brick slips, or a through-coloured render system (try Sto) or a fibre-cement board that looks like timber without the hassle (such as Cedral Click from Marley Eternit);

* New window positions and frames;

* Windows have a big impact on the overall visual appeal of a house and you should consider what you can do to improve them. You would probably want to replace them if they’re more than 20 years old – the cheapest option is to makeover the frames themselves but in most cases you should consider upgrading. Aluminium frames are very popular at the moment and help to give homes of this nature a contemporary feel. At the same time, try and include some more interesting window shapes and sizes – perhaps a bigger feature window, or a corner window – a simple bit of design that can make a big difference;

* New, outside lighting;

* Sometimes, the smaller things can make a big difference. Introducing some smart external lighting to your madeover home can be a simple way to give a wow-factor to passers-by and a welcoming glow on the return from work. Try floor-based uplighters or wall-mounted downlighters either side of the front door;

* New porch/entrance;

* The front entrance should be an experience as well as giving a strong design message. Think about how a new porch design can change things – perhaps an oak-framed covered porch for a more traditional look or a glass and timber structure (perhaps double height?) to really make a statement. Bold design pays off – as does an oversized front door. It’s important to create a generous feeling of space for anyone entering your home, and nothing beats a wide (as in 1m+) front door for a simple touch of luxury; and

* And if you really fancy pushing the design boundaries, we’re seeing a few leading architects beginning to use metal as a cladding material for home makeover projects – particularly in rural parts of Scotland. Traditionally used on commercial buildings, they can make a big design statement.

Visitors can get more expert advice from Jason Orme at The Scottish Homebuilding & Renovating Show when it returns to The Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, Edinburgh on 24 – 25 October. Opening hours Saturday 10 – 5pm, Sunday 10 – 4.30pm.

For more information call 0844 8586 754 or visit

Advance tickets, which can be booked until 3pm on Friday October 23, cost £8 and on the door tickets £12. Under 16s go free


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