Sian Stonehill became a property developer after two decades of moving every few years with her husband. “His business took him all over the world, so the children and I went with him, moving from country to country,” she explains. “There was always a new house to decorate and improve, so it eventually became my career.” Siam shares her tips on how you can add value to your home.
1 Focal point
“A fireplace is a wonderful focal point, so if there is an existing fire there, open it up, improve it if necessary and use it. And if there isn’t, put one in – like contemporary gas styles or modern wood-burning stoves.” If you want a more traditional style, frame your fireplace – gas or wood – with a classic mantelpiece. Just remember that wooden mantelpieces shouldn’t be used around wood-burning fires.
2 Let there be light
“Space and natural light are so important, so I try to add both wherever I can by opening up entrances, such as the double doors into the garden, or using skylights where necessary. These days, people want their work and living spaces close to each other, so in my house, the dining area flows from the kitchen and the whole space is open plan.”
3 Kitchen island
“It’s always worth including an island unit if you have space. They can be expensive to install, but undoubtedly increase the value of your home. When planning a kitchen, make sure all appliances are within easy reach of the food preparation area, and buy the best you can afford. It really is a false economy to buy cheap – good-quality appliances are a strong selling point.”
4 On display
“Buyers always look for homes with plenty of storage, so I redesigned the entire first-floor layout, transforming one of the bedrooms into an en-suite dressing room for the master bedroom. Although I sacrificed a room, it gives the master bedroom wow factor. I store all my accessories in the island in the centre; it seems a pity not to have such beautiful things out on display.”
5 Give yourself some space
“Originally, my bedroom was two smaller rooms. It might seem foolish to lose a bedroom if you’re thinking of selling, but people always want larger rooms where they don’t feel too cramped. The house also has to work for you while you’re living in it and I find, if it works for me, other people seem to like it, too. Even if you live in a smaller house or apartment, try to keep your bedrooms uncluttered to give yourself a similar sense of space and sanctuary.”
6 Luxury bathroom
“Again, I sacrificed two small bathrooms to make one large one, and I made it en suite. People expect their bathroom to be in close proximity to their bedroom. Also, if you have the space, it’s worth including two basins, as this has instant appeal for couples or families. Storage is essential, so always build it in wherever possible.”
7 Special touches
“It’s the special flourishes that will set your home apart from the rest.” Things like built-in shelving nooks to display vases and art and handmade door frames can all add value to your home and make it stand out from the rest.