In the affluent area of Dulwich, the standard expected in family rental properties has significantly increased over the last few years. Smart landlords seeking the top level of rent have noticed the trend for high-spec, open-plan family kitchen and dining spaces in the sales market and applied it to their rental properties. More and more properties have added larger and more sociable kitchen and dining spaces as well as a separate reception room – this is definitely the trend buyers keep in mind as they hunt for their dream home to buy, and this has now filtered through to the rental market, since more and more families are longer term renters.
The most popular properties are ones that have a bit of personality; whether it’s feature wallpaper (‘feature’ being the operative word here – don’t overdo it!), contemporary tiling or a tasteful granite worktop. It’s those touches that make it a little more special. When looking at colours, fresh and light is the way to go – Fired Earth or Farrow and Ball have the colour palates of choice for the style-conscious tenant. Nothing too bright or dark. Muted French greys are always welcome. Think sophisticated and grown-up shabby chic when renovating any property for sales or rental in this area. We have a very sophisticated and artistic population in south London and it’s good to keep this in mind.
It’s also desirable to flow an open-plan area through to the garden space to ‘bring the outside in’ and make the most of your outdoor space even if the weather’s dull. Bi and tri-fold doors used to be an unusual ‘wow’ factor, but now the ability to open up completely onto the garden is almost a mainstay of modern family life.
It works best if the shade of your decking or patio matches the floor inside. If it’s all on the same level it creates the sense of a larger inside space and seamless living from one area to the other. If you can, a skylight above the dining room is another great way to beat the winter SAD syndrome as it provides further daylight where you spend most of your family life.
Personally I have been exposed to these trends for so long within my property business, that when renovating my home over the last two years in Forest Hill, I have applied the same principals, but I’ve taken it one step further and added a glass veranda by Weinor. This is a feature I’m sure we’ll see more and more of in the future, as it’s the natural next step to create an additional space that can be used during wet, chilly weather, but still feels ‘outdoorsy’.
The doors of the veranda retract right back, sliding one over the other, opening up the whole decking area. The beauty of this structure is that generally no planning permission is required and it’s significantly cheaper than a conservatory – costing around £20,000 rather than £50,000. Plus, the whole thing could add as much as £50,000-£100,000 to the value of your property, which is always a bonus!