Plymouth-based renovator and Instagram star @manwithahammer, a.k.a Greg Penn, shares below his top tips on how to renovate your home, plus dos and don’ts based on his years spent renovating the historic Admiral’s House in Plymouth, Devon, an impressive Georgian building of five floors and thirty rooms.
Whatever the age of the building, your renovation becomes personalised to you. Greg’s renovation involved substantial work on the heating system and the vast period property now benefits from smart heating control by Wiser. To celebrate our partnership with @manwithahammer, for a limited time we’re offering 30% off Wiser when you use code MWAH30 in the Wiser Shop!
How to Renovate Your Home – Tips from @manwithahammer
1. Planning ahead gets the best use from your space
“When designing a room, before you think about paint colours and what curtains you might like, the most important thing is to understand how you’ll use the space. I like to draw floorplans, including deciding where the furniture is going. From here you can work out where lights, radiators and plumbing should go, which need to be factored in early on.
“When it comes time to think about the décor, I also like to understand what time of day I’ll mostly use the space – what the light does has a huge impact on my choice of colours, depending on orientation.”
2. Smart homes are happy homes
“Create a smart home – this may seem like a little extra effort and cost up front, but it will pay off in spades, making your life easier, and your home a happier and more efficient environment for years to come. One smart home choice I’ve made is working with Wiser – a smart home heating system which means I can individually control the temperature in each room in my house.
“It might seem complicated initially, and you may even feel a little intimidated, but with systems such as Wiser, installation is super simple, and it’s all controlled through a handy app, right there on your phone. The Wiser system is available in classic white or stylish anthracite, so it can be seamlessly and elegantly incorporated into your chosen interiors. You could start your smart home journey with something small, like a smart doorbell, and work your way up.
“Along with my Wiser heating system, I use smart lighting, switches and appliances which are all connected to the Wi-Fi and it’s made such a difference to my everyday life. The Wiser factory is located about 3 miles from my house in Plymouth, so not only has it made my life easier, but I’ve been able to support a local business at the same time – winner!”
3. Keep an eye on your progress
“Take lots of before and after pictures so you can keep track of your progress and not lose hope when it all feels a bit unachievable! This has been so helpful for me in my renovation journey – when I’m 6 months behind schedule and yet another extra task has come up, being able to see the progress I’ve made really helps to lift my spirits and get myself back on track.”
4. Don’t just insulate – Ventilate!
“Whilst lots of people think about insulation and draught proofing, it’s important – especially in an old home – to think about adequate ventilation too. Older houses were designed to be a bit draughty, and to breathe, with roaring open fires sending warm, moist air up the chimney and drawing in cold, dry air from the outside.
"In an age of double glazing and efficient central heating, combined with hot power showers, the kettle going 10 times a day, and significantly more laundry than the Victorians would have done, you need to allow that moisture to escape to avoid damp walls which, ultimately, are cold walls!”
5. Don’t be too hard on yourself – Progress is progress
“Where possible, don’t focus too much on deadlines and don’t beat yourself up if (when!) they get missed. Renovating a home is a huge undertaking and its inevitable issues and extra jobs will arise while you’re working. Renovating a home – or even just one room – is a journey, and it should be an exciting and rewarding one; enjoy your renovation project and be proud of the hard work you’ve put in and the results you’ll start to see, even if they’re a little later than expected.”
6. A Wiser renovation journey
“I’ve been working with Wiser for a few years now and have really noticed the difference in the level of control I have over my heating, as well as the money I’m saving, and the amount of energy I’m using. With Wiser, if you activate Eco and Away Modes, you could save up to a whopping 30% off your energy bills – that’s not something to be sniffed at!
“If you’re interested in learning more about the Wiser heating system or finding out which solution would work best for your home, I have a very special Man With a Hammer discount to share with you – simply use code MWAH30 to get a brilliant 30% off Wiser, in classic white or contemporary anthracite to suit your style.”
To learn more about Wiser, visit https://wiser.draytoncontrols.co.uk
To discover more about Greg’s renovation journey, follow him at @manwithahammer on Instagram.