It’s all about Islington!

Did you know that the London Borough of Islington, as we know it today, is around 50 years old?  It emerged when the metropolitan boroughs of Islington and Finsbury united in 1965 during a London-wide reorganisation.  However, the borough’s history is one of the oldest in London with a mention in the Doomsday Book in the 11th century.  It talks about Islington as once being a “savage place – a forest full of the lairs of wild beasts where bears and wild bulls roamed.”.  Oh what a difference a few centuries makes!  Over the last decade Islington has become one of London’s most desirable areas to live, play, work and anything else you fancy doing there!  The bustling High Street offers more than enough entertainment, with a plethora of restaurants, boutique shops, and gastro pubs, plus you have the intimate and cosy Almeida Theatre, which in my view is one of the loveliest fringe theatres in London.  Angel Islington – as some may refer to the area as, takes its name from the Angel Inn which once stood on the corner of Islington High Street and Pentonville Road, and now lends its name to one of two underground station in the area.

Islington has many beautiful tree lined streets with fabulous homes, and it offers some of the prettiest residential squares in London.  The main building period began in the area in the 1820s as the squares and terraces of Barnsbury (a area of Islington) started appearing.  Barnsbury continues to be a popular choice and Davis Brown is offering you the chance to rent in this fantastic area.  Our lettings department have four beautiful, modern flats nestled away in the corner Barnsbury Square.  If you would like more information about these flats, get in touch with our residential team who will be sure to help.

Run You Home With These Top 5 Apps!

Who doesn’t lead a hectic life nowadays?!  As busy Estate & Managing Agents we are often battling our way through the busy city streets feeling stressed, so anything that will make our lives that little bit easier is always welcome!  Keeping track of the running of the home can often fall by the wayside but fear not, we have 5 nifty apps to share with you which will no doubt make your life a lot easier and you really now have no excuse not to keep things in order… 

1.           HomeRoutines

This genius of an app allows users to create routines with a variety of different occurrences.  The idea is that you set up different routines with a list of jobs; for example you may have “empty the dishwasher” and “feed the dog” in for twice a day, but “mop the floors” in for once a week.  You can even create seasonal routines – winter rain and mud may mean your floors require a little more TLC than in the summer time.  Each day the app sends you a reminder of what’s on your to-do list – whilst helping you to keep a track of everything, this app also ensures you that you’ll never forget to take the rubbish out again! 

2.           Hive

The core function of British Gas’s app Hive is that it gives the user the ability to control their heating and hot water on the go.  Imagine this, you finish work early and can’t wait to get home and snuggle up on the sofa with a cup of tea in front of the tv.  But, it’s freezing cold outside and your heating isn’t due to come on for another couple of hours.  With Hive, you can simply open the app and turn on the heating on so that when you get home, you are welcomed into a lovely warm home!  

Hive has however developed the app to do far more than just control your heating and hot water.  Hive Active Plug lets you control your electrical appliances from the app (a lifesaver for those of us that periodically fret about whether we left the hair straighteners on!) whilst Hive Active Light let you switch your lights on and off! In short, Hive is a techy home organisation lover’s dream, and ensures that wherever you are, you’re in control of your energy. 

3.           Wunderlist

Wunderlist is a list lover’s dream!  The whole point of this app is to create to dos and tick them off (oh the satisfaction of ticking them off!).  Whilst this app can be used for all sorts of topics, it’s particularly useful for keeping on top of your home.  Whether it’s your weekly shopping, or long term house goals this app keeps them all in one place.  You can filter tasks, see what’s due on any given day and star things that are urgent. 

This app also allows the user to invite others to join a list – whether it’s a list of essentials that need buying that you want to share with your flatmate, or jobs to be done around the house for the family to share.  

4.           Energy Apps

EDF, British Gas, SSE, Eon…the list goes on.  Almost all energy suppliers nowadays have apps.  Not the most exciting of our top 5, but still very useful!  Send your meter readings, take advantage of offers, pay your bills and check your usage on the go with your energy supplier’s app.  

5.           TaskRabbit

Sometimes even with all the technological help in the world there just aren’t enough hours in the week which is why TaskRabbit was invented!  Type in your task, and ‘taskers’ will send you their availability, services and price.  Whether it’s a mountain of ironing you just don’t have the energy to do, or a clean of your kitchen after a dinner party, with TaskRabbit there’s always someone who’s happy to help!

Give your Old Coat a New Life! Wrap Up London this Winter!

I don’t know about you but for me, one of the things I love about the winter months is wrapping up warm and being cosy and snuggly in a brand new coat, but it’s so easy to take for granted that we can actually do that and there are so many people in London who don’t have that luxury.  We here are Davis Brown Estate Agents in Fitzrovia are very much of the mind “out with the old (giving the “old” to charity), in with the new” and have teamed up with Wrap Up London – a fantastic charity who are in their sixth year of collecting old, unwanted or used coats from members of the public to distribute directly to those who are likely to struggle in the cold weather this Winter.  Wrap Up London (organised by the charity Hands on London), works with many homeless shelters including refugee and children’s centres, elderly organisations & women’s shelters, to name but a few, so coats of all sizes are very welcome.  Last year nearly 14,000 coats were collected in the capital and the charity is looking to collect at least that number again this year. 

Davis Brown are getting involved by holding an in-house coat collection, where we are hoping as many “Fitzrovians” will be able to drop in a coat, have a chocolate on us and maybe even pose for an Instagram or Twitter pic!  We are welcoming coats of all shapes and sizes, but we are especially after men’s coats as historically these have been in higher demand.   If you have a coat to spare, we are taking donations now!  So please pop by to Davis Brown, 1 Margaret St, W1W 8RB, between the hours of 9 and 5pm Monday to Friday – no need to call ahead.  Last collection will be on Thursday 17th November at 5pm. We hope to see you soon!

Wrap Up London really seems to bring out the best in Londoners; people have been bringing whole suitcases full of old coats, and at the end of last week at Highbury and Islington (one of the coat collection points), a young school boy got off his bike and handed over his own coat, and when asked if his Mum would mind he replied saying that other people needed it more than him. It warms the cockles of my heart to see such caring humanity.   So come on Londoners – let’s pull together as a community!  Give a coat, warm a heart!

You can find more information at www.handsonlondon.org.uk

 

Wrap Up London – Donate your winter coat

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Help Keep London Warm This Winter

DONATE YOUR UNWANTED COATS TO THOSE IN NEED

This Christmas, Davis Brown is supporting Wrap Up London
in its annual mission to help keep London warm this winter.
We’ll be volunteering as the Fitzrovia collection point for your
unwanted coats so that they can start a new life with those
most likely to struggle to keep warm during the winter months.
A coat collection for the local area will run direct from Davis
Brown with any unwanted coats donated to homeless shelters,
refugee centres, women’s refuges and other charities. If you
live and work in the local area and would like to donate a coat
to a worthy cause, we’d love for you to pop in.

WHEN
Monday 7th – Friday 11th and
Monday 14th – Friday 18th November

WHERE
Davis Brown
1 Margaret Street, London, W1W 8RB

TIME
Drop in any time 9am – 5pm

WUP - JPEG

Some simple tips to consider when thinking of an extension

Do check if you require planning consent first before you embark on any building works

Ask the advice of a Party Wall Surveyor from the outset

Visualise what you want the end result to look like and discuss this with your contractor before works start

Inform your neighbours of your plans and keep them updated on the build, especially during the noisy works

Site visits are a must throughout the build process

Budget for the works as best as you can – we would advise getting 3 quotes and don’t forget those hidden extras

Recommendations for contractors is vital – ask to speak to previous clients if possible

Open dialog with your contractor is a must to ensure a smooth build and a good relationship

Weather conditions can cause delays in any build project, ensure you have a contingency plan

Not everyone is able to stay at home when the works are being undertaken, look into alternative accommodation during the works – remember to include the costs when setting your budget

For further information about any building works, please do contact one of our surveyors for professional help and advice.

Nights at the Museums

When you think of museums do you think of stuffy old dusty places you used to visit on school trips?  Well this weekend is as good a time as ever to turn that impression on its head.  Museums are great places for the culturally curious, they encourage us to delve deeper into fascinating and wide-ranging subjects, and this weekend museums, galleries and heritage sites all over the UK are opening their doors late into the night.  We all know of the V&A and the British museum, but London plays host to many different types of places that you may never have heard of before, but with Museum Lates taking place this weekend you will have the chance to explore the cultural experiences London has to offer – in the dark!     

The Grant Museum of Zoology – in Davis Brown’s neighbourhood of Fitzrovia, so we know it well.   It’s the only remaining university zoological museum in London, housing around 68,000 specimens from the animal kingdom.  With hundreds of skulls and skeletons on show this museum is sure to offer a creepy atmosphere, tying in nicely with Halloween weekend!     

The Royal College of Nursing Library & Heritage Centre in Cavendish Square, Marylebone, is celebrating its 100th birthday.  Discover how a Victorian Prime Minister and Victorian suffragettes turned a townhouse in Marylebone into a vital part of the modern NHS.   

Keats House, Hampstead.  The famous poet lived in this beautiful house from 1818 to 1820.  They are opening their doors to combine food and fizz in this stunning Regency setting, while listening to romantic poetry written by Keats himself. 

Charles Dickens Museum in Bloomsbury is opening its doors and celebrating Dickens After Dark.  You will be able to explore the author’s dimly lit, beautiful townhouse just as it was when he lived there.  With readings of his ghost stories to really get you in a ghoulish mood!  

There are many more places taking part in Museum Lates this weekend including the Natural History Museum, Imperial War Museum, Vestry House Museum, Old Royal Naval College, Design Museum, Wellcome Collection.  So whatever your favoured genre there is something to suit every taste, so head to the Museum Lates website and take your pick, you’ll be sure to have a fascinating experience!

MUSEUMPIC

Tips For A Tidy Home

Keeping on top of a tidy home – especially with messy inhabitants (spouse, kids, pets) can be a bit of a challenge.   You start off the week with every good intention of keep it spik and span but we all know that can go to pot quite easily.  The weather change and half term looming can strike fear into the most organised of people at this time of year – even Mary Poppins might struggle, but fear not, Davis Brown has come to the rescue yet again with a few easy tweaks.

Boudoir

It might sound simple but make your bed as soon as you get up –that’s one job down immediately!

Wardrobe

Organise your outfit the night before, that way you avoid the stress and likely mess resulting from a last minute wardrobe panic!  Hang your clothes up as soon as you step out of them (as opposed to dumping them on the floor and creating a mess.)

Kitchen

Clear the kitchen of clutter and do the washing up in the evening;  I don’t know about you but if I’m faced with a piles of washing up  in the morning it puts me in a very bad mood!  Plus you don’t need to use much elbow grease to get rid of greasy pots and pans straight after use – leaving it until the morning; well you’re just asking for trouble!

Laundry

Start a wash cycle as soon as you get home, this will give you time to dry and put away all the laundry before you go to bed.

Bathroom

Clean as you go along.  A little bit each day stops any sizeable build-up of grime and dirt so you won’t be faced with a huge unsurmountable task at the end of the week.   It’s helpful to keep a squeegee in the bathroom so you can clean your shower screen after each use.

Bags, keys & coats

Keep them all in the same spot so you can simply grab and go!

Pets

Got a furry pet whose moulting tons of hair?  Just run a squeegee over rugs to draw out hair and fluff in seconds, or get yourself a rubber brush – this ingenious thing can be used on carpets, tiles and wooden floors and windows.  And while we’re on the subject of pets – dirty dogs…oh the pure dread of coming back home after a muddy walk with the pup!  Get yourself a Dogrobe – an easy and quick way to dry your dog and keep him warm at the same time, you just pop it on and it does the work for you!

Children

Purge….ruthlessly (I’m not suggesting getting rid of your kids, just some of their belongings).  Piles and piles of unused toys and clothes can easily build up over a short space of time, so why not take one toy and piece of clothing each week that your children have grown out of to a charity shop?

“The best way to get something done is to begin it.”  Said somebody wise.

BROOMPIC

London on the Silver Screen

The 60th BFI London Film Festival is in full swing; some say it’s the biggest, brightest and best event in the capital’s film-goers calendar, screening everything from swanky star-studded red carpet Hollywood premiers to the very best in world cinema.   You can still get your hands on last minute tickets by heading to bfi.org.uk (but hurry as it all comes to an end on Sunday).    

I for one am a huge fan of cinema, and as you may have realised by now – a huge fan of my home city, so when I see any part of London up there on the big screen I feel proud, excited and a little bit emotional!  London has played a starring role in many blockbuster movies thanks to its awesome skyline, atmospheric streets and royal palaces. 

London galleries have proved popular with film location managers, with the Tate Modern being featured in several films – Match Point (Scarlett Johansson), Children of Men (Michael Caine) and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (Ewan McGregor).  The Portrait Restaurant at the National Portrait Gallery was featured in the Julia Roberts’ brilliant film Closer.   

Numerous London icons have often been featured, our red phone boxes and double decker buses, Big Ben and London’s spectacular bridges have featured in The Da Vinci Code, Bond’s Skyfall, and in 28 Days Later Jim – the protagonist walks across a deserted Westminster Bridge in one earie scene with the Houses of Parliament behind him. 

Leafy Greenwich has played host to the epic riot scenes in the live film version of Les Miserables (Eddie Redmayne), as well as the opening carriage chase in Pirates of the Caribbean (Jonny Depp – as if you needed the reminder).   

Trafalgar Square – home to Nelson’s Column and what seems to be London’s pigeon population –is possibly the world’s most recognisable landmark and was bound to pop up in a film or two – Captain America, St Trinian’s  and the Tom Cruise film Edge of Tomorrow, to name but three.    

The film Notting Hill shows, well Notting Hill in all its glory!  Portobello Road, Notting Hill Coronet cinema, and of course that now extremely famous book shop to which tourists flock. 

Now I couldn’t let our dear old Tube go without a mention – us commuters may have a love/hate relationship with it but we’d be lost without it!  It played a key role in Gwyneth Paltrow’s character’s fate in Sliding Doors.  That soppiest of romcoms Love Actually included scenes on the London underground too and scenes from The Bourne Identity with Matt Damon were shot in Charing Cross underground station.  

Lastly but by no means least, if you find yourself at a certain train platform in Kings Cross station you might discover a bit of magic, but not any old magic – a bit of Harry Potter magic….

HARRYPIC 

 

Davis Brown’s Tips for Tipples!

If you have your fingers on the pulse of what’s going on in London, you will have noticed that this week has been London Cocktail Week, and until Sunday you can purchase a £10 wristband which entitles you to £5 cocktails in some of the best bars in London.  Whether your preference is a Chocolate Old Fashioned at Gymkhana in Mayfair, or a Marsala Martini at Bar Termini in Soho, this is your week to experience something new, wonderful and maybe even a bit weird in the world of cocktails.  I couldn’t let London Cocktail Week pass us by without imparting some of our (extremely well-versed, alcoholic) knowledge on cocktail venues in our local surrounding areas.  The Davis Brown office is lucky enough to be situated in one London’s most happening neighbourhoods – Fitzrovia, where we are spoilt for choice for places to eat, drink and be merry!  

So where on earth do you start?!  Let’s start with Rev JW Simpson on Goodge Street.  Firstly, it’s not easy to find.  Secondly you will need to make several trips to try all of the delicious and deadly concoctions!  There’s a great history behind this bar – it used to be a brothel and the décor hasn’t changed much since!  A must-try cocktail is the French Martini (suggested by Davis Brown’s Francophile Sarah-Jane), Chambord, vodka, fresh pineapple juice & raspberry liqueur.  (note to self: MUST visit Rev JW Simpson). 

Next we have Ice Bar on Heddon St.  A completely different vibe! Rumour has it you are given a faux fur coat on arrival.  Our cocktail of choice there is a Summer Breeze (ironic) with vodka, cranberry and grapefruit.  Georgie our Commercial Property & Investment Agent wants to let you know “It’s really cool!” Nice one Georgie…. 

London Gin Club on Great Chapel Street, W1 – a visit is imperative if you are a fan of gin (so says David-one of our Valuers.).  Gin has overtaken vodka in popularity in recent years and you will understand why when you taste their gin fusions. 

Next up we have the Covent Garden Cocktail Club.   It’s a member’s only bar, but membership is …wait for it…free!  It’s a clever idea as it stops people coming in off the street which means it never gets too crowded.  John our graduate Surveyor ….says the Buck ‘n Grind (their version of the Espresso Martini) is second to none, and if you get there at the right time you can bag yourself a BOGOF!  

Another bar/restaurant that does the perfect negroni (Campari, gin, vermouth) is Remedy in Cleveland Street, Fitzrovia.  A Mediterranean hideaway with amazing food to follow your favourite aperitif!   

I’ve only just touched the tip of the iceberg, so much more to discover, and being Cocktail Week, no better time to imbibe, so go out and make merry this weekend!cocktailpic 

Top Five Interiors Trends This Winter

The days are getting shorter and temperature is dropping and suddenly those bright, zesty coloured cushions and pineapple ornaments just don’t seem appropriate anymore.  As estate agents in central London, we like to keep our fingers firmly on the interior trends pulse so we thought we would give you our top five favourite fashions for your home this autumn and winter.3

  1. Dark blue; think velvet and satins in a deep indigo, or a luxurious throw in a sumptuous ink. Highlights of an ‘in colour’ can bring your property right up to date instantly …
  2. Shades of grey; there is nothing more chic than a mixture of soft greys in a variety of textures in one room. A light grey faux fur throw with contrasting dark grey cushions on a mid-grey sofa will give your property the ultimate edge this winter.
  3. Touches of marble; Subtle and elegant, marble has long been a key ingredient to any stylish home. This winter, it’s all about small accents – a marble clock mounted on a crisp white wall, chunky candle holders on a glass dining table.  The key is not to overdo it, and keep your marble touches delicate and understated.
  4. Lamps; big lamps, small lamps, table lamps, floor lamps… the nights are drawing in and it’s getting darker earlier in the evening. Lamps are the perfect way to create the perfect lighting in any property.  Use them to draw focus to feature furniture and highlight your accent colours.  The trick to this trend is more is more; mix and match quirky industrial floor uplighters with traditional black iron table lamps.
  5. Metals; whilst metals have been trending for a while, they are still firmly in our top five winter trends – everything metal is where it’s at. Picture a brass 70s drinks trolley, reclaimed wooden side tables with iron legs, and copper bowls for your Christmas fruit and chestnuts.  This is such a fun winter trend and is a super easy way to inject subtle colours and up to date interiors in to any property.