Furnishing And Decor For Your Expat European Home – Get Style And Save Money
Moving from the UK to a new home overseas is an exciting prospect but with many practical challenges and often some barriers. Purchasing or building a new home is one of the biggest challenges and as a result the question of furnishing and decor is often left as an after thought. But if you think about furniture, curtains, blinds, rugs, bedding and so on as part of your overall plan you can transform your new property into your new home.
It is true that you can wait till you are in residence before you start searching local stores for the necessary furnishings. This undoubtedly will allow you to furnish in a similar manner to other local homes, but you will be less familiar with local sources and it may take time and some style errors before you manage to complete the interior decor of your home to your satisfaction.
We’d always suggest that you should immerse yourself in the local environment and community, but when it comes to furnishing and dÃ©cor you can get the style you want and save money if you source items in the UK and then export it you your new home.
You’ll find that shopping in the UK is now often much cheaper than on the Continent. Particularly with the parlous state of the Â£ versus the Euro and significant VAT differentials you can find designer fabrics and home accessories considerably cheaper in the UK. If you buy in the UK and export to the EU you will pay UK VAT of 17.5% instead of local VAT which could be as much as 25.5%!
It’s often worth making a dedicated trip back to the UK in order to make big savings. Some expats will fill a hired van in the UK with everything needed in their holiday rental property or their own “home from home”. Since the UK is part of the EU (unlike the Channel Islands or Gibraltar) you won’t have problems with import duty to another EU country. Goods can also be shipped safely with international couriers like FedEx, UPS & DHL.
If your home is outside the UK you’ll benefit from VAT free exports – though you need to take care of local import taxes. But the retail price differentials between the UK and, for example, Dubai, the Algarve, the CÃ´te d’Azur, easily outweigh the cost of transportation & importation.
Many brands that are available in the UK are just not easily available overseas. So if you are seeking familiarity or exclusivity and an affordable solution then it makes sense to source in the UK. For example many designer curtain fabrics are 50% cheaper in the UK than in Europe.
Depending on the location of your new home, you find that you may have very limited choice when it comes to furnishings for your new home. In major cosmopolitan cities you should be spoiled for choice but otherwise you’ll find that Britain offers some of the widest choice at all levels of budget. So if your new overseas home is in rural Brittany, for example, if you want the best possible choice you could go to Paris or you could source from Britain; which would be easier?
English Spoken Here
Have you tried explaining the subtleties of your favourite fabric or paint colour in the local language? Unlike ordering a meal in a restaurant, it’s not a subject covered in many phrase books. Unless you are a linguist, you can avoid misunderstandings by using a British interior designer and supplier.
Peace Of Mind
You can deal with many suppliers in the UK who have experience of supplying goods and services to expats. Look for companies who have experience of making up goods to your specification (e.g. curtains) at a distance. Make sure they can project manage a whole house if you are refurbishing your home or furnishing your home for the first time. And of course check that they can arrange safe delivery. The right company will help you transform your overseas property into a stylish and desirable home whilst saving you time and money.
The Log Home Plan For a Traditional Pioneer Look
The traditional log home plan originated in north Europe during the Bronze Age (about 3500 B.C.E.). When European settlers arrived in America there was already a millennial old tradition of using logs for homes, barns and other structures in the Scandinavian countries as well as Russia and Germany. These regions had large forests of softwood trees which could easily be crafted with hand tools. Log homes were built of logs stacked horizontally and notched on the ends so the walls interlocked. When the Swedes and Finns arrived in New Sweden (the Philadelphia region) they imported their knowledge of log construction with them, as did later settlers from Germany. Settlers from the British Isles had no such tradition of log building but they soon learned the technique since log building was so convenient in eastern America. There were abundant softwood forests at hand, and other building materials including nails and spikes were unavailable, expensive, or difficult to transport. Moreover, log homes are easy to build: a man working alone could build a cabin in a few weeks. Using skids of logs leaning against the wall as inclined planes, it is possible to lift logs with ropes to construct even a two story log home.
However, usually a log home floor plan consisted of a single room, perhaps twelve to sixteen feet square. There would be one door, but in most cases no windows. When windows did exist they were covered with translucent greased animal skins rather than glass. Fireplaces were built of stone or clay and the chimneys of wattle. Because this is not a very fire-safe mode of construction, stone or brick were used where obtainable. The fireplaces furnished warmth and light as well as a cooking area. The interior walls of the log home were chinked with cloth or clay; and the floors were simple tamped earth (although some log homes had a puncheon floor, made of split logs laid flat side up). Higher designs had lofts which were used as sleeping and storage areas. Roofing depended upon what material was available, but often cedar shingle roofs made with hand split shingles were laid over two-by-four rafters.
Modern versions of log home floor plans share many of the advantages of bungalow style house plans in the sense of being an economical option for simple, country-style living. Modern log homes are built from milled logs which are manufactured usually in northern or Eastern Europe. These milled logs are squared and pre-cut for ease of assembly. Log homes are a popular option in rural areas, especially in the western states, where log homes over 3000 square feet in area are common. The style became popular during the Great Depression of the nineteen thirties when the Civilian Conservation Corps built thousands of log cabins in national parks throughout the U.S.; and many park visitors saw these buildings and adopted the style for their own homes. The largest log cabin in the world was built in 1930 in Montebello, QC Canada: the Chateau Montebello Hotel. In Europe log homes are frequently built as summerhouses in gardens, or else as home offices or guesthouse accommodations.
The log home floor plan symbolizes much of what America represents: sturdy, rough shelters designed for a simple, hardy, self-sufficient life. Like bungalow style house plans designed for simple country living, the log home plan is a great option for an economical, environmentally-friendly lifestyle.
European Kitchen Designs For The Modern Home
European kitchen designs are taking the world by storm. After invading Europe, they’ve now found their way inside homes in US and Canada and even in Asia. So what makes these designs so popular?
Generally speaking, Europeans love to cook. Their day-to-day cooking experiences enable them to master kitchen mechanics. That is why European kitchen design is characterized by its functionality. Their kitchens are ergonomically-designed for people on the go. Since lives are now fast-paced, it is important that lesser time is spent for food preparation and cleaning. With this kitchen design, utensils are within reach, island counters and sinks are bigger, and floors are easy to clean.
This focus on functionality results in a clear, streamlined design. Amazingly, the aesthetic aspect of design is not taken for granted. Kitchens are therefore stunning as they are efficient.
To achieve that sleek linear design, stainless steel is the most common material that can be found in the kitchen. Since most modern appliances are made of stainless steel, matching them with the existing fixtures would not be difficult. That is why we see stainless steel table tops, cabinets and sink. Some even use stainless steel tiles for the floor.
To match the metallic fixtures, light-colored and natural-looking wood is also used. Long wooden cabinets that are mounted on the wall are present in nearly all European kitchens. But through the years, the use of wood has become lesser. Most cabinet doors are now replaced with sliding frosted glass or metal to make it look clean and modern. There is also a decline in the use of hinged doors. So instead of cabinets, we now see large drawers with metallic pulls, for easier access to utensils.
Floors and island counters may also be made of wood. The center island counter is now oversized and multi-functional. So now you can do all the cooking, eating and cleaning up in one place. And because the island counter is big, one can prepare dinner in one end while the other family members are gathered on the other. One important thing though: use the same kind of wood for the entire kitchen.
This is not to say that this design does not allow the use of color. You can splash in some color through colored chairs. Or you can paint the walls with a rich, deep color, such as red or orange. Lastly, add soft lights to complete the look.