We are back! After a little break, Kate and I are delighted to return with series 13 of the Great Indoors podcast and you can catch the full episode here. We were also excited that we were able to record this episode face to face at my house, though Kate may have been less thrilled as she sat on my yellow sofa surrounded by the mountain of maximalist cushions!
I have to say, I do have a slight change of heart with the change of the season as I find myself wanting to have refresh and a good old sort out. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t see any beige or grey any time soon, but I just want to streamline and simplify – I’m starting to question my gallery wall and whilst I love a cluttered look, it may be a little much for my busy brain to handle right now.
This goes back to what we’ve discussed many times on the Great Indoors – it’s not just about the colour and pattern in a room, it’s how they make you feel. Right now, I can tell you my gallery wall, yellow door and yellow sofa are all grating on me. So I am having an existential crisis and I think it’s really important to do this cyclical thing, have a purge and re-assess whether that’s sorting out your wardrobe, swapping over to winter accessories or simply clearing out the kitchen cupboards.
So whilst I’ve been sorting, clearing and tidying, after my months of filming Kate launched her new sofa in collaboration with Love Your Home. This sexy little number made its debut at Decorex and in addition to the fab curvy shape, it’s about as sustainable as you can get. Right, ready for the credentials? Designed and made in the UK the frame is made from FSC-certified wood which is guaranteed for life, inside is recycled chip foam which would have ended up in landfill, and ‘Cocolok’ coconut fibre which is dipped in natural latex and used instead of petroleum foam to help with the shaping. The seat features stainless steel springs which make for a firmer sit and won’t sag like foam or feathers over time. The velvet fixed cover is made out of recycled plastic bottles in a solar-powered factory in Italy and if you fancy a change you can swap it for a cotton cover made from 80% offcuts from the fashion industry. She really has thought of every single detail and I think this is a classic sofa that won’t date and will stand the test of time.
As I skirted over earlier for the last 4 months I have been manically filming for my new Channel 5 TV show where we have taken 12 family homes and given them a sprinkling of ‘Sophie dust.’ Not only does this mean encouraging them to embrace colour but also to help them unleash their own sense of style. This isn’t about my style and taste, it’s about taking these homes in need of a colour transformation and guiding the families on a new creative journey. We hope to see it on our screens in the new year but we need a name and that’s where you come in! Please do share any ideas for my new ‘hit’ show on our fabulous Facebook group.
Back by popular demand, we welcome Tom, otherwise known as my builder husband. Tom is dedicated to sustainable and environmentally responsible building, so we felt as COP26 goes on in the background (at the time of recording) he could share some eco fixes big and small for your home.
Around 22% of the UK’s carbon emissions come from our homes. With a few changes, you can reduce your personal carbon footprint by around 25%. So how can we do this?
“We all have to look at it from a different angle as we all have different amounts of money, different houses and different things going on in our lives, so it’s about what you are able to take on personally. When I survey someone’s home they usually say they want to install solar panels, but I would say to look at the windows first and see if the house is draft proof. A quick easy fix compared to installing solar panels, changing the heating system or the fuel you use. If for example, you have original sash windows you can simply google ‘sash window refurbs’ in your area or if you are handy and like to get involved with DIY, go to reddiseals.com and you’ll see a huge array of products to draft proof casement and sash windows.”
“What is the maximum effect you can have in your life for what you can afford or what you can do at the time. We went down the electric car route – anything you can do to get off fossil fuel. We have oil here so the next big thing is to stop using oil so we’re putting in an air source heat pump. We have underfloor heating on the ground floor (see previous post here) and large radiators upstairs so the air source heat pump will efficiently heat the water.”
Can anyone have an air source heat pump?
If you need to replace your boiler or update your system do ask the question if you can have one. It’s also worth mentioning that the government are introducing a £5,000 grant towards an air source heat pump. Apparently, prices range from £7-13k for an average size house.”
Let’s talk wood burners.
There is a bit of a misunderstanding I think. Burning wood is not burning a fossil fuel so can be considered a green source of energy. We need to move away from burning fossil fuels, so coal, oil – anything created millions of years ago stored in the ground, so when it burns we’re releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. When wood grows it takes carbon out of the atmosphere and into the wood, so when the wood decomposes or it’s burnt it releases the carbon back into the atmosphere. So in effect, it’s a carbon-neutral process – although it depends where the wood comes from, it can be shipped in from abroad and treated with chemicals, wrapped in plastic so not entirely carbon-neutral – if you’re getting it locally sourced then make sure it’s dried. Modern wood burners are now being made up to various standards and are around 90% more efficient at burning the fuel and not creating the particulates and from 2022 all wood burners must be environmentally friendly.
If you’re at the renovation stage of a project what do you need to start researching?
“Get your house right first, draught-proof, green energy company, insulation and then if you can go that extra mile look at solar panels. If you are renovating I would personally look at fuse boards and systems that future-proof the house for electric cars.”
This is all very overwhelming and very costly so plan ahead to future-proof your home and try to make provisions as one day we’ll all be driving electric cars!
A huge thanks to Tom for joining us and to you our faithful listeners.