How we vandalise our own homes

How we vandalise our own homes

Kya deLongchamps lists the simple ways we can wipe value from a property

DID you even consider that you may be vandalising your own house? Performing outrageous feats of interior design daring, giving up on DIY and mangling the original layout with no professional interference to slow your roll? Sounds like you? Well, put down that lump hammer — you could be the proud owner of a freaky house, and the potential impact on your home’s value? Not pretty.


How we vandalise our own homes

It’s a sour catch-22. No matter what expensive extravagance you inflict on the kitchen, those glittering slab fronts and the witty kidney-shaped island may be loathed by sneering future buyers. How-and-ever, if you completely lose your marbles in this crucial space, you may be the very first ones to regret it.

Fashion colours (red, gold, yellow — you name the villain), intrusive peninsulas that make no ergonomic sense, and sloppy DIY warrior retro-fits to cabinetry can all wreak havoc on an innocent family space longing for neutral classic.

Spending €30,000 in the kitchen? During a house viewing, a completely defeated architect leaned into me over a violently pattered Italian marble pierced by a gold-plated tap and hissed: “They will never, ever see that money again.”

Surrender the idea of recouping every euro in five years’ time — daydreams. Install it to enjoy it right now. Consider the more customised the inclusions, the more specific they are to you and probably the less appropriate they may prove to others. Knocking through? Gingerly balance those private and public spaces,


My nana had an infamous furry toilet seat cover. Not just the lid, the very seat was delivered in deep violet shag.

How we vandalise our own homes

Bathroom floors receive splashes. Waterproof carpet backing is unlikely to stay afloat for long, and mould and bacteria thrive in the damp conditions of most bathrooms.

If you must, choose a tough polypropylene, and otherwise use machine-washable rugs or electric, retrofitted UFH pads to warm up tile or laminate flooring.

Try Milano mats from with wi-fi thermostatic connectivity. €56 from

Cork flooring (properly sealed) is resistant to mould and fungus and has a soft spring. Irish suppliers include Natura.


Yes, more bedrooms are generally a good addition but not if you’re sneaking through to them like Wile E.Coyote via other real rooms, including other bedrooms. There’s a minimum size even for a small single before it’s contemptuously branded a box room.

The proportions 4.6sq m is a nursery-sized room, while six to nine square metres provides an acceptable single, ten square metres is fine for a small guest and twenty square metres would be optimal for a master with a 1.5m x 2m king-sized bed.

How we vandalise our own homes

Fewer bedrooms with good spatial planning will trump cramped, mean rooms. Ensure new spaces feature suitable escape and excellent acoustic insulation to any stud-work, such as Isover’s and Knauf mineral wool rolls from €30 for a 3.85 linear metre. Final word — find an architect,


Some years ago a well-published survey of 1,000 adults by ING Direct, the mortgage firm, found that a messy teenage bedroom would potentially knock thousands off an asking price. This might seem ridiculous, but what about the Black Sabbath cavern you’re allowing Grainne in the den?

How we vandalise our own homes

Have you ever tried to paint over jet matt paint — try four coats of heavily tinted emulsion. If the mobile-toting darlings are gouging walls, making hard to reverse decorating decisions or just wholesale wrecking the house and your head, you’re letting them down for all future communal relationships. Step up to commando parenting. See Family First by Dr Phil McGraw, Simon & Schuster, Kindle edition, €8,


How we vandalise our own homes

A home comes with responsibilities and every property needs occasional work.

Whether you address it yourself or bring in a seasoned trade — there’s always a certain level of annual investment ahead.

Keep an eye on the materials of the house and the systems that perform to keep you warm, your air fresh and those kitchen and laundry needs met.

Need to up skill? The Collins DIY Manual is a perennial classic, €28,

Wikihow is free toAndroid or IOS and covers everything from hanging a shelf to cleaning out a rain barrel; check out


Yes, it’s true, house names can influence buyers. “Rambler’s Rest” suggests a house just one, cheery hearse hike from the cemetery.

Calling a stone-clad new build The Old Rectory or The Steward’s House — well my toes are curling into tight fusilli.

Also reported from Mumsnet online was the sweet signature “Tip View”, an amusing acknowledgement of the local landfill that will ensure prospective buyers will probably never visit to view to buy in the coming years.

If you wouldn’t call your baby King-messiah, don’t put a ridiculous legend or Hyacinth Bucket gentility on the gatepost. Names from Game of Thrones — probably not.


Teenagers might not mind a living space where their temples are crashing into the rafters, but if that hobbit-ready loft is not a real room then it’s probably relatively unsafe as sleeping quarters — and, moreover, in breach of building regulations.

How we vandalise our own homes

We were delighted at 13 to live amid the shreds of glass wool, mouse droppings with frozen Plexiglas for light — but times have changed.

A real stair, a cut roof, means of proper escape, and 2.3m of headroom over two or three of the finished floor are the marks of a decent loft conversion.

Even then, you may not be able to call the space a bedroom at sale, as it will not be counted as habitable full-time.

Have a structural engineer do some calculations and seek out professional design solutions. The added value of a conversion relies on quality of finish. Without good ventilation, insulation and adequate light, many fall flat.


Once you start actually believing that your standard semi is worth 20% or more than surrounding identical houses built to the same spec’, the rose-tinted glasses are seriously impeding reality.

We all know a house, where the owners have simply gone too far — over-stepping any logical footprint or finish.

How we vandalise our own homes

Generally, the house is shoe-horned tightly into the garden with several, inexplicable, dodgy extensions fighting with the home’s original period.

Houses are not bought quite by the metre, but there is an upper edge specific to locality.

Anyone can search the Property Price Register and see what is being achieved for attractive, similarly sized properties in your immediate area.

Why not take a look around at what the neighbours have (successfully) achieved.

Suit yourself of course, but don’t bank on a fairy-tale return;

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