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Restoration Experts
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Basement Specialists


improve dont move

“Don’t Move…Improve” Contest Shortlist. London

March 6, 2020

Have a look at these incredible home renovation projects that were short-listed in the coveted 2020 “Don’t move, Improve” contest.  

There are 25 projects shortlisted to win this year’sDon’t Move, Improve!contest – an annual awards programme held by New London Architecture (NLA) to showcase “the ingenuity of residential design” in London. 

Have a look at the shortlist here 


If you’d like some guidance on your home improvement project, give us a call on 02081917595. Or better still, book a FREE consultation with us and we’ll visit your property, discuss your ideas and share some of our recommendations with no obligation. 

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Ashton Kutcher surprises his mom with …a basement 

Ashton Kutcher surprises his Mum with …a basement 

February 28, 2020


We love this story… it’s not only heart-tugging from a mother-son perspective, but for us, as specialist basement conversion experts, it’s even more exciting.  


With the help of Houzz and an interior designer, Ashton converted a dark, dingy space into something truly spectacular for his mother.  

 Read how and what he did with his parents’ basement in this article. 



And… if you’d like to see his detailed video diaries… Here they are…including his mum’s reaction to her fabulous new basement conversion.  

Surprising your mum with a new basement isn’t possible for everyone [Symbol], but have you thought of converting your basement into a space that you’ve always been dreaming of… perhaps a cinema room, a gym or even a swimming pool?  

If you’d like some advice and suggestions on how and where to start, give us a call. Basement conversion are ‘our’ thing. We’d be happy to have a chat … with absolutely no obligation… literally just a chat on what your options are. 



If you’d like some guidance on your home improvement project, give us a call on 02081917595. Or better still, book a FREE consultation with us and we’ll visit your property, discuss your ideas and share some o our recommendations with no obligation. 

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Basement Ventilation

How do I make sure my basement is well ventilated?

February 21, 2020

Ventilating your basement, whether you are in Fulham, Knightsbridge, Kensington, Wandsworth or anywhere in the London or the UK is one of the most important considerations when converting your basement into a habitable, living space.  

Basements, given their location in the property, are known to be damp, mouldy spaces, characterised by unpleasant odours and mildew and moisture problems.  

The science behind it is that moisture from the earth seeps into walls and floors. When this cold moisture collides with warmer basement air, condensation develops. Excessive condensation creates a musty smell and becomes a breeding ground for mould and mildew spores.  

According to the Basement Information Centre in the UK, building regulations require the provision of ventilation to all basements (heated or unheated) to adequately control moisture vapour, whether it is generated internally or brought through from the structure.  

Cross ventilation or passive stack ventilation are the most effective forms of natural ventilation although continuous mechanical ventilation may be required depending upon proposed use and internal arrangement of rooms. 


For spaces with anticipated high levels of humidity, such as utility rooms, bathrooms or gyms, mechanical ventilation is essential.  Ventilation should be directly applied to exposed external walls where possible i.e. not through the basement retaining walls.  

Stack ventilation is ventilation through a vertical vent duct and mechanical ventilation uses fresh, outdoor air. This type of system may be as simple as placing small window fans in opposite windows or as technical as installing an exhaust fan with ventilation pipe. Many homeowners opt for a mechanical ventilation because of the great flexibility and automation it provides.  


So, what are the key irritants that a good basement ventilation system combat? 


  1. Moisture 

Moisture in your basement air can be influenced by the outdoor air moisture, first-floor moisture, soil air moisture, and the HVAC systems connected to your house. 

You can generally tell if your basement has a high degree of moisture if it smells musky, damp, or just feels more humid than the rest of your home. If you are unsure, take a look at the walls, floors, and corners to check for moisture spots. You can also try to find any condensation on surfaces throughout the basement. 

A damp basement can lead to unpleasant smells and climate for mould growth. Moisture is the most common reason you should ventilate your basement, as nearly all homes in all climates are vulnerable to its effects. 


  1. Mould  

Mould can cause allergic reactions and pose a health hazard to the occupants of a home. 

The symptoms of mould can be hard to distinguish from common cold symptoms, so homeowners often don’t realise the extent of their mould problem until it has grown. 

 If anyone in your home has persistent congestion, throat irritation, coughing, or eye itchiness, it could be said mould might be the cause of the problem. 


Moisture solutions generally tend to work as mould solutions. It is important not only to clean up the current mould build-up but solve the moisture at the source. If the moisture is not resolved, this issue will keep on reappearing. Basement ventilation solves both moisture and mould problems at once by dispersing the air carrying them out of your home. 


  1. Radon 

Radon is a dangerous invisible toxic gas, and the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United Kingdom. The gas is released from the decomposition of uranium in soil and rocks, meaning basements are particularly susceptible to it. 

Most people are exposed to small amounts of radon all throughout the day, and basements as well as other underground structures are more prone to higher radon levels. Although it is rare to take the uranium out of the soil around the house, you can minimise its effects through proper ventilation. 


We understand that this can all get very technical. As basement conversion specialists, we make sure that this is not your problem.  

We take care of  ‘all things basements’ – Click on the link to download our Free Basement Conversion Guide where you’ll find some of our most inspired basement conversions and general advice and tips on what you could do for yours.  

Give us a call if you’d like to discuss your basement conversion plans. We can be contacted on 0208 191 7595 or email us at enquiries@sdabuildlondon.co.uk to discuss how we can help.  

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basement lighting

Let there be light… in your basement

February 7, 2020

The word ‘basement’ often conjures up images of darkness, dinginess and fear… well, if you are a movie buff that is. However, in our world, basements are literally a dream come true.

They are a symbol of luxury with basements being converted into spaces such as cinema rooms, swimming pools, gyms and family rooms… a far cry from the images of darkness often depicted in the movies.

In London particularly, in areas such as Fulham, Chelsea, Kensington and Knightsbridge, basement conversions are a source of pride and envy amongst friends and family; each one grander than the next.

One of the most important, but sometimes overlooked aspects about basement conversions is lighting. Given, it’s position within the home, both literally and figuratively, basement lighting needs to be a well-thought out plan.

If you are converting your basement, we recommend working with your lighting designer and builder to create a lighting plan that suits the purpose of the room, whether it’s a TV/Cinema room, gym or wine cellar.

Basements, by virtue of their location, do not get much natural light. One of the key factors when designing the lighting is to understand where there is, if at all, any natural light and how to best make use of it and maximise its impact within the space.

On a slightly technical note… although your lighting designer and builder will know this, it’s always good to know a little something yourself

Think about the ambient lighting. The ambient lighting is the overall lighting in the room. How bright do you want your space? If it’s a cinema room for example, you may want a more subdued form of lighting than if it’s a games room.

Ceiling lights are normally recommended to create enough light for a dark space. Explore ways of getting light into the ceiling through wall lights or coffer details. Often, washing the walls with light will help the space feel light and bright.

That leads on to the colour of the room. If your light is designed to reflect the walls, to “wash the room,” think about using lighter colours for the walls. Lighter colours reflect light better, especially if your basement does not get much natural light,

LED lights are usually the most commonly used as they are both energy efficient and bright.

One of the clever things many lighting designers do is to create fake skylights using artificial lights to replicate the colour temperature of the natural light. Check with your lighting designer if this is possible… you may not need it if you have some natural light coming through.

It’s important to think about making basement lighting flexible and this can be done through a combination of adjustable fittings, lighting tracks, spotlights and 5 amp sockets for floor and table lamps.

Discuss using multi lighting circuits with your electrician and lighting designer to ensure this flexibility.

Another way of being creative is to use coloured lighting to emphasise the main features of the room particularly a gym or cinema room. But be careful not to overdo it or your home can look like a seedy nightclub.

With limited ceiling heights, basement conversion lighting needs to be clever and well-designed. Whilst you may have a good idea of the lighting you want in your basement; we recommend you consult a building team (like us[Symbol]) who work with an experienced lighting designer to transform a dark space like a basement into something truly spectacular. You never know what clever solutions we can come up with.

Give us a call if you’d like to discuss your basement conversion plans and how lighting might work to enhance the look and feel of the space. . We can be contacted on 0208 191 7595 or email us at enquiries@sdabuildlondon.co.uk to discuss how we can help.

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Award winning design

And the winner is… 

January 24, 2020

We thought we’d start the new year with some inspiration… Every year, The Daily Telegraph and Homebuilding & Renovating team up to find the best individual homes the UK has to offer, from the finest self builds to sensitive renovations, brilliant extensions and imaginative conversions – and importantly, to celebrate the achievements of their homeowners. 

Find out the 2019 winners here


If you’d like some guidance on your home improvement project, give us a call on 02081917595. Or better still, book a FREE consultation with us and we’ll visit your property, discuss your ideas and share some of our recommendations with no obligation.

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Period Living Cover SDA

SDA Build London featured in Period Living Magazine

January 17, 2020

We are delighted to share that our home restoration and refurbishment project has been featured in the February 2020 edition of Period Living Magazine.  

You can have a sneak preview of the magazine or purchase it here.


Period Living SDA inside page


Or if you’d like to find out more about the project and how it unfolded, have a look on our website 

The Old Vicarage in Henley on Thames was one of our favourite projects. It was a true labour of love and focused on preservation and restoration of period feature whilst adding a touch of the modern.  

If you’d like to learn a little more on the ‘hows’ of renovating a period or listed building, have a read of one of our blog posts written last year – “How complicated is it to work on a listed building.” 

Give us a call if you’d like to discuss a home restoration project.  We can be contacted on 0208 191 7595 or email us at enquiries@sdabuildlondon.co.uk to discuss how we can help.  


To have a look at the kind of work we have done, why not download our free brochure? And if you need any help with managing your building project, our free project management checklist has been hugely popular.  


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convert into flats

Can I convert a house into flats?

January 10, 2020

The simple answer is yes, of course you can. But there is a process… one that is a little more complicated than an extension or a loft / basement conversion, but it is a route that has been taken by some of our clients.  

Why would you want to convert a house into flats?  Perhaps you need to downsize an existing property if the kids have moved away. Or you want to explore the potential of additional income by dividing a large home into multi-dwelling spaces and rent them out.  

In London, this is what maisonettes essentially are- large homes that have been converted into two or more flats.  


There are a number of factors to consider if you are thinking about converting your home into flats. Some of these are: 


  • Planning permission… You will need planning permission from the local authority, so we recommend you appoint an architect who knows what your local planning team are looking for. If your property is in a conservation area, the regulations are likely to be even more stringent.  
  • Building Control Approvals… This is will include guidelines on access and separate entrances, noise-proofing, ceiling heights, windows and doors, fire safety, drainage and other details.  
  • Utilities… You will need to create separate gas, electricity and water connections for each flat. 
  • You will also need separate boilers for each flat.  
  • It goes without saying that each flat will need its own kitchen facilities and bathrooms.
  • You will also need to consider the legal aspects … who will own the freehold of the property? Will these be share of freehold or leasehold properties. You will need to appoint a property lawyer to deal with these aspects. A freeholder owns the entirety of their building and accompanying land, while a leaseholder only owns a certain part. Being a leaseholder is common if you live in a flat or maisonette. You’ll likely own your contained living space, but areas like the hallway will be managed by the freeholder of your building. If you’re splitting your property, it’s likely you’ll be the freeholder. However, if you plan on selling one (or both) of your new homes, your solicitor would need to draw up new leases, giving the new owners a leasehold.  
  • Garden access and parking. If applicable, you will need to determine who has garden access and who has parking (if off-street parking is an option).  

We have been working in the West London area for several years and are well-versed with what the local councils are looking for in planning applications… especially the councils of Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham and surrounding areas.  


Give us a call if you’d like to discuss your home to flat conversion plans. We can be contacted on 0208 191 7595 or email us at enquiries@sdabuildlondon.co.uk to discuss how we can help.  

To have a look at the kind of work we have done, why not download our free brochure? And if you need any help with managing your building project, our free project management checklist has been hugely popular.  


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top building trends 2020

Top Design Trends for 2020 

January 3, 2020

What’s hot in 2020 in home renovation and design? To be a part of the “trendy” brigade, have a look at this article in Houzz. Are you ready for bright colours, sustainability and funky lighting? 



If you’d like some guidance on your home improvement project, give us a call on 02081917595. Or better still, book a FREE consultation with us and we’ll visit your property, discuss your ideas and share some of our recommendations with no obligation. 


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to Keep Renovation and Build Costs under Control

Smart Ways to Keep Renovation and Build Costs under Control

December 27, 2019

Whether you are undertaking a house extension in Chelsea, or a basement conversion in Kensington or a general home modernisation project in London, budget is likely to play a crucial part in your decision making process.


This article in Houzz gives some practical suggestions and top tips on some smart ways of keeping the lid on when it comes to budget, for example, your kitchen worktop. Learn some truly innovative ways of staying on top of your budget when doing a home renovation project.


If you’d like some more detailed guidance and costs on your home extension project, give us a call on 02081917595. Or better still, book a FREE consultation with us and we’ll visit your property, discuss your ideas and share some of our recommendations with no obligation.

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home renovation

Home renovation do’s and don’ts for 2020

December 20, 2019

With 2019 coming to an end and the start of a new decade, it only seems right to reflect back and see what’s worked and what’s not in the world of home renovation and refurbishment. We’ve worked on several projects over the years and we’ve learned a few things that could help make the home renovation project just a little easier.  


If you are planning a big project whether it’s an extension, loft conversion or basement conversion, some handy do’s and don’ts might just be what you need to keep you on track and sane [Symbol] and happy with the end result.  


Before we start, we’d like to stress that there is no substitute for researching, planning and being organised. It’s the most important “do” when you set out on a home renovation project. And to help you with that, we’ve created this practical, customisable checklist. It’s essentially a detailed project management spreadsheet so that you can, at all times, stay completely on top of your project. 


Let’s get down to real do’s and don’ts… 




  • make sure you appoint an experienced builder, especially one who has worked in your local area.  A building company that’s worked in the local area, will know what to expect with regards to planning requirements.  
  • move out of the house if you can… it will make life much easier for your builder. We’ve worked with many clients who’ve chosen to live on the premises during the build. And that’s ok especially if it’s not a complete home renovation project. But it does make it difficult for both the building team and you to have to work around it and could delay the project.  
  • consider your privacy — the glazing choice may have an impact on how private your home is and how exposed you are to glances in from passersby and your neighbours. 
  • make decisions quickly and decisively. We’re not suggesting that you rush into making choices. All we’re saying is take decisions in a timely manner so that the project doesn’t get delayed.  
  • make sure the designer of your extension knows all about and allows for movement joints. With the generally dryer climate we have been experiencing in recent years buildings have been tending to move more. 
  • understand the effect that removing trees or roots will have on your ground conditions. 




  • keep changing your mind… It’s very hard as builders when clients change their mind mid-build. Not only does it delay things, but it can dramatically increase your cost. 
  • necessarily choose the builder or building company with the lowest quote. It’s better to choose someone whose work you’ve seen or one that’s been given a good reference by someone you know. 
  • add too many bedrooms and not enough bathrooms. A good rule of thumb is one bathroom for every two bedrooms, with an en-suite for every guest bedroom. 
  • forget about building control. Before any works begin, you will need to submit either a building notice or a full plans application to building control. 
  • get ahead of your budget… Be disciplined with your choices and be aware of what you can and cannot afford and where you are willing to cut costs. For example, you may have to choose between a thicker worktop or an expensive appliance in your new kitchen.  
  • get carried away by the latest trends, especially if this is a big project like an extension, conversion and any big project. Trends fade over time… opt for things you actually like.  
  • worry too much about the weather. As long as we don’t have too many snow days, we can work around the rain and cold. We have to. This is England [Symbol]. 


There are plenty of more do’s and don’ts we can share with you. But we don’t want to overwhelm you. We’d rather you  give us a call and let us work with you to get your project off the ground and completed in time and within budget.  


We have been working in the West London area for several years and are well-versed with the different types of home renovation projects across the city. Give us a call [Symbol] if you’d like to discuss your plans. We can be contacted on 0208 191 7595 or email us at enquiries@sdabuildlondon.co.uk to discuss how we can help.  


To have a look at the kind of work we have done, why not download our free brochure? And if you need any help with managing your building project, our free project management checklist has been hugely popular.  







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