Entire Houze


House Extensions – Where to Start

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Extending is a popular way to add space without having to move. We explain everything you need to know from planning permission to costs, design work and much more

It is said that for every person who self builds there are 15 that add extensions to their homes. The reasons for all this are easy to see. It often makes more economic sense to stay put and avoids the need to find a plot. It means we can stay in the same neighbourhood if we like it and that the children can remain at the same school.

What’s your budget?
This is probably one of the most fundamental questions – and it’s usually the first thing we have to ask our clients.

What do you want to achieve with your property extension?
Are you looking for a new living area that the whole family can enjoy, an extra bedroom for a new arrival or a home office?

How long will it take?
House extensions don’t happen overnight – and even getting planning permission and building regulations approval can sometimes take months. So be patient, and expect some upheaval and interruption to normal family life while the building is going on.

Do you need planning permission?
For some property alterations such as loft conversions and single storey extensions, or certain types of sun rooms, you may not need planning permission. But you are well advised to check all local planning regulations and requirements first before making any definite plans to proceed.

Does your property extension mean you need an architect?
Big projects such as loft conversions or external home extensions are not simple DIY jobs, and we’ve seen them go wrong too many times when even skilled DIYers have had a go themselves, so ensure you seek advice from the professionals.

Will your plan impact on your neighbours?
This is a particularly important consideration, especially if you are making major alterations to your property. Do you share a party wall with your neighbours, and will your alterations potentially damage their property?

Are you in a conservation area?
If your home is in a designated conservation area or is a listed building, there may be very strict controls governing what alterations you can and cannot make, so make sure you do your homework and find out how this could affect you.

Up, Down or Out to the side?
Where you put your house extension is the next decision. Loft conversions are increasingly popular – so if you have the option of converting your attic space into a new room without any external signs of extending the property it’s worth considering. The most common option for simply gaining extra space either is either a single storey or two storey extension, for which you may want to build out to the side of your home.

Know a good builder?
Unless you’re an experienced builder yourself, the likelihood is that you will need to get a professional building firm in to do the work – even if it’s a smaller job like a loft conversion.

Choose wisely, and take note of the recommendations of friends who have had work done on their properties, or see if your architect can provide contacts.

What’s your timeframe?
As we said earlier, it’s wise to plan well in advance. Set yourself a strict timetable for completion. The chances are that it will over-run, but if you lay down the ground rules for completion at the very start of the project you can avoid living on a building site for months on end.

Having read the above key points you have a great basis in which to form your brief with your builder or architect. This will save time throughout the process allowing you to be clear about your expectations from the outset, and tasking your professionals to deliver the desired finished result.

We have been building extensions since our inception and can advise, design and build the right extension for you and your property. All our work is personally supervised by our company directors to ensure it is carried out to the very highest standard. So, whatever your extension needs, we will manage all aspects of the project from the initial planning and design stages through to building work, plumbing, heating, electrical works, insulation and anything else that may be needed.



Ten Ways To Cut The Cost Of Your Extension

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Easter marks the start of the home improvements season, with Londoners eager to create more space with extensions. Many have decided that staying put and improving their home makes more sense than moving on — saving on stamp duty, legal and mortgage fees and moving costs — especially because most new homes will need improvements anyway. So before doing anything to your North London home stay in control of your budget with these great suggestions from Entire Houze team.

Keep your design simple
Keeping your extension design as simple as possible such as a rectangle or square footprint with a simple pitched roof will vastly reduce the cost of your home extension. Curves and corners are costly to build, designing your extension around off the shelf products such as standard sized doors and windows will vastly reduce spend.

Save money with a DIY extension
Labour represents between half and two-thirds of the outlay cost for a home extension, so if you can do some of the work yourself, there is great scope to make savings. The easier tasks to take on board are labouring, decorating and landscaping and for the slightly braver kitchen and bathroom fitting.

Project manage the extension
A builder will add 15–25 per cent onto the total cost of labour and materials to cover their time for managing the project. You can save some of this cost by effectively taking on the role of building contractor yourself.

Neighbourhood Relationships
If you are building on or near the boundary of a neighbour, your extension will need to comply with the Party Wall Act (England & Wales) 1996. Avoid the cost of £700 per neighbour by writing about your extension plans eight weeks before you start. If you can get the neighbours to write back that they do not object, you can avoid using a surveyor to arrange a party wall settlement and save on fees.

Save On Fees
For a simple, low-cost build, find an architect, architectural technician, chartered surveyor or structural engineer who will produce planning and Building Regulations drawings for a fixed, all-in price. Look for a track record in designing low-cost projects.

Avoid Cowboy Builders
To avoid being ripped off, always ask for references — and check them. Never, ever pay for building work in advance; pay only for work that has been completed and that you are happy with.

Measure Everything Twice
Making changes or mistakes that waste labour and materials is a major factor in the final bill for many projects. Measuring everything onsite, rather than off your plans will help reduce wastage. Having accurate, scaled plans in the first place will help.

Reuse, Recycle, Repair
Existing materials can be reused or sold rather than thrown in a skip. Old floorboards, doors, radiators, towel rails, kitchen units etc. can all be revived and reused, cleaned up and given a new finish. Sell or trade what you can’t use.

Negotiate Trade Discounts
Find out where those in the trade buy their materials and aim to get the same wholesale/trade prices.








Considerations To Make Before Planning A Basement Conversion In North London

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Looking to introduce an entirely independent new room to your home? Why not consider a basement conversion with its own, exclusive entrance, for purposes such as a home office, gym, or a residential annexe? Before getting the project up and running, there are some serious considerations to make.

Do you need permission? If your North London home already has an underground space that is suitable for conversion from storage (or similar) to a habitable function, planning permission is not normally required as such a change is merely seen as re-purposing. If, however, the space needs alterations – such as lowering the floor level to increase head clearance – local planning authorities are likely to consider the development as an extension and, therefore, ask you to apply for planning permission.

Are there regulations to meet? The structural construction of a basement forms part of the fabric of your home so, naturally, you will want to ensure that any work undertaken is of the highest standards if you aren’t sure, then contact a professional. Whether you are converting an existing basement to a different function or creating a new underground space through excavation, Building Regulations are there to guarantee that minimum standards of safety, energy efficiency and hygiene are met. If, however, you are merely renovating an existing basement and not changing its purpose, the job is exempt from Building Regulation scrutiny.

Why Planning Is Important To take all design details into consideration before any work begins, we recommend that ‘full plans applications’ are made for basement conversions, as opposed to a ‘building notices’ that may result in remedial work being required should local authorities be unsatisfied with the development. You can find additional information on the Government’s Planning Portal for free.

Party Walls are shared by adjacent buildings and, as such, any work that could affect them needs to be agreed by the owners or leaseholders of both properties and any others that adjoin them. This could include: extension, alteration, underpinning, or even excavation near to the wall itself.

Practicality Depending on the nature of the development you are having undertaken, there is a very real possibility you may need to vacate your home while the work is ongoing. For example, if there is no access to the basement from your garden or a neighbouring highway, materials to be removed will have to be taken through the house, making it exceedingly impractical for you to be there while the contractors are doing their work. Consider the kind of job that you are having done. Simple conversions make take just a few weeks to complete. Significant changes to the structure of your house, such as excavation, underpinning and so on, may take a number of months depending on the size of the job.

 Is it a worthwhile investment? Everybody’s living and financial circumstances are different, and are certain to affect any decision on whether a basement conversion is a viable expense. In some cases, creating a space underneath your home is the only way to increase the usable square footage of the building – one reason that basement conversions are so popular in North London homes, where opportunities for above-ground alterations are minimal. Consider whether your proposed job is out of practical necessity, to increase the value of your home, or both. Depending on the area in which you live, factors like access, available headroom, and the potential for natural light can significantly effect the value per square metre of a basement conversion. In some areas, however, there is considered to be a ‘ceiling’ value for house prices that, no matter how beautifully converted your basement, is hard to surpass. It can be worth consulting a local estate agent for their opinion before making hard and fast decisions regarding the nature of the basement development to undertake.

At Entire Houze we have been converting basements since our inception and can advise, design and build the right basement conversion for you and your property. All our work is personally supervised by our company directors to ensure it is carried out to a very highest standard. So, whatever your basement conversion needs, we will manage all aspects of the project from the initial planning and design stages through to building work, plumbing, heating, electrical works, insulation and anything else that may be needed.




Top tips for buying a new-build in 2017

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Buying a brand new home can be an exciting prospect, but it also comes with it’s own set of challenges. Here are our top tips to help you through the process.

Price Negotiations
Buying off plan means you purchase your new home before building has been completed (or sometimes has even begun) It’s worth doing your homework by comparing prices with similar developments in the North London area and seeking advice from your local estate agent. Once you have all this information its down to negotiating, no sale price will be set in stone. Don’t immediately assume your property will be worth more money once it’s been completed.

Find our exactly what you’re getting
When your buying off plan there is often nothing to see, so make sure you find out exactly what your getting for your money. Does the price include landscaping for the garden, a parking space or even white goods? If you a buying a flat or an apartment within a block, then consider the annual service charges and ground rent.

Look beyond the show home
Builders and developers build show homes as a selling tool, but this only gives an indication of what you’re buying so take this with a pinch of salt. Your own home will be on a different plot or even a different floor or building all of which will alter things like light and noise levels considerably. Although developers do dress show homes the furniture tends to be minimal which will make it appear more spacious.

Find out how many other new builds have been sold and to whom.
You don’t want to be surrounded by a building site for twelve months, so find out how much of the development has been sold. Ask also about the ratio of owner-occupiers to investors as you may soon tire of being the only permanent resident among a revolving door of tenants.

Warranty Schemes
It is important to check the builder or developer is signed up to a warranty scheme. Whether you’re buying off plan or new a warranty scheme is crucial. NHBC’s Buildmark is the largest of these schemes but others such as Premier Guarantee and LABC Warranty do also exist. A warranty scheme will protect your deposit if a builder or developer goes bust. As deposits can be around 30% of the property value without it you stand a lot to loose. It will also ensure the home has been built to agreed standards. Never proceed with a sale if your builder or developer does offer a recognised warranty.

Consumer Code
Do your homework on the Consumer Code for Home Builders, launched in 2010 many people are unaware of the this code but it’s sole purpose is to protect buyers of off plan and new-build homes. One of the most useful parts of the code is that it forces builders to provide realistic information on when your new-build will be completed.

Don’t Change Jobs Before You Complete
Mortgage offers tend to have a three to six month shelf life and if yours runs out before your home is completed you will have to reapply. If your circumstances have changed a lender is within their right to refuse your mortgage the second time round. So stay put and steer clear of any additional financial contributions.

See What Extras You Can Get
You may only buy a new-build home once in your life, so see what extra’s you can get thrown in, additional light fittings or plug sockets for example. You may even be able to choose the colour schemes or flooring, but if you don’t ask, you won’t get.

How To Keep Your Home Secure During The Winter Holidays

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We all take time off over the Christmas holidays, but thieves don’t and the season to be merry and joyful can very often turn into the season to be burgled.

 This December don’t let your guard down and become a victim of crime, here’s how to keep your North London home safe over the Christmas period.

 If you’re going away don’t tell all and sundry that you’re off on holiday, shouting it from the rooftops to your neighbours over the fence, you never know who’s listening. The same goes if you pop into the local newsagents to cancel your papers, discretion is key. This also goes for social media, announcing to the world that you are on holiday opens up your home to opportunist thieves.

Consider asking a neighbour to pop round daily just to check everything is in order. If potential thieves see that someone is keeping an eye on your property they will possibly be deterred. Your neighbour can also check to see if pipes have frozen, or for potential leaks You can buy light switch times, which will switch lights on at certain times, thereby making people assume you’re at home.

 If you do have a burglar alarm, check with the company that installed it that it’s working fine and has been serviced.

 Lock away anything that might look good to thieves, take all keys out of windows and doors, lock garden gates and sheds and makes sure your keys are’t visible. Many thieves have been known to spot keys by looking through letterboxes, and then using a pole to grab them and let themselves in.

 If you are staying at home Christmas time (especially the elderly) can encourage people to let their guard down. As the nights draw in, always use the chain for the front door and don’t open it for anyone that you’re not expecting, or who behaves strangely. Trust your gut and always double lock the door at night or when you leave the house in the morning.

 Check all windows and doors for weak spots and if you find any, install a few dead-bolts and new window hinges to strengthen them.

 At Entire Houze we offer a wide range of doors and windows, from sash and casement windows, PVC-U or aluminium to wooden, composite, aluminium and PVC-U doors and double and single sliders. Whether you’re looking for repair or complete refurbishment to secure your North London property this Christmas our team of skilled joiners and fitters are here to put your mind at ease.

 Emergencies do happen even at Christmas especially where alcohol is involved, so if you unexpectedly get locked out or have any other lock emergencies. Our emergency locksmith company are here to help you gain access or prevent intrusion we offer lock installations and replacements, repairs and upgrades to burglary repairs and a full range of security solutions.

 Christmas is a fantastic time of year so just a bit of preplanning will ensure your North London home is safe and secure during the festive period.

Five Reasons Why You Should Renovate Your North London Property During The Winter

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A common misconception is that it is better to plan home renovations during the Summer, rather than other parts of the year. Although certain tasks, such as paving a driveway or inspecting a roof, require conditions that are specific to warmer weather, in many cases renovating during the Winter can prove to be a good option. Here are five reasons why you should plan your renovation projects in the Winter.


Contractors have more availability

You will probably be quoted with more competitive prices, simply due to the fact that contractors are looking for work and are willing to work for reasonable rates in order to sign more contractors. The same could be send for construction materials and other products with stores offering great sales prices, and if you shop well, you will probably find what you are looking for at a reduced price.


Equipment and planning

North London contractors that work during the Winter own special equipment to keep the property clean during the renovation process, as well as after. This despite the fact that Winter attracts a lot of dirt. In actuality, Winter and Summer both product approximately the same amount of dust and dirt, but equipment that is made especially for the Winter has the added value of being able to send the dust outside, regardless of the weather conditions.


Protecting Against The Elements

In order to avoid any cold air entering the house, the workers will install protective sheets that will cut any air currents, so you don’t have to worry about being cold during the renovation process. Winter weather can actually be used as an advantage both for the room temperature and the humidity level. Among other things, it will be possible to choose the amount of humidity and the temperature to make paint dry fasters.


Avoiding Manufacturer Spring Price Increases

Typical price increases for wood, windows and cabinet lines happen in Spring. During the winter, manufacturers may feature special offers to reduce inventory, so save money here.


Planning Approvals
Government agencies are usually less busy in Winter months, which makes it easier and quicker to obtain necessary planning permissions


Entire Houze team have been dedicated to offering the highest standard of building work and impeccable service with a complete hands on approach to every project whether large or small. We are the leading builder North London based company, and whether you are looking for loft conversions, new kitchens, bathroom renovations or house extensions. Entire Houze have the expertise and experience to bring your project to life. Contact us today for a no obligation quote on renovating your North London property this Winter.


Six Easy Ways To Prepare Your Home For Winter in North London

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With the days getting shorter and nights about to start drawing in there is no getting away from the fact that Winter is fast approaching. Fortunately, here are some tips that’ll keep you warm and pro-tect your home from the jaws of Winter.

Home Insurance
Check to make sure that your home insurance policy is up to date and you are covered for any Winter related damage such as burst pipes or a leaky roof, by letting either your buildings and con-tents insurance lapse leaves you open to huge repair costs if anything should go wrong. For the sake of less than the cost of lunch in the City each month, it’s worth keeping your cover in place, to not only protect your home, but also your belongings.

Clean Your Guttering
While you still have the occasional fine day it’s an idea to ensure all the leaves and grime that have built up in your gutters are cleared. If left full of debris, clogged gutters and drains can form ice dams that prevent your drainage systems working properly. This can lead to water seeping into your home, and extra energy costs. Save yourself the hassle by clearing your gutters and drains now, pour water through to double check everything is free flowing and check for misalignments that could cause water damage further down the line.

Is more than just putting on a jumper if you are cold. About a quarter of the heat in your house is lost through the roof, so having good loft and wall cavity insulation could keep the house warm with less energy used. These improvements needn’t cost the earth, as there a number of government grants and schemes that subsidise insulation installation.

Bleed The Radiators
If your radiators are colder at the top than they are at the bottom, then your radiators have trapped air inside them that’s stopping the heat from circulating properly. It’s time to grab a towel and your special radiator key (these can be purchased from DIY stores if you don’t have one) and bleed that radiator. By releasing the air slowly until you start to see moisture allows the radiator to run more efficiently.

Get Your Boiler Looked At
A poorly maintained boiler wastes more energy and costs more in the long run, not to mention running the risk of leaking carbon monoxide. A simple boiler service before Winter or changing your model for a condensing unit, which could shave off around £235 a year (according to the Energy Saving Trust)

Switch Energy Suppliers
If your bills are still high despite these improvements, give your energy supplier a call and see if you can be put onto a more appropriate tariff. It may also be advisable to utilise a money saving utility website which provides all tariffs so you can see who is offering the best deal. There’s no disruption in service, all that happens is your money goes to a different company when you pay your bill.

Colder weather is on it’s way, and using these tips will help you stay warm and cozy, while saving energy and money in your home.

As part of it’s complete range of building services, Entire Houze provides full plumbing and heating services to both domestic and commercial North London clients. Our technicians are fully accredited and highly skilled, providing solutions to plumbing and heating issues across the board. Our services include fixing burst pipes, boiler breakdowns and replacements, installing central heating maintaining and clearing water systems, pumps, tanks, system repairs and upgrades and general plumbing services.




Top Tips For A Profitable Renovation In North London

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Renovating your property for profit can be easy if you know what you are doing. With various television programs such as Homes Under The Hammer or Property Ladder it seems everyone wants to try their hand at property renovation. On the face of it, it seems like a good idea and can be highly profitable, but the truth is that very few renovators make money, and worse still some lose money.

Our following guide will offer tips for a successful project renovation. 

Do Your Research

If you are investing in a property that needs considerable renovation, check how long the property has been up for sale. A property that has been on the market for more than a few months suggests there isn’t a great deal of profit to be made. Research your chosen location thoroughly consider who you’ll be pitching your finished property to and the type of local amenities important to them. For example, if you are renovating a family home, are the local schools in the area good ones. 

What Should You Look Out For?

Ensure you aren’t buying a property that will put an instant drain on finances. With an older property you really should be prepared for anything. Stripping wallpaper could involve the walls themselves coming away with paper, incurring further plastering costs. Don’t be afraid to make various appointments to every type of tradesmen or contractors in order to know what you’re letting yourself in for. 

Ask The Experts

Engaging the services for estimates of specialist contractors in roofing, damp specialists, electricians, and plumbers will charge nothing or very little to offer estimates on work and will be more beneficial to you than a surveyor in the earlier stages of property investment. 

How Much Work Is Involved?

This really does depend on the type of property you are choosing to invest in. But don’t bite off more than you can chew. A good place to start try doing up a dated property rather than a complete wreck. Renovating a new kitchen, bathroom, re-decoration, adding central heating and new carpets can transform something dated into a modern new home. 


Be prepared. Set yourself a budget and build in some contingency funding, fifteen percent of the total cost is a good guideline. With multiple quotes from qualified contractors this will offer a guide of how much your renovation will cost. 

Manage Your Project
Ensure you liaise with the builder or contractor to make sure work is carried out to specification. If you are confident enough you could manage the renovation yourself or employ an independent project manager. Get all quotes well in advance from tradesmen or contractors, this way you can calculate your expenditure. Never expect scheduled timescales, things can go wrong and may not always go as planned. Seek as much advice as possible, especially from people who’ve done it before. If you’ve brought a property to renovate and live in be prepared to live in a building site until things are settled.

Employing A Tradesman or Contractor In North London

Decide exactly what work you’d like to be undertaken before asking for any quotations. A JCT a Joint Contract Tribunal is an independent body that has produced a standard contractor for use between you and the builder. This is a legal document that avoids technical and legal jargon. It will however confirm the precise arrangements for the work to be done, the price, payment terms, working hours, insurance and guarantees and how to resolve disputes if they arise. It sets out clearly what’s expected of you and the builder or contractor. In addition, it’s important to remember that any builder or contractor will be spending a lot of time in your home, and therefore should be someone you feel comfortable with. Good communication and a professional relationship is important. Request references of past work, in some instances you may even be able to visit previous jobs in the North London area to view completed projects. 

Above all make sure you don’t get emotionally involved in the buying and selling process of your homes. Remember you are doing this to make a profit and the best results will be achieved by people that stick to their budgets.


Ways To Maximise A Small Space In North London

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The average size of a family home has shrunk by two square metres, over the last decade it has recently been reported. RIBA the Royal Institute Of British Architects has stated the average one-bedroom new-build home is currently 46 sq m, the size of a carriage on London Underground’s Jubilee Line. 

With London house prices continuing to sore whether you live in a quintessential studio apartment or want to get more out of a small room use these small space design ideas to help you maximise the space you are working with in North London. 

Create Different Sections

Think about all the things you do within your space; work, sleep, relax, eat, entertain etc and then establish separate zones for those activities. Subtle separations can help the space feel larger. Evoke rooms with multiple seating areas, a tented or curtained bed, window seat, or smartly placed furniture. 

Multi Use Furniture
Find a table that can function as both a desk and a dining table. Get daybeds or deep sofas that can double as guest beds. A storage ottoman can provide an extra perch. Invest in pieces that can be rearranged to transform the use of a room.

Trick Your Eye
Creating an impression of expansiveness by exploiting decorative sleight of hand, floor to ceiling curtains and strategically placed mirrors will open up your space and create the illusion of more space.

Make Every Piece Count
Choose furnishings and decorative elements that offer maximum functionality in minimal square footage. Use two small round tables instead of one big coffee table. Far better for traffic slow and a lot easier to move.

Use Bigger Furnishings

It may seem counterproductive but using bigger but fewer furnishings rather than a mishmash of smaller furniture can actually make it feel grander. Although don’t be afraid of filling up the space, when a room is populated with furniture, it actually appears larger.

Consider Paint With Care
Soothing, even-toned rooms fool the eye into thinking they’re more spacious than they are.

Bespoke built-in’s, storage space and furniture tailored to your exact needs can utilise every available sliver of space.

Think Vertically
Exploit the often under-utilised space between the tops of furniture and a room’s ceiling with hanging or high mounted elements. They’ll draw the eye upward. Take bookcase and cabinets all the way up.

Remove Clutter
You don’t have to display everything. keep things uncluttered. Group your possessions and accessorise your shelves but give them room to breathe, less is more.pjimage-10

How Will Brexit Affect My Building Project In North London?

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Regardless of your own personal political choice in the recent EU referendum should we be worried about taking on building projects in North London in  light of Brexit? There is no doubt that brexit has been a significant economic shock. For those building, extending, renovating, converting their own homes in North London the temptation is to reassess current plans in light of the uncertainty.

From the initial knee jerk reactions we are already beginning to see more positive news on the horizon with mortgage rates at least in the short term falling even further.

The impact on construction costs could be effected with the devaluation of the pound. However we are already starting to see improvement here. For the most part it appears to be business as usual, projects continue to go ahead, materials are being purchased, and personally we’ve never been busier with house extensions, kitchen installations, loft conversions and home renovation projects in North London.

Those who see their home as a long-term project and not a short term investment are not considering the current risk to house prices. However if you are looking to make a quick gain with property, you may pause for thought to see which way things go and the direction the housing market takes.

Of course, no-one can predict the effect Brexit will have on the self build and renovation sector in the coming months and years – along with the impact it will have on house prices. The elements of this market remain favourable for people investing money in property.

Having the right house and somewhere that you really want to live should come first and foremost over any housing market change.

If you need to improve your home, by renovation, extension, or refurbishment in North London those desires will not have changed, and most people will be keen to just get on with it.

You will have heard a lot of contradictory arguments across industries, and businesses on the benefits of staying or leaving the European Union. Ultimately it is up to us as individuals to weigh up the pros and cons for your own home improvements in North London.

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