London's best DIY shops
Just because the property market has collapsed, doesn't mean your house needs to. Time Out downs tools to compile a directory of the best DIY shops in London
Ace Mica Hardware
Family-run needn’t mean small. Mahesh Govindia and wife Bharti have owned this franchise for 38 years and their cavernous shop gives the superstores a run for their money on choice. There’s a great range of power tools, as well as hand tools, decorating kit, plumbing and electrical gubbins.
Best seller‘General DIY items like Rawlplugs and screws always sell. We mix a lot of paint too,’ says Mahesh.Ace Mica Hardware,174 Mitcham Road, SW17 9NJ (8672 2596/www.acemica.co.uk). Tooting rail. 8am-6pm Mon-Sat, 10am-2pm Sun.
Andrews of Hampstead
Don’t let the attractive shopfront fool you, Andrews is indeed a hardware store, albeit one that stocks a lot of kitchenware. This being Hampstead, it isn’t the cheapest on the block, but it does stock quality brands such as Brabantia, Jane Asher and Ulster Weavers.
Best seller‘We sell a lot of bakeware, frying pans… that sort of thing,’ says manager Marianne Poole. ‘And light bulbs.’ Andrews of Hampstead, 22 Heath St, NW3 6TE (7435 6257). Hampstead tube. 9am-5.30pm Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm Sun.
Chapel Market Building and DIY With its Tardis-like interior and a copy of The Sun on the counter, this cheery yellow store is every inch the local DIY shop. There’s a good amount of decorating kit, including wallpapers and a Dulux paint mixer, plus the usual array of tools.
Best seller‘Everything and nothing,’ says owner Tony Gill. ‘There’s such a variety it’s hard to say.’Chapel Market Building and DIY, 88 Chapel Market, N1 9EX (7278 5544). Angel tube. 9am-6pm Mon-Sat, 10am-4pm Sun.
The clue’s in the name. ‘The specialists in fasteners and fixings of over 12,000 different types stocked in steel, stainless steel, brass.’ You can argue with the grammar but not the selection – Clerkenwell Screws keeps an incredible amount of stock and is one of the few suppliers of imperial sizes. All are welcome but there’s a minimum £2 charge.
Best sellerStainless steel Allen nuts and bolts.Clerkenwell Screws, 107-109 Clerkenwell Road, EC1R 5BY (7405 6504). Farringdon tube/rail.
FranchiNot only a hardware store but a fixtures and fittings supplier – so expect plenty of knobs, knockers and other double entendres at Franchi’s three north London showrooms. Safes, locks and security grilles are other specialities.
Best sellerDoor furniture for the DIY crowd; hinges for trade.278 Holloway Rd, N7 6NE (7607 2200/www.franchi.co.uk). Holloway Rd tube. 7.30am-5pm Mon-Fri, 8am-5.30pm Sat.
Leyland SDM Zone One tradesmen’s destination of choice. Nominally a decorators’ merchant, SDM also stocks power tools and hand tools, and can order most bits and pieces for next-day delivery. Some surprisingly central locations (Shaftesbury Avenue and Westminster, for example) suggest everyone needs a local DIY store – theatrical types, MPs or jobbing builders alike. Robbie Coltrane occasionally pops into the Shaftesbury Avenue shop, as does frosty ‘Dancing on Ice’ judge Jason Gardiner.
Best sellerPaint. SDM stocks them all, but Dulux is flavour of the month.25 Goodge St, W1P 1FN (7636 2995/www.leylandsdm.co.uk). Goodge St tube. 7am-6pm Mon-Thur, 7am-5.30pm Fri, 7.30am-5pm Sat.
Plough Homecraft The archetypal Aladdin’s Cave. Darren Finch and sister Debbie have been running this East Dulwich gem for 24 years, priding themselves on independent advice and a bewildering array of stock – if they don’t have it, you don’t need it. In addition to the usual staples, Plough proudly boasts the largest selection of tiles in Dulwich.
Best sellerMoves with the seasons. Garden stuff is starting to shift; drain cleaner does well all year round.352-356 Lordship Lane, SE22 8LZ (8693 4785/www.ploughhomecraft.co.uk). North Dulwich rail. 8.30am-5.30pm Mon-Wed, Fri, Sat; 8.30am-1.30pm Thur; 10am-1.30pm Sun.South London Decorators MerchantsBringing colour to West Norwood, this unassuming store offers a veritable rainbow of choice. Specialist ranges include Sanderson, Little Green and English Heritage, but Dulux, Crown and Leyland can also be mixed to the more expensive designer palettes. Alternatively, take your own colour sample – they’ll scan it on the spectrophotometer for a bespoke match.
Best sellerFarrow & Ball paint. 547-549 Norwood Rd, SE27 9DL (8655 9595). West Norwood rail. 7.30am-5pm Mon-Fri, 8am-4pm Sat.SXRated locally for his friendly and non-patronising advice, manager Russell Fulton was named Retail Assistant of the Year by Dulux a few years back. He’s also been a paint pundit for LBC radio. Fulton’s parents set up SX 47 years ago, so they must be doing something right. All the usual staples, plus key-cutting and a locksmithing service.
Best sellerElectricals in the winter, flower pots and bulbs in the summer.113 Essex Rd, N1 2SL (7226 9056). Essex Rd rail. 8am-5.30pm Mon-Wed, Fri; 8am-1pm Thur; 9am-5.30pm Sat.
Whitten Timber The Whittens have been dealing in wood since 1919, graduating from barrows to shops to a warehouse on what was once the Grand Surrey Canal. The pictures on the walls depict a long-gone London, where wood would arrive by horse-drawn barge. But you can’t argue with progress: now they stock everything from MDF to Brazilian mahogany. Use the cutting service for millimetre-perfect sizing.
Best sellerAmerican white oak.Eagle Wharf, Peckham Hill St, SE15 5JT (0845 055 0521/www.whittentimber.co.uk). Peckham Rye rail. 7am-5pm Mon-Fri, 8.30am-5pm Sat,10am-4pm Sun.
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