Ask Alice: About insulating boilers, lamps, and driveway mirrors

Do you have an interiors dilemma? Consult our resident specialist
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The Independent Online

Q. We have just converted the sitting, dining and kitchen areas of our flat into one open space. It looks beautiful. However, we are annoyed by the noise of our boiler. Do you have any suggestions as to how we might successfully sound insulate it?
Mark Osborne, by e-mail

A. The important factor when insulating against sound is the density of the material. There is a great product called Soundstop, available from Sound Reduction Systems (, 01204 380 074), which is a thin sheet of lead, sandwiched between layers of absorbent, flame retardant foam. Sold by the roll (2m x 1.2m x 13mm), it can be cut with tin-snips and used to clad the inside of your cupboard, using glue or even drawing pins. Ensure that any ventilation holes remain open.

Q. I want to buy my husband a desk lamp for his birthday and was wondering if you had any ideas about a superior version?
Nicola Young, Tulse Hill

A. Head straight for the Conran Shop, and grab yourself a Tolomeo Micro desk lamp. It's a re-edition of Artemide's 1999 design by Michele De Lucchi and Giancarlo Fassina, and its delicate good looks belie its robust, cantilevered construction. The directional diffuser allows the head to be moved, making it the perfect choice for studying or reading. At £130, it's not cheap, but you did say you wanted a special present...

Q. We have landscaped our front garden, however, since we have altered the position of the driveway, it has become difficult to reverse on to the road. Where can I find mirrors to put at the entrance?
Chantal Mitchell, Chelmsford

A. Convex mirrors are available from Reece Safety Products ( A 12" circular mirror with mount costs £57. Ideally, you should avoid reversing on to a main road. I was going to nominate a product for this week's "ridiculously superfluous invention" award, but I think that it may serve a purpose after all. British Turntable Co ( has developed a turntable that can be installed into your drive, enabling you to turn your car around by hand. Priced at £5,494 including VAT, the turntable will be delivered to your door for self-installation.