Friday, 9 December 2011

Objective Proficiency p 70. Homes. Extra Speaking

1. MONOLOGUE. Prepare a talk of AT LEAST 5 minutes on the subject. You may use the pictures above and the contents below if you wish:

"If we don't figure out a way to create equity, real equity, of opportunity and access, to good schools, housing, health care, and decent paying jobs, we're not going to survive as a productive and healthy society." Tim Wise is an American anti-racism activist and writer.

Are property and rent prices a problem? With the recession in full swing many people struggle to make ends meet and are therefore in arrears with their rent or mortgage payments. In the last few years cash-strapped consumers have gone deeper into debt and many of them are beginning to feel the pinch. What do you think should be done concerning the controversial issue of house evictions and repossessions? Do you think it is getting more difficult for first-time buyers to get on to the property ladder? What do you think of squatters and squatting? How do you think you might react if squatters came to live near you? And if you came back from your holidays and found squatters in your own home? What solutions can you think of for people who sleep rough? 

You may make some notes for your talk to take into the exam. These should not exceed five lines.


In this part of the test, the examiner will ask you some questions about issues related to the TOPIC. Remember that you are expected to have a conversation as natural as possible and give full answers. This part of the examination will last AT LEAST 5 minutes. You will not see the questions below.



1. Many dank old houses in city centres have fallen into disrepair. They often smell musty and can be overrun with rats. Doing them up or simply rejigging them can cost an arm and a leg. For this reason many people have decided to up sticks to other areas. Could you consider some of the serious consequences of this dramatic change?

2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of living in a vast overpopulated metropolis? And in a quaint, secluded village far from any big cities?  

3. Do you think of yourself as being thoughtful and considerate as a neighbour?  Do you keep noise levels (including music, TV, domestic appliances and DIY activities) down in the evening and early morning? Do you warn your neighbours if you are planning a party that may generate excessive noise? Have you ever resorted to making noise to disturb your neighbour on purpose because you felt their noise levels were too loud? Good fences make good neighbours.” Do you agree with this saying?  In what ways is our current lifestyle eroding neighbourhood ties? What do you think about the saying "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence"?

4. Do men, women, and children share in the household chores? Who has the lion’s share of housework in most households nowadays? Do you think it is fair? What would you do to reverse the trend? If you saw someone was not pulling his or her weight in keeping the flat or house clean and tidy, what would you do? What are the advantages of doing the housework in a sparsely furnished house? Can you describe what doing the housework would be like in a cramped and cluttered place as opposed to a spick and span one? Which is the most unhygienic room in the home? 

5. With the cost of energy increasing considerably, what are the major implications when building a house?
6. Which are some of your favourite landmarks? Why?

7. What white elephants have been recently built? What do you think should be done?

8. What are the benefits and drawbacks of some of the dwellings you know?

9. Can you describe some twee decorations you have seen? What about some gaudy ones? Are you fond of a minimalist style? and of a rustic one? Is there anything in particular that you find tasteless?

10. Who is responsible for the upkeep of the place where you live? 

11. Would you describe your garden as manicured or unkempt and overgrown


Picture 1

badly/poorly/not solidly built.

in good, bad, etc. repair. In a good, bad, etc. state of repair: in good, etc. condition. E.g. The house is not in good repair.

draughty: /ˈdrɑːfti/ uncomfortable because cold air is blowing through. E.g. a draughty room/ corridor.

eerie: /ˈɪəri/ strange, mysterious and frightening.

spooky: strange and frightening. Creepy. E.g. a spooky old house.

haunted: (of a building) believed to be visited by ghosts. E.g. a haunted house  

uninhabitable /ˌʌnɪnˈhæbɪtəbl/ 

run-down: (of a building or place) in very bad condition; that has not been taken care of. E.g. run-down inner-city areas. A run-down and decaying house. A rather run-down part of town.

decay: (N) the process or result of being destroyed by natural causes or by not being cared for (= of decaying) E.g. The landlord had let the building fall into decay.

decay: (V) if a building or an area decays, its condition slowly becomes worse. E.g. decaying inner city areas

shabby: /ˈʃæbi/ in poor condition because they have been used a lot. E.g. The outside of the house was beginning to look shabby. She wore shabby old jeans and a T-shirt.

neglected: /nɪˈɡlektɪd/ not receiving enough care or attention. E.g. neglected buildings. The garden was neglected and overgrown.

dilapidated: /dɪˈlæpɪdeɪtɪd/ old and in very bad condition. Ramshackle. E.g. old, dilapidated buildings. A dilapidated bungalow.

ramshackle /ˈræmʃækl/ in a very bad condition and needing repair. Tumbledown. E.g. a ramshackle house.

tumbledown: old and in a poor condition so that it looks as if it is falling down. Dilapidated. E.g. tumbledown cottages.

derelict: /ˈderəlɪkt/ (especially of land or buildings) not used or cared for and in bad condition. E.g. derelict land/ buildings/ sites.

demolition: /ˌdeməˈlɪʃn/ the act of pulling or knocking down a building. E.g. The whole row of houses is scheduled for demolition. The house requires demolition.

unwary: not aware of the possible dangers or problems of a situation and therefore likely to be harmed in some way. E.g. Exams are not designed to set traps for unwary students. Rebuilding this house is not a job for the unwary.

labour of love: a hard task that you do because you want to, not because it is necessary. E.g. Writing the book was a labour of love. Doing this house up would be a labour of love for me.

do up: to repair and decorate a house, etc. E.g. He makes money by buying old houses and doing them up.

Picture 2

storage: /ˈstɔːrɪdʒ/ The process of keeping something in a particular place until it is needed; the space where things can be kept. E.g. tables that fold flat for storage. There's a lot of storage space in the loft. Food storage facilities. We need more storage now. One of the most significant issues for homeowners and renters is storage - many people don't even have enough storage space for basic day-to-day items. Lesley Spellman, whose company the Clutter Fairy advises people on how to use their storage space to the best effect, believes there "certainly is a problem" with storage space. "Clutter and consumerism is a huge problem", she said. "People are drowning in clutter and are not aware of what to do with it", she explains. 

hoarder: a person who collects and keeps large amounts of food, money, etc., especially secretly. E.g. I’m a terrible hoarder of junk. I hate throwing things away.

airless without much fresh air. 

poky /ˈpəʊki/ too small and not very pleasant or comfortable. Cramped, restricted. E.g. a poky little room. It feels poky because everyone is crammed together.

confined: /kənˈfaɪnd/ (of a space or an area) small and surrounded by walls or sides. E:g. It is cruel to keep animals in confined spaces.

cramped: /kræmpt/ a cramped room, etc. does not have enough space for the people in it. E.g. working in cramped conditions.

cluttered (up) (with somebody/something) /ˈklʌtəd/ covered with, or full of, a lot of things or people, in a way that is untidy. E.g. a cluttered room/desk. A small kitchen can feel cramped and
cramped and cluttered: E.g. the room is rather cramped and cluttered

cram: to push or force somebody/something into a small space; to move into a small space with the  result that it is full. E.g. He crammed eight people into his car. I could never cram in all that she does in a day. I bought a large basket and crammed it full of presents. All crammed up.

no room to swing a cat (informal) when somebody says there’s no room to swing a cat, they mean that a room is very small and that there is not enough space.

chaotic /keɪˈɒtɪk/ e.g. it gets quite chaotic.

messy: dirty and/or untidy. Chaotic. E.g. The house was always messy.

disarray: /ˌdɪsəˈreɪ/ a state of confusion and lack of organization in a situation or a place. E.g. The peace talks broke up in disarray. Our plans were thrown into disarray by her arrival. We're decorating, so everything's in complete disarray at home. The troops were in disarray (Sp. entre las tropas reinaba la confusión/el caos).
Her papers were in total disarray (Sp. sus papeles estaban completamente desordenados).

unkempt: not well cared for; not neat or tidy. Dishevelled. E.g. greasy, unkempt hair. The children were unwashed and unkempt. A wild and unkempt garden. Nothing kills a house sale quicker than a grimy (dirty), unkempt kitchen. It's time for a revamp.

revamp: a change to the form of something, usually to improve its appearance. E.g. Could your kitchen do with a revamp?

rejig: /ˌriːˈdʒɪɡ/ rejig something  to make changes to something; to arrange something in a different way. E.g. We'll have to rejig the shed in order to get the extra chairs in. The bathroom needs rejigging.

grubby: /ˈɡrʌbi/ rather dirty, usually because it has not been washed or cleaned. E.g. grubby hands/clothes.  He wore torn jeans and a grubby shirt. A grubby floor/room/house.

dingy: /ˈdɪndʒi/ dark and dirty. E.g. a dingy room/hotel. Dingy curtains/clothes. The nightclub was in a dark and dingy basement in central Manchester where you couldn't see more than 6 inches in front of your face because of the smoke. The room was dark and dingy.

dreary /ˈdrɪəri/ dull and making you feel sad or bored. E.g. a dreary winter's day. A dreary film. A long and dreary journey on the train
gloomy dark, especially in a way that makes you feel sad.
Picture 3

proportioned: /prəˈpɔːʃənd/ having parts that relate in size to other parts in the way that is described. E.g. a well-proportioned living room. She was tall and perfectly proportioned.

brightly lit.

Light and airy: E.g. the conservatory is light and airy.
airy: /ˈeəri/ with plenty of fresh air because it is large or has a lot of windows. E.g. the office was light and airy.

shipshape: clean and neat; in good condition and ready to use. E.g. They had to rush to get everything shipshape before the official opening. Get the place shipshape.

neat and tidy: e.g. he always keeps his desk neat and tidy. The living room was neat and tidy. They sat in her neat and tidy kitchen.
neat: tidy and in order; carefully done or arranged. E.g. neat rows of books.

orderly: arranged or organized in a neat, careful and logical way. Tidy. E.g. Our house was orderly. He was orderly and methodical when composing but dressed sloppily (lacking care) and lived in incredibly messy apartments.

immaculate: /ɪˈmækjələt/extremely clean and tidy. E.g. She always looks immaculate. An immaculate uniform/room. The property is in immaculate condition.

roomy large with a lot of space inside it.

spacious  /ˈspeɪʃəs/ The hotel rooms are spacious and comfortable.

generous more than is necessary; large. E.g. a generous helping of meat. The house has a generous amount of space.

bright and cheerful: e.g.There's nothing quite like a bright and cheerful living room. The house is bright and cheerful and is located in the fun and vibrant part of town.

comfortable /ˈkʌmftəbl/

cosy: /ˈkəʊzi/ warm, comfortable and safe, especially because of being small or confined. E.g.
a cosy little room. A cosy feeling. I felt warm and cosy sitting by the fire.

decor: /deɪkɔː(r)/ the style in which the inside of a building is decorated. E.g. interior decor. The restaurant's elegant new decor. Choosing the furniture and decor for their new home was an exciting project.

the interior design: the art or job of choosing the paint, carpets, furniture, etc. to decorate the inside of a house.

lavishly/newly/richly/tastefully decorated

comfortably/elegantly/simply/sparsely furnished




Picture 4

by the seaside

layout: the way in which the parts of something such as the page of a book, a garden or a building are arranged. E.g. the layout of streets. The magazine’s attractive new page layout. There is no single correct layout for business letters. Are you familiar with the general layout of the hospital?

open plan: an open-plan building or area does not have inside walls dividing it up into rooms. E.g. an open-plan office. Open plan kitchen/living area.

newly/solidly built.

softly lit. 

ideally/pleasantly situated/located. 

imposing: impressive to look at; making a strong impression. E.g. a grand and imposing building.

magnificent: extremely attractive and impressive; deserving praise. E.g. The Taj Mahal is a magnificent building.


grand: impressive and large or important. E.g. It's not a very grand house. The wedding was a very grand occasion.

opulent: /ˈɒpjələnt/ made or decorated using expensive materials. E.g. in the opulent comfort of the living room. He relishes an opulent lifestyle with palatial homes in Europe and America, private jets, two yachts and a helicopter.  

shady protected from the sun or producing shade. E.g. a shady patio.

peaceful, quiet and relaxing

calm: /kɑːm/ E.g. The city is calm again (= free from trouble and fighting) after yesterday's riots. The sea looks much calmer today.

tranquil: /ˈtræŋkwɪl/ quiet and peaceful. E.g. a tranquil scene. A tranquil village.  

haven: /ˈheɪvn/ a place that is safe and peaceful where people or animals are protected. E.g. The hotel is a haven of peace and tranquility. The river banks are a haven for wildlife. The camp offers a haven to refugees.  My house is a little haven of tranquillity.  

idyll: /ˈɪdɪl/ (AmE /ˈaɪdl/) a happy and peaceful place, event or experience, especially one connected with the countryside. Sp. idilio. E.g. the rural idyll remains strongly evocative in most industrialized societies. A Mediterranean holiday idyll.

idyllic: /ɪˈdɪlɪk/ (AmE /aɪˈdɪlɪk/) peaceful and beautiful; perfect, without problems.E.g. a house set in idyllic surroundings. To lead an idyllic existence. The cottage sounds idyllic.

secluded: /sɪˈkluːdɪd/ quiet and private; not used or disturbed by other people. E.g. a secluded garden/ beach/ spot, etc. The gardens are quiet and secluded.

off the beaten track: far away from other people, houses, etc. E.g. They live miles off the beaten track.  

be tucked away to be located in a quiet place, where not many people go. E.g. The shop is tucked away down a backstreet. It feels completely tucked away from the rest of the world.

uninhabited: empty, deserted.
deserted: /dɪˈzɜːtɪd/ with no people in it. E.g. deserted streets. Magaluf is completely deserted in the winter.

overlook: /ˌəʊvəˈlʊk/ if a building, etc.overlooks a place, you can see that place from the building. E.g. a restaurant overlooking the lake. Our back yard is overlooked by several houses.

view: she has a view of the garden.

stunning: E.g. a stunning view of the lake.

breathtaking: E.g. a breathtaking view of the mountains. The scene was one of breathtaking beauty.

Monologue: questions
cash-strapped without enough money. E.g. cash-strapped governments/ shoppers. Cash-strapped consumers have gone deeper into debt.

feel the pinch: (informal) to not have enough money. E.g. Lots of people who have lost their jobs are starting to feel the pinch.

evict: /ɪˈvɪkt/ evict somebody (from something) to force somebody to leave a house or land, especially when you have the legal right to do so. E.g. A number of tenants have been evicted for not paying the rent. The council has tried to get them evicted.

eviction: /ɪˈvɪkʃn/ the action of expelling someone from a property; expulsion. E.g. to face eviction from your home. The forced eviction of residents.

property ladder: a series of ascending stages by which people are perceived to progress as they are able to buy more expensive houses, the initial stage consisting of buying one’s first property. E.g.  first-time buyers can’t afford to get on to the property ladder.


move in: to start to live in your new home. E.g. Our new neighbours moved in yesterday. We moved in our new home in the countryside.

move out: to leave your old home. E.g. Many businesses and middle-class residents are moving out of city centres.

set up home: (British English) (used especially about a couple) to start living in a new place. E.g. They got married and set up home together in a picturesque village.  


Question 1

dank: (especially of a place) damp, cold and unpleasant. E.g. a dark dank cave.



disrepair: a building, road, etc. that is in a state of disrepair has not been taken care of and is broken or in bad condition. E.g. The station quickly fell into disrepair after it was closed. The building had fallen into disrepair. The castle was in such a state of disrepair that they decided not to spend money on it.



musty: smelling damp and unpleasant because of a lack of fresh air. E.g. a musty room. A musty smell of old books. These clothes smell musty.



overrun something (especially of something bad or not wanted) to fill or spread over an area quickly, especially in large numbers. E.g. The house was completely overrun with mice. Enemy soldiers had overrun the island. The tiny village was overrun by tourists.



Do something up:  to repair and decorate a house, etc. E.g. He makes money by buying old houses and doing them up.


rejig something (informal) /ˌriːˈdʒɪɡ/ to make changes to something; to arrange something in a different way. E.g.With the new baby they had to rejig their house.

cost/pay an arm and a leg: (informal) to cost/pay a lot of money. 

up sticks: to leave the place where you have been living and go to live elsewhere. [from nautical slang to up sticks 'set up a boat's mast' (ready for departure)] (British English, informal) up sticks/ (North American English, informal) pull up stakes and move to/ head for… I was even thinking I might up sticks and move to somewhere completely new. 

Question 2 



picturesque /ˌpɪktʃəˈresk/ pretty, especially in a way that looks old-fashioned. Quaint. E.g. a picturesque cottage/setting/village.  

quaint: /kweɪnt/ attractive in an unusual or old-fashioned way. E.g. quaint old customs. A quaint seaside village. Quaint country cottages. They raised a son, Mark, now 44, and lived in a quaint, red-brick bungalow that Ms. Wise kept meticulously neat.

quaintly E.g. whitewashed (Sp. blanqueadas) houses quaintly set on hilly, winding /ˈwaɪndɪŋ/ streets.  

quaintness /kweɪntnəs/ E.g. the cosy quaintness of village life.

unspoilt: /ˌʌnˈspɔɪlt/ (also unspoiled /ˌʌnˈspɔɪld/) beautiful because it has not been changed or built on. E.g. unspoiled countryside.



dreary: /ˈdrɪəri/ that makes you feel sad; dull and not interesting. E.g. a dreary winter’s day a dreary film a long and dreary journey on the train


If you just feel like kicking back and relaxing, the bedroom has a sofa and wireless internet.  
kick back: to relax. E.g. Kick back and enjoy the summer. 

sprawling: /ˈsprɔːlɪŋ/ spreading over a wide area in an untidy or unattractive way. E.g. a modern sprawling town. 

overpopulated: /ˌəʊvəˈpɒpjuleɪtɪd/ there are too many people in a place. E.g. an overpopulated country.

bustling: /ˈbʌslɪŋ/ full of people moving about in a busy way. A bustling place is full of noise and activity and is usually pleasant and interesting. E.g. a bustling city. The bustling little town. Bustling with something The market was bustling with life.

hustle: busy noisy activity of a lot of people in one place. E.g. We escaped from the hustle and bustle of the city for the weekend.


city slicker: a person who behaves in a way that is typical of people who live in big cities. Sp. Urbanita. Are you a city slicker or a country bumpkin (a person from the countryside who seems stupid)?

centrally/conveniently/ideally situated/located.

precinct: /ˈpriːsɪŋkt/ a commercial area in a town where cars cannot go. E.g.  a pedestrian/shopping precinct 

a pedestrian area 

boast: E.g. the area itself boasts some great bars and restaurants. Other amenities such as Dublin Zoo, Phoenix Park, the Lighthouse Cinema, the National Museum, the Guinness Storehouse are also right on your doorstep

on the/your doorstep very close to where a person lives. E.g. The nightlife is great with bars and clubs right on the doorstep.

a stone's throw: a very short distance away. E.g. We live just a stone's throw from here. The hotel is within a stone's throw of the beach. A stone’s throw away

amenities: Sp. servicios. e.g. near amenities.

prosperous /ˈprɒspərəs/ rich and successful. E.g. prosperous countries.

outskirts: the parts of a town or city that are furthest from the centre. E.g. They live on the outskirts of Milan.

slum an area of a city that is very poor and where the houses are dirty and in bad condition. Sp. barrio pobre. E.g. a slum area. City/urban slums. She was brought up in the slums of Leeds.

Shanty town: an area in or near a town where poor people live in shanties

Shanty: a small house, built of pieces of wood, metal and cardboard, where very poor people live, especially on the edge of a big city. E.g. Nearly 20% of the city’s inhabitants live in shanty towns. 

Question 3

create/ build/ foster (encourage) a strong sense of community.

the grass is (always) greener on the other side (of the fence): (saying) said about people who never seem happy with what they have and always think that other people have a better situation than they have.
Question 4

keep house: to cook, clean and do all the other jobs around the house

hare: to be equally involved in something or responsible for something. E.g. share in something: I try to get the kids to share in the housework.  

the lion’s share (of something) the largest or best part of something when it is divided.
E.g. the lion’s share of his money went to his grandchildren.

shy away (from something) to avoid doing something because you are nervous or frightened. E.g. Hugh never shied away from his responsibilities. The newspapers have shied away from investigating the story.

houseproud: spending a lot of time making your house look clean and attractive, and thinking that this is important. E.g. She is houseproud and tidy.

pride yourself on something/on doing something [no passive] to be proud of something. E.g. She had always prided herself on her spotless house.

spotless:  perfectly clean. Immaculate. E.g. a spotless white shirt. She keeps the house spotless. 

pull your weight: to work as hard as everyone else in a job, an activity, etc.

sparsely: /spɑːsli/ only present in small amounts or numbers and often spread over a large area. Sp. Escasamente, dispersamente. E.g. a sparsely furnished room.   

spick and span: neat and clean. E.g. Their house is always spick and span.

clutter: a lot of things in an untidy state, especially things that are not necessary or are not being used; a state of confusion. Mess. E.g. there's always so much clutter on your desk!

declutter: /diːˈklʌtə(r)/ to remove things that you do not use so that you have more space and can easily find things when you need them. E.g. Moving is a good opportunity to declutter.


The kitchen is often the most unhygienic of all the rooms in the home. It is crucial to disinfect your work surfaces. The combination of food, heat and dampness means the kitchen is potentially a breeding ground for bacteria that can cause stomach upsets and vomiting.  Cutting boards and dishcloths are found to contain bacteria in far greater number than elsewhere in the home. Inadequate cleaning can lead to serious food poisoning. Make sure you clean all work surfaces daily and keep an eye on that dishcloth.

Question 5
With the cost of energy bound to double in real terms during the next ten years or so , many large badly-insulated old houses will become extremely expensive to use. The demand will be for small, well-insulated homes located in warm protected areas and making the best use of the sun's warmth. Efficient heating units and double-glazed windows will be of prime importance. At present we waste a lot of space in planning rooms which are awkward to use.
uninsulated: /ʌnˈɪnsjʊleɪtɪd/ not insulated.

Question 6
Landmark: something, such as a large building, that you can see clearly from a distance and that will help you to know where you are. Sp. punto de referencia, lugar muy conocido. E.g. The Empire State Building is a familiar landmark on the New York skyline.

Question 7
White elephant a thing that is useless and no longer needed, although it may have cost a lot of money. E.g. The new office block has become an expensive white elephant. Origin: From the story that in Siam (now Thailand) the king would give a white elephant as a present to somebody that he did not like. That person would have to spend all their money on looking after the rare animal.

Question 8
dwelling: a house, flat/apartment, etc. where a person lives. E.g. The development will consist of 66 dwellings and a number of offices.

tower block: a very tall block of flats/apartments or offices

high-rise: a building that is very tall and has a lot of floors. E.g. to live in a high-rise.

skyscraper: a very tall building in a city.

apartment block: a large building with flats/apartments on each floor. Block of flats.

semi-detached: a house that is joined to another house by a wall on one side that is shared. E.g. I live in a semi-detached house

town house: a tall narrow house in a town that is part of a row of similar houses. E.g. An elegant Georgian town house.

terraced house: a house that is one of a row of houses that are joined together on each side.

bungalow: /ˈbʌŋɡələʊ/ a house built all on one level, without stairs. E.g. He retired at 70 and moved to a bungalow in Rosecroft Gardens.

thatched: (of a building) having the roof covered with thatch. E.g. They live in a thatched cottage.
thatch: dried straw, reeds, etc. used for making a roof; a roof made of this material. E.g. a roof made of thatch. The thatch was badly damaged in the storm.

houseboat: a boat that people can live in, usually kept at a particular place on a river or canal.

housing estate: an area in which a large number of houses or flats/apartments are planned and built together at the same time. E.g. They live on a housing estate.

residential: (of an area of a town) suitable for living in; consisting of houses rather than factories or offices. E.g. a quiet residential area/estate.

Question 9
twee: very pretty, in a way that you find unpleasant and silly; appearing sentimental. Sp. cursi. E.g. The room was decorated with twee little pictures of animals. Although the film’s a bit twee, it’s watchable. Decorated with twee drawings of kittens and roses.

gaudy /ˈɡɔːdi/ too bright and cheap-looking. E.g. gaudy clothes/colours.

minimalist: /ˈmɪnɪməlɪst/ lacking decoration or adornment; deliberately simple or basic in design or style. E.g. his recently renovated minimalist kitchen.

rustic: /ˈrʌstɪk/ 1 (approving) typical of the country or of country people; simple. E.g. an old cottage full of rustic charm. 2 made very simply of rough wood. E.g. a rustic garden seat. A rustic fence.

Question 10
upkeep (of something) /ˈʌpkiːp/ the cost or process of keeping something in good condition.  

maintenance. E.g. Tenants are responsible for the upkeep of rented property.

Question 11
manicured:  /ˈmænɪkjʊəd/ 1. with nails that are neatly cut and polished. E.g. A manicured woman/man. 2. (of gardens, lawns) very neat and well cared for. E.g. This manicured lawn has been cut very tidily and is well looked after. 

unkempt: not well cared for; not neat or tidy. Dishevelled. E.g. greasy, unkempt hair. The children were unwashed and unkempt. A wild and unkempt garden. 

overgrown: (of gardens, etc.) covered with plants that have been allowed to grow wild and have not been controlled. E.g. an overgrown path. The path was completely overgrown. Overgrown with something The garden's completely overgrown with weeds.


More useful vocabulary related to the topic of homes
conservatory /kənˈsɜːvətri/ a room with glass walls and a glass roof that is built on the side of a house. Conservatories are used for sitting in to enjoy the sun, and to protect plants from cold weather.

tall: (of a person, building, tree, etc.) having a greater than average height. E.g. the tallest building in the world.


stark: /stɑːk/ (often disapproving) looking severe and without any colour or decoration. E.g. I think white would be too stark for the bedroom. The hills stood stark against the winter sky.


peel (off) (of a covering) to come off in strips or small pieces. E.g. The wallpaper was beginning to peel. 

put sth up: to build something or place something somewhere. E.g. to put up a building/fence/memorial/tent.

bring sth about: to make something happen. Cause. E.g. Major spending is required to bring about substantial improvements in housing.

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