We have officially been living in our flat in Notting Hill for about two weeks now. So I figure it's high time we give you all a tour! Now, be warned, none of these photos are Pinterest worthy. The flat has the potential to be adorable but, well, we just aren't going to put in the effort. We are only living here until August (fingers crossed, assuming the pandemic doesn't derail things) so we don't really see the point in spending money on a place we won't be very long. So until then, we are living like broke college students, futon and all.
What it lacks in style it makes up for in comfort - the simple comfort of having a place that is just ours after almost two years of living in other people's space! As much as I might still long for a freezer, a washing machine, or proper curtains, I am so grateful to have a place to call our own, especially as we are now under official lockdown in London and we can only leave the house for groceries or exercise (or medical needs if we were to have any.)
Without further ado, here is the grand tour!
When you first walk in, just to the left is the bathroom. It is small but serviceable. I'm actually quite impressed with the water pressure in the shower, and I love the white subway tile. There isn't any storage so we make do with storing necessary items on the window ledge above the sink. Our trash can is a wine box. The blue towel things you see are there because the toilet leaks...in three places. A plumber has been called and will attempt to fix it soon, but he is having trouble finding the right materials due to the pandemic and most stores being closed.
Right across from the bathroom is the door to the bedroom, which is a pretty decent size. Closets aren't really a thing here in the UK, so we are lucky that this room does have one built in closet (albeit with not much storage space.) To make up for that, we purchased these super cheap wardrobes from a store called "Poundstretcher." They definitely won't move with us to Wales (not sure they would survive the trip!) but they do the trick well enough for now. I was able to hang up all of my clothes that need hanging, though we are still using the suitcases as makeshift "dressers" for things like pajamas, t-shirts, and workout clothes. The two Aldi bags in front of my wardrobe are our linen closet - one holds extra sheets and the other extra towels at the moment. Nothing fancy, but at least it all feels somewhat organized!
Currently, the bed in our bedroom is an air mattress loaned to us by Vince and Joan. We had big plans to find a bed at a charity shop and then purchase a mattress online once we knew what size we needed...but obviously that has been put on hold as all charity shops are closed for now. The air mattress is comfortable enough and we are so grateful to have it!
Just a few steps from the front door will bring you into the living room, or, as most Brits would call it, the lounge. The ceilings in this place are very high - I'm guessing 10-12 feet, and the window lets in a lot of light. At night we put up the sheet because it also lets in a lot of street lights! Also, while I'm sure not many people could peer into our flat, it's nice to feel like we have a little bit of privacy. The couch you see is actually a futon (loaned to us by a colleague) and the table and chairs we borrowed from the church. The TV stand is ours (from Poundstretcher) and the TV was our one big splurge - especially once we knew we would be on lockdown we knew we needed a source of entertainment!
My favorite part of the living room is tucked in a corner behind the door into the room. It's our game table! It's really just a coffee table and two bean bag chairs (all courtesy of Vince and Joan) but it works as a place that we can keep Dominion set up all the time. Nothing makes lockdown more bearable than having my favorite game available to play at any time. Though we can't play too many games in row because I'm getting too old to sit on a beanbag chair for that long!
My favorite room in the place is the kitchen - not because it's anything fancy but because I finally have my own kitchen again! I have all the basic necessities - a stove/oven, microwave, toaster, fridge, and electric kettle. You can see the fridge in the bottom left of the photo - it's a mini-fridge but it gets the job done. Just like the bathroom, there isn't much for storage so food lives on the window ledge and in the open space beneath the counter. (I think a washing machine would normally go there but they aren't provided in rentals and we aren't going to buy one for this short of a stay. Normally a fridge and stove would not be provided either but we talked the church into providing one for us.) I was able to bring my good knives and a ton of spices from the States so it really feels like my own kitchen. I miss having a freezer but again, I am happy to make do with this as it means we have our own space!
And that's all folks! It is small but cozy, and honestly, because it is all our own, it feels like a palace to us. It's a bit odd to live like a broke college student since I'm in my mid-30's, but it's kind of fun, too. I'm sure someday we'll look back on this time with fond memories. For now, I'm doing my best to live in the moment and enjoy the small blessings. We are very grateful for this (rent-free in a very expensive city) place to call home.
If you have any suggestions for how to do better with storage, decorate, or generally just make it homier (on a very small budget) I'd love to hear them!