House Hunters International*
I like that you are all fairly open about your nosiness and voyeuristic inclinations, because brutal honesty is really the only way to make internet friends. am i right? I'm not going to bore you with 20 reviews of different flats, discussing layouts and number of bathrooms/bedrooms. I took far too many pictures and really, I know you just want to SEE and not have to read. Don't whine at me about how small or crappy these are - I just want you to appreciate that this was 10 hours, TEN HOURS, of viewings. By the end I was just taking photos of bathrooms, because apparently the crapper is my primary concern. (As it should be with you.)
Let's start, shall we? First up:
Most of the flats we viewed were what I would call townhouses or row houses, with a few converted apartments thrown in. All 3-4 bedrooms, average of about 1400 sq ft. For you Americans, take a deep breath, it's okay. What should really freak you out is that our budget is £2700 - £3500 per month. That's $4500 - $5900 a month. (I'll wait while you gasp.)
I have to say that the English master curb appeal - everything just looks charming to me.
Layouts and floorplans were fairly random. It reminded me a bit of looking for places in PIttsburgh, because most of the houses are so old and the places have been modified for a modern day lifestyle. Lots of living rooms (receptions), dining rooms, and kitchens in separate rooms with doors. Some have been renovated for a more open floor plan, but there's still some interesting configurations happening.
Also of note - tons of skylights, conservatories, windows tucked here and there, and large glass doors to let in light.
But keep in mind, you can't get anything without tons of
It seems to me you have two choices for bedrooms - Ikea chic or English Rose. Either way, who doesn't love snooping around someone else's stuff? And I have to say that I love that it's normal to see the union jack incorporated as a household motif. (I mean, Americana is only one of two things to me: Redneck or Tea Party. Not that those are bad things......dot...dot....dot....)
I know you're holding your breath for the bathrooms. And who am I to deny you 20 photos of toilets?
Here's what surprised me the most about the bathroom situation: standing showers are not the norm. There were several places with en suite master baths that only had tubs and a handheld sprayer. That was kind of a dealbreaker for me, and caused me to reevaluate my entire hygiene belief system. I rarely take baths and I assume that the only adults left in the world that do are my mom and MIL. There were a fair amount of tub/showers, and only about 5 bathrooms I saw that were only showers. Also, toilets in the most random of places. So here's some weirdness:
Obviously there was some make shift en suite action going on - in particular this top left pic where you can't even see the toilet, because you have to bend over (to avoid hitting your head on the ceiling, and make a sharp right turn. There is no standing room by the toilet, but there is a skylight so you can get a good look at your bidness. Good luck! And this one on the right kind of made me laugh because I honestly thought that was a child's sink. I mean, I know what a bidet is - I've been to Europe and Asia, I'm familiar. But the faucet really threw me off. This led to an unfortunate conversation with the girls about how to use a bidet and endless hours of butt washing talk. Did I say unfortunate? I meant, enthralling.
I will say though, that most landlords update properties with a modern style - more than I'm used to seeing in the States.
Yes, everything is smaller than we super-sized Americans like to think about. So, smaller ovens, smaller dishwashers, smaller refrigerators. Most of them built in behind cabinets, so at first glance you don't know they're there, which is a nice design feature. (You'll note that one large professional oven, which would have won me over, had the apartment had more than one bathroom.) No pantries, but I am loving the convenience of the large drawers in our temporary flat that allow you to see and access everything instead of losing everything in the back. And if you've really ever watched HGTV, you will already know that the washer/dryer combi is in the kitchen. That's right - one machine that washes and dries. (Trust me, the laundry drama will get it's very own post.) I think it's probably a space issue, but I really can't figure out why the kitchen is the place it ends up. I'm not thrilled about dirty undies in the kitchen. And again, a lot of kitchens open up to the garden, which I find really nice.
Behold, I give you the Unicorn of the Household Cleaning Kingdom:
The Laundry Room.
There was only one.
It had a washer AND a dryer.
It was in a house I kind of hated.
But still, it must be admired for it's singularity.
But wait! What about that mansion? It was seriously like a little castle, and it overlooked Wimbledon (the Wimbledon) practice courts.
Impressive on the outside, jacked up on the inside. Just like me!
Imagine a carpeted labyrinth with lots of candelabras. I kept shouting, "Be our guest! Be our guest!" (in case anybody else wasn't feeling it). There was an en suite master bath made entirely out of fake marble. Because nothing says class like fake marble.
Also of note, a communal entrance and a private entrance. That's where the major issue came for me - the private side entrance, while quite grand, led right into what they were counting as the third bedroom. Hey, welcome to our crib! Have a nap! Steal my sleeping child! Check out our dirty laundry! The options for this set up are endless, and all of them not for me.
So, that's it. Dang that was long. I swear I tried to be brief. I'm sorry there's no big reveal. We did find a place that I really, really liked, and fingers crossed, we will get it. I didn't take photos, because I was too busy chatting with the landlord.
Now get out of here. I need a nap.
*I always like to start my day with copyright infringement.