Sunday, 16 May 2010


I've been thinking about creating this blog since my boyfriend GG and I bought our first flat in December last year.  The flat itself is in need of a bit of work, and given that I get so much enjoyment out of following other home improvement and design blogs, I figured someone else might enjoy reading about ours... Luckily for you, its 5 months in and we've not yet made any significant improvements :)

But first, some context... We are both Australian, and have been in London for 4 years.  We both work in fairly uncreative jobs in the software and business sectors, and find ourselves craving the creative outside of working hours... I have a passion for good design be it for style or function... I love modernist furniture and architecture, recycled homewares and old buildings... In all cases I like to honour the time and effort that went into making something the first time around by using it again.  

I'm hoping to explore the amateur end of the architecture and design spectrum, and hope to move from mere appreciation to contribution - at least in our own domain as we go about the process of putting our style stamp on the 62sqm of London that is ours (in the mortgaged leasehold sense anyway).

Combine the unfulfilled inner artist with a love of industrial architecture, and it is no surprise that we wanted to live out the 1980's NYC artist's dream of living in a 'loft' (although that word doesn't have quite the same meaning in the UK as every terrace house in the country has or is in the process of converting the roof space into usable rooms - the 'loft conversion').  Anyway, we of course searched out a flat in a converted warehouse, and after some ups and downs managed to find a great flat in an old Brewery in our favourite suburb of Clerkenwell. Here is the exterior:

Our flat is 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 1 living area with open plan kitchen.  Here is the floorplan:

Room layout was a critical factor for me (much less so for GG!), and there were a few key selling points here: 
  1. Bathroom right next to bedroom; I personally hate curtains and blinds and love using the fact that we are above street level to get away without them. What I would hate is having to run past my curtain-less windows in my towel to get back to the bedroom every time I take a shower.
  2. Bathroom not ensuite; in a 1 bedroom flat, unless you have visitors every day this is not a huge issue, but I do think its nice for visitors to be able to get to the loo without seeing that I haven't made my bed.
  3. Washing machine not in the kitchen; nothing spoils the calm of a living area like the sound of a spin cycle. Its not in the bathroom either which is also a bonus; it has its very own cupboard in the hallway.
  4. Wide entrance hall; halls might be wasted space, but in a country like this where you actually have a need for winter coats I am beginning to appreciate this odd little room.
But layout aside, the flat has some great original features; 11ft ceilings with concrete beams, huge crittal-style factory windows, and a cast iron supporting pillar in the living room.  

Here are some interior photos taken in the first 2 weeks of moving in:

The current state of the flat is quite liveable, depending on your point of view.  There isn't a built in kitchen at the moment, just what was already here when we moved in: a freestanding kitchen sink and a freestanding cabinet, both from Ikea.  The remainder of our bench space comes from the under-counter fridge and freezer (that currently have no over-counter).

The bathroom is a bit of a layout and style travesty, its so small you can barely swing the door open, it has zero positive style elements and recently has become less than functional (broken mixer tap means the water comes out scalding hot and we are resorting to baths instead):

So, as you can guess there is a long list of improvements to be made, with bathroom fast rising to the top of the priority list, followed by kitchen and then decorating... Now that we have been living here for a while the momentum is building to start doing some of the major work.  We have lots of exciting ideas, ulitmately the budget will make the final decision but I'm looking forward to sharing some of the pipe dreams and the realities with you over the next few months :)