Wednesday 22 April 2015

Goodbye Little Home

The view from our window for the past 6 years.

The battered brown door wasn’t inviting, neither was the narrow, dark corridor leading up the stairwell. We could already hear noisy floorboards and other peoples steps upstairs. The prospects were not looking good for this one. It was January 2009 and a nervous estate agent said goodbye to one couple leaving the open viewing and welcomed us in to what would become our home for the next 6 years, 2 months and 10 days.

Oh sweet Jesus, the horror! So much wood, so much badly varnished wood. The imposing built-in bookshelves that covered one wall of the living room immediately brought to mind Ron Burgundy’s “My apartment smells of rich mahogany” quote.
We had just come from seeing a tiny studio flat round the corner in Primrose Hill which hadn’t given us much hope and now we were being subjected to what was basically a first-floor wooden shed. The swinging Wild West style doors to the bathroom added a certain charm and it was quite cosy for a one bedroom flat with high ceilings, big sash windows and small rooms. Looking past the wood, could this be what we were looking for?

We had both moved to London the previous October, both to Finsbury Park but to different flats- Ellie to an airy, stylish flat which she shared with a lovely German woman but with a tiny bedroom and me to a dingy, dirty flat nearer the station shared with three others. Everybody has to start from somewhere but the constant toilet blockages, horrible living room/kitchen setup and stench of weed strongly motivated me to find somewhere else for us to live together. We already had best friends living in Chalk Farm so when we spotted a flat in Belsize Park for a knockdown price we had to have a look.

The flat viewing had not filled me with joy though. After saying goodbye to the agent, we went for a cuppa in Violettes CafĂ© and had a chat about what we had just seen. I wasn’t enamoured, however, Ellie has much keener eye than me and knew we had seen something special. She persuaded me that we could do something with the wood and was adamant we could turn it into our home.  
Three weeks later we moved in and begun painting the shelving and desk in the living room. It wasn’t a smooth process, what with all the moving and painting, but we slowly started to make it more homely.

Over the past 6 years we’ve had drunken parties, mock Come Dine With Me competitions, watched scary movies with shrieking friends, hosted weekend Take Me Out nights, eaten hundreds of Dominos pizzas and had a sleepover to see how many people we could fit into such a small space (twelve as it turned out- three to the bed and nine to the living room).

It’s funny how time changes your perspective on things. I never thought that I would ever live and work in London but the flat has been our constant and provided us with the home that we hoped it would. This flat will be a sad place to say goodbye to next week but we have brilliant memories to take away with us.

Goodbye little home.

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  1. Awww, man. This has made me get all choked up! Beautiful writing, Ed. And I love the pictures!

  2. The biggest sad face everrrr!!! Such good times!


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