After the horrible hotel experience I had a few weeks ago, I was a little wary about moving into our temporary flat in Chiswick, just outside central London. We didn’t have any idea what to expect beyond the 2 bedroom/1 bath description we’d been given. (The term bedroom is used loosely in London as well – sometimes they look more like closets!) Knowing this place was only going to be our home for the next 30 days made it less scary though. If it turned out to be awful, we’d find a way to make it work for a month.
We had nothing to be afraid of, though. The flat we are in is part of a new construction complex on the side of an existing building (which is still under construction, otherwise I’d have included a picture of the exterior) and it’s all just lovely.
We are on the second floor (or the first floor if we are speaking in London terms since they call the first floor, the “ground floor”) of the building. When you walk into the flat, you enter into the hallway where the bedrooms and bathroom are and you’re looking directly into the open living area. (Keep in mind, the entire flat is only 630 sq ft, so these grainy pictures with my phone had to be taken at some very odd angles to try to fit the room into the shot!)
Our kitchen, dining area, and living room are all open to each other which ends up making them all look a lot bigger than they actually are. We have a hard time fitting two cooks into our kitchen at the same time, but at least it’s a pretty one to work in. All of the appliances, although shrunken versions of their American counterparts, are brand new. The clothes washer is actually in one of the kitchen cabinets, as well as the dishwasher. No clothes dryer – we’re doing it the only fashioned way now!
Our living/dining combo is perfect, too. Except for the wide hallway, the designer of these flats did a tremendous job maximizing the space available, so we never really feel like we’re cramped even though we’ve lost about 2,500 sq ft of living space. As a bonus in our living room, we’ve got cable TV, and it seems British folk like most of my favorite American TV shows because they play here as well!
Both bedrooms and the bathroom are in the hallway when you walk in. The master is the first one you come to. Both rooms are about the same size, but the master has built in wardrobes for closets. The bathroom is just gorgeous, but so tiny that I’d need to be Spiderman to get a proper picture of it for the blog. There is a shower behind me, so we aren’t resigned to showering in the bath tub yet with the handheld showerhead. Although that might be the case in our next flat. (Hoping not.) Lexie’s room only has a small dresser for storage, so I’d really like to find a permanent flat that has wardrobes in her room, too.
The flat itself is located on a road called Chiswick High Road. It’s the main street through the town of Chiswick where we’re living. There are about 200 shops and restaurants on both sides of a two mile stretch down this road, so everything is within walking distance from us, including Cory’s work and the school we think we want Lexie to go to. If we do end up choosing the school here, we hope to find a permanent flat on this same street. Walking everywhere has it’s perks – including a perky rear end! We’ve been averaging about three miles a day since we got here, so that makes me not feel quite so bad about eating like crap for the past week. Who wants to cook when you’ve got about thirty different types of cuisine a few steps from your front door?
While considered part of Greater London instead of the actual city, Chiswick still has that London charm – the beautiful old buildings and churches, open green areas full of people when the weather is nice, and, of course, the classic red phone booths.
Before we moved here, I thought I’d want to be directly in the city, as close to Buckingham Palace as possible, but as soon as we started exploring Chiswick, I knew this place was more us. There’s a more laid back feel here than in the city, and I certainly don’t feel the same pressure to leave the house looking like a Gucci ad as I would in South Kensington or another, similarly ritzy borough. Not to mention, everything is quite a bit cheaper in Chiswick – the flats, the restaurants, the markets.
Next week begins our search for flats and I’m really excited to see what we’ll be able to get with our limited budget. It’s kind of fun making such a drastic change in regards to home size and possessions. Considering we’ve been living out of our suitcases for three weeks and have been fine, I’m wondering why I even had a shipment of other stuff coming over. I can’t even remember now what we had in it! I’m quickly learning that our stuff doesn’t matter; these experiences do!