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Around…Our Flat

January 12, 2010

Editors Note…oops, a bit of a hiccup with the 24 hour clock and publish times! I apologize if this was sent out twice!

I’m always quite funny when it comes to photographing our flats…it’s never ‘done’ in my mind so I end up putting it off. Then it seems like were moving and packing everything up and it’s no longer indicative of our life there. So in a true new year/new foot move I’ve taken pictures with no imminent relocation on the horizon and in it’s unfinished decoration (see what style I want here) – because if you’re anything like me you love a good nose into someone elses lifestyle. Plus, now that you have some context for where we live (please burglars/sickos don’t track us down. Thank you.), I’ll be enlisting you all in some decision making here on out. Hah this makes it all sound like I’m undergoing some massive restoration–I’m just picking some pillows and fabric!

The details: we live in central london- high street Kensington area to be exact. Our flat is a cozy 15 x 22 feet (which I think is 330 square feet?) in what would have been originally the living/front room of a grander house. In fact nearly all our neighbours houses still use this front room as exactly that and they never ever are in there. Ughm yah they never use the room that is all the space our little of family of three has… Stellar.

Small space living has so much to do with your location and how it was formed. I used to get very frustrated trying to get ideas from small spaces on apartment therapy and the like, because the flats worked because the builders had hung the bed from the ceiling or put an entire wall on a hinge. Not exactly transferable advice for the average renter. Now I find I am one of those (on a much less bond lair scale). But, I worked hard to find a flat as such! Having said that there are definitely tips and tricks some of which I’ve done and some that are on the wishlist which hopefully will be revealed somewhere along the way.

The entire reason our small flat works is because they built the bedroom three feet off the ground which a) provides storage and b) psychologically and physically separates you from the living area as the bed and the sofa aren’t rammed into each other. Plus you have to actually walk down the hallway and up steps to get to the bedroom, which although a small walk really helps!

room notes.

spring area rug from woven ground, writing desk from ikea, tam tam stool from habitat, vintage orange lamp gift from antiques store in rye england, faux bois lampshade from habitat,  ‘hindsight is twenty twenty’ print from keep calm gallery, sixties ercol chairs from ebay, wooden stool from zarahome, yellow duvet cover by Betty Jackson (debenhams!), white tins from ikea, shoe last from dulwich market, bicycle basket from bobbin bicycles, turtle from jonathan adler.   sofa and glass tables- landlords own.

To find out my favorite (&  least favorite things) …and for more photos read more!

Absolutely love the high ceiling in this flat, most especially the original detailing—it was the first thing I noticed. Our first flat in London was in North Finchley and in a new build and huuuuuge and completely void of any character or personality. Next up was a flat in Bayswater…a basement flat with high vaulted (coal?) ceilings in a period property…more character but lots of icky parts like extreme damp and nasty peeling walls etc…so now I feel like we’ve finally found a good compromise of period property features without any of the other ailments. Yay!

Ick, one of the reasons I didn’t want to take pictures…the chairs, or rather the covers. I was on a hunt for a reading chair for a looong time, but seemed to be stuck in an affordable furniture problem. Ikea didn’t have what I wanted and I was prepared to pay more than their prices…but the next step up (habitat I guess?) was too much. I finally found these chairs on ebay which was a bit unusual for me as I don’t typically look on ebay for large pieces as its too big of a hassle. I paid about ten times the amount of other ones going for a set that lived in London…apparently if you live up north you can get amazing antiques for a fiver. bleh. Anyway, they are super comfortable sixties ercol chairs in great shape…they.just.need. to. be. recovered. I hesitated last summer as I wasn’t sure if we were moving and were going to get rid of our dark colour scheme (which was a good move) but now it just needs to happen and quickly!

There were quite a few reasons we moved, but one of the things I was most excited about was being able to sit in our flat and look outside, as our previous flats either looked into a halfway house or didn’t have windows…AND I LOVE the big windows that look otu onto a beautiful street. Sure, you have to be craeful because everyone can see you…but I figure I’m not exciting enough to stare at. Also featured in this picture are two of my lamps…I love vintage lamps and sacrifice the greater good of a rooms design and styling for them as well. I just put them anywhere blind with love. It’s a bit hard to see but the lamp in front of the windows is a black turbaned man wearing red who also has a black turbaned wife who wears orange…I believe they are from the fifties and I bought them about 8 years ago in my hometown for 15 dollars for the pair…which I felt guilty about??!?! They’ve travelled with me ever since.

Notice there isn’t a tv? Shocking isn’t it? Well we have a bit of a compromise…we have the computer which was a ‘must have’…and axed the tv for space and balance of the apartment as well as getting us out of the couch potato seats. Granted we have a bit of a cheat with watching tv on the internet but it works out well because we only truly watch what we want to watch instead of hitting the on button and just spacing out. Love that change…

23 Comments leave one →
  1. January 12, 2010 7:39 am

    I love your flat! Very well decorated for such a small space. And indeed, I think the high ceilings really help to make it feel less small. Nice!

  2. ldnecker permalink
    January 12, 2010 6:34 pm

    Brit – I love that you posted these. It’s great to have a visual of your space – and how fantastically organized and functional you’ve created it to be. And having Olive and Dave in the pictures is an added bonus ❤

  3. January 12, 2010 8:00 pm

    the ceiling is fantastic!

  4. January 12, 2010 10:46 pm

    Seriously – I love those chairs! And the covers too! Although admittedly not sure how they would look in real life. If you ever want to sell them to me let me know! And I love the rest of the flat.

    • Pillar Box Post permalink*
      January 13, 2010 1:07 pm

      Yes I do love our chairs (actually looking back, these pics don’t show off their beautiful shape too well as I was piling pillows on to hide the textile pattern!) and thankfully the covers are in perfect shape- not worn or stained but the pattern doesn’t really go. Looking at them it’s not actually bad and in the right setting could be played up into something sweet I reckon but with the pattern on the rug and other touches it’s not gelling for me. Just need a sewing machine and to order the fabric OR pleeeeaeese suggest a seamstress that is affordable and make my dream more realistic.

      • mutte permalink
        January 25, 2010 7:36 pm

        can you find a used or inexpensive basic sewing machine? I still have (and LOVE) my 20yr old Bernina( which cost about $1,100 plus in 1987), but when I needed one in the States and couldn’t take mine there I bought a basic machine (a Simplicity, which I had never heard of)for just over $100.00 and it works just fine for most situations. I could live with just straight stitch and ziz-zag – and really even just straight stitch if I had to. Subtract the cost of even one project farmed out to a seamstress and I think you would still have a bargain in the long run.

      • mutte permalink
        January 25, 2010 7:52 pm

        another thought on your chairs: Have you ever considered just painting the upholstry with acrylic paints? You would probably need a latex primer first to help cover the pattern but even with both layers it would still be flexible-kind of like oilcloth- and could be wiped off with a damp sponge when dirty. Try it first on a scrap of fabric or old clothes and see if you would like the effect.

  5. Sobosnore permalink
    January 13, 2010 3:31 am

    Yesssss! The post I have been waiting for! I think you’ve used the space quite well. The ceiling is dreamy…and mimicked quite nicely by the J. Adler turtle might I add. Also highly likeable: your wooden footstool, orange lamp and that stunning zebrawood vase 🙂 Is there storage in the building for the bicycles?

    • Pillar Box Post permalink*
      January 13, 2010 1:09 pm

      As for the bicycles- don’t get me started. Yes. There WAS storage when we selected the place and moved in- then they decided that everyone needed to move their bikes, prams, dressers(?) in a week or they would be trashed. We ended up locking them outside while I spent the next month researching…in a few weeks they were already rusting ( bike
      cancer if rachels dad is anything to go by) and londons cycle system is a joke. They are now (hopefully) holed up in a shady thief smorgasbord of a train station a mile away from our house. Not happy…

      David calls my wooden stool the pig stool (because of its ‘resemblance’ to pigs legs??) zebrawood vase needs something in it…whatta reckon?

  6. January 13, 2010 5:20 am

    Awesome photographs! Thanks for sharing them. I like your flat. Interior design is too good.
    I am going to buy a new flat so I got some ideas for its interior design.

  7. Pillar Box Post permalink*
    January 13, 2010 1:06 pm

    Oh goodie thanks for all the postive response, it was a bit of a mental struggle getting these photos on here- difficult to share your space when you know it’s potential and when there are so many fabulous places out there…

  8. Heather permalink
    January 16, 2010 3:16 am

    You’ve done amazing things with the space and don’t even get me started on the ceilings…absolutely divine! I remember when you bought the man in the turban…a true diamond in the rough of the antique depot. Thanks for sharing pictures of your sweet little home!

    • mutte permalink
      January 25, 2010 7:45 pm

      I am thrilled that you still have your turban man! I had forgotten about the lady. If you ever are planning on getting rid of them I will buy them!

      • Pillar Box Post permalink*
        January 25, 2010 10:11 pm

        Noted…but don’t hold your breath! With all this moving about and getting rid of loads of stuff David knows never to test me on getting rid of my collection of vintage lamps. Perhaps this is a very impractical collection in the making! Good thing is that David has rewired them to be UK, so seemingly he can do the same for the States one day…

  9. January 22, 2010 12:59 pm

    I love, love, love your flat. I am about to start flat hunting in London, a task I truly hate! Now I’ve seen your place I will be very hard to please indeed! Did you find it through an agent?

    I’m also in love with Olive, too cute for words.

    If you ever need to borrow a sewing machine for those chairs, just say the word!

  10. mutte permalink
    January 25, 2010 8:09 pm

    How does the raised bedroom create storage-can you store things underneath that area?

    • Pillar Box Post permalink*
      January 25, 2010 10:14 pm

      it’s like an attic, sort of. If you slide the couch away from the wall, there are two doors that open up and you have a 2.5 foot tall storage area that is the size of the entire bedroom floor area (Other than a set of supports and a water heater). We have it quite well organized, so you go down a ‘hallway’ of sorts with suitcases and stacks of archive boxes.

      • mutte permalink
        January 27, 2010 6:20 pm

        or crawl space storage.
        Hats off to whomever designed your flat- fantastic use of space!

        And you two have done a wonderful job of downsizing and living a “less is more” lifestyle w/o it being cold and impersonal!
        It angers me when I read articles in magazines (american) about how someone has “sacrificed” so much to live in their small space and then read on and find out their house is 3,000 sq ft!!!!!

  11. carol permalink
    February 6, 2010 1:30 am

    The flat looks great! You’ll hate me, but I never was very fond of Turban Man lamp. In fact, Olive emailed me to say she doesn’t like him either and wishes you would sell him and get something more urban (not turban). She was hoping for one of those Rothschild & Bickers pieces. Sorry to hear about Betsy, I hope her tears aren’t causing any rust. It’s comforting to know that she has Fred to keep her company.

    • Pillar Box Post permalink*
      February 10, 2010 10:19 pm

      Thank you! Olive is grounded, can’t believe she disobeyed me and wrote such a slanderous email. No respect for her home. However I think I could manage a Rothschild lamp, if I reaaaaaly have to.

      I am very much looking forward to some weather that would make betsy less of a joke!


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