We found a flat!

Today’s blog is written by special guest, Britton! We went on a FIVE-HOUR flat hunt a few weeks ago with a relocation agent (also named Ellen!). I adapted and lightly edited this post from an email Britton sent to our parents. Happy reading!

After looking at quite literally about a dozen apartments today (none of which were the same as what we looked at the first time we went flat hunting in July), we have officially put money down (don’t even get me started) on a flat! The answer is revealed at the end of this post. 

Long story short, we continued to find that places further out don’t really get much cheaper; you just get more space. With that in mind, we focused our efforts on flats that are close to the city center, but most likely tiny.
The money we’ll be putting down over the next few days will be the initial deposits & first month’s rent – as long as we stay for six months, we won’t be “out” any real $ / £ (aside from our future retirement, but who’s counting? Hey, I said don’t get me started!).
We saw all sorts of places – if you’re super bored and want to get a sense of what we looked at, enjoy the following summaries. If you’re not bored, scroll to the bottom for the big reveal. This list follows the itinerary we were sent. You may be thinking “Britton, did you seriously email us a little write-up on every single place?” Yep, I sure did. This is what happens when Ellen goes out to social media networking events and I’m home with a cold. For reference, Cerner’s offices are very near Paddington Station.
See that couch? It pulls out and is the bed. It’s a tiny room. That’s about it. The pictures don’t leave much out.
We nicknamed this one “Fish Bowl” because there was a fish living in a kitchen mixing bowl. Not a fish bowl — a mixing bowl. It was packed to the ceiling with stuff, and the kitchen is actually on a different level that overlooks the main bedroom area. 
This was one of our top four picks mainly due to its location, but it ultimately lost out due to its lack of space when compared to our other options (which really wasn’t terrible). 
This was Ellen’s top pick. It’s a true one-bedroom space with a “receiving room” (what Americans call a living room) and separate bedroom. The washer is tucked behind the bathroom door (the bathroom is already super tiny), and the kitchen is far bigger in the pictures than in real life. From where the camera is in these pictures, the kitchen is only maybe five feet long and had no oven (though a combo microwave/oven could have been provided). That counter on the left is about 10” deep or so.
This didn’t make the final cut but was a contender for a while due to its large kitchen (with a real dishwasher – the only one we saw all day) and abundance of storage/shelving. Ultimately, it just didn’t have enough living space.
This one was was rather comical. The kitchen is literally in a cupboard on the side of the room – as in you open a cabinet and instead there’s a tiny kitchen. The unit had one of these (see images below), which is apparently used for washing clothes. Our relocation agent said these things were before her time (she’s probably about 10 years older than we are?). I know we’ve certainly never seen one – maybe you have?

We never got to see this one. It was already taken.
This was a top contender until the end. The bedroom is literally in what would otherwise be the garage (though the garage door is walled up on the inside). The rental logistics were a bit goofy, too, as the landlord didn’t really have utilities/etc. separated between this apartment and the landlord’s living quarters in the top floor(s) above. Also, the letting agent working for the landlord is apparently “dippy” as we were told by our person (here’s the Urban Dictionary entry — we didn’t know what it meant, either).The location is still very good for London, though not quite as close to various transport links, etc. This flat was the backup if our first choice fell through.
I think this was let or maybe we cancelled – I don’t quite remember.
See the picture of the kitchen? Look at the mirror on the right – that’s the murphy bed. Other than that, this place had a brown couch. And a bathroom. That’s pretty much it. No real space whatsoever. We “noped” out of here pretty quickly.
There is a bedroom. The kitchen is about five or six burners wide and had no oven or microwave. What you see on your computer screen is almost as big as in real life 🙂
This looks great in photos. That’s where the fun stops. Not to be dismayed by the trash, clothes, shoes, luggage, food, and everything else you can think of bordering on hoarder status, we ventured in. Apparently the place smelled awful – Ellen will have to confirm, as I’m all congested and can’t smell a thing right now [This is Ellen, confirming. It was baaaaad.]. I had no issues, but our relocation person was starting to get sick to her stomach. If the place weren’t such a complete pit, it would have had a better chance, but even knowing it would get cleaned and fixed up, the timing wasn’t going to work, and we found better options.
We didn’t end up seeing this one, I think because it was far enough out that there were plenty of better, closer options.

So are you ready to see the one we chose? It’s the basement flat of the blue house! Check out my next post for a look inside.

Yeah, there’s a garden!

Including ours, this property had three offers on it in ONE DAY. We apparently managed (with a lower asking price, no less) to beat out two Italian students because the landlord is selective about her tenants. The Italians offered the asking price and we came in just a bit under but still got the place. While the flat is technically a studio, it is surprisingly large and the living space (not pictured) is divided up pretty well into two spaces. There’s a private patio out back and a large bathroom. If the tube strikes calm down, the 24/7 tube service will include the Central line, which goes through Notting Hill Gate. A ton of busses also go through here. We will be 1.5 miles away from the Cerner offices by foot. [Ellen: Oh, and blocks away from some tiny green space named Hyde Park? Kensington Palace? Has anyone heard of these things? :D]

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