Our flat today looks drastically different than it did two years ago. I had forgotten I wrote up a blog post about decorating on a student budget (ha!) and while I'm still pretty proud of all that we got for very, very little, I think our flat is far more cozy now.
Our flat is in an old tenement building. The building itself was built as living accommodations for the workers who would have worked in the old distillery in town, in the docks across the street, or in shipbuilding or other local industries. The building dates from the late 1800s. We actually talked with the man who updated the flat for the first time in the 60s or 70s, and it was very insightful. The kitchen was at one point very, very small. Maybe 3-4 feet long. Aaron's "study" where his desk and fishtank are was originally a bedroom, as was our bathroom. There are no closets here, so we use wardrobes from Ikea to store our clothes. And traditionally, there would have been a shop on the corner of the each tenement building; the shop next-door to us is the only one around still in existence. Locals buy breakfast sandwiches there and the like.
Our kitchen is still very small. We don't have many cupboards and all our food is kept in the top right cupboard. We have moved on from using a tiny dorm sized fridge and were given a fridge/freezer last Christmas which I am thankful for every day. Our washing machine is there to the left, obviously, and it's just a washing machine - no dryer. In the summer we hang our laundry out and in the winter, we hang our laundry on all the radiators and a drying rack to dry.
As I was walking around the house, trying to specifically pick out items that I would consider different from American standards, I was struck by just how TINY our sink is. And that seems to be the norm here, at least in the flats we've looked at. Older houses have deeper sinks generally, but in the flats, one small sink is it.
This is probably the area with the biggest changes from 2015 until now. Between the gallery wall, new (to us) couch and chairs, and a corner shelf, we don't look like we live in a college dorm room anymore.
One of the things that drew us to this particular flat were the high ceilings and tall, tall, tall windows. I haven't even bothered to get window coverings for them because they're so tall. The let in lots of light, even on the cloudy days, for which I'm very grateful. Also, one of the things that I think really helped us make this flat a home, was the addition of furniture. Don't get me wrong, I love Ikea, but we've had some fantastic luck shopping at the local charity shops for furniture. I'm glad to help the local economy and get some pretty decent things to boot!
The bookshelf is our newest acquisition. We wouldn't have gotten it if we hadn't found all those blue, bound books on the top shelves. A local charity shop was selling them all for £.20 each so we grabbed the lot, tossed in the bookshelf and it totaled just at £20. Definitely a steal, and it matches our bed.
When we first moved in, we had bought a mattress from Ikea, but not a bed frame. The longer we lived here, the more we decided we needed other things (a crib for the baby, a wardrobe, a couch in the living room, etc) instead of a bed frame. We slept on the floor for more than the first year of living here and only got this bed frame about 6 months ago. It has been incredible to sleep in a bed again and I will never, ever take it for granted again. As an added bonus, we have drawers underneath the bed for jumpers and linens. This bed is definitely coming back to the states with us (right, Aaron??).
The nursery is without a doubt my favorite room in the house. Yes, I need proper curtains, but these are working just fine so far at blocking out the light, so I'm kinda too cheap it change them up.
The nursery is a long room, but not very wide, but perfect for a tiny baby that is into everything. She just figured out how to climb up on the couch and she does it dozens of times per day, clapping her hands enthusiastically when successful.
All in all, I think we've come a long way from the spartan flat of two years ago. I'm grateful for the memories we've made here, as it has truly made this little place an oasis and home.