So time for the big reveal! Ready to see the place we decided to rent?
The house we finally picked is a mews house, a style that we were very interested in before moving to the UK. Mews houses are very London-y. During the Georgian period, great terraced squares were built in all of the poshest neighborhoods with very grand and elegant fronts. In order to hide the smelly, dirty stables out of sight, small rows were built behind all the terraced homes, and stables were installed. Each terraced house, then, had a similarly terraced stable directly behind it, completely out of sight, but excellently positioned on a cobbled side street just off the main road. The ground floor housed the horses and the coaches, and the first floor (what we Americans call the second floor) was living quarters for the grooms.
We were attracted to mews houses primarily because they are so quintessentially London, but they also come with added benefits. They are usually located in great neighborhoods, since that is where the fashionable Georgians lived. They are centrally located, yet a little off of the main street, so noise is reduced. Since it is a house instead of a flat, there are no neighbors above or below to keep you up at 3 am with loud music. And perhaps most importantly, they are generally pretty nice about animals.
I can’t tell you how happy we were to finally move into our house after almost two months of living out of a hotel. Our relationship with our cat improved dramatically once his litter box wasn’t four steps away from the bed.
And so, without further ado, HERE IS OUR HOME!
Cute, isn’t it? We’re in love with it. The room behind the coach-style doors to the right of the windows is actually our dining room, not our garage. They actually don’t even open into our dining room. There is a plaster wall behind it. Although it would be an interesting kind of open-air dining if they did, huh? London has all sorts of rules about keeping original features of historic houses, so most mews houses still have at least one coach door, while the others are often converted into big windows, like ours. As you can see from the second photo, the other houses in our mews also have coach doors.
So, let’s head inside, shall we?
So this is our front door from the inside, complete with bolster to keep the draft out. You can only barely see the outline of one of my favorite parts of the house, which is the coir mat directly in front of the door. Most London houses that we saw had these built into the floor, like a welcome mat, but inside! You can wipe off your boots and shake off your umbrella inside your dry home and not have to worry about tracking mud everywhere. Genius!
Directly inside the door is our bar and kitchen, and to the right is our living room.
To the left of the oven is our dishwasher, and to the right is our fridge.
Yes, I know it looks much too small to be a fridge, and yet, it is. Even for London, this is a pretty small refrigerator. We were a little worried about it at first, but it actually hasn’t been a problem at all! Since we don’t have a car and have to carry back whatever we buy, you can’t really stock up for the whole week anyway. We just buy enough for a couple of days, eat it, and go back for more.
Here is the bar again, from the other side. The drawers have that really nifty soft-close feature so no matter how hard you slam it, it just gently glides back into place.
Moving on to the living room, complete with cat tunnel.
And the living room leads into the dining room.
Look at all of that storage! This is also where our boiler is located.
Well, that is pretty much it for the first floor. But before we go upstairs, I will show you what is beneath them.
There are three cabinets total. The first houses the modems and cable box and electronic equipment. The third is where the vacuum and brooms and mops are kept. And the second has our combo washer/dryer. Condensing dryer, not tumble, which means it takes hours upon hours to dry, they always feel a bit damp, and everything comes out super wrinkly. It can hold two towels, two hand towels, and two bathmats before it is full, and a wash/dry cycle takes around 6 hours. Yes, 6 hours. You can maybe imagine how often I do laundry. Every day, all day, basically.
And now, up the stairs! Before we moved here, Jasper had never seen stairs before. He was a little frightened at first, but now he loves to sit at the top and look down disdainfully at us.
At the top, the doorway on the left is the guest bedroom.
And continuing down the hall…
The shower is one of those wet room type things that just has half of a glass wall separating it from the rest of the room. So I can literally vacuum and mop the shower. It feels so wrong, yet so right.
Exiting the bathroom, the closet is on Stephen’s side.
So, that is the tour! I’ll leave you with my favorite and my least favorite things about the house.
This deer-like creature above the television in the living room. Coming from the South, it isn’t home if there isn’t a deer head around somewhere, know what I mean? And this one is cruelty-free! And super funky!
And my least favorite thing: our light switches! The bottom row is a simple up/down dimmer, but the other buttons are largely a mystery! It will be years before we memorize what they all do. One will turn on one lamp, but not the other. Another button will be all of the lamps but none of the overhead lights. And some do nothing at all. And if you are upstairs, turning off any light turns off all of the others. So if I turn off the hall light, the whole floor is plunged into darkness. The evenings are filled with lots of “Oh, gosh! Sorry!” as we go from room to room.
And that’s all, folks!