Our 385 ft.² Flat in London, England

Our flat in London is 385 square feet. Yeah, you read that right. I remember reading articles about couples living in 500 square feet or less and just thinking how annoying that must be. So, this is an interesting turn of events. It is definitely different than my last 1,600 square foot apartment (#america). But as I’ve realized with London real estate, what we’ve given up in square footage, we’ve made up for with location. Also I’m sharing kitchen pictures because the kitchen is finished (food is life—besides those two eggs I broke on the way home, RIP eggle and egglehart).

Speaking of decorating a home, moving into a new home is usually one of the most stressful things a person can go through (according to the interwebs). I’ve moved with my family, my best friends, and now for the first time—after one month of marriage (clearly we like to make things challenging)—with my hubbmeister. But we’ve learnt a lot about moving internationally through this process. First, flat = apartment. Got it? Cool. Second, the moving process in London is completely different than what we are used to back in Texas.

In this situation, I trusted my hubbs to go and look at the initial round of homes and narrow it down before I went on the second day. You might be wondering why I wouldn’t want to go. Honestly, I don’t enjoy too many options. I was that girl who bought the first dress I tried on for prom and for my wedding. I enjoy shopping, but not for long amounts of time. If you know my husband, you know that he thoroughly enjoys reading and researching about every option available on every planet before he narrows things down and then makes a decision.

In this case, he bookmarked 100 different properties in London and spent hours upon hours researching, so he was more than ready to scout for our home with the real estate agent. I knew he would narrow things down significantly, but I had no idea that THREE hours later, he would send me a text saying, “Just put in an offer. Fingers crossed.”

I was shocked because if this went through, I wouldn’t have even seen the place before we moved in, but also super excited because I trust his taste (hello, he married me! Jkjk). Well, apparently the real estate market here is ridiculous. And that’s coming from an Austinite. Things get signed here the same afternoon they are out on the market or even before they are officially on the market! The flat was ours, so I quieted that nervous voice in my heart (a cross between an angry chihuahua + a Furby) and prayed this future home would have enough closet space.

Third, what did the process entail after we picked a place? 1. A deposit. (Side note: Deposits are so tricky because every time I put one in, I feel like I’m never going to see it again, and then I forget about it just in time to receive it, and my wallet’s like WOO, MERRY CHRISTMAS). 2. References from both of our former employers, bank account snapshots, and character/past landlord references, fully written out. A little high maintenance, but manageable. We were just ready to not stay in any more hotels!

Unfortunately, it’s not typical for you to sign a place and move in within three weeks, let alone the same week. I know when I say we couldn’t do any more hotels it sounds bratty, but you guys, we were wheeling around these large, bursting suitcases of UGH! These suitcases contained most of our clothes for the whole year we’d be staying in London, and man, were those first two weeks of travel brutal with such heavy bags. We definitely learnt a lesson. (Lesson: If you are moving to another country and planning to travel beforehand, do NOT take all of your clothes that you need in the beginning. Pack lightly and ship the rest; save your hands and mental strength.) Anyways, back to the story.

All of our references came in within 24 hours (we love you people who wrote them), so we got our keys to the flat 48 hours later! As soon as I walked into the new flat, I understood exactly why he’d picked it. It has large windows in every room, which makes for tons of natural light. The kitchen is a dream, and the location is p e r f e c t. We are within ten minutes’ walking distance of Hyde Park. This was kind of big for me to 100% let go of controlling the outcome—in this case, picking the flat. It was freeing and also definitely built trust in our relationship.

And then hubbs proposed something wild.

(Back story: Originally, we packed and sealed six boxes of our belongings in Austin to ship here for our home.)

His idea was to not ship anything but to just make do with what we had. If we needed something, we would fulfill that need. He continued with, “What exactly is in those boxes that we need so badly?” I looked at him with an “Are you serious” face but then stopped to actually think about the question.

What exactly was in those six boxes??!? I could barely remember ten things. Seriously, I even remember thinking to myself when we were packing those boxes how sad I would be if those boxes got lost in transit, AND NOW I COULDN’T REMEMBER WHAT WAS EVEN IN THEM! I guess “out of sight, out of mind” is a real thing. Long story short, I said yes to the adventure of living with what we brought plus whatever we buy here. Thankfully, the apartment came mostly furnished, so we just needed to get a few things to make it feel like our home.

Every time I move to a new place (and I’ve moved to seven different places in the past seven years), I always think I have too much stuff. But today I finally feel like our home has just enough. We have what we need and if a need pops up, we can satisfy it. It’s really freeing for someone who likes to constantly de-clutter. I’m a little worried how things are going to be when we go back because we will most likely faint with how many things we have packed back home, but I’m hoping this year will teach us what we need to have in our home. Don’t get me wrong; we love extras in our home, too. In fact, I bought a giant jar of colorful beads.

Why? Because they were so bright && pretty, and I wanted to keep them in a jar I could look at every day. Bold colors make me happy, and home should be a place where needs are fulfilled and happiness is refueled.

Since hubster and I have hit the town in the past day, this place really feels like it’s coming together. I’m learning to be more particular and not give in if what I prefer isn’t at a location, and he is learning to adapt to what the available options are! Yay for learning about each other, this city, and what else God has in store in the next year. We can’t wait for what all London holds for us!

Cheers,

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3 Responses to “Our 385 ft.² Flat in London, England

  • Misti Echols
    3 years ago

    love love love love love. miss you too more everyday and love your thoughts on “stuff”! <3

  • Meg Parker
    3 years ago

    I love reading about your ongoing adventures, Shruthi! You write a good story–informative, entertaining, observant and very funny! Well done! Please keep it up!
    (Please say hi to the Hubbs/Hubmeister/Hubstar from his Mum/Mater/Mère!)

  • Anne Ochs
    3 years ago

    What a fun adventure, living in London and challenging yourselves to live with just the minimum of apartment square footage and the minimum of stuff. In a lot of ways that would be very fun and very freeing. I love it! Thanks for writing a blog, Shruthi. I look forward to reading more of your posts!

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