Emma rents a four-bedroom townhouse in Todwick, Rotherham (Picture: Paul David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)
Ready to take a nose around another rented property?
If so, you’re in the right place.
Last time we were in Finland, with Henna, who pays €750 a month for a three-bedroom apartment.
This week we’re back in the UK – in Todwick, Rotherham, to be specific.
We’re chatting with Emma Davies, 45, an interior designer originally from Wiltshire, who moved to her husband’s hometown, Rotherham, after having her first child.
Here’s what the family rents.
Hi Emma, who lives here?
There are four of us living here; myself, my husband Damian, 49, my son Albie, who is 16, and my daughter Emmie, who is 11. We also share our home with our Cavapoo, Teddie, two rabbits and two guinea pigs.
She shares the space with her husband, their two children, a dog, two rabbits, and two guinea pigs (Picture: Paul David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)
How much is rent?
The rent was initially advertised at £900 per month but because it needed completely decorating and a new stair carpet we managed to negotiate it to £850.
Bills work out at about £350 per month, this includes gas and electric, council tax and water.
And what do you get for what you pay?
It’s a three storey terraced townhouse with four bedrooms, main bathroom, en-suite and downstairs toilet. The kitchen/dining room is on the ground floor with the lounge being on the second floor.
Do you feel like you have a good deal?
We’ve got a lot of room for our money, complete with a drive that fits two car and a garage. I think the only criticism I’d have is the small garden.
Hi, Teddy (Picture: Paul David Drabble/Metro.co.uk))
What do you think of the area?
This is our fourth rental in 16 years, but definitely our favourite. We had to move from our last property as the landlord was selling, it was a stressful time but in all truth it all worked out for the best.
We live in a village called Todwick, it’s a place where we always wanted to live as both our children have attended the local primary school. Before moving in March this year, it was a 10-minute drive to do the school run.
We absolutely love the area and it’s great as we already know a lot of people here.
How did you find the house?
We found the property on Rightmove and it was advertised through a letting agent. We’ve always rented through private landlords before so found the process of letting through an agent very frustrating in terms of time and the checks were very stringent.
Emma is an interior designer, and wants to encourage others to make rented spaces more their own (Picture: Paul David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)
How have you made the property feel like home?
As an interior designer, I knew before we moved in that it would need fully decorating and the stair carpets would need to be replaced.
I think the house is about 20 years old and it hadn’t been decorated since then! The magnolia walls looked yellow and grubby and the cream carpet was marked.
My husband is a floor fitter so the new carpet wasn’t a huge expense for us. We put down a simple grey carpet, not something I’d have chosen if the house was ours but at least it was clean.
We were still on lockdown so I threw myself into planning and redecorating all the rooms.
The landlord requested neutral decor and although it’s not all completely neutral, it is for me! I love dark colours but did have to rein it in a bit. It’s only paint and if he did want it painting back white if and when we leave, then that wouldn’t be a problem.
I used some paint from what I already had but did buy some too. I love Farrow & Ball colours but don’t want to spend that sort of money on a rental, so I source colours and then get them mixed at B&Q.
I’ve also used a few simple hacks to make the house more me, like using tile stickers and using wallpaper to cover wardrobe doors.
This house doesn’t have any light fittings, only spotlights. I was gutted at this as I think they can really help finish off a room.
With this I’ve created some faux light fittings in my bedroom, the kitchen and living room as features.
Are you planning to move again any time soon? Would you like to buy a place?
It can be frustrating renting at times. I really believe that a home should be a home. I just couldn’t live somewhere if I couldn’t put my stamp on it.
Unfortunately, being self employed we are not in a position to buy.
It would be lovely to buy – I can’t imagine what I could really achieve if I had my own home.
Shall we have a look around?
The house needed a bit of an overhaul (Picture: Paul David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)
This helped Emma negotiate a slight reduction in rent (Picture: Paul David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)
Emma has tried to keep the design somewhat neutral (Picture: Paul David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)
But she’s a big believer in ‘it’s only paint’ (Picture: Paul David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)
Everything can be changed back if needed (Picture: Paul David Drabble)
Through here is the dining room (Picture: Paul David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)
This interior design is actually Emma ‘reining it in’ (Picture: Paul David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)
Yes, even the birds (Picture: Paul David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)
Here’s the kitchen (Picture: Paul David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)
The hallway is painted a rather lovely shade of pink, despite Emma preferring darker shades (Picture: Paul David Drabble/Metro.co.uk
Cute bag (Picture: Paul David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)
We’ve got a few bedrooms to get through – here’s Emma’s son’s (Picture: Paul David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)
And her daughter’s (Picture: Paul David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)
Yes, we do see the Ariana Grande posters and yes, we do support this (Picture: Paul David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)
We like those faux vines hanging down, too (Picture: Paul David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)
And here’s the main bedroom (Picture: Paul David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)
Look, more faux vines! (Picture: Paul David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)
And finally, the bathroom (with more faux plants) (Picture: Paul David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)
What I Rent is a weekly series that’s out every Tuesday at 10am.
Check back next week to have another nose around a rented property.
How to get involved in What I Rent
What I Rent is Metro.co.uk’s weekly series that takes you inside the places people are renting, to give us all a better sense of what’s normal and how much we should be paying.
If you fancy taking part, please email [email protected]. You’ll need to take pictures of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, plus a few photos of you in your bedroom or living area.
Make sure you get permission from your housemates! You’ll also need to be okay with sharing how much you’re paying for rent, as that’s pretty important.
We’re not just after the prettiest places out there, by the way. We want the reality of renting, so if you’re currently renting a place you hate, we’d love to see that too (and sympathise greatly!).
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