Meet Tom (left), Josh (right) and Toby (the dog) (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
What does £1,650 a month get you in London?
This week’s What I Rent lets you have a gander.
For those not in the know, this is our weekly series in which we take a peek inside people’s homes, and chat with them about their experiences renting.
Last week we were in Worcester Park, Sutton, looking around an orange-painted three-bedroom house rented by fashion creative Dominique.
This time we’re in Clapham Old Town, hanging out with Tom, a TV production coordinator, and his boyfriend Josh, a West End assistant stage manager.
After doing a house share in Acton, the two 26-year-olds moved into their current flat, which they share on an Instagram account dedicated to interiors, along with their one-year-old poochon dog, Toby.
Here’s what the couple rents.
Hey, Tom! How much do you pay to live here?
We pay £1,650 between us for our flat and then pay around £260 for bills, which of course, being in Clapham, puts us in the most expensive council tax area.
What do you get for what you pay?
The flat consists of one bedroom, one bathroom and then we have a large living room with a separate kitchen. We are lucky enough to have our own entrance and small front hall.
We also have two outside spaces. Our main garden goes off the living room which has a patio space and up a small set of steps we have a gravelled area. We then have a small courtyard off of our bedroom where we have a shed for extra storage with enough space left over for a little hot tub.
They rent a one-bedroom flat in Clapham, London, for £1,650 a month (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
Do you feel like you have a good deal?
For the price we pay we definitely feel like we have a good deal. To find a flat with two outdoor spaces and in a good area within a gated mews, I would expect to be paying a lot more. Having said that we have friends who are paying less and have more space but for the area we live in we feel like we have a fair deal.
What do you think of the area?
Our flat is based in a gated mews in Clapham Old Town within a short distance of Clapham Common.
We really like the area as it feels safe and everything we need is in good walking distance, from quaint shops and cafes in Clapham Old Town to bigger chain stores towards Clapham Junction.
We have lovely neighbours who also have a dog that Toby plays with through the fence and lots of families in the street with kids who all love Toby.
How did you find the flat?
Josh actually found the flat on Zoopla. He came to view the flat and sent me a video tour as I was stuck at work.
We had been looking for a month or two and knew we would have some overlap with our old place. We had found a place we loved a few months previous but felt like it was too early to secure another tenancy, so we missed out on it, but we didn’t want that to happen again.
We put an offer in on the Thursday and had the keys by the following Monday.
Hi, Toby (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
How have you made this place feel like home?
One of the main ways we have made the place feel like home is to bring in our own furniture. The flat was unfurnished, so we were able to start from a blank canvas. Josh had all the bedroom furniture and I had most of the furniture we needed for the living room so the only thing we had to buy was a sofa. Of course, after many trips to Ikea we ended up getting more things and have now added in some more stuff to make the space more practical.
The flat doesn’t have a huge amount of storage, so we have had to add furniture in with closed cupboards to give us places to put our stuff.
Having our photos and artwork on the wall as well helps to make it feel more like a permanent home.
Josh is a big fan of gadgets, so all our lights are controlled through Alexa which gives us more flexibility with how we light the room, giving it a more homely feel.
The other big thing for me personally is the outdoor space. I am a keen gardener so have tried to fill the space with as many plants as possible. Adding in the hanging wall was my project for this year and I am so happy with how it has turned out. Being able to grow my own plants and have proper outdoor furniture really brings me joy.
Plus, we are also so lucky that our landlord allows us to have a dog. There is nothing like coming home to the unconditional love of a dog and having the outdoor space for him to roam around when it is nice weather is a dream.
The couple moved in just before lockdown (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
Have you found it difficult to decorate while renting?
Our landlord is really great and has been really pleased with how we have decorated the flat.
Although we aren’t able to paint the walls, we have found other ways to decorate to make the place suit our style.
We have put lots of pictures up on the wall (using command strips, the best friend of any renter!) and have also placed furniture wisely to zone the space.
In our front hall there was also a shelf over the radiator that wasn’t our taste, so we took it down and have replaced it with a radiator cover that serves the same purpose but makes the space much brighter.
In our contract it says that we aren’t able to change the landscape of the garden, so I have to do most of my gardening in containers or raised bed, which I picked up from B&Q. They were a really good price and give me much more versatile space to grow things. We did have to buy some more gravel as it was fairly bare when we moved in, so I used this opportunity to also lay down some weed membrane to contain the gravel a bit better.
Do you feel like you have enough space?
We definitely could do with more storage space and would love to have more space in the kitchen, as you can only really have one person in there at once without being on top of each other.
However overall, we are happy with the size of the flat.
The layout of the flat makes it seem much bigger than it is. Having the bedroom to the rear means that we can shut off that space which helps to separate the living area from the sleeping area. We are very lucky to have the floorspace that the flat offers as well as the two outdoor spaces.
As the flat is below road level, it can be a bit dark (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
Are there any issues with the flat?
The flat is set down lower than the road level so it can be dark especially when the weather is bad. In order to minimise this, we have replaced some of our darker furniture with something lighter to brighten the space. We have also incorporated a lot of lighting into our space, which gives us more control over the brightness of the room.
The bathroom also doesn’t have a window and the extractor fan isn’t the strongest, so it is difficult to keep the room ventilated.
The flat can be cold in the winter as the windows aren’t the best but nowhere near as bad as some of the places we have lived in the past.
Do you have plans to move again any time soon?
For the time being we are staying put. We had considered moving out of London to be closer to family but where we currently are in our careers it makes more sense to be in London.
And what about buying a place?
We would love to buy one day and finally have a place that’s our own but for now we are happy to call this place home!
Welcome into the living room (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
The couple have enjoyed making the flat their own – with lots of command strips (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
The flat came unfurnished, so Josh and Tom have been able to add their own stamp to the interiors (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
Yep, that’s a dining area you can spy (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
Can you tell they’re fans of Harry Potter? (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
There’s another clue (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
Here’s Toby’s treat stash (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
And Tom and Josh’s… (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
The kitchen is a bit on the cramped side (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
But they’ve made the best of the limited space (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
Pans that match the bin and the big utensils? Fancy (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
The pair are fond of a labelled jar (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
And from the kitchen you can see the garden… shall we take a look? (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
Tom has loved spending time in the garden (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
Look at those flourishing flowers (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
Toby loves the garden, too (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
And there’s a hot tub (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
You can walk straight from the bedroom to the hot tub (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
We’re guessing this is Josh’s side of the bed (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
That’s a big TV (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
We like that clock (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
Finally, the bathroom (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
Another duck! (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
Impressive bathroom supplies (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
And what you’re all here to see (Picture: Susannah Ireland)
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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