Let's talk rentals

* This is a paid collaborative post

It was only after that brief conversation with our new neighbour over the garden fence, on what is already a long-forgotten Spring weekend that I thought about what it’s like to rent a property.  It’s not something I’ve experienced first-hand, ever, which thinking back is also quite odd.  I think that’s mostly because I grew up in London, started work in central London soon after leaving school rather than going away to study and well, haven’t moved very far.  I’m still in London, I’ve had a brief foray over to Essex but came back to South London, which is home for me.  

But considering what it’s like to rent a property from a renter’s point of view is an interesting one.  I’m sure that the overriding priority, is like the rest of us, having somewhere to live that works for work, is affordable, doesn’t need too much work and additionally is managed well and has a landlord that’s professional and fair.  It’s actually not too much to ask is it, but I’m sure it’s not that straightforward.

Then once you’re in your new place, there’s the requirements in the lease to uphold to ensure your tenancy is not only not interrupted but if you want it, extended at the appropriate points.  

And that’s where our over the garden fence conversation comes in.  I’m sure that it came from a place where they were keen to ensure their new garden was kept manageable and under control.  And that’s admirable.  I also know, through experience, that once you start trimming and pruning and cutting back, it’s quite addictive and that’s where I was keen to save (actually that’s rather stronger than I mean, protect is better), protect the new growth on our highly scented and many years-trained Jasmine.

While renters rightly have legal protection, finding a new home you like then jeopardising that by not completing your undertaking, however unintentionally, must be galling.  

Equally when you move in to your new home you have an expectation that it is fit for purpose, and that the previous end of tenancy cleaning has been done, and to a high standard.  As a landlord the quality and thoroughness reflects on you too, and you’ll want to present your property in its best light.

In some ways this is a better, and I’m sure more consistent way of approaching cleaning a house following a house sale.  In all the houses we’ve moved into - which is just five, but seems a lot to me - we’ve had some positive and negative experiences, I guess we all do.  But wouldn’t it be great all round if we didn’t?

I’m sure there’s many horror stories out there, but let’s focus on the positive.  Let me know your best experience of when you’ve moved into a new home, either rental or mortgaged in the comments below.

Mine was moving into this house, we discovered a bottle of wine (which is always welcome) and then rather randomly some duck breasts in the freezer.  It turns out we quite like duck, and it’s relatively easy to cook too…

* While this is a collaborative post, all views and opinions remain my own.


Let’s talk bathroom trends and dream bathrooms

At this year's Ideal Home Show, as well as the wellness bathroom room setbathrooms were much in evidence as I stumbled across a further three bathroom room sets towards the back of the show.  I wasn't expecting to find them, but it's always great to get as much inspiration as possible when at shows like this, and the extra room sets (there were two more kitchens too) did go some way to make up for there not being any garden “room sets” at the show. 

I've been sorting through my photos from the past few months - there are too many, I'm starting to think I should show some restraint, but I also know that's unlikely to happen - and I saw the photos and thought they would fit in nicely with a post on my dream bathroom.  You know how much I like a loo or two, so it makes a change to think about the rest of the room.

In case MOH is reading I should say I'm not looking to update either of our bathrooms in the near future before he has a bit of a cold sweat, but of course that doesn't stop me looking and taking a whirl around the trends in bathrooms this year.  I also know that if we were even thinking about updating our bathrooms, he'd be pushing for a wet room.

We toyed with the idea of a wet room before, but although we were keen it was a while ago (more than ten years!) and the concept wasn't as normal as it is now, and the relative newness in a domestic setting dissuaded us, along with the additional work that we were sure our bathroom would need. Instead we opted for the shallowest shower tray we could get (and afford).  It's not as shallow as the one in the photo below, from one of the extra room sets I mentioned above, in the Industrial bathroom and would, I think, still be in the running for our bathroom.



I like the geometric patterns, and the mix of tiles too.  So I'd be keen to adopt something similar in a future bathroom, and black and white in bathrooms is just a classic isn’t it?  All three of those were in the trends for this year, and like many of the interiors trends you’re probably more aware of them than you think you are.

Mixing tiles appeals to the patchwork loving me, but in our shower room we've gone for another classic approach with the same tiles for floor and walls in a natural colour, and while it's a smaller room than any of these room sets looking at these photos, while it’s still perfectly lovely, it does now feel kind of dated. 

I need to be careful here, or else by the end of this post I'll have convinced myself we need to update our bathrooms!

House & Home magazine say that matte black finishes are one of the bathroom trends you'll see everywhere in 2018 and I tend to agree with them.  The finish was used in the open plan bathroom in the Houzz of 2018, as the photos below show and I was quite taken with it at the time (less so with the open plan approach though) and while it's quite a step away from the traditional chrome it is something I'd consider, and something I think would be a relatively easy sell to MOH too.





His and Hers showers and metallic glamour were two of the trends the Ideal Home tipped to be big this year and while you might think the His and Hers showers is unrealistic - and maybe it is depending on the space you have available - I think I prefer this than a double shower, but perhaps I just like my own space!  

If you have the space, the aqualisa electric shower might be one of the ways you could make it work, and incorporate some of the other trends at the same time, as on their site they have the shower, what I call "control boxes" in both a graphite and chrome finish.



I couldn’t end this post without including a shot of what is probably my favourite example of the metallic glamour trend. It’s from this year’s Grand Designs Live and part of their lavatory project, which I’ve yet to share here but made me smile, and I couldn’t help but think that Kevin and his team were jumping on my loo bandwagon...

But it’s gorgeous isn’t it? 

* This is a collaborative post but all views are my own.

Let's talk shutters...

There's something intriguing about shutters isn't there, especially the interior sort. I think generally, we have pretty standard pre-conceptions for what a room should look like, and often items can influence what we believe the feel, decor and accessories a room might have.  I'm not sure you really believe me though, do you - so let's try a small, unscientific experiment.

Take a look at the image below, now what did you think the interior decor was like?

Did you imagine a sparsely furnished room? With wood clad walls and minimalist decor? 

Photo credit: Direct Blinds

Photo credit: Direct Blinds

Or perhaps you imagined a roaring log fire, maybe a Christmas tree in the corner? Lots of lush colours, perhaps some tartan thrown into the mix?  Was the room cold, or cosy?

Me? I imagined a snug, warm, cosy room and one I'd be happy to use and hibernate in.  And all that, from a simple picture of the window and its shutters. 

Fascinating isn't it?  Completely unscientific, of course.

Despite what you might think, shutters work in both modern and traditional houses - the Victorian houses opposite us have them on their ground floor in their bay windows, and I think they're practical.

Clearly they can shut the light out, but they also help keep the heat in and cold and noise out and provide privacy too. And better still for allergy sufferers they can provide a good alternative option to curtains, which if we're honest although we may give a shake every now and then, we rarely clean properly (and I don't think that's just me...)

But where to start if you want shutters of your own? Like anything there's still plenty of decisions to make once you've decided on shutters. One of the biggest decisions is likely to be full height or cafe style shutters as well as considering the finish to opt for. Over at Direct Blinds their cafe style shutters could be just the thing. All of their shutters are made to measure for your window and offer a range of options.

Shutters definitely give a clean line and bring an elegant look to a room.  In the apartment we stayed at in Porto there were full length shutters for the windows at the front of the property, which faced directly onto the street outside.  There was something grand about opening them each morning in a kind of chatelaine-like way, even though I only had two shutters to open!


Figuring out their folding combinations fascinated me and they're definitely something I'd consider - what do you think about shutters? Would you consider them for your house?  Leave a comment and let me know.

* This is a collaborative post but all views are my own.