Mad About . . .

The Househunter: A two bedroom flat near the flower market

28th May 2021
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Well this one’s got film script written all over it. One of those gorgeous little apartments right in the centre of one of the most expensive cities in the world, where the gorgeous (yet clearly impoverished) young woman lives with no visible means of support. She’s probably a student (all those books) but maybe works as a waitress (somehow that minimum wage manages to support her and her stunning wardrobe) to make ends meet. And that includes mortgage ends as this two bedroom number on Columbia Road is on with Aucoot for £815,000.

Or is she a dancer by night and a welder by day? It’s that sort of place I think. You know the one where the shop underneath is run by a friendly substitute father figure who always lends her a tenner for the cab home or keeps her fully equipped with coffee and fresh fruit when she breezes past of a morning on her way to lectures.

I’m going to push a wholly unexpected plot twist here and say that maybe his nephew comes to work for him – having been sent here by his American parents for some spurious naughtiness which meant he needed to get a dose of the real world in a picturesque corner of East London by a world famous flower market.

Clearly they will hate each other on sight. And then they will have to fight the developers to save the flower market. This plan will be hatched over an impromptu lunch in the courtyard garden where she will be able to reach in to the fridge and produce a board of artisanal cheese, a crunchy green salad with some proper tasty tomatoes. This will be accompanied by a deliciously fresh baguette which the baker will have given her that morning (she never pays for her bread) and washed down with a bottle of surprisingly good red (likewise).

It will turn out, over the course of this lunch, which he will find utterly charming and English since he has never eaten anywhere less formal than The Four Seasons in NYC, that said developers are his parents. Cue row. And rain. In films you can never row while the sun is shining.

However, when the sun comes out it will herald a  journey of self discovery – mostly for the Waspy parents who will discover that flowers are thicker than blood and so have to accept dancing/welding/student girlfriend and who, because life in London is like this – also decide to buy the whole road and, instead of developing it, allow everyone to live rent free ever after.

So all we need to decide is who is playing who? And maybe we should have a closer look round while we’re pondering that. Big marks for the dark woodwork which works to frame the room and draw the eye out through the window. If you want light walls then consider a contrasting colour on the woodwork as there is less of it. If you rent you can ask the landlord if they will object to you adding colour on picture rails and skirting boards while leaving the walls white.

Diving into these two bedrooms here which are technically doubles – and will be sold as such – but that basically means “is wide enough for a double bed”. As you can see there’s not much spare space. So options: add some drama by painting the whole wall behind the bed and up over the ceiling to create the impression of a canopy. This will feel cosy and deliberate. You could do the same with wallpaper.

Consider adding a shelf along the whole wall above the bedhead so you can preserve the space at the side. You can either clip a lamp onto it or stand one and keep books and plants out of the way up there.

The room above is slightly bigger and the orange curtains bring character but it’s probably still a bit of a shimmy and I would imagine that American dream boat will burn his arm on the radiator when he gets up in the morning – woken by the aroma or freshly brewed coffee and, probably, more of that fresh baguette.

He’ll like the shower though. Can’t go wrong with classic subway tiles and black accessories and there’s plenty of storage next to that basin. Now there’s no natural light in this room and if that’s a problem for you (and you felt like doing the work) you can alway investigate adding a pane of glass at the top of the wall to borrow light from the room next door – in this case the bedroom. It will be high enough not to cause privacy issues although you could frost it if you were worried.

Another way to save space is to see if you can add pocket, or sliding doors. It’s hard to tell from the floor plan if there would be space to do it here but you might be able to do it in one, or both of the bedrooms which would save a huge amount of space.

Meanwhile I’ll be sitting here awaiting your casting decisions and plot twists.

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  • Pia 31st May 2021 at 3:09 pm

    Two bedrooms? I think she needs to have some kind of roommate? To afford the apartment? Probably some rich business guy (so he pays most of the costs) that He thinks is a boyfriend/husband?
    And is he really from America? I´m thinking French? With all those baguettes I think French baker uncle…

  • Teji Singh 28th May 2021 at 8:32 pm

    Thank you for the information. Nice

  • Bonnie Foster Abel 28th May 2021 at 3:41 pm

    I very much doubt I could improve upon the film script by Lesley for this listing, so will not even attempt it.
    My sense of this space is that it is the location which is key here. The interior space has been renovated with quality fixtures but the decor feels absent of a space well lived. It possesses more of a home away from home presence, perhaps bought as an investment for two students studying from abroad. Whatever the interest, the (fantasy) owners have been resourceful in sourcing a prime real estate location in which the twins could study, graduate, and now have returned home to begin their careers in finance. Once the sale is completed and the last of the furnishings removed, a new chapter will be written in the history of this building, as the next owners, heady with anticipation, insert the key and cross the threshold into their new home.

  • Heather Tully 28th May 2021 at 2:52 pm

    The bathroom’s actually got a skylight, so would-be transom window DIY-ers can stand down!

    As you’ve got the light living space downstairs, and the sitting room upstairs faces north-west, I might be tempted to turn it into a bedroom instead (with a reading corner to catch the evening sun), and then use one of the current bedrooms as a cosy library/small sitting room space.

    In the second bedroom, I’m itching to rotate the bed 90 degrees to give it space to breathe…

  • Andrea McDaniel 28th May 2021 at 2:29 pm

    This film was so good and made me laugh so hard I couldn’t even look at the pictures!!! Will have to come back later when I’m recomposed…

  • Lenore Taylor 28th May 2021 at 2:25 pm

    But there is a burning question still unanswered – why are there 3 empty shelves on the bookcase? Something fishy here. Cheers from Canada!

  • hng23 28th May 2021 at 1:35 pm

    I would watch this movie.

  • Anna 28th May 2021 at 11:29 am

    and at some point they throw all those horrible and unneccesary cushions, on the very nice looking seating, out of the window!

  • Jo 28th May 2021 at 10:16 am

    I have nothing creative to add to the most excellent suggestions above but simply wanted to pass on my delight at reading these posts and the comments. Friday morning Househunter is the highlight of my week. Thank you x

  • Lesley Keir 28th May 2021 at 8:45 am

    Although Charmaine (played by Katherine Langford) is studying Economics, she is a mime artist and arrives at the flower market, all be-sequinned, in a skin-tight costume, every Tuesday. This would be her favourite career choice. She has become famous and folk flock to the market to see her act. Prince Charles and Camilla came to see her last week and he was delighted but it seemed to make Camilla a bit grumpy. The sellers at the flower market are so pleased to have all these extra punters that they donate loads of gifts to Charmaine including a cracking bottle of wine from the famous village of Vosne-Romanée (Côte de Nuits). With whom does Charmaine share her spoils? Her boyfriend is a geek from university (played by Regé-Jean Page) and fortunately doesn’t realise he is very hot indeed. Her ardent admirer (played by Chris Hemsworth) is staying with the landlord downstairs and is also hot hot hot. During a drunken evening of cheese, wine and strawberries with basil sugar, when both men were present (and stayed the night) the three decided to petition Downing Street to stop development plans in their street. For the next fortnight they put an act together and practiced like mad. This meant hiring a trampoline and arranging for it to arrive in front of number 10 on the date decided. In the meantime two of the beds in Charmaine’s flat (being used for practice trampolining) fell to bits and some of the ceiling crashed into the butcher’s shop below. (This is how Steak Plafonier came into being). THEN CAME THE DAY OF THE PETITION AT DOWNING STREET. The trampoline was in place. The three arrived in a taxi wrapped in blankets. Off came the blankets. Onto the trampoline they went, stark naked. The PM’s face appeared at the window and it would appear that he had partaken of a good lunch. Off came his clothes. Onto the trampoline he went. The four swirled, jumped and danced with the PM’s hair flapping about in time to all the other bits and pieces on the trampoline. Funnily enough, the next day all plans to develop the area around the market were scrapped.

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 28th May 2021 at 8:49 am

      Crying with laughter on the bus. Steak Plafonier 😂😂😂

    • Rachael Hare 28th May 2021 at 8:49 am

      Delicious! Although if a naked PM was jumping around on a trampoline, it wouldn’t just be his hair flapping about (apols for that vision)

    • Teresa 28th May 2021 at 12:19 pm

      You had me hooked until a naked Boris jumped on the trampoline 🤢
      Now I have to spend an hour on Pinterest in order to get the above mentioned image out of my head and replaced with something much easier on the eye 😂😂😂😂

  • CC 28th May 2021 at 8:07 am

    It’s not that I don’t like the casting suggestions above (I do) but I’m going to have to vote for Lily James and someone altogether more rugged – possibly a Hemsworth? I think LJ could do the ‘girl next door, just like every other girl except miraculously 1000x better looking’ thing.

    I think this might be my favourite film so far.

  • Rachael Hare 28th May 2021 at 7:58 am

    Dare I suggest Anya Taylor-Joy and Timothee Chalamet in the lead roles. Beautiful and both slightly wistful, perhaps we could imagine them as the separate offspring of Andie MacDowell and Hugh Grant, after, despite Richard Curtis’s happy ending the reality was that, and I quote, ‘they loved each other but couldn’t live together’

    PS: The romantic scenes wouldn’t work with the bed up against the wall, as the exit required from the bed would be too inelegant, especially as Anya would need to be draped beautifully in a linen sheet.

  • Penelope 28th May 2021 at 7:47 am

    Creative writing talent previously hidden ? Love love the ‘script’

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