Monday, November 8, 2010

Where I lived next..

I posted a few weeks ago about my first flat and it's generated more interest than anything else I've posted about so far.
So I thought I'd post about the apartment I moved to next.
I lived in my tiny shoe box for 2 years and four months and in that time can you believe more than doubled my money. Don't worry 3 years later the flat I bought next was worth half what I paid.. such is the vagaries of the british property market.
Now I must apologise up front for the quality of some of the photographs. That's because they are scanned from the estate agents details produced when I sold the flat to move to Canada.

This is the outside.. look I even drew a little arrow on the pic to show you which one it was.

This place was quite a move up from Rowlands Rd in terms of size and location. In fact my first flat would have fit in it's entirety into the lounge here. It was part of a development called Westlake Gardens, built on a former market garden to the north of town in the late 70's.
There were about 8 or 9 blocks of flats built around beautifully landscaped gardens with a man made lake shaped like a figure of eight, with willow trees and a bridge.

This isn't the view from my flat obviously because I was on the second floor, but this will show you what it looked like on a gorgeous summers day.

We regularly had residents have their wedding photos taken here.. not surprising really.

My flat had a nice view over the surrounding houses north to the Downs.

What was also great about these flats was that because they were built in the 70's they were really spacious and sturdily built. All the walls were solid concrete and because I was on the top floor there were no problems with noise, like I'd had from upstairs at Rowlands Rd.

When I first viewed mine I was immediately smitten. There were several different styles of both 1 and 2 beds.. and this one was the biggest.
The girl who had the flat before me [who I knew a little bit] had very nice taste, plus she was having an affair at the time with the boss at an expensive local kitchen company.. so it had a brand new kitchen.

I moved in Chritsmas 1988.. having spent a couple of months on my mum and dad's couch since the completion dates didn't line up. There was a sort of buttery cream on all the walls of all the principal rooms except the master bedroom which was a flat sort of pale green. Here in this photo you can also see the deep [and I'm sure very expensive] shag pile carpet which was also everywhere. I also inheirited her [equally expensive] beige linen curtains.. well in the lounge anyway. Which was just as well, because as I discovered years later when I replaced them, those windows were huge and bloody expensive to cover. This is the only photo I have that survived from that time.. but even so there on the right hand side of my bamboo and wicker cabinet is Bernard, the weeping fig, who readers of my initial post have met before.
This must have been very early on because I changed the paint and carpet within a year of moving in. Before I moved out Bernard grew to fill this entire corner.
Lot's of gifts and hand me downs in this picture: the tulip lamp was from my mum, and so was the chair, although it was originally my sister's... AND which under the quick fix peach fabric.. was bright purple velvet.
The little pine [always my favourite wood] desk I bought from a chain store.. might even have been M&S, and you'll see on the wall my continued love of displaying art as a collage. That's one design preference that has been a constant. 
I realise I've forgotten to show you the layout.. In my first post I drew the plan by hand, but thanks to blogger mate Clara I found some free plan drawing software.. so here you go.
The corner in the photo above is the bottom right hand corner of the living room in this plan.
As you can see it had really nice spacious rooms.. and a great big hall, which I don't have any photo's of, but which had an art collage down it's entire length, virtually floor to ceiling.
I've just found a couple of very early pics of the kitchen.. I must say though I was just taking these to note the condition of the appliances for insurances purposes, so don't expect too much. What you can see in this one is the Laura Ashley 'Sweet Pea' wallpaper border I put up all round the kitchen. The kitchen units had plain white slab doors and a white counter. The handles were a pale turquoise. You can also see the original cork tiles on the floor.. back in the days before 'cork' was fashionable again.

By the time I came to sell the flat in 2002 this was what the kitchen looked like. The basics were the same but I'd laid a pale laminate on the floor...  It had been freshly painted.. more than once.
Again sorry about the grainy photos..

The wallpaper border had been replaced with what looks like real tiles but which is in fact that tiling on a roll.. the original incarnation of which was so ugly on the bathroom walls in the shoe box. The product was vastly improved by this time. So much so that the buyers thought that it was real tile. I'd also put a soft  sheer at the window.. just a fabric remnant really, but it introduced a bit of colour without blocking light.
From a design perspective I realise that this demonstrates that White kitchens is another of my 'design constants'. The kitchen being pretty much the first thing I painted when we moved into our current house. 

This is the master bedroom.. which had a great range of fitted wardrobes, but they were a nasty orangy pine. I painted them an antique white and changed the handles to brushed nickel. This room got repainted a couple of times over the years, and it's the only place I didn't change the carpet. So being a soft mossy green, it really dictated the 'Apple white' on the walls.
The pine chest opposite the bed is still with me.. it's now my bedside table... and the brass bed is now in our spare room.. 'The Mauve Room' which is virtually done so I'll post on that soon.

Finally then the changes to the lounge..

Again over the years there were various changes. The buttery colour was painted a far lighter soft cream pretty much straight away.. Then in 1991 ish I put a wall paper border at dado rail height and sponged below it in a teal green.. which I also chose for the then new velvet drapes. You can see them in the photo and I sold them with the flat. The sponging was painted out and the border removed in 2000. It was all soft white from there on in.

The shag I replaced with salmon pink carpet.. I know !! but it was a popular colour combination in the early '90's, and in fact it too was replaced with a beige burber shortly after this photo was taken.
I had a huge pine corner unit built for me from old church pews.. which housed my hi fi and tv and such.. you can still see that in this photo.
The Welsh dresser on the right is now in my dining room. The Welsh pine table and wicker chairs are in the breakfast nook... and the cream settee and chairs are in my Living room.

Overall I think it's fair to say my style was still quite feminine.. but a lot less so over the years and bear in mind I had no masculine influences at all to take into consideration. Which now I do try to. Plus once that carpet had gone from pink to beige.. most of the 'girlie' went with it.
It's also less cluttered than before.. visually rather than literally.

Oh and one last thing.. see that huge plant filling the far corner almost to the ceiling ? yep.. that's Bernard.

Jo xx



  1. I have also posted pictures from the previous apt. we owned. Now I think I will dig up some old ones.

    I love that you posted the floor plan.

  2. What a nice place, lovely garden, lots of space, great view. I have my own Bernard. I got him for my 30th birthday last year. One year on and he's quadrupled in size and keeps ambushing me on my way out of the bathroom. No name though. Maybe I should think of one...

  3. Clara.. well it took an age to get the hang of it.. but if it wasn't for you I would never have even tried so thanks.

    Alice.. I never named a plant before or since.. but when I bought him he was only 18 inches high. Plus Weeping figs are difficult to keep happy [apparently] so the fact that he stuck with me for almost 17 years, made him like a friend of the family...

    Jo xx

  4. The reason you've never named a plant since, sweetie, is that you haven't been able to make one last more than a couple of weeks.. ;0)

    It was a lovely apartment you had. I would have happily moved there with you, as you well know, if you hadn't come here.

  5. I know !!
    Canadian house plants must just be too sensitive..
    But you'd think they'd stay alive for a few weeks just out of politeness. ;o)

  6. And the famous cabinet makes another appearance.

    Great place, so spacious for a flat, and I love the idea of making shelves out of church pews.

  7. It's ubiquitious.. ;o)
    But alas this is the last you'll see of Bernard.
    btw.. church pews got used a lot back in the late '80s 'cos all the churches were being turned into posh flats.

  8. Oh poor Bernard! How did he die? ;D He must have had a good life with you for all those years!

    I think it`s so great that you have all these pictures of your previous homes! I`ve got to say, it looked huge compared to your first home. I guess you where singing " we`re movin on up, to the east side, to a deluxe apartment in the sky" when you moved in there? ;D It looked like a warm and welcoming home!

  9. Or did you just mean that it was the last photo with Bernard in it?

  10. Siri..
    It certainly was a move up from the shoe box.. and I have to say I really loved that flat.
    Yes.. that's exactly what I meant. Bernard is alive and well and living with a lassie called Klara who bought him when I sold the flat.
    I would have brought him with me, but he'd never have survived the journey. Plus you're not allowed to bring plant material into the country. :o(
    Jo xx

  11. I know - I’m so lucky that Norway isn’t a member of EU - cause when I went home from backpacking Egypt and had my bag full of beduin herbs, I went in the non EU line at the airport with all the Arabs, and they only checked the people in the EU line... If they had found my herbs they would have frisked me and worse... I just didn’t think about what I did when I put the herbs in my bag...I was so sick so I needed them as medication...

    It was a shoebox, but it looked very nice!

    BTW I just saw that you put me on your honour roll! That is so nice of you! Big hug to you!! ;D

  12. I thought you were on there already to be honest. You should have been... I read you every day :o)
    Jo xx

  13. Thanks!I read you every day as well! And now I also follow you husband’s blog! ;D I haven’t got an honor roll on my blog yet. I have problems with the design. I think it is the picture I use as background that causes it.. When I try to edit something it just freezes. Have you had that problem? Also I tried to make the post background white - which it won’t do..I think I`ll try to fix it later today - just change it to something white - maybe no background picture at all.

  14. Is your background one of the blogger options.. or one you added yourself with code ?? 'cos if it's the latter you're right that might be the problem.
    But if you use a blogger background it should be fine.
    How are you trying to change the background..?
    Sign in..
    Go to Design...
    Template Designer..
    Post background on the right.. White.
    Then APPLY to BLOG..
    AND then..
    BACK TO BLOGGER AND remember to hit SAVE on the dashboard too.
    Try that..
    Jo xx
    Oh btw.. honour role is one of the Gadgets you can add.. they call it Blog List I think.
    Forgive me if you knew that already.

  15. It’s one of the blogger backgrounds. The pictures will never go where I want them to go. I’m not trying to change the background. I’m trying to get the background for the text that I’m posting white - and still have the autumn picture as background.. But it’s not impossible.. it either gets grey or dirty yellow... I think I’ll have to change it to something else and try again.

  16. Yep. The problem was that I had it on "watermark". But I’m not pleased with the layout I’ve got now either. I have to try different layouts before I decide.

  17. Took me ages before I was happy with mine..
    and I still tinker with it regularly.
    You'll figure it out. :o)


Thanks for letting me know I'm not talking to myself..