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Goodbye Old Flat!


One afternoon in 2002, after weeks of flat hunting in South London, we suddenly found ourselves looking round a place with more than enough room to swing a cat, in fact there was enough room to have a whole party in the kitchen. So for that reason, we went ahead and bought it.

We had three happy years there, before we left the big city behind, to find fortune (and ante natal classes) in suburban Nottingham, and so rented out our flat to two Polish brothers.

Last week we sold our old flat, to a lovely couple, so I thought it would be fun to share some pictures. Mr A took the one above, when he popped down to London to check it was all okay earlier this month.

Being before the day of blogging and camera phones, we have just a handful of photos of our actual time living there. This gorgeous high quality image below is Mr A in the kitchen when we moved in. Note the wine, on the table – we needed it! The place needed work, including a full rewire. It was so exciting having our own place, that we didn’t seem to care about living in a building site for months.


We moved in the summer, but I remember at Christmas we were still living with exposed floorboards and half painted walls. The Christmas tree was forever being knocked over, but we still cooked a New Years Day roast for all our friends.

This is the same view of the kitchen as we left it. We chose the Art Deco look in keeping with the Edwardian house, but funny how things date isn’t it? That table belonged to my brother who lived with us for a year. I always remember it having his decks on, before we nicked it as a kitchen table. I will also never forget waking up to Mr A and my brother asleep on the sofas under the curtains, which I hadn’t managed to hang properly, which they had drunkenly mistaken for blankets.


Below, is another shot of the kitchen when we first moved in, before we actually had a kitchen fitted. Got to love that green and orange colour scheme. We were young, I don’t think we even noticed the flat didn’t really have a kitchen, just a sink, and a leaking gas stove.


When we ripped out this fire surround to put in a kitchen, we found an original cast iron fireplace boarded up behind it, which was really exciting. We found a home for it elsewhere, as we needed to make space for a new cooker.

IMG_0974-e1427121753431-1024x1024Mum took this photo above, see back then it just didn’t occur to us to take a photo of us in the flat. Reminds me, the world has gone photo mad. We originally painted the walls in the kitchen the same colour as our favourite bar down the road, on reflection, like the bar, I think it looked better in the dark, or maybe this was the first coat. A Polish tenant, very politely called me to ask if he could paint it magnolia, at his own expense. I loved those tenants, they were there for the first four years we rented the flat, they always fixed things themselves.

This is how it is now, a much blanker canvas!


And this is where that old fireplace finished up, in the living room, after the broken gas fire was removed. It isn’t actually cemented in at this point, that took a few months to get round to doing, hence the Czech puppets hanging off it from a holiday to Prague. Although, Mr A even bought a workbench and DIY books when we moved in, and made shelves either side.


After a bit of research we found these tiles, much more in keeping with the house’s Edwardian style, and painted the turquoise ones black to match.


When we moved to Nottingham, we fell in love again with a house with a very similar living room. Our eye for home furnishings has improved somewhat too.


Mr A forgot to take a picture of the bathroom, I used to love the tiles as they were original red and green arts and crafts tulips. Sadly they were a pain to keep clean and I never quite worked out how to restore them.

So lovely looking back, now it is time to look forward. Selling a home can be stressful, and this took 4 months, but in the end we ended up chatting to our buyers quite a lot over email and it was a very amicable sale.

I said goodbye to the flat years ago, I cried so much the last night I had in the flat, I was an emotional wreck, 7 months pregnant, preparing to leave London, the flat and my teaching career. But in all the years it has been rented I have never been back, it felt too sad.

So I was really touched to get this picture of these two on Friday, I actually cried – happy tears though. Just look at these excited faces.


Seeing this picture gave me absolute closure on that lovely flat. I am so pleased these two have chosen it as their new home. Meet Russ and Lorn, who also blogs at Sauna, Spa, Steam. I hope you will be very happy here and have great fun, as we did, making it feel like home. Go for it, out with the old, in with the new!

They are busy planning a wedding, so do check out the blog, new home, wedding on the horizon – such an exciting time to be blogging. We moved in newly engaged and planned our wedding round that kitchen table too.

Looks Like Russ is very at home already, meanwhile… Lorn has already discovered Streatham’s sauna might not be quite the kind of experience she can cover on her blog. Although, I have to say, instead, check out the Turkish bakery, and the veggie cafe which I miss, and my brother tells me there is now an amazing pizza place, and the Irish Pub always did a mean roast.

And if you ever want to return and do a My Home Rocks – we would be especially excited to go through the keyhole once more!



  1. Jen Stanbrook
    23/03/2015 / 4:43 pm

    What great memories Penny, and how cool to be able to follow your flat’s journey through someone else’s blog! x

    • Penny
      23/03/2015 / 9:55 pm

      What a funny old world we live in hey? Sometimes social media is so much fun!

  2. 23/03/2015 / 5:12 pm

    Penny I felt oddly emotional reading this! It’s a fantastic post and so cool to see photos of when you did it up! We stripped back the hall today and found some of that peachy coloured paint you referred to a few layers deep! Promise to love it like you guys did. And no doubt lots of DIY flat posts to come! X

    • The Alexander Residence
      23/03/2015 / 9:56 pm

      Can’t wait to see what you get up to. Glad to hear you have got stuck in already, shuddering at that peachy paint and no doubt there is some lilac in the hall too!

  3. kezbratt
    23/03/2015 / 5:28 pm

    Many happy times spent here with Penny and Mr O’Shay. It is a happy home! I am sure Russ & Lorn will be very happy here!

    • The Alexander Residence
      23/03/2015 / 9:57 pm

      I have pics in your house, but not mine – what is that all about? Happy Days though absolutely 🙂

  4. 23/03/2015 / 5:38 pm

    Aww this is such a lovely story. I hope the new owners will be very happy there.

    • The Alexander Residence
      23/03/2015 / 9:58 pm

      Me too Liz!

    • The Alexander Residence
      23/03/2015 / 9:58 pm

      So much fun to write too

  5. Natalie
    23/03/2015 / 10:56 pm

    Great post penny. I remember your bathroom tiles too as always thought they were lovely. And I remember you coming into work and dealing with a full days teaching then going home to diy. Wondered how you remained so calm! Xx

    • The Alexander Residence
      24/03/2015 / 6:31 am

      That would be why it took so long to get it sorted! I remember some last day of term parties 🙂

  6. 24/03/2015 / 1:32 pm

    Ahhhh Penny the house may of had a makeover but you look no different at all! I love a happy ending though and I will be sad when I leave my first owned house and I hope mine goes to a happy family when we do leave.

  7. 24/03/2015 / 3:26 pm

    oh my! so lovely to see the pics with your old flat. i guess we all went through streatham at some point in our life 🙂

  8. bavariansojourn
    24/03/2015 / 9:18 pm

    Loved this post Penny, completely reminded me of our flat in London which we stupidly sold at completely the wrong time. We too found a buyer that fell in love with ours, quirks and all, and she ended up staying for ten years! The smiles of your new buyers are just lovely too! 🙂 x

  9. 24/03/2015 / 11:35 pm

    Such a lovely post Penny – and what a small world to find fellow blogger has bought it. Now the flat will always be a little accessible online for you and Rik!

  10. Cass@FrugalFamily
    25/03/2015 / 10:11 am

    Aaaw how lovely – and how lovely that you’ve passed it on to a fellow blogger so you’ll be able to still sneak peaks of it in her photos x x

  11. 25/03/2015 / 10:58 am

    Oh Penny I love that this is actually only the beginning of the next part of the flat’s journey. How glorious that these buildings actually live like this and become their own stars in a little story. I love that the people who bought it are going to blog their story too. This is such a fabulous story!

  12. 25/03/2015 / 5:21 pm

    Awww, what a lovely story and so many happy memories. How fantastic that you’ll get to see a little of the new owner’s life in your old flat as well. xx

  13. 31/01/2017 / 2:58 pm

    I lived in a beautiful flat in the centre of Leeds and another very cute one in Todmorden – neither of which I have photos of!

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