I went to see house number two from the previous post - the cute cream stucco one. It is not a houseshare.
Most large houses in London have been split into flats but you may not see that from the outside. Sometimes there is an addition with an entrance to a part of it, like that on house 2. Sometimes instead of one large original door, there are two doors, one to the ground floor flat, and the second has stairs to the first floor. And most houses now have had the basements and lofts converted into flats too. London houses have always had steps down to the lower ground floor (basement) entrance from the days when that's where the kitchen and scullery were, and where grocery deliveries were made - tradesman's entrance I guess. When a LGF flat is called a "garden flat" it means the tenants in the basement have sole use of the back garden.
In addition, in grander neighbourhoods, there are mews conversions. Mews are the old stables and workshops from the days when wealthy families living in the houses fronting the street owned a horse and carriage and kept household staff. Mews are cobbled alley ways behind the residential streets. I find them much cuter and desirable than the overly high-ceilinged homes they once served. Mews houses feel more cottagey, or they are sometimes completely refurbished into great contemporary open spaces. You still need to put down a million to own one, though.
So, who wants to hear about the cute house on Byron Hill Road (cute name eh?)
When I walked in I said "wow". The entrance is tiled with slate, and off to the left is a cloakroom (half bathroom). To the right is a pair of steps - one going up, and one going down. Here's the worst bit. The part that goes down is partly subterranean, a half basement, and there is damp in the wall. The estate agents are waiting for money to come through from the landlord to have it "cured" and repaired, and it will be a big job as they will need to tear out the downstairs bathroom too. (Funny enough, the landlord is moving to Houston, but lived in that house for 10 years.) So the second bedroom is downstairs and a very good sized one for an English house. The bathroom is ok and has a mixer tap.
Taking the second steps up you enter the wow space. The ceilings are so high you couldn't reach with a ladder. There's a lounge with two couches, dining area with table and six chairs, and open kitchen. Big American fridge. Very big living areas for over here, and hence the practical side of me says it will be difficult to heat in our bone-chilling winters, which are colder on the hills, mind you. All the warmth will rise to the heavenly ceiling and we will pay for it.
Off the lounge area there is a spacious master bedroom with double bed. What amazed me was the opposite wall covered with doors of all shapes and sizes, behind which are shelves and closets for storage, and then one narrow door at the end houses a ladder to reach it all! Another wow.
Were it not for the damp and the high ceilings, I would take it. Also, the long walk to the station. Yesterday, my mother said she will start driving over here and get a car, and drop me off...Oh my. I said we'd cross that bridge when we get to it. She hasn't driven here in nearly 20 years, but fortunately, Harrow on the Hill is not as manic or relentless as the rest of London. Some streets up there don't see a car in motion for 5 minutes at a time, maybe even more!
Tomorrow I am going back to Platinum House to see some larger apartments. I was comforted by the fact that water, gas and heating are included (and use of all those great facilities) in rental price except for electricity, phone, and council tax. Hopefully the slight hike in price of the places I am seeing will mean the kitchen comes out of the closet into an open plan, and gets us more floor space for the boxes we have...
I'll keep you "post"ed.