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A room of her own: renting in a houseshare

A room of her own: renting in a houseshare

Owning It | Kristabel Plummer

For many people, renting a room in a houseshare is the most cost-effective way of having a roof over your head. As part of our Owning It series, celebrating creative tenants, we visit Kristabel Plummer, who lives in North London with three housemates. Her space may be small in square footage, but it's big on style. Here's how she made it her own.

Name: Kristabel Plummer

Age: 32

Job: Blogger and freelance writer

Rental history: Lived in this houseshare for five years

Lives with: Three housemates, including her IRL friend Lucy

Location: North London

Set-up: Four-bedroom Victorian townhouse

Instagram: @iamkristabel

Why did you decide to rent?

"I was living at home but thinking about moving out. My friend Lucy moved in [to the house] and said she'd let me know if a room came up. Six weeks later one did, so I took the opportunity. I'd love to buy a property but it seems so impossible as I'm freelance and single. I've looked into shared ownership as that seems like the only option."

What are the benefits of renting in a houseshare?

"Always having someone there. My friendship with Lucy is definitely more intense now — we'll watch Drag Race on the sofa together and chat. She knows about plants and DIY, whereas I know more about cooking and flavours. We help each other, which you wouldn't get living on your own.”

And the benefits of living here?

“I grew up in a Victorian house so I love the original features — like the spiral staircase and stained glass. It's rare to get a room this size in a houseshare. I forget how lucky I am because I've filled it with stuff, but my friend's rooms are half the size. I have three cupboards in the shared kitchen to store my dinnerware. If I ever move I won’t need to buy plates. Or cutlery!”

What are the negatives of a houseshare?

"You realise the things you're used to are alien to someone else – like no-one wanted a washing-up bowl except me! And everyone has different ways of doing things. I share my bathroom with another housemate. He gets annoyed if I change the shower settings, and I get annoyed with him for not replacing the loo roll."

"Use the time you’re renting to experiment. I made mistakes and figured things out. Now I’ve cemented my style and I’m happy with the mix I have."

How laid-back is your landlord?

"We rent through an agency but we've lucked out with our landlord. He makes sure the property is well maintained. I'm not a long-term planner and can't imagine having to buy stuff like a fridge. Renting helps you enjoy the stage you're at right now. I don't have to worry about all the bigger stuff just yet. I can live here and enjoy the area and what it offers."

Is space and storage an issue?

“We have a terrace outside with great views. Storage is problematic but I’ve just made it work. Pinterest inspired me to display my Mexican basket bags on the bookcase. I found storage boxes in different sizes but in the same shade. Stacked my books. Displayed my favourite handbag. Worked with what I had.”

Kristabel's tips for #OWNINGIT

Treat white walls as a blank canvas

"Currently, everything works because my room's painted white. I have bright bedding and prints — but I'm not sure if that would work with colourful walls. It's quite interesting having these constraints. I don't know what I'd do if I was actually allowed to paint a room!"

If in doubt, add cushions

"There's no commitment with cushions. It's not like painting a room and thinking it's completely wrong. It's easy to switch things up if it doesn't work. I'm not sure where my cushion obsession came from. I used to sleep with a cushion my nan made me, so I've always had them, but it was never like this!"

Create a focal point 

"It's good to style the area you first see when you enter a space. In my room, it's the fireplace, so I've curated that nicely. Hide the messier stuff behind a door or somewhere you don't look at straight away. People think [my room's] much more organised than it is – really, there's always mess on the floor! Everyone has that corner of stuff."

Trinkets from travels

"I'm inspired by my travels, and I love hand-painted ceramics. I bought a plate from Italy even though I didn't have anywhere to put it. At the moment I use it for keeping my jewellery, but it'll be my future fruit bowl. I also buy lots of basket bags and display them on my bookcase. I store stuff inside which gives them shape."

Article written by: Natalie Wall
Photography by: Veerle Evens

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