Although I moved into my London flat at the beginning of last August, I’ve barely had a chance to settle in until now. For two reasons: I travelled almost continuously up until Christmas, and because there was a tripartite misunderstanding between the landlady, the estate agent and myself with relation to a bunch of furniture languishing in the apartment.
Unfortunately, I possess plenty of my own furniture, (some amazing 1960s pieces given to me by my parents when the family home was sold last summer, some lovely mid-Century stuff found on eBay), and so not only was there no room for extra, it rather threw into relief the Habitat & IKEA stuff that was left behind, with its knocks and scrapes and peeling corners and dog-pee stains, and which was certainly not commensurate with the rent that that was being charged.
Finally, tho, it has all gone, and I am free to turn a house into a home. After two years of living on the road, two short term rentals here in London, and my possessions stored everywhere from a lockup in Manhattan’s Chelsea to my best friend’s attic in Highgate, the idea of living in a grown-up home, filled with the stuff I have collected over the years from all around the world, and arranged just as I like, gives me a tight feeling of joy in my chest.
Of course, it being a rental brings with it some constraints. No wallpaper action, no slapping on of paint, (altho God knows, it sorely needs it – more fool me for not noticing that the landlady didn’t bother to decorate before she rented it and there are stains on the walls where she removed pictures. Grr.), no drilling into cabinets…
What I can do tho is put up bookcases and shelves. During a dinner party in October, one of the landlady’s delightful IKEA prints randomly fell off the kitchen wall, narrowly missing some 1930s glassware inherited from my grandmother, so I removed the rest sharpish, but was left with three revolting picture sized stains on the walls. Putting up kitchen shelves over the mess would solve that problem – and give me more counter space.
Although there are plenty of dodgy screws and nails stuck in the walls around the flat, where the afore-mentioned paintings hung, and I do have my own drill, and *could* do it myself, I am aware that I need to keep things neat and properly done, so I called in the services of HandySquad.com.
Whilst not what I would call cheap, they do exactly what they say on the tin. You book online, they estimate how much time you need and confirm almost immediately by return of email. On the booked day, (often next day), a lovely man jumps on a Handysquad moped and proceeds to cleanly, efficiently and neatly do all your handyman jobs. In my case both times, the lovely, cheery Bill. He is a perfectionist, with a spirit level addiction and a precision of eye so very far from my on non-perfectionist nature. When he installed my wall hung TVs he took the time to properly read the instructions to make sure he was doing it right, rather than just winging it; and also made the sage observation that he couldn’t put the knife rack in the centre of the wall, as electrocution may occur due to the plug socket directly underneath it. And he cleans up.
I really couldn’t recommend them more. Sure, I could have found someone cheaper, but I needed the jobs doing yesterday, and waiting weeks for the booked up local word of mouth man wasn’t an option. I know that by using them I am getting the job done in the absolute best possible way, and avoiding any extra mess or marks in my rented flat. Worth every penny.
Top tip: they charge a £20 call out fee per job, then charge in £20 half hour increments. So it’s def worth saving up all your jobs for one call out.
Metal shelves, brackets & magnetic knife rack: IKEA
I found the echt Kilner jars in Morrisons supermarket, and all the others in IKEA
The cream vintage Tea, Sugar & Coffee jars were a back of an antique shop find in Buckingham in about 1999 for £2 each. *smug*
The painted cheese cover & plate at top left belonged to my grandparents
Disclosure: there is none. I booked and paid for HandySquad.com as a private customer.