Lately we’ve been thinking about moving so we’ve been doing a lot of flat hunting. Most of the time it’s fun (“I could have an oven that actually cooks properly! And a bathroom that is not ceiling to floor marble!”), but there are a couple things about UK housing that really bother me.
1. The obsession with doors
Bathrooms and bedrooms should have doors. Living rooms, dining rooms and kitchens should not. When we opened the front door to one flat we were viewing, all we could see were three doors leading off a 10-foot hallway — a door to each bedroom and a door to the living room/open kitchen. With every door shut there was absolutely no light and the apartment looked smaller than my prison cell-esque single dorm room. Who would want to come home to that? Even the flat we’re currently in has an abundance of unnecessary doors, like to the kitchen and the hallway leading to the bedrooms, but we always keep them propped open. This door obsession isn’t just in flats either — we went to the movie theatre (“cinema”) the other day and I had to press through three unnecessary doors just to get to the door of the bathroom. I actually tried googling this phenomena, thinking maybe there was some Great Fire of England that made Build as Many Fire Doors As Possible a law, but all I found were American expats asking why houses in the UK have doors to the kitchen. Alas.
2. There is a seriously lack of closets (“wardrobes”)
Considering the Brits’ love for doors, you’d think they’d want more doored closets in their houses. Nope. I can’t tell you how many newly built buildings we viewed that didn’t have any storage space. No linen or utility closet, no bedroom wardrobes. It’s like the contractors are in bed with IKEA saying, “Let’s make them buy their own ugly free-standing wardrobes that don’t fit anything!” Is storage space really that difficult to fit into a floor plan? Have you ever viewed a house and thought, “You know, this is really nice, but there’s just too much storage space. I would hate to have a place for everything and have the house not look cluttered.” Part of the reason I liked the flat we’re currently in is because it actually has a multitude of closets — and we still have to have the “crap corner” decoratively hidden behind a screen.
Those the are the two main things that bother me. I’ve gotten so used to putting clothes in the washing machine in the kitchen and then in the dryer in the bathroom that it doesn’t seem weird to me anymore.