First visit to our new pad
Getting on the property ladder all happened pretty quickly for us. Don't get me wrong, I know that we were incredibly lucky.
I've heard some nightmare stories and some that are similar to ours, so I understand that no journey is the same but I'd still like to share ours with you. Si and I had been talking about getting on our own home for a few months from early 2015 and it just so happened that when I was working in central Bristol, I'd regularly go past a building that was being renovated. It eventually came to light that it would be a block of flats so we started to look in to it in more detail.
Located in the heart of Bristol's city centre; Electricity House is a grade 2 listed building and was originally built in the late 1930's. Throughout the conversion, Crest Nicholson have restored and maintained some of the Art Deco features including the front door and the main staircase up to the atrium. We both absolutely love Art Deco so this was a big selling point. They took further inspiration from some of London’s hotels of the era; namely in the marble terrazzo floor in the foyer which was painstakingly re-created. This was still being completed even after we moved in.
By May 2015, they had some show flats ready to view and as we'd already expressed interest, we were invited along to take a peek. The viewing was set for a Saturday morning and as it was the late May Bank holiday; Bristol was alive with various activities and the weather had been wonderful - gorgeous blue skies and sunshine.
Si had a feeling that it would be better to get there before they opened at 10am and I'm so glad we did! We arrived just after 9:30am and there were already about 15 other potential buyers waiting - some clearly very serious - cheque books in back pocket ready!
Once the doors opened, we were welcomed in by a Doorman - it really did feel like we were walking in to a swanky London hotel! The stunning Art Deco features on the staircase as you walk up to the flats really compound the effect.
Luckily, we were the second booking and as the first people hadn't shown up - we viewed the 2 show flats and immediately fell in love! We knew we needed to move fast and having already secured a mortgage in principal; we took the plunge and put the initial deposit down.
After that, we just had to wait.....
We waited a further 6 months before we were able to move in and during this time, we both kept doing research on what furniture we'd like and how we would like to style our new home. We'd been renting furnished accommodation so we knew we'd be starting with a blank canvas and this made the wait a bit more bearable and helped maintain our excitement. We didn't actually start buying anything until after we'd moved in though - it's hard to imagine exactly how you'll style your home when you haven't even seen it!
It was a cold, grey day in October 2015 when we were finally allowed in to see our 2 bed flat for the very first time. We'd been to see the show flat a few times; looking for inspiration but they are always finished to such a high standard and show the space you get in the best possible light - it is after all the developers opportunity to 'sell' to you so they're always going to be done up beautifully!
Crest got us in to do a walk through and site visit so that we could eyeball our flat and create an initial snagging list i.e. anything glaringly obvious that needs doing. The full and extensive snagging list is an ongoing process that we have been undertaking since we moved in and whilst its all still under warranty - it's their responsibility so definitely make the most of it!
We walked in to our property and as with any new build - you either take your shoes off or put on these blue plastic over-shoe socks so you don't mark the carpets and floors. We were met by a terracotta tiled hallway that on the right, leads in to the first bedroom, the main bathroom and the master bedroom at the end which has a ensuite. Both bedrooms are carpeted in a sand colour. The tiles are all the way through the hallway in to the open plan lounge, dining room and galley kitchen.
As you come in through the front door, there is also a utility cupboard on the left where the washing machine and boiler are. We also have another storage cupboard that breaks up the hallway/dining room space. This is our favourably named 'Cupboard of Doom'. I think most people have a junk cupboard that everything 'we might need at a later date' gets thrown in to... Tell me we're not the only ones??
All the spaces felt bigger than we remembered and the slim profile of the traditional steel windows that would feature on heritage projects and listed buildings were maintained. The windows throughout are lovely and tall allowing for as much light as possible. They are also well glazed which really helps with sound-proofing; the traffic is only slightly audible which we were really pleased about. All in all things looked good and where finished to a high standard.
However, we were pretty disappointed with a couple of things.
First off - the colour of the tiles. We'd been assured the whole way through that they were going to be a pale sand colour.
Secondly; the kitchen units we wanted should have been a slate grey with a slate grey marble counter - all perfectly accented (in my head) with Duck Egg Blue. It wasn't, it's actually a light brown wood effect finish with a white marble counter top with white cupboards above it.
We discussed these points with Crest but as they would be significant changes and the flat was very near completion - nothing could be done.
We left feeling a bit deflated and disappointed. I guess it was a combination of the excitement of finally getting to see it coupled with it not being what we'd expected/envisaged in our heads.
A couple of hours later, I tried to reassure Si that we would manage to make it work and quickly turned to Pinterest to show him that the colour scheme we had in mind could be amended to work with the tiles. Plus, once we moved in and started making it our own space, it would become homely and we'd begin to feel differently.
We moved in a couple weeks after the first visit and once we were in, it really wasn't as bad as we thought it would be on that first day.
Being some of the first to move in to the building, we've also been lucky enough to see quite a lot of the other flats and although their layouts are mainly the same - the tiles and kitchen combinations are slightly different - our combination is actually the best and now we love it!
Well I do; Si still needs a bit more time...