Name: Melissa Smith Machado and husband
Location: London, England
Size: 474 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years, owned
My husband and I bought the flat three years ago and this is our first real home together. We were waiting on a lease extension so the purchase process took seven months and we were without a home for six weeks.
When we finally moved in, we had to start renovation work straight away whilst living in it. My father-in-law came over for a few weeks and we got started. Due to limited funds, we did most of the work ourselves with the help of my father-in-law and some good friends.
We broke down walls, laid new flooring, put in a new kitchen and bathroom and optimized storage as much as possible. It was a real labor of love. We love entertaining and most of our friends feel at home at ours. So even though it's simple and small, it's a real home.
What is your favorite room and why? It's hard to choose one. I love the open-plan kitchen and diner because it makes the place feel more spacious. I love the bathroom as it was the last room we did and the ample storage means it can easily be kept clean and uncluttered. But I also love the garden, which is a gem in London.
What's the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? A Corian worktop for the bathroom and black taps to go on top of an IKEA unit which makes it look like a luxury suite rather than off-the-shelf IKEA.
Describe your home's style in 5 words or less: It really feels like home.
Any advice for creating a home you love? Make it personal. Plan it well. Be creative and find ways to make it look great without unnecessary splurges—it will feel much more satisfying.
If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? The privacy of the trees in the garden and the fact that it is on the ground floor mean that it is not always as bright as I would like it be. So if I could make it brighter without losing the greenery and privacy, that would be fantastic.
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