a room of my own, with a view

London,the studio — Danielle on December 6, 2010 at 11:03 am

I’m officially moved in. My new room. Everything I own in London, contained in a mere 66 square feet.

You might think I’m crazy to attempt to work and sleep in such a tiny space, but there’s a logic to my madness.

Top of the list is sheer frugality. Having a big beautiful space in Toronto was definitely an advantage, but in the early stages it was often a liability too. This time, since I don’t have that much stuff anyway, I was looking for something as cheap as possible. But also, since I’m here to experience the best of London, I wanted it to be central and in a lively, interesting neighbourhood – in this case, Bethnal Green, just steps away from Brick Lane. Add those two factors together and you get: small.

I’m also fussy about a couple of other things. Good heat, for one (this room has a very enthusiastic little radiator), real wooden floors (carpets, linoleum and laminate gross me out) and a nice view, the last is critical to keeping this kind of space from feeling cell-like.

My east facing window looks out over Weaver’s Fields, a small park full of ball players, dog walkers, and kids, with the overground rail running along the right. I can literally see the address that the infamous Kray twins grew up in from here, it doesn’t get much more East London than that. You can’t see it today because of the fog, but in the distance you can see a cluster of cranes where they’re building the Olympic site.

My modest working space is still a work in progress, however I now have everything I need here to draw and am already taking on freelance deadlines. The little pressboard desk came with the room – I added a solid metal school desk to give me some solid elbow room. I bought it from a man under the Bethnal Green rail station and literally skated it on edge across snow-covered Weaver’s Fields to save cab fare. I made up for that by splurging on the work lamp clamped on the left – its the nicest task light I’ve ever owned.

I’m just steps away from a huge art supply store, an iconic 24 hour beigel joint, tons of vintage clothing shops, live music venues, the United Nations of takeout, and so much more. Of course if I start making money like gangbusters, I’ll take a step up, but for a first step, found under a tight deadline, and under a tight budget, I’m relieved and satisfied.

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    1. I feel that after living in Japan, I realize just how much space we have that we don’t need! It looks great. Enjoy every second :)

      Comment by anthea — December 6 2010 @ 11:41 am
    2. You’ve made it in London! congrats!

      Comment by Corey Lee — December 6 2010 @ 11:57 am
    3. What a view! And I think you did a good job with the space you have. Reminds me of my days in a 70ftsq dorm where all the storage was vertical. :3

      Comment by Ellie Di — December 6 2010 @ 12:43 pm
    4. Oh my god, the Beigel Shop on Brick Lane is the stuff of bready fantasy. Especially when they’re eaten at 3am, still warm and chewy.

      Comment by Rani — December 6 2010 @ 1:17 pm
    5. hey congrats on the top 15 :)

      Comment by KD — December 6 2010 @ 11:56 pm
    6. Do you share a kitchen? or with so many take out joints nearby, does that matter?

      Comment by Linda Gaylard — December 7 2010 @ 3:24 pm
    7. Linda, I do, I share a kitchen with 5 others. I don’t think I’ll do a lot of cooking here though.

      Comment by Danielle — December 8 2010 @ 11:10 am
    8. Oh, how lovely it would be to live in London! Congratulations!

      Comment by x Corrine/Frock & Roll x — December 8 2010 @ 7:39 pm
    9. Lovely view! It absolutely does make up for the smaller space. Just saw your place from Toronto before the move too, gorgeous.

      Comment by Wendy — March 30 2011 @ 2:30 am
    10. Why am I reminded of van Gogh’s little room?

      Comment by Terri — July 31 2011 @ 12:08 am
    11. […] slept and worked in this sixty square foot room in East London for just over seven months. To say it was a downgrade from my studio situation in […]

      Pingback by final fashion » so far, so London — September 5 2011 @ 5:42 pm

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