Rental Opportunity of the Week: Can Anyone Tell Me What Is Going On Here

Here, have a shower in your kitchen, in Stoke Newington, for a thousand pounds a month.
September 17, 2020, 9:31am
LROTW-STOKEY
Photos via Zoopla
What is living in London like? Hell. Here’s proof, beyond all doubt, that renting in London is a nightmare.

What is it? [in an extremely “2 Girls, 1 Cup” voice] 2 Bathrooms, 1 Bedroom.
Where is it? A triumphant return to… Stoke Newington!
What is there to do locally? Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose Hamdy’s non-pornographic newsagent. Choose brunch, butterfly gardens, cruising in the graveyard and queuing outside The Good Egg. Choose that 24-hour bagel place that isn’t very good. Choose the un-lively Wetherspoons and spending every Sunday paying £16 for a roast. Choose sitting in The Auld Shillelagh watching underwhelming Premier League games while pretending you like your Guinness. Choose that restaurant that changes its frontage every six months, and mediocre Italian places no one sits outside of, and that weird pub that used to be horrible and now pretends it’s a tea shop. Choose any number of organic shops that inexplicably sell 900 kinds of honey. Choose that curry place that had its meat sent to a lab and the lab couldn’t figure out what animal it came from. Choose the 73 bus, and mums with sharp voices asking you to please keep your voice down, and that Sainsbury’s that always smells of shit, and couples in chore jackets squabbling outside antique warehouses, and being disappointed once again by the charity shops because charity shops in affluent areas should have rich treasures within them but all the Stoke Newington charity shops have is the absolute shite, and not really ever knowing where the train station is, and yet another friend-of-a-friend has booked a table for their birthday party at The White Hart, even though at its best it is a 6/10 pub the size and shape of a 10/10 pub, it just tricks people into thinking it’s an 8/10 pub because it does burgers, and your neighbours knocking on your door to remind you that you rent and they’ve bought and if you don’t fucking start doing the recycling properly they’ll report you to the council, and coming home after a crackling up-until-the-sun-rises MDMA session in last night’s sweat-soaked T-shirt to find your whole street has been closed off for a jolly tea party and someone’s wrapped bunting around a sound system and is loudly playing chart hits, and yet another bad date spent eating Thai food in silence in the Coach & Horses, and walking past Yum Yum and going “have you ever been to Yum Yum?” and the person with you saying no, they’ve never been Yum Yum, and you haven’t been there either, so who, exactly, is going to Yum Yum? Who has ever been to Yum Yum? Who is keeping Yum Yum in business? What is the deal with Yum Yum? Anyway, won’t do the rest of the poster but you broadly get the gist.
Alright, how much are they asking? £1,000 p.c.m. 

If you follow the tiles around this house, you will see they tell a cryptic story, though I’m not entirely sure still what that story is. This is our Poirot investigation for today. Let’s start in the bedroom, a shithole: you can see that one end of the bedroom, the alcove behind the wardrobe, is both tiled like a bathroom but also has a kitchen cabinet installed within it. So this is Clue #1:

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Then we move out towards the kitchen/lounge room, a shithole: you can see the kitchen splashback is tiled, as a kitchen splashback should be, but also there’s an entire shower cubicle inserted into the kitchen at an angle that suggests one house has simply crashed into another like a car would. Real heads will also notice that a bathroom sink (ceramic) is installed directly next to the kitchen sink (steel). Behind those two tiled areas, there are just… some shelves? So that is Clue #2:

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And then we move to the actual bathroom, a shithole: the bathroom is (mostly) tiled, as a bathroom should be, but has a bizarre low window (which is either the top of someone else’s window, from the building above, that has crashed into the building like a car would; or it’s the bottom of another window, which has been deliberately obscured by a temporary wall to accommodate mounting the boiler on), three bathmats (three bathmats in a bathroom this size suggests every single piece of equipment in this room leaks water, constantly, and the bathmats are there as a precaution), a washing machine (technically it’s semi-sensible to have a washing machine in a bathroom, if properly fitted to ensure electrical safety, because it’s a machine that can handle water and the stuff comes out of it is wet, but this is just a freestanding washing machine that watches while you shit and I’d bet a crisp five pound note it’s installed by “plugging it into a really long extension cord that runs from the other room and has a cable so chunky it means you can’t actually close the bathroom door shut properly”) and has a bath that already has a shower fitting in it, so why was a shower installed in the kitchen. This is Clue #3:

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I just… I just can’t figure out what’s happened, here. One theory is: the room we now know as the “kitchen” used to be the bathroom (see: the bathroom sink), and a kitchen was retrofitted into it and the shower inelegantly moved (see: the carnage of the angular corner tiles). But then why is the rest of the room not tiled? Exactly, I dunno.

Theory #2 is the entire flat was once a bathroom: a large gorgeous bathroom in someone else’s house, segmented with temporary walls and turned into a flat of its own, but then the vague normality of the non-bathroom half of the bedroom (old wood floors; old white walls; nothing in here has been made new, or disguised) suggests this bedroom has always been a bedroom, though perhaps an en suite one.

Theory #3 is the flat owner bought an entire bathroom suite before realising the flat was too small to accommodate it and, when the contractors from the bathroom place turned up and told them it was impossible to fit this much bathroom into this small a flat, the person who had bought the suite made them put all the tiles and fittings and bath parts down and said “fine, I’ll install it myself then!!!!! Cunts!!!!!!!!!!”, and also that person later went to a brain hospital where doctors decided the most humane thing to do with them was allow them to die.

Looking at this flat is like looking at that viral “Name One Thing In This Photo” image where your brain can’t grasp or comprehend a single notable part of the composite, despite all the details having the vague nostalgic smell of familiarity to them. Is that what a shower’s meant to look like? Sort of, but it’s at the wrong angle and in the wrong room. Is this a bedroom? It is, but it has bathroom tiles in it and a kitchen cupboard. Is this a bathroom? Yes, sort of, but that’s not a window, so it’s hard to truly tell. What am I looking at, here? It looks like I’ve just woken up following an Inception situation where the police have transported me as punishment into the inside of a murderer’s mind. 

Thing is, someone owns this, and thinks it’s alright. They unlock the door off their big keyring and they creak up the stairs and make sure the last tenant has taken every possible object they owned inside the flat out again, and they look at this – a fragment of a bathroom, a whisper of a bathroom, a bathroom remixed by a maniac and spread across a floor – and go: “Yeah, good, nothing needs doing in here.” Like: a human being, who has the right to vote, looked at that photo of a shower and thought: ‘There is nothing wrong with this photo of a shower, there is nothing to question here, I will happily upload this to Zoopla.’

Someone looked at this flat and decided it was worth £1,000 a month to rent it! A number of deranged design decisions, and work done by builders and paid for cash-in-hand, were enacted before this shower cubicle ended up in this kitchen! Someone knew all this was happening! Someone has made this flat and owns it! They have not been arrested and put in jail for the preventative safety of them and of others! This is the city we live in!

That said: Stoke Newington is a delightful locale and this place is right by all the good pubs. So maybe trade “taking erratic showers in your own kitchen, which is also your front room, and also get electrocuted every time you take a bath by your own washing machine” in exchange for that, and enjoy a nice roast down Jolly Butchers at the weekend? Something to think about, anyway. Something to consider.

@joelgolby (via @raquelwatdahell)