Now that you’ve made it up the stairs to the London flat and accepted that space is not going to be quite what you’d hoped, what may next strike you as peculiar is its hidden treasures. Where are all the appliances?
This little aspect is actually quite the bonus, I think, as it is very characteristic of renovated flats to have major kitchen appliances like the refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, and washer/dryer (you heard me) concealed behind cabinet doors. I’m assuming this concept stems from the space-saving survival techniques one has to employ–how to bundle everything you need together in this limited space whilst still preserving aesthetic appeal.
The old If-You-Can’t-See-It-It-Isn’t-There psychological trick, if you will. And yes, I did just list the washer and dryer among the kitchen appliances–mine is located just beneath my stove, which is just brilliant, as my Chicago apartments never had in-unit washing options beyond Woolite and the sink. In the states, most apartment complexes require you to use a communal basement laundry room or haul your laundry in a sack like Santa Claus to the nearest laundromat, either of which options cost $$$. What is even better than having a washer right in your flat is the whole washer + dryer-in-one combo, as your little front-loader might indeed serve both functions.
Yes, again space becomes the issue as the washer drum is not all that large, requiring smaller, more frequent loads, and yes, you do have to air-dry clothing if wanting to wash consecutive loads before able to machine-dry any, but so what. It really is not costly to invest in a drying rack (much less so than the gas you’d use to machine-dry), which is probably better for a lot of your clothing anyway in protecting it from shrinkage and other heat damage, depending on the fabric.
Some flats likewise offer radiator covers that might give you a bit more shelving surface, and many landlords have added cabinetry around the boiler and gas/electric meters (if the latter are in fact located in your unit as mine are) that can provide additional storage space to an extent. If you’re viewing studios, in a few (perhaps now rare) cases, you might be just about to ask, “Where’s the bed?” when the agent proceeds to demonstrate how to pull the Murphy bed from the wall. It’s all very in the spirit of IKEA smart space solutions, and I do give London landlords major props for that.