The First Time I Laid Eyes on You

I recall the first time I saw our flat.

It was October 2014. We were in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It was warm and relatively dry, in a wonderfully nostalgic sort of way. I was sleeping on a comfortable mattress on the floor of my sister’s living room in my parents’ house. My husband woke me up early in the morning to show me an ESPC listing of a flat that had just been put on the market. 

I rubbed my eyes and took a close look at the photos and the floor plan. A true 3 bedroom Victorian flat.


This is the floor plan taken from the original listing. 


I had a preference for smaller flats (they’re cute and easier to clean). My husband had a preference for larger flats (he’s tall). This flat was a happy medium.

Both the kitchen and the bathroom had windows to the outside world. It might sound ridiculous, but this is a rarity in Edinburgh. Historical properties were not built with bathrooms as the concept of plumbing did not yet exist. To fit a bathroom into an old building, you would either have to compromise one of the main rooms, or more typically, cram the bathroom into a smaller space like a closet, a box room, or the coal room. All of these are usually internal, leading to depressing, poorly-lit, damp bathrooms. This bathroom was not unreasonably small, and it had high ceilings and a nice tall sash window.

As for kitchens, they are sometimes crammed into a corner of the living room and the flat is advertised as some sort of faux open-plan, or placed into a large internal cupboard leading to a depressing, poorly-lit, damp/sticky situation. But this flat maintained the location of its original kitchen; a spacious room with a window and everything.

But practicality aside, I could see how the flat could potentially become aesthetically pleasing. It had a pretty fireplace in the main bedroom. The floral curtains concealed beautiful large sash windows. The living room was pretty; it had bay windows and I could see an unusual geometric pattern on the floor, almost like a border framing the centre of the room. Is that parquet? Could it be original? I hadn’t previously seen this in an Edinburgh property. Interesting. The pictures also showed some nice views and a beautiful back garden.

I looked at my husband. We smiled. We liked it.

The "parquet flat".

Here are some photos from the original listing.