Nikki in her humble abode (Picture: Nikki/Tierney Terrace)
This week’s What I Own is a very colourful one.
Nikki bought her house in Streatham Hill four years ago and has been busy putting her own vibrant stamp on it.
Here’s what she had to say about her home-buying experience…
Hi, Nikki! Tell us about yourself
I’m 34, originally from Bradford in Yorkshire, but I have lived in London for around eight years. My work is split between two things: the majority of my work is as a communicatio
ns consultant but I also run our home as a shoot location, so we have people come here to film music videos, press shots and TV interviews etc, which is super fun.
Under normal circumstances, we love having a house full of people so we find it really fun. My partner Luke is a songwriter and music producer.
Nikki in her favourite room (Picture: Nikki/Tierney Terrace)
Whereabouts is your property? What do you think of the area?
We’re in Streatham Hill, South London, and we love it. It’s got a really great community vibe to it and it’s a vibrant mix of young people as well as families.
There’s loads going on – it’s a really lively and energetic place to live with absolutely amazing food everywhere you look and the connectivity of Brixton just down the road is a massive bonus.
When did you move in?
We bought the house around four years ago in September, lived in it as it was for 18 months, then renovated over six months. So we’ve lived in it in its current glory for about two and a half years.
The house is used for TV and music videos (Picture: Nikki/Tierney Terrace)
How much does your property cost?
We bought it for £482,000.
How much was your deposit?
We put down a £140,000 deposit to buy the house, but have since taken some of that out to part fund the renovations.
What is the monthly cost of living here now; both mortgage and bills?
It’s around £2,300 all in per month.
The scheme is inspired by Palm Springs (Picture: Nikki/Tierney Terrace)
How did you save up for your deposit?
It was a mixture of savings and proceeds from our previous flat which we renovated and sold and the house I owned before that.
What was the process of getting a mortgage like for you? Did you find any parts challenging?
Tricky. We’re both self employed which makes everything a bit more complicated, but we found an amazing broker who specialises in these situations and he was absolutely incredible.
Where did you live before this – were you renting or living with family?
We lived on the same road. We bought our first flat together literally on the same street as this house, which is how we even knew about this house in the first place. Before that we were renting in Stockwell when we first moved down from Yorkshire.
A surprise around every corner (Picture: Nikki/Tierney Terrace)
What made you want to buy rather than renting?
I bought my first home when I was 18, so this is actually my third. Because we’re both self employed, we don’t have pensions and so the plan is always to renovate properties slowly on the side and build up our old age fund so that we can live out our days carefree and able to experience everything we want to.
How did you find this property? What made you choose it?
Since we lived just down the road, we walked past it for several months while it went unsold. It was definitely in need of a lot of TLC and I think people were put off by the style of the house as well as all the mobility support that was in the house (chair in shower, stair lift etc). One day we just got curious and went to have a look and immediately fell in love with the house and its potential.
To put it into perspective, we bought this four-bed house for only marginally more money than we sold our one-bed flat on the same road for – so it was the definition of a bargain and we were honestly just so surprised and grateful that we found it. It was meant to be. And the only real surprise was it needing a new roof which cost £10k.
I also just generally love this style of house and all things modernist, brutalist and mid-century. We are both really into geometric design and so something about the straight lines and boxy nature of this house just really connected.
Also, since there’s no danger of ruining anything that has beautiful period charm, I knew that we would be able to be super creative with this house and really make it our own. Plus, we already knew that the location was perfect for us.
Happy, colourful touches (Picture: Nikki/Tierney Terrace)
How have you made the property feel like home?
We just decided to really go wild with this house – we figured if we couldn’t with this house which needed so much love, we never would. So it’s really illustrative of our style and taste, even down to the work we did on the exterior of the house.
It definitely won’t be to everyone’s taste but we absolutely love it and it makes us smile every single day.
What’s the inspiration behind your house’s colour scheme/decor?
When we bought the house it obviously needed a lot of work. I’ve always loved the modernist style and era of design but I started to really research it and ended up down a bit of a mid-century Palm Springs rabbit hole.
I totally fell in love with the colours, the shapes, and the ethos behind it all of community and sociality. I just found that I had a huge affinity with this style. So I’ve tried to bring a little bit of that Californian desert joy to South London through the colours and design choices we made.
Also, the houses of this era were built to provide sturdy, no-frills homes and some of the choices we made on materials tried to respect that. For example, you’ll find very little brass or shininess in the house – all of our taps, handles and even door hinges are matt black or white. Our worktop is concrete and the cladding on the front of the house is actually just trusty old powder-coated corrugated steel. Not that these materials are quite as cost effective now that they’ve become so popular, but it was important to us to stay somewhat true to the original house.
What’s your favourite room and why?
It has to be the pink bathroom. It’s just such a happy room and has all my favourite things in there: pink tiles, geometric floor, novelty lighting and brutalist glass blocks. It honestly makes me smile every single time I go in there.
Do you feel like you have enough space?
We have plenty of space for us right now but long term, we would like more. Luke eventually wants a place he can build a skate park in the garden so that will likely drive the next move. And despite never having done pottery, I’m convinced I need a pottery studio.
Nikki has worked to put her own stamp on it (Picture: Nikki/Tierney Terrace)
Do you have plans to change the property?
No, we don’t plan to do anything else to the house.
Are there any problems with the property?
No – we love it!
What do you want people to know about buying a home?
It’s expensive and daunting and a big headache at times, but being able to put your own stamp on a place is so worth it.
What are your plans for the future, in terms of housing? Do you plan to stay here long term?
We definitely want to live here and enjoy the house for a few years, but it won’t be our forever home. I can’t really imagine us ever settling in one place – we’re both too inquisitive. We would love to buy a small place in the Italian mountains for holidays one day and that’s about as far as we have planned.
Nikki’s house before…
Almost unrecognisable before (Picture: Nikki/Tierney Terrace)
The kitchen are (Picture: Nikki/Tierney Terrace)
The landing has had a full makeover since (Picture: Nikki/Tierney Terrace)
The master suite before (Picture: Nikki/Tierney Terrace)
The second bedroom (Picture: Nikki/Tierney Terrace)
Nikki’s house now…
What a transformation (Picture: Nikki/Tierney Terrace)
Lighter and brighter (Picture: Nikki/Tierney Terrace)
The bold blue stretches across the room (Picture: Nikki/Tierney Terrace)
A lovely dining spot (Picture: Nikki/Tierney Terrace)
Utility space (Picture: Nikki/Tierney Terrace)
The dreamiest bathroom (Picture: Nikki/Tierney Terrace)
The shower room (Picture: Nikki/Tierney Terrace)
First bedroom (Picture: Nikki/Tierney Terrace)
Second bedroom (Picture: Nikki/Tierney Terrace)
Perfect for this time of year (Picture: Nikki/Tierney Terrace)
How to get involved in What I Own:
What I Own is a Metro.co.uk series that takes you inside people’s properties, to take an honest look at what it’s like to buy a home in the UK. If you own your home and would be up for sharing your story, please email [email protected].
You’ll also need to be okay with sharing how much you’ve paid to live there and how you afforded the deposit, as that’s pretty important.
If you’re renting, you can take part too! What I Own runs alongside What I Rent, which is the same series but all about renting. Again, if you’d like to get involved just email [email protected].