Alex Churton, 32, works as a hotel and marketing manager in the ski resort of Verbier (Picture: Melody Sky Photography)
Last week we were in London with Rob and Roisin, who pay £1,300 a month for a one-bedroom flat in Richmond upon Thames.
This time we’re escaping the UK and heading to the Swiss Alps.
Here, Alex Churton, 32, rents a three-bedroom flat close to the ski resort of Verbier, where she works as a hotel and marketing manager.
Alex, who’s originally from Cheshire, moved from London to Verbier in 2013, planning to just stay for a six-month ski season.
‘Those plans quickly changed when I extended my stay and experienced summer in the mountains,’ she tells Metro.co.uk. ‘I found myself a year-round job and now I call this place home.’
Here’s what she rents.
Hi, Alex! How much do you pay to live here?
My rent is 1650 Swiss Francs per month and that includes all bills except internet and TV.
She rents a three-bedroom flat alone for $1.855 a month (Picture: Melody Sky Photography)
And what do you get for what you pay?
There are six rooms in total – three bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen and one bathroom.
Plus, two balconies – one off the living room and bedroom and one off the kitchen.
The third bedroom if I’m being totally honest is more of a dumping room than bedroom – the Instagram vs reality room I like to call it. It’s the last room to get a makeover but it has walk in wardrobe potential.
Do you feel like you have a good deal?
For the size of the apartment and its location it is a great deal. It only has one bathroom for three bedrooms which is why it’s affordable. But as it’s just me, that works.
As I have rented off my landlord a few times before and took a long-term contract I got a better deal, as did he, as I’ve spent quite a bit updating the place.
Tell us about the location.
My apartment is in the centre of a small village called Le Châble, situated in the valley, just a ten minute cable car ride from Verbier – the daily commute.
It’s a short five-minute walk to the ski lift and I get to open my shutters to breathtaking mountain views every single morning. To say it’s idyllic is an understatement!
I lived in Verbier for the first few years, enjoying the hustle and bustle of resort life, before moving down to Le Châble when I decided to settle here. You just get a lot more for your money as a renter being 10 minutes out of resort.
A lover of all things homeware, Alex has loved being able to decorate her flat (Picture: Melody Sky Photography)
How did you find the property?
Last year, when we were in the first lockdown (and I was living in my last apartment) I created an Instagram page @thealixirproject, a passion project to document my rental style and DIY renovation ideas.
The apartment at the time was nice and modern, but it didn’t have much entertaining or outdoor space and I wasn’t able to do much with it. So, with some time on my hands, I started looking at rental properties online… or should I say looking for a new project!
A friend tagged me in a post on the local accommodation Facebook page and the listing turned out to be Chalet Apartment Rentals, who I had rented with before. I had always rented modern apartments, so his first reaction was ‘this is not for you Alex!’
When I explained that I was looking for somewhere I could put my stamp on, and the landlord agreed I could do whatever I liked to the place (aside from knocking walls down), it seemed like the perfect fit.
How have you made the place feel like home?
Having moved a lot in the seven years I have lived here (in fact this is apartment no.7 – so a lot) I was finally looking for somewhere I could make feel like my own.
When you have free rein to do what you want, but you don’t own it, deciding what to renovate and how much to spend doing it is difficult.
So small, budget friendly, DIY renovations like painting a feature wall in the living room and refreshing the bathroom with tile paint have made it feel like mine.
I removed nearly all the furniture that was there and replaced it with pieces I have collected along the way (having arrived here with just one suitcase). I love sourcing pieces on Facebook Marketplace, a haven for rattan lovers like me!
Plants truly transform your home, and I’ve definitely become a crazy plant lady. They are a great way to add colour and brighten up your space, especially if your landlord isn’t so keen on you splashing it on the walls. I find they create a home environment that really inspires me.
Alex’s apartment before she moved in (Picture: Haute’Xposure Photography)
It looked rather different before Alex applied her DIY skills (Picture: Haute’Xposure Photography)
She removed nearly all the furniture that was already in the apartment (Picture: Haute’Xposure Photography)
To get that cosy feel, it’s all about lighting! One of the first things I did was swap all the light bulbs out for warmer ones and that alone made such a difference. And lots of candles (preferably scented).
With the big high ceilings and wooden floors, it can be difficult to make it feel cosy, but I have rugs in every single room.
As I’ve rented a couple of properties off my current landlord, I am lucky that he’s always been approachable and open to my ideas, knows my style and attention to detail.
In past rentals I haven’t been able to hang even a picture, so with this apartment it’s been so satisfying to be able to inject some personality and paint colour on the walls – guilt-free.
Lamps and rugs create a cosy feel (Picture: Melody Sky Photography)
Do you feel like you have enough space?
Anything would feel big compared to the small studio I lived in my first season.
This apartment with its high ceilings and big spacious rooms is more than enough space, especially as it’s just me at the moment.
I’ve had a lot of fun furnishing it and styling all the corners of my home. I thought I’d accumulated a lot of stuff before, but with the extra rooms to fill, I’ve had the perfect excuse to shop and indulge my home decor obsession.
Are there any problems with the flat you have to deal with?
Touch wood (and there is a lot of it in these Swiss properties) since I’ve lived here, I haven’t had any major problems to deal with. It’s all just been superficial, which comes with it being an old building and apartment.
The heating system is quite old so that took a while to master but it was the brand new Miele washing machine in the kitchen that sold it to me – having had to use communal machines in all my past rentals, this was a game changer.
Alex is considering Airbnb-ing out one of the bedrooms (Picture: Melody Sky Photography)
Do you have plans to move again any time soon?
Number 8? Well, as much as I hate the idea of moving again, I’ve come to the conclusion I miss open-plan living as I really love entertaining.
While I can do a lot here, I can’t knock down those walls.
It’s been a fun project and there is so much more I could do but it’s not my dream home. I’m certainly in no rush to move though, so maybe I’ll start styling other people’s homes rather than having to move all the time.
And would you like to own a home one day?
Renting comes with its perks and I’ve had a good run of experiences over the years, but the dreamer in me, along with my Studio McGee obsession, means that I would not only love to own a home one day soon, but design it too.
Shall we take a look around?
Welcome in (Picture: Melody Sky Photography)
Plenty of windows give incredible views of snow-topped mountains (Picture: Melody Sky Photography)
Alex admits to being a big fan of plants (Picture: Melody Sky Photography)
Texture and complimentary colours make the space feel like home (Picture: Melody Sky Photography)
Here’s the dining and kitchen area (Picture: Melody Sky Photography)
Those blue cabinets are cheery, aren’t they? (Picture: Melody Sky Photography)
If you’re keeping count of all the plants, well done (Picture: Melody Sky Photography)
What I Rent: Alex, three-bedroom apartment in the Swiss Alps (Credits: Melody Sky)
Here’s Alex’s bedroom (Picture: Melody Sky Photography)
What a view to wake up to every morning (Picture: Melody Sky Photography)
As lovely as the place is, Alex doesn’t think of this as her forever home (Picture: Melody Sky Photography)
She prefers a more open-plan layout (Picture: Melody Sky Photography)
A nice home-working setup (Picture: Melody Sky Photography)
Alex is also a fan of scented candles and incense (Picture: Melody Sky Photography)
One of the other two bedrooms (Picture: Melody Sky Photography)
And finally, the bathroom (Picture: Melody Sky Photography)
We love the pink (Picture: Melody Sky Photography)
What I Rent is a weekly series that’s out every Tuesday at 10am.
Check back next week to have another nose around a rented property.
How to get involved in What I Rent
What I Rent is Metro.co.uk’s weekly series that takes you inside the places people are renting, to give us all a better sense of what’s normal and how much we should be paying.
If you fancy taking part, please email [email protected]. You’ll need to take pictures of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, plus a few photos of you in your bedroom or living area.
Make sure you get permission from your housemates! You’ll also need to be okay with sharing how much you’re paying for rent, as that’s pretty important.
We’re not just after the prettiest places out there, by the way. We want the reality of renting, so if you’re currently renting a place you hate, we’d love to see that too (and sympathise greatly!).
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