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What I Own: Andrew and David, who put down a £90,000 deposit on their Brixton flat – which they renovated during the pandemic


The Brixton boys show us around (Picture: David and Andrew Harrison-Colley)

Welcome back to What I Own.

Every week we chat to homeowners about their buying experiences and today it’s the turn of David and Andrew from south London.

The couple live in Brixton in a ground-floor flat, which they’ve completely renovated during the pandemic – turning it from a one-bed into a two-bed.

You can find updates on their flat over on their Instagram @the_brixton_home_boys.

This is what they had to say about buying their property…

Hello! Tell us a bit about yourselves…

We’re Andrew and David, 33 and 40, and we work in sales and HR. For the past five years or so we’ve been living in south-west London. David moved to London in early 2016 and was living in Clapham when we met and I had just moved back to Brixton after living here in my twenties.

Where is your property and what do you think of the area?

We bought our ground floor garden flat in Brixton in late 2019, just after we got married – before that we were living just around the corner from this place in a smaller flat, which we now rent out. We love how vibrant Brixton is, so when we spotted this flat we knew it had the potential we were looking for.

They moved in at the end of 2019 (Picture: David and Andrew Harrison-Colley)

When did you move in? 

We moved in just before Christmas at the end of 2019 – it was perfect timing really to have something bigger, with outside space, just before the pandemic hit in early 2020 – especially as we found ourselves spending a lot more time at home. 

How much does your property cost?

We bought it for £450,000. It was a one-bedroom flat at the time, but we knew there was potential to convert it and add an extra room. 

How much was your deposit? 

We had a deposit of about £90,000.

They renovated the whole property (Picture: David and Andrew Harrison-Colley)

What is the monthly cost of living here now; both mortgage and bills? 

It’s about £1600 each month for the mortgage and utilities. 

How did you save up for your deposit? 

We were able to use a combination of savings and equity from the sale of another property we owned and rented out before that. 

What was the process of getting a mortgage like for you? Did you find any parts challenging?

We found the process pretty straightforward to be honest, as we used a financial advisor who we have used for previous mortgages and remortgages – this meant that he had all of our financial details and understood all of the evidence we would need to provide to support the application. 

They’ve added their own stamp ((Picture: David and Andrew Harrison-Colley)

How did you find the renovation? 

We started some of the renovations ourselves during the first lockdown in 2020, and it was actually great to have something for us to focus on in the evenings and at weekends. We focused on decorating the rooms which we knew wouldn’t be too impacted by the extension we had planned and also parts of the garden so that we could enjoy the outside space during the summer. 

Renovating during a pandemic is definitely an interesting experience, especially as we couldn’t be sure that the trades and supplies would be available with the various lockdown restrictions we had towards the end of 2020. 

Where did you live before this – were you renting or living with family? 

Before this we were living in a smaller flat just around the corner from this one. 

What made you want to buy rather than renting?

We had both bought properties before this one and wanted to buy somewhere that we could renovate, add our own stamp on, and hopefully increase the value of it.

How did you find this property? What made you choose it?

We saw this property come on the market on Rightmove, just a few weeks before we were getting married. It probably wasn’t the best time with everything we had going on, but we knew the area well and could see the potential, so we didn’t want to miss out on it. The day we viewed it we were a little hungover and spent no more than 10-15 minutes looking around before we put the offer in – it was one of the quickest and easiest decisions we made and we definitely don’t regret it.

They say the property’s potential (Picture: David and Andrew Harrison-Colley)

How have you made the property feel like home?

When we first moved in one of the first things we did was redecorate it – painting a room is such an easy way to add a personal touch, and as we were planning to renovate and extend we didn’t want to do much. We also spent a couple of long weekends sanding back the original floorboards as we love the character and charm of Victorian properties. 

We were worried that the extension at the back of the flat would feel too modern and conflict with the rest of the flat, but have found that adding the traditional crittall style doors and blending the new kitchen with some of our favourite vintage pieces of furniture and accessories, has helped us blend the rooms together well. We were also able to dig down in the extension and increase the head height so that it feels similar to the high ceilings we have in the original front rooms. 

What’s the inspiration behind your interior style? 

We love to scour the charity shops and Facebook Marketplace for vintage and more unusual pieces, and then blend them with more modern high-street items to create a relaxed and homely feel. We have a rule that we both have to love it before we buy it, that way we know that we’re not going to go off it quickly. We also don’t buy anything which we would consider too high fashion as we know that it will feel dated quickly.

They love the charm of Victorian properties (Picture: David and Andrew Harrison-Colley)

What’s your favourite room in the flat?

It has to be the new kitchen/lounge/diner as it is such a light and bright multipurpose room, and it connects straight into the garden so that we have the inside/outside vibes when the weather is warmer. We love to entertain and have friends and family over, so it’s perfect being able to have everyone in the same space.

It’s also a great room to curl up on the sofa when the weather isn’t so great outside – the sound of rain on the glass roof is actually really soothing.

Do you feel like you have enough space?

Extending the kitchen has allowed us to turn the former lounge into a second bedroom, which currently doubles as a home office now that we’re working from home so much. Without this we would have really struggled. We also have a small basement which allows us to store all of the things we don’t need to use and access regularly, and added lots of other clever storage which helps us keep the place free from clutter.

Do you have plans to change the property?

Now that we’ve completed the extension, there isn’t too much that we need to do now – the rest is mainly cosmetic updates such as restoring the Victorian cornice in our bedroom, as this was ripped out when the property was converted into two flats.

Are there any problems with the property that you have to deal with?

No, we’ve been really fortunate with it so far. 

What do you want people to know about buying a home?

I guess it can feel daunting if you’re buying a home for the first time, especially as a mortgage can feel like such a huge commitment, but it’s so worth it when you have a place of your own which allows you to make it your own, and know that the money you’re paying each month is ultimately investing in your future.

What are your plans for the future, in terms of housing?

We have learned so much from this first renovation that we’d love to apply that to another property or two in the next few years. Our dream is to live mortgage-free and move to somewhere coastal in the future, so hopefully a few more reno projects will help us achieve that.

Shall we take a look around?

They extended the kitchen into a diner/kitchen/lounge (Picture: David and Andrew Harrison-Colley)
So light and bright (Picture: David and Andrew Harrison-Colley)
An open plan diner (Picture: David and Andrew Harrison-Colley)
Hallway with original floors (Picture: David and Andrew Harrison-Colley)
The main bedroom (Picture: David and Andrew Harrison-Colley)
Cute corners (Picture: David and Andrew Harrison-Colley)
The second bedroom/study (Picture: David and Andrew Harrison-Colley)
The pair love hunting for vintage finds (Picture: David and Andrew Harrison-Colley)
Very calming (Picture: David and Andrew Harrison-Colley)
Almost Mediterranean in style (Picture: David and Andrew Harrison-Colley)
A spacious garden area (Picture: David and Andrew Harrison-Colley)
Perfect for entertaining (Picture: David and Andrew Harrison-Colley)



Do you want to feature 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 lizzie.thomson@metro.co.uk

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 whatirent@metro.co.uk.


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