My lease doesn’t allow me to repaint. I knew when I signed it that I’d have to live with the dark, yellowish-green walls, hoping that there’d be a way around it later. After living in the building for two months, keeping a clean, decorated space, my landlord let me know that painting my apartment would be okay with her. It was the best news. My rooms are now intentionally light or dark, but not dingy yellow. It just makes things easier (and potentially prettier) when landlords can trust that their buildings will be left in better condition than when first leased.
When stylist and photographer Carole Poirot, her boyfriend Bill and her son Dylan started looking in their current neighborhood, they were only finding rough, expensive places. Their 900-square-foot flat wasn’t much different, but the natural light and location gave it an edge and they have embraced the apartment and what it could be. “Knowing the limitations of a rental property, my main goal was to make it feel like home,” Carole says. She brought the flat to life with space dividers, plants and details that fit within the restrictions of her lease. “Renting in the UK can be difficult as landlords will often not allow you to change anything or even let you hang up pictures that might require nails,” Carole says. “However, after a few months we started to gain our landlord’s trust and were allowed to repaint, which was great as the whole place was painted in horrid magnolia with the exception of the kitchen, which was terracotta!” Carole’s home is a reflection of her and the people she loves, as much as a rental can be. The family has created a lovely, airy place, partially with the earned trust of their landlord. —Lauren