This House is a Home

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Despite the creaky floors and lack of space, the wobbly furniture and impossible to clean windows, I love my little flat and all its quirks. Like the way you have to lift the door up slightly to unlock the latch in the bathroom, or how the light switches in the hall are the wrong way round and no one ever remembers which one is which. I like that there are holes in the floorboards, which are now home to an unrivaled collection of kirby grips. I like that there’s a fake blood stain on the wall from three Halloweens ago, hastily covered up by a postcard which has remained there ever since. The way it smells like vanilla when I come back after a fortnight away, because of the candles that have been perched on the mantlepiece since the day I moved in.

I also like that it’s old; I’ve never lived in a new house and I really can’t imagine doing so. With my historical Nancy Drew skills, I’ve discovered my tenement was built in 1868, and apart from some redecorating and new plumbing, it’s more or less the same. Sometimes, when flagging during essay research, I’d search the archive of The Scotsman to try and find my flat mentioned in the obituaries and classifieds. In 1911 the rent was only £20, if only that was the case now. I often wonder how many people have lived here during the last 150 years. How many have walked on the same loose floorboard as me, how many have also waited for the satisfying slam of the front door once they’re halfway down the stairs? The stone steps in the stairwell, all three flights of them, have a dip in the middle where hundreds of feet have walked before me, making their way to their flat.

Even though I love my flat, and I’ll be very sad to say goodbye whenever that day comes, it’s really all the things inside it that make it mine. The perils of renting are many and varied, let me tell you, but it’s going to be a long, long time before I can afford my own little place; I’ve been successfully hoarding anything and everything over the last four-and-a-bit years to change it from “a flat” to “my flat”. There are trinkets and toys littered over every surface. There’s mismatched furniture and second-hand books and scraps of paper with some almost-forgotten significance absolutely everywhere.

The latest additions to my overflowing shelves are some beautiful gifts from Not On The High Street. I fell in love with these Bespoke Wooden Map Letters* as soon as I saw them. My Edinburgh tenement flat wouldn’t be complete without a little nod to my favourite city – and, of course, things are always better with your initials on them. Next, I chose The Great Gatsby Book Page Quote* with my favourite line from my favourite novel. I love the old pages, with their familiar smell, soft and musty and just like a rainy afternoon. I finished off my new collection of things with this Set of Three Bottle Vases*. I couldn’t resist these tiny little milk bottles, perfect for keeping a flower or two on the windowsill. Nothing beats some fresh flowers to brighten up a room, especially when you live on the second floor and don’t have a proper garden.

I had ordered a couple of gifts from Not On The High Street before but never anything for myself. I was so impressed with everything they had to offer (literally took me DAYS to decide which items I wanted to pick!), and the delivery service was quick too. One of the parcels even came wrapped in a map, the cutest.

Gillian x

P.S. You can have a nosey round my flat in my Living Room Tour and Bedroom Tour posts if you fancy.


Freelance social media and digital marketing consultant with a penchant for writing blog posts, drinking sickly sweet cocktails and exploring the cobbled streets of Edinburgh.


  • Chloe says:

    This sounds like an amazing flat! I find historic buildings very interesting & love it when i find out that an old flat etc has been restored – wooden beams showing, old big fireplaces etc 🙂 the decorations are lovely touches & i like the G initial & Edinburgh map on it aswell 🙂 very you lol.

    Is this your first flat ? 🙂 If so, do you have any tips on rented accommodations for first time buyers/renters ? 🙂

    • gillian says:

      I love old buildings too, my dream house would definitely be a Georgian townhouse… one it will be mine!

      Yep, I moved in to this flat after I moved out of uni halls in 1st year, so I've been here about 4 years now. I would definitely recommend taking photos of EVERYTHING before you move in so you can prove exactly what condition everything was in when it comes to getting your deposit back at the end! If you can, find out which letting agents/landlords are the best in your local area – there's nothing worse than having something break and then it taking months for your letting agents to get back to you! x

    • Chloe says:

      Aww thanks Gillian for replying back 🙂 sorry for the late reply…opps!

      Where I live at the minute, there is some old houses from the 1800s that have been divided into two houses, one of my old primary school friends lived in one & i remember just looking around in awe at some of the cute little knicknacks in her house – hidden cupboards, old staircases & a massive kitchen haha. Just stay positive – you will get that dreamhouse of yours – plenty of them in Edinburgh 😉

      Yeah, I've heard my uncle had problems with this rented house & there was mould around the ceiling & it was cracking – a big chunk nearly fell on him! But taking photos is a great tip, as I hate being stressed so its evidence for when you need to get something repaired asap!
      I've heard some nightmare stories of letting agents/landlords, but I never thought of checking up on them! 😮
      Thanks again for the tips Gillian 🙂 they've helped for when it comes to checking out flats/homes 🙂

  • Sophie says:

    Ah you sound like you have my perfect flat. I adore old buildings with character! Loving the initial – what a cool idea!

  • Louisejoyb says:

    "the way you have to lift the door up slightly to unlock the latch in the bathroom" THIS, every time! It must be an Edinburgh flat kind of thing. I love the wooden letter, been looking at one of those for myself! x

    The Little Things

  • This sounds gorgeous! Old places always have so much character 🙂

    Eve & Faye x
    Sugar Spun Sisters – A blog about cosmetics, clothes & coeliac disease

  • This is lovely. Love the bits you've chosen.

  • I absolutely love the framed Great Gatsby quote! I've seen framed Alice in Wonderland ones in a similar style and have been tempted to hit "add to basket" for the longest of times! x x

  • I absolutely adore your picks! The Gatsby quote is particularly lovely x

  • your place looks lovely! I could also not imagine myself in a new house.. I;ve always lived in flats or houses that were at least a century or so old.. I've never thought about looking in to who lived here before, might have to check out the history of my flat too!
    Love the bits you've chosen too 🙂 xx

  • Rachel says:

    I'm literally having a browse round now 🙂 they have so many amazing things!

  • Cherry says:

    I love the page quote!

  • Hayley says:

    I was actually looking at flats last night because Edinburgh is my first choice uni. I want to move out so badly. I love the little letter. So cute 🙂

    Water Painted Dreams

  • Kirsty W says:

    I always see bloggers posting about amazing stuff from not on the high street – I'm scared to look because I know I'll just want everything! xx

  • Kate A says:

    That 'G' is amazing!

  • Loved reading this, and I really love this corner of your lovely flat.
    You've inspired me!

    Rosie x

  • Maria Fallon says:

    Your flat sounds lovely, I love it when a house becomes a home!

    Maria xxx

  • Lauren says:

    This post made me really happy 🙂 x

  • Lauren Maria says:

    The map letter and Gatsby quote are so cool. I really love them

  • EilidhPie says:

    Not on the high street is such a dangerous place to browse – everything is so lovely! That letter-map thingy (technical terms here!) is fab! I'm going to have I bookmark that incase I get a certain person as my secret Santa at work – it would be perfect for her!
    Your flat sounds fascinating – it must be really interesting to be able to look back and see what's happened in your flat years ago! Xo

  • Catherine says:

    Your flat sounds amazing! I love the little bottles, and the map wrapping paper! xo

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