British Home

The average British home is smaller than what you may be used to – as a matter of fact most things here are smaller.  

House in Buckfastleigh, Devon

So, will it be a cosy cottage?  A city centre flat?  Or perhaps a rural idyll on the outskirts of a charming village. Whatever you do choose, chances are it’s going to be a lot smaller than what you may be used to.

Not only are the room sizes smaller, but so are the appliances – what I call barbie size. I’ve seen houses with doorways no more than 5 feet tall.  Not a clue how you would get any normal sized furniture through the door.

I have lived in a Victorian Terrace, an old stone cottage, a flat and a modern bungalow. Since 2015 we have been living in the annex of a 500 year old manor house. It’s lovely and full of history but, it’s freezing in the winter.

When looking for your British home try to find one with gas central heating and double glazing.  If you can find one with a wood burner even better as the damp here is pretty bad.  Every place I have lived in so far has had mold in varying degrees. To combat it you can either get a dehumidifier or try to keep your windows open (especially in bathrooms) as much as possible.

A few more points on housing

  • Garages are small but just big enough to fit your tiny British car.
  • Most rentals have fridges the size of a beer fridge. You can get a ‘full sized’ fridge – which is roughly two beer fridges stacked on top of one another.
  • Cookers can be gas or electric or you can just have a separate hob and oven.
  • Washers are front loading for the most part are in the kitchen. You can buy washer/dryer combo which is an all in one machine that both washes and dries your clothes
  • Dryers are either vented outside or you can get a condenser dryer which isn’t vented but you will have to empty the tank which fills with water as it dries the clothes
  • When it isn’t raining (yes sometimes that does happen) you can hang your clothes outside to dry – most places have a rotary line.  Failing that you can hang your clothes over your radiators.
  • The white goods (appliances) aren’t always included in the rental agreement so you may have to buy your own. You can purchase American Style appliances but they likely won’t fit in most homes.
  • Most bathrooms will have a plug cord for the light.  There are no plugins though some will have socket to plug in an electric razor. The only source of heat is usually from an heated towel rail.  A lot will have separate taps for hot and cold water.
  • Most homes will have a loo, wc or cloakroom – a separate room with a toilet and a sink.
  • We don’t have air conditioning in our homes.
  • A couch is a sofa or a settee.
  • A Canadian king size bed is a super king size in the UK.
  • Houses typically will not have basements but some have cellars
  • You have to flick a switch on the plugins to turn them on and off
  • The second floor of a house is called the first floor – the one at street level is the ground floor.
  • There are no screens on the windows (luckily there isn’t a problem with mosquitoes) and I have never seen a house with a screen door.
  • Most modern houses will have combi boilers which run off your central heating and will give you hot water on demand. For the most part you’ll find the boiler in one of the kitchen cupboards. You can also have an electric immersion tank which runs off a timer so you can decide how many times and for how long the hot water will be on. Immersion tanks are similar in size to a hot water tank in a Canadian house and will usually be located in a closet somewhere in the house.
  • Heating. We don’t have furnaces, it’s central heating from radiators that can either be gas, oil- fired or electric. You will find night storage heaters in a lot of older homes which are expensive and inefficient – your almost better to just run a small electric heater. All of the homes I have lived in had a door for each room (lounge, kitchen etc) which is nice because you can close them to conserve the heat.

                                                                      Video courtesy of You Tube