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Both led very separate lives

Winnie's contribution to our Stay Home collecting project

I live in a modern 2-bedroom new build flat with my flatmate Ed.

We are both in our 40s, self-employed, single and have no family in London/UK.

I'm a freelance graphic designer and I mostly work from home (even before lockdown). Ed is a consultant and used to prefer working at a temporary workspace or in the British library.

Even though we are friendly to each other, we both led very separate lives before the lockdown – we have never cooked and almost never eat together, and we never hang out outside of our home.

Take part in our Stay Home collecting project

Person sitting while eating and reading in front of a window with view of train tracks
I tend to have my lunch by the window. I crave the outside space but am afraid to go out, so it's my way to get some sun/vitamin D and some sense of space.

In what ways has the coronavirus pandemic changed the way you use your home?

My bedroom has become my workspace, instead of the study area in my living room, ever since my flatmate Ed started working in the living room. I'm easily distracted (even a chat or someone's typing can be distracting for me), so I 'hide' in the bedroom to work instead.

My flatmate Ed uses the dining room table as his workspace as he prefers the light in the living room, which is much brighter than his bedroom.

I don't use/share the dining table with Ed anymore now, as that's his workspace. So I eat at my study desk in the living room.

We use the kitchen more in these last couple of months than we have ever in all these years living in the flat. We cook together half of the time now and share meals, which we have never done so before.

How do you feel about your home? How have these feelings changed?

I still love working and living in my home. But I used to have the whole flat to myself during the day. Now I have to share the space all the time, and also to give up my study area in my living room, which I'm sad about it. Sometimes, I wish I live alone.


Person sat at a table next to a large television set and plants
The dining table in the living room has become my flatmate Ed's workspace

How does staying at home affect your relationships?

We generally get on pretty well. But since lockdown, there's been so many moments of tension. My flatmate Ed knows so much more about me in these last two months, than in the years he's been living here.

Nowadays I get more my mood swings, and sometimes feeling resentful that I need to rent out one of the rooms to make ends meet, and so I can be quite difficult to live with. But he's been so patient, positive and understanding. He even tries to cheer me up the times when I'm down. I'm grateful for him, because I think the lockdown will be even more depressing and none of the fun if I lived alone.

What do you appreciate most about your home? What do you find frustrating?

I love my floor-to-ceiling windows in the south-facing living room – we get so much light and sunshine spilling in during the day. We can also access the large balcony in front of it.

I used to have a cleaner who comes in once every two weeks to clean my flat, but now I have to do the cleaning myself. And I hate cleaning!

How has lockdown changed your habits or routines at home?

My flatmate and I cook together for half of the time now, usually meals from Thursday to Sunday. I find cooking a chore, and at the beginning of the lockdown, I feel that we spent too much time meal-planning and cooking. So I tend to do simple lunches/dinners for myself during Monday to Wednesday, and then cook together with Ed from Thursday to Sunday. I also started to grow a few more herbs and plants for cooking.

Whenever my flatmate Ed returns home from his run or grocery shopping, he will wipe down his keys and credit card with the sanitising water spray by the front door. And I will spray the carpets around the front door and wipe down all the door handles with anti-bacterial spray at the end of each day.

I work in my bedroom generally from morning till around 6 or 7pm, then come out to the living room to watch TV, and spend time with my flatmate. I need to have my alone time.

Person cooking in a white kitchen
We have never used the kitchen so much before – now there are spices, herbs and more kitchen appliances! And I never knew my flatmate Ed could cook so well before the lockdown!

How is your sense of home affected by your neighbours or those living nearby?

Since lockdown, I have joined a WhatsApp group started by a neighbour in the same block. Now the WhatsApp group has more than 20 people on our block on it. For the first time in 10 years I lived here, it's the first time I truly feel a sense of community.

Also my neighbours on the same floor WhatsApp and checks in on me once in a while, which is very sweet of them.


Cartoon of Sesame Street characters pinned to a white door
I put up a silly drawing by me to remind my flatmate to bring the rubbish out when he goes out for his daily exercise

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