EJP On: How to buy your first flat AND make it your home

Paid partnership: This is a sponsored blog post with L&Q

I never thought I’d see the day when I was thinking about buying my own home. When I moved to Chiswick in London over ten years ago now, I always assumed I’d be stuck in a rental forever. Granted, a rental in Chiswick is still pretty lovely.

When L&Q got in touch to introduce me to their latest development, The Gateway in Chiswick, and asked if I wanted to do a little bit of styling for their show home. I saw it as the perfect opportunity to learn a little more about the buying process and what kind of property first-time buyers and second steppers could get their hands on in west London (yes, the posh part boys and girls!). Y’all know how much I value good design when it comes to housing and quite frankly, it’s rare that I find a new development that I think cuts the mustard – small, poky and lacking in personality springs to mind. So, what’s the deal?

modern London apartment with dressing area and pink and blue design scheme
modern London apartment with dressing area, fringed chair and pink and blue design scheme
modern London apartment with pink velvet throw and sheepskin throw
modern London apartment with dressing area
The Gateway, W4 – a series of modern and spacious apartments in Chiswick, styling and photography by Emma Jane Palin

Nestled on the edge of Chiswick High Road, the property is home to ninety-five 1 & 2 bedroom apartments built around a beautifully landscaped podium garden. L&Q believes that everyone should have a quality home they can afford and be proud of, so each apartment has been designed with comfortable living in mind. That’s right, you can actually move (and even jump) in these London abodes, while also feeling good that the money you’ve spent has gone into creating new homes with a great community. See it for yourself (with styling by moi) as you scroll through this post.

modern London apartment with mint living room and high-end art
modern London apartment with mint living room and high-end art
modern London apartment with brass bar cart
The Gateway, W4 – a series of modern and spacious apartments in Chiswick, styling and photography by Emma Jane Palin

What do you get for your money in Chiswick?

Given The Gateway’s location on Chiswick High Road (just a short walk to Kew Bridge and Gunnersbury station), I was waiting to be hit with the big bucks when it came to pricing. Buying in London’s never going to be cheap as chips and I’ve gazed into enough estate agent’s windows to know that you’re pretty much looking at half a million for a one bed these days. The west London community is especially thriving right now and is filled with independent stores, bistros and coffee shops. So, what’s the damage?

modern London apartment with luxury dining area
The Gateway, W4 – a series of modern and spacious apartments in Chiswick, styling and photography by Emma Jane PalinT

One bedroom apartments at The Gateway, W4 start from £460,000 while two bedroom apartments start from £575,000. Every apartment has an open plan kitchen and living area, a modern bathroom, huge windows with natural light, a balcony, plenty of storage AND access to a communal outdoor garden. All appliances and white goods are also included. London Help to Buy is available on all homes under £600,000 so it’s worth making an enquiry if you think you might be in a position to purchase. Shared Ownership will also be launching later this year!

modern London apartment with pink bedroom and curved headboard
modern London apartment with pink bedroom, seventies lighting and curved headboard
modern London apartment with pink bedroom and dreamy dressing area.
modern London apartment with pink bedroom and dreamy dressing area.
The Gateway, W4 – a series of modern and spacious apartments in Chiswick, styling and photography by Emma Jane Palin.

How can I make it a home?

Now for the fun part. Once you’ve completed your purchase, you’re going to want to get creative with making your house a home. While visiting The Gateway for the second time, I styled up their showhome to show you how easy it is to add your personality. Using furniture from the local lifestyle store, Greige, Here’s a few tips and tricks to help you get started.

modern London apartment with pink bedroom and dreamy dressing area.

Work the room with soft furnishings.

One of the easiest ways to add some interest to your first home is to add different textures and colours via soft furnishings. Think velvet throws, knitted cushions and mohair details. Layer rugs to create warmth and add a cosy touch underfoot – it’s these things that make you feel at home. Think about the colours that you already have going on and add to them with complementary colours and bold accents.

modern London apartment with basket storage

Add baskets for extra storage.

I’ll admit it, I’m basket obsessed, but a few rattan baskets in your bedroom and bathroom will help to keep any extra throws, cushions and knick-knacks stored away. Plus, they look REALLY good.

Decorate the walls with artwork.

Don’t hold back on the artwork. Choose artwork that reflects your style to bring the space to life. Are you a large format artwork kinda person, or a gallery wall guru?

modern London apartment with pink bedroom and dreamy dressing area.

Style your favourite belongings.

Your objects are a direct reflection of you so be sure to style them up as soon as possible. Think in odd numbers and style them in groups of three or five. Painting display cabinets and shelves is a brilliant way to inject some colour into a room and bring personality into your new home without much effort. Make it all about your style and rearrange every couple of months to scratch that decorating itch.

modern London apartment with botanicals

Add botanicals.

If you’ve been blessed with natural light (don’t worry, L&Q have got you covered), real plants are a great way of bringing life to a property. Nevertheless, for windowless rooms like bathrooms, some faux botanicals will do the trick!

Get the look.

I styled the shoot with products from local lifestyle store Greige. Get the look for your own Gateway apartment below!

1 // Snowy Leopard Rug | Greige Lifestyle | from £89
2 // Openweave Seagrass Baskets | Greige Lifestyle | from £19.50
3 // Ochre Crackle Glazed Dotty Vase | Greige Lifestyle | £19.50
4 // Large Rattan Baskets (set of two) | Greige Lifestyle | £139
5 // Crackle Stoneware Plates (set of four)| Greige Lifestyle | £49
7 // Sheepskin Pouffe | Greige Lifestyle | £318
6 // Soy Candle in Amber Glass Pot | Greige Lifestyle | £32
8 // Sheepskin Rug | Greige Lifestyle | from £129
9 // Marble and Antique Brass Side Table | Greige Lifestyle | £258.50
modern London apartment with neutral luxury bathroom
modern London apartment with neutral luxury bathroom
modern London apartment with neutral luxury bathroom
The Gateway, W4 – a series of modern and spacious apartments in Chiswick, styling and photography by Emma Jane Palin

How can I get on the property ladder?

Even thinking about buying a house often feels like entering a minefield and seems impossible, especially if you’re living in London. However, times are also changing. More options are coming into play for first-time buyers and if you look into it, perhaps buying your first home is not as far off as you think. Having spent some time with the L&Q team, here are some things I have learnt about getting on the housing ladder:

Use London Help to Buy scheme.

If you can offer a deposit of 5% of your home’s total value then the government will boost your deposit with a London help to buy equity loan of up to 20% of the total cost of the property (or up to 40% in London). This boosts your deposit, reduces that pesky interest and helps with getting a mortgage approved. You don’t need to pay interest on the government’s equity loan for the first five years.

Get a mortgage advisor.

If you’re still utterly bamboozled by it all, or you have a larger deposit saved already but don’t know where to go, get a mortgage advisor. I’ve been told countless times that mortgage advisors are able to work their magic (for very little money) and make things happen to help you get on the property ladder and get the most bang for your buck.

For further information on The Gateway, Chiswick London W4, visit thegatewayw4.london or call 0208 557 2034.
modern London apartment with pink bedroom
Disclaimer: This is a paid partnership with L&Q Homes, but as always all concept and belief in the brand is my own.
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