in the beginning

This is the story of what was once a sad, unloved wee flat. When I found it, it had been empty for almost two years. Grubby, shabby and stale smelling, the flat was a sorry sight…. but I knew I could do something good with it. The tenement building was in great shape. The flat was basically sound, and felt quite felt spacious. Something could be made of this…

It took a while. A tight budget meant we did as much of the renovations ourselves as we could. We acquired a bathroom suite for free. My husband got to practice many of his DIY skills. His friend has muscles, a big van and a willing heart – he has been invaluable.  Another friend is a kitchen fitter, and did a great job rebuilding my pre-loved kitchen units. I also brought in professional help to hang two new doors, and to fit the vinyl flooring. But the rest has been our own hard graft.

For a long time, I intended to rent the flat out, unfurnished, as a permanent home. With an agency running it for me, I could just hand over the keys and sit back, while every month a modest income trickled into my bank account. I tried to decorate accordingly, and my enthusiasm waned. The prospect of a day’s work in the flat became a chore, not a joy. The finish line kept getting further away. I could see the project dragging on forever.

Then, one day, inspiration slapped me in the face: hard. Why didn’t I offer it to visitors as a holiday flat? Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is a ten-minute drive up the road. My wee flat isn’t a luxury lochside cottage, but if you just need a cosy base to come back to after a long day exploring… it’s perfect!

So, after some more hard work, and a lot of searching for bargains – we were good to go. I’ve tried hard to make the flat eco-friendly. Many things have been bought secondhand from gumtree or local charity shops. Gas and electricity are supplied by ecotricity, a green energy company. Toilet paper is recycled, and soap, washing powder etc. are bunny-friendly.

I advertised it on Airbnb at the beginning of April 2017, and within two hours I had my first booking. I think this just might work…

Welcome to Uppa Close!

(The name? The flat is one of six in what is known in Scotland as a tenement block. The common entrance is called a close, and in Scotland if you live in a tenement flat, you live ‘up a close’…..)