Self-Isolation in a House Share

Personal space means being able to relax in the company of others

Today we talk to two friends who have been sharing a house in Colliers Wood, South London, for the past two years. Sarah, an Executive Coach, and Whing, a Pharmacist and Photographer, both in their 40s, tell us what it is like to live in a grown-up house share and how it works in times of self-isolation. 

Sarah & Whing, what made you share a house in the first place?

We had already been good friends before and decided to move in together to share the cost of living but also to have some company at home. We are both quite sociable and enjoy having people around. Especially in these times of uncertainty and social isolation we are very glad to be living together.

In the current situation – what does your typical day look like?

We have established a new routine on the days when we are not working – we start by doing dance or pilates workouts in the conservatory using YouTube videos which we watch on the TV. It’s been lovely weather most days so we’ve opened the conservatory doors to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.  We then make a healthy brunch to eat together. It’s a great start to the day! We’ve also been watching films and TV shows together in the evenings and have had barbecues and evening meals together. We’ve also had some Zoom catch ups with friends. It’s been great to have good company and to have been able to create some structure to keep ourselves feeling energised and connected with others at this time of social isolation.

In more normal times, how much time do you actually spend together?

Even if we are not forced to, we would often spend our evenings together – cook a meal and have a glass of wine. We both love good food and wine and it’s just so much nicer having someone around to enjoy these little things with day to day. We never run out of things to chat about – we both love photography, travel, yoga, art, or going to the cinema. Sometimes we go to our favourite wine bar in Tooting market, it’s a great little place not far from home and they do regular wine tastings which we really enjoy. It makes things a lot easier if you don’t have to call up your friend and make plans in advance, we just decide and head out together whenever we feel like it. You can be much more spontaneous and explore new places together which you’d probably not do much by yourself.

You both have busy careers. Does it not get too much sometimes always having another person around?

Sarah: I mostly work from home and coach my clients over the internet. Whilst I need a quiet space for confidentiality I am actually quite happy to socialise because I don’t spend my day in an office where you always have people around. Most of my clients are based in The States so I tend to work quite late but there is always time for a chat at the end of the day.
Whing: Not at all. It’s actually much nicer to come home and someone is already there. And to be honest, there is still plenty of time to socialise with other groups of friends we both have. You kind of get the best of both worlds.

You have 2 more housemates, cats Zak and Mishi, they seem very much part of your home! Pets are often a tricky subject when sharing, how does it work for you?

Haha, yes, they very much rule this house! [Whing] I already had the cats before we were living together but they both love Sarah. And it’s great for them because they have much more company now that Sarah works from home and looks after them all day. I do understand that pets can be a tricky subject so you need to be clear upfront what is acceptable for you personally.

Photo credits: Chanwelch Images, https://www.chanwelchimages.com/

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