I would like to share with you today a long held fantasy of mine: living and working in a warehouse space. Basically, a big industrial or ex-industrial space, all brick and concrete, with lots of light and air in which to spread out to live and create. Big areas to share with my boy and other invited ‘creatives’ in which we would work and generate ideas and hang out and relax.
I lust after potential sites for this dream lifestyle. My face is always stuck to the window of a train when it goes through an industrial area, taking mental snapshots. When I lived in Barcelona, my favourite jogging route wasn’t through one of the beautiful parks or along the Mediterranean seafront but through, you guessed it, the industrial area. I would take my mind off being a painful panting sweaty mess by playing my usual ‘That one, no, THAT one!’ game amongst the warehouses. Maybe it was watching ‘Heart Break High’ at an impressionable age (can someone corroborate that some of the characters did indeed live in a warehouse please? Did I imagine it?), but this fixation started a long time ago and seems to only have grown stronger. Hence already having a folder of images on my laptop full of pictures of inspirational warehouse spaces handily available to illustrate this post!
Because I would never want, not that I could EVER afford, a sanitised, pre-converted trendy warehouse pad with its token ‘original’ exposed brick work wall and fancy lampshades installations, nor would I want to live in something that resembled a filthy crack pipe-filled location of a scummy East London squat party: the not so tiny matter of making such a space habitable would come be a major issue. Adequate bathroom and kitchen facilities are not exactly standard in such a space, not to mention trying to keep warm in a space with such high ceilings made from such unsympathetic building materials. Having to make somewhere such as this habitable would undeniably be an exciting challenge (creating bed mezzanines, partitions between work and living areas, inventive storage solutions, open-plan kitchens, clothing rails which hang down from the ceiling), but not one I can realistically see me taking on.
With great sadness, I am slowly coming to realise that my fantasy will probably always remain just that for the following reasons. Firstly, acquiring a warehouse space is not something I am up to. I could never afford to rent such a space, and even if I was able to somehow locate one with a low enough rent, the legalities of actually living in a space meant for industrial means would most likely be entirely preventative. Secondly, if I was to consider taking the other, less legal road and found such a space unoccupied and apparently neglected, I’m just not gritty enough to attempt a squatting lifestyle. The risk of being kicked out and forced to move at the drop of a hat (been there!), abandoning all you’d created, would be too unpleasant and unstable. As would the increased risk of being burgled: imagine leaving my lovely sewing machines at home, not knowing if they’d be there when I returned. I’m just not strong enough for that! From what I understand, successful squats have someone physically there 24 hours a day, which would either make me something of a prisoner, or it would mean the need for flatmates, the lack of which has been the main benefit of our current digs and not something we are willing to surrender. Once again, I’m just too bohemian for the squares, but too square for the bohemians!
So, does anyone else harbour similar habitation desires? Has anyone actually lived in a space similar to these? If so, how did it come tp pass? Are there any other types of buildings that were not originally meant for living in, that take your fancy? Do you have anything to share that might give me cause to not give up on this dream? Does anyone know of any available and cheap warehouse spaces available in the Brighton area?!