What I Rent London Rachel and Gaston
We’re in Stratford this week (Picture: Joseph Lockley)

It’s the weekend so it’s time to chat about all things property.

For What I Rent this week, we are speaking to Rachel Smith and Gaston Bratcher. The couple moved over from Dallas, US, to live in the UK and now rent in Stratford, London.

After previously owning a home in the US, they now pay £2,815 every month to rent their two-bed London apartment.

Here’s what they had to say about their renting situation…

Tell us about yourselves.

We’re Rachel and Gaston, both 36, and live at Coppermaker Square, in Stratford, East London, with our two-year-old daughter Willow.

We moved to London from the USA in January 2023. We moved for my (Rachel) work, as a financial consultant, and were lucky enough to stumble across and fall in love with Coppermaker Square shortly after moving to the UK. As a family we like to explore new areas and are loving our new life in London.

How much do you pay to live here?

£2,815 per month.

And what do you get for what you pay?

We get so much more than just an apartment, that’s what’s great about Coppermaker Square. We have our two-bedroom spacious apartment, but we also get to enjoy all of the amenities and communal areas on offer. There’s a huge gym, pool and spa downstairs, a co-working area with free tea and coffee all day and resident lounge with outside roof terrace – Willow loves running around out here.

In addition to these features, there is a resident app available that offers a wide range of services, including Tulu rental membership and Zipcar membership. The app also provides a packed calendar of fun resident events, which are exclusively accessible to residents.

We try to go to all of the events that are held since there’s so many to choose from and it’s so nice to meet fellow neighbours and see familiar faces around the building.

We’ve been to SuperBowl nights, pasta-making workshops and even a personal shopping event with John Lewis. They recently held a gin distillery day trip which we couldn’t make but it looked fun.

What I Rent London Rachel and Gaston
The family of three (Picture: Joseph Lockley)

Do you feel like you have a good deal?

Yes definitely. The quality of the homes and spaces in this block are exceptional and it’s no wonder that we fell in love straight away. When comparing prices, it’s important to consider additional factors such as the cost of a fitness club membership, which is included with your rent here. Plus, there is the potential increase in energy usage when working from home as well as the cost of a membership to a flexible workspace.

At Coppermaker Square the co-working area provides desks, worktops, and soundproof booths with fast WI-FI, along with complimentary tea and coffee. We’re able to save on our own bills when living here by having access to all of that.

Where is your home based? What do you think of the area?

Our apartment is minutes away from Westfield Stratford City in East London and since living here we’ve just fallen in love with Stratford. The connectivity to central London and beyond is great and we also we have everything we need and more on the doorstep.

We are always out exploring and love the parks and green spaces that surround the building – they’re perfect for family walks or taking Willow out to play outside when the weather is nice. Some of our favourite local spots are Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Victoria Park and Hackney Wick and we always explore a new area every weekend as a family – the station is so close we can go further afield if we like too!

How did you find this property?

After living in corporate housing for a month, we knew that we wanted to live somewhere along the Jubilee Line and somewhere with lots of stuff going on. We got straight onto Rightmove, Zoopla and were in touch with estate agents. We decided that a new build would make our already busy lives so much easier; fewer repairs, brand-new quality appliances and on-site amenities meant we could move in straight away with no fuss.

We came across the complex, Gaston viewed it first and thought it was perfect for us. He told me that the building was ‘absolutely beautiful’, so we came and looked around together and were instantly enamoured.

How have you made this place feel like home? / Have you found it difficult to decorate when renting? Is your landlord happy with you doing bits?

Decorating is difficult with a two-year-old, so although we do have the freedom to paint walls and put wallpaper up as we wish, we’ve just made the place feel like home by adding lots of house plants, colourful rugs and of course lots of toys for Willow. We can pick up any furniture or homewares at any of the many shops at Westfield Stratford City, they’re just minutes away and super convenient for us.

What I Rent London Rachel and Gaston
The family moved from Dallas to live in London (Picture: Joseph Lockley)

Do you feel like you have enough space?

Definitely. We have our two-bedroom apartment, but we always say that we also live outside of those four walls as there are so many communal areas we can use too. I sometimes work early in the morning or late at night and as you can imagine, it’s hard to do so with a little one running around.

Having the co-working space makes life so much easier as I can just pop down for a few hours at a time. It’s working from home, but not in your home.

Are there any problems with the home you have to deal with?

We encountered a few minor issues when we first moved in but these were very quickly dealt with by the building’s team that’s here all day and we know there’s a reliable handyman that we can book for any other maintenance jobs we need around the apartment. It’s easy to raise anything through the app and speak to the team – everything is made to be as hassle-free as possible. We even pay our rent with just the click of a button through the app.

Do you want to feature in What I Rent?

What I Rent is Metro.co.uk’s weekly series that takes you inside the places people are renting, to give us all a better sense of what’s normal and how much we should be paying.

If you fancy taking part, please email whatirent@metro.co.uk. You’ll need to take pictures of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, plus a few photos of you in your bedroom or living area.

Make sure you get permission from your housemates! You’ll also need to be okay with sharing how much you’re paying for rent, as that’s pretty important.

We’re not just after the prettiest places out there, by the way. We want the reality of renting, so if you’re currently renting a place you hate, we’d love to see that too (and sympathise greatly!).

Do you have plans to move again any time soon? What about buying a place?

At the moment we’re very happy renting here, but there may be a time in the future and when Willow goes to school that we might look into a bigger place. We used to own a home in Dallas but decided to sell it to make our big move to the UK, so we won’t be rushing to buy again anytime soon.

Shall we take a look around?

What I Rent London Rachel and Gaston
Let’s start the tour (Picture: Joseph Lockley)
What I Rent London Rachel and Gaston
The main space (Picture: Joseph Lockley)
What I Rent London Rachel and Gaston
Willow has her own chair (Picture: Joseph Lockley)
What I Rent London Rachel and Gaston
Living area (Picture: Joseph Lockley)
What I Rent London Rachel and Gaston
Looks comfy (Picture: Joseph Lockley)
What I Rent London Rachel and Gaston
Open plan kitchen space (Picture: Joseph Lockley)
What I Rent London Rachel and Gaston
Kitchen (Picture: Joseph Lockley)
What I Rent London Rachel and Gaston
Their two-year old Willow (Picture: Joseph Lockley)
What I Rent London Rachel and Gaston
Master bedroom (Picture: Joseph Lockley)
What I Rent London Rachel and Gaston

Desk area (Picture: Joseph Lockley)
What I Rent London Rachel and Gaston
Willow’s room (Picture: Joseph Lockley)
What I Rent London Rachel and Gaston
(Picture: Joseph Lockley)
What I Rent London Rachel and Gaston
Cute toy collection (Picture: Joseph Lockley)
What I Rent London Rachel and Gaston
Bathroom (Picture: Joseph Lockley)

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.

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