I moved to The Collective in May 2017 and have just extended my contract for another year. So why not give an update of what it’s like to live here as a freelancer? Note: This is not a sponsored post at all, I just really need to put out content on my blog 😛
I was initially more attracted to The Collective because I hate paying bills. As someone who has a few loans to pay off (not to mention freelance taxes), having the security of not being charged extra for any bills is a huge plus. Here’s where I absolutely love The Collective as everything is included in your rent (don’t worry, there are also plenty of things I hate about it). There are also things I hate, but more on that later.
But what’s it like to actually live here?
- The People
I found that the people are friendlier than any other apartment building people I have ever met. Even living in student halls can’t compare to this experience. You can pretty much strike a conversation with anyone in the building, and turn an awkward elevator ride into a pitch of your marketing services. There is, of course, a huge mixture of people living here, but so far, they’ve all been very friendly and easy to talk to.
- The Facilities
One of the things I love about The Collective are the facilities. It’s also something I hate. Although I have no issue with small rooms, I do have an issue with not having an oven unless I walk to the common floor kitchen (which I rarely do). Not even private studio apartments have an oven, and that’s a huge con for me (considering they’re 300 quid more expensive than the regular rooms).
Other than that, I am totally in love with what the building has to offer. As a freelancer, I try to avoid working in my room, so having the library and the secret garden in the building is super helpful. It’s all very hipster and beautifully decorated – if you’re a fan of contemporary design, you’ll definitely love this.
These are the facilities I frequently use on site:
The Secret Garden
This is one of my favorite places ever, mainly because no one’s ever here and you can really chill with your work. There’s water sounds everywhere, comfortable cushions, weird decorations, and overall, it really resembles a secret garden.
Another favorite spot of mine, although it has a long way to go before it actually becomes a library. It’s smaller than you think, but comes with comfortable chairs and reading nooks, as well as working tables, and a conference meeting space. There are tons of books to choose from!
The Common is The Collective’s restaurant, open to everybody. On the plus side, their food is amazing and I’m a sucker for their coffee. A beautiful place to chill on a sunny day, and there are outlets for your laptop practically everywhere.
The Gym & Sauna
I’ll group these two together because they’re my favorite and go hand-in-hand. I’m a sucker for having the gym so close and then directly hitting sauna afterwards. As a gym rat, this has been a part of my routine for years, and I’m so happy this is an option. The gym is pretty small, but it surprisingly offers more machines than some of the other gyms I’ve visited. You won’t find a leg extension machine or a push press etc. but it DOES have a squat rack instead of a Smith machine (thank you) and plenty of gadgets!
Living in Willesden Junction
I can’t complain when it comes to transportation. It takes about 5-10 minutes to reach the Willesden Junction overground (still in zone 2, Overground and Bakerloo Line), which has options to take you to Elephant & Castle and Euston. You can also walk to Acton (also about 10 mins) and catch the Central Line, so there are plenty of transportation links available to reach central London.
I’m not a fan of this area when it comes to safety, mainly because being so close to Harlesden scares me. But knocking on wood, I had no issues so far, even though there have been several reports of certain crime happening in the area. It’s definitely not the safest neighborhoods to live in, but hey, I used to live in Lewisham, so I can totally deal with this.
Things I hate about The Collective
So here’s what I hate about The Collective:
It claims it houses 500 people, but the launderette only has about 7 washing machines and dryers. The communal areas are far too small to accommodate that many people (although I hardly see people in the Library or Secret Garden), considering you end up with about 50 people on each floor – now imagine 50 people share a communal kitchen. Finding an empty washing machine is a consistant issue, and I really think they would benefit from having a launderette on two separate floors.
- It’s still not registered on the map
Your apartment still won’t be registered on the map, making it harder to get things delivered. It does get delivered, of course, but make sure you are using the correct postcode and address. There are some delivery services that still don’t deliver to this postcode, which can be annoying for business people.
You get about 2-3 events at The Collective every day, but I wish that as they grow, they focus more on services for digital nomads and business people, as those are the people that primarily live in the building. So far, I’ve enjoyed several talks, but holding even more business-oriented talks that could help individuals with their own business would really separate the building from your typical student halls. At the moment The Collective is more focused on social events, like weekly football, speed meetings, yoga, etc. and I can’t wait for this to develop. (Since I wrote this, we had some AMAZING business talks <3 )
And last but not least, the price. Well, the price of the studios is quite normal as 1200 is kind of the normal (good, functional) studio rate in London and with bills included it kind of works out. But when your studio doesn’t have an oven, and when everything is super minimal, is it still worth it?
Overall, I think The Collective has a long way to go before becoming a real co-living experience, but considering they’re based in London, it’s an expansion just waiting to happen and I can’t wait to witness it. Here’s to a full year of living at the place! <3