[Remote Year] Coliving at the Collective London

Somehow we have passed the 1/3 mark of our Remote Year experience and left our first continent (South America) this past weekend for continent #2 (Europe).

We traveled about 26 hours to go Cusco — Lima — Bogota — London and arrived to our new home for the month around 6 pm on Saturday.

This month, we’re staying at a new Coliving + Coworking space in Zone 2 of London: The Collective Old Oak.

I’m going to take you on a little photo tour, so scroll away, curious people of the internet!

Happily showered + fed in the Collective’s lobby post-travel day. [photo cred: Dave, RY]

The Collective just opened in May, so we’re among the first people moving in and living here. As you can read on their website, they’re all about well-designed individual spaces + beautiful shared spaces and facilities + a community manager + all-inclusive bills. Which, if you’re a young and/or single person, are some good perks.

Communal spaces are designed on each floor to bring people together: from quiet spaces you can work in through to open spaces to socialise in. Even the laundrette makes doing laundry a less lonely experience.
The Collective Old Oak lobby and seating area.

Twodio

Our RY group is living all on one floor in “Twodios” — get it, like studio but two! Twodio. Adorable! (?)

We’re living in pairs and have a door (keycard entry) to a shared kitchenette space and then each person has their own bedroom (keycard entry).

Our rooms are compact, but since they’re new and clean and I’m not huge, it’s fine for me. I do wonder how some of our guys fare with fitting in the shower, and it’s hard to imagine couples comfortably sharing the bed every night. Not my problem!

The storage could be done better — more shelves, drawers, etc would be helpful, but I suppose if I were moving in for a yearlong contract (which I think is more the norm?), I’d buy what suited my personal storage needs.

As it is, I bought 8 extra (cheap plastic) hangers in Buenos Aires that make it manageable (and have now been to four countries), and luckily living out of bags means we don’t have all that much. The beds do lift up for extra storage, so at least our suitcases are out of the way.

Living in a futuristic pod! My personal bathroom + bedroom, and our shared kitchenette (the right lower door is a mini fridge).

Each floor also has a common kitchen so that if you want to make bigger meals or have a dinner party (!), there’s a comfortable option for that. The kitchenettes in our Twodios are more meant for quick meals.

I haven’t cooked yet, but I am excited to get back at it and hopefully do some baking, and the kitchen appears to have what I need. Yay!

The communal kitchen on our floor, which RY has thoughtfully (or else we riot!) stocked with some basics for us to work with. But I believe the other kitchens have essentials in terms of utensils and equipment, just not shared food items.

Now let’s explore all the special themed common areas that the Collective is so darn excited* about, shall we?

*To be fair, they’re actually pretty cool. Since I’ve only been here 2 days, I can’t vouch for their usability too much yet, but the aesthetic certainly is (at least) superficially impressive.


Signage

The Collective (yes, the more you say it, the weirder it gets… THE COLLECTIVE…) has signs all around the building, which is a good thing because it’s a bit confusing in all these utilitarian hallways to remember where you are!

“You are here, now just walk through 5 fire doors and you’ll end up in a themed room. But wait, if you have to go to the bathroom, you’ll need your key card to operate the elevator, go into your twodio, and then enter your bedroom so you can pee there. Because there are NO bathrooms on any other floor*.”

*Yes, really. I have no idea how they designed an entire building without noticing / caring that they aren’t bathrooms for people to use on each floor — nope, you must get through 3 layers of security and travel multiple floors to answer nature’s call. Sorry!

I guess it keeps us taking regular breaks to move around, though, so maybe it’s some kind of collaboration with the British Ministry of Healthy Daily Activity or something. 
/end bathroom rant


Spa

We fancy now:

The spa — looking forward to lounging here in my robe (yes, I travel with a robe #glamorous). The triangle pillow mats remind me of SE Asia except these look clean, bug-free, and not worn to death by traveling hippies. There’s also a dry sauna, which will be nice if my room ever cools off enough for me to stop sweating in there (and my nose recovers from 8 weeks at altitude). Sass aside, this room is beautiful and I love it. I hope they have a free masseuse come so I can get my neck rubbed on.

Secret Garden

I’m not sure what makes it secretive, but I guess calling it just a garden would be boring.

Again, ignore my sass because this room is lovely. They have yoga mats, which means I’ll probably teach a few classes and finally not have to worry about everyone hurting their knees / back.

The books are all flower/garden themed — how consistent! The wall next to this table is all windows, which makes for nice natural light.

Cinema + Game Room

These are separate floors, but I’m grouping them together thematically because they’re all about entertainment!

You’ll have to zoom in to read it, but the movie posters are all redesigned versions of famous movies, which I thought was a nice touch for consistency (the designer(s) had a field day with this place).

I am seriously excited to play some games with people (anyone? hit me up) and cuddle puddle for Game of Thrones and movie nights (the cinema is full of giant bean bags AND has a popcorn machine).

The first two images are the cinema — I couldn’t take pictures of the actual room because some people were watching something. The other three are the game room —I like the little old school games wall decoration.

Library

This is my favorite room! I’m actually writing this post here right now :o

Yes, that’s a fire encased in the wall, and the wallpaper is bookshelf themed (Dave just caught me looking at it and told me that they aren’t real books. Thanks, Dave.)

If I were designing the reading nook bench seats, I would have angled them the other direction because I like to wedge myself in. I wonder if I’d just slide out if I tried to lean against them as is. I’d go test it now but five people just walked in with a realtor tour, so I’m going to pretend like I’m a mature adult hard at work on my laptop until they leave. shhh.


Themed Kitchens

Although their names suggest otherwise, the Pub, French Bistro, and Tea Room are just themed kitchens. They’re pretty cool, but everyone’s reaction so far has been “okay, so the pub doesn’t actually have beer?”

The English Pub, The French Bistro, and The Tea Room.

As you can see, the Pub isn’t very pubby (I’m sure the British use that term *all* the time), and the Tea Room looks pretty Japanese to me but maybe they can’t say that (despite calling the other rooms English and French?).

Again, these are pretty nice spaces, but just have small kitchens on the other side. Not like, special pub or bistro or tea things. I thought maybe I’d be able to get french fries or a croque madame or drink tea with a mad hatter or something, but no such luck :(


So there you have it! You’ve now walked all around The Collective, or at least the important indoor rooms.

There are also some terrace areas, and a few of us went for a nice 5k jog this morning along the river that runs adjacent to the building (complete with houseboats and lots of people biking to work!).

PS by “nice 5k jog”, I mean I coughed and sniffled my jet-lagged body 5k at a snail’s pace while mentally cursing everyone in my group who’s bragged about how living at altitude has made physical activity at sea level so easy. I probably have a cold or something, but I’m still mad that I didn’t get the magical superhero fitness level-up they did. Whatever.


Katherine is a digital nomad, working remotely while she travels the world — on the road since June 2014. She’s a member of Remote Year 2 Battuta, living around the world with 75 other digital nomads from February 2016 to January 2017.

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