TV PRESENTER Will Best, 31, has been in his one-bedroom flat in trendy Hackney for just over a year now — and the novelty of living on his own for the first time still hasn’t worn off.
‘I have to be “on” at work interviewing people in front of a camera so when I get home, I sometimes don’t want to speak to people and just want to sit around in my pants. It’s my first time living alone and I really like it.’
Will had previously lived with girlfriends or friends — moving to London ten years ago after university in Manchester. He’s mostly lived in east London, choosing to rent this flat because he loves the area.
‘It feels like home round here,’ he says. ‘London’s the best city in the world. It’s got history, modern stuff and an amazing music and arts scene. And there’s so many amazing bars and restaurants here.
‘As I’m getting older I’m getting more into food and poncey wine. There’s a good wine shop near me and two Michelin-starred restaurants which aren’t as expensive as you’d think. I also used to run club nights and it’s convenient to get to lots of the venues from here.’ Will hadn’t set up home before so he had to start from scratch. ‘I didn’t have a knife, fork, spoon, bed sheets… I moved in with a suitcase and bin bag,’ he says.
Once the essentials were purchased he bided his time before investing in furniture. ‘I sat on the floor for a few weeks. It was pretty bare in here.’
Favouring the clean lines of mid-century furniture, Will eventually found a chair and sofa on eBay. The seller was an upholsterer who specialises in mid-century furniture. ‘He said, “Do you do a lot of lounging? Because this is sofa isn’t very comfortable,” But I think it is — although I don’t lounge much.’
He bought the chair and sofa together for £1,300 then found a coffee table — an original from the 1950s by British designers Ercol — for £250 on Gumtree.
But there is one surprise piece of furniture missing. ‘Although I’m a TV presenter I don’t have a TV because then it dictates where you put your furniture. I didn’t want the focus of the room to be sitting watching the telly.’ Other items of interest in his open-plan kitchen/living room include a neat dining table from Made with benches from Ikea, numerous art works and an electronic drum kit — a purchase inspired by film La La Land.
‘I’ve wanted to learn the drums since the age of seven,’ he says. ‘But I thought I should have started drumming as a child because I’d be really good by now.
‘So that put me off. After seeing La La Land, which is about following your dreams, I decided if I learned now I could be quite good in ten years. I’ll be in my early forties by then, which is still young, so I’ll have years left of being good at drumming.’
Despite his glamorous occupation, Will finds his area is unaffordable for most buyers, including him. ‘When I moved into this flat another one-bedroom very near, which was smaller, went on the market for £550,000 which seemed very expensive,’ he says.
‘I’m at the age where my dad is freaking out I don’t own anywhere. I will buy something but I’m not in a rush. It’s like with the sofa — I was looking for the right one.
‘So if I’m prepared to sit on the floor for a few weeks then I’m prepared to wait to buy a flat.’
■ Will Best presents The Art Show on Sky Arts on Tuesdays until August 1