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Cocktails on the verandah, darling? How Sasha created an al fresco haven from nothing at all

In these frustrating locked down times, a breath of fresh air can make all the difference between a good or a bad day – a feeling of coping or on the verge of a meltdown because we’re all feeling it.

People have never appreciated the open countryside or their gardens as much as they do right now. On a smaller scale, a balcony, terrace or yard – even if it’s the size of a postage stamp – attached to your property has become a privilege more than ever before.


And not only because it enables us to take a breath of fresh air, but because it allows us to observe from a distance without fear of catching the dreaded virus.

So, it’s little wonder that people living in areas, like London, where outdoor space is of a premium and usually comes with a huge price tag, that the balcony has become the must-have requirement for apartment dwellers.

Raising the floor and adding decking

When Sasha White moved into her Tooting apartment, she clocked the tiny balcony and thought instantly of what she could do to create a stylish outdoor space.

“It was originally just an empty area. There was a concrete floor with a 20cm drop from the door. It’s a circular building and the balcony is south facing with a bit of a panoramic view as it’s on a curve so I wanted to be able to use it in summer,” says the 26-year-old, who shares with housemate, Kate. 

“I started by cleaning and painting the walls to freshen them up, then bought some plastic blocks to raise the flooring to level with the doorstep and finally, I laid some decking. I bought a corner seat and a bench to make a little sofa, some fake bamboo, bright cushions, side table, and a plant stand. Then a few months later I made a shelf to lock onto the top out of scaffolding boards so we can rest drinks and put plants out.”

Sasha (right) and Kate

Sasha, who works in sales at a SAAS (tech) company in Soho, bought the bench from online DIY store Mano Mano, the corner seat was from the OutSunny range, and the scaffolding boards from a building website.

Total cost was between £400-500 including paint, tiling and soft furnishings.

The quintessential drinks shelf

“Kate and I have certainly had our use out of the balcony. It makes us VERY happy, particularly on a hot summer’s day. We spent a big chunk of summer out there, we’d have a coffee in the morning, lunch out there. I often took my laptop and worked out there, and then dinner/wine/cocktails in the evening. It gets the sun all day so ideal to go out whenever.”

For more small balcony inspiration check out:

Diane Cooke
Diane Cooke is a three times award-winning journalist who has worked for UK national/regional newspapers, magazines and websites.

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