#howirent: “Social Housing has allowed my family to put down roots and establish a better future.”  

Welcome back to another episode of howirent! If this is your first time visiting, hello! Let me give you a quick run through . . .

I’m Medina, a DIY Blogger and Author of Home Sweet Rented Home). I am absolutely crazy about interiors and decorating my rented home. For years, I have felt renters to be a group of people that were often over looked in the world of Interior Design, so this year I thought it about time I addressed that.

Thats where this series comes in! #HowiRent is a monthly home tour series I started that champions renters, who in spite of all the usual renting constraints, have managed to transform their homes into abodes of personality and style. Click here to see the previous guests in this series.

[All of the beautiful photographs below have been shot by Kasia Fizser.]

. . . . . .


Africa Daley-Clarke!!

Africa daley-clarke smiling into the camera

Africa is one my favourite people to follow on Instagram and also happens to be a dear friend. We met on online at the beginning of this year – although I’ll admit it does sometimes feel like we’ve known each other much longer! There are some people you meet in life that you just gel with immediately, Africa for me, is one of those people.

Africa (who goes by The Vitamin D project on Instagram) works full time as a showroom designer, is a mother to two beautiful girls Israel and Ezra (often featured on her Instagram grid), and wife to her husband Jermel.

Africa daley-clarke and her daughter Israel

On her blog, she shares written accounts of her personal experiences with post-natal depression and the effect it had on her family after the birth of her first child. Her challenging journey into motherhood is something I’m sure a lot of women can relate to.

What I admire most about Africa is her unwavering confidence and clarity when discussing topics that are important to her. She often uses her platform to champion the lack of representation and diversity in children’s books and brands. Her personal style is one of a kind and her home (as well as her fashion sense), is a true reflection of that!

In this episode, we are talking quite frankly about renting via social housing and the stigmas surrounding that. Hope you enjoy – over to Africa !


Hi Africa. Can you tell us a little about yourself? Do you have any hobbies?

It’s probably the wrong time to ask as I’m in the midst of a mid-life crisis! But, I’m Africa, I have the most amazing, supportive husband and two beautiful children. My hobbies are sewing, eating and travelling.

Africa daley-clarke standing in the entrance of  her living room and smiling

The plant pictured is a Banana Tree.

Where do you live and who do you live with?

I live in North London with my husband Jermel and two daughters Israel, 3 and Ezra 1.

How long have you lived in this apartment?

View of the wall shelves in the living rooom

Almost 5 months.

Image of ss windrush on the wall of Africas' living room

This is a painting of SS. WINDRUSH

View of the dining area in the living room. Two chairs under the table are for children

Close up of wall shelving DECORATED WITH PLANTS AND BOOKS

Wall shelving in the living room that has adjustable shelving.

Home Sweet Rented Home

You mentioned in the video that you live in social housing, for those who might not have heard of it this before, what does this entail?

It’s a non-subsidized accommodation where the rents are pegged to local wages. The rent is often termed affordable as your “landlord” operates on a non-profit basis, with any excess funds going straight back into social housing. There is relative stability as most new tenancies are for 5 years.

Before image of social housing kitchen

Before look at Kitchen

Image of social housing kitchen with open plan shelving made from wood

The kitchen cabinets have been custom fit to the space.

Cups on scaffolding shelving

Have you ever experienced any stigma because you live in social housing?

There is often a misconception that Social Housing is funded by others (tax-payers). This misconception brings with it a huge stigma and I’ve noticed it creates a huge rift between not so much homeowners and renters but private renters and those eligible for social housing.The waiting lists are extremely long and the eligibility process extremely rigorous, so whilst there is a lot of stigma, I try to remember that Social Housing has allowed my family to put down roots and establish a better future.

Ebay vintage cooker in the kitchen

The vintage cooker was purchased for a bargain price off EBay

What do you like most about this apartment?

Our outdoor space is a real blessing.

Knifes and scissors on wall rack

Fruits and veg in hanging baset

Do you have a favourite piece of furniture or home accessory in your home?

My best find is our theatre seats which I found on eBay. I’m saving up to have them upholstered next year with some fabric my mum found for us as the green is a little close to our sofa colour.

Africas daughter israel sitting on the cinema seats and eating an apple

Africa’s daughter Israel
What is it like renting from Housing association? Are there any restrictions with decorating?

Whilst there is more freedom than a typical landlord set up, we still had to ensure we had written permission from our Housing Officer before proceeding with any works and that our builders were both certified and fully vetted beforehand.its important for me to remember that while we have relative stability here, it isn’t our forever home and will likely be passed on to another family in the near future and so any significant that changes we made, we had to put a lot of thought into beforehand.

Bathroom view. Wooden cabinet and   sink with mirror atop

Close up of concrete sink in bathroom

How would you describe your decorating style?

It’s a hard one and to be honest, I really don’t think I fit into a decorating niche. I want people to walk into our home and no instantaneously that it belongs to us .Our lifestyle should resonate in every room in its own way. I also really like the idea of rooms looking well-worn as opposed to new and shiny. If they start well worn, you don’t find yourself needing to do a “revamp” every so often. Not much should change here decor wise over the next 5 years and I’m very happy with that.

Before image of bathroom

Bathroom before makeover

Bathroom with brick and green tile and black shower screen

Do you have any favourite brands? Small Business shout outs?

Not really. I tend to fall in love with one item from a brand and not really be too fussed about anything else they sell. If I had the money, I’d kit the whole house in Lombok. As yet I don’t think I could even afford a napkin from there but a girl can dream. Oh and if it wasn’t already obvious I live on eBay. It will always be my first port of call for both clothing and interiors.

View of the kids room from doorway. Books placed on wooden ledges

Where do you get inspiration from?

Everywhere. I think people forget to look outside the box and Social Media is probably the main reason for that. We have this immediate window into the finished product at all times and often we’re then only a tap away from adding to our shopping basket. I love to look at textures.And then think about how I can apply them in my own home. I fell down a Pinterest rabbit-hole looking at reeded glass tumblers and now I have this idea of how to to upcycle some new door frames if we ever get round to changing them. I think the biggest mistake we make is taking things too literal and that really does limit inspiration.

View of kids bedroom with bunk bed. Crib places under top bunk. Yellow canapy over bed

Kids storage drawers placed under the large window

The IKEA trofast system used as toy storage

How do you feel about renting? Do you ever see yourself buying a home one day?

I know most people feel security from being a home owner, but coming from such a humble background nothing terrifies me more. I find it bizarre that nobody acknowledges the fact that unless you’re buying outright you are wading right into 25 years of extreme debt.It’s the only debt we celebrate! I would love to be in a position to commit to the cost of a London mortgage each month -and whilst our rent is (in my opinion) still exceptionally high, unless we found a mortgage that was comparative to our rent prices I don’t think home ownership would be on the cards for us anytime soon.

Ikea play kitchen hack

Would you decorate differently if you bought a home?

Nope! And that’s the beauty of buying intentionally.

Can you share any renter friendly DIYS you’ve done recently?

Because we have a relative freedom to decorate, most of our DIY jobs may not be “renter-friendly” in the traditional sense, but if we ever get round to updating our doors I’ll share that with you.

Girls bedroom.

So what do you think of Africa’s home? Do you have any thoughts you’d like to add to the discussion of social housing? Leave a comment below. As always your support and shares are always appreciated. You can also share your rented homes on Instagram using #HowIRent.

Filed under For Renters, Home & Garden, How I Rent, Interiors, Uncategorised

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  1. Brenda Swann

    What a beautiful soul.

  2. Jamila

    This was an absolute delight! The words and images are both so inspiring, love the family’s style and ethos!

  3. Anonymous

    I absolutely love this. I’ve been a renter all my life and I’ll probably be till I die. Currently living in the equivalent of social housing in California. And while I predict I’ll have much more restrictions than Africa and her family have encountered. I’m so. Inspired by this!

  4. bridey davies

    Medina and Africa this is absolutely gorgeous and a really insightful interview. Thank you! X

      1. This is such a beautiful home and I love that every corner reflects her individuality, heritage and personal style. Love the bursts of color and greenery – looks amazing!