4 things in British homes Americans find weird, according to a Florida woman who moved there

4 things in British homes Americans find weird, according to a Florida woman who moved there
  • Florida native Brittany Hayes, 31, moved to England with her British fiancé in 2019. 
  • The couple bought a $365,000 three-bedroom home that hasn’t been touched since 1971. 
  • As they renovate, Hayes has chronicled four things in British homes that Americans would deem odd. 

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Brittany Hayes grew up in sunny Orlando, Florida, but she’s now a homeowner in gray Birmingham, England.

Hayes met her fiancé in 2013 while they both were teaching English in South Korea. They followed each other to jobs in Japan and finally to his hometown, in the UK’s West Midlands region, in 2019.

This year, the couple purchased a $365,000, three-bedroom home, with a dreamy garden of plum, pear, and cherry trees. Ever since, they’ve been documenting their journey at @brickhousechronicles on TikTok.

A video Hayes posted in September documented the features of a classic British home that are baffling to her and other Americans. It earned 700,000 likes and over 5,000 comments from defensive Brits and flabbergasted Americans.

“I’ve been getting used to the culture for so long, so some of it feels normal. But it’s a little tricky to figure out at first,” Hayes, who now works in marketing, told Business Insider.

She broke down the architecture and interior-design choices — at least in old-school English abodes — that stand out to her the most.

Separate faucets for hot and cold water

A common feature in British homes is also one of its most frustrating, Hayes said.

An overwhelming number of old sinks have two faucet heads, one that Hayes said runs “extremely hot” and another that runs “bitterly cold.” The setup force a hand-washer to dart back and forth between extreme temperatures, desperate for a middle ground.

Hayes said she believes the separate faucets have something to do with an outdated style of plumbing that is still prevalent because England has so many old homes.

A sink with a hot faucet and a cold faucet.

Sinks in England have both hot and cold faucets, something Hayes finds confounding.

Courtesy of Brittany Hayes

Newer homebuilders have phased out the two-headed system; the sinks in the 1970s house that Hayes and her fiancé bought have a more modern one-faucet system.

No outlets in the bathrooms

Americans used to blow-drying their hair or charging an electric toothbrush in the bathroom might find it a little harder to do the same in England.

It’s a “cultural fear” that there’s too much water in the room to safely have electrical outlets, Hayes said, even though American homes routinely have them.

Hayes said she set up a vanity in her guest room to make up for the bathroom deficiency.

The resistance to adding outlets has her stumped, she added.

“If we can do it in the US, there must be a way we can do it in the UK,” she said.

Washing machines in the kitchens

A British kitchen typically comes with an extra appliance: a washing machine.

The units, which are often smaller than American machines and don’t have a companion dryer, are usually tucked under the counter.

A washing machine in a kitchen.

The washing machine in Hayes’ kitchen.

Courtesy of Brittany Hayes

Hayes said it’s taken some time to get used to her new laundry room.

“It’s a weird thing to have your clean clothes in a room with a lot of food smells,” she said.

The smaller size of the drum also took some adjusting. In larger American machines, Hayes said, she could do laundry once a week. Now, they throw in a load nearly every other day.

No air conditioning

The majority of British homes don’t have air conditioning, Hayes said, and its residents are “happy to suffer” during summer’s most brutal heat waves. They’ll sleep with ice packs or forgo clothes around the house.

That was not an option for Hayes. The very first purchase in their new home was an AC unit for their bedroom.

“It’s just essential to me,” she said.

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