I have a problem in my house currently – most of the ‘gloss’ work down the staircase and along the bannisters has worn away. I am peeved about this because only 3 years ago I paid for a decorator to do my entire house out from top to bottom. Every skirting board, cornice, ceiling, chimney breast etc. were painted. Instead of selecting gloss as we used to know it, this chap recommnded we put another product on – silk finish. It has never dried in the same way and almost immediately I noticed flecks of mud and harvest chaff getting stuck to it as soon as the door was opened. My bannister heads are in a proper state – yet they were still very well covered in the original gloss finish before matey started. I don’t ever do decorating if a chap is around to do it for me but I may have to amend that policy shortly – the combination of body lotionand hand cream on my hands has been the cause of the bannisters peeling like there’s no tomorrow!
I was watching a lifestyle tv show the other week – involving two brothers helping US & Canadanian families to bring their homes up to a certain value, so they can sell and move on up to their dream home – usually double the price of the old one. This programme is fascinating in that it highlights the massive difference between the build quality of our homes – ours have as standard a bricks and mortar outer wall over breeze blocks and all situated on sturdy concrete and brick foundation level. We have proper damp proofing courses and we really sturdy wind proof roof trusses and eaves inside. Properly fixed tiles help protect against most weather conditions. The remodelling of the houses is alarmingly cavalier but effective. The family pays aout $30K, but get the sales figure. I wonder why they don’t just stay in the fabulously remodelled house which is always an absolute dream in the end!
I do love looking around other folks’s homes. I am a very nosey person and there is nothing more interesting than either sitting at a cafe table or out on a verandah taking in the iews and being able to see what people are up to and what they have around them. It is a fact that I am very interested in other people’s lives too – maybe too much, but on the whole, I can be relied upon to always be there to help out when something happens, or when someone else is having a fund raising event or similar. You can only fit into a team and achieve things if you are interested in the people and their lives. The same is with design and decor in houses. It is difficult for me to relax and feel at home anywhere when I don’t like the decor or furnishings. I get a restless feeling and I start fidgeting. I particularly like looking at soft furnishing, cushions and bedding. I found some spectacular bedding sets uk when I visited one neighbour who had a rather lovely taste in designs.
I have a young relative who has struck lucky in their choice of partner – in fact they have both made a very good choice because they really do understand each other well and know and respect each other massively. This is such an important matter when couples live in each other’s pockets in that they live together and work in the same office. That sort of thing needs ground rules, no bossing or gossip between partners and great respect for other members in the office who are not in this cosy set up. The home life of course is all about compromise – when they are choosing new furnishings and decor, there is always a small amount of give and much take from the other side. But on the whole, the pair do manage to agree on themes, colourways and most important, what furniture should be placed where in the house. Compromise. That Magic word!
There is something quintessentially English about taking afternoon tea in a delightfully old fashioned tea shop. Oak tables and mismatched chairs, brightly coloured bunting that matches the table linen and cushions. The whole look is of course manufactured to give us that comfortable feeling of how things must have been in the good old days and therefore, it’s good enough for us now. We can bring this feeling of comfort and sustainability to our own homes by taking one room at a time, and changing the colour scheme to include sharper lines and maybe picking out an unusual ornament or lamp. This can be most effective if funds don’t run to changing the main furniture. A change of curtains, with the main colour picked out in cushions or table linens really do bring a touch of order and well being to a room, making it all the more inviting for those guests you hope to attract.
After I’d been living in my house for 12 years, I decided to take up the offer of a professional decorator to pop up to stay with me for exactly 2 of his 6 weeks UK break. He was scheduled to join his brother in Essex to do a rushed decorating and refurb in two heritage properties in London. As often happens, the works had been reprogrammed had bought his air tickets. I jokingly suggested he came and helped me rather than sit twiddling his thumbs. He did indeed come and stay in my spare room. Arriving at exactly 2pm straight off the plane, he had a quick cuppa then a tour of the house and having outlined what could be achieved in the time available, off we went for paint and other supplies. This was a fantastic idea – his work was so wonderful and I feel proud to have had the services of a true craftsman.