I had got to the point of needing to declutter my house – very very big time. I started with my wardrobes. A younger relative decided to give Aunty a hand and within moments of suggesting how to address my personal decor dilemma, we were upstairs pulling out piles of clothing, a section at a time. Painful as this operation turned out to be at the time – the now cliched charity / sell / tip bagging system did actually clear my disfunctional dressing routine and has eased my mornings 100%. Moving on from that I’ve decided to apply the same tactics to improve the rest of my house – room by room. It’s a large house and this project is proving unsettling. My resolve has been pushed to the limit with over sentimentality and the almost pathalogical inability to make a decision on what to keep and what not, without a strong grip offered by my very practical, if slightly ruthless niece. The whole purpose of this exercise, if I remember correctly, was to help me decide on a new decor design – and I have to admit, the sense of relief when I finish session of ‘slum clearance’ is beginning to help me see light at the end of a very long tunnel.
One of the wonders of this last couple of years for me certainly is the ability to subscribe to an app for magazines. Any published glossy can be mine to download at any time for a small fee per month. I love it. There’s a magnificent range – exactly as on the racks at the local supermarket. My personal go to theme is always county and country mags with all the posh houses for sale with their luscious kitchens and incredible landscaped gardens . . . followed by the more down to earth housing ones that show what folk have done with fairly mundane looking terraces or semis in more interesting locations. These offer a glimpse of what is actually possible on a more normal budget . The personal decor ideas of one family of course is not likely to appeal in all aspects to any other but you can get a good idea of how to redesign your own pokey little downstairs cloakroom or how to utilise the kitchen cupboards in a more logical manner. Decor ideas flow freely in both magazine genres – it’s wonderful to just sit back and dream of a new and freshly updated house!
Things they are a-changing where home decor is concerned. The way we look at and present our homes is altering according to the style of programme we like to watch on day time tv – I have seen many a sitting room that has undergone a rapid transformation from a twee overfilled death trap into a light filled, calmly furnished oasis of relaxation. This is due to the plethora of fantastic style shows that cover how to declutter and make tidy; how to reuse the existing furniture in a house but in a better way; how to decorate a room etc. etc. There are many other shows that deal with the personal decor when accessorising a room too. The colour scheme we choose often reflects favourite memories from childhood – keeping the neutral palette is fine up to a point but then a splash of something truly exotic will never be unappreciated. Adding really beautiful cushions to a plain suite that co-ordinates with the curtains is a fast and inexpensive method.
I was ona holiday recently, travelling about and was in a very scenic part of Canada for a couple of days. It was great looking around some ‘old’ cottages up in a Heridian heritage centre – I found myself in the company of nearly 100 very tough scots folk who were doing their own voyages of discovery – mostly regarding relatives who had flown the nest many generations ago. I found the whole experience exhiliarating to visit a very windswept old crofter’s cottage. Inside were the various items it was thought the first settlers had brought with them on the long voyage from Scotland to Nova Scotia . . . . very rudimentary selection it was too. A bison horn hollowed out to make a drinking flask. Wooden platters to eat off – or boards, hence we get the phrase, board and lodgings – you carried your food board with you. We so rely o instant quick preparation time with kitchens dripping with stainless steel pans and vessels. Massive cooking stoves of all sorts.
All properties nowadays have heating and cooking by lectricity or gas as the first option available. having so many choices of cookig range and hob top available for kitchens. these are a couple of the choices to consider.
Gas cooker – flames are generated under the cooking pan. Fantastic for quckly changing the temperature and are inexpensive to operate. Howwver, they are notoriously more difficult to keep shiny and clean compared to other methods. But it can be done.
Induction hob: Very similar to ceramic types, circular coils generatie a pure magnetic field this unducting the heat directly under the pan. TThey require special pans and this can be an expense not catered for.
Ceramic: generating the heat just under the pan which keeps it centred. A hob made of ceramic finished is special glass which very easy to keep spotles and is stylish – poweered by electricity of course.
One of the most wonderful things about growing up in our multi cultural world today is the chance to experience how other nations and peoples house themselves and furnish thos dwellings. I don’t travel as much as others – the sheer effort of getting through the queues at airports and ferry ports – all that business with customs……. so I travel at home by watching the excellent choice of travelogues and lifestyle programmes on tv. At the moment my interest seems drawn towards the constant stream of ‘updoing’ of houses – we see a hapless family who have outgrown a house that would seem quite large here, and the ‘expert’ is shown criticising and suggesting how to improve it – generally to sell on so the family can move on up to their more desired size home. Although the programmes must now be a few seasons old, it’s still fascinating to see what the families – usually in Canada and North America, choose as essentials on their new home wish list. I note that they still plump for the large family sized L shaped sofas, but these are often put in the childrens’ tv areas. The main family rooms are more refined with smart furniture that reflects a neater, less staid image. Designers can make such a difference to a home. They see things that will suit a property and family which could otherwise get overlooked.
I have never felt totally happy in dark wood lined rooms. I’m wondering if this has anything at all to do with my sister having locked me in our nan’s shed once and dropped the key, so I was stuck in there for some while until the whole family had searched and failing to find the key, broke down the door and got me out. The smell of a shed doesn’t worry me persay, but I can’t shut the door unless I’m in charge of the shutting/locking device. So when I was visiting some friends who have bought an old house – plans to refurbish and fully redecorate in the making at this very minute – I was horrified to find myself wandering around a very wood lined interior. It was awful – real 1970s planks up the walls, on the ceiligs and even up the stairs. Strangely though, the only place it wasn’t utilised fully was on the floor. The wonderful solid oak planks we enjoy today were not fashionable then – no it was shag pile carpets to tone with the wooden slatted walls. Help!
When you go out into a garden, any garden, there will inevitably be some form of seating – a bench, couple of patio chairs, swing settee underneath a canopy . . . . . . the variety is endless and for the most part, each will be lovingly popped into the garage or shed for protection over the worst of the winter. What we don’t need to do however is decorate anything outside very often. Unlike in the house – the internal decor is very important to us. How a room looks says a great deal about us ad our personality. Take the uniquitous cream 3 seater leather sofa and matching armchair. I have one set exactly so – plus another matching 2 seater sofa, which is in my family room. The set was bought new as we waited for our house to be built – a well known furnishing store was closing down and they had a tremendous sale. We managed to buy three beds, complete with matresses and headboards; the sofas and armchair and lots of large pictures from their display settings – it would have cost a fortune if the shop wasn’t closing. I’m sure if there had been online sites, he would have managed a bargain like that – I like to think so.
Kitchens are a very personal matter. Well so are most things in our own houses of course, but how we like to work in a kitchen is a critical to our existence. I don’t do a lot of cooking these days, or I didn’t until a little while ago when I realised I’d fallen into the trap that many singletons do – eating any old thing for the main meal, because it’s easy and quick and I’d lost interest in the fundamental art of choosing food and cooking a decent meal for myself. However I have recently started to try different recipes and have actually enjoyed the process of sitting and thinking about what I’d actually find tasty and how I want to cook it. Having a modern kitchen helps. Mine’s not overly large – but I have work space and lots of useful cupboards. The overn has a pull down door which helps with weighty dishes, and I’m only now, years after moving in, discovering the joy of having a utility room separate from the main concourse!
Taking time to sort out what decor one wants in an area of the house can be very time consuming and the start of many an argument amongst those that live there but don’t contribute! I have found this amongst some of my friends who’s adult children have come home to nest again. There was a feeling some years ago that the kids had left home and it was now the adults’ time to stretch wings and make some time for their own travels and hobbies. Not a hope now. The grown up toddlers are back from uni, usually earning reasonably but not well enough to buy a house of their own. But when mum and dad want to start decorating their own house, you’d be amazed how many of the returners suddenly find their voice and make objections. They have read the magazines and seen the high ideals of city life. But they don’t want to pay for it!