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.