My beautiful, kind, dear friend Catherine is elegant, stylish, clever and generous and it's no wonder that her home reflects all of these qualities. Why she puts up with my own total lack of interior decorating skills is beyond me and yet, I'll be honest: she's hurt my feelings.
I mean come ON, Catherine. Look at our baby-cack brown house and the magnificent magna out the front - that's got more innercity chic oozing out of it than inanities from the mouths of Australian idol judges. If you want eclectic, try coming over on wheelie bin day - our footpath is cram-packed full of bins from the flats next door and the breeze blows cascading coke bottle and maccas wrappers from the high school four doors up. Atmosphere aplenty and you've gotta love the tree fern stumps that got burned during the 46C heatwave a couple of weeks ago.
Despite knowing all this, she persisted in nominating *gulp* other bloggers to complete memes showing pictures of their homes. Frank photographs of where they relax, blog (I said 'blog' Dad, not 'bog'), cook, bathe, spend time with their loved ones etc. Clearly she automatically assumed that I:
1) wouldn't be interested; and/or
2) possess the aesthetic sensibilities of an over-caffeinated warthog.
OK, so there's a possibility that she could be correct but my wounded pride insists that I do the meme too, if only to educate the rest of you about the importance your design and style choices.
Granted, Catherine's photographs of her home are indeed stunning. What's the most amazing part is I've visited her many times and it always looks this good. It never looks dusty, cluttered or hiding a jarring clash of junk and mess despite having an active and lively seven year old son living there too. This is what her bedroom looks like all the time. No, I have no idea where she hides her ugg boots, trashy novels, mobile phone charger or old 1990s concert t-shirt-as-pyjamas either.
My boudoir on the other hand, might not be quite so stylish but there's one feature she'd have to be green about. My fan.
This plastic purveyer of coolness is an antique; a true modern classic to rival any Philippe Starcke frippery. Purchased at roughly the same time as my Abba Arrival record, it has lasted all through my school years, university, shared houses, marriage, parenthood and house moving. If you look closely you can see the layers of fluff and dust that are stubbornly clinging to every chrome piece. The lovely brown plastic perfectly complements the unvarnished K-Mart mirror I can't be bothered hanging on the wall and the basket of roll-on deodorants that I'm starting to suspect are breeding. See, I can do this too, Catherine!
Catherine has professed a love for quirky side tables.
The butler-tray tables by her sofas are indeed gorgeous, but I reckon that my table also scores a few points on the style scale:
Cool, right? It's my grandfather's pot plant stand that he made in the 1930s that was languishing in his sunroom just after he moved into an aged care facility in 2003. He let me have it and I slapped (sorry: lovingly dressed) some leftover white skirting board paint on the little guy and voila - instant sophistication and just the right amount of space for the telly guide and remotes! See, I'm kicking creative arse in this meme.
Now kitchens are a regular feature of Home Beautiful, Better Homes and Gardens and Catherine's blog and fair enough when they look like this:
White, clean, bright and inviting. But where's the fridge hiding? How come the chux isn't hanging off the tap to dry and why is it shameful to have pesky little things like kettles and toasters on display?
Well, I'm proud to note that our kitchen bench tops are the same caesar-stone stuff that's so beloved of kitchens like the one above, but I'm not afraid to take a snap with the real life clutter still on it.
You've got the tea towel proudly dangling from the oven door, the cheapie white kettle, coveted coffee machine, grinder, leftover wine (only if it's red), iPod dock, school notices yet to be stuck on the fridge via a series of magnets, chicken mince defrosting, junk mail, shopping lists, various keys, pens and individual water glasses that we try and keep using continuously throughout the day so that there's only three to wash instead of twenty.
Oh and the mega packet of lolly snakes - the true kitchen essential.
I'm mean you're loving this, aren't you? Busy drafting your rapturous letters to Home Beautiful, begging them to contact Blurb from the Burbs for a refreshing visit to a house of style, substance and ..... stuff.
To the living room and the absolute essential: the pet bed.
I hope you all take note that the red bean bag cover has been specifically sewn by my talented mother at my request so that it matches our rug.
Unfortunately (and every good design story in magazines has a 'however if we could do one thing differently it would be to move the butler's pantry to the north side nearer the infinity edged pool'), having an orange dog who sheds more hairs than a nervous lamington does coconut means that said rug is often more orange than red and tends to form balls of mouse-sized pet fur when criss-crossed with too much traffic through the room.
In addition I have yet to devise a more attractive drinking dish for Milly than the old tupperware job that is surreptitiously hidden in front of the bookcase.
Finally, the bathroom. Actually I should emphasise first that we now have a bath. In Adelaide we only had a shower, so the bath is a luxury not for soaking in but for plugging up and then using the buckets to scoop up the water and fling out onto our almost-dead garden.
As I'm now getting used to having a shower standing in a pool of my own soap suds and filth I also use the water to give my thongs (that's flip flops to you Poms) a clean as well.
.... and look at the handy shelf that allows my footwear to dry, keep the buckets in line and Sapphire's shower cap to drain off?
Oh I have style, Catherine. Arse loads of it baby!