Friday, February 27, 2009

Blogging Beauty

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

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!


River said...

Drinking vessel for Milly? Get a large ceramic dish in colours to suit your decor, wide and flattish, like a large fuit or salad bowl. Get one that will blend in, or go wildly "over-the-top" so that it becomes a focal point, a talking piece. (conversation starter)
I agree that Catherine's rooms do look stunningly elegant, but I prefer the "people live and play here" look of your home and mine. (which has even less style than yours)
I had the twin to your unvarnished K-Mart mirror until it got broken in one of his rages, now I have something completely different, which I painted when I did the rest of my room.

Catherine said...

Oh dear I have been belly laughing reading this! I'm so sorry I didn't ask you to do my meme (so that what a meme is!)....I promise I won't ever do it again.
Should I be admitting that my bed is currently unmade (slept through the alarm this morning) and that I have a blankie, pijamas and a pokemon magazine strewn on the floor, care of my late night intruder?
And you are seriously underplaying your style young lady - that living room you did in your Adelaide home had some serious STYLE! I haven't seen the new place yet, but I'm sure it's looking pretty good too.

delamare said...

Well, I HAVE been to Kath, LC and Sapphire's new house (and met Mille and Skipper to boot), and I can tell you that I didn't notice any of the things she's highlighted here. What I did take in was that they live in a lovely home, with a gorgeous kitchen (there was no chicken defrosting on the day of my visit, but lots of chocolate and FU iced coffee on tap). The bathroom was lovely, the living room delightful and the bedrooms cosy (as they should be). True, the study was still half in and half out of boxes, but my visit was only a few weeks after they'd moved in. I'm sorry I didn't see the fan though - we had a blue one of those rattling around our family homes until quite recently.

delamare said...

And I forgot to mention that they have the neatest shed, complete with running machine, in western society. I'm dead jealous.

Baino said...

Well Cathering (bless you) obviously doesn't have slobby 22 year old's eating on her snowy couches and cluttering her benches with empties. Your interior looks a little more like mine actually . . then I cheat and shove clutter into cupboards. There's one above my microwave that I dare not open for fear of being showered by a plethora of doggy stuff and electrical cables, warranties and bricabrac. I might steal this one tho Kath . .but only after I've done the cleaning! A neat shed! Jesus! Don't come over here whatever you do! I can barley get around mine for the junk! Yes, I'll post a pic!

ashleigh said...

Crikey, you think you are bad, you want to see my house. Well, you have actually, but that was after a mad flurry of tidying up.

We normally have the vacuum cleaner (affectionately known as "Mr D" - because its a Dyson) lying in the passageway for 2-3 weeks at a time, and many of the school notices struggle to make it from a pile on the kitchen table to the fridge. Why not cut out the middleman and just take them from the kitchen-table-pile straight to the recycling bin?

And we won't even consider the piles of stuff on top of the microwave and the clutter of unwashed dishes. After all with water restrictions, those things that can't do in the dishwasher get put in a queue and when there are enough we do a big wash-up with all the water from that going onto the front lawn. Of course, washing the dishes more often has a benefit: the lawn gets watered more, but there is an attendant downside. It's called (wait for it...) washing dishes :(

And don't dare look at the school science experiment going on in the fridge...

Mmmm - side tables. We have one of those. I bought it for $20 at a cheap furniture place the week I moved out of home. Raw. Figured it was badly made and not strong enough so added a bunch of extra glue, screws, etc, and clear lacquered it. Now it would take a bomb to damage it, and it's still with us. Ugly, but functional. Sigh.

Really must do a tidy-up some time.

Kath Lockett said...

Yep River, I'll find some red and white doggie drinking dish at some stage. Another thing to add to the list underneath other essentials like non-shedding bath towels, windows without dog-nose prints on them and tiled floors that are coloured well enough to disguise stray pubes and belly button lint.

Catherine a 'meme' is 'Me Me'ie stuff about you. Glad to read that your room is messy - would you dare release a photo of a before and after?

Delamere you are kind. A joy to be with, and loved by all. Amen.

Oh but the shed was all Love Chunks' work, so I dare not claim credit.

Baino, go right ahead with this meme. I think every kitchen has one of those cupboards but instead of wayward dog leads they usually contain old tupperware lids that shoot out like deranged frisbees. They tend to get flung back inside the cupboard in the same manner they left it; only to fly out again when the next unsuspecting sap opens the door.

No Ashleigh you should do a meme like Baino. You are both hereby officially tagged.

TOM said...

Kath, I will most certainly complete my task and share my blogging space, I mean it's not every day I get tagged by a Stylish and Sophisticated Australian Gal such as you(-: Now I'll need to go clean my cave up and snap some pictures

Catherine said...

Me again Kath - I have done a before and after on my mess before - there's one of my desk in a huge mess, then tidied up! I did it a few months ago but it shouldn't be hard to find.

Fiona Taylor said...

Priceless post, Kath. Laughed until I cried. Catherine is a hard act to follow, no doubt about it. Keep up the good work both of you!

Kath Lockett said...

Fiona, I'm deeply hurt at your laughter. Surely someone as gifted and talented as yourself can see the effort I put into my home? *Sniff*

eleanor bloom said...

"sheds more hairs than a nervous lamington does coconut..." Hee. Love it!