Friday 15 June 2018

World of Interiors 13


The venue currently called Harry Cockers had been through many identities in the previous decade, as various kinds of bars and restaurants became fashionable. Its latest manifestation was very thirties, with bright jagged lines along every surface, and wall-panels showing geometrically stylized silhouettes of dancing figures in evening dress.
(Simon Brett, Dead Giveaway)

Alex Polizzi: Depersonalise! It’s not your house! 
Also Alex Polizzi: It’s so beige, darling. Add some personality! (@sleuthstress)

a) Remove the naff knicknacks.
b) Add some more upmarket knicknacks.

Perhaps the attraction is “I am staying in an upmarket hotel therefore I am an upmarket person.” And then they can put the price up. By “beige”, Alex doesn’t mean “everything is the colour of straw, sand or digestive biscuits”, she means it’s “dull”.

Bed runners have reached Travelodge, reports an informant.

An article points out that property programmes always recommend “knocking through”, and that the “void” has become bigger and bigger.

A recent (2018) study showed that American houses are getting bigger and bigger, but American families live in about a third of the space. Diagram shows an unused dining room, a barely used “reception room” and a lived-in “family room”.

The Nouveau-Richards have built a lovely new house with a light-filled atrium. It has all the usual rooms, but they’re quadruple the usual size, and the furniture looks a bit lost. Mrs NR has enough space for yoga exercises in her enormous bedroom, but she wonders what to do with the huge field that surrounds the house. She can’t even put a swimming pool out there – it’s in the basement. Caro suggests a croquet lawn and herbaceous borders, and Samantha offers to create a shrubbery with winding paths, and a pergola with vines.

Per the New Yorker, vast US McMansions have “lawyer foyers” and “garage mahals”. The lawyer, presumably, never gets further than the foyer. “Hall, please – only theatres and hotels have foyers,” says Caro. “And it doesn’t rhyme with lawyer, vous voyez?” “Or is it modelled on the office of a New York law firm?” asks Samantha.

Starting in the 1930s, modernist design brought indoor and outdoor spaces to flow together with greater ease. To seek out even more air and light, interior spaces became less distinguished from one another. A new moralism underwrote the opening of the house plan, too: that a house’s design should facilitate a lofty attitude in its occupants... The hope was that light and openness in the physical environment might elevate the social and creative virtues of the individuals who lived there. (

See the Victorians designing cemeteries as arboreta with winding paths, explicitly hoping that the “chastely designed” monuments would “elevate the taste” of those who strolled there. Betjeman’s “bright canteens” were intended to cheer up the workers. But remember what they were replacing: mid-century cemeteries were grim, and Edwardian workers’ facilities were dimly lit and painted cream, green and brown.

Rowena shocks her friends by rebuilding the knocked-through walls of her Victorian terraced house, and turning the back “space” into a kitchen instead of building a science lab over the garden. She remodels the 60s kitchen as a "scullery" with a sink and washing machine, and she has her eye on the old lavatory at the bottom of the garden. Why not restore it to it original function?

If stuck for ideas, try Kelly Hoppen's Design Masterclass.

More here, and links to the rest.

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