Saturday 9 August 2014
Class and Decor in Love, Nina
"The kitchen has a massive dresser… all covered in trinkets and pretend fruit, little animals and people and little cups and in each little cup a little thing… The knives and forks are giant…. The floor is planks of wood with gaps… I have a giant mirror, like out of a posh pub. The surround is ornate and painted bright orangey red. … Some people have water filter jug things but they’re a bit of a faff, to be honest… If everything else in your house is all charming and junky, why would you want an ugly plastic jug?"
From Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe, a book of letters written while the author was working as a nanny for a writer in Gloucester Crescent, London - in the early 80s or thereabouts. She's describing a high Bohemian interior in Gloucester Crescent, London in the early 80s. Rich Bohemians bought Victorian cutlery, which was big and heavy. They exposed floorboards, but were too impractical to realise that you needed to fill the cracks. Dressers (Victorian, stripped) were a good idea, but they cluttered them with twee nicknacks.
"Some new people have moved into the crescent and put lace curtains up at the windows (where there used to be Venetian blinds). A kind of half-curtain. They’re the talk of the Crescent. Everyone keeps saying, 'What about those curtains!'" (Nobody has lace curtains in NW3 – they're so suburban.)
"Mary is getting her house done bit by bit. She’s had a dark brown shag-pile carpet in her bedroom… And the walls are dark brown too. It’s all very brown." (This sounds more 70s.)
"MK is an art lover and has a wide variety of pictures… She’s got a picture of an emu just standing there (side view) and one of a big vase of daisies (unrealistic yellow) on a green background, also a cricket match on a green background. In fact, quite a few of her art things have a green background. Not bluey-green, but bright plasticky green."