Friday 14 April 2017

Yet More Decor Crimes

From the Times, April 2017

If you want to sell your house, avoid:

Off-white kitchens
Unusual layouts
An extension that’s bigger than the garden. (Don’t overextend.)

Pebbledash, Artex and the usual avocado bathroom suites (Though pebbledash may be right for your 30s villa.)

Purple, pelmets and patterns. (Avoid that 80s “window treatment”, this is “the age of plantation blinds”. And “chintz-patterned wallpaper... divides tastes.”)

Fountains, dark paint, garish carpets. (Says an architect.)

“Stark modern interiors... have a short shelf life and will look outdated in a couple of years.” (Says an estate agent.)
“Overly vibrant décor and sitting rooms that contain a supersized bed (an arrangement considered weird for all sorts of reasons.)” (The Times’s Anne Ashworth)

Also per the Times, these have had their day:
Venetian mirrors (with an ornate surround also made of mirror)
Cowhides or sheepskins draped on furniture (Leave them on the floor. Or out by the bins.)
Fake Eames (the plywood furniture designed by Ray and Charles Eames in the 50s)
Flos (Furniture and lighting with a retro look. Attractive but costly.)

Black and white tiles (“We all went mad for them when there was a bit of a buzz around the Standard Hotel in New York.” Oh, didn’t we? But now apparently they make you feel you’re living in your bathroom.)

Tin (and copper) pendant lamps
Zinc worktops
Roll-top bath
Painted tongue-and-groove walls
Sisal carpeting (stick to rugs)
Velvet mustard sofa
Giant clock in the kitchen (“Just too gastropub to be safe any more.”)


Yarn bombing. (
Sorry, but it’s twee.)

Annie Sloan chalk paint for that “distressed” look – created 26 years ago.

Transform your old chest of drawers with colourful ceramic knobs!

Pampas grass is 70s naff. (Carol Midgley)

Nesting tables (but they might be useful).
Paintings of roistering cardinals
Suspended ceilings

Doing up a genuine a Tudor house/restaurant/pub with artex, fake beams, fake candle wall sconces, Flintstones fireplaces and Jacobethan furniture.

Beaten copper hood over a gas fire (relic of arts and crafts copper hood over open fire)

Standard off-the-shelf Regency fire surround in a Victorian or modernist house.

Victorian décor crime: vast black and purple marble fire surround like a baroque altar in a room much too small for it. These survive, while elaborate Edwardian overmantels don’t.

Cutting the legs off a kitchen table to make a coffee table (and manufacturing coffee tables that look like kitchen tables with the legs cut off)

Getting that expensive hotel look in your home is easier than you think. (@sainsburys)

Bedrooms where seduction is catered for with swagged curtains and dry-clean-only sheets, bathrooms with shelves weighed down by vanilla tea lights. (Eva Wiseman)

Revamped Victorian warehouses given mirrored plate-glass windows in blue or brown (70s, 80s)

Buildings with exoskeletons

It’s kind of decorative in a ghastly kind of way. (David Dickinson on a brass clock and barometer moulded with baroque curlicues and flowers, painted and sprayed gold)

living statues dressed as Yoda

over your front garden (sheet of plastic), covered with gravel that never stays put. Attempt at a Derek Jarman Dungeness desert garden in a tiny front plot in Chiswick.

Giant tree sculptures made with a chainsaw, life-size animals sculpted out of chickenwire

Over-restoration of faded ghost signs.

More here, and links to the rest.

You are What You Eat 9

I went into all the businesses on Green Street High Street to ask whether my mobile had been handed in, e.g. beauty parlours, florists etc.  Everyone v nice and concerned and chatty with exception of a man in the angling shop. Best place was beauty parlour where two glamorous old bats were having hairdos and facials and there was a white poodle reclining on a couch.

Did you push a shopper to the floor this morning to snatch a cut-price TV from their grasp? (Times)

The border between the north and south should be drawn at the point where you ask for a cup of tea and they respond: "What sort of tea?" (@carey_davies)

If Samantha Upward lived in Green Street Green, she would be unable to go into the beauty parlour, florist or angling shop. She prefers to whinge about Black Friday – it’s an American import. It’s “folks beating each other up for a cheap telly”. Upwards used to make the same fuss about post-Christmas sales (folks camping out outside the store the night before, then scrum as the doors open), but somehow this isn't "prejudice", which they are always careful to condemn. Sam suggests a “no-buy Friday”, but explains that it wouldn’t mean not buying anything, just “not buying in a media-induced frenzy”.

According to Eileen Weybridge, Waitrose is preferable because although it’s a supermarket, you are less likely to bump into “single mothers with large numbers of children with different fathers” and there are “fewer people on obviously bad diets”.

Some idiot in the Cotswolds complains that in his local Tescos “two whole aisles are devoted to Polish food!” Pictures or an address never surfaced. He probably takes home baguettes and pasta every week, cooks boeuf Bourgignon and drinks Chablis. Upwards think European peasant food (polenta) is fearfully chic. But Polish food? Tripe soup? Pickled gherkhins? Sauerkraut? And they don’t like the Polish writing on the side. Weybridges can gain points by knowing how to say Soave, tagliatelli etc, but they have no idea how to pronounce Grochówka, and can’t brag about having eaten flaczki in this charming little café on holiday, because people like us don't go on holiday to Poland. And it’s the wrong kind of peasant food: everything in tins, packets and jars and smoked or pickled because it assumes you don’t have a fridge. Rowena Upward gives Polish dinner parties, with rye bread and pork sausages, and her friends are shocked to the core. Next week it’s Swiss/Alsace cookery with rösti and spätzle. This summer she’s going on a tour of Hungarian spas.

A BBC girl just talked about the Queen “participating in the Christmas meal”. Upwards and Stow-Crats shudder.

Upwards women never seem to be hungry at "proper meals" (lunch and dinner), when they eat protein and veg in shades of green, orange and purple, and go on about "anthocyanins", "clean eating" and the "paleo diet". This is because they eat porridge for breakfast, biscuits all morning, biscuits all afternoon, and cake and scones at 4.

In the 70s there was huge snobbery over curry powder. You were supposed to buy all the spices separately, know how to pronounce them, and fry them yourself a la Madhur Jaffrey. How many of us actually did this? Curry powder has been available in England since 1784. Cue anecdote about visiting Indian bishop: “I hope you like the curry, Your Excellency?” “Oh, is it curry?”

Upwards can’t go to a “carvery”, or even a pub, so they moan you can’t get decent English food in restaurants. Some Upward parents think children should be taught to shoot squirrels and pigeons, skin, gut, cook and eat them because “our cotton-wool culture has got out of control”.

More here, and links to the rest.