Wednesday 12 May 2021

And It Was All Done in the Best Possible Taste

The Nouveau-Richards used to be famous for their Hawaiian cocktail bar in the living room, and the ride-on mower for the "grounds".

In 2021 the trend is "high gloss". Everything is shiny and monochrome – white, cream, grey, black. These are "clean" colours, says the N-R's interior decorator. Window-sills are black glass, Venetian blinds are shiny off-white. There are pale tiles on the floor – and walls. On the glass table is a black glass vase holding one arum lily. The science-lab kitchen style has spread over the entire house and every surface is hygienically wipe-clean.

Looking round expensive houses on Rightmove is such fun. In a Chiswick “beautiful family home”, everything is grey or reflective – including ceilings. Instead of pictures they've hung rectilinear or mirrored wall art. No clutter, no plants, and the bookcases stand in for the drinks cabinet. Everything is knocked through – I mean “the space flows” – so that the piano is in the kitchen. The entire bathroom interior is tiled.

Another house tour: shiny plus baroque. Everything that can be clad in pale grey veined marble is so clad. The floor in the sitting room, the stairs – banisters and all. Furniture is “tous les Louis” and newly gilded, with blue velvet upholstery. A blue fur rug will keep your feet warm but watch you don't slip on the marble. Even the kitchen is baroque: the marble-topped island has a breakfast bar supported by black Salomonic columns (truncated) and gilded baroque decoration on the cupboard doors. Grey marble clads the walls. The extractor hood is black, with gilded rococo add-ons – it looks like Napoleon's hat. Lighting is by chandelier. The vast hall has black and gold entrance gates, black and gold furniture and a central black marble fountain.

Has gloss taken over from panelling? Another lovely home shows us the beige hall. The walls are panelled, as is the shallow barrelled ceiling, but the scheme is meaningless – oblongs in “trim” with no rhyme or reason. Anything that isn’t  panelled is “button-backed”. The headboard and foot of the bed, the Ottoman, sofas and armchairs. It's all very tight, neat and shiny.

The button-backed look is borrowed from the padded interiors of coaches, and then cars. The Upward version, equally in bad faith or worse, is the new leather sofa distressed within an inch of its life to look 50 years old. In the States, there are firms which will "trim" your entire house.

Your McMansion will need six garages – along the front of one wing, with a matching tarmac apron. (Tip: build an “old stable block” round the back.)

What do you wear in a house like this? An entirely taupe wardrobe, plus expensive white trainers, white jumpers and a fur-trimmed pale suede gilet?

More here, and links to the rest.

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