Neale Whitaker: On how to love the home you live in
EMBRACE YOUR HOME’S SHORTCOMINGS RATHER THAN CRITIQUING THEM
I’m either a glutton for punishment or I’ve been extremely careless with what I’ve wished for, because in addition to writing this weekly column, I’m currently editing a magazine and filming not one, but two television series. Just thinking about it requires a Bex and a good lie down. But without giving so much as a skerrick away at this stage, I can report that quite possibly the bestever season of The Block is playing out in a well-heeled Melbourne suburb, and that Shaynna Blaze, Darren Palmer and I are in feisty form, if I do say so myself.
And then there’s my onscreen battle with fellow Pom and real-estate guru Andrew Winter airing later this year on Foxtel. Love It Or List It Australia is the show’s name, and no prizes for guessing that Whitaker = Team Love, while Winter = Team List. In the new show I’m more judged than judge. I guess that’s karma.
So please don’t get me wrong. I love my job but while reality TV is a lot of fun, there’s a downside. Let’s call it Obsessive Critiquing Disorder. It’s been particularly acute since my partner and I moved into our new apartment, and if left untreated could cause a nasty bout of discontent.
The symptoms are curious. While I would never, ever judge anyone else’s
home (in the unlikely event of scoring an invitation in the first place), I can’t stop judging my own. Like the power point on the wrong end of the island bench the moment I open the front door. It’s ugly.And while we’re on the subject, the bench is more islet than island. It’s way too small. Then there are the double basins in our ensuite that are just too far apart. Shaynna would die, although she’d love the generous mirrored storage above the vanity. There’s no power point for my phantom hair dryer (see how ridiculous this is?) and the
overhead lighting would never pass Darren’s make-up test. It’s just wrong.
Yet I love our apartment.All the qualities that attracted us in the first plac are still there in spades. I just wish I could stop judging it. Perfection is exhausting and who wants to live in a flawless state anyway? The dogs have scratched the paintwork, but I view it like a doting parent admiring their toddler’s doodles. Yes,the devil might be in the details, but you don’t want him as a house guest. Neale Whitaker is editor-in-chief of Vogue Living.