We bought a new couch. It’s a concrete colour but it’s not called that. It’s called Summer Linen or Hampton’s Lifestyle and it’s not as if we love the (non) colour, it’s just there didn’t seem to be any others available.
Stone is the colour of the moment, the lady in the decor shop said. And for that colour, she added, you’ll need this hemp rug, this nest of honeycomb side tables, demijohn lamps and, if you must add colour, there are blah blah vases that you can distribute as accents. And, the walls are painted Hog’s Bristle, aren’t they?
The walls soon will be painted Hog’s Bristle because when you start on this path of replacing a couch that has seen too many bums, you don’t stop until the whole room and possibly the house looks like those places in real estate ads.
You don’t have to be selling to end up with a house that looks as if it’s on the market. You just have to read stories in real estate sections, flip through the home magazines, watch the endless renovation shows or pop into a furniture shop and talk to a designer.
They all say the same thing and it all ends up with the same look. And this December that look is “organic but luxurious”, featuring a “layering of whites with opposing rustic elements”, with “raw, soft with hard-edged and fragile textures for contrast like wood, concrete, hemp and vegetable-dyed linens”, to quote a recent article.
Having been through the exercise recently, I have become yet another expert on decor. So, let’s work out whether we can change your domain into something that would pass muster for Domain/Domayne.
Overhead halogens are gone, gone, gone. You must have LED in the ceiling and moody lamps that flatter complexions even if they don’t illuminate anything. Outside, it’s all uplighting, downlighting, spotlighting but, whatever you do, don’t do it yourself. Call a lighting landscaper to mood-ify the outside room. In short, lighting is for creating moods, not showing the way.
The kids — they’re not that cute to anyone except you. So, file the family photos cluttering up the place and try to source a Mapplethorpe, Dupain or a Bill Henson composition. Note: you may need a parental guidance rating to enter the family room.
They’re not really designed to hold books any more. They are more sculptural towers, designed to showcase art and blah blah vases. Or they may be empty and suggestive of what may come — a postmodern bookcase. In any case, store the books, give the knick-knacks to the Salvos and make a special viewing area for the kids’ trophies at grandma’s house.
We didn’t say carpet, did we? No, floors should be bare — bare wood, bare stone, bare concrete or rammed earth with aggregate — so they can display carefully chosen rugs. Oriental rugs are still OK as long as they complement Summer Linen lounges, but most rugs are about texture, composition, graphics and the sort of provenance that you can bore your guests about. Note: you’ll need another mortgage for these.
We’re thinking luxe. Piles of cushions you have to throw on the floor every night. Piles of coverlets you’ll have to throw on the floor on summer nights. Lighting that makes you look good and makes reading impossible. Remember, the bedroom is where you spend a third of your life although, frankly, it looks a lot better if you don’t.
You can go crazy here: mosaic tiles, engineered taps, horse-trough baths, rain showers. It may be inside, outside or half in and half out — but, remember, is must be monochrome, preferably white. Must you? Just start with an expert, try to include a butler’s pantry, see if the kitchen can extend into the outdoors and make it look as if a Michelin chef does the cooking.
OK, we’re getting close. A few more blah blah vases and you’ll have the look. Then, when you walk around your Domain/Domayne house, the only thing you’ll want to do is sell.