Tiaan Nagel discusses renovations and why the idea of starting over is so very appealing
Looking back at my childhood, I can clearly see why I ended up editing a magazine. From an early age, I used to walk around the house rearranging things, usually wearing one of my mother’s worn-out aprons (I can clearly remember the faded eau de nil colour of the apron, with its floral print and blood-red bias binding) and a pair of her navy court shoes. I’d walk from room to room and shift things around, slowly making my way through the entire house.
This process wasn’t about the ‘decorating’ for me: I clearly remember the thrill of figuring out new combinations or groupings of things, and being convinced that they made more ‘sense’ after the reshuffle. I still find myself thinking about changes like that when I shoot people’s homes for House and Leisure, or even when I’m over for dinner at a friend’s house.
In short, I find the idea of starting over, or rethinking a space and how you live in it, thrilling. For me, this process is about much more than decorating; it’s a way of deciding what sort of life you want to live – a life lived in a home filled with art, or possibly a house filled with collectible furniture, or even (and this is where my head is at lately) a graphic, architectural space with an overgrown garden filled with jacaranda trees. This new fantasy home of mine would contain as little as possible and be a perfectly minimalist interior that would allow me to exist with just a few books, the occasional chair and a huge table at which to eat, work or sit and share stories.
This issue is packed with adventurous families who did more than just dream about a new space. The homeowners whose renovation projects are featured in the Homes (page 21) and Rooms (page 79) sections of this special Before&after collector’s edition all transformed their lives by altering their houses, tweaking their kitchens, breaking down their old bathrooms and building new spaces that demand new narratives.
The idea that we are able to curate our lives – and potentially change them – based on our whims and lifestyle trends is an exciting one. There is something really magical about plotting a new way to live by renovating your home, and I hope this issue will help you find the inspiration to do just that.
‘FOR ME, THIS PROCESS IS ABOUT MUCH MORE THAN DECORATING; IT’S A WAY OF DECIDING WHAT SORT OF LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE.’