EDITOR’S LET­TER

House and Leisure Before and After - - CONTENTS -

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.’

– Editor

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