Walking down Bruntsfield High Street on a wet Sunday afternoon I ran into my good friend Hayley. I was lost in music listening to Robert Glasper’s Black Radio and she was walking her new Jack Russel terrier. Hayley is a deeply inspirational friend who reminds me I should do more. Returning to work as Head of News and Current Affairs in the run up to the general election she resigned 2 years later to work part time as Executive Editor of Question Time. Only Hayley could find the time to take up a Phsychology course as well and run a busy household of 2 school age children, 1 husband and now a dog. That’s the thing about courses. They inspire you to do more, work harder or completely change direction.
I left Abigail ‘s Retail Masterclass with a clear plan of action. 1. Run a monthly “Get the Look you want for less” interior styling course. 2. Run a “Live your creative dream” workshop to inspire women to get back into the workforce. 3. Beg my cleaner Veronica to come fortnightly instead of monthly so I can find the time to do all this.
Walking back past Morningside Gallery I stopped to admire a painting in the window I love but can’t afford. It would be perfect leaning against my black painted fireplace. But I know there will be other paintings, other spaces and eventually another house. We all want things we don’t need and can’t afford. The trick is knowing when to admire them, when to buy, and when to turn and walk away.
Decorating your house prior to moving makes sense because it prepares you for the journey. It detaches you from the familiarity of what will soon no longer be your home. Cost should never be an issue. Set a budget and get creative. If I can transform a 4000 sq. ft home in 2 months on a budget anyone can. Because in life as with interiors there is always an alternative. Can’t afford that chandelier you want? Upcycle a junk shop find with warm white LED lights and handblown glass witches balls (Casa Morada).
Give a new lease of life to an armchair by adding whimsical animal cushions. The single most transforming thing I did to my living room was fill storage space designed for DVD’s, CD’s and books with chopped firewood at £6 a bag. The reindeer rugs that give my well-worn sofa a new lease of life were only £99 each (Bohemia). The same effect could be achieved with £35 Ikea sheep skin rugs.
Silk blooms soon pay for themselves if like me you can’t resist buying fresh ones whenever friends visit for dinner. They’re not the cheapest option at £100 for a bunch of soft pink damask roses, or crisp white tulips but they instantly transform rooms and hallways, last forever and are so realistic you’ll have trouble remembering not to add water.
Sell a dress, bag or watch you never wear to reduce the cost. I sell luxury pick-me-ups I bought without thinking when I worked in the city all the time. I never regret the mistakes I’ve made, because it’s oddly liberating to confront the elephants in my closet and in my life – the clothes I never needed, never liked and barely wore. The men I did not love, never heeded and found a bore. Because that’s the thing about elephants. You rarely miss them when they’re gone.