You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone

Tatiana has outdone herself!  Tossing vintage rugs, melting clocks and creating artwork ripped from books I didn’t know I had.

Melting clock
Melting clock

A journalistic crisis means Fiona and photographer have rescheduled to next week and finally I feel I can breathe without reaching for the respirator.  My children both have nits, however, which means I have nits and the cut and colour I was planning must be rescheduled yet again.  I toy briefly with the idea of asking my daughter to get a crop but since she already asks to wear mummy’s extensions, (despite having more hair than either of us quite know what to do with), suspect my request will be met with tears or stony silence.

My swan chairs have arrived and a vintage gilt sofa reupholstered in soft grey velvet fabric (Zophany) is due to be delivered by Acanthus any minute.  Suddenly my home looks and feels luxurious and I just might pull this photoshoot off.

I meet with my herbalist and ask her what if anything she can prescribe for intermittent anxiety.  She makes the most delicious tasting tea but I’m in the mood for something stronger.  It is then that I get an idea for a shop that I might pull off in Edinburgh. ‘Flowers with Integritea’  Gorgeous blooms on one side with Cindy, my herbalist’s delicious herbal teas (renamed to sound less medicinal) served on the other.  Beautea – for clearing the skin perhaps, claritea – for clearing the mind, fidelitea to aid concentration and help focus the mind and hilaritea for seasonal depression.  She doesn’t look impressed and reaches for the tinctures she’s prescribed and recommends a book on Vitamin D deficiency and another on strong women who run with wolves. I’ve been avoiding reading that one ever since someone first recommended it to me.

Despite my urgent need for alcohol I cancel dinner with a friend.  Neither of us is particularly flush with funds right now and as you know it’s nearly Christmas.

I’m tired of being told that money is no object.  Money is an object.  An object rapidly becoming so large that it may soon become an obstacle to creating the businesses I crave.  There’s no room for error in a luxury business like interiors in a triple dip recession (just ask Habitat) and I’m tired of reading about designers who tell their clients to blow the budget.  This is not a realistic option for most people and dare I say it a little lazy.  If you can’t style an interior to a budget then frankly you’re not a good designer.  Thankfully most can, so I don’t know why they say it.  Life is all about restraint.  Financial, creative, illicit.  Without it there’d be no backdrop to creative flourishes.  It’s why I’ve never liked wallpaper (although I’m working on that).

One of my favourite episodes of Frasier is where he and Niles desperately seek admission to an exclusive spa.  They need a gold card, which they get, only to discover (mid facial) that there’s a platinum experience behind a more exclusive looking door.  The scenario continues until eventually they stumble mid honey echinacea facial out the back door to roaring sunlight and the lurid smell of trash.

If something’s good or works for you don’t immediately seek to better it.  There will always be better houses, better interiors, better cars and better people, but they may not prove to be better homes, better drives or better partners.

I spent my 30s resisting the urge to buy homes with higher ceilings, better kitchens, bigger gardens and more ensuites until my children’s father stumbled upon Woodlands round the corner from our home and closer to the children’s school.  The house was simply too magnificent to fault so finally I gave in.  Despite the isolation of living in a secluded detached property I have loved living here.  But I have always missed my old house.  I miss the draughty fireplaces and window frames which always needed painting so fill Woodlands with gabled mirrors, fake fur throws and faux fireplaces resting nonchalantly against walls. Character flaws are important.  As much in homes as in the people who reside there.  Put simply it’s what makes them.  No one needs a log fire’s warmth without cold draughts to temper with the flames.

I often think I drifted apart from my children’s father because we lived in a property so large and warm there was no requirement to ever cosy up together.


Enjoy the things you have and add to them with stuff that makes them better.  Live with what’s familiar to you even if at first you hate it.  Inspiration will come eventually and solutions will present themselves.  What you create will be so much more inviting than throwing everything away and rehashing past mistakes with shiny happy people and new expensive things.

I hated my brown Italian en suite bathroom.  I used to dream about it’s destruction only to wake in the morning to find it glaring at me.  Now I’ve worked out how to decorate it I wouldn’t change it for the world.  And no I can’t afford the tealight chandelier I want and am not embarrassed to admit it.  Because I’m going to make something better I’ll love more that won’t leave me penniless with gratitude at the end of another gruelling month.

Faux leaning fireplace and gabled mirrors
Faux leaning fireplace and gabled mirrors