The rich man’s beans on toast

I don’t believe in denying myself little daily luxuries but it’s amazing how quickly luxuries become habit forming and suddenly there’s no contrast of restraint against which to savour new delights.  After several failed attempts I finally manage to break my glass of wine in the evening which became a ritual over Christmas and New Year.

Alcohol has always made me sleepy so I rarely drink at functions or when I want to stay up late.  But wrapped in faux furs throws on winter nights is the perfect setting for a glass of something special.  I tend to drink expensive stuff from Waitrose, which helps ensure I savour every drop and don’t become an alcoholic and I’m reminded that it’s the little things that divides us in society.  How one person’s life and soul of the party is another’s social drunk and whether sipping champagne in first class lounges while you’re waiting for a flight is so far removed from drinking in the street while you’re waiting for a bus? At some point foie gras on brioche becomes the rich man’s beans on toast.

Interior design is all about restraint against which to set creative flourishes.  Many designers feel their work is done before they get to this creative stage, but the best encourage clients to go beyond mere acquisition of furniture, lighting and a few carefully chosen accessories to create whimsical interior space infused with personality.

Creating the right setting for your life is what interior styling’s all about.  If you want to seem successful or be universally admired then setting scenes of envy and exclusivity is certainly one way to go.  But there are many ways to cocoon yourself in luxury, and creating something unique and exclusive with a bit of clever styling is much more satisfying than consumption of a trend.

Even the very wealthy tire of exclusivity that’s ultimately available to all (for a price) until their life’s one long retreat from all society and it’s ‘custom this’ and ‘custom that’ at ludicrous prices.

The Nordics are one of the few places where mass production of luxury goods has always been the norm.  Copenhagen remains one of the most expensive places to live in Europe so cheap public transport allows many to forego car ownerhip and bike around the city.  Suddenly classic designer lighting, though still expensive, becomes a sensible investment.  Recently, Chinese manufacturing of replicas has brought the price down 5-fold.

Doing without certain things so we can focus on what’s important should also be our attitude to interiors.  You simply can’t have it all.  I do without curtains and carpet in my home, (although I was briefly tempted) because the expense would be prohibitive and I’d rather invest in chandeliers.  Unless your home is incredibly draughty, I also fail to understand why scarce light should be blocked out.  I like to see what’s going on outside and decorate windows I need to screen with plants and birdcage chandeliers that filter light effectively and prevent me feeling too exposed.  There are many ways to solve your lighting problems and if curtains are a must then Acanthus is the place to go.  I have blackout blinds for bedrooms and removed the frosted windows in my bathrooms to reveal breathtaking garden views you’d spend a fortune to recreate with art.

Which brings me to the point of today’s post.  Light is the central luxury in any Nordic home.  Natural, candle, fire, LED or plain electric.  The lack of it in winter and its adundance in June/July.  Get the light right in your home and I guarantee that you’ll transform it.   Decide the mood you want and create your ideal cosy home.

Diesel pendant and Industrial light, Acanthus.  Telights, Casa Morada

Bull light

Poul Henningsen artichole light (replica)