Monday, March 12, 2007

When a bull sees red

Doing up your own home needs a load more concentration and effort than living in rented accommodation. For one, the rented flat was fully furnished and the big decisions were really insignificant, like the colour of the linen mustn't clash violently clash with the curtains else blindness will be absolute. Whereas now, in our own abode, every decision, be it crockery or furnishings or wall colour or lighting fixtures, must be carefully turned over in the mind, written in neat columns and compared for shade, size, multiples, usage, price and innumerable other factors.

It’s a long and badly tarred road from an empty flat to full house. And it’s filled with decision making potholes as the battle for colour, size, design and quantity find us veering towards pitched lines where neither home owner is ready to compromise. After all, this stuff costs not-quite-the-earth-but-not-far-off-it and we will have to live with it, warts and all, till it becomes economically viable to cellotape the bits of our credit card back together again.

In our old rented place the second room essentially served two purposes: dumping ground for freshly laundered clothes that needed ironing and much more than occasional guest bedroom. I was determined that when we bought our own place the second room would be more than that. MUCH more, in fact, as I repeated the mantra three times each morning while we house hunted. The second bedroom was not for guests. It was for us and we would occasionally let guests use it. If they behaved well that is. Else it’s on to the balcony with a sleeping bag.

Seeing as there is so much stuff needed just for basic flat living, like a bed to sleep on, chairs to sit on, plates to uuummmm …… eat off, you know, that kind of thing, we postponed the decision of decorating our second bedroom as much as we could, concentrating instead on decorating the rest of our house into a self-pleasing aesthetic. The only decorating idea for the second room that came to some fruition was the curtains. Even that was more because it was an essential to avoid people looking in on us while we ironed, the iron being the second item in the room – more utilitarian and essential than decorative.

The curtains were won in a pitched battle on the John Lewis floor. We quickly agreed on curtains for our own room but for the second room I wanted something with a design on it, something that would stand out. So while poor V helplessly looked on in surrender I chose the palest shade of green-almost-ivory with large red flowers embroidered onto it. Very LARGE flowers. It sounds terrible but it isn’t - truly. The advice of the sales lady was that they would be difficult to match with linen but I was mesmerised enough to coerce poor V into letting me have them. Like simultaneous arm and ear twisting, no more meals for you mister, ok here come the big croc tears mister – twisting. He decided it was not a battle worth fighting. And really the tears were just plain embarrassing.

When the curtains got delivered 9 weeks after we ordered them (yes, this is not India where master-ji will turn around 14 large pieces of furnishing overnight) the curtains for our room were a different colour from the ones we remember choosing but being an equally pleasing neutral colour we decided to keep them. The curtains for the second room were as we expected and once up they looked glorious (to my eyes only), the red flowers setting off the background and framing the wide window with élan. Soon our beloved bean sofa was returned from relocating friends and its beautiful black leather sat plump and robust against the patterned curtains. The blue covered ironing board is now the obtrusive invader.

When our first guest announced their arrival we decided we had better buy a bed. After much hunting, high and low, catalogues, internet and shops we agreed on a pullout guest bed that would give the room the space to be 'our' room as opposed to the guest room. After re-mortgaging our house to pay for the bedding – really there is an awful lot – mattresses, pillows, sheets, duvets and duvet covers, in multiple sets - we had the first guest who pronounced the bed suitably comfortable. Result.

So beside the hunt for a couple of unique bed side tables, some art for the living room and a replica of a £75 silk cushion I saw in Selfridges’, we’re mostly done. Of course I’ve now got it into my head that I want to stain/ varnish the guest bed wood a darker more teak-like shade. Well, that won’t happen anytime soon.

And in the meanwhile V has mastered a set routine in showing visitors around the house. He pauses in the doorway of the second bedroom, behind unsuspecting guests trapped within and asks in his meekest voice, “So, what do you think of the curtains”. Since we only know polite people, they all say, “Oh, very nice”. And then he closes with the killer, “So do you want to take them home, then?”

master-ji: Master Tailor (in this case)

13 comments:

  1. Anonymous12:08 AM

    hahahaha...very funny ending...poor v...40in2006

    ReplyDelete
  2. LOL at the closing!

    And none have agreed to take the curtains, eh? Even for politeness' sake...hmm, perhaps V has a point there!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. My wife got hooked onto HGTV (Home and Garden TV) right after we bought our house, which generated extra enthusiasm in doing the house up in her. That channel should be banned :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh God How I Sympathise. My house is full of guests, sheets, pillows all the time. And we had linen "fights" in John lewis too.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am more of a stripes person and my husband wouldn't so much blink if I picked up a dinosaur print!

    I am going through the exact same thing. By the time, everything is perfect, I have a feeling the paint will be peeling off thus ruining the desired perfect effect.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Am certain we have more clothes on the guest room bed than in our cupboard. Sigh.. its nearly spring and the guests once again arrive from next month.. I suppose clothes will have to find their way back to the cupboard again!

    ReplyDelete
  7. haha! Can we see pictures please! Of the offending curtains atleast! We promise to like it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous6:11 AM

    yes i want to see a picture also
    ...40in2006

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm doing a quick survey on public libraries in India. Please read my post and leave a comment. Thanks!
    http://mumbaiwallah.blogspot.com/2007/03/question-for-indian-readers.html

    MW

    ReplyDelete
  10. ha ha.. guest room seems to be cursed with all extra stuff.. and off course u dont furnish it till the guests start knocking at the door

    ReplyDelete
  11. 40in2006: yeah yeah

    Nee: hmmm. now what shall your punishment be for dissing my lovely curtains?

    Parth: I LOVE all the DIY programs where in an effortles half hour the whole house looks like a mansion. I would so get along with your wife!

    MG: Thankyou thankyou. Don't mind all the linen - its would be nice to have some linen with no guest on it! John Lewis is quite the battleground.

    Rohini: V won't object to linen of any colour/ print - just curtains and rugs need to meet with his high standards of approval. And you are right, it feels like we have lived here forever and still niggly bits are left.

    Pea: Sadly our guest room bed is full of guest so our clothes have to reside in the cupboard - mostly!

    Shub & 40in2006: NOooooooOOOooooo.
    Hear my wails + can't deal with pcitures (still have not put up the Taj pics!!)

    MW: Will do.

    ItW: True. we leave things to the very last minute if we can help it. I wonder when we will learn?!

    ReplyDelete
  12. For one, the rented flat was fully furnished and the big decisions were really insignificant, like the colour of the linen mustn't clash violently clash with the curtains else blindness will be absolute. Whereas now, in our own abode, every decision, be it crockery or furnishings or wall colour or lighting fixtures, must be carefully turned over in the mind, written in neat columns and compared for shade, size, multiples, usage, price and innumerable other factors.
    ==>Agree with you...


    If they behaved well that is. Else it’s on to the balcony with a sleeping bag.

    =>LOL!!!!


    Funny yet true, make a good read.. :))

    ReplyDelete
  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete