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     Volume 6 Issue 15 | April 20, 2007 |

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Straight Talk

It is very hard to give up an addiction, in fact what happens a lot of the times is you give one addiction up for another. Take my case for instance where I used to be a food programme junkie, but over time I managed to wean myself off the UK Food channel and go cold turkey (yes, pun intended). It was quite a struggle to resist the temptation to change the channel and have a quick look at what gastronomic delight was being prepared. However, since we finished the renovation of our house I seem to have acquired another compulsion in its place. I now avidly follow the channel that deals with interior designs and property development! Having decided to redecorate the house, it seemed like the best way of getting ideas for this new task. In hindsight, it was probably a very bad idea as it just confuses the viewer with the varied styles and opinions of the designers and programmes themselves.

If you happen to watch any of these channels, you will find that one interior designer will spend the entirety of the show telling you that having bold colours in your home and making a statement is the way forward. Whereas the programme following closely on its heels will tell you that one should play it safe and stick to neutral colours and get rid of any excess items of furniture or ornaments. So you spend your time trying to figure out whether to accessorise the room or de-clutter it. Then of course you have a barrage of styles thrown your way which is often difficult to get your head around unless you possess a degree in interior design terminology. Do you prefer cutting edge modern designs or the minimalist style? Perhaps you have a penchant for the more classical style of furniture --- no, not your cup of tea then maybe something more contemporary so how about classic contemporary!

As individuals, our tastes and styles in most things will differ and one man's meat is another man's poison, so to speak. You may have lovingly decorated your house in the way you like but other people may think it hideous and garish or drab and boring. Some people may prefer kitsch to chic but that does not make it better or worse. You really cannot please everyone, so when it comes to one's home it is probably best to please one self. The few times that my husband and I have redecorated our house, we have toyed with the idea of painting the rooms different colours as that seemed to be the trend. So, we went around the rooms painting a patch of colour on the wall in the living room or the bedroom to see how it might look and whether we liked it. On one occasion we went as far as getting the decorators to paint the living room a particular shade of cream. Luckily the room was only half done when

I got cold feet made the poor men change the colour of the walls. No matter how hard I tried I could not get myself to like the shade of cream on the walls (which just looked yellow to me). Despite our attempts to be adventurous, we failed miserably and could not go ahead with it and reverted back to our favourite wall colour --- white. Many interior designers would say that white is rather unimaginative, uninspired and even a bit clinical but to us it is fresh, clean and just the way we like it! Some of the houses on television look fabulous with the splashes of colour in the various rooms giving it vibrancy and life but it is something I can appreciate without necessarily wanting to emulate it in my own home.

I remember watching a programme a while ago which dealt with redecorating houses with a given budget, but the twist in this particular show was that there were two families (either relatives, friends or neighbours) who would be designated a well known interior designer each and would have to refurbish a particular room in each other's houses. The particular episode that comes to mind was one where the two teams were redesigning each other's living rooms and one of the designers, one with a rather flamboyant personal style decided to paint the room red and go for a boudoir style. It seemed like an incredibly bizarre choice as a boudoir used to be a woman's bedroom or private sitting room but the team went ahead with the theme and the room was installed with furniture to recreate this effect. When the moment of reckoning arrived and the couple were allowed to see their re-vamped living room the look on their faces and the reaction was not exactly what the designer nor their friends had expected. The wife burst into tears and not tears of joy might I add and the husband's initial look was that of shock and then utter fury! They hated it so much that they asked the programme officials to change it back to the way it was initially. You see even designers get it wrong and when they do it can be quite spectacularly wrong!

Sometimes it is best to get advice, take tips from magazines and television programmes, but to take the final decision ourselves. After all we are the ones who are going to have to live in our homes and I think that it is the individual personalities of the people in question that give a room or a home its very own character. I think the truly successful interior designers are those who take on board the lifestyle and the personalities of the people they are dealing with and incorporate that into their designs.

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