I think I have a bit of a problem. I seem to be spending an inordinate amount of time rearranging decor and furniture. Not my own decor and furniture you understand (well, not often) but other people’s. And not physically rearranging it (that would be just rude!)—but in my head. Seriously. I am catching myself doing it all the time—vizualising redecorating a new friend’s house . . . or my favourite coffee shop . . . or a local business window display. Just last weekend, while sitting in the foyer of the local Plaza Theatre, I got so involved in mentally rearranging all the lovely posters and art deco statues and reorganising the whole flow of the place that I nearly missed the start of the movie!
I blame it on all those home improvement shows that abound on our tvs at the moment. I can’t resist them. There is something about these shows I find utterly fascinating . . . which is kind of weird as I don’t own my own home and am therefore unlikely to be undertaking any major home improvement projects in the near future, but there you go . . .
I should make a point of clarification here. I do not enjoy what I call the ‘reality tv’ renovation shows which seem to me to be more about competition and personalities and drama (and winning money) than about renovation. I honestly can’t bear all the histrionics (although, I admit, I do sometimes tune into the ‘reveals’ after all the drama and tears are over.)
No—the shows I like at those where someone buys an old run-down-seen-better-days (preferably historic) home and then hands it over to someone who actually knows what they are doing to restore it to its former glory (albeit with modern conveniences and plumbing of course!) And I’m not completely silly. I do realise I am being ‘had’ when I watch these shows—at least to a certain degree. If a one-week turnaround on a kitchen and bathroom remodel sounds too good to be true, I am pretty sure it probably is. The ‘magic of television’ pretty much guarantees that we only see what they want us to see. Nevertheless . . .
The best part of these shows though, for me at least, is the ‘dressing’ after all the renovations are complete. I love to see the finished product—the colours that were chosen, the furniture and furnishings, the art work, the linen. And although many of these end products are not to my own style or taste, I can (usually) see where the designer was coming from and how it all works together.
I do always wonder though—if we went back to any of these beautifully renovated and decorated homes 3 months, 6 months, or a year later—how many of them would still look the way the designer left them? How long would it be before the owner’s secret passion for purple plush started to creep back into that perfectly designed latte-toned bedroom? Or the dozens of ceramic frogs collected over the years (and carefully boxed away by the designer and hidden away under the stairs) start to find their way back on to windowsills and benchtops?
Because no matter how much we appreciate what these incredibly talented and creative designers and decorators can do with our homes, style and taste are still very much individual traits so who, really, is to say what it good and what is bad? As with our clothes, we express our self-identity through our belongings. What strongly appeals to me might leave someone else absolutely stone cold . . . and what someone else might perceive as the crowning centrepiece of their living room might just be enough to send me screaming from the building . . .
But you know, I really wouldn’t have it any other way. How boring would it be if we all liked the same things anyway? Our likes and dislikes, our individual quirks, passions and peculiarities are what make us all individuals and so much more interesting.
Besides, I actually like rearranging everyone else’s belongings—even if it is only in my head ( . . . that picture over there is so in the wrong place and that . . . what is that? Is that a vase? An urn? . . . ) and I think I’d really kind of miss it if I had no reason to do it any more . . .