What you actually need for a joyous home are the unassuming, super functional spaces that rarely make it into Elle Decor
EDITORIAL & CONTENT
When you first own a home, the dreams are grand ones. It’s all huge, airy kitchens, open plan everything; the jacks is isolated only by a water wall and some tropical plants – great for entertaining and getting you featured in interiors mags. But as the realisation sets in that the nightly spontaneous cocktail parties don’t seem to be materialising (or maybe they do, in which case, scarlet for me), so do you awaken to the fact that you need functionality.
Think about it: disregarding areas essential to the house’s inner workings is like spending your savings on an Erdem gown and then not bothering to wash your hair. The first space I’d kill for? The humble boot room. Featuring coat hooks and shoe racks, aplenty; cupboards for school bags, shopping bags, brollies, etc; and a bench to sit on while pulling off wellies; this is the room that keeps external filth and outdoor clutter from invading your house. A particularly well-kitted boot room will also feature an industrial-grade shower for hosing down grimey children/husbands/dogs.
As for my washer-dryer, which are currently in an outhouse (so far, so Strumpet City) – I’d sell my voice to a sea witch to launder somewhere free of false widows. Just imagine: built-in hanging and drying racks; a folding table; ironing board always ready for steamy action; organic detergents decanted from their plebby packaging into large jars complete with steel scoops. The meadow-scented smell of success. From the laundry room, my freshly-pressed garments would be whisked directly to the walk-in wardrobe (or dressing room, if we want to be less eighties about it). Finally levelled of its hillocks of discarded cardigans, the bedroom would be at WHO-recommended zen levels.
Speaking of zen, thankfully, unlike many of my compatriots, my house still has all of its own walls as I didn’t fall prey to the open plan epidemic. However, if that’s not the case for you, glass internal walls (with black frames, possibly with concertina capabilities, hubba hubba) are my fantasy utility lust. They add dimension and atmosphere to overly open spaces and, paired with optional acoustic curtains for when the tweens are being extra annoying, should bring back some semblance of sanity.
From my interiors & lifestyle column for Irish Tatler, October 2019 edition