Letter: Thrift vs Value
August 28, 2013
December 1, 2016
I’m on a countdown to Christmas. For the fun and festivities? I’m afraid not, rather it’s the deadline I’ve set myself for getting my house finished. By which I mean all of those outstanding jobs and design decisions sorted. I even made a list. It was rather long and a touch daunting. And my key motivator
is not incoming guests or the very need-to-be-cosy-ness of winter, simply that I want to go into 2017 and not have to think about it anymore. No more sample pots, no more swatches, no more weekends deliberating over kickboards or trims (see last month’s letter). It. Must. Be. Finished! I want to be able to enjoy my home, not still be living in the midst of project incomplete come the new year.
The thing is, decorating is hard; so many decisions, each resting on the shoulders of another. I always have a very clear idea of how I want any room or space to feel. I absolutely know the colours, materials and brands I love. But visualising a coordinated dialogue between the two can be painfully slow. It’s the difficulty of knowing that something needs to be changed, but not being quite sure what to change it to. It can be fun, once you’re into the swing of it and see things come together before your eyes. And, as I’ve often said before, it’s always worth it in the end. But the endless options (something of an occupational hazard if you’re sitting in my chair); and the inevitable waiting for professional help (because once I can see it in my mind’s eye, I want everything done yesterday, natch), can be frustrating.
And then along comes Christmas. That said, I find Christmas decorating, by contrast, super-easy. It’s always all about the tree (six-foot Nordmann fir, real). It’s decorated with fairy lights (white with green wires), baubles collected from year to year (theme: clear glass or white), and topped with a wonky homemade angel courtesy of the two-year-old. It sits right at the heart of our home, facing the front door. We endlessly trip over the branches, and the dogs go mad for chewing the decorations, but it’s the closest thing to a family tradition we have, so it’s a must. I don’t do tinsel, or have cards everywhere, although I’m tempted to get busy with oranges as demonstrated in our festive home on p96, or perhaps create a chalkboard tree as seen on p74. So many ideas, so many more choices! Hopefully, though, this issue will make light work of your festive decorating. Now, I must get back to my pre-Christmas list…
First featured as my Editor’s Letter in the December 2016 edition of ELLE Decoration UK
Michelle Ogundehin is internationally renowned as an authority on interiors, trends and style. She is an influencer with expertise and the multi award-winning former Editor-in-Chief of ELLE Decoration UK.