People often ask me where the inspiration for my letters comes from. Well, more often than not it comes from random conversations. Indeed, the day before this letter was due, I found myself lamenting how long it was taking me to finish off my house, because despite all the really big stuff being done – new wiring, plumbing, floors, kitchen and bathroom, even most of the internal decorating – I was now in the realm of the ‘details’. The trouble is, these details are small but incredibly important. For example, the kickboard beneath my kitchen units. The units themselves are grey lacquer, housed in Corian. I had first imagined brushed brass for the kickboard, seeing it as a strip of something unexpected that would reflect the touches of brass used elsewhere downstairs. Then again, I mused, mirror could be interesting (I’d seen a picture of Danish/Italian design duo Stine Gam and Enrico Fratesi’s kitchen with incredible mirrored units that was stunning). I just knew it must be anything but a finish to match the doors (too trad). However, upon discussion with my builder, it became apparent that it was also more complicated to install than at first thought. The length I wanted could not be done in one piece. Mirror yes, brass, apparently no. And I didn’t want joins. I also needed to provide cut outs for the fridge and freezer vents. And the whole thing had to be easily removable for ease of appliance access. Oh, and my units are set slightly higher than average, so that needed to be accommodated as well. And, because all the appliances are integrated, they each sit at slightly different heights inside their housing too. Sigh.
But the point is, when I find a solution that ticks all the right boxes, and it’s cut to fit in all the right places, this small but important detail will bring me immeasurable pleasure. It will epitomise a job well finished, because it’s not really a little thing at all, is it (within the realm of acutely first-world problems, of course). It’s something I will see everyday. And although I’m moaning now, I’ll be equally effervescent when it’s finally done; along with all those other ‘details’ requiring finessing… Did I mention the trim above the bath?
First featured as my Editor’s Letter in the November 2016 edition of ELLE Decoration UK