As we are all forced back inside the four walls of our homes until the end of this spectacular year, it’s time to take a good look at our domestic situations.
Yeah, I’ve noticed it, too. The monstera-plants, Berber-rugs, artsy coffee-table books on white marble surfaces. Lots of peonies. Our homes are no longer expected to primarily reflect our personalities, but act as cookie-cutter backdrops in our social media updates.
Does everybody suddenly have all the same stuff? Yes. But this is, of course, a positive problem. Identifying the same objets in influencer-homes can be a fabulous lockdown pasture. A bit like blogger-home bingo.
Next time you’re bored in your Teams-palaver, try finding as many of the following items in as many instagram-homes as possible:
– Empty Diptyque-tumblers holding various knick-knacks from cotton swabs (very popular) to tea roses (also popular). Extra points for miniature versions stuffed with perfume samples.
– Ultrafragola -selfie mirror. Yes, it’s the one with pink, wavy edges that light up to give a flattering light to one’s OOTD-snaps. Lena Dunham, Bella Hadid and everybody else with spare €8000 to spend on a mirror have it.
– Velvet pouf in dusty pink.
– Dry pampas grass in oversized vases.
– The arse-shaped vase by Anissa Kermiche. Half-points for breast-shaped jars.
I feel empowered already.
Function over form
When I’m at home, which obviously is all the time, I want to light candles, drink tea and read books. Not only does all of the above make me the ideal neighbour, it also means that certain logistics need to be arranged to perfection.
- Unless you have stocked up on your candle-reserves well in advance, you are absolutely shafted. There are no candles available anywhere in Europe anymore. I bought all of the last remaining couple of hundred the other day.
I am specifically talking about non-scented, regular candles we put on candlesticks. I am not referring to tea-lights, which will remain available in supermarkets throughout the lockdown.
As regards scented candles, I can report that Cire Trudon and Diptyque have their Christmas editions out and they smell exactly the same as last year.
I am sticking to Diptyque’s Feu de Bois and Baies, as my brains can handle only so many surprise elements. I have Cire Trudon ‘Odalisque’ reserved for special occasions – of which there are likely to be zero – but I got it because the Céline Paris flagship on Avenue Montaigne had it as their signature, and that was when Phoebe Philo was their chief designer and everything was fine in the world.
- I’m much less persnickety about my teacups than I used to be. Now almost anything goes as long as it’s large enough – nothing more annoying than drinking from tiny thimbles that need constant refilling. I do remain particular about tea, though, and will forever consider paperbags filled with dust masquerading as tea (together with pre-sliced, vacuum-packed cheese) as the lowest depth of misery.
A few words about textiles.
Do you not consider it absolutely weird how the kids these days don’t use tablecloths? You can have the most elaborate table settings in photographs, but often the fine china sits on a bare table-top looking heartbreakingly dreary, much like in a canteen (remember those?).
I understand that anyone lucky enough to own a Saarinen ‘Tulip’ table in white marble will not want to hide it from their instagram fans by covering it with a table cloth, but have some decency. At least add proper place-mats and serviettes instead of the papery napkins intended for children’s birthday parties.
The only people excused for using patterned bedlinen of any kind are pre-school children. If you really think about it, the only adult bedrooms where you’ve seen patterned bedlinen are those in leaked police photographs of homicide investigations.
Do no invite such shit karma into your home.
For anyone living in Central Europe, having freshly cut flowers in one’s home is not the occasion of the century. Tulips are cheap as chips.
I know this to be different in the more remote corners of the globe. Therefore the need to document and publish every extortionately priced flora that makes the trip alive is fully understandable.
Rigidly arranged, busy bouquets that have all kinds of things going on somehow manage to have both a pretentious and a funeral home vibe to them.
If you, however, fancy a bouquet-y look, choose almost any type of flower and pair with either eucalyptus leaves or branches of pistachio.
Any flowers will spark joy and liven up a place. Unless it’s Baby’s Breath ruining an otherwise perfectly nice bunch of roses.
Backdrop in your online-meetings
If you choose to have books (usually a bookshelf) as a meetings-backdrop like absolutely everybody in this world, including me, know this: nothing is innocent. Ditto if you post photographs that have your bookshelf in them. People (and when I say ‘people’ I mean ‘me’) will zoom in and stalk what you have there.
The general assumption as regards anything book-related is that you have deliberately chosen to show off a certain selection. This is perfectly fine – people who choose their kitchens as work-meeting backgrounds have also cleared most of the surfaces from most of the shit before logging in.
Just be aware of it.
(And do spend a second in adjusting the laptop so that the camera is slightly above your face. Even though we might think people miss the sight of our nostrils what with the masks covering them most of the time, trust me, no-one wants to have them flaring away on their screens.)