Saturday, 21 April 2012

A (dream) house of my own

I love living with other people. I love the fact that if a pipe bursts there is someone there who can fix it with a stroke of genius, some masking tape and a plastic bag. I love that if I arrive home at 4:30 in the morning after a particularly good night out I can find my housemate and his friend sat eating an extravagant meal they have just cooked and then proceed to have an in-depth conversation with them. I love that I can ask someone to honestly tell me if the outfit I am wearing makes me look insane or not. (All of these things have happened, by the way.)

Sometimes, though, I crave a home of my own, with space to fill all the rooms with my stuff and to make it exactly how I like.

I miss my books. Although I have a fairly large bookshelf in my room in Brixton (my mum found it in the shop down the road which also sells broken ovens and televisions which I'm not convinced aren't stolen) it is currently holding a mere two shelves of books (the others are dedicated to stationery, DVDs, a box full of bras and a 3kg sack of pasta). Not nearly enough space for my copies of Vogue or my entire book collection.

I feel the same sense of guilt about the books I had to leave back in Dorset as I did for the teddy bears that I couldn't fit in my bed when I was younger. I went through a phase of trying to squeeze all of them under my duvet but when it got to the stage that sleeping would involve me lying on the floor, some were renegated to gather dust on my shelves. I could always feel their plastic eyes looking down on me in disappointment.

As far as I am concerned a Kindle is about as useful to me as an all in one cupcake maker. It may look swish, but I like baking too much to use one. If you are a Father Ted fan like I am, then you will remember the moment when Father Ted gives Mrs Doyle a TeaMaid tea-making machine for Christmas, to 'take the misery out of making tea'. Mrs Doyle: "But what if I like the misery?" What if I like the misery of lugging a novel the size of a weapon around in my handbag?

I love the smell of books. Recently I spent the afternoon in Hatchard's in Picaddily and couldn't help sandwiching my face into a hardback in order to sniff the pages. I love the creases that form down the spine of a favourite book. Like smile lines on a happy, wrinkled face, they tell you that they have been well loved. I love the physicality of a book. It is a solid reminder of a story you have enjoyed, like the sand that never quite leaves the corners of your beach bag is a memento of a happy holiday.

In the house of my own that I dream about, I will have piles, stacks and mountains of books.

I will also have clutter, and lots of it. Only pretty clutter, of course. I will follow the advice of the words I have pinned to my bedroom wall: 'Have nothing in your home that you don't know to be useful or believe to be beautiful'. I like stuff far too much to deal with minimalism.

I also couldn't deal with all the white that minimalism usually involves. My dream home (much like my dream wardrobe) will be colourful. I will have a pink kitchen. And a room with walls completely decorated in magazine pages (I have already started gathering these. I am building up a collection that I store in a folder with 'dream home' written on it).

I will have a bath in my bedroom, as well as a high, comfy bed that makes me feel like the princess in the Princess and the Pea.

Sadly, I realise that my dream home is exactly that.

My friend Lucy and I have made plans to move into a room together when we graduate in order to save money whilst we both look for jobs like those people who sift the sand in rivers for gold (she is a dancer).

I don't mind though. For the time being I am happy to keep adding to the 'dream home' folder and to swap the dream of a claw-foot bath for the reality of bunkbeds.

The bunkbeds will just have very pretty sheets.

(Photos from my old bedroom in Dorset)


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