Sunday, 4 August 2013

Fantasy Decorating the Imaginary Summer House

So, I've got some sort of summer flu, which sucks.  The closest I can get to achieving an upright position is lying semi-supine in bed, propped up on pillows.  Anything more ambitious provokes the constant headache/ ear popping combination  into reaching a state beyond bearable discomfort.  I've therefore spent most of the past few days watching Wallander (and yet, tragically, still don't speak Swedish) and fantasy decorating my imaginary summer house, which isn't so imaginary that the house itself doesn't exist.   My husband and I accidentally came across it when we were on holiday in Wales.   I fell so in love that it is currently haunting my dreams on a nightly basis - and it's for sale - but it would be a complete gut job, and I fear it might overstretch the budget.

The object (if a house can be an object) of my desire was built in the early years of the twentieth century by someone who had just returned from a tea plantation in Ceylon; I think it's the colonial feel that so attracts me. It takes me back to a time I spent in Ooty, in India's Blue Mountains, and it summons up Jewel in the Crown-like images, and makes me think of the stories that my Grandmother used to tell me about growing up in what is now Pakistan.  And all that from a little house on a Snowdownian hillside, somewhere in North Wales.  I just know that we could be happy there.   It's got a veranda, which is crying out for something like this:

The Bridgeport wicker sofa by Palecek - there are matching chairs, too.

I could lie on it and watch the boats sail in and out of the harbour, for the house has serious views.  Or at least, it will once the various shrubs in the somewhat overgrown garden have received a good trim.

The kitchen is currently a bit dark and poky, the walls are stained and the Aga hasn't worked for about fifteen years (apparently) but it's nothing re-wiring, re-tiling, a lick of paint and a collection of Cornishware can't fix:

The flagstones on the kitchen floor are original, and don't need anything doing to them (elsewhere the carpets need pulling up, and the floorboards probably need restoration, because I would want to have them bare, certainly downstairs) - but the kitchen would also be brightened up with a couple of these SerpentSea mats by Sophie Aschauer.  They are made from up-cycled nautical rope, and I am obsessed:

In the sitting room, which has a door leading onto the veranda and which really only needs re-wiring, re-painting and the gas fire needs removing so that the original fireplace can be reopened, I'd have ordinary sofas covered in natural linen, a couple of antique Planters' Chairs (which would be totally in keeping with the house):

And stacks of these Ian Mankin cushions.  There is something so clean and efficient about ticking.  And of course the Madras stripe works with the whole colonial feel too, though the fabric for these is handwoven in Lancashire mills:

And then on the floor in the sitting room I'd have one of these Indian dhurries, from The Rug Company.  Probably this one:

What's particularly great about everything I've earmarked is that is all very durable, which is essential, as the only way that we can possibly possibly even think about affording our fantasy summer house is if it is let for a good proportion (i.e. nearly all) of the time.  Also, when you've got children running back from the beach, covered in sand, one can't be too precious about interiors.  At least downstairs.  Upstairs is a whole other story, and one that potentially needs a few more hours of quiet contemplation, while watching Wallander.  I should probably do some maths, too, but I've got this horrible feeling that the answer is going to be no - actually, I've got no idea how it could possibly be yes because, aside from anything else, Andrew and I are both freelance - and I don't want to destroy the dream just yet. . . . (for Cornsishware)