Frankly, I’m a bit fed up with this question. Truth is , I am much more in tune with the negatives of life. When asked this question I only seem to come up with ‘what not to do’. I have put together a few examples based on 1000’s of wanders through peoples homes.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t actually care if you’re a slob or want to paint your bathroom to resemble a womb. To be honest I rather applaud it. I find myself increasingly irritated by the cloning of our homes with whitewash and House of Fraser accessories. It’s telling, that some of the nicest and most desirable houses I go into are the ones frayed and dog-eared.
As someone living in a house tinted with the spray of wet dogs and buried in lifes detritus, I am making no pretensions of superiority.
However, it seems people really do take this subject rather seriously. In fact there appears to be an entire industry growing fast to accommodate the deemed necessity of de-cluttering, accessorising and magnolia-r-ing before sale. Therefore, I shall simply and with as little sarcasm as I can manage, give you some examples I have actually experienced. Draw your own conclusions from them on what ….does not help to sell your house.
As mentioned, the womb bathroom, found in a warehouse conversion in Shad Thames. Reds & purples daubed onto what looked like hastily applied artex. Not just the walls. The ceiling was not forgotten. The definition of a feature ceiling- painted in the same red/purple theme but with the addition of a mirror, suspended directly above the bath. The red bath, semi- sunken, obviously, the steps leading up to it covered in the same blood red shag-pile as the rest of the bathroom. The Vendor popped in near the end of our viewing. Middle aged, suited, booted and balding. A banker.
The 1950’s very plain detached house on the Chilterns escarpment. Well, it was very plain until the current owner got hold of it. This house clearly the culmination of a five year paint effects course. There was rag- rolling, bark effect, spatter effect, hand stencilling, marbling and effects which were possibly the designers own creation. There were picture rails, stick-on borders, cornicing and plastic ceiling roses.As a final salute to all things faux- plastic romanesque pillars. Not just the one pillar, in the modest faux-marbled hall alone there were three. Not a surface was left un-touched, not one colour was repeated, nor may I say were any matched.The one break from the sensory onslaught was her consulting room. An oasis of magnolia and whale music in which to wax her clients. We lingered longer than was polite before venturing upstairs to the predictable boudoir.
Then there are the houses with many interesting personal items on display. My clients and I are so busy looking at those, we forget to look at the property.
The luxury duplex apartment overlooking the Thames. Did we concentrate on the glass stair case, the river views, the Persian rugs? No. Our eyes were on the myriad of wedding photo’s and holiday pics. Mine and my clients appointment was spent trying to work out whether the wedding photographs, showing a good 40 year age gap, were of father and daughter or man and absurdly young wife.
The Georgian home of a much loved celebrity. The panelled doors lovingly painted by the family with self-portraits-seemingly the result of a very intoxicated weekend.The concrete cow with red lips. The Turkish bath style en-suite – in turquoise and gold.
The house owned by a chap with a string of lap-dancing clubs. I am a professional but some things just have to take precedence over tapping the walls. A hallway lined with artistically shot photographs of what I assume are his favourite girls. A bedroom with the theme of black suede and leopard skin. The swing was not in the garden.
The standard answer to the titles question is rather simple – clean and neutral, nothing more complicated than that.
However, between you and me, I lean towards the ‘do what the heck you like’ camp.