I am so often being asked, soto voce and bashfully, ”what can I do to make my home look middle-class”. To save the blushes of all you aspirational middle-classers, I have put together a helpful little guide. A hard copy is available and can be delivered by courier in discreet packaging.
Let’s go on an alphabetical stroll through a middle class home and see what you need to do.
- A is for: Alessi products. At 43 quid for a lemon squeezer you don’t actually use them. They are for show. Strategically place them to bring a ‘Peter Jones does Italian style’ to your kitchen. Your Lakeland plastics stuff must be stored out of sight-behind closed drawers.
- B is for Boden. Not exactly homeware but in any self-respecting MC home your kids should be dressed head to toe in the stuff. For added kudos, you too.
- Cath Kidston. True MC’s worship at the temple of CK. Start with a floral ironing board cover and pinny. Continue through the entire range until you reach the childrens attic bedrooms- must be cowboy wallpaper. Remember your life and style must start and finish with CK if you have any chance of reaching MC status.
- Dualit toaster. You need to buy the four slice stainless steel one. I realise it’s 150 quid and only a toaster but you cannot think like that if you want to be truly MC.
- Eco-bling. Solar powered, wind powered or vegetable powered. Doesn’t matter. Only thing that matters is that it is big, ugly, visible and shouts out I’M GREEN, I REALLY, REALLY CARE
- Farrow and Ball. Starting with your front door for MC kerb appeal, your whole home needs to kneel at the altar of F&B. If in doubt, you can’t go too far wrong plastering every wall with dead salmon.
- Gaggia expresso machine. You cannot be seen with a jar of instant or a packet of froth your own cappuccino ever again.
- HD TV – This, you must always point out to visitors is only for watching National Geographic and anything by David Attenborough.
- Interior designed. Just match your cushions with the rug. Job done.
- Jamie Oliver cookbooks. This is a waning MC trend due to his propensity for swearing on TV and his very un-MC link to Sainsburys. But you’re safe for now. I will send out warning message to all RSS link subscribers when it looks like he’s dying an MC death.
- Kitchenaid mixer. You need one of these thanks to Nigella.It may take up 80% of your worksurface but as it says ‘I make Victoria sandwich or cup cakes every day’, it is a non-negotiable essential. Just make sure it matches the kitchen.
- Leather rugs- Sorry to make you do this but you have to have a brown and white hairy cow-hide on your floor.
- Molton Brown soap and handcream. In the cloakroom and at the kitchen sink. At 25 quid for the set they are a bit steep, but they never run out because you continue to wash your hands with Fairy liquid.
- Nigella. Queen Nigella has brought sexy intellectual housewife to the MC kitchen. Just go out and buy everything she sells, in duck-egg blue. If it’s only one piece it has to be the salt pig. Not that an MC kitchen ever uses unhealthy salt.
- Oils. Lined up on a shelf, Olive, lemon, truffle, chilli. Anything really just as long as the colours are pretty. Remember they are only for decoration so you can raid TK Maxx discount baskets without fear of culinary misadventures.
- Plantation shutters. If you have a bog-standard terrace, in a row of bog-standard terraces, these make sure that anyone driving past is in no doubt that you are the MC neighbour.
- bb..Q. Alright I’m cheating, but you must have a BBQ and it must be a Weber.
- Red ‘Keep Calm and Carry on’ poster. Every MC home has one- so you must too.
- Sheds- not your run of the mill garden shed – a garden room with power heat and broadband. It says I’m writing a novel or am a freelance something. Unless you’re a banker, 9-5 is very un-MC. And you don’t want people thinking you’re a banker- so get a shed.
- Throws… No, not blankets dear..we’re talking mohair and llama.Yes I know they’re itchy and dry-clean only, but worry not. You will never unfold them.
- Underfloor heating. Make sure all visitors remove their shoes or the effort is wasted.
- Velvet chesterfield- probably purple. This will of course NEVER be sat on so as to avoid irrevocable staining, marking or rubbing. Children must be taught from weaning that it is an adoption offence to even approach it.
- Waitrose. You will never move somewhere outside a 3 mile radius of Waitrose. Ocado must deliver and it is absolutely the only own-brand to be seen in your kitchen. Also, from now on you only buy Waitrose ‘extract of cashmere’ loo roll.
- X-rated glamour shots. No MC bedroom is complete without a soft-focused bare shouldered shot of lady of the house. It must hang above the bed. It lets people know you embrace your womanhood and that you were once fanciable.
- Yachting snaps- Photos of you and loved ones, red faced and windswept on a yacht, clad in cagoules. This says, ‘Look! We sail’. I realise you may have to photoshop this, but don’t worry, most of them have been.
- Zinc topped kitchen work bench. If you can’t afford to get a 1500 quid one from a Notting Hill antique shop, blag an old work bench off your local builder. Paint it any choice of Farrow and Ball, nail a sheet of zinc on top. That’s how the vintage shops do it.
So, if you have time between Pilates or the NCT ‘Cut your own umbilical cord class’, sign up for a John Lewis storecard. Stock up the larder at Borough Market and you’re nearly set to go.
You just have to remember to add these words to your new MC vocabulary. It’s lux, it’s lush and above all ….. remember to HEART absolutely everything in the Cath Kidston catalogue.