A little tip when you are house hunting. The car parked outside should give you a darn good idea of what you will find upon entering. I shall run through the ‘buyer bewares’ below.
The car will have a National Trust sticker.The house will have swirly and sculpted carpets and an Ercol coffee table. A standard lamp with original 1950’s tasselled shades. Kitchen will be an homage to formica, usually yellow and will have a serving hatch to the G-plan furnished lounge-diner. This will have an artexed ceiling and wood chip paper on the walls. All walls and ceilings will be freshly painted with silk-finish paint. This will not be intentionally ‘retro’.
It’s all about Retro-mania these days.
Have you ever tried getting wood-chip paper off?
The car will have a name and the Vendor will be a single female. There will be cuddly toys and heart shaped lace cushions piled up on the bed. Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe black and white photo’s will be on most walls. The DVD collection will include Bridget Jones, Four Weddings and anything with George Clooney in it. The kitchen will provide just enough space for 3 months supply of Slimfast and Whiskas. There will be a lot of pink.
There will be lots of shoe storage.
Getting rid of the smell of cat.
The Vendor hasn’t quite made it or he would have a 911 or at least the ‘S’. Therefore the bathroom fittings will be Philippe Starck-esque, the kitchen John Lewis not Bulthaup and the furnishings Habitat not Conran. Bedding and towels will be of a dark colour to reduce the need to launder and the bed will be one of those low wood base things that you gash your shins on. Don’t look under the bed.
The kitchen will be pristine, other than the microwave with exploded bolognese interior.
There will almost certainly be a hot tub to dispose of.
Land Rover Defender.
There will be gun cabinets and an Aga. It will smell of Labrador and un-rinsed waders. Linoleum will be the floor covering of choice, even on the stairs.
Furniture will have been handed down from Granny in the ‘big house’ and there will be a scullery. You won’t be able to see the farmhouse kitchen table for the back copies of The Field and horse sized worming syringes.
Don’t expect Central heating or double glazing, that’s only for the Prols.
Your Notting Hill friends will be dribbling with envy at it’s ‘shabby chic authenticity’
Actually it’s just upper-middle-class shabby, bloody freezing and in technical parlance… ‘a money-pit’.
This is a girls car. The house will be a girls house. It will smell of Jo Malone and flowers she has bought herself. The bathroom will be a sanctum of candles and potions. The bedroom will have a metal framed bed and White company linen. A silky La Senza bath-robe will be hung behind the door. Carpets will be cream and you will have to take your shoes off. There will be lots of photos of her looking sultry and of nieces christenings. You will be able to self-help yourself to your hearts content from the bookshelves. Nigellas ‘how to be a domestic goddess’ will have remained unused. Like the kitchen.
You wont need to buy your own festoon blinds and every door you open will have a full length mirror.
If you are a bloke, you will have to rip out the cream carpets and replace with practical cheap laminate.
In London this will be the Mrs’ car for taking kids to the prep school. She will have forgone the Aga for a Falcon and will absolutely have a Sub-Zero fridge freezer and a Miele steam oven. Everything in the kitchen will be from Divertimenti, the rest of the house will be interior designers own sources, which means Skandium and Conran. There will be ‘mood lighting’ and a Bang and Olufsen sound system. One bedroom will have been made into a walk-in wardrobe for her. This will smell of Diptyque and there will be a tie rack for him.
Only other concession to Mr will be a half landing study for his Macbook and his collection of comics he saved from the skip.
Lots of state of the art gadgets.
You will never work out how to use any of the appliances, the Lutron lighting or the sound system.
And my favourite…..
The Toyota Prius
This is a Fulham Victorian mid-terrace, or Clapham, Chiswick… you get the picture. The front door will be Farrow and Balled and an Abel and Cole organic veg. box will be on the doorstep. A yoga mat and the family Crocs will litter the hallway. Windows will have plantation shutters from sustainable wood. The eat-in kitchen will have a scrubbed pine table with old church pews and Boden catalogues. All the floors will be stripped pine with Kilim rugs everywhere.The bookcases will be full of Vegan eating and Rough Guides to places hot, dirty and third world. You will need to rifle through the top shelves to find the Tantric sex ones.
They will take the Kilims with them.
After all those years of Waitrose bio-cleaning products, you’ll need industrial strength Civit Bang to clean that bathroom.
Oh, just one more thing…… his Aston Martin will be parked in the next road.