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Your best home

Homemaking is not such a fashionable word these days but it remains a super important thing to do.

Where does the instinct to make a home come from?

The inclination to gather objects together in the place we live is a basic human behaviour, shared over many cultures and generations.

Today we live in a globalised, throwaway society. This is an age of material abundance and as consumers we have more shopping options available to us than any generation before us.

In the 18th century and before everything was handmade and labour intensive. The fabric used to make clothes and soft furnishings, took countless hours to be spun, woven and finally cut and sewn into shape. One historian has estimated it would have taken 500 hours of hand labour just to create one man’s shirt.

The industrialisation of the 19th century introduced mass production.

The term “Interior Decorator” was first used in America in the early 1900’s and in 1913, New York socialite and interior designer Elsie de Wolfe put her name to the interior design book, The House in Good Taste.

By the mid- to late-19th century, interior design had become a thriving industry in industrial countries.

The post-war manufacturing boom that lasted until the early 1970s, coincided with the baby boom and the rise of suburbia. These mega trends spurred on the mass production of new home building and furnishing materials including laminates and synthetic fabrics

Now low-wage factories in far-away places pump out boatloads of cheap consumer goods, making it more possible than ever to fill our homes with new things at a relatively low cost.

Meanwhile the popularity of interior decorating and design as a recreational pastime has grown even more from the late 1990s onwards with the advent of hugely successful home renovation reality television shows.

This freedom we enjoy to choose what we surround ourselves with is a relatively new cultural phenomenon. What are doing with our freedom?

Image: Riva Homes
  • Shopping is a popular pastime for many – and if we fancy a particular item for our home, or are simply sick of our how things look and want to switch it out we can.

  • When things break or go out of fashion, we can toss that object away and to replace it with something shiny and new.

  • These choices we’re making are not without cost. We are creating huge environmental problems with the amount of stuff going to landfill and we’re wasting valuable resources, 100-year-old tropical forests trees being cut down to make decking and garden furniture

One of the hats I wear is as an interior home consultant - helping people achieve the home they want.

I‘m not much for following interior design trends as I think it is much more interesting to follow your own instincts rather than fashion.

Ultimately it is more authentic and more satisfying to arrive to your own decisions about what you like and how you are going to furnish the space you live in.

It’s about creating a home that inspires and nurture you and your family.

Why would we choose to fill our houses with the things on offer at the same chain stores everyone else is shopping at? After all, the best forms of interior decorating are more than simply mimicking a style or simply ripping out what was there before and replacing it with something new.

It’s about creating spaces that feel good to be in, that convey a sense of belonging for the people who live there. It’s about having the confidence to surround ourselves with things that express our personal style, that have meaning for us, or that tell a story.

And it’s in these subtle touches that you make a house a home.

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