Saturday, 14 May 2011
Home making and bread baking
I've been in a real fug this week. I switched onto autopilot at work and haven't wanted to do much more than sit on my couch. I'm not sure what brought on my grump - I'd had a lovely weekend learning how to bake bread in Cornwall for Domestic Sluttery and perhaps I just wasn't ready to come back yet. The second I arrived back into Paddington, people seemed to start being rude and thoughtless and I think I skipped straight onto defence mode.
Then on Thursday it all switched again and I remembered why I love living where I do. It started with stroll through the park for a swim in a light-filled pool, followed by a film on Friday at the Ritzy and food at Brixton Village. Today, I more than made up for my lack of activity in the week. I got up early and did the Crystal Palace Park 5K run in the sunny park. My new table arrived from Made.com and it inspired me to buy tulips - an instant mood-lifter - and then I put my newly attained bread making skills (and post run energy) into action and made some soda bread.
However, the highlight of the day has been visiting a couple of artist's houses as part of the Dulwich Festival. Both houses were very different but equally inspiring in their different ways.
First up was the home of Roddy and Ginger. I've been a long time fan of the prints and had noticed that their house frequently cropped up in photo shoots for magazines and books (like the Decor8 book). Seemingly ordinary from the outside, the house extended over five floors and was beautifully set up, though in a loved and lived in, rather than a 'don't touch' way - from the large kitchen to the Ercol couch I've seen in so many photographs. Mid-century ceramics and stylish books could be seen everywhere. The house was filled with light, looking out onto a leafy garden and Dulwich Woods beyond while the basement was given over a covetable studio. My friends and I left saying how it was exactly what we wanted our own homes to be like.
The second house was in another suburban-looking Sydenham street. Known as the recycled house, everything in it was second-hand, reclaimed and remade. It was full of clever ideas: a wall decorated with envelopes, another covered with pages of books, the hallway covered in mirrors. The owner, Mark, explained to us how it was constantly evolving and being remade as ideas came to him, and he worked out ideas of how to use objects. Every nook in the house was used for display, yet there was an obvious sense of order behind it - Mark told us how he laid objects out in the garden before introducing them into the house to see how they worked together. The house was used to promote the idea that people rdidn't need to buy new, as he said "everything you might need has been made already".
Both houses were in London, though it felt we were a million miles away from the dirt, the frantic nature and the rudeness of the city. Both owners had managed to set up their lives in a way (at least from an outsider's perspective) that managed to tame the challenges of city to their own terms. For today at least it felt like I managed a little bit of the same.