What is it that appeals to people about before and after decorating stories? I’ve never understood the thrill of the shock. The before pictures need to be depressing, so depressing that the place looks like it needs life support never mind
a decorator. The after pictures, well, they need to look so spectacularly improved, enhanced and upgraded that the story becomes a tabloidy back-from-the-dead Extreme Makeover gawk-fest of design. Like if Jerry Springer did house tours.
The thing is, though, that these situations exist. Every
day, on every street, on every building site, there are sow’s ears getting the Pygmalion promotion. But, the eyesore to eye candy bit isn’t as interesting as the in-between portion that the pictures don’t show because that’s when the good design gets done. In this issue we feature five homes with very clever planning and tricks to realise a space that is a next-level solution to a subpar problem. I was lucky enough to stay in a home for a few months that Ashley Maddox had renovated. It was a dream: ergonomic, unpretentious and, above all, really sassy for its considered space planning and the resulting ease of living. See her own home on which she worked wonders in Collective Cool. You’ll be equally inspired by the cottage that Karen Newman turned into a spacious holiday home on a long narrow piece of beach front. It shows superbly how well organised space and views through to the next room work just as pleasingly, possibly even more so, than a sprawling setup under one roof. One of my favourite examples of a small space with a lot of buzz is in Mexico (Boxing Clever), an idiosyncratic but super stylish desert home combining cabins and studios and bold rustic and modern materials in a sophisticated way.
Creating clever spaces is like good detective work, which means almost always thinking out
of the box..
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