This morning I woke up to a pillow-full of hair that smelt like well-hung sirloin steak cooking on a griddle, a memory of glorious Vajra nebbiolo and a giant sense of relief that just as a friend and I were really getting into our stride – “Send the taxi away! Pour more wine!” – her husband put on his sensible shoes and took her home so I got to bed with a nice cup of tea not too long after midnight.
I will write about the wines tomorrow – they deserve their own post. But mostly I wanted to say how much I like kitchens. Specifically, mine which is the first I’ve ever had that’s big enough to have friends round to cook, eat, pour a glass of this, a glass of that. And so on.
It took me a year to find this flat. Because I agonise over decorating decisions it could have taken another ten years – and probably at least 9,387 sample pots of paint – to do it up. I didn’t want to spend sleepless nights going demented over swatches and paint patches or be like a woman I once worked for who got the decorators to repaint her living room five – yes, five – times because every day she’d go home and look at the walls, “No, wrong colour, doesn’t work.”
So I got help. I got Helen.*
Helen is a colour genie who I used to know in another archaeological layer of my life. She can look at 78 shades of lichen, turtle dove feather and granite and immediately pick out the one that will make a room hang together. She once rescued a room I thought was beyond redemption simply by telling me to paint the walls in a colour called Stone IV. Her own home is filled with gorgeous shades and hues that ought to clash but in her hands just don’t. She is also very firm on other decorating matters. “You don’t want those spotlights that protrude, they look like they’re getting over-excited.” For example.
She found me Slate II from the Paint & Paper Library for the kitchen walls.
When I said I wanted parquet she steered me towards one that would be warm but not orange.
“Wouldn’t it be nice to do the terrace door frames in dark grey, not white?” said Helen. And so I did.
In almost no time at all – tadaaa, I’ve a space for friends to chat and eat and drink in. And I don’t have a hoard of sample paint pots waiting to avalanche out of a cupboard. All of which makes me happier than I can say. Wines tomorrow.
*This is what Helen does for a living. Her company is called Paintbox and her very gorgeous house is featured in October’s Living Etc.