Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Real Homes: Finally facing my Waterloo

When I was 19, out of work and still living at home, a friend of my mum's said she'd heard about some summer jobs going at Wimbledon, driving tennis players around during the tournament. 

She knew someone involved with the hiring and suggested to my mum that I apply.


Above: the downstairs loo got painted black

Incredibly, none of us considered that this prestigious job would definitely not go to a navigationally deficient teenager who'd only been driving two years, solely in an ancient Morris Minor. Somehow a nepotistic interview was procured (and bear with me, as there is a link to these images of my house).

Above: the bin area got painted black

I turned up at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club and met a man who must have owed a large favour to my mum's misguided friend. Very quickly it became clear that – duh, obviously – my competition was an army of retired taxi drivers, decades of The Knowledge at their core.

Above: the drinks trolley/dogbed got painted black

As only a blissfully unjaded teenager can, I thought I was getting away with it, and soldiered through question after question about the detailed routes that would get me, the limo and an imaginary Steffi Graff to the grounds from a variety of geographically hypothetical London hotels at which she might have been staying.

Above: the black paint theme in the kitchen continues

All my routes, however, resolutely included Waterloo Bridge, much to my interrogator's bewilderment. Quite simply it was the only route I knew across central London. It had always worked for me, why stray into the unknown – especially in an increasingly stressful job interview? Eventually, after questioning the directness of most of my suggested routes, my interrogator was forced to ask: "And, Kate, if Waterloo Bridge is closed...?"

Needless to say, and luckily for Steffi et al, I didn't get the job.

These days, this anecdote is often used to taunt me after a particularly idiotic navigational fail. But this weekend, it was used in an interiors context: could it be, it was suggested, that black paint was my "interiors Waterloo Bridge"? In other words, is it my default solution to any number of design situations. The photographic evidence is rather persuasive...

All came up after a trip to Wickes for cork tiles (for an exciting corkboard project I'll be sharing soon): I returned minus tiles but with an impulse-bought can of black spray paint for metal.

The two lamps above (one from Habitat, one from Sainsbury's) have been bugging me for a while. I love the shape of both but hate the chrome base of the table lamp, and the cream of the desk lamp (it's almost the only cream thing in the house). My go-to idea? Yes: black paint.

It could be disastrous... I shall keep you posted. Meanwhile – does anyone else have their own "Waterloo Bridge"?


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