‘The home should be the treasure chest of life.’ —Le Corbusier
I admit it – I’m a house person. I’m interested in where people live, their décor, their knickknacks and treasures, and their stories of how they ended up where they did. I watch all those shows – the ones with the plucky presenters who bring camera and crew into someone’s home, peer into their lives, and ‘make over’ years of accumulated inertia – resulting in a fresh, clean, magnolia slate. I secretly fantasize that maybe someone will come and do that to my house (though my husband would no doubt run them off the property brandishing his gardening trowel or rake).
I believe that every house – from your swish modern loft apartment in Shoreditch to your higgledy-piggledy Tudor farmhouse in Kent – and every semi-, flat conversion, footballer’s mansion, and tower block in between – can tell a story. Just like it’s easy to see a resemblance between people and their pets, people and their houses shape and reflect each other. Home is an important ‘character’ in our lives, just like family, friends and colleagues.
When my family undertook a 3-year long marathon search for a new home, the part that I enjoyed most was visiting house after house. I would imagine myself in the life of another person, another family. How could they have bought that hideous sofa? Where did they find those lovely tiles? This house seems happy, this house seems drab, this house seems tired, this house seems fab. . .
Estate agents are lucky enough to have a special insight – a close up lens into human nature. Day in and day out they see a spectrum of life – people moving in, people moving on; new beginnings, and imminent endings: happy, sad, bittersweet, sometimes just downright bitter.