Friday, 7 June 2013

Where I live: Indoors chez Nappyvalleygirl

A friend of mine is selling her house. For one reason and another it's been a little slow to sell, so the agent has now suggested that their house be "staged" to look better. The other day, a professional "stager" turned up with some furniture, strategically placed it in my friend's home, and put various "decorative" objects around the place (including a bowl of fake apples in the middle of a table, which made us all laugh).

They also took down my friend's own pictures and replaced them with generic, arty, black and white shots of waterfalls, flowers and the like. All very "tasteful", but somehow it annoyed me. I would much prefer that the art in a house should reflect something of the people who actually live there. My own house is not interior-designed. The pictures don't all match, and we have ornaments and photos in odd places - but it's us, and that's how I like it.

Anyway, all of that is a preamble to the latest entry in Michelloui's Where I Live series over at The American Resident. The subject this week is "Indoors".

Our house contains pictures and objects from all stages of our life, including my early years in Hong Kong. This cat is one of a pair that my parents owned; they sit on either side of our fireplace. They're a little chipped now, after several moves around the world, but they remind me of my childhood and they'll always come with me.

This picture is also one of a pair of Chinese embroidered artworks my parents bought in Hong Kong. The two pictures are supposed to represent sunrise and sunset, although there has always been debate over which one is which (maybe a Chinese reader can tell me what the characters say in this one?). I loved them as a child, and still do.

This black and white print of Siena was bought on our honeymoon in Italy; we had it framed with the purple border to match the then-purple walls of our dining room in London.

This painting hails from Cambodia; we bought it on our round the world backpacking trip in 2004, and had it sent back to the UK by courier. We think the elephant is carrying the builders and stones required to construct Angkor Wat, which you can see in the background.

This one was a wedding present, painted by The Doctor's cousin, who is an artist. The birds are pecking at a Mulberry tree; she has one in her garden in London.

 And so to Long Island. The Doctor bought this map for me as a Christmas present the first year we were here. Everyone always remarks on it when they come to the house (the one that made me laugh was the friend of Littleboy 1's who asked: "Is that England?")

 And here's our most recent acquisition, a wooden carving of a Cardinal that I bought last weekend at a local craft festival. These birds are always in our garden, so it will be a nice memento of our time here.

But where, you might ask, are the Littleboys represented here? Well, of course our house is filled with photos of them; but it would also not be complete without their own art. Here's just a selection of the many masterpieces that come home from school; I don't keep everything, but some of these will definitely be packed up into boxes for the trip back to London.


Strictly Jen said...

I love this, can I steal for a short house art tour of my own?

Expat mum said...

Very nice. I was just talking about "staging" the other day. If we were ever to show our house it would take quite a while to de-personalise it.

Strictly Jen said...

Duh, it's a linky. So of course I can! Ignore me!

Anonymous said...

I would much prefer that the art in a house should reflect something of the people who actually live there.

Isn't that the point, though, that potential buyers can look at the bland artwork and imagine their own family photos and their own cherished kid art in its place?

Iota said...

I had an art wall in my house in the US, full of all the kids' pictures. When a new one went up, an old one had to come down.

I loved that wall

Michelloui | The American Resident said...

Love this! I think so far this is my favourite of the Where I Live linky's because it shows people's homes (and hearts). I love that you have art from all over the world and all periods of your life, and that you include your childrens art as well. My favourite is the chipped cat :) Or, no. I think I have several favourites. And I love how kids do those things like 'is that England?' it made me chuckle out loud. Cool present! (I love maps.)

Metropolitan Mum said...

Staging is the norm when you sell your place in Sweden. I.e. my husband went a little staging crazy before we sold our place. It's hard to keep the household running when you have to search for the wooden spoons when cooking...
Love the lucky cat!

Kit said...

I'd never heard of home-staging until I recently had to write an article on it. Seems to be mostly about de-cluttering and de-personalising but I agree with you, I prefer to see real stuff.
Lovely glimpse of your artworks.

Nota Bene said...

Lovely that you take these memories with you.

I have a friend who is a 'stager'. She's blond and lives in California.

nappy valley girl said...

I do see why people believe in "staging", but I would rather see plain white walls that bland artworks. If that is what is supposed to be good taste, it's depressing!