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A sheep in wolf's clothing
on 29 July 2011
Though this is a nice book with some lovely evocative (and very carefully lit) photos, plus various useful tips, there is an underlying flaw. And it's a big one. These ideas work if the reason you are strapped for cash is that you've laid out every penny on some gorgeous period building with wonderful light, good architectural detail, and bags of atmosphere. It's all very well putting a few battered pieces of vintage furniture in an empty room on a bare floor if the walls are Georgian panelling and the floor is oak boards. Try the same approach in the kind of house that most of us can afford, and your visitors are likely to wonder if you live in a squat.
I would also take issue a bit with what the authors call "cheap". There are some very expensive bathroom fittings in the bathroom section, and using a 1950s medicine cabinet for your bits and bobs may save money on a swanky (and naff) fitted cupboard, but you'll need to scrimp when you've blued a grand on the bath.
More than anything else this book makes me think of that "Harry and Paul" running gag about the shop in Portobello called "I saw you coming". Maybe I'm being unfair and there is a real market out there amongst people in London with bags of taste, enormous mortgages on crumbling period houses, and no idea what to do with the interiors, but for most of us it's just a case of 'dream on, mate'.