So the days are getting longer now so that even though it’s still cold I feel more optimistic this time of year. The garden’s still bare but at least I can hear the sound of bird song (probably the only advantage of single glazed windows!). This time last year there was an American rig in the front garden drilling 150m deep bore holes for the Heat Pump system and although it doesn’t do much for your garden landscaping (sludge everywhere) it was definitely the right choice for a 160 year old house that will never see an A rating for thermal efficiency.
So maybe it’s the warmer house this year, courtesy of the heat pump, or maybe it’s the few Spring bulbs bravely poking their heads up and the start of colour in the garden that makes the difference in my mood. The change in light definitely helps. Of course one disadvantage of greater light is that it shows up dust (layers of it literally as we sand the basement).
Another disadvantage is that Spring always seems to precipitate decluttering in our house (I blame my wife’s Netflix obsession with organisation shows). I am an aspirational minimalist which I means I am phenomenally unsuccessful at achieving a ‘Marie Kondo’ aesthetic.
One thing I have discovered however is that art is the one area where you can generate a sense of space with the careful addition rather than removal of something. Seascapes are perfect for this as when added to a blank wall they can often create the illusion of greater depth and therefore more space in a room than before . So it turns out that ‘sparking joy’ Marie Kondo style doesn’t always involve giving up what you love!
When you’re a serial renovator (we are on house number seven at this stage), TV shows portraying the angst of building are oddly compelling maybe because it’s like a virtual support group for building lunatics. Maybe that’s why ‘Room to Improve’ is on its 14th season by now! I even watch the shows however where they are completely finished and you don’t get to see any of the angst involved just the final product like ‘Home of the Year’. I have to say I watch this programme mainly for the interaction between the judges where Hugh Wallace’s love of colour rarely coincides with Amanda Bone’s desire for a pared back look.
The reality I think for most people is somewhere in the middle. In this setting I think well placed art can help create a home rather than just a house. So if you have blank walls and a need for space but minimalism feels cold try bringing depth with a seascape or even two (as long as you’re not inviting Amanda Bone over for dinner obviously!)