What Makes you Feel Rich?

By alison May 10, 2006 3 Comments 3 Min Read

Laundrygirl

When I first started in interior design I was still living at home and not yet in the grip of my homemaking obsession. Working for myself  I often  found myself alone in some of the most beautiful homes in the Northwest: from footballers mansions to to huge great barn conversions and once in a "Hall" owned by some of the landed gentry…

 Without exception these houses were the height of luxury: the kind of houses you only see in magazines and the kind of homes a million miles away from my own semi-detached childhood; but they never fazed  me, mostly because  I only had  to look at the owners  to understand  that money was no guarantee of happiness and that in the end, no matter how many divinely decorated rooms a house may have, by the end of the evening most families find themselves squeezed into one room staring at the TV together anyway… 

Not for one minute did I ever feel envious, but being in these houses taught me a lot about what it meant to be rich: the ease money gives you and how a beautiful lifestyle is simplified byaccess to the basics of life in abundance…

What thrilled me most in these houses was economy sizes boxes oflaundry powder; bowls and bowls of fruit they couldn’t possibly find the time to eat, piles and piles of deliciously fresh white towels, librarys full of treasured books and once in an old Victorian Manor, a housekeepers sitting room, lined with cream cupboards which opened to reveal stacks of plain white dinnerware, row upon row of twinkling glasses and the most basic, utilitarian, oven to tableware in every shape you can think of: to me here was riches, the possibility of endless meals, dishes and celebrations, and the epitome of domestic bliss…

And this is what I have taken away with me from my design career: that beauty is not in the indoor swimming pool, not in the endless en suite bathrooms or the silk lined walls; money doesn’t buyhappiness or taste, but it does buy domestic security- and that is all that matters to me; that I feel safe within my own four walls, that I am protected by my urge to create a home that nurtures us: a home that will provide fresh towels in abundance, nourishing meals,clean laundry and the possibility of teeny tiny celebrations on adaily basis…

I can live without all kinds of things, but if I run out of washing powder I feel strangely poverty stricken and if there isn’t a daffodil or two smiling in my kitchen I feel positively poor…

What makes you feel rich? What is the first thing you run out and buy when you feel a bit flush? This week make a list of those things that make you feel "safe". A full freezer? A rack full of red wine? The biggest tub of fabric conditioner you can buy? A secet stash of cheese and onion crisps…

If you can’t make all of these things happen all of the time, sacrifice something else to make it possible to feel just a teeny bit "safer" this week. And if you do nothing at all, make sure there is at least one little  flower, somewhere in the house to brighten up your day…

Treat yourself. It really matters.

*This article first appeared on  my  Puttering Programme.*

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3 Comments

  1. Gena says:

    If my house is clean and tidy my pantry full and I have a vase of flowers by my sink,I feel at peace with the world,my fave treats are a nice glossy magazine and a bar of chocolate!

  2. Claudette says:

    A bottle of premimium vodka, lashings of fresh pomegranate/raspberry juice, a bathroom full of LUSH bath slices and a looking at my wonderful Portobello market finds.

  3. June says:

    I have always had this thing about toilet paper. I can be without a gazillion other things but NOT toilet paper. There must be a stockpile of at least 100 rolls or I get anxious. My philosophy is: "When life gives you [poop], then it's your responsibility to buy the toilet paper." In other words, I believe that only I am responsible for my happiness and if there's trouble, then I need to clean up the problem myself.

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