Luxury & your well-being
Words and images Pete Wilcock
At certain times we all sit up and become determined to put things right in our own world – perhaps a new job, a new car, a new partner – or my personal favourite thing to do during monotonous worrying times is to get myself a new crazy haircut! Often our objective will depend on where we think our problems lie.
The home I do find can be either the biggest pick me up or indeed a hindering drag me down. An untidy and cluttered home drives me mad. Equally living in an environment that never changes, being the same old, same old, is where boredom creeps in – everything is almost too familiar. Luxury living for me is about keeping things fresh and new, exciting and pleasing. It can also be a very therapeutic and calming influence on your life.
Our recent revamp at our cottage in the UK was a good case point – we had really allowed it to become tired. It looked great but nothing had changed drastically in a number of years. Familiarity breeds contempt? With a stale home for sure. Of course for your home you want to retain some reliable staple items that you love and take comfort from. They never leave you. That revamp was interesting as we have some great, treasured items throughout – so just how did they survive that potential culling that we were in the mood for? It was not rocket science nor the secret skills of an interior designer – it was as simple as giving some careful thought on how to successfully relocate items within the house – breathing new life not only into a room but into the furnishings themselves. Therefore you are not necessarily spending money on new decor but repositioning / reinventing what you have already.
A redecoration usually means stripping the walls to repaint etc…so, as an example, artwork is taken down whilst you work – why not rehang the painting that was over your fireplace to the top of the stairs instead? The painting at the top of the stairs swap and hang over the fireplace? Ambitious? Not at all. That was one of the changes we made and it worked a treat – never be afraid to experiment. You may have forgot just how nice that painting was at the top of the stairs, barely noticing it – it can be quite thrilling to reacquaint yourself with items that have been simply moved to a new location.
The purpose of these ongoing blogs is to look at delivering a luxury lifestyle to your own personal environment – be it inside the home or in your gardens / outside spaces. I have already gone to some lengths to try and understand just why luxury living appeals – see my blog Luxury: A Moving Target – and it still remains quite elusive and subjective. For me, in the end, I guess it is about merely coming home and loving what you have given yourself to enjoy. That does require a few simple rules (or maybe an ethic is better word?) that we work to:
- Cleanliness: Listen, I know some people are naturally untidy and it no doubt doesn’t stress them as much as it would me. Personally I can`t really do untidy – but if you are a little untidy that is fine. What I do find unforgivable is an unclean house. A clean house broadcasts the message that you have your life under some control and it really does help keep your levels of stress lower – including the guests who are visiting you. I don`t want to visit a house with stained carpets and sofas – or worse again a clearly unhygienic bathroom! Shame on you. Seriously. A decent bit of regular housekeeping showcases all your lovely items around the home. More importantly it will buoy-on up your mood. A good bit of cleaning (so basically by that I mean respecting your own home) really fires up the endorphins too. It is so satisfying to walk into – and function better within – a clean home!
- Clutter: Back to this so soon eh? Sorry – it is an important one even though I do totally get some people just don`t have that clutter free gene! But you see clutter makes me tense. Piles of unorganised paperwork or post is just debris to me. Irritating. Shelves full of ornaments (or worse souvenirs!!) set my teeth on edge. Drawers and cupboards bursting with contents so disorganised you will never ever find what you want in a million years. Magazines – pile them up neatly in some sort of order to return to whenever you want. Messy conditions can unknowingly increase your anxiety. In messy conditions dust, germs and insects thrive. We recently helped a client de-clutter her home with a view to renting it out as a viable holiday rental – but it was packed so full of the unnecessary and the ugly that she could not actually see it anymore. It was impeding her. She struggled to move forward with anything. When she reacted to the chaos around her home she became more calmer and determined with her life. It enabled her to have new perspectives and discover newfound preferences. She felt accomplished. Of course the most immediate result was that her beautiful bespoke home could actually be seen properly – the designs and layouts appreciated now that they were devoid of clutter.
- Red Flags: For me this especially applies to VLK www.rhodesluxuryvilla.com – as a luxury villa rental we remain incredibly fastidious that nothing is torn, or stained, or chipped or worn out. In the first instance this is a luxury rental business and people are paying good money to stay in something that should always be in top condition. If any of those mentioned faults are evident we always have them removed, replaced or repaired. No waiting around and making do – that is unfair to the paying guest. But even in your own home such things should never become prevalent providing you notice them and can afford to stay on top of things. They are red flags that your own standards and expectations are slipping. If you are surrounded by constant reminders of wear and tear it can be quite demoralising to live with.
- Expressing YOURSELF: This always sends a message. Make sure your spaces are your ideas by and large. I have talked about plagiarism before in these blogs. It is not only a bit creepy it must be wholly unsatisfying to the person doing it – knowing that deep down what you are passing off as your own work you have actually just copied. In our case we have been blatantly copied – and even at the cost of a friendship. Enough was enough – it was all too unhealthy and frustrating for my tastes. When designing and dreaming up your spaces understand and create what is important to you. A germ of an idea from elsewhere is fine, taking inspiration from someone is flattering. A lazy plagiarist just has no true identity nor understanding of the ideas they have stolen. A home needs to tell your story. Surrounding yourselves with your ideas not only makes your life better it gives you deep down pride that you dreamt all of this up and put it together.
- Do it your way: This is significantly different to the previous point. For all my crowing on about luxury this, lovely that and gorgeous the other there is one important fact – I am talking about my tastes and sharing my ideas on my blogs – so as pretentious as I don`t ever intend to sound it is important to know that your tastes, in the end, are no better or worse than mine. Subjective truly is the word here. Who cares if you don`t want your house filled with high-end sofas and that you would be happier with some inexpensive bean bags littered around to relax and watch a movie on? Who cares if you want a toilet seat with a bright blue dolphin embossed on? (my teeth are on edge again with that thought though 😉 ) If a room full of pine furniture makes you blissfully happy and content then this is is your slice of luxury and it is just as amazing as anyone else`s.
There is one codicil to all of this line of thinking of course – if you are renting your home as a business – or perhaps planning to sell your home – it remains prudent to detach yourself a little from what you know and love. As much as you may loath to know that people dislike your taste it is important to not take offence. You need to appreciate that if your goal is to maximise home appeal to make a living then “sell” your proposition closer to current desires and trends – and that doesn’t mean spending too much money – it means keep it simple, smart and uncluttered. And clean!
But for whatever reason if you are looking at your home and lifestyle with the new found perspective of clean and uncluttered luxury you will find that physically, mentally and emotionally you are far more content. A tonic in itself.
A series of interior and garden design blogs
VLK Rhodes is a Greek Island Luxury Villa booking now for 2018