Marius was studying his 'Strad' magazine, drooling over the advertised bows (he told me about a gold-mounted cello bow that was a snip at £55,000) while I was slobbering over householder porn - you know those exquistely photographed glossy magazines filled with fantasy houses and gardens. I confess I succumb to the pleasure of looking at them about three times a year. I look at the pictures but rarely read the rather fatuous text. I love the pictures for about three-quarters of the magazine before outrage and cynicism grip me - I don't really want a dining table in padded zebra-skin that retails (trade only) for the equivalent of a small country's GDP. Then I toss the magazine aside and swear off until I forget and pretty pictures get me again.
I am quite intrigued - from the outside - of the bizarre, entirely separate worlds of fashion and interior design because the published stuff seems so far removed from any personal reality, and yet I also know that the published stuff is all done with smoke and mirrors too. Okay, maybe not the stately home ones, but the 'real people's homes' ones. I had a friend with connections in Malaysia whose house was the subject of a magazine 'profile'. I knew the place quite well and was astonished how the photographs had made a run-down bungalow, full of cast-off furniture and peeling paint look quite good - almost unrecognisable.
So, inspired by the greats, I bring you some tantalising shots of the Exile's Villa. In keeping with magazine style, I will refer to the occupants as 'the owners' because in interior-magazine-land, no one is a renter, a mortgagee, in debt or suffering any other crisis of finances.
|Burmese chairs, a rain drum and one of the owner's paintings, complement the 'garden corner' of the sitting room. The bookcases were made to order in Malaysia. Books can be found throughout the owners' house.|
One day I will show you some of the Buddhas who have made it to exile. When we moved here we were very worried about them being condiscated or damaged as a result of differing religious beliefs - which is why a lot went home. During our first weeks here we saw some for sale in a furniture shop, and those that came (bronze ones which we hoped were indestructible) made it through customs with no trouble at all.