Monday, June 12, 2006

Naomi Cleaver is blonde, dainty, ultra-confident, impeccably dressed and posh. She's one of those women whom I know I would fancy if I were straight. She hosts a tv programme on Channel 4 called Honey I Ruined the House, where she argues and cajoles clueless families into painting their magnolia walls bright red, putting free-standing baths in their bedrooms and knocking down walls to make an open-plan utopia. These home improvement programmes are a bit past their sell-by date now. Homeowners all put in new kitchens and bathrooms to get the maximum value out of their houses and as a result you cannot now buy a garage for less than £200,000 in some parts of the UK. If you're not on the property ladder now, you may as well invest your money in plastic surgery and find yourself a rich stockbroker instead.

So in order to inject a bit of life into her programme, Naomi has gone all scientific (indexed by the fact she now has a 'laboratory' and wears white while she writes things on perspex walls). The owners of the homes are now "tagged" (an interesting metaphor considering that they are guilty of home decorating crimes) and computers track their every move so that Naomi can then present them with detailed graphs and print-outs, telling them "You only spend 8 minutes a day in your kitchen!" or "You only use 20% of your home!" This information is then used in order to redesign the house - so that the space is put to better use. One aspect of this being that "modern" people apparently now use their kitchens to entertain and now this should be the focus of the house.

I probably spend less than 8 minutes a day in my kitchen (it's a tiny cubby-hole, so small that the fridge is out in the corrdidor - I can imagine that Naomi would tip it over in a speechless rage if she ever saw it). But the last place I lived in had a massive kitchen and I didn't spend much time in it either. I rarely bother with the bedrooms either. We have a huge huge lounge and I probably spend 95% of my waking hours in there when I'm at home. It doubles as a piano room, tv room, film projector room, dining room and double-office (for both me and my fella). He has his own little cube-thing at the back of the room and I use the dining room table. Most people would think this is bizarre - that we spend so much time together in the same room, even when working, and Naomi would no doubt insist on converting our kitchen into a proper office, while putting the kitchen stuff into our living room or something. But I like having him around where I can see him. Not that I'm controlling or anything :)

Naomi would also hate all the magnolia walls and insist that we get everything wall-papered to look like a London nightclub. Still, we're not intending to stay here very long, and magnolia is so neutral that nobody really gets too offended by it. I guess the next owners can go mad with the turquoise.


Dessie said...

I absolutely love Naomi Cleaver, and I aspire to be her. Why? Because she's a total bitch, she doesn't care, and she's right.


William John said...

Sounds like we should be getting that show over here in Oz.

Say, why don't you just move the fridge into the loungeroom...?



William John.

JayMaster said...

I have to agree with Dessie. Naomi is a goddess amongst 'designers'. She is fantastic and making people come around to her way of thinking and looks fabulous all the time! I wouldn't want to be tagged by her as I'd end up with just a tiny bed-sit as some of our rooms are hardly used at all. My favourite Naomi moment was when she was presenting 'Britain's top 110 homes' (or some similar nonsense), she showed us around her own home, including …… her hairpiece collection!

jetpack said...

Naomi Cleaver is an elitist fascist, badgering people for their supposed inferior aesthetic values - insisting they "must" choose a neutral colour and "need to" declutter etc for no apparent reason, even when the homeowner was perfectly happy in his/her unfashionable mess. I think it's sinister that these snooty style gurus get to dictate how people live in their own homes. We already have people telling us what to wear and what to eat. Soon they'll be telling us what to read, say and think.

Lost Boy said...

Naomi Cleaver's facial expression suggests that she walks around with sour cream smeared under her nose.

Dessie said...

Well it's not as if Naomi Cleaver (must we actually refer to her with her surname attached? Does she demand this?) picks up a sledgehammer and goes round these people's houses to take out their front door and go interior-design-terrorist on their arses.

They let her in, she does her thing, everyone's happy. And aside from a few misguided moments (she must have been tired) she has given some downright good advice to people wanting to show/sell their homes.

After all it's not like they're decorating for the fun of it, and she does manage to elevate them into the next level of decor. She cannot be denied!