Posted in Life and Family, Rants, Reluctant Landlord

They Don’t Make ‘Em the Way They Used To

It’s awful working on a house. The more you do, the more needs to be done. If you start out just freshening the hall, the other rooms look dingy in comparison and you end up doing them as well. Then you decide it would be a good idea to have a lock on the inner porch door, and the new door handle exposes a patch of unvarnished wood. Or you put one of those draught-excluding brush strips along the bottom of the kitchen door (to keep the slugs out) and that needs to be painted because it’s raw wood. Or maybe we’ll just let the slugs varnish it.

And so it goes on.

We were going to keep my hall lino, but one thing led to another, and we ended up chucking it out. We’ve been looking at carpets and linos, tending towards lino again. We were in the carpet shop yesterday (the one where I left my notepad behind) and I was expecting a lovely time browsing around for some exciting brand new flooring… instead, the selection of carpets was incredibly dull. You could have cream, sand, coffee or chocolate. Or chocolate, coffee, sand or cream. Plain or speckled. Maybe a pinkish mushroom if you’re lucky. I got very excited when I spotted a flash of green, but closer inspection revealed it to be a carpet’s backing. Sad times when the backing looks better than the carpet.

I didn’t say anything to Mum, but she turned round and said exactly what I’d been thinking. “What a boring selection! In fact I would hardly even call it a choice! The thing is…. this is what sells.”

I found myself getting angry at the thought… that I would have to buy carpet that I find boring simply because it’s what everybody else likes.

“It’s the fault of all those property programmes,” I said. “They keep drumming into people, almost as a religion, that everything has to be neutral.”

What happened to the pale blues and golds? The gentle floral designs? Something nice and modern and muted, but not plain beige?

I did read a couple of housekeeping magazines recently saying that “pattern is back”. The wallpaper vendors seem to have understood that – suddenly there’s a rash of those black and white floral papers and curtains – but the carpet people are lagging behind the times. Unless it’s a case of getting plain carpets to offset the fancy wallpaper – that’s possible, I suppose. But they still only have them in various shades of mud.

The choice of lino was much more interesting. But we’ll see.

Comments for this entry (during its previous existence on Blogigo):

1. Geosomin wrote at Oct 19, 2007 at 18:41: “It’s awful working on a house. The more you do, the more needs to be done. If you start out just freshening the hall, the other rooms look dingy in comparison and you end up doing them as well. “

I know…the few rooms left to fix up in our house are looking pretty hideous at the moment.

As for selection – I know what you mean. Finding stuff for our house, we’ve had to resort to catalog orders to get a lot of things…Apparently unless you want a variety of beiges or whatever tile trend happens to be “in” you’re out of luck. People kept suggesting neutral stuff for us, as it’d be good for resale…we’re not moving unless we get carried out on stretchers so we’re just picking what we like, world be damned. If others don’t like it they can go home.

The places I rented always meant more to me when they had bits of quirky personality to them and bits of colour. You’ll find the right rentors when they walk in and ooh and aah over your choices. Go for the colour and patterns I say…:)

2. Diddums wrote at Oct 20, 2007 at 03:10: We found a carpet site – Brinton’s – allowing customers to put carpet patterns in a ‘room view’ to get some idea what they would look like. They’re too expensive, I think, and I still didn’t quite find what I liked, but it was fun to play with for a while!

I think whoever takes on my house will find more than a few quirks in it – the bathroom is probably the quirkiest. Colourful flowery wallpaper and a silver lino… the lino’s rather cool, actually, but I can imagine people deciding the wallpaper is a bit too much for them. Too bad… it’s newish already and doesn’t need to be changed.

3. kateblogs wrote at Oct 20, 2007 at 12:15: I can’t bear that neutral look. I much prefer to see a bit of personality, and I certainly wouldn’t consider using it in my own home. I know the property programmes say neutral is best because it sells, but the vast majority of people who are redecorating are working on a house they intend to live in, so why does it matter if their choices add value or not. Anyhow, I may be an oddity, but neutral would not be a selling point for me, I would much rather see what a house looks like when it is actually lived in.

I suspect the same would be true for a lot of renters too – so many rented houses are bland and beige, so making your house look more individual and homely should make it more rentable – I’m not sure if that’s a word BTW LOL

4. Pacian wrote at Oct 20, 2007 at 17:19: I feel sorry for the salespeople who have to try and sell different shades of beige to so many different people. One wonders what their suicide rates are.

5. Diddums wrote at Oct 23, 2007 at 01:48: Oddly enough I saw a programme today – the couple were looking for a house to buy, and they stepped inside one and said “hmm – neutral!” Then the woman said “I want this room to be my pink room,” and started poring over books of patterned wallpaper for downstairs. :-0. It did look very plain as a neutrally redecorated house – nothing for the eye to dwell on.

About salesmen despairing of selling beige carpets – hopefully the patterned lino is keeping them clinging on. :-).



I live in the UK with two cats -- Samson and Delilah.

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