I’m rubbish at home decor. Luckily for you, there are others with the gift. Among my favorites is Mise, of Pretty Far West. Yes, she was one of my Bloggers Who Can Turn A Phrase, but she’s also a talented home designer. Her own house has been featured in Ireland’s House and Home. She even put subway tiles behind the a yellow stove in her kitchen. Today Mise gives us ta special Valentine’s present inviting the Archetypes on a trip, Pretty Far West.
The Privilege Style Archetypes are alive to me, having insinuated their way into my mental storehouse of characters and taken on familiar personae. The Sturdy Gal is P.G. Wodehouse‘s Aunt Dahlia, robust and forthright, with perhaps a touch of Queen Elizabeth II. The Artsy Cousin is represented by Lucia, from Mapp and Lucia by E.F. Benson, trailing bright scarves and quotations in her wake as she cycles to Italian-style yoga class. And the Grande Dame is a confused mix of Mrs Bott from Richmal Crompton‘s William stories and Barbara Cartland.
When Lisa asked whether I’d care to contribute an interiors-related post, I wondered whether my house would rise to the occasion if the Archetypes crossed the Atlantic Ocean and came to call. Could I accommodate a comedy of manners?
Image by Paul Sherwood for House & Home
I’d show the Sturdy Gal straight into the kitchen and sit her down for tea and scones, her boots drying by the range after a bracing walk on the beach. She’d be tolerant, I think, of my children’s drawings and the freestanding furniture, of painted wood and open shelves.
…or perch on the dressing room steps with a vodka cocktail, speaking of chiaroscuro and the New Poetry. It’s the Grande Dame I struggle with most. She’d find my house disconcertingly vivid, worryingly lacking in silver cream jugs. Where, she’d wonder, is the monogrammed leather wine-bottle holder, as she gazed at the wine-bottle, puzzlingly unheld.
She might deign to sit in a winged chair, with its nod to tradition, but would seek in vain a mahogany side-table for her glass. I’m sad about letting her down.
And Lisa herself, the watcher, the Aristotelian narrator? She’s not a clearcut specimen of the Archetypes but, if pressed, I’d place her at the fragile end of the Sturdy Gal spectrum, represented by E.M. Delafield‘s gentle Provincial Lady, with her pragmatic social sense and warm humour. I suspect Lisa would settle with sure grace into anywhere in the house, but where I like to imagine her is perched with me on a shed roof as we watched the seagulls circling above, eyeing the madeleines on china plates I’d winch up in readiness.
“Pearls on the shed roof: yes or no?” she and I would debate as the sun went down and the shadows lengthened over the stage of increasingly disconcerted Archetypes, now looking about for their lost mentor as the familiar world of suitable shoes receded and jetlag took its toll.
Thank you Mise.