Recently, I’ve moved house. More accurately, I’ve moved into a house where a boy was already living. He asked me to go and share his space and as terrifying as that thought was, I did it. Of course sacrifices had to be made, the mess, the floordrobe and the shoes littering the doorway had to go. Or so he told me. So we agreed, he’d build me wardrobes (yep, plural, that’s right) I would try to be tidier and everything would be hunky dory. Trouble was, so he thought and our friends said, it was still his space.
Yes my five car loads of clothes, holdall of jewellery and box of shoes had arrived but they were hidden by the sleek white gloss wardrobe doors that matched his sleek white gloss wardrobe doors. Look closely and you might see a lonely nail varnish peeking behind a bottle of Bud in the black (not pink) Smeg fridge but otherwise, I was a girl living in a man flat, albeit a very stylish, he-really-should-be-a-designer man flat. Within a month of ‘adjusting’ (or so we’ve termed it) he said it was now my home too and to make it our home, we should do so, together. He said it didn’t feel right that everything I was living with he’d chosen.
Now in all honestly, I was pretty content living in a high ceilinged minimalist space as it was refreshing change to the cosy beamed cottage I’d grown up in. But my girlfriends seemed disappointed that I’d not been intent on girlying it up, covering the place in hearts and putting my stamp on it. Not my style I’m afraid, in either sense. It was his flat, it was stunning and a hefty slap of Laura Ashley would not only ruin the entire aesthetic, it would also obliterate every painstaking weekend he’d spent painting, tiling, installing and building. Aaaaand possibly our relationship. However, it was his wish to make the space ours, and the more I thought about it, making a home together sounded fun. So, starting with the bedroom, I was assigned mission one, finding some wallpaper we both liked.
Now I’ve never been an interiors demon. Until 3 months ago, I’d never even heard of the concept of putting anything in your bottom drawer other than pyjamas, never mind sticking a few tea towels in there. You would certainly never find me cooing over a cushion. It was Elle on my coffee table, Elle Decoration under the wonky leg. Each of my hard earned pennies was spent on what I wear, not homeware. So when moving in with a boy and hearing the immortal words, “let’s make this our home” the domestic switch that for the last 27 years I had sworn I was born without, was flicked. A woman possessed I trawled the internet for unusual prints, decorative designs and tactile textures to decorate a wall, not myself.
I sent him email after email; of course you can have skeletons in a bedroom, no I don’t just like it because it’s leopard print and how could you possibly not like jelly and cake? Despite my thinking we were similar in the interior taste stakes, when it came to wallpaper we were worlds apart. Or so I thought. On one of my internet trawls I came across Andrew Martin’s Colonial ‘Quilted Leather’ wallpaper. It ticked all of my wallpaper wants, it was distinctive, it wasn’t pretty, girly, or God forbid, hearts and flowers. It encompassed all of the cosiness and warmth of a comfy leather Chesterfield with a punch of cool. For him it wasn’t the skulls that I had fleetingly set my heart on, it wasn’t overtly girlish, it was ‘us’.
Knowing diddly squat about wallpaper I can only repeat what I was told about the hanging. Not the cheapest of designs granted, it is (I’m told) wider than most (I knew there was a reason I had an affinity with it) so goes much further. Despite buying two rolls, due to some clever maths and expert DIYing, one roll covered the bedroom wall. The paper is thick, reassuringly thick, soaking up the paste like thirsty parchment, which apparently is a good thing. The colour did transfer to fingers whilst it was being put up so it might not be the best of friends with a fabric headboard. Overall, it got a big thumbs up and suits the bedroom, our bedroom, perfectly.