“You said I’m always rushing through the day
With my thoughts like bullets in my brain.”
– In the Open, Benjamin Francis Leftwich
I grew up watching my mother read Home & Garden and 25 Beautiful Homes magazines, which my brothers would buy for her at the annual international book fair in Cairo. Sometimes we would sit together and drool over the impeccably and tastefully decorated homes pictured in those glossy pages, trying to break them down and understand how the home owners could achieve that look for their home seemingly without any effort at all: They’ve got lots of storage space, all their junk is kept in there. Go for pastel colors. The room needs lots and lots of sunlight.
For me the highlight of the magazines are usually Köhler ads, such as the one below, which are always immensely entertaining and unique. They really do know how to make bathroom products look appealing.
To this day I pay serious attention to living spaces — both my own and others’. A person’s room or house tells a lot about the kind of person they are, be it from the maps on the walls, the photographs in the frames, the books on the shelves or the clothes in the closet. A room is not just a place that you sleep and work in; it is a living and interactive active museum of your past, present, and aspirations for the future.
Before I start working on an assignment I always make sure to clean up my room, which will always end up looking like a train wreck by the end of it. A clean room makes all the difference in my life, I find. When I was young my mother always used to have to force me to clean up my room, which I hated having to do. But I think it’s all paid off.
When I was staying at our host’s house in Bruxelles, I very much liked the quirky decor of the apartment, with the vintage postcards and world map on the wall, the eccentric furniture, and the childhood photographs on the notice board, along with old train tickets and daily schedules. Although our host were away throughout our stay up until the morning of the day we were scheduled to leave, I could almost gauge a facet of their rich personality from the way they have organized and decorated their living space.
This photo below is from the side table they placed directly next to the apartment’s front door. I think every house should have this — a surface where you could leave your keys and your mail as soon as you enter the threshold. The sound of keys falling on wood or the cling of a ceramic bowl always signifies, to yourself and to others: “I’m home.“