On the Well Appointed Household

I am all about the pretty... and the beautiful, the whimsical and all things frothy and frippy. Which is all well and good until you find that tin opener you scrimped on to buy that set of monogrammed tea-towels has died a death and there won't be a bite to eat in the house until you can beg, borrow or steal another one from your well-appointed neighbours. Ah the well-appointed people on this planet! Those who own things you didn't know you needed until the day arrives that you desperately do. Those who wouldn't dream of buying another darling cushion when they do not yet own a top notch vacuum, a set of olive forks or a dedicated cheese board. Those never phased by even the most awkward of sartorial challenges because they own wardrobes stuffed with Hunter Wellies, cocktail dresses and funeral hats. Those who can soothe the most dramatic of domestic dramas with spare tap washers, a set of ever fresh guest towels and extra fuses for every plug in the house. And those my Darling who put function over form at every turn.

In short, those who aren't us. The sensible sorts.

However it is never too late to turn over a new domestic leaf, to become the kind of person with an answer to every household nightmare, safe in the knowledge that one's cupboards are lined with well maintained tools, possessions prized for the purpose they serve and first aid for every emergency from laddered tights to a crying baby. There is always time to say no to lacy, lavender scented loveliness and instead save up to buy a garden trowel so well made it is worthy of making it into your last will and testament. Hell yeah. Some things in this life are worth buying once and loving ever after, instead of battling with rust every Spring and trudging your way back to the pound store to replace them.

This is how one sets about creating a well-appointed home: by choosing quality and learning how to appreciate it. By identifying gaps in your household inventory and seeking to fill them before you decide to re-paint the banister for the second time this year. And by making wise purchasing decisions about those things you have established as necessary.

You see life above all else, should be about ease. A sense of domestic ease blesses our minds with creative thought because we do not have to squander precious time or energy on trying to open a tin of tuna with our teeth, or rushing out to the shops in the middle of the night because we are having yet another loo roll crisis! Owning a well-appointed house is about stocking up on the very basics of life and wherever possible up-grading those essentials so that we make it part of our lifestyle to fulfil our household needs with well-crafted, luxurious basics long before we go wasting money on another decorative plate for our collection of the hundreds that do little to ease our day to day existence.

By it's very definition, having a well-appointed house is about " having good and complete equipment" and this means owning a decent set of saucepans before we waste our wealth on floral arrangements, changing light bulbs before we hand-wash our lingerie in lemon juice and educating ourselves in the brand names that spell quality and guarantee the kind of workmanship that will either last a lifetime or enhance our daily lives.

This does not of course mean abandoning the pretty altogether: it is simply a matter of re-defining our definition of luxury and understanding that when it comes to housekeeping, our priorities lie not in creating coffee-table worthy interiors but in providing the most basic of our families needs to the very best of our abilities. In anticipating our daily needs, and all variety of more specific domestic situations and choosing to own one excellent set of high thread cotton sheets we launder properly instead of owning an airing cupboard full of polyester we neither appreciate nor revere.

You see quality basics have an aesthetic all of their own. They are the reason why we find "below stairs" in National Trust properties so appealing: because despite their bare bones appearance, age has weathered those copper saucepans and hundred year old wooden spoons beautifully- that there is a certain glamour to utility when care has been taken to select the kind of quality only money can buy and a caring housekeeper can choose to own.

We are those housekeepers. We may not have a staff of many but we can from this day forward choose to make it our mission to own a well appointed house long before we go adding to all that pretty fussy we already own.