Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Yodelling in the kitchen

When the renovation of the apartment was finished, there was no plan to add anything else to the kitchen. We were pretty happy with it. Sober, mostly black but with a wild touch of colour from our specially-designed Spanish cement tiles, it was fairly minimalist but we were happy with it.

And yet, coming out of the bathroom and being greeted by a blank white wall seemed a little odd. Here was a space begging to be filled. The question was, what should we put there? That space is very much a corridor and any frames on the wall risked being dragged off when passing through. Then one day, at Chez Jeannette, I had a revelation.

Never been to Chez Jeanette? It's a great bar about 15 minutes walk from the apartment that looks like this:

(You can read more about it on my other blog, here. Walking map - dead simple - here.)

Anyway, I was having a beer at Chez Jeannette, and there's a quincaillerie (hardware shop) opposite. Outside, they sell plastic table cloths by the metre with all sorts of hideous designs. Fruit, flowers, pastels, bleuh. Then I saw it. My revelation. One of the table cloths was a giant mountain scene with exaggerated purple colours, saturated trees and a huge swathe of blue sky. I'm not very good at visualising things for interior decorating, but I knew immediately that this is what our blank kitchen wall was crying out for. After spending thousand of euros having the place renovated, the final touch cost... 10 euros. Add a few euros for extra-wide double-sided sticky tape, and our tablecloth had become a giant poster.

Stepping from the white of the bathroom into the black of the kitchen, I think this blast of outrageous colour does the trick. However, the jury is still out on whether it's an inspired, daring piece of kitsch or just simply in poor taste. Personally, I think it's equal parts ridiculous and wonderful, something that makes you go 'Oh my god... actually that's not bad!'. I like to think it takes the chintzy edge off the apartment and shows that we don't take ourselves too seriously. Other people may look at it and think it ruins the effect of the whole place. I say (under my breath, obviously), screw 'em. I love it. I knew straight away that I loved it, and that doesn't happen to me often.

So, it may not be a permanent feature, but as a last-minute near-zero budget final touch, I'm really (very) happy with it.

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