Ah! A quiet weekend moment! I sat down with a pile of home decorating magazines and a pot of strong black coffee. Within minutes, I was daydreaming about Kevin McLeod and the kind of house that I would be building when I featured on Grand Designs ... soaring ceilings … exposed beams … glass bathtubs … a private library …sweeping vistas …
Delightful! Until my husband and two sons wandered in and Grand Designs rapidly morphed into something more akin to an episode of Seinfeld.
‘I want you to build me a bedroom in a tower,’ said one of my sons, sounding very much like George Costanza or Cosmo Kramer. ‘A tower with turrets and a fireman’s pole. And I want a rain machine to lull me to sleep, a massage chair and a bowl of those little fish that eat the dead skin off your feet. A bonsai would be good, too, but someone else will have to look after it. They’re a lot of work, you know. And I’d like all my meals to be delivered via one of those little lifts.’ (I nearly said, ‘Dumb waiter?’ but feared he might have misunderstood and shot off on another tangent involving equal opportunity and political correctness!)
My husband cleared his throat.
‘Here,’ thought I, ‘is a chance for the conversation to take a Grand Design-ish turn once more.’
My husband is Danish and we all know that Danes are the masters of sophisticated design. Think Jan Utzen and the Sydney Opera House, Georg Jensen and silver candlesticks, Ole Kirk Christiansen and Lego.
But then the Danish husband opened his mouth. Unfortunately, he was channelling Tim the Toolman rather than Georg Jensen. ‘It’s all about the shed,’ he said. It didn’t matter that he spoke with a charming Danish accent. The words were shattering. ‘All you need is a really big shed with solid workbenches.’
The next sip of my coffee tasted more bitter than the last.
‘I’ll tell you what you don’t want,’ declared the other son. ‘You don’t want to paint everything white or use fluorescent lights, because then your home looks like an office space. And your master bedroom should be away from the guest bedrooms.’
At last! Someone was channelling Kevin McLeod … or at least that clay-animation dog from the Home Hardware ads. I passed an old copy of Home Beautiful to my son and gave him a grateful smile. I sipped my coffee, which tasted smooth and comforting once more. I drifted back into dreams of a sophisticated open-plan dwelling - a dwelling that would still have people sighing in admiration three generations after I had first appeared on Grand Designs as a plucky owner-builder with a small budget but elaborate ideas and the gumption to make it work.
But my son was not done. He looked up from a glossy photo of a pristine bathroom and said, ‘And, there should be an en suite connected to every single room in the house. And each en suite should have two toilets - one for number ones and one for number twos.’
And just like that, Grand Designs vanished - POOF! Kevin McLeod ran screaming from the recesses of my mind. And the entire cast from the The IT Crowd settled in for a long and comfy chat that lasted for the rest of the long weekend.