To be honest, having grown up in original 1950’s round-edged, flat-painted, heavy- corniced apartments, I delighted in pine furnished, clean-edged Conran curtained modern sixties decor for my first home. Over the years eclectic or Bohemian seems to have accompanied me in my many restless moves. I have spent more on moving and removing than I could have spent on new furniture of good quality.
It has come full circle now that I am renting Esther’s flat, purely for the view. Arty like me, aged 90, Esther has subdivided her large house into three apartments. I am on the top floor, perched somewhat precariously on the side of a steep hill that contains rock, stones and pebbles indicating some great watery upheaval millions of years ago.
Esther’s husband built the house, and much of the furniture, back in 1948. I was 2 years old at the time, in Scotland, a country just recovering from the ravages of World War 2. As I grew up, clambering over wildflowe-growing bombsites during play was normal. We had no concept of what horror had occurred to create our play areas, and into the 1960’s these were cleared and replaced by red brick houses or steel-framed concrete fnctional buildings suitable for a brave new world.
Meanwhile, in the relatively war unaffected New World down under, new migrants found plenty of space in which to build relatively large homes. MrA rolled up his manly sleeves and got creative. Built to last.
Personally,I find living with all this real ‘retro’ irking. I long to pull down the cupboards and replace with sleek, gossy, shiny.
But thanks to my itinerant writer’s ways It is not for me to do so. When the time comes, and Esther lets go her frail hold on the property next to which(two doors up) she was born, this prime land will be sold, cleared, to become a motel with a million dollar view or at least a modern apartment on the teeming highway between the Newcsastle beaches, and sSydney.
I had said I would take the apartment unfurnished, but arrived with the removal van on 6th December, only to find many bits of mismatched furniture and very old carpet pieces still in situ and Esther many miles away staying with her daughter. No one dictates to Esther! I have met my match. So I live around our motley collection, knowing any changes will be spotted as if on secret camera. I am ninemonths into a twelve month lease, dreaming of ’60 Minute Makeover’ ( although perversely would hate having to live with someone else’s choice), and turning myfrustrationinto a novel entitled ‘A Door Slams’. By the time it is published I will probably be in a care home with only half a mind and a vase of flowers.
In the meantime, for you odd people who think Retro means Brand New Design, here is the real deal. 1948 build, 1950’s interior. I Why is the modern washing machine on a trolley next to the sink?…will look out of the window at the amazing and constantly changing view instead.