Like many of you, I’m sure, my lockdown Christmas meant I ended up watching far too much television. One of the many shows I attempted to give myself square eyes with was the BBC’s adaptation of Rumer Godden’s 1939 novel Black Narcissus, about a group of nuns renovating a former brothel in the Himalayas.
While I could identify with their resolve and ambition in the face of a particularly challenging project – most of my own decorating attempts require similar strength of character – I have to say there wasn’t much else to commend it.
One benefit, however, was that it rekindled my interest in Godden, a prolific writer of novels, children’s books and poetry. It reminded me of a quote from her memoirs: ‘There is an Indian proverb that says that everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but, unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.’
Obsessed with the home as I am, I have always particularly related to this concept of breaking the psyche down into separate spaces, which each need careful attention. As I repeat endlessly, where we live is so much more than just a physical structure that we inhabit. The power of home comes from what it means and how it makes us feel. After the year we’ve all had, the sense of sanctuary afforded by our humble abodes is more important than ever.
So, in this issue, we decided to look at space and how you can make use of every single square centimetre of it to improve how you feel and approach life. Whether you live somewhere that’s compact or colossal, the ways you utilise what you have need careful consideration. On these pages, you’ll find expert advice from architects and resourceful homeowners, our edit of the best storage on the market to keep things clutter free, and a compilation of the latest trends to transform your bathroom into a spa-like haven to boost your wellbeing.
Godden’s strong sense of self stood her in good stead and it’s no wonder that she’s now recognised as one of the most nuanced and brilliant voices of the 20th century. To coincide with International Women’s Day, taking place on 8 March this year, we spoke to influential women across our industry, asking established names to each select an exciting new talent.
We also meet the iconic and utterly fabulous Diane von Furstenberg. As she points out: ‘This year, fighting inequality is something that is going to be an absolute must for everyone. I would like all of us to come together and show humanity.’ I couldn’t agree more…
In this month’s issue you’ll find…
- The power of home – how to be bright, bold and find the feel-good factor
- Big ideas and spot-on storage to maximise any room’s potential
- 35 bathroom updates to boost your wellbeing
- The next generation of female design talent
- Top beach hotels to combat lockdown fatigue
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