As of last Friday, we have a new home. The house that we have just bought is a very English Victorian terrace, with a small garden and the archetypal lack of practical plumbing. There are some vague plans to ‘improve’ it, which mostly involves us knocking apprehensively on walls and plucking at the edges of carpets while going ‘hmmm…’ My mum has sent me a stack of Swedish interior design magazines for inspiration, which I flick through, marvelling at how white everything is. White walls, white furniture, white floors. ‘Too white,’ I tell Other Half, who has absolutely no interest in what I’m saying, ‘we live in England, and this house will be English!’ In my head I’m thinking bold colours; dark, Victorian hues to bring the house back to its roots, plush, cosy cushions and interesting tiles. I begin aimlessly trawling for ideas and putting together crude collages in photoshop. Then I go to the actual shop and look at pots of paint. And that’s all I do. I look and look, reading the names of colours such as Incandescent Incarnadine and Enchanted Slate. Something is happening inside my Scandi brain. ‘What about Tuscan Teal…?’ I say, but it’s already game over. On the way to the counter I swipe two 20l tubs of bright white emulsion and a 5l tub of white gloss from the shelf. Once home, I paint over everything, like a demented zealot. ‘This wall already is white.’ Other Half protests. ‘Are you crazy?!’ I yell, ‘It’s cream! It’s got to be white! WHITE!’ And so it is – apparently – that you can make a Scandinavian appreciate the limits of her native colour scheme, but when it comes down to it, you can’t physically wrench that paintbrush out of her hand.


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