After several blissful years in our crow’s nest overlooking the big ship Sadler’s Wells we are putting it on the market. And what an exercise in set-dressing it is. For three evenings in a row last week we edited our possessions, leaving only the most shiny and sleek objects behind (when it came to the kitchen gadgetry, lined up like a row of X Factor finalists, there was a minute’s silence as we made our selection). They aren’t leaving us forever, just having a sabbatical - well-earned in the case our overworked bread maker - in Ma BSG’s attic. Thank you!
You may well ask why we’re moving from this heavenly spot that is a short stagger from Exmouth Market and culinary shrines that include Moro, Caravan and Medcalf, not to mention the pioneers of the modern gastro pub at The Eagle.
Because we know there’s some ladder we’ve got to climb and talk of ‘when there’s room to plant vegetables’ is taking over. The BSG and I would like a kitchen that we can both cook and sit in – a big ask in London we know, but we’re determined to find it, even at the expense of this plum location.
So, for the next few weeks we are using subtle touches – the flat scrubs up pretty darn well on its own really – to create just the kind of atmosphere that induces love at first sight in the beholder. Think dusty old Neal’s Yard bottles glowing blue on the bathroom windowsill (aspirational – and well past their best before date), the BSG’s recently preserved plums, pears and peaches in chunky Kilner jars residing against the black tiles of the kitchen (rustic) and my recently acquired and ever-so-slightly OCD-driven desire to arrange all our books by colour (stylish, though I had to send my beloved Slash autobiography to the charity shop).
Recent top tips to seduce the unsuspecting viewer have included coffee beans in a low temperature oven, freshly baked bread and a fridge full of champagne (a chance would be a fine thing). Funny though that nearly all of these suggestions have appealed to senses other than sight. So love at first sniff, perhaps?
Interesting further because the lucky buyer will not get the aforementioned coffee bean included in the purchase price (well, maybe they will, judging by how rarely I find myself cleaning our dear oven), so why do these things matter? Because they are what make a house a home; people want to be presented with the immediate suggestion that they will spend many happy times within these four walls, and you don’t get that from a cold, dark place, scented strongly with week-old bin (thank you, Zara Home with your ‘posh glade’). In that case, I reckon we go the whole hog and roast a chicken - home epitomised - then we can be sure to get some food lovers in to take up the apron. We can’t abide the notion of our old chum the kitchen being neglected.