Posts Tagged ‘rooms’

Travelling through the sense of home

June 11, 2011

One of my favourite ways to armchair travel is to head straight for the interior decorating section of the library. For a glimpse into the private homes of the rich and famous, homes of politicians, authors, artists and financiers in countries around the world transports me into a place that I will never really experience for myself.

Image by flickr user coco+kelley

I am grateful for these gracious, wonderful home owners that have opened their doors to the photographers, stylists, publishers and writers whose task it is to inspire the reader’s aestheitc, to let them dream of a home on the edge of a Tuscan village, or a treetop home in Africa that is visited every morning by a friendly giraffe, the waterfront villa on the Mediterranean, the sumptuous palace on an estate in England or the eye-opening wonder of John Travolta’s home with a runway and hangar for his jet.

Some may say that these homes give us a yearning for the unobtainable. But for me, these are homes that are far away from my own reality. These are homes that leave me wide-eyed and curious as to how they came across their art collections. What sort of books are on their shelves? Where did they buy their first kilim  – was it in a market in Istanbul? Have their sculptures come from galleries? Have their portraits been private commissions or are they chosen by decorators to satisfy a yearning for a specific style.

Amongst my favourite interior decorating books are Stafford Cliff’s, from his The Way We Live in the City and The Way We Live by the Sea to his earlier contributions in New York Style, Greek Style, Indian Style, Spanish Style and the list goes on. Ros Byam Shaw’s Perfect English, Michael S Smith’s Elements of Style and India Hick’s An Island Life all bring with them a sense of the country and space they are set amongst.

For, to me, travel is not only about the travel guide that will help me find a place to eat and a place to stay. Travel is about understanding how people, who live in a city, town or village or are isolated either on a farm, on a mountain or on an island, are influenced by their surroundings. How these people’s homes are a reflection of their own cultural understanding, their climate and their position in society. We all have to have a place to cook, a place to bathe and a place to sleep, if we are amongst the fortunate around the world who have homes to live in. But once these basic needs are met, it is our homes that differentiate us.