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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Home improvements, Anita style!

Well, the renovation of my 1930s apartment is well and truly underway! My landlord is a fan of plain white walls, contemporary pine furniture and minimalist decor (ugh! Yuk!) so there was plenty to do to turn it back into something like the charming little pad it (possibly) once was! I must be one of the few women in the world who consider a "home improvement" to be taking one's home back in time instead of modernising it! It is surprising how sensitive we are to our surroundings. I feel so much happier, more relaxed and at home in my own home now that it is starting to feel less like someone else's house and more like my own life-size doll's house!

The hallway and landing have been repainted and I have replaced the dusty linen shades with glittering chandeliers I had imported from Germany. There is a matching third one over my bed. It makes very pretty, sparkling patterns on the ceiling, especially when the light is dimmed!

Photo Darren Birkin and I took on my landing yesterday! I did all the styling, of course! The bra was made from an original 1950s spiral stitched bullet bra design from What Katie Did and the shoes are from Fabulously Fetish.

I decorated the kitchen and bathroom with a 1950s theme, to balance vintage glamour with modern conveniences. 1930s would simply have been too old-fashioned for these rooms, which I have to use and live in- I would not have been able to have a fitted kitchen with a washing machine or microwave oven, for a start!

I hope to do a little photo shoot or two with vintage 1950s dresses in the kitchen once it's had its last little details finished, but in the meantime, here is a little snap I took of its progress on my phone while the decorator was having a coffee break!

Marilyn watches over my Kilner jars! She was an enthusiastic cook and even wrote her own book of (fairly complicated) recipes. The space on the end of the shelf is where the champagne will live ;)

My decorator will be back in two weeks, so that's my deadline to gather the paint and vintage wallpaper for the living room. I like a challenge!! I have a very clear idea of how it should look in my mind, but it would probably sound awful to most people if I described it! For one thing, I want there to be an exotic animal motif, à la 1930s China. Two of my holy grails for this room are a really full-tailed peacock to perch on the TV cabinet and a vintage bear or leopard rug in front of the fire, like this:

This instantly makes me think of The Munsters' house, which was my dream home when I was 18!

I'm not really sure where my fascination with taxidermy comes from because I hated it when I was a little girl. I've always been a big animal-lover and the idea of having dead animals scattered about the place just didn't appeal. Perhaps it's because since then I have spent so much time watching old films and looking at old glamour photographs from the 1920s - 50s, which so often involve taxidermy.

My attitude also changed when I found out that these days, people aren't allowed to kill animals in order to stuff them- modern taxidermy happens after the animal has died from natural causes, even from being hit by a car. In that way I think it's quite a beautiful thing to preserve that animal's natural beauty and spirit. I don't have a problem with antique taxidermy either as I figure that whoever potentially unethically created it is no longer with us and thus cannot profit from my purchase!

I know, I know, I'm probably not the most inoffensive person in the world. I like taxidermy, I like wearing certain furs, there are hundreds of photos of me smoking out there (even though I hate cigarette smoke, a cigarette in an antique holder is a classic accessory for glamour photos!), I like bondage and submission and fuel-guzzling vintage cars and sexy lingerie and prancing around in the great outdoors in the buff. But wouldn't the world be a duller place without all these things? I guess we all have our potentially offensive pleasures!

I don't mean to get on my soapbox, but it can become a little tiring to receive complaints almost every time a photo of me holding a drink, a cigarette, or wearing one my (fake!!) fur stoles appears on the internet.

Still, at least people are looking at my photos, I suppose!

 Photographer: Julian M Kilsby | Designer: Anatomic Bomb | Hair: Leigh-Anne Regan | Makeup: me

 Gosh, that was a bit of a tangent, I'd better sign off now before I witter on any further!!