A home, to me, is a sanctuary, somewhere you should feel utterly content. Prompted to ponder this question by the highly regarded home insurance company NFU Mutual, they do say ‘an Englishman’s home is his castle’. I wonder whether this desire for a castle is peculiarly British?
I don’t think it is, but I do think our uncertain climate makes our homes very important to us. Fifty years ago, there was a thriving cafe culture in Europe, but not here. I am half Hungarian, so I was brought up to ‘go out for coffee’, it was a huge part of my childhood, but not for many of my London friends…
I grew to understand that on the continent ‘looking smart’ and going out was much more important to people than ‘having a nice home’. Families in European cities lived in apartments, whereas our ideal has long been to own a house and a garden.
Now, of course, we are all out for coffee, but we still cling to the idea that our home is where it’s at. I am defined by mine and I know that is not true for everyone, but it is for me. I don’t feel at all nomadic, in fact, it is only having a lovely home to return to that makes holidays bearable for me.
Entertaining and cooking is my raison d’être, it cheers me up and motivates me to sort everything. I love to catch up with family and friends and where better than in my own home? I think it is where I feel most relaxed. I try to make it as cosy as possible, which makes it sound very unlike a castle, but it is my castle because it is where I feel safe and secure.
It does have some touches of grandeur: we have very beautiful gates, which give our home a real atmosphere – you literally step inside our world when you enter our garden. I have also accessorised with a few pieces of fur, which I guess you might find in a castle: reindeer skins on the back of our living room sofas and a black sheepskin on a modernist leather sofa in our TV room.
A roaring fire in winter and a sunny coffee spot in summer and my happiness is complete!