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Buy in Haste, Repent at Leisure...

December 2010

By Quentin Clarke, London

I never anticipated the agony of home ownership. Not the financial responsibility, but that of decor.

Last summer I bought a flat, at least a share of one, in a controversial new high-rise building in South London, dubbed “The Lipstick”. It’s part-powered by its own wind-turbines, has card-operated lifts, and was promptly voted Britain’s ugliest new building. But by a conservative group of architects, so hey ho!

Thanks to the building’s Facebook “flat-crawl” group, I’ve been able to visit neighboring apartments and see (and copy) what they’ve done with identical spaces. Furnishing has still been a fraught experience. I realized too late the coffee table and armchair I thought so elegant are knock-offs of mid-20th century classics, with versions advertized in every Sunday supplement. I’ve made the silliest choices, scrimping on essentials to pay for the most frivolous items. I put off buying a wardrobe for reasons of cost, clothes still in boxes and on shelves, only on a whim to spend £96 on a Missoni bathmat. One careful wash later, it already looks distinctly tatty. And I wonder if the leopard-skin hot water bottle cover was such a wise investment

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I’d long given up on the idea of property ownership and should have spent years preparing for these decisions. I no longer trust myself. So I’m not going to buy this £75 lampshade from Heal’s, but if there are any festive benefactors out there you know where I live...

Design & Luxury
London

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