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Tim Dowling: I fall asleep thinking about the impossibility of each of the repairs I am facing

Things fall apart … unfortunately there is rather more to know about door handles and cat flaps than I imaginedIt is the season of things coming off in your hands: drawer knobs, door latches, cupboard handles. Everywhere is disintegration and fatigue, down to the very metal. Reach out, turn it, pull it towards you, and it’s yours.On Monday evening the youngest one snaps off the brass latch handle while trying to open the front door. He shows me the piece, shorn away by the force of his grip. Con...
Tags: Family, Diy, Life and style, Homes, Tim Dowling


Experience: I live in the 1990s

We have a Spice Girls calendar on the door and an old VHS player – I watch my Vicar of Dibley box set on itI was born in 1998, at the tail end of the decade I love. Titanic was in cinemas, Britney Spears released … Baby One More Time, Geri Halliwell left the Spice Girls and Apple released the bright turquoise iMac computer.I was too young to appreciate those things, but my first home in Mansfield was full of 90s decor. I loved the fun of it. The hallway was decorated in tongue and groove wood pa...
Tags: Apple, Design, Geri Halliwell, Life and style, Homes, Spice Girls, Britney Spears, Interiors, Mansfield, Dibley


‘Unmatched’: contents of 70s French power couple’s final bolthole up for auction

Sotheby’s to sell designs and artwork of François Catroux, decorator to the stars, and his wife, Betty, muse to Yves Saint LaurentIn 1970s Paris, Betty Catroux and her husband, François, were the glittering couple at the heart of French high society and what used to be known as the international jet set.She was the androgynous model and darling of the French designer Yves Saint Laurent, he the self-taught interior decorator who transformed the mansions, grand apartments and chateaux of the super...
Tags: Europe, Fashion, Celebrity, France, Life and style, Homes, Diane Von Furstenberg, Roman Abramovich, Interiors, Sotheby, Yves Saint Laurent, Betty, Francois, François Catroux, Yves Saint LaurentIn, Paris Betty Catroux


A French retreat brought into sharp focus

Photographer Serge Anton has updated his great-grandfather’s home and made it his ownHaving spent three decades travelling the world, enjoying a nomadic lifestyle, French-Belgian photographer Serge Anton finally felt the need to settle down. And he found his personal oasis of quiet in a house he inherited, a retreat called Mon Desir. Built by his great-grandfather about a century ago in Sedan, in the heart of the French Ardennes, the house sits in a landscape full of calm – a million miles from ...
Tags: Life and style, Homes, Interiors, Serge Anton, Mon Desir, Anton Continue


Lulu Guinness: ‘I am basically a recluse who likes people’

Designer Lulu Guinness moved to a gothic folly in the sticks in lockdown to restart her life. Now she talks about her brother’s tragic death, and how she has learned to live with her own depressionI’ve had 30 years of trying to do lots of things at once. Now I want to stand and stare a bit more,” says Lulu Guinness from the splendid isolation of her gothic folly in deepest Gloucestershire. “Lockdown also taught me how much you can get done from your phone.” It was during the pandemic that Guinne...
Tags: Fashion, London, Life and style, Homes, Lulu, Interiors, Handbags, Guinness, Gloucestershire, Lulu Guinness, Valentine Guinness


Is smart tech the new domestic battle ground?

Now that Alexa, Siri and Google have moved in, it’s only a matter of time before some of us are left out in the cold, says Emma BeddingtonI came into the kitchen recently to find my husband cradling our electricity smart meter with the kind of tender attention more usually directed to a new-born, his phone clutched in his free hand. “You didn’t turn your office heater off last night,” he said. I didn’t like his tone.“I did! I went in this morning to turn it on again!” Continue reading...
Tags: Google, Technology, Life and style, Homes, Interiors, Alexa Siri, Emma BeddingtonI


Houses of tomorrow: A more hopeful vision of domesticity, or a dystopian nightmare?

In the future, will we find a better way to live, or will our homes be taken over by surveillance and despotic appliances?Imagine, if you can, a small, bluish room. Wires, screens, sensors. A few keepsakes from the old world. The room’s fleshy inhabitant, confined indoors by a zoonotic pandemic, greenwashes a data-mining company from her bed. The government has made it illegal for her to step outside.There is a communal kitchen down the corridor, which she shares with a few strangers she met onl...
Tags: Technology, Life and style, Earth, Homes


Mismatch plates and hang art low: 18 ways to create a more beautiful home

Matt Gibberd, founder of high-end architectural estate agency The Modern House, shares his top tipsFor the past 16 years, I have spent my days nosing round other people’s homes like a design-obsessed basset hound. I have been granted access through hundreds of locked doors, perched on wobbly Windsor chairs, and taken tea in stylish studio flats, cleverly converted factories and even a working barge. Throughout all this, I’ve learned a lot. As The Modern House has grown, I’ve discovered that thes...
Tags: Design, Life and style, Architecture, Homes, Interiors, Modern House, Matt Gibberd


Art at their heart: homes that have become museums

A magical glimpse inside the house museums of five pioneers of art and designIf you are reading these pages, chances are you like nothing more than having a good snoop around other people’s houses. Below is a selection of five of the world’s best house museums – inspiring, creative, but ultimately delightfully domestic spaces that have been preserved as they were when the owners lived in them. Continue reading...
Tags: Life and style, Culture, Architecture, Art and design, Museums, Homes, Interiors


‘Better ugly than boring’: book celebrates bizarre Belgian houses

Hannes Coudenys’ Ugly Belgian Houses updated with more from the ‘chaos known as Belgium’Ever since he was a child, Hannes Coudenys was annoyed by the “visual chaos” around him. On the road from home to his school in Bruges, he found a mishmash of architectural styles – haciendas, villas, farm-style houses, all mixed up with boxy malls and carpet shops.One day, as an adult, still exasperated, he took a photo of a house that was split into two jarringly different styles: a grey urban semi whose ot...
Tags: Europe, Books, Life and style, World news, Culture, Architecture, Art and design, Homes, Belgium, Bruges, Hannes Coudenys


Experience: our house was moved to a different town

We lived in our dream home. Then suddenly a huge chasm split our town. Rather than buy a new home for the move, we decided to transplant the houseI moved to Malmberget – a town in the far north of Sweden, above the Arctic Circle – from a nearby village when I was four. My husband Mikael was born there. Our children, now grown up, were born there. I had a secret wish that we could one day live in the beautiful old house in the centre that belonged to my boss. A big green wooden villa, more than 1...
Tags: Europe, Technology, Sweden, Environment, Life and style, Communities, Society, World news, Mining, Engineering, Homes, Construction industry, Arctic Circle, Mikael, LKAB, Gällivare


‘It’s all here on the water’: how Britain’s canals became home to bakers, blacksmiths and florists

Stroll down Britain’s canals these days and you’ll encounter waterside businesses of all kinds trading out of narrowboats. Here, five floating traders share their storiesWhen Stuart Fenwick first moved to London seven years ago, he spent a lot of time on foot exploring the capital’s towpaths. His wanderings prompted a recurring dream in which he ran a floristry studio aboard a narrowboat. “I’ve been working with flowers since I was 15 and I’ve always wanted a shop, but could never really afford ...
Tags: Business, London, Life and style, Britain, Homes, Bria, Fenwick, Stuart Fenwick


What will our eco-friendly homes of the future look like?

The planet-saving innovations available, and which are most likely to be used in UK housesAs we argue over heat pumps and electric car charging sockets here in the UK, it is undeniable that most of our homes have a long way to go to be eco-friendly.To reach net zero, we are going to have to change how we heat our houses. The way they are built will probably have to change, too. Perhaps the ubiquitous squat brick suburban house will become a thing of the past. Hopefully so will our Victorian pipe...
Tags: UK, Climate Change, Environment, Life and style, UK News, Homes, Sustainable Development


‘I opened it and I just started laughing’: the pitfalls of pandemic shopping

From accidentally over ordering, to products that bear no resemblance to their description or photographs, buying everything online has its downsidesWhen Sam Bowker and his partner moved into their new rental, they planned to buy a couch the same way they usually did – with a trip down to the local op-shop.But Covid-19 scuppered this. The Salvation Army was no longer offering delivery services, so after a couple of drinks one evening, Bowker turned to eBay. There he found a “sleek looking black ...
Tags: Fashion, Internet, Life and style, Consumer affairs, Homes, Salvation Army, Bowker, Sam Bowker, Australian lifestyle, Coronavirus


Ikea Symfonisk picture frame review: Sonos wifi speaker hidden by art

Latest collaboration puts great sound behind fabric art panel that can be hung or leant against a wallThe latest device from Ikea’s novel partnership with the wifi-speaker maker Sonos is a bit different: a speaker hidden in a picture frame.The Symfonisk picture frame costs £179 ($199) and joins Ikea’s other unusual speakers – one is in a shelf while another is a table lamp – which are all fully compatible with Sonos’s whole-home wireless audio system. Continue reading...
Tags: Gadgets, Technology, Life and style, Homes, Ikea, Digital music and audio, Wifi, Interiors, Sonos, Ikea Symfonisk


Don’t be lonely: how to make friends if you’re moving house

Yes, the pandemic has made it harder to connect with strangers. But, from fitness classes to social media, there are plenty of ways to meet people in a new area – especially if you assume you’re naturally likableFreed from the shackles of the office and the misery of the commute, and with a newfound appreciation for space and air, it may suddenly have seemed as if a new kind of life was possible. Last summer, a few months after the first lockdown, data from Rightmove found searches by city resid...
Tags: Friendship, Life and style, Society, UK News, Homes, Rightmove


Experience: I accidentally bought a derelict house

We wanted to bid on a property. But auctioneers speak quickly, and this one had a strong Glaswegian accentMy girlfriend Claire and I had both been to Scotland just once before: me as a kid; Claire for a medical school interview. I’m English, she’s Canadian, and we met in the French Alps in 2016, quickly grew close, travelled around Europe, then got it into our heads that we should move to Glasgow. Wanting a project, we looked at auction listings and found an apartment in Pollokshields, Southside...
Tags: Europe, Scotland, Life and style, Property, Homes, Home Improvements, First-time buyers, French Alps, Claire, Glasgow Wanting


London basement extensions as normal as loft conversions, study finds

Most are built for middle-class professionals rather than oligarchs, with trend raising flood concernsWith their underground swimming pools, cinemas and art galleries, London’s luxury basement developments have long provoked envy and disgust as depositories for the hidden wealth of the super-rich.But a study that has mapped all the 7,328 basements approved by 32 boroughs and the City of London between 2008 and 2019 has found that the majority of these developments were built for middle-class pro...
Tags: Business, London, Money, Environment, Life and style, UK News, Consumer affairs, Property, Homes, Flooding, Construction industry


Call of the coast: an Australian stylist’s California dream home

After years in New York, a move to Laguna Beach for a nature-lover was like coming homeMarcus Hay still clearly recalls the moment he decided to move to Laguna Beach in California. He was having lunch with his partner in a restaurant overlooking the ocean. “Everybody looked so happy and the sun was shining,” he says. “We were in our black clothes from New York and stood out like sore thumbs. But we said to ourselves: ‘This could be our future.’ After being in Manhattan for 13 years, I was ready ...
Tags: New York, California, Life and style, Sydney, Homes, Manhattan, Interiors, Williams Sonoma, Laguna Beach


‘A handheld grater will make guests want to have sex with you’: the anatomy of a grown-up apartment

In an excerpt from her new book, Sinéad Stubbins offers a guide to decor that tells a lie – you have this whole thing figured outThe thing they don’t tell you is that parties change when you get older. You have this idea that once you graduate from sticky floors and vodka in plastic cups you’ll suddenly get invited to sophisticated dinner parties every weekend. Parties where everyone is drinking tempranillo and saying thought-provoking things, where the apartment is scented like linen and figs a...
Tags: Books, Life and style, Culture, Homes, Interiors, Australian lifestyle, Sinéad Stubbins


Bill Gates added a $43 million beachfront home to his sprawling real estate portfolio last year. Here's a closer look at his empire, which also includes a $130 million Washington mansion and horse ranches in Florida.

Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates. Susan Walsh/AP Photo Bill Gates has amassed a multimillion-dollar property empire. His portfolio includes Florida horse ranches, a Washington mansion, and a San Diego beach house. Now, that property may be divided in his divorce from his wife of 27 years, Melinda. See more stories on Insider's business page. Bill Gates has amassed a property empire over the years. From his $130 million Washington mansion nicknamed "Xanadu 2.0," to Florida horse ranches,...
Tags: Florida, Microsoft, California, Washington, Saudi Arabia, Life, US, San Francisco, Trends, Atlanta, Wealth, Features, Wyoming, House, Billionaires, Bill Gates


‘Clients want us to clean the air’: how the pandemic took hygiene to a whole new level

The past year has turbo-charged our relationship with cleanliness, raising expectations and turning many into germophobes. Has it gone too far?Before Lynsey Crombie sits on a train, or outside a cafe, she takes out her antibacterial wipes and cleans the table, the arms of her seat – anywhere she might touch or put her phone down. “I’ve always done it,” says the bestselling author of The 15-Minute Clean and How To Clean Your House And Tidy Up Your Life. “Until last year I used to get some funny l...
Tags: Health, Fashion, Life and style, Infectious Diseases, Homes, Hygiene, Interiors, Coronavirus, Lynsey Crombie


‘Get the biggest cardboard box you can find …’ How to declutter your home as lockdown eases

Desperate to have a proper clearout after more than a year of semi-confinement? These expert tips will help you reclaim your living space Now that we’ve all had more than a year of staring at nothing but the inside of our own homes, it’s becoming very apparent that we own far too much stuff. But, while a household clearout is a good idea in theory, it’s one that usually requires a bit of a run-up. If you’re struggling to get started, here are some expert tips. Continue reading...
Tags: Life and style, Homes, Interiors, Marie Kondo


Chapter house: a writer’s home in Milan’s historic centre

The sumptous interior of a journalist and women’s activist’s home reflects her own life and workNever judge a book by its cover, as the adage goes, but can you judge a writer by her bookshelf? In Cristina Sivieri Tagliabue’s case, it would be a safe bet. On her floating floor-to-ceiling shelves, among the tomes on empowerment and feminism, can be found some of the Italian journalist and activist’s own.Her study on the desire in young Italian women to have plastic surgery, her collected stories o...
Tags: Milan, Life and style, Homes, Interiors, Emma Bonino, Cristina Sivieri Tagliabue


The fashion editor’s easy-peasy guide to refreshing your wardrobe (without having to declutter)

Want to get the best out of your clothes, but can’t face the full Marie Kondo? Here’s howIf I opened someone’s wardrobe and found it colour-coded with each crisp garment hung on cedar hangers spaced two inches apart, I would think: this person has too much time on their hands. Most of the clothes in my wardrobe are hung on cheap nonslip hangers, or – brace yourself! – the wire hangers from the dry cleaners. Because I have a lot of clothes, and a medium-size wardrobe, and I can fit more clothes i...
Tags: Accessories, Fashion, Life and style, Homes, Polaroid, Marie Kondo


Donations, fees and sales: the funds that maintain the White House’s ‘museum quality’

System has been used as a point of comparison as Boris Johnson seeks to create a charity to refurbish his Downing Street flatJackie Kennedy first visited the White House as a girl. “All I remember is shuffling through,” she told Life magazine. “There wasn’t even a booklet you could buy.” When she became first lady, she set about transforming it from bland and boring into a mansion worthy of a president – but someone would have to pay.In 1961, Jackie Kennedy founded the White House Historical Ass...
Tags: Life, White House, America, Barack Obama, Life and style, US news, Charities, Washington Dc, Homes, Michelle Obama, Boris Johnson, Interiors, Kennedy, Melania Trump, Lyndon B Johnson, Jackie Kennedy


‘My soupmaker is so quick!’ 15 lockdown buys that helped Guardian readers

From a treadmill and a puppy to 19th-century curtains, here are the purchases that have helped cheer people up in the past yearNot only has my new treadmill seen me through lockdown, it’s also keeping me on an even keel, as I live in a crowded area and don’t really enjoy running outside any more. I use it almost every day, along with an app called Zombies, run! or while listening to podcasts. It has become a comfort. The only downside is that I need to put it back under my bed after each use. Ma...
Tags: Coffee, Food, Fashion, Technology, Pets, Life and style, Bread, Art and design, Homes, Soup, Interiors, Barcelona Spain Continue


The workmen want my opinion. But I’m not falling for that | Tim Dowling

I don’t actually care what happens, as long it’s someone else’s faultAt 8.45am there is a knock on the door of my office shed.“Yes?” I say, with the distracted air of someone who has been interrupted at work, although even the casual observer would probably notice that I’m holding a banjo. Continue reading...
Tags: Diy, Life and style, Homes, Tim Dowling


The green cleaner: 15 natural ways to spruce up your home – from nettles to rainwater

Former Bake Off winner Nancy Birtwhistle says we have been ‘brainwashed’ into believing we need harsh chemicals to clean our homes. Here’s how to take a more environmentally friendly approachIt was a filthy washing machine that prompted Nancy Birtwhistle to embrace the power of eco-friendly cleaning. “I was nearly at the point where I thought I needed a new washing machine, because it was a disgrace,” she says. “And that’s the sort of culture we’ve become: ‘I’ll replace it.’” Instead, she gave i...
Tags: Environment, Life and style, Green, Homes, Nancy Birtwhistle, Birtwhistle


Cold as ice? How to stay warm without whacking up the heating

Trapped at home all day means heating bills are likely to mount up. Try these simple – and ingenious – ways to keep yourself toastyWith many of us working from home, shielding or just following the requirement to stay in our houses, it’s going to be an expensive winter if we have the heating running all day. Last week, the writer and Guardian columnist Frances Ryan, who has been shielding since last spring, asked people on Twitter to share tips on how to keep warm and keep the bills down, and th...
Tags: Money, Life and style, Homes, Guardian, Frances Ryan, National Energy Action



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