LOVE IS THE BEST MEDICINE COLUMN
I take quite a bit of time planning the living spaces of the main characters in my novels – the layout, the décor, the colour schemes – even though I don’t go into great detail about any of that in my books. All I usually end up doing is giving a tiny glimpse of their living space, as an adjunct to all the other things in the story that point to their personalities.
I’ve had hero architects living in converted churches (my favourite of all the abodes I’ve created, and you can get a little look at the type of place on my Pinterest page for The Millionaire’s Proposition), over-the-top romantic bedrooms, rackety terrace houses, glamorous penthouse apartments, and stunning desert villas.
But one thing I’ve realised recently is that there’s one particular room where my heroines spend almost no time – the kitchen. My heroes are a different story, and can usually whip up a cordon bleu meal in their state-of-the-art kitchen out of almost nothing (and if they can’t, they’ll know exactly where to take my heroines for a bang-up meal). I suspect this recurrent scenario has something to do with my own kitchen-avoidance and my desire to have all things food brought to me, not by me!
Sitting here typing intermittently as I watch television, I’m reminded of my kitchen apathy by my husband’s constant turning on and off of the kitchen tap behind me – because every time he turns on the blasted thing, I can’t hear a thing. And he does it, I swear, just when the detective du jour is either about to uncover a vital clue or actually name the murderer, which I subsequently miss. And I suspect this recurrent scenario is directly related to my own kitchen-avoidance and my husband’s desire to make me suffer for his having to bring all things food to me.
So, folks, I’m declaring right here right now that I detest that ubiquitous design feature of just about every home that goes on the market these days in Sydney: the open plan living space.
Check out this video – I am not convinced. At. All!
I feel a little bit weird saying this, because when the Hon and I happened to land a private viewing of our current house before the previous owners had even decided to sell it, I fell in love with everything about it on the spot. I loved the flowing room plan that encompassed the entrance, living room, kitchen and dining area in the one grand space – a space that screamed ‘party waiting to happen’. I even recall travelling to America shortly after that viewing and telling two friends over there that if my husband hadn’t made an offer on the house by the time I got back, I was going to divorce him.
Luckily, he had made an offer – and the rest, as they say, is history.
And it really is history, because after 12 years’ living in my dream home, I find myself thinking fondly of our previous, less modish house, with its closed off kitchen, where you could have all kinds of crap on the counters with no visitors any the wiser; when you had to make a conscious choice to go to the fridge in search of a snack instead of having it basically at your fingertips; where, faucet-free, you could hear Hercule Poirot name the murderer.
First world problem, I know. But in my next book, I’m pretty sure the kitchen of the day is going to be very distant from the television – a little like my Medical romance, From Fling to Forever, where for a good portion of the story, I had a whole Georgian-era London townhouse at my disposal, with a tucked away kitchen! Some quite special scenes occurred in that kitchen…