"Six interior trends to avoid" was one of my best rating stories from 2015. Who'd have thought? In it I dissed feature walls, bus blinds, blackboard paint, inspirational messages, skulls, deer paraphernalia and excess pillows.
Readers alerted me to some I missed: let's also call time on "pops of colour", subway tiles and all those "Keep calm and carry on" abominations. Continuing in this judgmental vein, here are eight more things that are banned at my place.
1. Industrial theme
I've been there, done that, got the Tolix barstools and a weird metal side-table with a crank handle to prove it, but I'm officially over the whole industrial vibe.
I reckon it was invented to placate those of us who dream of living in some edgy loft-style apartment with exposed pipes and brick walls but actually must abide in bog-standard suburbia.
To make us feel like we're not cocooned by predictable GIB board and wall-to-wall carpet, we install bare light-bulbs and invest in faux rustic cabinets with drawers marked with random words and numbers to give the impression the unit's provenance was a boutique vineyard or farm rather than a factory of mass-production in south-east Asia.
2. Overdone technology
An advertisement in an overseas interiors magazine showed a woman operating her oven through her smartphone. The readout on her phone said: "Oven Preheating to 375 degrees BAKE MODE".
I was supposed to think: "Wow". In fact, I thought: "Why doesn't the lazy woman take two steps forward and operate the oven in the usual manner?" Talk about technology for technology's sake.
Just because you can doesn't mean you should. Being able to run your bath as you drive home and operate your curtains from anywhere in the world doesn't impress me much either. Mind you, it would be a great way to convince the family members you'd left at home that the house is haunted.
3. Gynaecological chic
Is it just me who thinks those expensive statement taps standing tall above kitchen sinks are a little, well, obstetric? The gleaming stainless steel, the sinuous curves, the coiled extendable hose (not to mention the hardcore lighting overhead) all suggest that this kitchen could also serve as a gynaecological clinic if required.
There are freestanding metal reading lamps, too, that have such a high-degree of adjustability and no-frills functionality that cervical examinations sometimes spring to mind.
4. The chaise longue
I can't spell it, I can't pronounce it and I don't know what it's good for. Is it a chair? Is it a sofa? Chaise longues are neither one thing nor the other and they have a nasty whiff of pretension about them.
They have an arm on one side or is it actually a semi-back? If it is indeed a "long chair" then surely it should have arms on both sides. Just thinking about it hurts my brain. I need a lie down. Where is a nice chaise longue when you need one?
5. Products approved by sportsmen
Rafa Nadal was in a magazine advertisement for Dekton XGloss which is a range of "ultrashine surfaces for indoors and outdoors". All I had were questions.
Why is a tennis racquet lying casually on a chair? Why is Nadal juggling tennis balls that are spilling out of a stockpot on a kitchen bench? It makes about as much sense as Kiwi cricketers and Dan Carter advertising heat pumps. That is: no sense.
Some people collect hippo or frog knickknacks in spite of the fact that such collections are anathema to a streamlined and easy-to-dust home.
There's a fine line between a collector and a hoarder. One man's collection is another man's dust-trap. Of course, some collectors turn up their noses at the idea of indiscriminately accumulating inanimate renditions of wildlife or aquatic creatures.
These people prefer to hoard books, paintings, sculpture or tribal artefacts instead. Such items are far posher and more cerebral than hippos and frogs but the base driver is the same: "Stuff is good. More stuff is better. Me want more stuff."
7. Fine fabrics
My silk curtains (Designers Guild!) were shredded by the harsh Kiwi sunlight and the banquette covered in striped Jim Thompson silk was never the same after my baby drooled on it.
I can't be dealing with delicate fabrics anymore and am slowly having my furniture reupholstered in synthetics that are sun-resistant and can handle being wiped down with a damp Chux cloth. Distressed faux velvets are currently top of my list for robustness with a hint of faded glamour.
8. Beige on beige on beige
For resale purposes alone there's a sound argument for beige-ish walls and curtains but beige furniture is a step too far. No one needs a triple-whammy of blandness.
I've just had my dining chairs recovered in a fabric starring large squiggly shapes in orange and fuchsia pink. How crazy is that? See. I live life on the edge. Then I read this quote in an interiors magazine: "You get older, and you get more wild." I was like: "Ouch! That's not nice."