Too much minimalism?

I never thought I would write this, but I do think you can have too much of a good thing, including minimalism. On Sunday night I caught the end of Grand Designs, a British reality TV show in which people display their architecture, invariably running way over budget and time, but inevitably loving the result of their labour. Now, I love clean bare surfaces and lots of white — more than most, I suspect — but even I draw the line with this. This is an über-minimalist house in the UK has lots and lots of bare surfaces, lots and lots of white, with the odd neutral wood trim. You can check out the YouTube clip here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czVaYQ0LD-U

Start at about the 36 minute mark to see a tour of the house and see what I mean. White, white, white: it looks more like a place where scientists freeze embryos, or aeronautical engineers assemble jet engine parts than a warm and comfy home. I would really want a pop of colour (probably red), and a few crazy things that would add a bit of character: a big funky Chesterfield, a serious crystal chandelier, reindeer antlers, a piece of stibnite even — something to add colour and personality.

And it’s all a matter of taste, really. I suppose they would find my life awfully cluttered and busy. Meanwhile (I almost typed “meanwhite”; Freudian slip??? ;-)) my own decluttering continues in dribs and drabs. The boxes are mostly done and dusted and the room is almost tidy. 🙂 I plan to have my filing up to date and listed in the next few weeks, which will be a relief.

And the garden is starting to take shape. I’ve decided to focus solely on the front yard — I’m picking my battles, and the front yard is easier — but still it’s overgrown. Each individual plant, if taken alone and looked after, would be quite lovely there. However, this is not the case: roses are near succulents, holly, a yucca, ivy vines, and geranium. It’s a dog’s breakfast!

So yesterday I started with the geraniums. Out they came (and took some of the succulents with them). The plan is clear pretty much everything that is there, plant three silver birch trees (I think they look beautiful, particularly in the winter when they’re bare) and put some bark or pebbles down to prevent weeds. The lawn will remain, with a new birdbath (the old one has been broken — too much ivy climbed on it and it collapsed!).

The front yard should be easy enough. The backyard will take longer — much longer. But ideally I’d like to set up a vegetable garden in the backyard and have garden-fresh vegetables on hand — I’m a big fan of healthy eating and having fresh vegies will help. I got rid of a cold in just two days by eating fresh fruit and vegies, something that would have knocked me down for a fortnight before.

So, fresh vegetables and a clutter-free home with personality — that’s what I like! 🙂

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