Following on from my Top 10 decorating mistakes to avoid, I started wondering about what objects signify that one is finally being a bit more mature and can be classed as a grown up. Here is the list… what remains a secret is whether I have all 10.
1. A proper coffee machine
Not just a percolator or stove top job, but the whole branded Gaggia/Jura/Dualit gizmo with bells and whistles on. Starting at over £200 and heading into the thousands, these objects of desire channel a mature attitude to coffee, with a hefty helping of ‘I am actually a secret Barista’ thrown in. You get 1000 extra grown-up points if it is a built in coffee machine by Miele. Those who have any of these mentioned are obviously smug, and those who don’t are envious.
2. A present/gift drawer
It’s that awful moment when you remember that someone’s birthday is NOW! and you have forgotten a gift, and need it pronto. This results in a mad dash to a local shop, mainly for me the local petrol station, to get a not very good choice of wine. Or cash if it is a child, (not good to waste wine on a child).
You know you are grown up when the above scenario does not happen, but you can stroll to an allocated drawer and pull out one of a variety of choice presents. It will be niche, stylish and perfect. Inside that drawer will be scented designer candles, leather goods, beautiful stationary and so on. There is probably also a selection of droll New Yorker cards, and some rather nice assortments of wrapping paper to choose from.
3. bespoke curtains & blinds
When faced with window dressing, serious grown-ups call on the services of a seamstress and eye-wateringly expensive fabrics. Even if the home-owner can sew, the curtains are made out of the home by someone who can bump interline, lead weight and possibly swag. For extra luxury, some curtains are faced both sides in contrasting fabrics.
These are then fitted by a very experienced chap recommended by an Interior Designer/Curtain maker who can always ensure the poles/pelmets tracks are straight, fixed tight and do not pop off the wall at the first drawing of the curtains. This proves that I am not a grown up then, as mine tend to land on my head, pole and all, after a couple of days.
4. the killer piece of art
You know you are in a grown up house when there is a huge statement piece of modern art in pride of place, usually created by a YBA or enfant terrible storming the Art scene. Purchased from an Auction House such as Bonhams or Christies, or a very smart London gallery and the price at least of a very nice car, it is usually hung by the nice curtain pole chap mentioned above.
Note: if it is an inherited old master, then that does not make the owners grown up, just incredibly fortunate.
5. multiple dinner services and cutlery
One set for everyday, one for informal meals, one for dinner parties, one for BBQ’s… the grown up has a wide variety of china for different occasions. The most cherished is the wedding present service used for special meals, demanded as nuptial gifts from places such as Aspreys, which actually cannot go into a dishwasher as they are edged in gold, (and as such I deem a terrible time-waster).
Cutlery canteens are also a grown up obsession, with silver being the most criminal culprit as it should be hand washed and buffed every time. Life’s too short…
6. kitchenaID MIXER
Back onto kitchen gadgets, and the Kitchenaid is a sure sign of maturity. It squats on the counter top taking up loads of room, in mouth watering colours of course, and reminds everyone that its owner also must be as good a cake maker as Mary Berry in their spare time.
Regardless of this, I renounce the Kitchenaid as a right to maturity, as my granny made amazing cakes with just a bowl and spoon and also had lovely spacious counter tops as a result.
7. a secret stash of loo roll
Plain, white and it NEVER RUNS OUT. Grown up people also have a cupboard somewhere groaning with loo roll bumper packs, and no one is ever caught short in their house. Enough said.
8. the most amazing organised shed/garage
This is not just any shed, this is a shed with heat, power, halogen lights and more. Everything has a place, the rows of smart bicycles, the tool kits, the garden machines. Special hooks hang everything neatly from the walls, displaying acres of sporting equipment from surfboards to skateboards, (the grown ups are pretending they are still down with the kids with skateboards). If it is really grown up it even has a sink, and it is 100% mature if there is an intercom to the house.
So you are not a grown up when you have a rickety shed that you cannot actually get into as it is groaning with discarded junk.
9. electronic lighting, house & audio controls
There are no light switches in a grown up house, just small flat digital panels. With a remote control real grown ups can turn things on and off, create mood lighting, play some music, lock up the house, and talk the the fridge if need be. Guest spend ages banging the digital wall pads trying to make them work, especially in downstairs loos and usually giving up the ghost once they have opened the garage door by mistake or turned off the fridge. Non grown ups go to the loo in pitch dark as a result in these sort of grown up houses.
10. a wine cellar & wine collection
Dedicated wine cellars are the most mature item in grown up homes. From the ‘sunk into the floor in a spiral’ kind, to real vaulted cellars with wine bins, this is seriously sophisticated stuff. Having a half empty wooden wine rack under the stairs does not count. Grown ups also order wine by the crate and have a personal Wine Merchant to advise them. Grown ups do not do the ‘3 for a tenner’ wine offers at supermarkets, but instead will pull out a bottle of 50 year old wine casually and blow the dust off it. These grown ups are excellent hosts.