BEAUTIFULLY USEFUL

A little story today of how William Morris’s adage about beauty and usefulness can sometimes get confusing: a few years ago, having become increasingly irritated by the presence of an ugly blackberry, packet of chewing gum, bank card reader and set of keys, I hid them in a cute box. As useful as these items were to their owner, I did not find them beautiful. Of course by Morris’s standard, the owner of the offending items had every right to own them. At the end of a long and frustrating search that resulted in the items’ owner being trapped in the house unable to make contact with the outside world, I realised that my need to hide everything not beautiful can sometimes be taken too far. Allocate a safe house for ugly items that allow us to lock a door or make a phonecall, that everyone can easily identify. And ensure when housing small items you only rarely find useful (spare sewing machine feet, safety pins, buttons, biros, pencils, foreign coins), to remember what’s in each box. I’m not advocating labels, but nor am I promoting beauty over sense. Not really.

Desk: Past Caring, Islington, Playing cards: Detling Antiques Fair, Notebook: Smythson, Boxes: Dyptique, Laduree, Jo Malone, Le Labo, Smythson, Marble Egg: Buxton Museum, Frame: Ikea, Chair: Mary Magdalen Foundation

Desk: Past Caring, Islington, Playing cards: Detling Antiques Fair, Notebook: Smythson, Boxes: Diptyque, Laduree, Jo Malone, Le Labo, Smythson, Marble Egg: Buxton Museum, Frame: Ikea, Chair: Mary Magdalen Foundation

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