Crazy ways to scrub a floor
Saturday 22 February 1997
"Housework is sexy," insists the cult retailer Emma Bernhardt, whose new store - specialising in Technicolor household goodies so fab, groovy and downright wantable that they can make otherwise slovenly individuals (like your reporter here) want to clean their homes - opened last month.
"My cleaning style is to invite a friend over late at night. And we have to have a bottle of red wine or champagne," confides Ms Bernhardt. "I whack the heating on full blast, swing the windows wide open so there's a nice breeze and we can pretend that we're somewhere hot - and I always have plenty of salsa music playing, very loud."
Forget tired old concepts such as utilitarianism. Ms Bernhardt's heart- shaped buckets and electric-pink "scrubbers" are so cute, they can make your living space look gorgeous without your even having to use them. Likewise, her favourite "cleaning uniform" has more to do with flamboyant aesthetics than with dowdy practicality. "High heels are essential," she says without a trace of irony. "I always wear plastic flowers in my hair, or a little crown. And I have a beautiful little pinny from Mexico made of gingham, with embroidered flowers and frilly cuffs. It makes me feel like a Sixties Miami housewife married to the mob."
Or could that be married to the mop?
Tyler Brule, editor of the cool interiors magazine Wallpaper, also believes that role play is the key to spring-cleaning without tears. His, though, is a more austere vision. "Anyone with deep-seated Minimalist tendencies can spend a couple of days editing everything out of their house and pretend that they are truly a Minimalist for a fortnight or so. It's very liberating."
Mr Brule's cleaning outfit of choice consists of pyjama pants and T- shirt. And his must-have accessory? "A Dyson vacuum cleaner - you can actually see the garbage twisting round the transparent pipe."
Of course, a large degree of whimsicality lies behind the success of many a premium-priced designer objet pour la maison. After all, if you have to scrub a toilet bowl, it's so much more fun to do it with a wacky- looking object. Alessi's lavatory brush, The Merdolino, which looks like something very phallic indeed sprouting out of a plant pot, and costs pounds 38, is currently selling like hot cakes. (So what if you could probably get 10 for half the price down the market?) Likewise, a black rubber broom, decorated with purple plastic flowers (pounds 18), has been hugely popular at the gift chain Octopus.
Cynics may regard the notion of reinventing mundane household tools as desirable designer gizmos to be nothing but a sick conspiracy to oppress even further those of us who really bear the brunt of household chores - in other words, women. Yet my personal take on the housework-as-fantasy trend is that anyone who feels like slipping into an Agent Provocateur nightie before running round the lounge with a duster in their hand is simply trying to inject a bit of frivolity into something that's normally very boring indeed. And that certainly goes for the fellas, too.
So for the easiest - though not necessarily the cheapest - way to indulge in a little fantasy while you get on with the housework, here are some ideas for treating yourself to the brightest, breeziest, rinky-dink household accessories around.
Lipstick-pink feather duster, anyone?
Wash the floor from a heart-shaped bucket that comes in baby pink, baby blue or red. pounds 12.50, by Emma Bernhardt, 301 Portobello Road, London W11
Scrub the kitchen table with an old-fashioned scrubbing brush - that has yellow or green bristles. 95p, from Cath Kidston, 8 Clarendon Cross, London W11
Or try a spot of cleaning with a Day-Glo plastic scrubbing brush by Emma Bernhardt. pounds 2.75, from Emma Bernhardt and the Conran Shop, Michelin House, 81 Fulham Road, London SW3 6RD
Flick a lipstick-pink feather duster around your living room. pounds 1, from Kilburn High Road One Pound shop and similar emporia (0171-351 7674)
Prance around in a blue gingham and rose print pinny, pounds 8, from Cath Kidston, as before
Put flowers in a handy rubber-glove vase - made from one of those single gloves you get left with when its partner has either got lost or sprouted holes. pounds l4.95, from Graham & Green, 4, 7 and 10 Elgin Crescent, London W11, or by mail order (0171-727 4594)
Sweep the floor with a black rubber broom while wearing kinky gloves decorated with crazy plastic flowers. Both pounds l8, available from Octopus, 54 Neal Street, London WC2, and branches (0171-836 2911)
Do the dishes with the help of a blue washing-up brush with feet, by Koziol. pounds 7.50, from Brats, 281 King's Road, London SW3.
13 September 2014 12:00 AM
30 August 2014 12:00 AM
05 September 2014 11:30 PM
30 August 2014 12:00 AM
The UK has slipped to 11th in the latest European league table of savers. Rob Griffin checks out the best options
22 August 2014 10:30 PM
Caroline Flint, the shadow energy secretary, says a Labour government would create a new energy regulator
22 August 2014 10:30 PM
16 August 2014 12:00 AM
16 August 2014 12:00 AM
- 1 Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 What are your fingerprint words?
- 5 Gary Lineker involved in Twitter row after presenter rubbishes claims he will be warned by BBC over foul-mouthed tweets
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
iJobs Money & Business
£65000 Per Annum Benefits + bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: If you are...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
Day In a Page
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green