A clean, crisp finish: Wine expert Oz Clarke raises a glass to the joys of minimalist living

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The Independent Online

This was a fairly ordinary three-bedroomed house in west London when I first moved in, but I wanted light, space and minimalism.

I've always longed for a minimalist place because, as a freelance writer, I spend a lot of time lumbering around at home, cursing - and I found that one of the ways to make it easier is to be surrounded by as little as possible.

It was built about four years ago by my architect friend, Jim Foster, who came up with the idea of turning the whole house upside down, putting all the bedrooms, bathrooms and wine cellar downstairs, and the living area upstairs. It took a long time to get rid of all my clutter because people such as my mother would get in the way by coming over and putting up velvet curtains or something, in case "I got cold".

Because everything up here is so white, I chose these red leather Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chairs to add a flash of colour. The floor is beautiful black walnut from America, which I love, because every piece of wood is different. It has a warmth that contrasts well with the clean lines of all the glass and chrome.

The bar stools in the kitchen area are very 1950s, from Zoftig in Cornwall. I love the idea of bar stools - with Humphrey Bogart on one side, Lauren Bacall on the other and me asking, "What would you like to drink?"

It's a great room for entertaining and I have friends over quite often for dinner, or to watch the football or rugby. Because it's just one big space, people can sit on the sofa with a couple of bottles of wine, while I keep an eye on the world's biggest chilli con carne simmering on the stove - a beautiful, high-quality Smeg cooker.

My favourite thing about this room is looking up through the window at the sky. It can be cloudy, sometimes it rains or a plane flies over, but I can just lie here on the sofa, look up and think about things.

Oz Clarke is appearing at The Wine Show 2007, London N1 (0870 890 0094, www.wineshow.co.uk), from 25-28 October