Kirstie’s Homemade Home Review: House Porn

April 16, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

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KIRSTIE’S HOMEMADE HOME, Thursday 16th April, Channel 4, 8.00PM Alert Me

Property programmes don’t exactly thrill me. Maybe it has something to do with that fact that right now, I’m unable to afford my own cardboard box, let alone a house, so I pretend the whole home-buying/renovating/selling genre doesn’t exist.

Although I make have enjoyed the odd bout of Changing Rooms in my youth, I am still haunted by nightmarish images of Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen transforming a perfectly nice dining room into a jester’s torture-garden. Kirstie Allsop, is much more up my alley. Sans baldy Phil Spencer she is captivating and sexy. Never before have I been so thrilled with the idea of buying crockery and chintz, or whipping out a sowing machine; clearly the feminist in me is dying an early death.

Seriously though, it’s impossible not to get excited about Kirstie’s project. Surely everyone has dreamed of buying their own house and decorating it in their own personal way. Yet, Kirstie takes redecorating one step further; transforming an arduous, stressful task into the fairytale fashioning of a dream. Rather than relying on homogenised Ikea products, she is building her “homemade” nest using skipped (i.e. found in a skip) furniture, market buys and crafty creations. Working the eco-friendly angle Ms Allsop encourages us to look in our own back yard for awe-inspiring artisans, and to embrace the inner Blue Peter child. The mantra is simple, “re-arrange, re-use and forget the rules, if it’s pretty just do it!”

In this episode Allsop focuses on the kitchen or “engine room” of the house. Coming from an Irish family, I understand that the kitchen is life’s epicentre. If you aren’t eating in it, you’re waiting to eat in it as your mum perfects her Mrs Doyle impression. Kirstie returns to her family home to seek inspiration for her kitchen, as well as popping in to see the Queen of “shabby chic”, Cath Kidston, who, gasp, informs our girl that it is ok to mix red and pink, if only when it comes to cutlery.

She also receives first-hand training from craftsmen like potter Steve Harrison and soft furnishings expert Chrissie Fenhoff. Even though Kirstie’s cushion is a bit boring and her little blue pot probably only fit for Waitrose olives, I still think the girl has done well. I can barely sew a button let alone a whole cushion. In fact, the last time I used a sewing machine was in Year 9 making a shark-designed cushion cover. I put the Bondaweb on back to front, resulting in a smelly, gluey mess which had to be spatula’ed off the iron, earning me a C. Unsurprisingly I took Food Technology for GCSE.

In spite of this early defeat Kirstie’s endeavours have stoked the fires of my feminine wiles. I have always paid tribute to my bra-burning sisters,  but secretly I would love to perfect the art of the domestic goddess. However, given my previous efforts, I’m sure the results will be more “shabby” and less “chic”. Still, one can dream…

Sally McIlhone