Interior design

The best podcasts where girls sit around talking about ghosts

‘I’ve actually seen ghosts.’ This statement comes less than ten minutes into the first episode of Dark House, a limited-series podcast about ghosts, houses and interior decoration from House Beautiful magazine. And this is the moment, I assume, a certain number of people roll their eyes and switch over to the next podcast in their queue. Humans are fascinated by ghosts. We tell the stories, we take the city tours of hauntings when we travel, we see all the films in the Conjuring and Insidious series. But that’s a bit different from seeing real ghosts, which is just someone taking things too far. It was a shadow, or a dream,

Deserves to be much better known: Sophie Taeuber-Arp at Tate Modern reviewed

Great Swiss artists, like famous Belgians, might seem to be an amusingly underpopulated category. Actually, as with celebrated Flemings and Walloons, when you start counting you discover there are more of them than you thought. Paul Klee, for example, and Alberto Giacometti. A third, whose work is reassessed in a large exhibition at Tate Modern, was Sophie Taeuber-Arp. Clearly, unlike the other two, hers is far from being a household name even in fairly artistic homes. There are several reasons for this, one perhaps being the unwieldiness of that cognomen itself. She was born Sophie Henriette Gertrud Taeuber in 1889 at Davos, and as was then the custom, hyphenated her

How will Carrie cope with the hideousness of Chequers?

Zut alors! The court of King Boris gets more like Versailles each day. With some talcum powder on that ramshackle hair, the Prime Minister would be the image of Louis le Something after a night on the Tuileries. His government, meanwhile, totters towards the tumbrils. Le Marquis d’Ancock, Comte de Raab and Le Petit-Maître Gove all cower in the corridors of power, fearful of ‘À la Bastille!’ being barked by sitting pretty Mme de Patel, or a strictly formal dressing-down from His Holiness, L’Abbé Rees-Mogg. Behind the screens, Madame du Carrie ponders eco-friendly lightbulbs with Mlle Lulu, or the source of the handwoven rattan for that dog’s basket. The court

Lara Prendergast

The curious rise of cottagecore

Cottagecore, not to be confused with cottaging, is an aspirational lifestyle trend. The word is relatively new —although you’ll find it used all over TikTok — but the idea isn’t. If you have ever dreamt of leaving behind the urban sprawl for something more bucolic, or donned a cheesecloth dress and flower crown in the hope that it will make you seem a little folksy, you’ll understand the aesthetic. Cottagecore is the eternal search for a pastoral idyll, updated for the Instagram generation. It is hardly surprising that such a romantic movement has been revived during a time of pestilence and isolation. Throughout the pandemic, many of us have felt

The rise of blocked-off design

Plexiglass bubbles hover over diners’ heads in restaurants. Plastic pods, spaced six feet apart, separate weightlifters in gyms. Partitions of all kinds are creeping up in workplaces. As offices, restaurants, bars and businesses reopened after months of lockdowns and closures, a new phenomenon emerged, one that I’ve come to think of as ‘blocked-off design’. It’s design and layout that aims to construct and enforce distancing in a somewhat makeshift way. It’s characterised by partitions, sheer walls, six-foot markers. As a visual language, it’s defined by barriers and blockage — physical reminders that spaces where we once went to mingle with others are now fraught, and that even in public, isolation