Emma Samms: Those priceless memories
- Credit: Emms Samms
I’ve been in a footballer’s house where not one item wasn’t new, coordinated and hugely expensive. It was absolutely awful
I’m planning to renovate my house in the next few months, which means that alongside the essential upgrades such as heating and wiring, I’ll also be redecorating.
I’m aware that some people hire interior designers to come in and make a house look coordinated, sleek and fashionable. Paint colours, curtain fabrics and artwork are carefully selected by the discerning eye of a trained professional. Sometimes every single piece of furniture, every decorative item has been specifically purchased to complete the designer’s vision. I’ve been in houses like this. One, in particular was a footballer’s house and there was not one item in the house that wasn’t new, coordinated and hugely expensive. It was absolutely awful. Firstly, anything that on-trend will very soon be off-trend, leaving you with a house that looks tired and dated. Most importantly though, I don’t understand why anyone would want to live in a house without all the memories that are prompted by the random bits and bobs that we collect over the years.
So, the thought of redecorating has made me look twice at some of the precious items in my house and evaluate their sentimental value versus their positive (or negative) decorative impact. Here are a few;
This large, rustic frame hangs on the wall of my kitchen and contains the lyrics to the chorus of one of my favourite songs. This was what I sang to my children when they were babies and I was drying them off after their nightly bath. I’d bundle them up in a soft, warm towel and sing away. Mostly, I may add for my pleasure, not theirs. In fact my daughter would insist on a different, bouncier version that lessened the sentimentality considerably. But I didn’t mind. These were the sort of moments that women dream of as soon as they realise they want to be a mother.
This chair is also in my kitchen and is officially known as The Comfy Chair. Many years ago it was rescued from a second-hand shop, has gone through two sets of washable covers and is in need of some serious repairs to its springs, but any thought of buying a new chair is not entertained for a second. Nestled in a cosy corner next to the Aga, it is, frankly, the best spot on earth. Besides being warm and comfy it also has proven healing qualities. Many a friend of our family has sat in that chair for days or weeks recuperating from illness or surgery. With a tray on their lap at mealtimes and the busy life of the kitchen buzzing around them for entertainment, it just works. Believe me. This chair’s powers are known around the world.
This original drawing was given to me by Paul Farsnworth, Designer of ‘Shall We Dance’ the theatrical tribute to Richard Rogers that starred Adam Cooper and ran for 6 weeks at Sadler’s Wells theatre in London. Miraculously, I was asked to dance in this wonderful show despite having not danced at all since I left the Royal Ballet School thirty two (yes, THIRTY TWO) years previously. No amount of sore muscles or sheer terror could have stopped me from dancing on that feted stage with Adam Cooper – quite possibly the best male dancer the UK has ever produced. This particular costume was for a second, minor role that I had in the production and which was, therefore, far less stressful than my other, lead role. The costume was made from a stunning, purple silk and seeing this picture hanging on the wall of my bedroom reminds me of the absolute joy I felt dancing my heart out on that stage to such beautiful music and with such a talented company.
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These three things: some framed words, a costume design and an old chair may not be on an interior designer’s list of must-haves, but as aides-memoires and a recuperative refuge they are priceless. They’ll be staying, for sure.
Follow Emma on Twitter! @emmasamms1