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Rules Of Decorating

India Hicks believes there's no right or wrong in designing, as long as there's an edge.

Every week, when I see the show, I watch with interest as the backstory to each of the final designs unfolds. It's a real eye opener, because of course we, the judges, are totally removed from all that kerfuffle and angst - and necessarily so. We have to judge their creations - not their characters, not their charisma, nor their experience, or their home lives. One must remain totally impartial to their personal pain or shocking manners, but oh how difficult that is. We, of course have it easy by comparison, we simply walk around the corner and judge what we see. But we are in fact the "clients" so-to-speak and its important for the designers to remember that. They have been given a design brief by us, and as the client we judge who has answered in the most inspiring and relevant way. I have just returned from Nicky Haslam's grand fete in London.

Nicky is one of our great British interior decorators. His beautifully embossed invitation stipulated a dress code of violet, black or silver as the interior of the Palladian Mansion, once his family seat, was going to be draped from ceilings to floor in bright red. Crystal meth or acid? Simon Doonan would want to know.

In this episode Jonathan Adler (who by the way is dear friend of mine so I am allowed to affectionately call him short) talks about "the rules of decorating." In my view there is no right or wrong way to design a table, a room, or even a party, as long as it has an edge. Another great British designer, the Late Geoffrey Bennison always put "something mad on top of something very good, or something very good on top of something mad" and gave it that edge. Nicky Haslam's party had an edge. Preston's high backed orange chairs were the edge. And Andrea at last was shinning out. But the truth is that in practice our real lives do creep in to try and destabilize our careers. It's difficult to keep your poise. I sympathized with Andrea's tears. And after delivering the fateful line I stood up and hugged her. She was going home for the best reason in the world I thought.

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