CRAIG BROWN: It isn't clutter – I've got curated knick-knacks!

CRAIG BROWN: It isn’t clutter – I’ve got curated knick-knacks!

One of the Sunday magazines asked the question, ‘How Hip Is Your Home?’ followed by a list of ‘eight autumn interiors trends to try now’.

Did you know that stainless steel is back? Apparently, it ‘makes a statement’. To complete the trendy new all-metal look, the magazine advises you to spend £1,700 on a ‘countervailing dining chair’. This chair has no arms, and just a single metal rod for your back, so meets all the requirements for up-to-the-minute, cutting-edge discomfort.

My favourite tip, though, is the third: ‘Curate a chaotic knick-knack collection.’ It turns out that knick-knacks are ‘back in a big way’.

This bold statement is illustrated with a photograph of a table with one or two slightly random bits and pieces, neatly placed: four candle holders, a pile of World Of Interiors magazines, a garden pot.

Furthermore, we learn that ‘tastemakers are filling their mantelpieces with endlessly interesting — and chaotic — collections of, well, stuff.’

CRAIG BROWN: It isn’t clutter – I’ve got curated knick-knacks!

I gave a cheer when I read this. Over the years, our house has accumulated hundreds of bits and pieces we haven’t quite got round to throwing away. But at last we can breathe easy: our house is not full of clutter — it’s full of fashionable good taste!

Take the Welsh dresser in our kitchen, for example. I have spent the last ten minutes making a list of some of the odds and ends that have found a home there.

At the very top, there is an ancient set of poison darts in a leather quiver from a tribe in Sarawak, given by an elderly neighbour to our son when he was little.

Next to it sits the top layer of our wedding cake. We meant to tuck into it when we got back from honeymoon, 36 years ago, but never got around to it. To be honest, it’s begun to look well past its sell-by date.

Alongside the cake are: two wonky houses made from cardboard by our children when they were at primary school; a bedraggled trick flower, one of a number bought at an auction of Tommy Cooper memorabilia, after his death in 1984; a stopped clock; and a silver ashtray given to me as a baby, back in the days when an ashtray was considered the perfect christening present.

On the next shelf down: an unwanted gift of a set of tiny teacups with the London Underground logo, far too small to drink from, sits alongside two small wooden boxes, the first containing the ashes of Pip, our beloved West Highland Terrier, and the second the ashes of his Labrador-ish predecessor, Beetle, whose great joy in life was overturning bins.

And so the list multiplies: a hid-eous mug saying ‘CRAIG’, jammed full of Biros that don’t work; an empty ginger beer bottle, circa 2014; a piggy bank with nothing in it; a Sigmund Freud finger-puppet; a tea tin celebrating the marriage of Harry and Meghan; a toy horse on wheels; numerous corks; an old door handle, perhaps waiting for the perfect door to come along; a half-full bottle of tonic water we’ve been meaning to throw away for at least five years.

We still have the top layer of our wedding cake. We meant to tuck into it when we got back from honeymoon, 36 years ago, but never got around to it (stock image)

Old postcards, Christmas cards, birthday cards and photographs; a scattering of elastic bands; various herbal teas of weird grassy flavours; one 9in nodding doll of Kenneth Williams and another of Walter White from the TV show Breaking Bad; a wooden seagull; a milk jug shaped like a cow; a wind-up walrus with a twirly beach ball on its nose; half-a-dozen keys, kept for the past decade just in case we find out what they open; a pack of 46 playing cards.

Sitting on the bottom shelf, immediately above the cupboards and drawers, is my prized collection of solar-powered plastic dolls with heads and/or arms that move back and forth in the daylight: Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un; a policeman; a rasta; a sloth; a bagpiper; a buddha; two bathing beauties; a muscle-man; the late Queen and two corgis; Wallace and Gromit; a sushi chef; and Elvis Presley in his white jumpsuit.

I don’t intend to venture into the drawers, with their pieces of string and dead batteries, or the cupboards, full of discarded electrical appliances and cracked vases.

After all, as any style guru will tell you, it’s best to leave a bit of mystery…

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