The midlife guide to... fantasy homes

Annabel Rivkin and Emilie McMeekan
'The interiors fantasy has morphed over the years' - Martin Barraud

Yes, we’ve had our eye on that fluffy Lamino chair, and of course we’re saving for the Crucial Trading carpet situation, and who doesn’t dribble over de Gournay? But we don’t actually need those things. For our emotional well-being. The interiors fantasy has morphed over the years. Our desires have mutated towards…

  1. An intelligent letter box - Forget those ‘no junk mail’ stickers (AMATEURS), this letter box would refuse the missed-delivery slips. Maybe it would say, ‘Deal with it, Postie, it’s not our problem.’ Also, the letter box would expand to let in any package. Any package addressed to you. Not the neighbours. Sorry, neighbours. 
  2. A naughty corner - Sometimes you need to send yourself there. Because what happens in the naughty corner, stays in the naughty corner. All the fun you no longer have because you are too busy adulting and generally being responsible and charming, and not slutty or addicty: fags, tequila, gambling, sunbeds. It’s a bit like Christian Grey’s red room of pain, but with fewer whips.  
  3. Tech Elf - Suddenly, the printer is recognised. The iCloud starts to behave its damn self. Lost passwords are miraculously found. Netflix gets unfrozen. And the Tech Elf, well, their skills extend to appliances (de-moulding the washing machine, fixing the oven light, finding that lost bit of the blender). 
  4. A rage cupboard - Let’s say you get an email from marketing – with your boss passive-aggressively cc’d in – asking for an update on that thing they only told you about yesterday. Or you fill in an online form and it’s taken you years, and it crashes. Or you are hormonal and filled with hate. Or it’s just your horrible personality. Don’t worry. Simply slip into your rage cupboard. Filled with those iron medieval things with chains and balls with spikes on*, and walls of crockery to smash. Your happy place. (*It’s called the flail. We had to look it up. So you can say: ‘Sorry, I am flailing right now.’ Or: ‘Never too big to flail.’) 
  5. A compliments machine - Right next to the Nespresso is your compliments machine. It doesn’t just say: ‘Oh, you look quite lovely today.’ It tells you what you need to hear. Like: ‘Why, you look very authoritative and no one is going to mess with you!’ Or: ‘I really like the way you handled that situation earlier.’ And: ‘No one is going to notice your terrible haircut because they will be dazzled by your smile.’
  6. A fully independent laundry room (FILR) - Based on the amount of laundry we do, there must be people in our house who we have never met. We could just throw things through a hatch into the FILR and they would all self-organise and then magically reappear on beds and in drawers. Ironed. And the FILR would never lose a sock.  
  7. A mini John Lewis - For those moments when you need a darning needle (it could happen), or a bit of a curtain ring or a button or a griddle pan or a new sofa. Or just to feel safe. Open the door to the basement and, lo and behold – a micro-branch of John Lewis ready to make everything OK. 
  8. A panic room - This is not a place just for billionaires or Jodie Foster. But rather, for when the moths come. Or the tax bill. Or the twisty feeling in your gut because you’ve been triggered like a pinball machine. Worried? Run. To. The. Panic. Room. And panic for a while. Then pop to the mini John Lewis to stroke some fabric and everything will be fine.

I’m Absolutely Fine! A Manual for Imperfect Women, by Annabel Rivkin and Emilie McMeekan, is out now (Cassell, £16.99); themidult.com