Home Comforts: Domesticity is the New City Break

Home Comforts: Domesticity is the New City Break

For one millennial renter with an uncertain future, lockdown has been key to finding pleasure in the domestic sphere. How will he fare when normality resumes?

don’t know about you, but my home has never been more homely.
My laptop is set among a tablescape of scented candles and
lemon-thyme biscuits, beyond which, my housemate is sewing her
fourth cushion cover since lockdown began. It’s but another bespoke
crumb destined for the higgledy-piggledy molehill that once was our

Before lockdown, our home didn’t quite look like this. It was a
pit-stop really, a place to meal-prep, wash laundry, eat either
breakfast or dinner (work commitments depending) and snaffle drinks
before heading out for the evening. In time, we even acquired a
fifth housemate, an ashen mouse who sniffled about infrequently but
often enough for us to name him Lenny.

As a member of generation rent, I feel that accommodation has
never been about luxury. I shell out 40 per cent of my annual
income on a box bedroom in easy reach of Stoke
‘s sparkling restaurants, cafés and bars where I
slowly deposit much of the remaining 60 per cent. But when
isolation dawned, my flatmates and I decided it was time we turned
our focus inwards. We’d zhuzh up our flat and rebrand it, if only
to ourselves, as a “self-catered

Thankfully, there are no shortage of articles telling the newly
housebound How to Turn Your Home into a Hotel. Lenny was humanely
ousted. Precious loo paper was folded with due reverence. The
debris of our everyday lives – a hideous but sentimental novelty
mug from Argentina, some doodled weekend supplements, a pitiful
poinsettia – all faced trial and only the most middle-of-the-road
fragments survived. The resultant flat looked like an aspiring
hotel, for a short while.

Not only was the strict Marie Kondo cleaning regime required to
uphold our five-star status unsustainable, we decided the joy it
sparked was disproportionate to energy expended. As flatmate after
flatmate were furloughed,
gave way to DIY. We’ve joined the 3,074,670
#sourdoughstarters on Instagram and I’m now literally up to my
waist in sewing as I plough through a retro pyjama pattern I bought
pre-lockdown. Our flat has become upholstered with wobbly seams and
frayed edges in a style that would make a hotel chambermaid break
out in hives.

There’s always a buzz about the kitchen table. We eat dinner
together – homemade dinner, not a speedy wok job – and settle down
for games or a film in the evening. It’s a charmed existence and I
know I’m incredibly lucky. I’m not oblivious to the fact that, for
many, coronavirus has uprooted and destabilised their living
set-ups, but for the first time since leaving my family pad three
years ago, I feel like I’m living in a home again.

In fact, I’m growing so attached to the simple life that I’m
starting to begrudge any easing of lockdown measures in
anticipation of normality’s return. I’m conscious of the fact that
as our lives regain lost momentum and become colonised by the same
pre-lockdown routines, our domestic unit will fracture.

And so, while friends are checking out boutique hotels in
have-it-all beach cities such as
or Lisbon,
where urban sprawl is hemmed by palm-fringed coastline, I find
myself gravitating towards rustic homestays where I can retire from
the freneticism of city living and indulge my appetite for
domesticity. The foothills of Romania’s Carpathian Mountains are on
the cards, as is that Lithuanian wooden lodge ensconced in a boa of
forestry which targeted ads keep suggesting I visit.

It feels wrong to hanker after simplicity, not least when we’ve
endured three months of it, but to a millennial renter with an
uncertain future there’s something soothing about retreating into
the domestic sphere. Busy, rambunctious normality is on the
horizon; can we not?