Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Furnishing yer Huf Haus

Question: how do new light-house owners furnish their light-houses? Answer: they start by chucking out all their old furniture.

The same applies to Huf Haus owners. And wind-mills, now I think of it.

I have a feeling this post'll mean more to existing Huf Haus owners (for whom it'll strike at least a small chime of a chord) than to those of you who're researching a new build. But come back later when you're all moved in, and see if I was right.

One of the things we've found as we've become accustomed to our glass-walled, open plan Huf Haus, is that most of our existing furniture just doesn't work anymore. There are two very good reasons for this: Reason One and Reason Two.


Reason One.

Most furniture (especially ours) is designed to be pushed up against one of the three available interior walls of a comparatively small room (compared to a typically cavernous Huf Haus lounge, for example). Almost everything is designed and manufactured with that assumption: indeed the majority of furniture, even quite expensive stuff, isn't even painted at the rear.

Saves costs, right? And who's to see anyway?

Well, yer get a wake up when you move into your spanking new Huf Haus where you have little or no interior wall to shove yer sideboard against - it's all glass, innit. Maybe you have a dinky side unit that'd look just so against that big exterior window anyways? 'Cept for the bare wood and screws on the arse end that's there for the outside world to see. Or perhaps you want to place a particularly prized antique in prime position where your visitors (already blown away by yer Huf Haus) can admire your exquisite taste in Victorian cabinet-making - only the skilled artisan of yesteryear wasn't going to spend an extra month of sundays extending that veneer all the way around the back.

So yer need to start thinking about furniture that's nicely finished on every side. Literally, furniture you could look at from every side.

The good news is that dining tables and chairs, and coffee tables are better in this regard 'cos they're designed (or so you'd hope) to be placed away from walls from the off. But here's a list of furniture that very often ain't walk-around: side boards, side tables, drawer units, shelving units and TV and HiFi units. Oh, and almost all antiques. And non-grand pianos. Buggah, eh? And there's a lot of sofas that look, well, a bit crappy from behind.

So, Reason One is due to the fact that most furniture ain't walk-around. Ergo, you need walk-around furniture. Some of your furniture is already walk-around, which is great. But then we have Reason Two to consider.

Reason Two.

Most furniture (especially ours) might look great in some suburban semi, but maybe not quite as good in that great design icon wot is known to us as the Huf Haus. A Huf Haus is cool, fresh, classically modern. It's notable, nay, remarkable. It's a landmark design, that will make yer friends, family and neighbours just a little bit envious, and yer enemies openly seeth with green-eyed jealousy. So you can't be furnishing it courtesy of Ikea and Leather World, can yer? That'd be all fur coat and no knickers, design-wise. As James Bond would say, your cuffs and collars wouldn't match.

So, that's Reason Two: you've got yerself a design classic Huf Haus, so you'll be needing to shove in the design classic furniture to match.

So, we have two good reasons. Huf Haus furniture should be design classics, and walk-around design classics at that. Ahh, don't take me too seriously, but there's a valid point somewhere in all of this.

Conversation with Frau Capucho when we moved in:

Claudia - "We need a new sofa, don't you agree? Don't you?"

Me - "What? That cost a bloody fortune - and it looks... like new. Erm, the covers can be cleaned. Nah, we'll make it work. How about putting it... erm."

But it was true. Our sofa was a bloody fortune in Italian chic, about 3m long, Only we didn't have a 3m wall to put it against. Not in that house. And it looked a bit daft when we tried it as a walk-around sofa. Chic from the front, side, and, for all we know, from below, but dowdy from the back. It had to go... and did, sort of. It's still down in our Keller if someone wants to buy it.

And that was just the start of it.

Our dining table is a 2.5m behemoth that looked smart and stylish in our old pad, but looks a bit, erm, unadventurous in the Huf Haus. It's walk-around all right, but really lets the side down style-wise. We're keeping it for now (skint) but notice has been served. Our dining room chairs passed muster. Phew.

The ethnic-Indian wall cupboard that we used to keep our CDs in never had a chance. The back end of it was unvarnished, and indeed had some sort of writing daubed on it in what looked like magic marker. The importers, one supposes. We now have nowhere to keep our CDs. But then again, we don't have a hifi either - or more to the point, we haven't figured out (a) spots to put the hifi and speakers and (b) how we could hide the cables and (c) whether there's a hifi unit that doesn't look daft from the back.


We desperately need shelves and storage, but just about everything we've looked at won't work. Unpainted at the rear. Falls over unless screwed to a wall. Falls over, even then. Not cool enough. Decidedly uncool. Very cool, but useless for storage. We've had it up to here, really we have.

Soooooooo, here's the thing. We've turned our attention to a whole class of furniture that's not only walk-around, but also design classics comparable to the building they'll be going into. And as I've got to do a shed load of research on the furniture subject, I thought I'd write it all up for you lot. Well, the truth is that I've already done plenty of research, but it'd look daft if I started reeling it all off without some form of introduction; which is what this post is about.

Gives me something to write about, anyway.


Micki said...

Hi Ric

I'm now almost a fellow huf haus owner in the North of England! Our haus is up and the germans are presently preparing to lay the underfloor heating! Have you got any tips on light fittings and curtains/blinds!
If so I'd really appreciate it

Many thanks


Ps..Your home looks great!

Ric Capucho said...

Hi Micki,

I had a read through yer blog a couple of weeks ago. Nice to see the progress, and I love the black and white Huf Haus.

Regarding curtains: talk to my wife. Oh, okaaaaaay.

We have the drop-down outside electric shutters all around the downstairs as is the norm here in Switzerland. So curtains is more about interior decor than modesty.

We fitted bespoke venetian blinds on our neighbour side of the upstairs at a cost of about 2 thousand quid. Still working down the red light district to pay it off. Oh, and the downstairs has been curtained with this sort of stringy curtain stuff wot you take a pair of scissors to in order to cut it to the right length. Looks great.

Other than that, no opinions.

Regarding lights: standardise, standardise, standardise. We ended up with about 45 lights in the end (I remember a looooong post on the subject last year) which sounds insane until yer go around with a pen a paper and log 'em all. We paid about 50 quid a pop (yes, ouch) and I can still remember going into the Swiss equivalent of Habitat (shabby-tat) and asking for about 20 of a particular design. Still, made putting them up a lot easier, and I'm proud to say that I only got electrocuted once.

Lights for the stairs are trickier, 'cos they've got to be close to the wall if you don't want to bump into 'em.

Oh I don't now, have a look for that old post and see what guff I wrote back then.

Kind Regards,

Huf Haus Prices said...

I've been looking at prefab buildings and am considering buying a Huf Haus, so it's really useful seeing one take shape.