Elena Bowes

New York-London design & culture writer of a certain vintage looking for meaning and wholeness in life

A Woman Obsessed

May 20th, 2019

Stretch and I are renovating an apartment in Manhattan that began life as a squash court. If only we were squash players we could have just moved in with our racquets.  I am also redecorating a small flat in London, my home away from home. All this is to say that I have become a woman obsessed.

I start and end my day on Instagram scrolling, taking screen shots, emailing my latest finds to my designer, children and Stretch. Often I get no replies or at least not as quickly as I would like. ie THIS IS URGENT- DO YOU LIKE THIS CHAIR???

Sometimes they surprise me and do respond quickly, ie for the above:


Who needs to read about China and  Iran, when you can look at the latest in chandeliers and bookcases? It’s just a different kind of news.

Before I brush my teeth in the morning, I check to see what my new ‘friends’  are up to.

What’s Remy Renzullio posting? Ahh, rocking the rattan…

Where could this Voutsa wallpaper work (minus dog)?

Can I copy Connolly’s King’s Yellow?

Oh, what a glorious shade of pink!

I am starting to write about design too.  I can’t tell whether that’s a good or a bad thing. I know a lot more. And I want a lot more.  I recently  co-wrote an article for AD with fellow design junkie Anne Hardy

Here she is working the Kyle Minogue look- design addicts are famous for going off piste.

And here’s our story –

the Insider’s Guide to London with a spotlight on design. You can never have too many chandeliers. Talk about a subject dear to my newly obsessed heart. I would have done it for free- which I basically did. Lol

When I visit people’s houses/apartments, I often ask to use the bathroom. Then I sneak off and take an ‘inspiration snap’. Again, my designer, children and Stretch are likely to get random photos from me 24/7 when I spot something I like.

A cool pink resin table? How did I not think of that?!

I sometimes write articles for regional magazine Connecticut Cottages & Gardens – basically looking at strangers’ pretty houses, a legitimate form of snooping. In one interview I fall in love with a woman’s jewel box of a house on Belle Island off Rowayton Ct. Sigh. I can so easily see myself in her big fluffy bed, waking up to views of  Long Island Sound. She tells me how she feels like she’s on a permanent vacation. I nod. That’s so what I need in my life right now.

Sometimes, she adds, she gets up in the morning and goes kayaking. I forget that I am meant to be interviewing this woman. Instead, I picture myself – maybe about ten years ago when I was more carefree and going outside didn’t involve 100 degree sun block, a huge floppy hat and a Sunbrella kaftan – anyway, I am  carefree and kayaking off into the horizon with suntanned, toned arms.  This house is so me.

Stretch called me the other day and found me in a state of bliss.

I have spotted the most gorgeous piece of material at Guy Goodfellow’s.  I’m going to make it into a throw and hang it on our living room sofa. Excuse me Miss, does this come in a wallpaper? God, this is great.

Stretch is a patient man. He must be hoping that when these projects are finished, I will return to the person he once knew- a person who read the newspaper, novels, had opinions about what was going on in the world beyond the current craze for all things rattan.

Maybe I’ll look for my local Interiors Anonymous group. Imagine all the other design addicts I will meet.  I promise we will NOT talk about the latest in chandeliers and bookcases.


May 2019