On visiting the house of a gardening friend for the first time, I was ooh-ing and aah-ing over the planting around the terrace. There was no grass, just tall, wavy flowers. Beyond the post and rail fence was an uninterrupted rural view—until I turned a corner. I stopped in my tracks because there, looking like a small tree in a very bad disguise, was a laundry umbrella-thing, conveniently placed by the kitchen door.
I couldn't believe it. So much for the view. But talking about the laundry tree later, I realized that people are generally "not bothered"—to coin a phrase—about something so trivial. There are a number of things that people accept in life because as far as they know, there is no alternative. But of course there are alternatives to be had, and even chores can follow form as well as function. And especially chores which have dangerous associations with "drudge." Allow us to offer some suggestions:
Above: A laundry airer made of wood and cable (plastic-coated for durability). I received one of these for a milestone birthday. Some present, you might think, but I can say with complete honesty that it is a pleasure to hang laundry on it, every single day of my life. We don't use a machine dryer. Photograph by Kendra Wilson.
Mine is French; an almost identical Mama Clothes Dryer, a German version, is £220 at The Conran Shop. The handy frame may find other uses, with a blanket thrown over it as a fort.
I've never understood why a mousetrap-like contraption is needed when the plainest of wood will do. Again, they have a secondary use as armless dolls.
For more of our favorite laundry solutions, see Steal This Look: Traditional English Laundry Room.