After running a successful Photography Gallery/Café business with her husband Jean Marc Carisse and as a media strategist prior to that, Patricia is bringing those business skills and connections to a long held passion of hers- Real Estate. Patricia has strong business management and negotiation talents, cultivated from her previous careers that are perfectly suited for Ottawa’s real estate industry. Professionalism and business acumen are more necessary than ever in the complex Ottawa real estate market. She has a renowned reputation for communication, of listening to her clients needs and a desire to provide quality service and advice.

We are delighted to have her as part of our team.

Julie Teskey and Stephanie Cartwright

Patricia Carisse                                                                                                            Real Estate Sales Representative w/TESKEY/CARTWRIGHT Team                        REMAX Hallmark Realty Group, Brokerage independently owned and operated      344 O’connor St. Ottawa, ON.                                                                      613.878.1757                                                                                                                      613.563.1155






Wonderful street of grand homes.


The handsome exterior is accented by the interlocking brick walkways and driveway that wrap around the house to the rear garden and to the expansive decking that has a remote controlled roll out custom awnings. The old world front porches add to the charm and summer enjoyment of the home.

You are welcomed by a beautiful foyer and elegant staircase that reflects the grandeur and size of this home.

French doors open to the main living spaces that run in tandem to each other providing for spacious family and entertaining areas. The music room is defined from the main rooms by a 3-sided gas fireplace and has a set of oversized French doors that open to the rear decking and garden.

A butler’s door opens off the formal dining room to the exceptionally well-planned kitchen that incorporates 2 work areas. Plentiful cupboards and counters are accented by granite while crown mouldings on the high ceilings add charm. Cleverly planned to allow for family cooking without being in each other way, the kitchen is ideal for hosting buffets and receptions.

The rear entrance foyer provides a laundry area with cupboards and a sink, while the powder room is privately located just off the kitchen down a hallway. The main floor is accented by 9.4 high ceilings, hardwood floors, stained glass transoms, beveled and leaded glass doors and elegant mouldings and trim.

The second floor provides for an office/bedroom that opens to a large front porch, another large bedroom with access to a nursery and a full bathroom with huge walk in linen closet. The other part of the second floor provides a stunning family room (has a glass paned door from hallway for privacy or sound) with a gas fireplace, wall of built in bookcases and tv area, and two walls of paned glass windows. There is a bedroom with 9.1 high ceilings with walk thru closets and a 4pc bathroom done in black and white “deco style” motif. Accented by 8.7 high ceilings, hardwood floors, Colonial doors and trim and large windows.

The third floor is a self-contained suite. Many uses such as a pure rental apartment (side exterior staircase easily added), the young adults floor while they attend university, rental for Air B & B, a workplace consultant office etc.….

It includes a large front room with treetop views, an eat in kitchen, a den /office/bedroom and a huge bedroom with two walk-in closets and a full ensuite bathroom (accessible by the hallway as well as ensuite). It is about 1,000 sq. ft. of skylight space warmed by wood floors and quality finishes.
The Lower Level with its over 7 ft. high ceilings, pot lights, deep windows and quality built in shelving is in keeping with the rest of the house. Bright, spacious and quality finishes.
This is ideal for fun family times or for the “man cave”. Watch the game, shoot some pool and just relax with family and friends. This floor has a private side entrance so could also be developed easily into another suite.


Fall in Love- Call of the Fall- ottawa

Taken from part of an article from Sept 23rd, 2017 in the Globe and Mail

I have noticed lately that Canada is being used more and more as a place to visit

In this article we are grouped with Aix-en-Provence, France, Zion National Park-Utah Kyoto, Japan and Buenos Aires . Some very fine company indeed!

As much as I loved the Mosaï Canada 150 horticultural exhibit across the Ottawa River from Parliament Hill, a nagging voice inside my head kept questioning my timing. “You picked July 2 to come here?” it asked incredulously. “What’s wrong with you?”

It had a point: Like much of the National Capital Region, Gatineau’s Jacques-Cartier Park was distractingly jammed with Canada Day revellers snapping selfies amid the 33 sculptures covered in more than 80 plant varieties. The enchanting walk-through was worth the wait in line – it cost nothing, after all – but that didn’t stop the voice from adding, “You should have come in the fall!”

Indeed, many popular destinations can be hot, hectic and hideously overpriced between late June and Labour Day. The fall, however, is another story: Crowds dissipate, temperatures moderate and prices drop on everything from hotels and tours to meals and flights. Combine this seasonal detente with new digs, dining options and diversions, and these five places are primed for crisper temperatures.

Good things may well come to those who have waited to celebrate the sesquicentennial in the country’s capital city. Along with the usual suspects – Parliament Hill tours, museum-hopping, Rideau Canal cruises and so on – most Canada 150-inspired happenings are still going strong. MosaïCanada, for instance, may become even more enchanting when its carex grasses turn from green to gold before the show ends on Oct. 15.

At the National Gallery, the 4,180- square-metre Canadian and Indigenous Galleries display nearly 800 paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs and decorative objects from across the country, while the Arctic Gallery at the Canadian Museum of Nature is home to more than 200 specimens and artifacts. Then there’s the Canadian Museum of History’s new Canadian History Hall, which is billed as “the largest and most comprehensive exhibition about Canadian history ever created.”

In fact, summer visitors arrived too early for two of the most compelling diversions. Starting in early October, when the fall colours of nearby Gatineau Park are typically at their peak, the Ottawa River’s Chaudière Falls will be adorned with ambient lighting and sound effects that aim to evoke the region’s Algonquin heritage. Then, on Nov. 17, the Canada Science and Technology Museum will mark its 50th anniversary by reopening after $80.5-million in repairs and upgrades.

Eat: If summer weather lingers, Ola Cocina’s street-corner patio is ideal for dining on hand-pressed tortilla-wrapped duck confit and delicate dulce de leche-dippedchurros.

Stay: Ottawa’s hotel scene was not immune to the Canada 150 effect, with downtown’s stylish and inexpensive Alt Hotel opening last year, and the upscale Andaz Ottawa Byward Market doing likewise in its namesake ‘hood.

Tip: Free tickets for daily guided tours of the Centre Block are available across from Parliament Hill at 90 Wellington St. Visitors can choose to take the elevator up the Peace Tower to see the Memorial Chamber on their own, but they still require a ticket to do so.



DONT FORGET THIS SUNDAYS GRAND PARADE    for all the week long events

Pride Parade

This year’s most colourful and high-profile annual event promises to be even bigger, better and more inclusive than ever!

More than a hundred businesses, service organizations and allied community groups will set out from Gladstone and Bank and march through this village, showing just how colourful they can be! Line the streets and show your pride! After, be sure to join us at the Community Fair!




The Essentials
  • Address: 139 Christie St. on the cusp of Seaton Village and Christie pitts
  • lot 17.17 x 130
  • Listing price: $499,000
  • Time on the market: 6 days
  • Selling price: $988,018

This small, worn-out bungalow right near Christie Pits just sold for almost exactly double the asking price. Listed on the market at $499,000, it was snatched up for $988,018 just six days later. On paper that sounds nuts, but given property values in the area, this one was clearly priced to sell quickly.


69 Muriel – Toronto  Greektown

Ask $679,900.00

Sell: $1,050,000.

Lot   20 x 78 ft

It’s a sign of what little $1-million now buys in Toronto’s soaring housing market – a tear-down home on a skinny lot fetching a premium price in a neighbourhood known for its blue-collar roots.

Last week, the detached bungalow with an asking price of $679,900 in the Greektown neighbourhood on Toronto’s east side attracted a bidding war.

This tiny Toronto house sold for $370,000 over asking (The Globe and Mail)

The front yards in the area, near the major intersection of Danforth Avenue and Pape Avenue, are often taken up by parking pads barely large enough to hold a car. Some properties have a small patch of grass that residents on the Prairies would scoff at for being a poor excuse for a lawn.

A million-dollar property is far from luxury in Toronto.

The sellers of 69 Muriel Ave. have owned their home for a half-century. They listed their property on Jan. 23, and began accepting offers on Feb. 1. “Attention builders, contractors, renovators and envisioners,” the listing blared. “Don’t miss out on this chance to build a fabulous new home.” For good measure, the feature sheet added: “With front pad parking!”

On Feb. 2, after only 10 days on the market, the bungalow built in 1912 sold for an astonishing $1,050,000.

In 1966, the owners paid $10,000 for their modest abode. Adjusted for inflation, it works out to roughly $73,000 today.

The residence had an assessed value of $443,000 on Jan. 1, 2012, and $645,000 on Jan. 1, 2016, according to Municipal Property Assessment Corp.

Multiple bidders competed for the tear-down on a tiny lot measuring 20 feet wide by 78 feet deep. The winning bid emerged 54 per cent above the list price and caught industry observers by surprise – $370,100 higher than the asking price.

partly taken from the Globe and Mail business section.


Thinking of a move!

shutterstock_123553564 (2)

As a home owner it is always after a snow storm I ask myself  why I would be here in the winter! Why do I live in a home with rooms I visit occasionally! I also always seem to find that in the winter months that there appears to be so much more junk in my home. Where does it all come from! Winter blues? Maybe!  However, as part of the baby boom generation I spend a lot of time with clients of my generation and most at some point ask themselves the same questions . Sitting on large homes that are usually your largest tax free asset may not make sense.

Ottawa’s housing market has been on a terrific run, helped by low interest rates, low supply of good homes l have pushed up home values.  This may be a good time as any for the downsizing baby boomers to  look to add to their nest egg by cashing out on the real estate market. Financial advisers say the decision to sell the family home isn’t one that can be rushed and requires careful planning before you list your home for sale

As experienced real estate agents we can certainly do that . In some cases planning can take months , others mere weeks but hiring an agent who is skilled at helping you through the process of getting a home ready is hugely important not only in obtaining the price you desire but in the minimalizing the stress sometimes around getting a home ready for sale. We focus in on the important items and provide guidance.


Last year I wrote a series of articles about some of the aspects of getting your home ready for sale

Here are the links



Below are the average sale prices in Ottawa since 1969 It has been an amazing run – some years better than others but a steady good news story for most  home owners. An 18 year run of increase prices sometimes in the double digits.

Last year 2015 saw another 1.7 increase in the average sale to bring the average house sale price in Ottawa to $367,632. 00

Of course many of the core areas are more in demand than the suburbs and the average  prices are much, much higher. Regardless a property needs to be priced correctly for what the market will bear and there are times in the last few years that the market has turned sluggish for sometimes 6 months. So that planning and keeping up to date on the market is an  important aspect for  the sale of your home.

1969 $25,652 10.0
1970 $26,532 3.4
1971 $27,808 4.8
1972 $30,576 10.0
1973 $38,305 25.3
1974 $46,661 21.8
1975 $49,633 6.4
1976 $54,623 10.1
1977 $57,032 4.4
1978 $59,134 3.7
1979 $61,896 4.7
1980 $62,748 1.4
1981 $64,896 3.4
1982 $71,080 9.5
1983 $86,245 21.3
1984 $102,084 18.4
1985 $107,306 5.1
1986 $111,643 4.0
1987 $119,612 7.1
1988 $128,434 7.4
1989 $137,455 7.0
1990 $141,438 2.9
1991 $143,361 1.4
1992  $143,868 0.4
1993 $148,129 3.0
1994 $147,543 -0.4
1995 $143,193 -2.9
1996 $140,534 -1.9
1997 $143,873 2.4
1998 $143,953 0.1
1999 $149,650 4.0
2000 $159,511 6.6
2001 $175,971 10.3
2002 $200,711 14.1
2003 $218,692 9.0
2004 $235,678 7.8
2005 $244,532 3.8
2006 $255,889 4.7
2007 $272,618 6.4
2008 $290,366 6.6
2009 $303,888 4.9
2010 $327,225 7.7
2011 $343,284 4.9
2012 $351,792 2.3
2013 $357,348 1.6
2014 $361,707 1.2

Enjoy your dreams.









IN THE NEWS-City’s attempt to head off rezoning fights in Centretown fails

 for post

The proposal for this pair of 27-storey condo towers for Centretown is at the centre of a legal battle about whether height limits can be included in community design plans. Mastercraft Starwood 

The city is stuck with a ruling that strict maximum heights for buildings can’t be locked into the plan for Centretown, a Superior Court judge has ruled.

With its plan for the downtown district, the City of Ottawa tried to get a little bit cute. Usually, how tall a building can be is written into the city’s zoning code, which is relatively easy to change. When the city updated its plan a couple of years ago for Centretown, the neighbourhood that’s seen the most battles over tall buildings lately, it tried to set maximum heights in Centretown’s “community design plan,” a broader and more powerful thing that’s more difficult to tweak.

Most fights over proposals for tall buildings come about when property owners say a community design plan seems to allow taller construction than some obsolete zoning bylaw. Locking buildings heights, in storeys and metres, into Centretown’s plan was supposed to forestall those fights and, thanks to a quirk of Ontario’s planning law, make the city some money off developers when their rezoning applications are successful.

No can do, ruled the Ontario Municipal Board, which can and does overturn city council decisions. Community design plans aren’t meant to be that specific, the board said. It’s one thing to set ranges or define what you mean by a low-rise or a high-rise building, but if you want maximum heights set for each piece of land in downtown Ottawa, you put them in the zoning.

That decision could in theory be overruled by a court. But there’s no legal question with the board’s decision that’s worth a court’s time, Justice Marc Labrosse decided after hearing the outline of the city’s challenge from city lawyer Tim Marc.

Labrosse denied the city “leave to appeal” — the opportunity to have the case heard in full before a panel of appeal judges.

The OMB gets its authority from provincial laws and it should only be overruled when it’s made an unreasonable decision, Labrosse wrote. “This (decision) was within the board’s jurisdiction and the reasonableness (or correctness) of the board’s decision is not open to serious debate,” the judge said.

Its adjudicator, Richard Makuch, considered all the evidence and did his job, Labrosse wrote. Marc had complained that Makuch didn’t give the city’s experts their due, but although Makuch didn’t wrestle deeply with the arguments they made when he wrote his own ruling, the judge found he clearly had heard them, and there’s no sign that Makuch misunderstood what they were saying.

If there’s a saving grace for the city — and others in Ontario that might want to copy Ottawa — Labrosse said the municipal board’s ruling isn’t total and sweeping. “The board’s decision is specific to these circumstances and not a broader statement of the law that relates to official plans,” he wrote.

But still, the city lost, which means its attempt to head off future tall-building fights is scotched and it has to pay the corporation that owns the building and parking lot at 267 O’Connor St., which wants to redevelop the property and won this court battle along the way, $9,000 in compensation for the court time.


Dear Mr. Trudeau Jr.

On Saturdays I get the British Financial Times and this article I thought was well worth sharing.
Written by Tyler Brule for a column called The Fast lane.
Disheartened Canadians around the globe are feeling optimistic, if a tad cautious, about our new leader
My mother country (that would be Canada) just elected a new prime minister, and there’s been much media chatter about his youth, his boxing skills, his tattoo. I haven’t been a fan of my nation’s Harper regime nor the Martin government before that, so I’m hopeful that Justin Trudeau can put his experience as the son of former PM Pierre Trudeau to good use and behave like a proper statesman.As I flew around Asia this week and encountered various expat Canadians (most of them generally disheartened by the nation’s diminished status), the mood was generally optimistic — if a tad cautious — about the change of leadership. Here’s a welcome letter with a few ideas of my own.

Dear Mr. Trudeau,

Congratulations on your victory. We’ve never met, yet I feel like I’ve grown up with you, as we’re roughly the same age and we’ve spent considerable time in the same cities. You’ll have no shortage of constituents mailing you their thoughts or of advisers developing strategies for Canada’s comeback but I thought you might like your fellow countrymen’s view from various vantage points across the globe. As you’re busy with cabinet appointments and redecorating your former home on Sussex Drive (the PM’s official residence), I’ll keep it snappy.

1. Surround yourself with great people, and bring some private-sector appointments into parliament. The Singaporean concept of bringing in non-elected execs is worth copying.

2. Appearances are everything. So ditch the silly SUV and the affiliated trappings of the Harper government (you’re not a drug kingpin) and the ridiculous jet with the holiday-charter paint job. Buy a Canadian-made aircraft for long jaunts (I’ll design the livery for you) and go for wheels that are more elegant and low-slung rather than boxy and menacing.

3. Put some dignity back into being a diplomat by giving your frontline ambassadors the residences and chanceries the nation deserves. Please sack anyone who thought it was a good idea to get rid of the real estate that was offloaded in Rome.

4. Infrastructure spending. It’s good that you’re so big on this — be bold and build a high-speed rail link between Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.

5. Well done on committing to defence spending but make sure you buy wisely. You’re right to consider cancelling the F-35 fighters. I think you should put the savings towards two midsize aircraft carriers so that Canada can do proper deployments for humanitarian missions as well as in hostile environments.

6. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation needs investment and love. Canada needs a voice on the world stage and the state broadcaster is the best tool to fulfil the task. More money for newsgathering, more correspondents and a dedicated global channel would be a good start. The latter could also pull programming from private broadcasters.

7. Our capital city needs a vision and a plan. Make it a model city rather than a mediocre one.

8. Get young Canadians out on the road for sustained periods. Sadly, our younger countrymen increasingly see a jaunt to Las Vegas as foreign travel and Europe is “done” in two weeks after graduation. The Kiwis and Aussies build strong, international business networks because they travel for years rather than weeks. What about a fund for high-school graduates to get out there and learn languages?

9. Spend more time looking east — across the Atlantic. Our former governor-general was ahead of her time when she did her much-criticised transpolar jaunt many years back. Leaders in the Nordic countries say Canada’s been ignoring them and, given the shared social values and chilly climates, we should build strong relationships stretching from Reykjavik to Helsinki.

10. Look west but don’t focus only on Beijing: Manila needs some love, too. Ditto Bangkok and Tokyo.

I do hope we can clink glasses at some point. Good luck with the transition and don’t let all the comments about your voluminous locks get to you. They’re just jealous.

Tyler Brûlé is editor-in-chief of Monocle magazine;

Joe Cummings illustration: Justin Trudeau


The business point of view (by some) of Lansdowne.

Found this in the Globe and Mail business section this morning – would love to know how the rest of the Glebe business community is doing.

Lansdowne has new game

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015-

A new football stadium for the CFL’s RedBlacks gave this Ottawa neighbourhood a rallying point in its reformation. High-end retail, restaurants, bars and a condo hope to complete the comeback

Special to The Globe and Mail

OTTAWA — Walking through Lansdowne Park on a crisp fall afternoon, you’d never know that in the years leading up to its recent $200-million renovation it used to be merely a slab of asphalt with a football stadium with one side that was crumbling.

Now, after an aggressive revitalization project that opened in November of 2014, Lansdowne is a hotbed for businesses and restaurants that drew 1.5 million visitors in its first year, according to numbers provided by the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), one of the key stakeholders of the project.

“People have had a very positive impression of the new stadium [Lansdowne is home to the North American Soccer League’s Ottawa Fury and the Canadian Football League’s playoff-bound Ottawa RedBlacks] and the retail and restaurant components,” explains Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. “People keep coming back and experiencing something new.”

Originally developed as municipal fairgrounds in the 1860s, Lansdowne Park – a stretch of land on Bank Street adjacent to the Rideau Canal, about three kilometres from Parliament Hill – has gone through many iterations.

It was the home of the Ottawa SuperEx until 2010; bands such as U2, the Rolling Stones and David Bowie have performed on its grounds. It has also been the home of three CFL franchises – the aforementioned RedBlacks, the ill-fated Renegades (2001-05), and the Rough Riders (18761996).

When a proposal was brought to the table in the mid-2000s to revitalize Lansdowne Park once and for all, there were many skeptics. But the formal launch of the new Lansdowne in June of this year – as part of the Women’s World Cup of soccer – was met with much fanfare.

Mr. Watson says even those who were vehemently opposed to the project initially “have told me it’s turned out a lot better than they have anticipated.”

Lansdowne resides in a well-established neighbourhood in Ottawa called the Glebe, where the average income of its residents is higher-than-average.

According to an Ottawa Neighbourhood Study, the percentage of Glebe residents whose pretax annual income is greater than $125,000 is 7 per cent higher than Ottawa’s average.

That can help explain why such shops as Whole Foods and Sporting Life, long known for their well-to-do clientele, have decided to make Lansdowne home.

“I think with sophisticated retailers who operate all across North America, when they see a site with unique tendencies like this, they recognize they can be successful,” says Bernie Ashe, the chief executive officer of OSEG.

“Lansdowne will be an entertainment energy zone. It mixes public space, heritage buildings, sports stadiums, condos and restaurants.

“It’s just a cool place,” he continues.

And, Mr. Watson agrees.

The Mayor is in his second stint at the helm of Canada’s capital (he was also the Mayor from 1997 through 2000 before representing Ottawa WestNepean for the Ontario Liberal government from 2003 through 2010), and knows the new Lansdowne is something special.

“It’s really just a great place,” he says. “Before it was just acres of asphalt. Now, the lawn at the back [facing the Rideau Canal] is as big as the front lawn on Parliament Hill.”

But David Chernushenko, the city councillor for the ward where Lansdowne is located, told CBC Ottawa that it was too early to tell if the redevelopment has been a success. The city is expected to get the money it invested back over the next 40 years, but according to Mr. Chernushenko, it could be more than a decade before that starts coming in.

That said, some feel this past year has been just the tip of the iceberg for what Lansdowne can offer Ottawa’s residents and visitors.

“The area has gone through a major transformation,” explains Andrew Peck, the executive director of the Glebe Business Improvement Association (BIA).

“There’s an element of weariness having gone through so much change, but the reality is, everyone sees a light at the end of the tunnel and we’re at that light.”

The various amenities are what make tenants of Lansdowne Park so keen to be there, according to Jamie Boyce, the associate vicepresident of CBRE Canada’s Ottawa office.

Mr. Boyce and CBRE are leasing office spaces at Lansdowne, and he says there are already a number of tenants such as a private high school, a new technology company, a dentist and Football Canada.

“From an employee attraction and retention perspective, it’s a landmark location for the city.

Groups that I’ve been dealing with recognize the benefits of all the amenities on site and the open space and vibrancy,” he explains.

The lease rates are comparable to any new construction anywhere in the city. The buildings are attractive because taxes and costs at Lansdowne are twothirds that of those in downtown Ottawa, according to Mr. Boyce.

A full 95 per cent of the retail areas – managed by Trinity Developments – are now leased.

There is one more restaurant set to open in 2016 – the Craft Beer Market, a unique bistro chain from Western Canada – and the 300-unit condominium building on site, managed by Minto Group, will be ready next year.

Each retailer has a lease with Lansdowne Retail LP, and OSEG contracts Trinity to be the builder and site manager for each retail location, according to Mr. Ashe. Trinity is under contract from OSEG to collect rent and service and manage the buildings occupied by tenants of Lansdowne.

As the offices, condominiums and retail locations get filled through early 2016, the Lansdowne of the past won’t be forgotten – there is a collection of historical buildings still on site – but the Lansdowne of the future is now.

“Ottawa is a world-class capital in the best country on earth, and businesses see the city coming in to its own,” says Mr. Peck of the Glebe BIA. “The neighbourhood is stronger for [Lansdowne].

There’s more to do, there’s something for everybody.”



FT columnists Lucy Kellaway and David Tang correspond after visiting each other’s homes
Dear Sir David

It was great to meet you this morning and thank you both for visiting me in Islington and showing me all three of your splendid London homes — in Chelsea, Piccadilly and Hyde Park. I expect you noticed that I am an exceedingly nosy person, so you can imagine what a kick I got out of seeing your priceless furniture and paintings, inspecting your bookcases and — this was the bit I liked best of all — rifling through your cupboards and drawers.Yet I hope you won’t be hurt if I tell you how relieved I was to get back to my own empty kitchen afterwards. I made myself a cup of tea, closed my eyes and sat quietly trying to collect myself before writing to you.

Lucy Kellaway in the kitchen of her home in London©Victoria Birkinshaw

Lucy Kellaway in the kitchen of her home in London

In advance I had been warned that your approach to interior design was maximalist, but nothing had prepared me for the sheer volume of stuff you own. Your wife, who is a devotee of yoga, tells me that there is not enough floor in any of your houses on which to unroll a yoga mat. Sometimes she pushes the table to one side in the dining room in Chelsea, but even then there are chairs, enormous chandeliers, sideboards, occasional tables, paintings in bubble wrap leaning on the walls, seven hats, half a dozen Chinese clocks and a lot of electric cable. And it’s the sparsest room in the house.

I gathered from our conversation that you have five further houses — two in Hong Kong, two in Beijing and one in New York — and that a similar approach to stuff is evident in all of them. In addition, you have three warehouses to store additional belongings (two of which you have kept secret from your wife). Far from getting rid of things, you tell me you adore shopping and are adding to the pile. While your driver was taking us from one house to another, I overheard you saying you’ve just ordered another 12 shirts. What is it all about?

I know the question of clutter is partly a matter of personality. But wouldn’t life be simpler if you got rid of some of it? And not just simpler, wouldn’t you be able to appreciate the beauty of some of the things you owned, if there wasn’t so much of it?

As I explained to you earlier this morning when you inspected my house in London, I am a recent disciple of Marie Kondo, the Japanese tidying guru. Last autumn I read her declutter manifesto, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, and since then I have applied her simple test to everything I own. I have sifted through all my belongings, asking of each item: does this give me joy? If not, I carted it off to the dump. As not much of what I owned gave me joy, my house is now almost empty, which does give me joy, in a surprisingly large quantity.

What, I wonder after my visits this morning, would happen if you gave your stuff the Kondo treatment? Would you end up chucking it all, too? Or does all of it really give you joy?

That’s all for now. I’ve been direct with you, and I hope you’ll return the favour. Tell me honestly — what did you think of my house? I really want to know. Please reply quickly


. . .

My dear Lucy

David Tang in the office/study of his Chelsea home©Victoria Birkinshaw

David Tang in the office/study of his Chelsea home

First, I only have three more homes, not five: two in Hong Kong and one in Beijing. And none in Noo Yawk.

But thank you for showing me your one home, whose manicured tidiness offered, I admit, a sense of calmness but also a feeling of tedium. There was no immediate excitement and few surprises, except for the oversized Victorian sideboard in your hallway, which immediately jarred with a lot of your G Plan-ish furniture.

The most important point about my visit was that it confirmed to me your embrace of Kondo for her dubious principle of joy through decluttering. Doesn’t that make you a slave to possessions when possessions should be our slaves?

Also, as a Chinese, I have never really trusted the Japanese. For a start, the world’s most cluttered department store, with far more stock keeping units than any other in the world, is of course Tokyu Hands. I love that store in Tokyo and spend hours rummaging through its vast range of goods. What would Kondo say about this quintessentially Japanese institution? She certainly wouldn’t be engaged as a merchandiser there. Imagine the horror of a total depletion of choices!

When my wife suggested to me the possibility of being “Kondonised”, I immediately resisted because I adore being surrounded by masses of stuff, so that I don’t have to be bored by looking at empty walls or pieces of furniture with nothing on or in them. Just think of the anticlimax of opening a large drawer only to find, as I did in your set of drawers next to your bed, just a few rolled up bundles of your husband’s monochromatic underpants — and a half empty drawer. If you opened mine, it would offer you a whole range of socks: from thick to thin, from long to short, from wool to cotton, from black to white, from yellow to blue, from plain to patterned. It’s like Aladdin’s cave and who wouldn’t want to stumble into Aladdin’s cave?

No, I don’t need tidying up. Beethoven never did. Nor Brahms nor Einstein. They all lived among piles of stuff. If such maximal environments were good enough for them then they’re good enough for me. Stuff the Kondo, I say.

Masses of love

Sir David Anthony Prise
Wing-Cheung Tang, KBE, OBE, Chevalier l’Ordre des 
Arts et des Lettres, DSc, BA

. . .

Dear Sir David

Lucy Kellaway’s trousers rolled up in a bedroom drawer©Victoria Birkinshaw

Kellaway’s trousers rolled up in a bedroom drawer

So sorry to have slightly overestimated the size of your property portfolio. In return, may I correct a couple of minor misapprehensions you have about my house? First, what you saw in the drawer were not my husband’s underpants but my trousers. Second, it’s Ercol, not G-plan. And, finally, my mother would have been most distressed to have her aunt’s 18th-century oak dresser described as an oversized Victorian sideboard. The reason it survived my recent cull was because it gave my mum joy. Kondo would not approve of such sentimentality, but I’m not such a slavish disciple that I have to follow her in everything.

I note you enlist Beethoven in your defence. Granted, he wrote some fine music without being a neat freak; but equally he didn’t spend his life wasting time shuttling between half a dozen different homes, and I very much doubt if he started each day dithering over a vast choice of socks.

Lucy Kellaway’s 18th-century oak dresser©Victoria Birkinshaw

Kellaway’s 18th-century oak dresser

You are evidently pleased with your sock collection, but your drawer was so full it was difficult to open; I bet there are 100 pairs at the bottom that you haven’t seen in decades. My objection to all this isn’t waste, it’s inefficiency. You told me that you recently bought a new suit and then promptly lost it. It took your wife and staff three days to search among the 100-plus you already own before it turned up. Isn’t that evidence enough?

And mentioning your wife again brings me to a final point. Your way of living imposes a cost on your family — and on your staff. When I asked your housekeeper if you should have less, she rolled her eyes in agreement. Perhaps in the end you and I are similar — both being selfish in imposing respectively extreme disorder and extreme order on those who live with us.

Should we both mellow a touch in their interests?


. . .

My dear Lucy

David Tang’s untidy sock drawer©Victoria Birkinshaw

Tang’s untidy sock drawer

So you wear the trousers. Nevertheless, since you snitched on me by telling my wife in a FaceTime conversation about my two hidden warehouses, perhaps I should, for the benefit of your husband, reciprocate your underhand move by exposing your confession to me that, when he is at work, you regularly select various possessions of his and secretly dispose of them.

I suppose I must take your word for it that your oak old dresser is 18th century, although it doesn’t detract from the fact that it is too rustic and bulky in your hallway. Even by your own admission, it deserves culling under the Kondo principle which does not allow for “transferred joy”, which you impute to your mother. It’s no good preaching the Kondo creed if you conveniently ignore it when it suits you. And there lies your Achilles heel: that your life should be shaped by an arbitrary evaluation against which you end up cheating.

As opposed to such a slippery slope, we keepers of possessions are free from any fetters — we have no urgency to get rid of anything at any time. We stand fast on what we choose to keep and have no compunction to act as hoarders. I call it lazy freewill which is a real luxury. If the price of this is to have a drawer jammed full of socks which might never see the light of day then I draw comfort from the fact that our ocean floors are buried with immense biodiversity of which we know nothing.

Furthermore, we love the serendipities and sense of frisson arising from the sudden discovery of things we had long forgotten. These are sensations you miss out on because you have thrown away most of your things and will never suddenly come across them again, and if you do remember any of them, you can only wallow in nostalgia and regret.

David Tang’s books and suits packed into a wardrobe©Victoria Birkinshaw

Tang’s books and suits packed into a wardrobe

You are mistaken that I live an inefficient life. As I buy almost everything in multiples, I have everything I need at each of my abodes. Hence, I hardly ever have to pack when I travel between Beijing and Hong Kong and London. I get on the aeroplane simply with my shoulder bag and luxuriate in the knowledge that I have everything I need at the other end. Ergo, I live a very efficient life involving lots of travel.

And you need not shed any sympathy for those working around me. They know they are not expected to do any real tidying up, especially with my books, pictures or clothes that happily remain piled up or stuffed up until further notice, which is usually a long time. Therefore, they only attend to surface cleaning, whose spring never seems to come. This laissez-faire attitude lightens their workload and I should be credited for being considerate.

So please, as your new best friend, even if we disagree on the stuff of life, I beg you not to slide down that inexorable path of gradual elimination. It’s a dangerous tendency to “tidy things up”, when that job should only be properly handled by the henchmen of the Yakuza.

Masses of love

Sir David Anthony Prise
Wing-Cheung Tang, KBE, OBE, Chevalier l’Ordre des 
Arts et des Lettres, DSc, BA

Photographs: Victoria Birkinshaw

. . .