The Three Little Designers

Simon Ellis | October 31, 2018

Time to read: 5 mins

Once upon a time there were three little designers. They lived with their long-suffering mother in a neo-classical three storey townhouse rich with original features including parquet hallway and real plaster architrave, juxtaposed with dramatic contemporary touches and tastefully decorated throughout with meaningless art pieces. Their father wasn’t mentioned as is so often the case in fairy tales, so we don’t really know where he was.

One day at breakfast their mother insisted that they leave the family home and go ply their trade as designers in the big wide world. “I’m fed up with slipping on those bloody floating glass stairs,” she cried. “I want a bannister again!”

“No!” the designers cried. The table shook as three iPhone Xs were dropped in unison.

“Yes! You go out in the big wide world and see if you can find anyone else that wants a bathroom without anything covering the windows!”

“But they bring the outside in….” they cried again.

“Yes, and all the local pervs with it. And you know what? I HATE POLISHED CONCRETE FLOORS!” their mother pronounced with venom.

Well, at that, three triple venti, soy, no foam lattes went spewing across the rustic split oak breakfast table. The three little designers’ jaws hung slack in shock. Without another word they each grabbed their leather jackets, pulled on their Timberlands and headed for their Audis.

Looking up at the warm summer’s sky, the first little designer said, “I’m going to convert a beach hut and enjoy single room living with an ocean view.”

“I’m going to build a treehouse – they’re on trend right now,” the second replied.

“I’ve just got off the phone to Kevin McCloud,” the third boasted, while adjusting his titanium pince nez. “I’m going to build a small mansion with all mod cons. I’ll be in by Christmas and Grand Designs is going to watch every step of the way.”

“Dickheads.” Their mother muttered under her breath.

Months later and summer had given way to autumn, and autumn to winter. Storm Lupine was building over the sea and heading for the houses of the three little designers. It reached the beach upon which stood the first little designer’s frail-looking hut.

“Woooo-wooooo! Let me in little designer! Or I shall huff and whoosh and blow your house in!”


“Right, well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.” And with that, and surprisingly little effort, the storm blew over the beach hut.

“Little designer..?” The first little designer wasn’t there. After just three sleepless nights in his new place he’d developed severe sciatica and a distinct hatred for the smell of seaweed at low tide, and had fled to his brother’s house.

The Storm blew onward towards the woods where hung the tree house of the second little designer. The Storm paused briefly to admire the rough-hewn hand-carved staircase spiralling upwards around the trunk of an impressive Oak; to marvel at the hardwood mezzanine with its glass and stainless steel detailing; and to chuckle risibly at the small patch of dried blood on that awkward branch cutting through the kitchen area.

“Wooooo-woooooo! Let me in little designer! Or I shall huff and whoosh and blow your house in!”


“Right, er, well, don’t say I didn’t warn you!” cried the storm, albeit with less confidence this time.

And sure enough, the storm blew in the treehouse and, once again, there were no designers to be found within. “What the fu..?” The Storm muttered, whooshily.

You see, ahead of the Storm, the first designer had arrived in the woods, painfully unwound himself from his TT, and gingerly stepped to the carved staircase at the foot of the great Oak only to find a note from his brother, the second designer: “Have gone to hospital. Think I’ve got Lyme Disease.”


The Storm gathered itself once more, and set forth for the third designer’s modernist project, quietly hoping he might get the chance to blow away a TV production crew along with the house.

What he found was more architecturally challenging than he could ever have imagined – raw concrete block walls, thrusting iron poles, weathered wood flooring. And no roof or windows. “Hang on, this is a bloody building site,” he said, stormily.

At that point he noticed Kevin McCloud, a cameraman and a dejected looking designer emerging from a dilapidated caravan at the corner of the site. “What price ambition?” McCloud was saying to camera. “Arrogant in its scale, obtuse in grandeur and up to its gables in debt, this building site might stand as testament to the folly of…”

“Oh F… off McCloud.” The third designer interrupted, before decking the shaky-headed presenter with a wild right hook.

“My work here is done,” the Storm whispered, before whipping away to find some Yurts to topple.

“Christ, what in Jonny Ive’s name is this poison?” The second designer spat one morning, some weeks later. “This stuff is worse than they served in hospital!”

“I know, it looks like a muddy puddle. Although that shade of brown would work very nicely with a vibrant teal, perhaps Pantone 326, or 3265 if you were going to push the boat out…” the first designer offered.

“Oh spare me you ponces, it’s instant coffee. All we can afford since I had to bail your brother out.” The mother snapped back. “Talking of which, where is the little dandy?”

“Ahhhhhhh, ow! Ow! Argh! Oof! Ouch! Eurgh!” The third designer replied painfully from the hallway.

The mother braced herself against the rustic Oak breakfast table, her knuckles white with disdain. “Those fucking stairs…”