miércoles, 1 de abril de 2015

Talking point: Houses

In this week's talking point we are going to discuss the topic of houses. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below so that you can work our vocabulary problems beforehand and ideas flow easily when you meet up with your friends.

Which of the features below do you have where you live?
a courtyard
a swimming pool
individual central heating
air conditioning
a garden
a balcony
a terrace
a garage
an open fire
a cellar
a tiled floor
parquet flooring
a basement
a store room outside the flat/house
  • Do you think you have enough space to live comfortably?
  • Are your rooms light enough?
  • Is your house/flat conveniently located?
  • Does your house/flat need some kind of renovation?
  • Do you think your accommodation is affordable?
  • What services and facilities are within walking distance from where you live?
  • How often have you moved house in your life? Why?
  • Have you ever done any work on your place? What?
  • Have you ever shared a flat/house? What was the experience like?
  • Have you ever shared a room?  What was the experience like?
  • What's the best room where you live? What makes it the best? And the worst? Why?
  • What's the housing situation in your country like? How difficult/easy is it for people to have access to property?
  • How much do house prices vary in your city or town? Why?
  • Do you own a second home? Where? If not, would you like to?
  • Are you happy with the area where you live? Consider factors like traffic, parking spaces, crime, how well preserved the area is, green areas, services and facilities, cleanliness, night life, shops
To illustrate the point, watch this Euromaxx video on the While Villa in Rejkjavik, the most beautiful house in the city.

Some say the old white villa near the heart of Rejkjavik is the most beautiful home in the city, if not in all of Iceland, but the lady of the house isn’t one to boast.
Hi, welcome, I’m Olga, please come inside there is a crazy weather please.
I’ve been living here for one year. I’d just moved back to Iceland. I’d been living abroad in Holland for nine years and this is an old house, since 1928 and please come and take a look.
Right away it’s apparent that the owner of the house likes crocheting and chairs. Olga Hrafnsdottir is a designer. At the moment her crocheted upholstery is very popular. It’s made with domesticly produced fabric.
I love the Icelandic wool. It’s warm and beautiful, strong and now I make these cords, there’s a fabric in Iceland that makes this for us. I like the structure and you can take if off and you can wash it. We mainly do something we need and I always need chairs.
Olga Hrafnsdottir is obsessed by chairs. She’s been collecting designer pieces for years and her collection just keeps growing. No two are alike.
I love chairs. I have in the cellar like 15 chairs, yeah, I know, it’s crazy, it’s like a disease, I have a chair and shoe disease.
The family brought much of the furniture like the big dining table with them from their last home in Armsterdam.
The man who made this table he is Peter Naik and he also made many of the chairs and I love, I just love his work and he made, he makes from old wood which he, you can have it in all colour combinations and I wanted something for this room and for my family and, you know, free cut, so everybody can sit and I can see everybody, my children, and it’s like an Italian family, so it’s nice.
The family dog feels right at home here among the cushions. The cosy kitchen is also awash with colours and patterns.
I love colours. I need to have colours in my life, and these, I bought these tiles in Holland they are like handmade from Morocco and Portugal and, yeah, this wall is totally me. It reminds me... do you remember these old telescopes when we were children, you could turn them and then they turned... This reminds me.
Upstairs Olga Hrafnsdottir has more collections of household furnishings. In the bathroom it’s mirrors.
I just bought them one by one in a flea market in Holland and they have different shapes and maybe I’m just handy in advance. I have three girls everybody can have their separate mirror. Nobody argues in the morning.
Her three daughters are still small. Olga Hrafnsdottir also designed their rooms herself.
If your room is nice and happy I think it makes you happy as well, so colours and happiness.
And there’s certainly no shortage of colour and happiness inside the white villa of Rejkjavik.