• Anne-web
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    • HOUSE PROUD

      Claridge’s Deputy Head Housekeeper Anne Barnes won’t settle for anything less than perfection

      Pastures new

      As I leave Wimbledon Village behind and move to a new home in the English countryside, near Royston in Hertfordshire, housekeeping has taken on a special meaning for me. At Claridge’s, my team and I are there to ensure everything is perfect for our guests: every surface, every object, every single piece of linen, every arrangement and piece of furniture must be checked and rechecked to ensure a perfect space. In a profile in the Financial Times, I was quoted as saying, “I nag people,” but I like to think it’s in the way a mother watches over and supports her children. After all, somebody has to be the boss or nothing gets done!

      Bedtime story

      As well as general household management, cleaning, tidying, bed-making and laundry, we have our fair share of unusual requests. One family asked for a “bed” for their daughter’s teddy, perhaps an old shoebox with a little blanket. But I decided we had to do it in true Claridge’s style, and enlisted the in-house carpenter to fashion a bespoke wooden bed, the technical services team to wax and French-polish it, and the seamstress to run up a mini sheet, duvet and pillow set. The result was a very happy young lady and an enormous smile.

      Outside interests

      Basset Hounds have been a big part of my life, and I’ve spent a lot of time on Wimbledon Common over the years. I’ve accumulated an extensive collection of porcelain Bassets, in all shapes and sizes, which I’ll display in my new house in a custom glass case. I’m a big fan of the theatre too, and I enjoy nice restaurants and good food and wine – and sharing a jolly time with friends. I like to be out and about.

      She's done it

      I always have a book in my bag for the train journey into King’s Cross in the morning, and back to Royston in the evening. What I really love is a good crime novel, which helps me to switch off. I like to give my all when I’m on duty, but I wouldn’t be able to be sustain it without time to unwind. It all comes back to the idea of a job well done – which is, after all, what keeps me going.

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