On the one hand, imagine a house full of friends: redecorated and occasionally remodelled or even extended as the generations roll by. Refreshed and adapted to suit the current crowd with one eye on the valued history of their home and another on the needs of the future.
On the other hand, imagine coming home to a TV set created in 48 hours by a shrieking harridan who will not only never come back again, doesn't drink beer (and consequently has no idea what makes a decent drinking haunt) and adores painting ancient wood panelling a revolting purple.
This is about as welcome as sticking fake boobs on the Mona Lisa or a hi-rise spoiler on an E-Type or offering a bottle of MSG to Gordon Ramsay. Just don't do it, please. It's not right and it's not clever.
There are so many bad makeovers, we don't have time to visit or document them all. But here is one example - which just happens to have been perpetrated by the company which once had the proudest name in British Brewing and also the first ever legal trademark in the world. Now, they have neither - so it is scarcely surprising that they don't care about their pubs either.
The Royal Stag in Datchet
This pub used to be a perfectly good village local. It's owned by a village charitable trust and leased to a pubco. A few years ago, they turned this into a suburban wine-bar. The quality of the beer is, actually, OK. But why on earth have they plastered a 1990s wine-bar on top of a genuine, old pub? Doing this to a retail space or new build would be absolutely fine - but what tortured mind puts fake antiquity over real history? Every time I go in there, I want to strip the crap out and put it back the way it should be.
The Royal Stag is not the only makeover example - and some makeovers are even really quite good. The best makeovers can improve a pub beyond all recognition like the Victoria Arms in Binfield back in 1980-ish. But I have yet to visit any pub where matt purple paint looks better than the original panelling.
The Swan Hotel at Staines has just (Feb - Mar 2006) had a major refurb and overall it is a good improvement so Fuller's are to be congratulated. Sadly there has been an outbreak of "pub purple" but this has been pleasurably offset by putting in real wood panelling looking like wood! Let's hope this astonishingly original design idea is taken up by the tossers who work for the pubcos.