When you become a volunteer in an historic house, it carries with it a greater sense of responsibility than with other duties carried out in one’s life. all the years of going out to work – commuting miles each way, I never really felt the same draw to looking after my surroundings as I do when helping as a room steward. Obviously I didn’t go around kicking in the furniture or denting the fridge doors, but I didn’t have that sense of pride when I saw a nicely polished mahogany davenport in the corner of a room. The need to keep up appearances has never been greater – in newer commercial properties, the furnishings and decor reflect the style of work offered by the staff – if it’s badly treated, so may the client. Having a completely fresh design for any office space or reception area with co-ordinated colours reflecting the firm’s logo for example will pay dividends.