Do you have a room that’s yours, just yours? Perhaps it’s not an entire room but more of an inviting spot that lurks in the back of your mind while doing other things, beckoning you to sink into its comfort with a soft sigh of pleasure…
Way back in 1998, my dear brother went to great lengths to create such a space for his partner, who was about to move into his home. The perfectly formed but very small house meant he was unable to provide her with a whole room of her own, so he created a nook for her in the light filled and airy bay window of the living room. There he placed an oversized, snuggle-up-in, yellow and green floral armchair, soft lap blanket, side table complete with a crystal vase into which he put fresh flowers every week and a recently published book – Chris Casson Madden’s “A Room of Her Own”.
Rich with photographs and articles describing the emotions evoked by the haven or sanctuary each room provided its owner, the (then) newly released book was the source of my brother’s inspiration. Considering that he was (a) not previously known for his sensitivity towards women and their needs; (b) the king of black and white leather designer furniture and shiny minimalism; and (c) accustomed to living alone and therefore exactly as he pleased; his anticipation of the needs of his partner as she moved into ‘his’ space, spoke volumes.
Sadly however, said partner rarely used the place of her own provided. She much preferred the back porch, where she placed a comparatively uncomfortable upright wooden chair, lots of potted plants and an ashtray (seeing she wasn’t allowed to smoke in the house). It seems despite his well-meant actions, my brother missed the point.
That is: a room of your own needs to work for you and, quite possibly, only you. While it need not be a whole room, it does need to be a place that both you and anyone else you share your home with, recognise as your very own ‘go-to’ spot. Therefore you are the person best placed to choose where that room or nook is, and what it contains. As the Queen of your domain, you may choose to invite others to join you there. Or not.
What you do in your room is entirely up to you. As a consequence, you may prefer a chaise, a sofa, a chair, a bed or a wooden bench. A bookshelf, a TV, a table standing in the perfect spot for your cup of tea (or glass of bubbly) to be within easy reach. Light and bright, dark and cosy, mini- or maximalist – your very own room, or place within, means it’s all your choice.
A designer friend barely ever sat for long in her room. But she did look at it often from the stool she perched upon in the kitchen. From time to time she would change the vignette she saw, through the open door, to better please her discerning eye. Mostly she liked just looking at her room, knowing it was there, waiting for her, should she ever feel the urge. When she needed to recover from major surgery, guess where she went? Like a homing pigeon, she metaphorically flew into her nest and, for the next two months, drew deeply from the comfort it provided.
Recently a Farmer neighbor, who had only ever been in our kitchen and living area, had reason to come into my room. We don’t know each other well but as he stood at the room’s entry, he observed: “This is clearly your space, Kate”.
When I asked what made him think so, he replied, pointing to various things: “The girly colours, the light fittings, all the books, the art everywhere, the music, even the dog on the chair there – they don’t strike me as being your man’s cup of tea”.
“You’re right” I said “and that’s because it’s my room, not his. Every woman should have a place to call her own”.
“Hmmmmnnn. To do secret women’s business in?” he asked. “Exactly” I replied.
He nodded slowly before saying “The wife’s been going on about having a ‘She-shed’ for a while. Perhaps I should find a space to clear out for her”.
Thinking of my brother’s best intentions, I suggested “Better yet, why not let her choose her own?”
What would, or do, you do in a space you call your own?