Having been immersed in the wonderful world of house blogs the last few weeks, I’ve been tweaking my house philosophy. After all, many days I spent 23 out of 24 hours here in my house and garden. Occasional re-examination is neccessary.
Also, the amount of advice on house hunting we’ve gotten from people who spend very little time in their houses has prompted me to re-examine said philosophy to see if I’m nuts or if they are.
Conclusion: some people sleep in their houses, other people live in their houses–always recognize the difference.
In other words, I’m not nuts. And, when I’m being magnanimous, I must admit that neither are they.
Resisting the urge to wax sentimental on the subject of home sweet home, I will instead stick to practicalities.
Statement of Purpose
Each space/room should have a defined purpose. That purpose decides not only what is done in that room, but also how it is decorated, and (perhaps most importantly for those of us with Packratism in our DNA) what stuff is stored in that room.
I will give two examples.
1) Bedrooms are for sleeping in, dressing in, dreaming in, and storing clothing. Also occasionally useful for providing a quiet space.
I do not advocate bedrooms as toy receptacles. I know that half of you (or more) will disagree with me on this point, and that’s fine. But I will make my case for anyone who might be open to something unusual.
Reason 1: Children play out of sight – very few things make me more uncomfortable than that, and even more so when there are friends over.
Reason 2: Children play (or make a mess) when they should be sleeping.
Reason 3: It encourages a disjunct from the larger family. And why would we want to encourage more disconnectedness?
Reason 4: It’s easier to leave it a mess and close the door, and I never need more encouragement to leave a mess. 🙂
2) There should be a work/play/be space that has room for the whole family.
This is my new tweak.
Previously, it has been important to me that the TV is somewhere out of the main living space and that there is lots of space for face-to-face conversations. The books have gone where ever the bookshelves look best (or, at present, where the bookshelves are off limits for general-havoc-wreaking-by-small-children). And the craft and sewing stuff has gone into an out of the way cupboard that wasn’t already in use.
And so the living sections of my house are currently divided into five parts:
Music room with piano and music books (originally a teaching studio, pre-family expansion)
Conversation space with couches and fireplace (the living room)
TV loft with couches
School and craft room with books, learning activities, and craft stuff
And we run into several problems: My computer is in the music room, Devo uses his laptop in the living room, and the girls love to play in the school room but can’t without supervision (all those books and havoc-wreaking-tendencies need supervision!). And then there’s the kitchen which is fairly removed from all of these places. So when we’re all just doing the stuff we have to or want to do, we’re scattered all over the house. This is not ideal.
So here is my new vision, I’m so excited about it! !!!! !!!! (A few extra exclamation points for emphasis and possible squealing).
I would like a room or a space that is truly a Family Living Space. A place for when each person is doing their own thing, we can still be together. Together being the key concept in family life.
Here is the idea in its embryonic state:
A wall of bookcases containing books, craft supplies, toy baskets, school supplies, DVDs, and the TV. Etc.
A large table for studying, sewing, painting, computers, etc, etc.
Couches for reading, watching movies, lounging, etc, etc, etc.
And I’m really keen on painting one wall as a chalkboard like this. Someone even told me that you could make it magnetic, too. Wouldn’t that be fun?
And all of this must be attached to the kitchen, since that is where I spend so much time. Then I will be able to supervise various child-like activities and manage food preparation AT THE SAME TIME!
And if I could really, really, really have my own way, the Family Living Room and the Kitchen would both be looking over the backyard. And while we’re talking about having my own way, I’d also like the floor to be wood or tile (mess-proof for messy projects), with a nice comfy rug near the couches. The bookshelves would be built in and custom designed. Lots of sunshine and windows. A bright and cheerful paint scheme of any hue except orangey-yellow. A fireplace for coziness. A counter separating the room from the kitchen at which are placed barstools for snacks and cooking. And plenty of room.
Brilliant, isn’t it? I feel like standing up and taking a bow. I feel like I’m standing up to a culture of familial detachment and isolation! I’m breaking new ground in concrete and practical ways!
Now we just need to find a house that will allow us to do this.