When I was growing up, I did my homework every night at the kitchen table, with my brother at my elbow and my sisters across from me, all of us chatting as we worked. In the first house I lived in with my husband, I used the top of the washing machine as a desk, putting a typewriter on top of it to work whenever I could get a free moment. Although the washing machine was not as convenient as the kitchen table, it was tall enough that toddlers could not reach anything on its top. Small children in the house meant lots of laundry (we had two kids in diapers so we were washing diapers every other day), so I had to clear my desk off several times each day, and the nearby shelves held both books and laundry detergent.
When I was designing our current house, I knew that it was time for me to finally have my own space. I planned the downstairs of the house as one open space, living room and kitchen combined, but then I tucked a small room into the northwest corner of the house, a room of my own.
My office is lined with bookshelves but the books don't all fit because I am always buying more. Every surface in the room is cluttered with rocks, seashells, and feathers. Sometimes on a windy day, I'll walk into my office to find feathers blowing all about, dancing from bookshelf to desk. The candles in my office are golden beeswax candles from the monastery.
Because the door to my office is right by the front door to the house, I often trip over snowboards and boots as I enter. When I am working in my office, I can look out the front window to watch the wind blowing snow about. I can see who might be coming up the driveway, or in the front door. If I turn to look out the door, I can see into the living space of our house, with Boy in Black's drum set and Shaggy Hair's orange tree in view.
I keep everything important in this room -- books, photographs, journals, camera, even my ski clothes. This room is where I write. It’s where I cry. It’s where I plan my life and make promises to myself. It's where I am when I talk to my friends by email. When I make a phone call, I sit on the floor and lean against the bookshelves, shutting the door to keep my family out. Because I never had my own space growing up – and not for the first fifteen years of my marriage either – having a room of my own still feels incredibly luxurious.
Note: Since all the cool bloggers are photoblogging their workspaces, I decided to do mine.
Here's the doorway to my office.
Towards the north.