January 07, 2006

Room

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.

Entrance

Looking west.

West

Towards the north.

North

Facing east.

East

Looking south.

South

28 comments:

BrightStar said...

That's pilgrim's blog on your computer screen!

jo(e) said...

Yeah, I was hanging out at the bar when I took the photos ....

chichimama said...

What a gorgeous space! I am so jealous, I dream of my own office. Mine is currently the top of our TV cabinet in the family room. I want my office to be tucked under the eves of a third floor someplace though.

You must get so much pleasure out of that room.

delagar said...

I'm jealous of your space too...I have a corner of the living room, which is nice enough, and at least has a window, but how I long for a door I can close.

On another note, I see you too have run out of bookshelf space.

Scrivener said...

Oh come on, saying that this space is so cluttered just proves that you don't know from clutter. My office is so cluttered that I could never get into the room to take a photo of it. That's clutter.

Is that a tripod tucked in the corner behind the lamp?

kathy a said...

it is a beautiful space -- full of things useful and sentimental, but not the royal mess that my office is. mine is overflowing with stacks of stuff, bankers boxes of stuff, a good 20 fat binders arranged conveniently around the floor, several neglected file piles...

did you move the saxophone, or do you actually keep 2 in the office? [the only musical item in my personal domain is a stuffed singing chicken, which is not as classy -- there is a sax in the next room, though.]

jo(e) said...

Yeah, that's the tripod I just got to go with the digital camera. It folds down but I don't bother folding the legs down most of the time. I've been playing around with it, but they aren't photos I would post to my blog because they aren't anonymous ....

My clutter is fairly organized clutter.

jo(e) said...

kathy: Just one saxophone. The sax is usually in the corner, but I moved it so I could stand in the corner to take the last photo. It belongs to With-a-Why, my youngest. My office is the one place he can keep it where it won't get knocked over a lot.

listmaker said...

What a wonderful space. I gave up my personal space (my sewing room)so QuietMan could have a much needed home office. Now my computer's on a corner of a table in the public area of the house, but at least it's next to a window.

Dr. Brazen Hussy said...

Beautiful room. Add me to the list of jealous people.

Lisa C. said...

Jo(e), I am throwing covetous looks at your bookcases. I think they may be winking at me. Would you be so kind as to send them to my house? I think we'd get along very well together.

My books are currently double stacked, a line in front, and then another in the back. I have no filing system, so when I need to find a book, I have to remove several layers and I get frustrated and everything ends up in perilous stacks. All the while my books are like, "You call yourself a book lover?"

mindspin said...

There will never ever be such a thing as enough bookshelf space. Your room, though, is wonderful.

liz said...

That is a gorgeous space.

Preacher Mom said...

I love your space and dream of having something similar one day. When I was a child (I shared a room with my sister), I would turn my tiny little closet into "my" room. We all need a place to call our own - no matter how big or small, how quaint or how cluttered.

ScienceWoman said...

I LOVE your office. I want one for myself - especially the bookshelves and the view.

peripateticpolarbear said...

I think your office looks awfully tidy...for an office. Now how is it that I thought you were a laptop person and I see a desktop in the photo (with a very nice desk by the way).

Mel said...

what a beautiful space! and a really nice desk. So peaceful and gentle feeling.

peripateticpolarbear said...

hey, jo(e),
stop by my house later today ookay? There's a photo of the 2 of us up there, and, well, now there's a rumor that you have a 3rd eye of wisdom.

Josephine said...

Your room's lovely!

nancy said...

Way neater and much more interesting and personal that my 'office'.

Yankee T said...

Just what I would have pictured for you. It's lovely.

Bad Alice said...

Mmmmm. I particularly like the peaceful view from your window.

halloweenlover said...

Love the room. A place of your own is wonderfully luxurious. Perfect for you.

Doctor Free-Ride, Ph.D. said...

*Sniff* I so want a proper workspace at home (especially after seeing yours!). I end up with my laptop and/or grading trying to work on the couch or the kitchen table. My desk at work is fine for when I'm at work, but there are moments at home when I want or need to work ... and having a real space to to that would undoubtedly make me more productive.

I have to figure this out (in the space we already have) or I'm just going to be sad ...

DaniGirl said...

Ooooo, I love pictures of the inside of people's houses! I'm such a voyeur that way - love to walk around the neighbourhood after dark and peer in brightly lit windows, not so much for the people as their stuff and how they arrange it. It says so much about a person. I guess that's why I love blogs, you get to see the insides of people that way.

iBeth said...

Gorgeous! I am drooling . . . . Thanks for sharing!

St. Casserole said...

Wow! I'm jealous, too!

Dea said...

I think that Lisa C. and I are kindred spirits 'cause all that I could think about when I was looking at the pictures was the number of books. I love how they are stacked next to the bookshelf. I'm getting close to amassing a collection like yours, and it makes me happy to see them all, and that other people value them as much as I do.