Friday, December 5, 2014

A room of one's own



When I realized that I was going to have a room all to myself in our new house my heart filled with...wonder. It did. And there are days when I still can't believe my good fortune and so I pace its perimeters to lay claim. It is as if I have been magically transported back to childhood and have built myself the coziest tree-house...


... far on high. I can hear my knees crack at times as I climb and climb the stairs, hand surfing the iron railing, but it is worth it. Once I arrive, I can close the wooden door and settle in. My thoughts, my wishes, my emotions all have their space.


I don't really like calling it my office, mon bureau, for it is a friendlier space than that and the "work" that gets done is not of the pinpoint kind. Yes, it is where I write and sort out my photographs (by the by, that is the 15 Euros Gobelin tapestry behind my desk. We will hang it one of these days)...


...But also where I read and dream in my comfy old fauteuil draped with an even older ikat brought back from Bali. I balance my tea precariously on the broken wicker trunk that I bought at the local flea market for 20 Euros (I keep tightly stacked journals inside, all of those lines from days gone by). In the evenings, the light is strong enough to read by without squinting and the lampshade reminds me of my earliest days in France (Remi bought them - they are a set - as a surprise before I moved over, one of the very first purchases for our life together. He guessed that I would like a little leopard in my new abode and he was right). And if, for whatever reason I am really not sorted, then I can always curl up on my boutis covered bed and hide within a nap.


When I am lost in searching for a word or leaning on a phrase, I let my gaze settle on the details surrounding me, such as the odd solidity of the sloping, propped up wooden beams (How could they possibly hold up the roof just above?)...


...and the exceptional patina of the terra-cotta floor tiles...


...that had, at some point, been painted over in a deep burgundy red, which was - thank goodness! - carefully removed by a later resident who likes the underneath just like me. When I roll out my yoga mat, I can hear the broken tiles crackle underfoot. I think that they date from the 18th century. Everyone who visits remarks upon them in particular and about the deuxième étage in general. Actually, when we made that fateful first visit to the house, the room that would become my own was instantly my favorite. Lucky, lucky.


There are two windows and so there is always light passing through one way or another. A small one looks north out over the rooftops and has shutters so ancient that they droop soggily from their hinges and clank crankily when the wind starts to blow.


The window at the front opens above the olive and magnolia trees in our courtyard. There is a pair of turtledoves - oui, les tourterelles! - that bill and coo while perched on an antennae rising from the house across the lane. Les mésanges flit past. Oh, how they sing and swoop. Such beautiful music.

 

Finally, I have found a space where I feel comfortable displaying the beautiful portrait that Remi created for me on my 40th birthday from a photograph that he had taken when we had first met. In the safety of my room, I can consider the gaze of that young Me with kindness and not flinch.

I still haven't organized my books but am always so proud when, in the midst of scrambling for such and such volume, I come across a tome that has been written by a friend piled in amidst Shakespeare and the Brontë's. 


For you see, it is a sentimental space, my room. Only I know the hows and the whys of each little piece that I have put out simply to please me and no one else...from the battered Reynolds style engraving that I named "Marie" when I bought her at 15...


...to the pastels of a series of beautiful, strong and interesting women who inspire me to be true. I can only imagine their gossip after I turn out the lights each night.


Here, I can stack my train cases, even if there is not a voyage to be taken anytime soon...


...where I can remember collecting shells on the shores of a hurricane-grazed island lost in Pacific and gaze at the Buddha to root me right where I am. Backwards, forwards and quietly hovering in the present. Something of a destination in itself. In my room, a room of my own, I feel at peace and utterly at home.



to listen: some lovely music that is fittingly eclectic for this post...
Orange Blossom - Mexico from copilux on Vimeo.


Do you have a corner for yourself chez vous? I think that it is more important than we imagine.


Bon Weekend tout le monde!

44 comments:

  1. What a charming space, both an inspiration and a hideaway! A true studio. That's how I call the room I've arranged for myself, my studio. Now that we've put this house in the countryside on the market and are planning to move to a town I won't even consider any apartment without a special corner for myself. By the way, I love your portrait!

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    1. Ah, a studio! That is perfect. We call Remi's work space his atelier but a studio is just right. And I love that portrait too but I don't feel comfortable putting it out in the more public spaces in the house like "Hey! Look at me!" ;)

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  2. That portrait for your 40th is just gorgeous.

    I love the detail of your knees cracking as you hand-surf the rail. And the idea of pacing the perimeters of your good fortune is so beautifully-supported by the rest of this gentle, skillfully-expressed post. Tout le monde en el corazon? :)

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    1. Everybody has heart? I know that you do for certain! And maybe if ate less like you do my knees wouldn't be cracking so much! Thank you for the compliment...coming from you...
      Bisous.

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  3. OHHHHHH.........those tile the DOOR!The PHOTO of YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Love your space!LOVE IT!
    THANK you for sharing a bit of your new home!The baskets on the neighbors shutters intrigue me too!Doves.......I have DOVES caged however......but they were born that way so ...........it's okay,or at least i tell myself that....................the music they make is MAGICAL.THis house is perfect in so many ways!!I must get MYSELF there...................I will want the dogs in my bed with me!!!
    Yes, a room of ones own is MOST important!!!Mine is small......a mess.......with LOTS of TREASURES!XOXOXO

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    1. Shhh...don't tell anyone but the dogs like to sleep on the guest bed! I keep a heavy linen cover on it to protect the bed but they would definitely be up there with you (they aren't allowed on our bed) and have been known to push open the door with their noses in the morning to greet our overnight guests!

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    2. PERFECTION!I will be in HEAVEN!

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  4. Perfect. We all need a room of one's own, and this is such a beautiful room for a beautiful lady. xxxxx

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  5. Heather this room is so lovely and it is yours! The tapestry, your portrait,art,books, all wonderful!
    A room of one's own!
    Xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

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  6. I adore the music.........just came back to listen!!!
    XO

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    1. Isn't it interesting? Makes me want to listen to the rest of the album.

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  7. I don't like to be jealous, but jealous I am! I would love just such a space "Only I know the hows and the whys of each little piece that I have put out simply to please me and no one else..." HEAVEN!

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    1. Rebecca, I know, I really do. I did my time in NYC. This room is so much bigger than any bedroom that I ever had there...it is bigger than the living rooms! I am super grateful.

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  8. "my heart filled with…wonder...My thoughts, my wishes, my emotions all have their space.” Virginia Woolf will share your happiness. Me too. I like the stack of books behind your bed. And the photos. Thank you for the wonderful music and song.

    Have a nice weekend Heather.

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    1. I did Edgar and I hope that you did as well!

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  9. A beautiful space; the sort I aspire to. :) Love the courtyard view and, of course, the tiles are gorgeous.

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    1. The sort you are making happen!! And trust me, the books are the heavily, heavily edited down version but we have had no space for them in the other houses and so they would go...I love that they are right there now.

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  10. Weeee! So happy to get a sneak peek at your room! Love the views, the tiles, the books; seeing lots of things I don't remember you having! It all looks very cozy and very YOU! I don't really have a room that's mine; in the mornings I have a corner of the couch, but my meditation/Buddhist shrine is in the room, so that makes me happy. And during the week the whole house is mine, so that's pretty sweet as well! And have my "things" around me - not as cool as your "things", but they help me to feel settled in our new-ish house. Thank you for sharing - love all your pics and words!

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    1. I so don't agree about your things being less cool than mine - it is that they belong to us that matters! And your shrine is my favorite part of that whole amazingly wonderful, beautiful and welcoming home. :)

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  11. Heather, your room is so lovely!!! Oh dear! Love the gobelin and love that floor!!!!! I also have a room of myself and could not miss! But yours is much more charming! Enjoy as much as you can!
    Bon weekend mon amie!
    xx

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    1. Merci chere Greet! Of course, I am very touched to have such a lovely compliment coming from you. Mille fois mercis et gros, gros bisous!!

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  12. Agree that the word "studio" describes this place perfectly. And, when one lives with another a space that is all their own is incredibly important. I, too, have my own "studio," though it does still contain remnants of my older son.... which are maybe important to me, even if they no longer are to him.

    I am thrilled that you have such wonderful light -- something that you can't fix if its not there. Write well, rest well, learn, experiment and enjoy your meaningfully appointed space, Heather.

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    1. Such a lovely response - almost like a benediction! - I will try to live up to it. And I am so thrilled that you have a space for yourself too. I didn't realize what a gift it could be.

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  13. Oh, almost jealous! Pleased for your good fortune- it is impossible to resent people when they genuinely know how lucky they are :-) x

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    1. I feel the same when I read about all of the simple but profound beauty that you feel down to the tips of your fingers (literally!), Lisa. :)

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  14. I'm happy for you to find your little castle. It's so important for our wellbeing to have some private space and if it
    is such a cozy room like yours nothing can't get better. Spend many wonderful hours in that place and enjoy and be grateful for that historic gem.

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    1. I will, R. You understand perfectly what a comfort it is too have the reminders of such time having passed already before me in this room.

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  15. Dear Heather, I love it. It is beautiful. I have a very little space that I call my own but it's not a whole room. Just a corner of an alcove that leads to our living room. I dream of my own room sometimes but I am thankful for my little space. Wishing you much joy ...

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    1. Thank you Loree. Oh how I hope that your exam is over and was a success!!! And like you, I had only corners to claim previously but how fantastic it was to even have that. :)

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  16. Thanks for sharing your special place with us. Your descriptions bring it to life. I love the portrait; Did Remi paint it? Amazing photographer and painter.

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    1. Hello Michel. No, it is a manipulated image using a photograph that he took of me when we first met and it is refracted in an antique mirror. The frame is actually an important part of it too as we found it on the sidewalk in Paris together one rainy night. Have you ever gone to Remi's websites? He is an incredible photographer. www.remibenali.com www.naturecultures.com

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  17. This room looks just like it was made for you. Prepared for your arrival and ready to receive all those objects, books and artpieces fulfilling its purpose.
    The sealing high enough to give inspiration space, a view to be carried away by contemplation and the walls echoeing your thoughts.
    Happy "woman in the attic"!

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    1. Yep, that is me! The crazy lady up in the attic à la Jane Eyre! :o hehehe Silke, I know that you work a lot out of your home so I imagine that you have a creative space as well, non?
      xo
      H

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    2. Oh yes, my working space is the main room of the appartment, living-and working space. Actually, Roland and me have some trouble finding a place where each of us has ones one room. Appartments here are rare and expensive and mostly ugly (;

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    3. There is no way that your and Roland's apartment is ugly on the inside. Impossible!! But I understand your challenge - in our previous apartment my desk was practically in the middle of the room that opened on to all of the other rooms. I think that I have already told you this but I would have to put my earplugs in to shut out the rest of the world - aka Remi and the dogs - when I was writing there. It is such an incredible luxury to be able to close the door and be on my own.

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  18. Arriving late to this post I find a treasure trove of books and beauty. Such a lovely space to call your own.

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    1. Merci Lorrie - et c'est jamais trop tard pour offrir des compliments pareil! ;)

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  19. My sweet Heather,
    I simply adore your own space. It is so quiet and cozy... large and well lit... high ceilings, superb roof, the magnificent terracotta tiled floor (it shows its age beautifully) . All inside this room talk about you ! It is the right place to read and work, to rest and leave your imagination free... It is not only a well-organized place, your soul is there I can see it clearly and, believe me, it is the most beautiful thing I can percieve.
    A studio but above all a SOUL PLACE.
    Show your portrait to your guests! Let them enjoy that MASTERPIECE!
    Wonderful music too!
    Bisous my dear

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    1. Your response brought tears to my eyes, it is so beautiful and heartfelt. A soul place is just wonderful and it is a compliment to me that you see me in this wonderful space. Grazie Mille, Emilia...

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  20. So beautiful Heather and what a treat...to see the space you call your own. I love your floors...all things terracotta actually. It has been on my mind for Tahilla..so happy to see them underfoot in your beautiful home. Happy Creating...xx

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