Whether it’s a “man cave” or “she suite,” carve a space for yourself at home
Some would say I lead a busy life. I don’t like to use the word busy, though. It sounds like a complaint or that I’m helpless to control my schedule. Indeed, I may look busy most days, but my schedule is almost always filled with tasks I love. Work, house cleaning, meetings, cooking, car lines, laundry, deadlines, date nights and play dates at the park – at the end of the day, these tasks make up a full and rewarding life.
But even I, who could stand in the kitchen for hours kneading dough and look forward to getting up at 5 a.m. to meet a writing deadline, need respite. A sanctuary of sorts from bedlam. In fact, we all need space to retreat: a nook with a cozy chair away from the noise of the day, a garage housing an old car to restore, a garden to tend, a pinball machine in the basement, a backyard deck to sit and enjoy an evening cocktail, or a spare bedroom that serves as creative space when no guests are in town. These areas can be part of every home no matter the size.
Recent real estate buzz words center on concepts like “man caves” and “she suites.” People gravitate toward them because they scream “Space for me.” Even in our 1,400-square-foot bungalow where three growing boys kick soccer balls off every wall and window, my husband and I have claimed space purely as our own, a place where no muddy finger, toy, paw print, or stinky sock dare to tread. My personal retreat is an upstairs guest bedroom; we deemed it the writing studio, and I sneak up to that butter yellow room early each morning to type, read or simply drink a cup of tea and watch the sun rise. My husband’s space is the garage. Scattered with a few tools and homebrew supplies, it’s just the space he craves. I find it important to make sure his nightstand next to the bed is also his space. I don’t doll it up with matchy-matchy lamps, candles and picture frames like mine, although my Pottery-Barn-loving-side wants nothing more. I instead, leave that space for his liking. He’s a reader and he finds some odd sense of comfort in having large stacks of books nearby at all times (if you have a book collecting partner, e-mail me, we’ll chat. We should form a support group).
Last month I gained a true writing studio. Built in our backyard with reclaimed horse farm boards, it’s not only stunning, but it was realized with our $300 budget. Since its completion, I’ve been acting like a giddy middle schooler decorating my bedroom for the first time – except instead of stocking it with cheap art supplies, cassette tapes and Guess jeans, I am filling the space with treasures like my boy’s seashell collections, large coffee table books and the smell of eucalyptus. Indeed, a space all my own.
Some things to consider when creating your own personal space: