Monday, October 22, 2012


Sometimes I dream that I've found a new room in my apartment or house - a room I've never noticed before.  I open a door and there it is, a whole new expanse of space and possibility.  How has it remained hidden for all this time, when all I had to do was open a door and discover it?

Except this phenomenon seems to happen in my waking life too.  We've lived in this tiny little house, on and off for twenty years - returning after four years away, or two years away, depending on our foreign service tours.  But when we return we have the opportunity to rethink the space, to arrange the rooms according to new needs and requirements, to choose a different bedroom this time around - or do something new with the kitchen.

A few years ago my brother Robert renovated our kitchen - taking out a counter that had once divided the kitchen from the dining area- and putting in french doors at the far end, where before there had only been a pokey back door.  Suddenly the garden was invited into the room - expanding the space and making it reach further.

Then about  a year ago, I decided to move the dining table into the living room, up at one end where nobody ever felt like sitting - and then to make the dining room /kitchen into a sitting area.  Ben was skeptical as I pushed sofas around the place, took up carpets and repositioned them - (his skepticism may have been because I got the notion at 11 pm), but eventually he did see what I meant.  Miraculously we had discovered a whole extra room, which stretched from the brand new sitting area right to the bookcase in the adjoining living room.  The house was getting bigger and bigger.

Now with Alex off in Australia,  I thought I'd make his room into a library - with a daybed for visitors.  I looked on Craigslist and found the perfect thing, for an excellent price.  We borrowed Jacky's truck and went into Chevy Chase to pick it up last week.  Our neighbor Sean helped Ben carry it into the house. But Ben took measurements and shook his head. "It's never going to fit up the stairs," he said.

Hmm. Time to rethink the furniture arrangement again.  Everything must be reshuffled - kitchen sofa to living room, living room sofa up to bed/library, new daybed to kitchen.

another beautiful space entirely, not my own!

I spent the better part of the weekend taking down paintings and hanging them up in different places, reshuffling cushions from sofa to sofa (~the cushion part almost had me stymied~) moving chairs from basement to kitchen - from bedroom down to basement.  I sat in rooms on various sofas and looked at the space.  I got up and changed things once more.

You'd think the addition of a new enormously scrolled daybed would make the kitchen far smaller.  But instead, the room has expanded to accept it.  When I was taking a nap there this afternoon, I woke to look across the new room with amazement. This house is ENORMOUS, I said to myself. How is that possible?

I mean, it's like Dr Who's telephone booth - or Alice in Wonderland getting bigger and bigger and then smaller and smaller.  It must be all in consciousness - all the room you need.

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