Alexander Averin

Sunday, 12 December 2010

What does your room say about you?

Many people hear voices when no-one is there.

Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day.

Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing.



Artist's Room Vincent Van Gogh

Mark, who writes over at the excellent Views from the Bike Shed  recently wrote a post about his desk and it included a photo.  I thought I would do this to but to be honest I am a little ashamed of the desk the computer lives on.  The monitor is raised up to my eye level on two old telephone directories (!) and the whole caboodle is housed in one of these cheap put-together-yourself units that fits everything in it - scanner, computer, speakers, shelves etc.  I will tell you about it but it would not make an attractive pic.  I do have a lovely oak desk next to it which overlooks the garden, the river and the field but it is too narrow to house my ancient computer’s monitor and I have no desire for a laptop. I like to have flowers on the old desk but lately it has been flower-free (they probably would have frozen anyway).  What else is on my desk? A deep blue crystal ball, an antique glass inkwell and a Victorian magnifying glass and paperweight, photos of M and our children when they were little.  A mug of pens. Candles, stones, bits and bobs.  On my monitor a pink angel sits, she has a smiley face.  Below her a sticker on the top of the screen affirms I’m happy and healthy.

The room I blog in is tiny, it used to be a bedroom but we have removed a wall and now the stairs of the cottage lead down from it to what I call the parlour.  It is not ideal because I can hear the TV and can talk to people downstairs (well shout anyway). I wear headphones a lot though because I love to listen to my music while I am on the computer.

The walls used to be white but now are pretty pink which I find very soft and soothing.  I have some photos and pics on the walls and there is a long mirror which is useful (every woman needs one!). Plenty of bookshelves of course and a musical keyboard for when the mood takes me.  A bed for one dog and a basket that Molly the cat has adopted for her home so I have lined it with an old cushion for her.  Oak beams on the ceiling. There is also a tiny cast iron fireplace, never used although it could be. I have four logs placed in it, ready.  There are little bedrooms on each side of this room and that is all -  the upstairs of my tiny abode.  Small but much-loved.

I recently heard about a successful blog called Bookshelf Porn.  This features photos of the bookshelves in peoples’ homes.  Ideal for bibliophiles like me who enjoy snooping on other like-minded folk and seeing where and how they store their hoards of treasure.

I also adored the Guardian page that featured ‘Writers Rooms’.  It was wonderful to actually see where writers create their works.

I picked this one below at random and it turned out to be the room of one of my absolute favourite writers - 
the Irish writer Colm Toibin.

Here are some more examples of writers’ rooms

I got to thinking about my ideal study in my ideal home.  .

My dream study would be downstairs at the back of the (ideal) house,  in winter it would be warmed by a real fire and would have French doors that opened out onto a perfect weed-free dream garden. There would also have to be a view of the sea which I could of course walk down to easily.  These doors would be open in the summer so I could sit outside and have breakfast, coffee, lunch or afternoon tea.  I could also sit, write or simply dream there whenever the weather was kind enough.

I would have a very expensive music system which would include a digital radio (but no television allowed) and the walls on two sides would  have wooden shelves all book-lined from floor to ceiling.  Only my very favourite books of course.  There would be windows on the other two walls. It would be a ‘many aspected’ room.

There would be beautiful rugs on the floor and an antique desk with furniture to go with it. The latest computer of course with a flat screen and all the trimmings and a high spec. printer for my photos.  A good swivel chair with a lovely comfy seat.

Beautiful paintings on the walls and photos of all of my loved ones around.

No phone.

 A cosy squashy armchair for reading and a rocker by the window for mulling.

A couple of dogs would often lie near me on their duvet beds and a cat or two in baskets

A piano, old but still very much in tune.

A more modern keyboard for when the mood takes me.

A huge mirror that reflected light into the room.

Scented candles of the highest quality ready to light each evening.

Piles of books ready to read.

Beautiful notebooks that I have collected on my travels all ready and waiting to be filled with words.

CD’s of all my favourite music.

A pot of  the finest pens.

Crystals hanging at the windows.

An antique lamp.

Fresh flowers always.

Green plants to cleanse the atmosphere.

Maybe a daybed for when I need a  little lie down.

One can dream ………


Vee said...

Such a delicious dream it is, Cait. I always enjoy seeing other bookshelves in other homes. I had no idea that there was a blog devoted to it. Must check it out. Hope that it's warmed there.

Angel said...

Ooh, I will be back to read this more closely and check out your blog. I like what I see!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh, I wrapped this post around me like a favourite shawl. Just loved every word. And yes, there's a dog bed in my writing room also!

Fran said...

I was just going to say, 'do you remember that writer's room feature?' and then you mentioned it! I love that kind of thing, too.

Posie said...

Your dream study sounds heavenly Cait, but your present study sounds like it oozes character study also houses lots of pots of paint, both large and day I will get a dream study...

Wild Somerset Child said...

Oh my God, once I would have died for a writing room similar to what you have illustrated. Now, I will write wherever I can place a notepad on my knee (or even a stone once on a beach in Ireland) and just write whatever is in my heart and mind. I shuffle my book collection - considerable, and still growing - from place to place in this old house, and in sheds outside, and am determined in my 74th year that what I might once have wished for no longer matters.

Cottage Garden said...

Cait, your dream study sounds wonderful but I love the description of your blog room even more! It sounds totally delightful and a space I could so easily write, create and dream in. I blog in a similar room. Funnily enough we have often pondered on removing the wall on to the stairwell down to our snug to make it open plan as you have done. Food for thought! I will check out The Bike Shed - what an intriguing name for a blog!

Hope you are keeping warm.


Frances said...

Cait, I do love those photos,and the question you pose about the room where we might focus ourselves.

Sort of the same as the famous room of one's own.

I don't think of this space visually (although I do usually think visually) but rather in terms of time and atmosphere. It would be a room that would allow you whatever space and time you wished to allow you express whatever you might wish to express when you wished. xo

ds said...

The best part of your dream study? No phone!!!
Lovely post--I like the sound of your current room, too. Very cozy.

Mac n' Janet said...

I often have fantasies about what my library would look like if I could have one, and lately I've been threatening to dismantle our dining room which we never use and turn it into a library.

Toni aka irishlas said...

I love your ideal home. It's me, but, instead of keyboards it's fiddles....

Mark said...

Well thank you for the kind mention - does this mean I've started a meme or whatever they are called?

I liked the description of your writing room, especially the dogs in the basket; I'd forgotten about how my dog used to do curl up by me.

The things we have around reflect so much; many of mine are not valuable in a monetary sense but are priceless in other ways

Marian said...

Your writing room sounds splendid. Colm Toibin's room seemed especially fantastic to me. I just finished reading a great short story of his in the New Yorker Food Issue titled "Christmas Pudding" Thanks for the Guardian link....just lovely to have a peek into another's space, especially a writer's space.

Dave King said...

A wonderful post, full of interest, but I pass on your initial question: I dread to think what my room says about me - especially at the moment. I call it functional; no one else would.

Exmoorjane said...

Oh, this is lovely Cait, just lovely. Like you, I love seeing how other people write, and where they write...
I am very lucky - I have those two walls full of books. You may not have seen it as I think I posted it on my other, very occasional, blog....let me see....
Though, darn it, it doesn't show the bookcases!!

Marion Williams-Bennett said...

Oh, your dream home sounds just.perfect.

Wonderful..we can dream! And we can carve out the bits of it that we can. The chair, the dog, the quiet

Lovely pictures, too - found myself just wanting to be in those rooms, reading, writing, being.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Such a lovely blog, Cait. I'm sorry I haven't been for such a long time.

My office where I write is a complete tip. I think I write better when it's like that!!

CJ xx

Bee said...

I LOVED that Guardian feature and have clipped many of the "rooms" out over the years. I don't recall seeing Toibin's. It's much more beautiful, calmer and neater than the norm.

For the first time in my life, I have a study -- and it has many delightful things in it, but it does certainly lack some of the desirable features of your fantasy room. (Also, I ran out of bookshelf space long ago . . . which doesn't help with the "tidy" aspect.)

Thank you for a DELIGHTFUL post on a subject so close to my heart. Now I'm off to look at Bookshelf Porn.