Friday, September 17, 2010

When Home is... the Bedroom

How do you feel about your bedroom?

On days like this when I’m tired (two nights out in a row does that to me now...) I definitely feel my bedroom is a ‘refuge within the refuge of the home’ as Winifred Gallagher describes it in her fascinating book House Thinking.

‘Set apart from the “public” home by a flight of stairs or a hallway, the bedroom is much more than just a place to sleep. It’s a snug nest from which we’re meant to emerge restored and ready to face the larger domestic and outside worlds.’

I am looking forward to the end of today, despite the bright Spring sunshine. All of us home for the evening; an early dinner, bath and bed for everyone.

After being away from home for a couple of nights I crave the structure of the weeknight routine which always leads, eventually, to bed. I can already see a novel waiting patiently on the bedside table. How many hours will it be until we meet? Hopefully only a few more.

But what if your bedroom is the opposite of a refuge?

‘As the home’s most private, mysterious space, however, the bedroom is sometimes the darkest. Its door can conceal loneliness and suffering as well as comfort and pleasure.’

Gallagher also writes about how Edith Wharton, the American Pulitzer-Prize winning author of the early 20th century, explored this idea in her short story The Fullness of Life . Here she compares a woman’s nature to a ‘great house full of rooms’:

‘Far beyond its hall and salon lie other rooms, the handles of whose doors perhaps are never turned; no one knows the way to them, no one knows whither they lead; and in the innermost room, the holy of holies, the soul sits alone and waits for a footstep that never comes.’

Haunting, isn’t it.

Image from My Sweet Prints via Apartment Therapy

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