“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.” ~Etty Hillesum
As a child, growing up in a typical, suburban neighborhood and Southern Baptist home, we had a living room.
That rarely lived.
My mother used to laughingly refer to it as a place for the preacher, the insurance man and the Christmas Tree.
Saturday mornings would find me, just as it did years prior for my sisters, dusting flawless cherry end tables, a pair of small ceramic quail, brass antiques, the giant family bible and many other strategically placed collectibles; all lit by the morning sun filtering through the perfectly pleated off white sheers.
I used to think “Why would my mother put so much effort into this room when nobody really gets to use it?”
Like so many things, that make more sense to me as I age…I now understand Why –a little bit more.
When you have a house full of family that uses “Go big or go Home” as their own group mantra along with a dog, numerous activities in process- from artwork, insect taxidermy and college homework to learning the guitar…the house gets cluttered.
It seems like every surface has a backpack, a half empty glass or a granola bar wrapper taking up residence. At times, our first floor is ready for company, other times…not so much. In fact, if the doorbell rings unexpectedly…you will find me running in a panic picking up rogue bras and half folded baskets of clothes and empty yogurt cups.
Which is where the living room sanctuary comes in very….handy.
When we built our new home, we had never really had a living area that was extra, other than a finished basement which we found use for immediately with childrens toys, a spare bed and art supplies. However, with this build we had a sitting area that really didn’t have any idea what it was meant to be.
It never told us it’s purpose, so we waited.
I tossed a couch in there, but nobody ever really went in there to sit, because the kids as well as myself, found it boring.
And then one day, my husband Dave had an epiphany.
Why not create a room that feels like an escape?
A place where we don’t have to stare at a television as big as the kitchen table and we could focus on the art of conversation or read a book or listen to songs on vinyl. A place to reconnect ourselves with the past and in that, find a happy new place.
A place for the grown folk.
We would create a room where you could go for music, reading and a cocktail.
A room where Dan Draper might even be found with his feet up exposing his gold toe socks.
A room where you could shake off the afternoon work day and slip into your easy chair with nothing but the sound of ice cubes settling into a bath of bourbon. All this while Frank Sinatra or Deep Purple played across a disc of ebony black.
So we did that.
We created our version of a mid century modern escape.
A work that is always in progress but has achieved enough of it’s own personality that its purpose, and it’s pride, is evident.
And we go there.
Life doesn’t always call for a cocktail. Although, for myself, a well made Manhattan is one of life’s kindest rewards… Sometimes, just kicking back in a flax seed toned recliner and perusing the collected artwork, dated periodicals and escape in a modern day time machine is just what the doctor ordered. And I love it.
There aren’t any preachers coming or insurance salesmen, but I did have a Christmas Tree in there this year and it is nice to know if those fellas do show up unexpectedly, I won’t be caught showing my granola wrappers.
So, like a lot of things I am figuring out, my Mama was right.
It is nice having a space that I rarely have to clean and that is always tidy and ready for company.
While hers was more the taste of American antiques and collectibles, we truly are enjoying our martini flavored lounge.