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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Room Of One's Own

I would like to introduce a very special guest blogger today. I met Jan while I was on that magical island of Monhegan Maine. Jan had come to Monhegan to paint, write, and find a little lost piece of herself as I did. Jan is an Author, Lecture, Illustrator, Designer, and Gardener, but most of all I see Jan as another strong and interesting Woman. Check out her web site and garden store

“A room of one’s own “ –that phrase will forever remind me of the tiny and charming little bedroom assigned to me during my recent stay on Monhegan Island , Maine. When my host first led me down the rocky path to the cottage overlooking the harbor, she stopped just outside and instructed me to “go up the ramp, through the laundry room and through the door on the left. The door on the right is the bathroom you will be using.” Stepping inside I was greeted by four walls covered with the most delightful flowered wallpaper, four doors and four windows, the sheer lace curtains billowing in the breeze. The furnishings consisted of a twin bed piled with multiple vintage woolen blankets (never to be used!), a bedside table, a very fancy parlor chair and a cupboard that spanned one entire wall. The worn red linoleum counter top on the cupboard was a hint as to what this room had once been, and proved to be perfect as a work area where I could spread out paper and paints to my hearts’s content. Also on the counter was a large white ceramic washing bowl, and I smiled inside when I realized this was to be my personal sink . . . .unless I wanted to wash my face in the massive laundry tub just outside my door. Two bare light bulbs with pull chains were the only source of illumination, making me glad I had brought a small battery lantern with me, as well as my clamp-on reading light. The shower on the other side of the laundry was a standard one stall metal cracker box, fitted with a curtain that didn’t quite cover the opening.

I’m as obsessed as they come with creating my own personal variety of style in every room of every house that I can, but I was face to face here with serendipity. No doubt, this was the most undeliberate , “undecorated “ room I had inhabited in a long time, but after a few afternoons of being refreshed by the island breezes that wafted constantly through the windows, and a few nights of falling asleep to the music of the surf crashing against the granite cliffs, I found myself nearly overwhelmed by the ambiance and true style of this space. A real bonus was the covered porch just outside my ‘front door’ where I could sit and gaze through the tapestry of dark green pine branches to the clear blue of the ocean beyond.

The laundry ladies and the chambermaids who puttered in and out of the adjoining room 24 hours a day became familiar neighbors, as well as a caramel colored cat who seemed to know just when his favorite wicker laundry basket was empty – so he could claim it for an uninterrupted nap. I discovered I could get just as clean in that rusty shower stall as any marble masterpiece in a luxury hotel, and best of all, it was a room of my own – even if just for one short week. I wish I could end this story by claiming I created a masterpiece or two with paint and paper, but the real miracle was having the space and the place to try.

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