“Eventually, you Americans will have a separate room for every person, including a special bathroom for each pet, and your rooms will be so large you will be able to avoid authentic human contact at all costs!” (Entre Nous by Debra Ollivier pg. 193)
Hmm…makes you think, doesn’t it? I’m a loner by nature and value my privacy, yet even I am perplexed by many of the homes I see being built these days. I pretty much quit watching those house hunter shows on HGTV because I was rather put off by all the young couples with only one or two tiny children who absolutely HAD to have at least 4000 square feet, four bedrooms, four bathrooms, one or two offices and a separate playroom for the kids. While I do know that too many people crammed into a small space, especially without adequate storage, can be very stressful, I think we often go overboard the other way. There should be a happy medium, don’t you think? While I don’t have any personal interest in the “tiny house” movement, I’m truly pleased to see that some are beginning to consider smaller homes.
Another thing that is usually different about the French woman’s home is that her living room is generally set up in order to encourage conversation rather than being centered around the entertainment center.
Where electronica reigns in many traditional American living rooms, books are king in the French one, and they’re present everywhere: lined up in built-in bookshelves, spilling onto the floor in small piles with well-worn spines and dog-eared pages. (Entre Nous by Debra Ollivier pg. 192)
Now that’s something I truly share with my French sisters. My home is filled with books. The laundry room is the one room in my house without books and if I thought the cats would leave them alone, I’d probably have some in there as well. And while we do have televisions, I haven’t yet caved in on the issue of a large, flat-screen t.v. for the family room. When we bought this house, we bought a nice entertainment center to house the television and other equipment. When the doors are closed, all you see is a pretty piece of furniture and I insist on keeping those doors closed unless the t.v. is in use. It’s located next to our fireplace so the furniture is situated in such a way that we can just as easily watch a crackling fire as the latest sit-com. I know that media rooms are all the rage but I much prefer our library. We have a separate room with built-in bookshelves, nice stereo system, the piano and organ, and NO television. It’s a quiet retreat from busy-ness and too much input.
I’ve recently had a surge of my old interests in interior design and homemaking. I’m starting to spend more time puttering about, re-arranging decorative items and planning a few changes. David works long hours in a stressful business so I feel that the least I can do is make our home a peaceful sanctuary for him. I’m getting in touch with my “inner French girl” and seriously considering ways to make our home life more serene and pleasurable. I’m sure you’ll be reading more about this from me in the coming months and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.