Wednesday, December 15, 2010
When Mark and I converted the garage to a dining room, I created a little space…
The stairs to the basement, which are in the garage, had a gap between the stairwell and the outside about four feet wide and six feet long. An awkward space, but there was a window in the outside wall and, when we first moved in, an old washing machine rested there that the cat loved to sit on to view the world. When I cleaned out the washer, I built the cat door into the window, with a perching shelf inside and out. So, when the conversion time came around, I had an idea. If a shelf was built up near the window and the wall for the room built about the stair wall, we could have an enclosed window seat, with storage underneath (which is a different story). Then, if a little kid came for dinner, after we finished eating, she could climb into the window seat, read and dream, and eavesdrop on the grown-up conversation without ever being kicked out of the room, because everyone would forget that she was there. My childhood dream space. (I was kicked out a lot when my cousins squealed on me…)
It worked. It is, some days, my favorite aspect of our new room. There’s an old futon, a pile of pillows, several blankets, a hanging light, and a windowsill to rest a tea mug on. One window looks out into the yard. Another lets light through to the stairwell and looks back into the house. The space above reaches up to the peak of the garage, which keeps it from feeling claustrophobic. You can still see the old wiring for the house in the peak. When we first finished the space, I graded papers there, but I quickly realized that that was a Bad Idea, so, now there are rules for being in The Nook: No grading or school related thinking. No Major, Meaningful Conversations—the neighborhood, our relationship, the state of the world are all banned. No list making. Napping is okay. So is staring into space, reading, or worshipping a cat. When you leave, take your mug and turn off the light. Kayli, our fluffy casual cat, has The Nook down. She’ll do a bit of kitty cleaning yoga, then curl up in the blankets for a long nap, only rising when she needs a snack. She is our role model.
Winter Break is coming in two days. I plan on having lots of Nook Time for the next two weeks. But, we’ll share. There is room for two—plus two cats—if you are willing to squish in a bit.