Monday, September 27, 2010

A spot to hang your hat

Don't we all wish for a little place to hang our hat and get away from it all? This charming dormer window in Paris looks to me to fit the bill. The ubiquitous geraniums in pots on a Juliet balcony really are so welcoming and homey. You know behind this facade is a little garret bedroom covered in toile de jouy with stacks of books and a cozy daybed with velvet covers and pots of tea with shortbread(at least in my daydream). Is it me or does fall have everyone longing for a nest of their own? Where would yours be?

16 comments:

Woody said...

I'm sure you'd guess it in a heartbeat, but mine would be in Rome :)

24 Corners said...

This one will do just fine...we can time share! ;)

Stefan...head over to Paris Hotel Boutique Journal...I think you'll appreciate her latest post, it's a bit strange and sad, so be forewarned.
J~

magnaverde said...

I live in the heart of Chicago, but I come from a small town, so my idea of a getaway is a total change of pace: a small, simple place, furnished with hand-me-down family pieces, mismatched crockery & sunstruck curtains & slipcovers. And no TV.

And except for the no-TV part, that describes my dad's place to a 'T', but getting there takes four-&-a-half hours--on a good day--and, after a few years of fighting traffic getting there, I had to face the facts: doing that every weekend wasn't really practical, no matter how much I needed to get away. I needed someplace closer. Unfortunately, everything within an easy drive on weekends--even the dumpy places--was way out of my budget.

Then, one day, when I was flipping through an old issue of House Beautiful I came across a one-page article about this great weekend place--what looked like a tiny country cottage, with low ceilings, bulgy plaster walls, primitve furniture & rag rugs--that a New York designer named Jimmy Potucek had put together as his own weekend getway. It was exactly what I had in mind, and although I loved its cozy, laid-back vibe, I loved Potucek's ingenious solution to the time/distance/money problem even more: the place wasn't in small-town Connecticut or Bucks county, or upstate New York, it was down in Greenwich Village, just a few subway stops from his apartment on the Upper East Side. The guy was a genius. He never even needed to leave Manhattan, since the different characters of his two neighborhoods, and the two different styles of decor made the out-of-town illusion work. I decided to try the same approach. I figured Chicago's a big enough city and has enough distinctive neighborhoods that I could find another place--an affordable place--somewhere here in town.

As it turned out, I went Jimmy Potucek one step better: he never left Manhattan, but I never left my apartment building. Hell, I never even left my floor. My new weekend place was fifty feet away. Talk about zero carbon footprint! But if there was little physical distance between the two, they were light years apart in feel. Instead of facing east onto a busy street lined with big houses & highrise buildings the way my regular apartment did, my weekend place looked west, onto a quiet parking ringed with trees, and instead of hearing traffic all day long, I heard church bells & birds & kids at the playground. Half-curtains blocked the view of the cars so that all I saw out my windows were the tops of trees & sky--lots & lots of sky.

There was no phone & no computer, just old furniture, old books &, best of all, old oriental rugs that warmed in the strong afternoon sunlight to make the place smell like an old house. And, by staying away during the week--even if I needed a book that was only a dozen steps away--I preserved the important feeling of away-ness, so that going down there on a winter's Saturday morning, reading, painting a watercolor, taking an afternoon nap on the antique sofa with the sun streaming in, then getting up and fixing bacon & eggs & hash browns in my grandmother's cast-iron skillet, all that stuff was ten times more therapeutic than a four-hour bumper-to-bumper trip on the Tollway to Wisconsin. By Sunday afternoon, when it was time to go home, I was totally recharged & ready for the new week.

When the big apartment that I had waited a decade for finally opened up, I had to consolidate both of my apartments & give up the weekend place just to afford the new place, but when finances allow, I'm going to do it all over again. I miss getting away. My friends, of course, will again call me crazy, but then, they do that anyway.

Acanthus and Acorn said...

Yes it would! A truly great description!!!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Magnaverde, I'll be in Chicago this weekend, would love to meet up if you're free for coffee or a meal! I've lost your email, please email me if you are free!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Woody, did you take any pictures of little hideaways while in Rome?
24, I'm headed there now, warning in hand!,
Magnaverde, what a great idea to have a little hideaway close by!! I suppose in a larger space this could be just a 'spare room' or in a house a 'mancave' or little room up in the attic. Your space sounded heavenly!

pve design said...

My little spot would be inside of a museum~ after the doors have closed and I would have it all to myself.
pve

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Patricia, great idea!!! The Venetian bedroom at the MET in the furniture galleries would be where I would choose!!!

Kwana said...

I would love a little spot in Paris like that.

sandrajonas.com said...

Stefan, I just get out into the garden. Sometimes with a book, sometimes with a trowel.

Love your romantic description, what a rich imagination!
xs

home before dark said...

When I redo my husband's study before he retires, I'm making it into a study, dressing room, dreaming room complete with a daybed. I've been retired since 1995. I've had plenty of time to "get away." Now it will be his time. His grandmother's pillow is the inspiration: Naps are too good for cats so I take them myself. Loved the Magna story.

Semigloss Chic said...

Quiet urban street. Iron steps. small yard. Red front door. That would be heaven.

Share my Garden said...

Can I have two? The first would be a small apartment in Venice, around the Dorsoduro and my second somewhere by the sea - Antibes, perhaps?

Jeanne-Aelia Desparmet-Hart said...

What a great place.
The pulley that you see above the dormer roof was used to hall coal or hay into the building attic which this was originally. The little dormer is like a short hall in the room and is ubiquitous in Paris in the very old parts of town. Great post.

Lord Cowell said...

Love it. I can just imagine it plays home to a bijoux jewelry designer or a tormented poet. :-)

theduchessofH said...

Mine woud be sitting on a wide verandah,sipping a mint julep; surrounded by numerous beaux vying for attention, and fighting over who's going to get Miss Scarlett another cocktail.