In that delightful musical, “My Fair Lady,” Lerner and Lowe’s scrappy heroine, Eliza, sang wistfully,
“All I want is a room somewhere
Far away from the cold night air
With one enormous chair,
Oh, wouldn’t it be loverly!”
Like Eliza, many of us have experienced a deep yearning for a haven, a sanctuary — some place away from the hustle and bustle of an increasingly stressful world.
Today’s homes often feature a “man cave” or a woman’s dressing room to satisfy that desire for the man and the woman of the house.
When I got together with my friend, Lynn, recently, the conversation turned to the subject of a just such a refuge. This mother of two teens is a gifted business woman. She runs her sometimes hectic household with efficiency and grace. But lately she’s been longing for a place of her own, a small get-away space. So, she decided to transform a spare bedroom into her private retreat.
She reported on the weeks she spent choosing a soothing wall color, picking out curtains, pillows and other items, both large and small.
The finishing touch for Lynn’s custom-designed space was a comfortable reading chair and lamp.
After describing the project, Lynn brought out a photo of the completed project. It was a tribute to her artistic talents. I could visualize her — seated in the cozy chair and wrapped in the comfort of this peaceful setting. It will be the ideal place for her to recharge before getting back to her busy life.
Many years ago, in my teen years, I, too, had decided to turn one of the spare rooms in my rambling childhood home into a refuge. My plan was to design a spot where I could free my imagination and creativity. I was certain, as teens often are, that I was destined to write amazing literature, if only I could find some solitude.
With a glowing vision of my dream space in mind, I went to the fabric store and bought four yards of a brown, coral and turquoise material that seemed to inspire me. Over one long summer, I cut out pictures of rooms, furniture arrangements, color schemes — anything that might fit into my retreat plan. And, I even found enough ambition to cover a pillow with some of my “inspirational” fabric.
But, as often happens with the ambitious plans formed in the teen imagination, this one faded away as summer waned and another school year got underway.
In the end, I had a collection of clippings and, of course, that token inspirational pillow. It stayed on my bed well into my college years.
When I remember that long-ago dream room and think of the lovely haven Lynn has established, I can understand once more the longing Eliza expressed when she sang, “All I want is a room somewhere....”
Best of all would be that “one enormous chair.”
“Oh, wouldn’t it be loverly.”