Copyright 2019 Lisa Hess
Because the third bedroom in our house is on the first floor, it has served many purposes over the more than 25 years we’ve lived in our house. When we first moved in, it was a catchall for the stuff we didn’t know where to put. Eventually it became an office and then, after my daughter was born, the catchall zone again – this time for the place to keep all of the things we didn’t want a toddler to get into. Its longest assignment was as a playroom for our daughter, but once she’d outgrown the need for a space where her Barbies and Polly Pockets could roam free, the playroom slowly begin to morph into something else.
The first steps we took upgraded the space to tween/teen tastes in small ways. New posters, a desk, a Wii. A sofa along one wall. Later, as my daughter spent more time in her room, my husband laid claim to the playroom, leading us to jokingly refer to the room as the man cave (though my daughter still claimed the room as hers). The turf wars (or a friendly version thereof) continued as my husband installed a (too) big TV across from the sofa but, undeniably (and under paternal protest), the space has morphed into a family room.
In retrospect, once we got the big (reclining) sofa, it was all over for the man cave. Even after my daughter left for college what had been my husband’s zone on the weekends became my work zone during the week (the reclining sofa beat the uncomfortable office chair hands down). In the evenings, he and I sit together and watch television, and I look around the room, trying to figure out how I can make this ever-evolving space better.
My latest brainstorm? A bookcase. I would like to say that this idea was inspired by a knack for creativity or home design but, the truth is, it was inspired by the pile of books and reading materials that was nesting near my spot on the sofa. I was so sure that this was the I need to see it solution I needed that immediately upon coming up with the idea I went online, found what I wanted, and placed an order.
And I am not disappointed. Far from it, in fact. Not only is the floor clear of my not-so-little nest of reading materials, but the bookshelf is less deep than what was there before, so access to the closet is easier. The shelving unit is the same height and depth as the unit beside it (by design — I knew exactly what I wanted this time around), so it blends in better and, silly as it sounds, makes me feel a sense of spaciousness although I’ve recaptured only inches of space.
Then again, maybe I’ve recaptured more than that. With the clutter appropriately (and visibly) housed, I’ve recaptured floor space, too. Best of all, everything is where I can see it, but neatly so, which makes my husband happy, too. Vestiges of playroom remain, mostly in the things hanging on the walls, but I’m in no hurry to remove them. My now grown-up daughter is spending this semester abroad, and I like the reminders of a time when she was closer to home.
Though I’m sure the room will undergo more changes once my daughter finishes school and gets a place of her own, rendering our house her childhood home instead of just “home,” I think the room itself is destined to be an ever-changing space. Some of these changes, like my bookcase, will be organizationally inspired, but others will reflect life changes, as they always have. Rather than inspiring a sense of incompleteness, these changes inspire in me a sense of endless possibility. I like our room the way it is now, just as I liked it when it was a playroom. I don’t know what changes will come next but, as always, one size does not fit all (rooms) or, in this case, even this one room.
And the freedom inherent in that makes me a little giddy.