Sometimes I worry that we don’t use the big studio room in our house enough. It was, in fact, the reason we bought this house – against all reason. Well, Douglas says I forced him to buy this house. And it is true I had a deep sentimental attachment to the house, having passed it and often said hello, as it were, on my way to my grandmother’s house.
In some ways they shared similarities. Both were rather blunt-faced houses, unusual and not the exact run of the mill villa which you sometimes see reproduced side by side in streets, put up by speculator-builders. And in fact both this house and my grandmother’s house were one-of-a-kind, built for a particular person. My grandparent’s house was built by the family firm for my grandparents when they got married, so it had the slight endearing irregularities of an individual house. (I particularly liked the back passage past the bathroom, which seemed secretive and unusual.)
This house of course took all its logic from this massive studio room. It created the large plain street frontage and – all in all – is a sort of out of kilter huge room. When we first recreated the studio, at vast physical effort on Douglas’s side – while I did the painting match-ups – we couldn’t use it enough.
We often ate dinner in there, even a deux, sometimes seeming to echo those scenes in Citizen Kane where two people sit at a vast table in a gargantuan room. We luxuriated in its space and used it as often as possible.
Over time, the wonder did not exactly pall – but the winters rendered the room icy. You would hurry through, on your way to the snug little kitchen.
I always regretted not making a little book to hand visitors so one didn’t have to reproduce the same explanation each time a new visitor exclaimed in wonder. (Yes, we found it in three horrible rooms, the ceiling lowered. Yes, this is the original colouring, the boards were underneath. No, it wasn’t all intact, we had to mend it where it had been pulled apart. Yes, it was an artist’s studio. Yes, he was a colonial artist. No, you won’t have heard of him. And yes, finally, that is one of his paintings over there on the wall.)
Anyway, long story short and this is to say that, though we no longer eat in there as often, there is ‘food for the eyes’ every time you walk through.
The fact is I just enjoying looking at it – into its space.
It is sheer luxury to occupy such deep picturesque space. Sometimes I dress it a little, so it changes how it looks. Douglas’s purchase of these two citrine coloured lampshades, to go on these old fashioned standard lamps, gives the room a lovely glow.
The fact there are two of them also gives the vast space a pleasing symmetry. So…we still enjoy this space. You can just enjoy the luxury of having a beautiful room – even if you are only walking through it.