I’ve always thought of the formal living room in our house as a bit of a waste.
The original part of our home was built in 1948 and this little room, right when you walk in the front door was the only living area. Though it’s small, it was very well designed. It’s opened to the dining room with a wide arch and windows face south and west, letting in lovely light all day. When the windows are open in the adjacent dining room and the living room, a nice cross breeze flows through the space…certainly a pre-central-air-conditioning essential.
But when the owners before us added on a new kitchen, a master suit, and a family room, that little living room became redundant. I also didn’t see much versatility in the space, since you walk smack into it from the front door. “Hello, welcome to my workout room/play room/home office, etc…” didn’t really work for me.
So, I followed tradition and used it as a formal living room. It’s always been one of my favorite rooms in the house, because of the light and because it could be a “pretty room”. I didn’t have to think about seating that would be comfortable for moving-watching or a wrestle-friendly coffee table.
Despite it being one of my favorite rooms, I always felt like we underutilized that square footage.
Now that everything is packed and shrink-wrapped, I realized that I didn’t give this room enough credit. Jeff voiced today exactly what I was thinking. “I really miss those chairs in the living room and now I realize how much I actually sat in there!”
And I have realized that, too, as I walk through the house, trying to find a quiet place for a phone call or for Jeff and I to steal away a private conversation, or just to take a breath. Sometimes I just need a breath. The chair I would usually sit in is now cocooned in shrink wrap.
It’s been a reminder to me how easy it is to overlook the value of something until it’s gone.
This discovery has also brought me some satisfaction. This room wasn’t just a room prettied up for the pictures. It wasn’t a wasted space at all. It was utilized for moments of quiet, reflection, connection, and rest.
And if that isn’t valuable? I don’t know what is.