Clean Slate

English: The Great Dining Room. Chatsworth House

NOT MY DINING ROOM: The Great Dining Room At Chatsworth House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Daily Post prompt “Clean Slate” wants us to explore the room we are in as if it is the first time we have encountered it and describe the person or people who inhabit(s) it. Or this is the prompt I am attempting with a little of my own paraphrasing.

The room I am in right now is an office slash dining room. Most of the walls have bookshelves starting from about four feet off the ground to the ceiling. They are jam-packed. Fuller than capacity. They hold mostly books but also a lot of mementos–not just bric-a-brac–but things that seem to be meaningful.

There are two desks which are really doors professionally finished off to look like furniture placed on six filing cabinets. One might wonder what it is in the filing cabinets as there are a lot of files and paperwork neatly piled on a shelf, under a shelf and on the desks. The room  looks neat as if it had been cleaned up for Christmas.

The dining room table has a lace tablecloth on it, and though one at first glance would not know it, the table is pretty clean compared to its usual state. The people who live here probably do not eat at the table formally every night, but on occasion.

The room has a laptop, business phone, an old fax machine unplugged so that no incoming faxes can be received, a combination printer/scanner/photocopy machine, and a calculator.

Book shelf

Book shelf (Photo credit: jayneandd)

If you were to come into this room you would think that the people who live here read a lot. And you would be right. You would think that there is a writer in residence from the titles of some of the books, and the names on some of the files. You would think they were running a contracting business from the names on the other files, and the calculator sitting on the dining room table may mean they do their own book work. You would think looking at this room that these people had potential. And you would be right. The people who live here have lots of potential, some of it still unrealized.

There seems to be an attempt at organization¬† in some areas. The rug is worn and in need of replacement. Kids were brought up here. You can tell by some of the pictures and memorabilia–basketball trophies, some Lego figures, pictures of boys at different stages of their school and athletic careers. And you see signs of creativity–homemade things, written things, projects unfinished. There is a picture propped up on one of the desks of a young happy couple on their wedding day. Seems to be from the early 1980’s from the style of the clothing.

This is a well-used room. It has a TV in one corner and an old stereo that is over a quarter of a century old. A CD player has been added to the works, but the record player still holds a place of honour. There are a few records and lots of CDs.

This is obviously a room where life is lived and work is done. It has seen blissful times and hard times. And it will see more of both.

Do you have a room that has seen blissful times?

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Published in: on January 13, 2013 at 2:33 pm  Comments (66)  
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  1. “There seems to be an attempt at organization in some areas…” cracks me up!
    What you describe sounds like a room full of life, real life. Those are the most comfortable rooms to be in. No pretense, no facade or set, just the marks of a genuine family. Lovely.

    • A lot of living goes on in this room–and why do you laugh at my attempt at organization? – ha ha

  2. Beautiful post, LouAnn. My favorite room in my house is my kitchen. My husband and I spend many hours in there preparing our meals together and it’s where our guests like to converge when we do dinner parties. A lot of communion has gone on in that wonderful room.

    • rooms really do make a difference in our lives–preparing meals with your husband is a wonderful thing

  3. I like this post a lot. I Suppose the kitchen is the room that has seen it all and still remains my favorite when I am when not asleep or outside.

    • my kitchen is not big enough to see it all–it is only a working kitchen not a visiting kitchen–someday I would like to have a visiting kitchen

  4. That sounds like a great room. Hopefully we will have rooms full of memories in our new place too. We already have memories in the rooms at the farm, but as a child in the house (husband) and as a visitor to it (me).

    Right now I am happy to rid myself of some of the memories of this house, like the basement that is currently flooding because the sumppump can’t keep up to the january thaw (great, just what I needed). The tall kid put the pump hose in the drainage ditch when playing outside, and all of the water has drained back into the house. Perfect.

    Just another painful part of the ongoing slow saga of our move.

    • I have dealt with things like that–and the only good thing is when they are over.
      Memories are wonderful things

  5. I loved this post! Your room is used to it’s full potential which is how a room should be used. It sounds like not only is it a place of wonderful memories, a resource library, a place to work and eat, but a place where everyone can be doing their own thing in the same space which I hope you all do. The worn rug to me would give the feeling of comfort.

  6. Hmmm…attempt at organization! Like that! I do that by keeping most of my rooms in great order, and arranging very neat stacks of things I’m working on in my work space…that’s pretty much my entire method…stacks! But they are very orderly! And I’ve attempted to transition as much as I can to digital files, lists, etc., so I’m not creating more paper for myself…not an easy thing to do for a person who loves the feel and act of writing! I think it is really useful to try to see your space with fresh eyes…I think of it like someone looking at my home to buy it…what am I so used to seeing that I no longer see? And what hits someone else between the eyes when they see my space for the first time? Helpful in many ways to do this! ~ Sheila

    • I was being a little gentle on myself–though right now the room is neat because of the holidays–you file the same way I do–by stacking

  7. My room has walls that have become a scrap book of illustrations, cards, photos, postcards, notes, stick men figures dancing on the edges of a torn page of maths equations, ribbons, little hanging ornaments, a huge collage of a woman and a number of small painted canvases. The images depict a decade of memories where I grew from drawings of Simba from the Lion King, to elegant charcoal life drawings.

    Many blissful memories.

    • And those walls are more elegant than anything found in a home magazine (I know because I used to work for one–and so much of the personality is taken out of the equation for fashion)

  8. You had me at your picture of Chatsworth’s dining room….and the realization that real life looks nothing like that…real life looks like stacks…

  9. Fabulous post which showed us you! The whole room and description made me think of out study where I work – except for the special tidiness!
    I agree with the above comment too! For just a moment I thought -my, that’s some dining room!
    All the best to you :)

    • don’t think I would work in a dining room like that!

      • Indeed not! You’d have a Butler and a Secretary and a Maid and …….

      • would that not be heaven? I think…………

      • :) Actually, I think I might get bored! :)

      • I would like to hire someone to do the bookwork though–I can answer my own door.

  10. We have moved around quite a bit, and each time I have put great effort into creating a home where visitors feel welcome and comfortable. No matter if we had a separate dining room or an eat in kitchen, no matter if it was a house with both living room and den, or like we have now, just one open living/dining/kitchen, the kitchen seems to where everyone always congregates. Of course, my bliss comes once I get to get off my feet and least take a seat at the table.

    • I know what you mean — my kitchen is not a congregating area–but I do resent doing all the cooking

  11. I know that room! We have an equivalent here, the room of all rooms, living, dining, reading, watching, relaxing, folding clothes, hanging clothes occasionally off the radiator, gazing out, writing, eating, drawing, decorated with kid pics, a tapa cloth, a Palestinian village crocheted wall hanging, the cat’s bed, an aquarium with 2 fish…… love it!

    I have to tell you that as a joke I gave a friend of mine a cookbook from 2003 that a client gave me with a box of others to donate to a second-hand booksale. I kept this signed hardcover copy of The Chatsworth Cookery Book because I deemed it very Downtonesque something my friend is very much into, it has a photo of a Duchess on the cover standing in front of that grand estate Chatsworth.

    I then looked into it only to learn the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire is the younger sister of Nancy Mitford, and I have to laugh looking at that dining table above and to admire this woman of 80 something years who published a cookbook this century and has not cooked since before the war and recommends for the best Devonshire cream that one must own a housecow. :)

    Lynn Barber wrote a hilarious interview with her at the time of publication, Too Posh to Pluck. Ok, I’ve gone too far now, I’m writing the post within the post :) but your photo couldn’t be viewed without sharing all these wonderful connections it inspired!

    • Thank you–you have added so much to this post–appreciate you sense of humour and history!

    • must get me a housecow

      • I had to laugh at that too – I grew up with one of my daily chores – being ’rounding up the housecow’, we didn’t live on an estate but a large sheepfarm, with 2 housecows, one for each season. As a result of that, I hate cream! Skimming it off the top of the bucket – gross!

      • what an interesting life you have had–I like 1% and skim–I remember the days of milk delivery at home and in the summer it was often sour–yuck

      • After milking (by hand too) the milk was put through a sieve and then into jugs and the cream was like a skin of thick, gooey substance on top, a farm girl I may have been – yes, but something about layer of cream didn’t work for me and I always refused it.

      • I can understand why

  12. L, I feel like I know you so much better after this post, and feel that I could sit with you at that lace-covered table with a cup of coffee and enjoy the warmth and comfort of the room and home you described. It is a home that has been lived in, full of life and adventures – with more life and adventures still to come. ~ Kat

    • I am glad this made you want to come for a cup of coffee–that this post showed some accessibility–I would love it if you could come, but even if that is not possible I am glad the warmth and comfort of my home came through–a high compliment indeed

  13. The way you describe your room makes it sound almost magical and homely :D – what a way with words!
    There is such a feeling of comfort and memories to come in it :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  14. I love this room and felt like I ‘was there’! It’s so full of life (and you still have a record player – I’m impressed!) :D

  15. “Most of the walls have bookshelves starting from about four feet off the ground to the ceiling.”

    Heaven!

  16. A lot of activity goes on in that room….Diane

  17. A room like you’ve described is a special room, indeed, because so much sharing has spiraled out across the world from it. Thank you for sharing your special room with us, LouAnn.

  18. we have only lived in our house for three years–still trying it on but I love every inch of it :)

    • that is a good thing

      • Yup :)

  19. I have a dear friend who is a reporter as are her husband and son. When I was reading this I thought you were in her house! Avid readers & writers tend to have stuff.

  20. Lovely reading about your room – which was really reading about your life… you’ve made me look around mine, which is also multi multi poly-purpose !!!

  21. I think general living areas have seen mostly bliss. This is where we hang out & have fun. This is where we hang out for family gatherings filled with priceless moments & good times. The mess – what’s that. We’re too busy enjoying the good times ;)

    • I like you attitude about mess — where there is no life there is no mess

  22. I’ve been in your dining room many times, and it is as you have described it, a well lived and loved room, but more importantly it has soul and that comes from the folks that inhabit it.

  23. This was a cool writing prompt! Nice work! I see you’re friends with my mom, A Gripping Life! Thanks for following my blog :)

  24. Love the description. I work at an old kitchen table that is now in the “office” since our kitchen now is too narrow for people, let alone a table. All the rooms in my London flat are narrow–I wonder why. I have to turn sideways to get to my toilet. I’m used to it now and only whack my arm or leg on the towel rack every other day.

    • my house is small and crowded and I whack myself quite regularly and stub my toes so often I think I have broken a few

  25. Nice post! I guess my kitchen is the catch-all for everything – it’s a large room and on one wall are all the electronics (computer and TV right next to each other). If I only had one room to live in – it would be my kitchen.

    • so many people choose their kitchen–one day I would like to have a kitchen is more than just functional but where I want to spend time with family and friends

  26. [...] you ever looked around your home and truly tried to describe your home honestly to yourself? Lou Ann takes us through one room in her home.¬† If ever someone made their home fit their needs it’s [...]

    • Thank you for including me in your Friday Faves–I always check this out and tune into some of the blogs you highlight–this week I am determined to drink more water, make stuff even if I don’t have the proper pans, and be happy we are getting rid of that awful bug.

  27. [...] Clean Slate (onthehomefrontandbeyond.wordpress.com) [...]


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