This week S has taken the lead and begun a campaign to bring the snug back into the fold. Each night without fail he has cleared and cleaned, organised and arranged until the bare bones of a room has began to emerge ….its potential flickering through its darkened abandonment like a glimmering light at the end of a long old tunnel.
A tunnel is indeed one word which has been used to describe it….a darkened space through which one can pass …if unhindered by building materials ….to go from kitchen to front door. ‘Cell’ is an unflattering other…..as described by S in response to the high window installed in the place of the old full-length one in a futile bid to try and increase the limited light it is exposed to following the dusty consumption of the side return, its previous outlook. And whilst its associations with imprisonment may need to be shrugged off, its likening to a cave might not … as the closeting feeling to which it refers may in this case need to be embraced rather than avoided.
These associations have not been helped up until now by the barricades erected between the snug and the kitchen with a motley selection of old doors and plywood…an attempt to bar the inquisitive (though as it turns out fairly uninterested) O from its depths. With these slid away in a final flourish at the culmination of S’s clearing regime we can now see not paint pots, ladders, tools or offcuts but the barely plastered wall opposite staring back at us expectantly….perhaps wondering how many varying shades of paint its indecisive female owner might choose to daub upon it.
Indeed its decoration is one perplexing issue which faces us….do we go pale in an attempt to brighten it up? Or take the plunge and admit defeat, going dark and purposely so? But It’s identity is another and its perhaps in better establishing that…its use… which will help shed the light needed – metaphorically speaking …..light being, of course, the problem here – on the issue of colour palette.
I once lived in a flat shaped like a squared ring encircling a communal stairwell and I always wondered if the reason I felt so ill at ease was because the heart of my home was a public thoroughfare. In some respects we suffer a similar problem here. Smack bang in the centre of our house is a room which as well as looking like a hole is serving us similarly. It has been a tardis in which to dump building equipment and for a time, the builders themselves. Perhaps the reason why we have so readily accepted its possession by famously C followed by both K and P is that its need to us has always been superfluous ….and therein lies its problem. Its existence is in many ways a luxury…we already have a lounge. A kitchen/diner. O has a large bedroom. So its purpose is not dictated by need and without that to drive its design, what will?
Whilst need can be narrowly defined, want is altogether more expansive without the logical parameters to rein in what has become a mounting wishlist. A number of uses present themselves and with no form of prioritisation all are clamouring for top billing. I can imagine Phil Spencer leaning conspiratorially into camera to whisper “But what is this room? Buyers will be confused and the owners look confused….” before stepping purposefully out of shot and into, in all probability, a wall. (Hypothetically. Phil would, of course, professionally style it out plus I’m not moving. Ever.)
So, to our wishlist.
I’ve always thought the snugs predominate use would be as a playroom but recently I’ve realised that it will never be used as such. With the sofa corner of the kitchen being much more desirable I must acknowledge (unbegrudgingly I might add) that toys will be played with in the kitchen. After all….its O’s home too and why should sunlight and a garden view be reserved solely for adults? So ‘playroom’ is crossed off the list ….with the more sun-adverse ‘toy storage’ added in its place.
Book storage is another planned use and I have spoken numerous times about our coveted library wall. So no more need be said about that at this point until we decide what it is to be made of.
From where we coined the name ‘snug’ I do not know but its adopted use has evoked in both S and I the aspirational image of a soft and cosy space…our train of thought perhaps encouraged in this direction by the discovery of the fireplace. It’s not a use which sits altogether comfortably with the idea of a bright and cheerful playroom….in fact the library wall and its cocooned position within the house lead one down an avenue of thinking lined with club leather chairs, decanters and standard lamps. So whilst we might not go quite to those ‘gentlemens club’ extremes something comfortable and secluded to provide a quiet refuge from the hubbub of the kitchen is one idea. And thats a challenge. Right now even its name feels like a ludicrously high expectation for a room which feels frankly rather hostile.
It was once planned, on paper, to combine its use with that of an office but we have decided, should we be lucky enough to be in a position to think about decommissioning the office upstairs in favour of a nursery, to cross that bridge when we come to it. Leaving us with a fifth desired use which is one of a TV den…it’s darkness working, in that instance, very much in its favour.
The colour-palette solution? So far there isn’t one though I have gotten as far as
1) digging out some inspiration (gorgeously hued flashcards) and propping them against a wall
2) ordering some paint samples as I think I’ve ruled out the sagey green I once painted the lounge…though I’m not sure….
3) taping the swatches to the wall above the cards
4) staring at the space …. for ages..
5) asking my husband.
“Which of those two shades do you like?” I asked, pointing to the two swatches taped to the wall, their Earthborn names scrawled in the top right corners.
He took a look. Then he peered closer.
“Marbles.” He said decisively. “Definitely not Mittens. No no no. Yes….”, a nod, “Marbles.”
And If I’m not mistaken and I’m not losing mine….I think he, quite possibly, was taking the mittens…..