The Stage Set For Our Dreams

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Stage Set For Our Dreams

When The Songwriter and I married, we moved into our cottage with nothing but a baby grand piano and a bed. Our priority boxes were ticked and, as far as we were concerned, we were starting out with the most vital of possessions.
Music and the perfect place to sleep.
Really, what more does one need?
As an unabashed and inveterate nester, the bedroom is always the room I decorate first, long before the more public spaces are considered. They are the rooms most personal, most illustrative of who we are when no one is looking. Bedrooms are our sanctuaries, our havens -they are the stage sets for our dreams and as such they should always mirror the purest, most colourful, parts of ourselves.
A beautiful bedroom is, in my thinking, crucial to the well-being of the psyche. One should always be able to banish the rigors of the world to the other side of the bolted bedroom door and retreat to a spot where the provisions of beauty can be found in abundance.
This is where the best books should be stacked on the downiest chairs.
Where the loveliest paintings should hang on the walls and the sweetest photographs grace the polished bedside tables.
Here, the fragrance of fresh flowers should always float in the air and, weather permitting, the windows should always be open.
There should be a windowseat for daydreams and a magical bed, lavender scented and dressed to the nines, to snuggle inside when the dark darkness falls.

I’ve felt this way since I was little. I was most particular about the arrangement of the Teddy Bears and Babars that shared my bed - one wrongly placed paw could have thrown the whole thing off. Of course, when I was little, the penultimate bed was a canopied one. No surprise, I suppose, that my bedroom contains a paneled, well-curtained, four poster today.
Growing up, I would get lost inside the rooms of fiction, imagining the London bedroom of Jane and Michael Banks with patterned carpets on the floors and a dappled rocking horse in the corner.
I would conjure the opulent bedroom of Countess Olenska in New York, giving it red damask walls, silk sheets and white lilies.
My mind simply danced when I considered the treehouse bedroom, lit by boatloads of stars, that belonged to that lucky Swiss family by the name of Robinson.
And how I loved the delightful description, in My Family and Other Animals, of little Gerry’s bedroom at the strawberry-pink villa in Corfu, where the tangerine trees hung thick with flowers just outside the shuttered window and an ash- grey owl named Ulysses slept each day away atop the window pelmet.
I have no doubt that all those literary wanderings greatly influenced my preferences today, although I must admit that I do now prefer my owls outside the window rather than in.

When traveling, where I sleep is infinitely more important than what I eat. Quite candidly, I often forget to eat, especially when it comes to lunch, which is but one more reason I love to travel in Britain. Their afternoon tea is so perfectly timed for someone who’s forgotten to eat since breakfast. But where I lay my head is another matter. Before booking into any hotel or inn, I scrutinize web photos of the bedrooms as if in preparation for an exam. I read guide book after guide book, choosing carefully in order to find a writer who obviously shares my proclivities for comfort. I mean, after all, who wants to spend an enchanting day out under the skies of a new world only to return to a room devoid of any sort of magic? No matter the strength of the wifi connection, or the thread count of the sheets, if a room doesn’t have the right ambiance, I am as miserable as that poor princess and the pea.
Fortunately, The Songwriter indulges this persnickety peccadillo of mine, and we’ve stayed in some truly wonderful rooms as a result, often over the protestations of the proprietor who attempted to place us in a more “modern” room, insisting that the stairs were too steep to get to the tower. Ah yes, but the climb was so worth it!
My recent trip to London was no exception to this rule and I thought you might like to see the room I chose for this solo adventure.
Believe me, it was like sleeping in Aladdin’s lamp itself!
Do tell me about your bedroom!
Any owls?

The Ellen Terry room at The Draycott Hotel, Chelsea

and a teeny glimpse of my own,
where there is also a wee bit of tartan,
and a fat, paisley dog bed.

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