Today’s post comes from Crystalbay

Coming from a perpetually remodeling or redecorating set of parents, I’ve always enjoyed changing up my own home, one room at a time throughout the years. That is, until I moved to the cottage. I had no deadline for selling the home I’d lived in for thirty years since we could move to the lake any time we were ready.

I spent months preparing the story and a half home for selling, doing things I’d always wanted done and never quite gotten to like painting the inside of cupboards and closets. There was a bare area in the backyard which never grew grass, so I tilled it, put a rabbit fence around it, and place a sign saying, “Future garden”. We made our own brochures, rented a sign, and sold it within and hour of the only open house.

Because my dad left us a healthy amount of life insurance money, I was able for the first time in my life to purchase anything I wanted for the cottage: furniture, new cedar shake roof, furnace, appliances, new countertops, etc. By the time we moved out here, everything was upgraded and downright perfect.

It’s been fifteen years, and I did such a good job renovating it that I haven’t change a single thing. Until two weeks ago, that is.

I’m extremely sedentary and, like most people, found my favorite “spot” in the cottage: my den. This den has my TV, stereo, books, Iphone, laptop – everything I need at my fingertips. I’ve spent most of my waking hours on the small couch and saw clients in the two comfy chairs on either side. At night, I’d go up to a bedroom overlooking the lake.

A few weeks ago, my daughter and best friend talked me into remaking the den into my master bedroom. They voiced their concern that I’d fall down the steps, break my hip, and then die. The result, after weeks of shopping, cleaning out, hanging curtains, and painting is a room every woman could only dream of.

I’ve been in it now for a few days and have encountered a few problems, not the least of which is that using a bed for a couch makes me feel like I’m in bed all day, which makes me feel even older and more feeble than I felt before. I’ve actually felt guilty about not using the view-to-die-for bedroom upstairs. My cats are unhappy, too. Peanut’s had the same routine up there every night for 12 years.

I’ve discovered that not leaving just one room all day long is oppressive and maybe even emotionally unhealthy. I know that I could sleep upstairs and hear the lake lapping up on the shoreline as well as see the silhouette of the lake any time I choose, but feel beholden to use my new bedroom. Oddly, this is the only room in my place that doesn’t have a lake view. I rationalized that I only went up there in the dark and came downstairs right away. So why miss it?

Oddly, it never occurred to me that I could still sleep upstairs until a friend pointed this out. I resisted this for about four nights, then being in the new room began to feel entrapping. Being literally in the same spot almost every waking hour, no matter how inviting, wasn’t working for me, so last night, I trekked upstairs and slept in my old bed. I’d never truly appreciated this spot with the lake breezes and nature’s beauty just outside the window like I did last night.

I now realize that breaking up a pattern by using different rooms, not just one, is important. I’ve decided to sleep in the old bedroom at least through the summer and maybe even the rest of my life. I owe it to the cats and not feeling bed-ridden.

Do you have a spot in your home that feels like your own sanctuary?

79 thoughts on “Sanctuary”

  1. Morning all. Nice piece CB, although I did a doubletake when I saw the picture; I have the same quilt on my bed!

    I have two sanctuaries I suppose – across the hall from each other. I love sitting on my bed, on the trail or reading or watching tv. I have windows on 3 sides of my bedroom, so although I do get the hot afternoon sun, I also get a great breeze. Remodeled several years ago with all my favorites: purple paint, clouds as trim, polar bear art and dreamcatchers.

    My other sanctuary is my studio, where I do most of my crafts. It’s not so much the room itself as the activity. I find making my cards and calendars and scrapbooks extremely relaxing, so I love being in there too!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Nice job, Cb, both on the blog and on the remodeling. Is that a photo of you old bedroom? I’m assuming it is because I see water through the window.

    My home, the entirety of it, is my sanctuary. For me, the definition of sanctuary includes most importantly “a place where I feel safe.” There are various rooms in the house that serve different functions.

    My favorite place for a morning cup of coffee and reading the newspaper, hands down, our front porch. It’s a room, painted sunflower yellow, with a lot of windows. The morning sun is glorious there.

    Our downstairs bathroom, “my” bathroom, I love. It’s walls are clad with aromatic cedar and has the feel of a sauna, which it is not. has an old claw foot bathtub which I love. It’s a great place for a long soak.

    “My” kitchen needs renovation badly, but we keep procrastinating because our grandiose plans get in the way. But because I love to cook, it’s still a place that I enjoy spending time.

    Our dining and living room sort of flow into each other. They feel comfortable, but worn; sort of like a comfortable old pair of slippers. With as much old family heirloom furniture as we have, I doubt that will ever change, although there are days when I long for a fresh start. That will probably not happen until if and when we move to a condo or an apartment. Knowing us, we’ll probably haul most of the old stuff with us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Your post made me realize what is wrong with many assisted living arrangements…each person has only one room in their private ‘space’. There is a dining hall, and usually a lobby, but in your space there is only one room, thus making you feel trapped and limited. Thanks for writing about this…helps me understand my resistance to going to an assistant living facility unless it has more than one room.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I don’t have a space or the time to set something like this up, but it does look lovely.

    In the foreseeable future we will have strangers living right outside our west windows and the s&h has handed me the schedule I required him to make (because I don’t see how he will cram everything in without a time-turner). It starts at 6am and runs through 11pm.

    I think I will need to create a sanctuary for a mid-morning nap. Your room looks so lovely, cb. I may have to print it off for inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My boy’s school days. He thinks taking a full load at high school and 3 classes at the U and running cross country and doing robotics is a really good idea.

        I’m already tired.


        1. when does he have time for piano and math club? i can get him into an online math club so he doesnt have to spend drive time. has he got his philosophy classes plugged in?


  4. At present I don’t have a space that is just mine – no true sanctuary where I can close out the world. Mostly this is okay, but there are days where I want just a few minutes to escape – read the blog, catch up on Facebook, read my book…and the family manages to intrude. Sigh. Soon enough I’m sure I will miss the intrusions from Darling Daughter, so I shan’t fret about it. At least not today.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love being in the driver’s seat of my car. Singing along with the oldies without fear of criticism, is uplifting.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Rise and Find Sanctuary Baboons!

    There were several small sanctuary spots in my house, including the now downsized art studio downstairs. But as we near the end of the renovation (THIS WEEK!!! YAHOO) I don’t know my patterns yet.

    When we installed a gas unit in our fireplace downstairs 2 years ago, that warm, snug family room became a sanctuary for winter evenings. That space was not part of renovation, but all the furniture still huddles under plastic covers and blankets, so no sanctuary there at this time.

    Pretty room CB. And the picture includes the obligatory cat on the bed.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. My bedroom isn’t quite the sanctuary I want it to be yet. My roommate originally had this room, but when the landlords replaced the windows, we were told I could not sleep where I was because there was no proper emergency egress window. So, I moved into her room and she moved into the front room, which had once been a sleeping porch, but we had to do it quickly before the inspectors came. I just kind of piled my stuff into the room as best I could. I still haven’t put much of anything on the walls or properly organized, so it’s cluttered and has that kind of “living in the bottom of the fishbowl” feel. I don’t really even know what look or what kind of colors I really want. That might be a winter project, getting my room to look like someone lives there, instead of squatting.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Like PJ my whole house is my sanctuary, albeit a bit of a messy one. Within the house I love the screen porch in the summer, the living room the rest of the year….living room consists of book shelves, book stacks, art on the walls and a long 19th century handmade table and dozens of plants. Next best is the bedroom with the “princess and the pea” bed that requires a step stool to get into. Soft mattress with feather bed, down comforter that when I am in it I feel like being in a cloud cocoon. Outside the windows are multiple trees, vines encroaching on the windows and balcony. Green all around this time of year…soon to change to the reds and golds and yellows.

    Time to go to that other sanctuary, the animals and their barns.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Is there a rule that a sanctuary must be tidy? Seems to me that would violate the spirit of the place. It can be tidy, if that’s what you like, but it can be messy if that’s what you prefer.

      My friend, Sarah, who is a quilt maker, has the messiest studio that I know. But you see her there, and you know it’s a her place of pure bliss.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If you like tidiness, it is impossible to find sanctuary without it. There is nothing restful or relaxing about feeling you really should be cleaning instead of whatever you are doing.


  9. Today’s question saddens me. While I once had a sanctuary, I no longer do. I live in space I don’t own and which I don’t feel is mine in any way. Of course, we are all temps on this planet. We are all squatters, although it is nice that some of us have places to go that feed our souls and help us feel safe.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You are unfailingly supportive. I need to confess that I haven’t even put up any of the art you so carefully boxed for me. It is still in the box. Somehow, putting up art feels like staking a claim on this place. But the art is totally associated with an earlier time and place, and part of me can’t imagine it hanging here. Silly, I know.


        1. Part of the feeling of sanctuary for me is having visible something I love to look at when I am in that favorite chair, or on that porch. Might be time to do just that – get some of that artwork hung, even if it evokes the past. OR find some new artwork that you love to hang there…

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Not silly at all, Steve. Making such a Herculean lifestyle change at this stage of life is something that would disintegrate me, but your priority of being with family reflects the highest value there can be.

          Liked by 2 people

        3. Sometimes doing something we can’t imagine can be good. You could try hanging the art and see if you like it in your new place. If you dislike it, take it down. Sometimes just doing something, even if it’s not the perfect thing, helps you discover what you really want. Just an idea.


  10. I’ll have to say the screen porch, but not today unless the wind dies down. Then in winter, I have a favorite chair in a corner of the living room, next to the fake fireplace, for reading, writing. If I got an iPad or laptop…

    “Oddly, it never occurred to me that I could still sleep upstairs until a friend pointed this out.” I’ve done this many times – had my plan, by golly, and no going back… Good that you’re listing to yourself, CB.


    1. those off brand tablets are amazing for 69 dollars BiR do everything a computer does once you get the hang of it. android is fine today and supported as well as iPad. get ready for the fall with a tablet for your sanctuary.
      buy the upsie warranty and be good to go for a couple of years

      I don’t often recommend warranty stuff but upsie will turn the world on its ear in the next year or two. get downloaded and when you buy something scan the receipt and pay the reasonable price they offer instead of the prohibitive price normally associated with aftermarket insurance.


        1. when you get a tablet laptop you have the freedom to work everywhere. its a little like a smart phone. you cant get away any more. it calls out to you everywhere.
          the one place you have with a tablet is in wifi range of anywhere on the planet


  11. my sanctuary is between my ears
    I was once informed that when a dog goes into a new space there is an inner beacon that finds it’s place instinctively and completely. I try to go with that. my dogs do have 3 places each where they find nirvana. I allow myself a little freedom but go with the obvious. I have been fortunate to have the ability to get comfy in any location (almost) some respites are more interesting than others but sanctuary is a state of mind for me. I think of nice places, cozy places, places where things are right and I find the nicest room can lack those feelings and the armpit of the universe can be a good sanctuary of the moment ( you really need one in those places) so while I enjoy my bathtub and my kitchen and my car and my desk and my spot in the favorite coffee shop I’m not locked in
    for cb
    if your daughter is concerned about your falling down he stairs start searching craigslist foe one of those stair lifts you see on late night tv. they are available after people move out of their personal residence and are quite a bit less expensive once used than new, 500 vs 5000. I think the stairs might be your best excersize but if it’s a concern the granny lift could be an option

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Afternoon–

    First day of students here at the college. Nobody knows how to park today. And they can’t read the signs that say ‘Faculty Only Parking’. I got here early to beat the rush.

    Thanks for the story CB. I’m glad you’re making it work for you.

    When I was a kid I spent a lot of time in my room with headphones and listing to music. (Headphones with a long cord to reach from the stereo to my bed).

    These days I think a lot of places can be sanctuary to some extent.
    The tractor is a nice place to be. I’ve had some good times all by myself in the tractor after hectic or troublesome days at work — or in life.
    Go climb in a tractor and spend a few hours alone.
    I remember one day in particular after losing a family member and there was Peter Ostroushko on the radio and I cried a few rounds and felt better.
    I love to stand at the kitchen counter and read the paper.
    I like to sit out on the deck with my laptop.

    Yep, and here too.

    Liked by 7 people

  13. OT – Oh no! I just read an email from the St. Agnes Bakery. They are suspending, indefinitely, their first Saturday of the month retail sale. I know there are any number of baboons who go with some regularity, and will be saddened to hear this. Sorry baboons to be the bearer of bad news, but please remember, I’m just the messenger.


    1. Boo hoo. When they suspended it for the summer, it made me worry a bit. If they don’t start up again we’ll have to find some other fun things to do!


        1. i think you should protest while its still warm out.
          bring thermos’ of coffee and folding chairs and big signs and protest them closing their bakery.
          unfair to citizens of the twin cities.
          st agnes is real mean


  14. I spend much/most of my time (too much) in my computer room/den. I once did things to make it a sanctuary but it has become so messy that it doesn’t feel like one. This post has actually inspired me to rethink it.

    I would like to replace the desk and get rid of the huge 4 drawer 4′ high file. The desk is pretty old (over 20 years, non-Ikea DIY assembled) and when I had it moved it to redo floors, the movers didn’t guarantee its survival (it made it without damage). I hate the idea of just tossing ANYTHING but I would probably have trouble giving it away or getting it out of the house. I think I have to consider the emotional weight it puts on me, though.

    I bought a crazy felted wool rug online. I call it my “Scream” rug because it has the swirly stuff reminiscent of the Munch painting. The pattern is really too wild for such a small room and I found out why it was reasonable priced: it is shedding ridiculous amounts of rug-hair-balls.

    Your room looks beautiful, CB (even if it is stifling to you). Thanks for pushing me to rethink the place I spend so much time.


  15. Thanks, Lisa. At this early point, it almost feels “staged” like some living rooms used to be. Nice to look at, but not using much. As of writing the story last night, I’ve made a decision: sleep upstairs; computer/reading in the living room; then retire to the new room for all TV watching. That will make 3 living spaces instead of just one 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

      1. I’m two decades away from that, Tim! The stairs are about the only physical exercise I get and have never been a problem. What is a problem is my kids already fussing about this!


        1. About those stairs, I know them well, having lived upstairs in that house several months. They always struck me as the safest stairs I’ve known. Your kids’ thinking on this baffles me.


  16. I understand how helpful parents ‘ money can be after they have passed. We spent most of what we got from my parents’ estate on sensible things like siding and windows and garage doors . We then splurged on a dining room set and buffet. I am a little embarrassed to say that we went really high end and got Stickley furniture: a Mission keyhole trestle table, 8 chairs with classic arts and crafts design upholstered seats, and a buffet with art glass display. The designs are all from about 1904. It is a buffet, not a tall hutch. Our house is quite small and I find such peace and serenity sitting in the living room and looking into the dining area at that lovely and solid furniture. I hear my parents’ grandfather clock tick and see beyond the dining room table out the French doors onto the deck shaded by grape and hops vines. My house is my sanctuary.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Sounds wonderful, Tim. One belief of mine is spending down what I have on my kids. Why wait for them to split my assets after I’m gone? They need the money now, not after my death. Not to mention that’d rob me of the joy of seeing how they benefit while I’m still here.


  17. I have an attic. With a door that shuts. It’s the closest thing I have to quietness and privacy. I would be in the loony bin if I didn’t have this space.


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