Before the Lockdown, we lived in six of the rooms in our nine-room house. We slept in the bedroom, and used the adjoining bathroom. We watched TV in the TV room (den, to real estate agents.) We cooked in the kitchen, ate in the dining room, read and had our pre-dinner glasses of wine in the living room.
We have been empty nesters for a while, and our two sons’ bedrooms remained like shrines to their memory, used only when one or the other or both returned with family to celebrate some occasion. The third bedroom formerly doubled as an in-home office and official guest room. Since we have retired, the office function faded. It was nicer for me to work in the corner of the living room where I could exchange an occasional comment with my spouse. The two extra bathrooms were dusted fairly regularly, and before any guest arrived we ran water in the sinks and tubs to make sure the pipes weren’t rusty.
But after twelve weeks of lockdown, we have reclaimed our un-used territory. Rooms that were seldom used have acquired a new purpose, rooms that were used for one purpose are now multi-tasking.
The TV room is still where we watch TV, but it is also my exercise studio, as my thrice-weekly exercise class has moved to Zoom. And it also serves as a chldren’s library, as I have collected all the children’s books in the house and spread them out on the sofa as resource for my bi-weekly Skype Story Time with my toddler grand-daughter.
The guest bedroom is now my husband’s physical therapy room, where he can practice the exercises designed to stretch the muscles and sooth the nerves of various aching joints. And it serves as an classroom extension, where I can participate in some online classes and meetings without disturbing my housemate’s reading or TV watching.
The living room is still the reading room, and includes a table for my in-home office, but we have added a card table in front of the picture window for whatever jigsaw puzzle is occupying my idle moments.
My second son’s bedroom has become my sewing center, my mother’s sewing machine lifted out of its cradle for instant availability and both beds strewn with fabric from previous and planned projects.
I’m lucky, I know, to have space to expand into. I wonder, once the world opens up again, whether I will be able to confine my life back down to only six single-purpose room