There was an article in The New York Times, “Living Apart Together,” that I recently read, in which the author wrote about how many long-term couples choose to maintain separate living quarters. Doesn’t sound very intimate but I understand this. In fact, the husband and I have discussed how nice it would be, after we win the lotto, to buy the house next door and have just that; his and hers.
Although many couples in the article live in separate neighborhoods, I think we’d stick to next door, maybe with a secret passageway. And, lest you think we’re being extravagant, the two homes together would only be about 1200 square feet and hardly a mansion. But there is something nice about being able to put all the technology into one house: his. And all the artsy creative things into the other: mine. I could live in history without giving up modern things or driving my family crazy.
People need a place to retreat and recharge, not always a solitary place but a place that has some sort of unity in purpose. Of course, this totally goes against the living small mantra of multi-use efficiency über alles. But, what would be wrong with small pods of purpose? In our own home, we’ve managed to make due without overlapping spaces. The office is for office work, the living room is for whatever people do in living rooms, eating in the dining room, cooking in the kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, and so on.
And then there is the issue of decorating. Certainly, here is a topic on which many a couple don’t see eye to eye. I can absolutely see how it would be very attractive to some, especially those who’ve long established their own space, to want to keep their own ideas about the space they call home intact. For example, I don’t think any guy could be remotely comfortable in Shabby Chic (or perhaps, I don’t judge). But, I can’t complain. As far as I know, the husband and I have fairly similar tastes. I don’t like anything really girly and he’s OK with things that are on the vintage side.
I do know he’d like a garage; a sort of mad-mechanic’s workshop. I feel really bad our little urban cottage didn’t quite come with one of those. For myself, I would like a music/sewing room, mostly because I like privacy when I work and I miss having a piano. But in the meanwhile, we make it work and who knows? Maybe one day we’ll upgrade to a slightly larger row house.