I have this plan, see…

During my English sojourn I spent one particularly exhaustive afternoon ensconced in pillows in an upstairs room of Claydon House. My roommate, Rachel, wasn’t feeling well (we were all run a bit ragged at that point), so I happily sat with her in a designated reading area and flipped through back issues of National Trust Magazine.

Red arrow indicates the relaxation station

The reading area was nothing fancy: three nondescript couches surrounding a low table in front of a hearth. The rest of the room was bare, with tall windows overlooking the grounds. My classmates milled about and eventually one of the Trust curators sat down with us. We chatted idly about the house and the course thus far and I began to feel quite at home.

I remember the afternoon so well because it was the first time I had ever just… sat down at a historic house. I’ve done all kinds of things at historic houses: lolled on the floor; crawled in the eaves; picnicked on the grass. I spend most of my waking hours in a historic house — but when I’m here I’m usually, you know, working. It was such a simple pleasure to sit and enjoy a space in such a passive, ordinary way.

We spend a great deal of our time trying to impress our visitors with the uniqueness (and the historical gravity, and the cultural importance, and the total awesomeness) of the Hermitage, but maybe the point is that we should provide more couches.

I’m in the middle of redesigning the West Gallery, and as a part of that overhaul I’d like to include some couches for reading/sitting/resting. Mrs. Sloane always intended for her home to be a place where the public could gather, relax, and learn about art. Why not keep it going?

If you have a moment, would you mind putting the matter to a vote? Click the link below and be a part of the decision (it redirects you  to the poll):

Blog Polls

Cheers, m’dears!

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2 thoughts on “I have this plan, see…

    • Thanks, Jen! I agree (in case you hadn’t guessed…)

      Something I neglected to add in the post is that houses were meant to be lived in, and so that is how they should be used in perpetuity! Most rooms at the Hermitage were designed for relaxing and were meant to be viewed from a recumbent position. The more time you spend in each room, sitting completely still, the more the room’s lavish detail reveals itself. And so: I think the best way to experience a home is to allow visitors to make themselves at home. It seems simple, but it’s a hard concept to swallow when your main priority is preservation. (Because the easiest way to keep something pristine is for nobody. to. touch. it.)

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