What I Mean about Multi-Use

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I grew up in a grand house with a formal living room (well-appointed with white carpet, yellow sofa, yellow background painting with blackbirds concerned about some black berries, tasteful chairs and coffee table, cold fireplace; I went in there to practice piano and a Christmas), a den (with books and a TV which we really weren’t allowed to watch except on Sunday evenings–Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom and half of Disney–although, if I finagled it right, I could ask my dad about my algebra homework right when Laugh-In was starting and I could watch the whole show before we got to my equations), family room (TV, wet bar, all the games, fireplace we did use sometimes, wonderful windows to the lush backyard), a formal dining room (for Sundays when Grandma came and adult parties).  It occurred to me often as a child that we had too many rooms.  The kitchen was too small, considering we usually ate in there, and it looked out at the driveway.  The dining room had a door out to the garden that we never used.  All five rooms together claimed a ton of space, and we used so little of it.  I’d imagine collapsing the living and family rooms–maybe even the den into one single living space; the kitchen and dining room together could open gracefully to the garden.

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So, in the RiverHouse, the same room can be the yoga studio, the banquet hall, the choral rehearsal or piano concert.

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If it’s nice out, we eat breakfast outside; this morning, it’s cool, so I ate just inside the windows.

The same space where I set chairs for the concert or my mat to practice yoga is my “office.”  I am writing right now from  here:

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