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It's so damn easy to write about great rooms and kitchens. They inspire us to clip pages from magazines and books and say breathlessly to anyone who will listen, "I will be the happiest I've ever been in THIS space."

And I believe it.

Well, sort of.

I would submit, however, that we're happiest in those spaces I call "Little Sanctuaries." I wrote about this in Log Home Living's January 2009 issue. Here's a little of what I said:

"We never had a workshop in our home. There was a good reason for this: My father wasn’t handy. His labor was limited to repairing gutters or trimming trees, and he wasn’t particularly good at either. This didn’t bother him in the least, as I’m sure he realized his shortcomings and focused on other endeavors where his talents blossomed (most notably sports). Which meant that his tools, as limited as they were, sat in the basement’s laundry room on a lonely shelf that whiffed of rust and turpentine. Pulling a tool from the shelf was met with more dread (“Oh, great, the gutter fell again”) than excitement.

"Contrast this state of the workshop with the one exhibited by our neighbor, Harry. Now this man had a workshop. Harry’s Mr. Fix-It haven boasted at least 800 square feet, with all the requisite power saws, storage units and, yes, risqué calendars of partially clad young women gleefully endorsing tool companies. Sawdust littered the floor like the first snow of the season. The smell was a mix of burnt wood and machine oil. To this impressionable 12 year old, it was a room mixed with purpose and danger. In other words, the perfect place to be.

"What I didn’t recognize as a boy was the meaning behind Harry’s workshop: After long days on the job, the man came home, enjoyed his family, but then escaped to his workshop. As much as we sing hosannas about great rooms and kitchens, these smaller spaces—from tiny offices to crafts rooms—truly reflect who we are and how our passions take shape. In other words, if you really want to know a person, relish the great room, but study the small areas where scrapbooks are made and flies are tied....These are the small sanctuaries of home."

Anyway, just a thought for an extremely rainy day in Virginia. What are YOUR favorite (little) sanctuaries?

Enjoy the night...


Editor, Log Home Living

Views: 64


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Comment by Tom Heatherington on December 14, 2008 at 1:01am
Mike, a story that rings my bell... As you know, I'm a serious DIY type and I have a fairly well outfitted shop for someone who isn't "in the business". My philosophy about tools and equipment has always been that if you need a widget to perform a specific job, you may as well buy a good one because I'll probably need it again some day. I'm the kind of guy that when I need a specific size screw I buy a whole box so that I have them on hand if the need arises again. After all these years you can bet I have a wide assortment of screws.

Many years ago after leaving the military and getting married, I lived in a townhouse in Chesapeake, VA that must have been all of 800 square feet, no garage and a patio large enough to hold a small chair, but I wanted a workshop! Believe it or not, I used a closet under the stairs as my first shop. It wasn't big enough to turn around in, but I managed to build a small bench and a stool and actually created a few projects in that tiny space. As you so eloquently stated, it was my sanctuary.

Many years later, that feeling of sanctuary returns every time I set foot in my current shop. I have a tad more room in this one and a truckload of tools and hardware, but that special feeling has never changed.
Comment by Glenn V on December 13, 2008 at 9:23pm
Carolina is really good this year. The hawks lost 7 players - 5 starters so they are rebuilding this year and it will be up and down year.
Comment by gatorgene on December 13, 2008 at 6:50pm
Mike, I loved the way you painted a picture of the memories. Good job!
Comment by Michael McCarthy on December 12, 2008 at 1:14pm
Hi Glenn,

Great idea. Perhaps we'll do a home-workshop design story in the spring...Jayhawks, huh? Well, they certainly have bragging rights in college hoops. But, man, I just don't see anyone beating Carolina this year...

Take care!
Comment by Glenn V on December 11, 2008 at 10:21pm
When I got log home living in the mail and seen that article ,it made me smile and I wished it had been longer. That was something that I completely spaced off when thinking about a log home outside of a corner of the garage, trying to get the walk in closets and extra quilting room designed in for my better half who carries the checkbook. "ducking" .... It would be great if you could do an expanded article on home workshops. My hopefully future sanctuaries will be a woodworking corner either in garage or basement and the loft where I can go to relax , read log home magazines, play the guitar and watch football and college basketball.
Goooo Jayhawks.

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