Virginia Woolf once wrote of the great human need, for intellectual and emotional flourishing, of having a room of one’s own. And the New York Times today has a profile of a 40-something woman, Sandra Foster, who has built her own small retreat (after the Victorian style):
Ms. Foster has her own shabby-chic retreat. It may not have a bathroom or a kitchen, but it is a dream of Victoriana: stacks of Limoges china with tiny rosebud patterns; chandeliers dripping crystal; billows of tissue-paper garlands.
This is all the more impressive because she renovated the 9-by-14-foot cottage, an old hunting cabin, herself. The cost of renovating and furnishing it: $3,000.
Ms. Foster haunted upstate salvage shops from Kingston to Albany for old windows with wavy glass; she found an old porch door in the precise shade of hunter green once used on the boarding houses that dotted the area; she used a jigsaw to create gingerbread trim and cut out openings for the windows.
This is a very special sort of dream house: the Victorian Ms. Foster has wanted since she was a teenager on Long Island and her middle-class family lost their home. It is a house that is as soul-satisfying as it was when she first imagined it as a 15-year-old, even with the ups and downs that grown-up life brings.
“My refuge,” she calls it.
And her husband has his place of solitude as well:
Mr. Foster’s personal property is his “man cave,” a truck-size shed covered by an enormous tarp. It’s furnished with a big-screen TV, lots of videotapes, cooking equipment and two lamp-warmed cages for the chicks and pheasants.