A Place of Your Own

MoccasinFebruary 24, 2011

I'm reading Sarah Susanka's book NOT SO BIG REMODELING. One chapter is about creating a POYO, acronym for PLACE OF YOUR OWN. She says it is missing from most houses and apartments because of space constraints. I quote here:

"By making a place where you can express more of your inner nature and your unexplored passions, you are taking an important step in integrating a NOT SO BIG sensibility into the way you live, and not just the way you design your home."

Further, ".....no bigger than an alcove, a window seat, or the corner of a room if that's all you have to work with. ...size is not the issue....oriented around a specific passion or hobby,....a place simply to BE and to engage in interests of the moment....."

In my case, I am now envisioning the loft of my new Teahouse as my POYO, so I can give DH the entire study for HIS own POYO.

Tell me, do you have a POYO? Does your DH have one? What would it take to satisfy your need to be AWAY from the busy-ness of the household? Any plans afoot for such a spot?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Am longing for a POYO space in my home. We have a large great room, usually with a TV going & folks in & out. Full of Busy-ness!!!

I have a lovely room over my husband's workshop that could make a great space. Unfortunately, you would have to plan ahead & turn on the heat/cooling which makes it not very user friendly.

I also have a tiny sitting room between the upstairs bedroom which would be great except for the noise level. The stairwell is open & the room is directly above the livingroom downstairs. All the noise carries right up the stair & through the floor too. Oh for a nice quiet & peaceful nook!!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 11:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Krayers, hi there.
I do recommend you read the Sarah Susanka book about NOT SO BIG REMODELING. And it has what she calls an AWAY ROOM, which is perhaps your room at the top of the stairs, with a pair of french doors, and with a thick rug pad and rug on the floor to deaden sound from below.

Large spaces do allow noise to go everywhere, so even a small space can give you a little relief. And if you want to crank up the sound in YOUR SPACE, then you won't be bothering anyone outside the room.

They are making portable heat pumps these days, and that is what we'll set up in our new Teahouse. It can be put on a timer, so if you know you will be headed out there at 10:00 it can turn on at 9:00 and be comfortable. Or, you can leave it on at a lower temp (in winter), so it is easier to bring up to comfort level in short order. In our case, the most part of our use will be the air conditioning feature. You can get such a unit which does only heat, or only a/c, depending on your climate in general. Do a little searching online for portable heat pump, and then do some thinking. The prices are coming down quickly, so by the time you are ready for one, it might be an easy choice.

Glad to see you join the family here. We all seem to enjoy our homes, and try to make them better for the needs of our entire family.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 12:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

ML- Great question! I'm a Sarah Susanka fan, too...she has such great ideas in her books!

I have a daybed in my living room that is my little area. (Yes, a daybed! LOL) The oval coffee table in front of it, is home to my garden plans and kitchen pictures, at least at this moment :)

We have one of those 'double' living rooms, where each side of the entrance to our manufactured home is a living area, with small dining area and kitchen in the back. Our TV and sofa/loveseat, or our evening room, is on the right side, but on the other side (by the fireplace) is my daybed and a comfy chair by the fireplace. We work from home, so it's nice to have a space, besides my desk, to use during the day.

My husband has his office in what was supposed to be the master bedroom...and it's pretty good sized. He has his office area on one side and a couple of recliners and a TV on the other...so that's his 'man space' for now. He also uses the farmhouse (until the remodel) for a space for larger 'guy groups' especially for football and other sports get togethers.

I love having our own spaces, because while we do a lot together, it's nice that he can 'race' on his computer or watch TV and I can be watching HGTV...and we're both happy. It's a great way to unwind at the end of the day, but still get back together for dinner and maybe a movie :)

Krayers- I think it's a great idea to try to enclose your upstairs space. It's so nice to curl up with a book or magazine and not be overwhelmed with all the noise.

ML- I'm so excited to see your teahouse! It's going to be wonderful :)

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 12:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There are just the two of us, and I have the house totally to myself during the day. In under two years, however, he will retire and we are actively talking about the changes that will create.

Currently, there is the living room, plus a comfortable reading chair in the 'office', with computer workstation, and a desk which faces the garden. My garden books are in the adjacent bookcase.

But, we acknowledge that in spite of enjoying lots of togetherness (now just evening and weekend) we will each need solo time. An issue to come to terms with...

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 1:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Kitykat, yes indeed, havinng a space to be apart is of importance when you are both retired and everything happens in the house or garden.

We had a big dispute last night after dinner, when DH said I had a space for MY computer, but he only has a small table in a corner of the living room. My space moved out of the back bedroom and is now in the dining room....just a board across two 2drawer file cabs with a lamp on it, but it takes up more space than he has. Well, share alike I believe in, but we've had a lot going on since the original closet in the back bedroom was demolished and the new bath and walkin closet was created. And, we only moved our clothing into the new closet two days ago. More painting is required in the back bedroom (AKA new master suite) before everything can be setup as a study in the FRONT bedroom where we currently sleep. So, a lot of moving stuff around will happen in the next couple of weeks. Book shelves, books, a desk for him, an upholstered chair for him, and storage for the printer and office supplies in the closet of that room. I'm thinking that my desk will go into the loft of the Teahouse as my POYO, to satisfy his needs.
Of course, he already has a swivel rocker upholstered chair on the porch which he regards as HIS, and that is the chair I will have to move for his study. And then I can put TWO teak arm chairs presently in the dining room out there for both of us to sit. And the two bird cages out there again, once the plants are moved into the Teahouse. We'll see if I can keep the two parrots there until it gets really really hot.

I'll also have to make sure I can receive my Internet connect wirelessly out there, or if I need a router booster. That remains to be seen. I imagine my decorating books will migrate out there with me, and my bird books. So we'll just freestyle for a while. But getting a separate space for EACH OF US, is more critical here at the end of the winter.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 1:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

ML I will answer your question backwards. DH has his recliner as his POYO. Loving that POYO. I have the rest of the house as mine. LOL

Honestly it is true. the some times guest room is my sewing room he never uses. My studio for my mosaics he only goes into to make a copy or get calculator. He does have his area in the master bath and I have mine. And of course his side of the closet ,dresser in bedroom and all. For the most part the house is mostly mine. He does have his shop and only the loft upstairs is mine and it only has 4 foot high walls so it is a bend over situation up there and storage only.

I have the futon couch in sewing room if I want to go lay down and be shut off in a quiet space. It is a lovely place for me to be and I enjoy it in there. I can sit and read or nap on the futon with out having to open it into a bed.

There is also the love seat in what is supposed to be dinning room which we really use as extension of living room. Sounds a bit like LL set up with living room on both side of front door. I love to sit on that love seat while on the phone or I use my trunk window seat in master bedroom while on the phone.

Of course there is also my studio and it it totally my space. We built this house around that space for me to keep my projects from being all over the house and it realy has worked nicely.

We have been semi retired for 24 of the 25 years be have been together. Being together 24 7 has never been a problem for us. We even worked together when we did the cemeteries so even work did not take us apart. LOL I would say the biggest concession to being together all the time is I feel the need to ask if he minds of I vacuum or do some thing to make a lot of noise while he is resting or?? Usually I can be vacuuming and he can fall asleep with all the noise around him. I do not like to interrupt a favorite TV show for him.

Speaking of which. He just came in and asked me to help him locate the missing pine trees in the snow. They have been bent over and we would like to straighten them back up. See you all later.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 3:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

shades - sounds like you have a good deal there!

I'll have to work on this...where can I make me a space to get away from - me! lol!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 4:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Steph, my DH told me once that if you had your head in the fridge and your feet in the oven, ON AVERAGE you'd be comfortable.

So finding you a place to get away from...YOURSELF....is somewhere in the middle.

Shades, you are indeed fortunate to have such an easy going long term relationship. We've only been married for 4 years, going on 5 this July, and DH retired the week before we married. So he has been bouncing off walls much of this time. Especially with us being in two parts of the country. He was the BIG BOSS where he was, for like 43 years, and I was on my own for 32 years as well as the top captain of my own vessel offshore. So we both are accustomed to getting our own say about things. Having a private space is thus important to keeping me calm cool and collected.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 7:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hmm, my POYO changes with the seasons and other external influences. I take to my front porch in the spring and not-too-hot summer evenings, or a club chair under my reading light when I have a book I want to read, or the kitchen with the mini stereo turned up when I'm in a creative cooking mood and sometimes it's a big rock out in the river at the end of a walking trail when I need to be around water and nature. You have to get your feet wet to get there but it's worth the effort.

For me it is more about adjusting to the moment and finding my place in that moment, physically and consciously.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 8:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

YES! I turned a small room (3rd bedroom by definition) into a library! It was too small to be used as a bedroom in my opinion, and we rarely have guests, so it became the computer room when I bought & moved in.

I talked about this in a recent post about storage ideas, getting rid of the rarely used "office", and making my dream of a library space in my own house. Below is a link to the library post on my blog if you want to see the pics.

My house is about 1000 sf. I found it ridiculous that in a small house I dedicated a whole room to something I didn't use and love. This is my special dream place. My daughter (5 yrs old) loves going in there, shutting the door, and playing with the books.

There are no other home improvement project around here...completed or pending...which will top the quality of life this little room gives me.


Here is a link that might be useful: My Library

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 7:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Gayle, that was a good move. We only have two bedrooms, but we use only one of them for sleeping. So our second which is on the street side of the house, is scheduled to become our study....which is what I call the cross between library and office and TV room. Presently we have totes all over the back bedroom, which I will soon move out to the Teahouse temporarily, so I have room to paint the master bedroom. I am late this morning at painting the big chest so I can move it into the walkin closet. After we break down the queen bed and move it out of the front room, I will move the book cases and a desk into what I will begin calling the study. I think that will give us space enough to shelve all of DH's textbooks from closing down his house up north. He does not want to dispose of them, nor store them, so this room will probably be his study.....with minimal amounts of my stuff. I guess it is only fair, since I am claiming the Teahouse as MINE.

I agree with you that such a space functioning as a personal escape is priceless. It is great that your young daughter is forming a good relationship with books.

Note: if she is beginning to explore with the computer, there are several sources of free books online. I found a listing of these sources at the Amazon Kindle spot. You don't have to use a Kindle to access them, although it might be easier to read from a flat unattached board than from a laptop screen or monitor. But you can more economically expose her to things like GRIMMS FAIRY TALES and CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSE and lots of other children's classics. I think I had this mentioned in the "conversation" side of the forum, a thread about books. If you are interested I'll look it up again.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 11:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Today I used my sewing/guest/POYO room to do my taxes. I have a small desk I use as my sewing table. Was really nice to just go in there where it is quiet.Thought to myself POYO rocks. Made me smile. Last year I think I had that same desk still in our living room. I think it has found its happy place now.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 7:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When we're both home, DH spends his time upstairs watching TV, and I spend my time on my computer downstairs in "my" office, which is actually a corner of the living room. He is never in that corner, so I consider it mine and mine alone. I put whatever I want in it, and he has no input at all in that space. LOL

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 7:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Great topic and I'll have to see if the library has this book.

Like Chris ~ being with DH 24/7 does not bother me at all. I do go out to work 2-3 days a week, but always look forward to getting back home here with DH. When here, we are always working on some project or other, together or separately. We ask help from each other when needed and laugh and talk and enjoy each others company. This year will make 43 years of marriage for us.

Our cottage is around 700 sq ft of living space. DH has a workshop, I have my little shed, and my gardens, I also have my little 6'x8' space off the living room, which I love. I do my needlework out here, and my computer is here, plus books galore on all kinds of subjects, and supplies for my needlework projects.

I enjoy going into our bedroom at night to get horizontal and read before sleeping. I think we can make POYO spaces anywhere, part of it is mindset.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 7:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Flowerlady. Good to hear from you.

We do enjoy the 24 7 thing together with out problems. But today when I needed to do the taxes I needed quiet and DH was watching TV.

I am just totally loving that little room.It is so calm and quiet in there. Never planned on using it for me when we designed this house. Even moved all sewing things into my studio when we first moved here. Like Young gardener said in her post. She decided it was time to live in all of their house. So glad I decided to really move into and use that room.

Flowerlady I LOVE your little POYO space.It is so perfect and pretty.You have collected some really amazing things.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 8:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Shades- you crack me up! I do often wonder if DH feels like I have "the house" as POYO, and he has nothing. I don't feel that way, but I wonder if he does since I tend to things.

ML- I hear you on the restless winters! My dad went through that every year. We all laid low. :) Not So Big Remodeling is one of my favorites. I plop down with it every time we go to Barnes and Nobel.

LL- I've always longed for a daybed in my POYO. A daybed, book case, and cup of tea...

Scott- Your rock sounds *perfect.*

Gayle- Your library is lovely! A library has always been on my "dream house" list. I keep trying to figure out a way to add one to our home. ;)

As for POYO spaces in our home...No, we don't have any yet. DH sets up camp in the DR. I got him a little bench for the table so he can be more comfortable. He spends hours and hours working from his laptop there. Can a stack of inspiration folders piled in a dusty corner behind the bedroom door count as my POYO? ;) If not, I guess it's currently whereever I carry my cup of tea. The flowerbeds are my POYO when the mosquitoes haven't claimed the areas as THIER POYO. :)

What I really long for is a quiet library space suited for the work of one person, or two at once, with lots of book cases. I like partner desks. I'd also love, love, love to have a space for my projects (planning, designing, sewing, and whatnot.) Just a space with a table top and lots of storage for things in progress. We've talked about someday putting stairs up to the attic and claiming the space as a room, and I'd love to have a piece of it after giving DH his share! :) DH longs for a man room....and a garage.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 9:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I love that everyone is inspired to think about their own personal space at home. Just because I lived alone for so long, did not mean that I had created a POYO just for getting away from the every day activities. It was mostly a little 8 x 9 room that I felt totally relaxed in. My study. It looked out the front and the window was sheltered by a narrow front gable, wide enough to put a wicker chair and a small spot to set my coffee cup. This was at MoccasinLanding. I'd planted jasmine to climb the 4 wrought iron columns and give me a sense of privacy. My front yard was small and pie shaped because the house fronted a cul de sac, and I had 30 feet on the street, and 150 feet on the bayou out back. There was a chainlink fence already enclosing the front yard, but I added a wide gate and a people gate, so when I left for 6 months at a time to go to work, no one could drive into the space. But the meter men could go through the people gate. The front fence was also covered with jasmine, and that helped create my very first New Orleans courtyard garden. It was in public space supposedly, but it was sheltered and private. A big oak tree sheltered my house in late afternoons from the hot western sun, but left my southern exposure alone. Anyway, looking out that window into my courtyard garden was a comforting experience. I also made my very first desk using a couple of two-drawer file cabs, and a thick slab of glass which had been a dining table top. I liked that, because I could see the computer tower connections/wires when I had to deal with that blankedy-blank desktop monster. I had a lot of wire shelving across one 8' end of the small room, and that is where I kept my books in those days. The wire material was white, and it really appeared to take up no space in the already-small area. I also added shelves top to bottom in the 3'wide closet, and that is where I kept any magazines or software or electronics I was fond of. And my sewing stuff. I changed out the closet doors to bifold shutters, and the room door to a single French door. I did that to every interior door, except the linen closet. I never got around to changing that one. But the long hall in this tiny tract house became my framed art gallery, and the French doors allowed light to come in. I also painted the ceiling in there a sky blue, and sponged white/gray clouds up there. I was going for an open feeling, and I think it helped make the space seem a destination as much as it was a path to somewhere else. I'd paid for that space, and by golly, I was going to use it.

I tried to keep a lid on my rather eclectic style in most rooms of the house, but the study was my space to express myself. I suppose that is why I think of that as my POYO, even when I lived alone.

MoccasinLanding was also the first place I spent the money to have custom interior plantation shutters on all the front rooms. Even when tilted slightly down to keep viewers from peering in too easily, I could see outdoors and have some filtered light. I love ambient light. Plus shutters give the place a romantic casual style that I enjoy. ML was the first time I had given full rein to my individuality, limited by finances of course. And I was surprised to discover that the things, or elements, that I'd loved as a child were the things that I still responded to as an adult. I thus came to realize that we are always the person we were the day before and the day before that on back on back further. And that people do NOT CHANGE.

Well, I guess that is my philosophical remark for the day, which happens sometimes when I am in my POYO alone, doing my thing. I do love to write, and life is so wonderful. I hope you are all content, and have a cup of tea near to hand, for tea is more comforting to think about than a cup of coffee for some reason. Enjoy.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 2:30PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Is anyone else having trouble getting on this new Houzz site???
If you're having trouble (which I did) use your email...
Tiny House Forum?
I like this forum- but I sometimes think that we could...
ML - your new kitchen (or DR?) light fixture
I think I just saw one like it... somewhat anyway....
window in shower
We moved into our small ranch home (1000 sqft) about...
Pretty plates...XP Kitchen forum :)
I wanted to show you all my pretty plates I found online....
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™