You Say “Solarium”, I Just Say “Office”

I was telling a friend yesterday that Frances Elkins and I have been having an on-going tete-a-tete about my office.  Ms. Elkins used her solarium as her home office as well, and she sat overlooking the walled garden that her brother, David Adler, designed for her.

My office is three walls of windows very similar to this, though they go nearly to the floor.  I was telling Ms. Elkins that I did not care for the style of the mullions on my windows; they are a bit arts and crafts for my taste and don’t relate to the house in any way.  She paused before pointing out that they are exactly the same as her windows, though hers had a further flourish.  This reassured me a bit as she knew it would.

In the spirit of solidarity I ordered a new white bamboo desk chair.  (She did not have white bamboo here, but I was sure that she would approve.)  It was happily in place when Bill came home from work.  “Is that comfortable?” he asked taking in the criss-crossed lattice of the back.  I stared back blankly and he nodded, “Never mind.”

He thinks it would be a fine idea, however, to buy a day bed to go underneath the windows on the long wall opposite my desk.  “You could read a book there.  Or nap.”  This made me wonder how he thinks I spend my day, but rather than take the bait I noted, “The only beings that would sleep there would be Dexter and Rosie.” “Well, that would be ok, wouldn’t it?”  It would, actually, as it would provide an excuse to hunt down two rope lamps to flank it.

I can feel my work improving already.

(By the way, if you think there is any chance that I could get the boys to say “solarium,” you are delusional.  I can’t even get them to say “sofa” though they have never heard me utter the word “couch.”  I blame the media.)

Image from Frances Elkins Interior Design, Stephen M. Salny, W.W. Norton & Co. 2005.

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16 thoughts on “You Say “Solarium”, I Just Say “Office”

  1. I love that your posts continue to be elegant in the time of Facebook and tell stories in the era of pinterest.

    Thanks, for both.


  2. Hi Patricia, I completely agree with you regarding the offending denomination, "couch"–I have never said that word and my three offspring use it exclusively. As for the daybed: Jones loves my daybed and spends his days looking out the window waiting for my return happily enthroned on his perch. Have a great day. Mary

  3. An office with walls of windows – inspirational! I stare at a wall beyond my computer screen so I would love a distraction of the world outside! Thought the same as your husband – it is comfortable? But more out of great hope, as I sit in an uncomfortable high backed rush bottom chair that is decidedly UNcomfortable.

  4. With the exception of sofas, I've been asked many times "is that comfortable?" The boys + solarium… well, thanks again for making me laugh! It sounds like your chats with Mrs. Elkins are working. ; )

  5. Ahhh, "solarium." What was intended to be a porch, then became an office for my barrister husband, who needed solitude to read the law, closed off from cavorting boy cubs w/in "eyeshot." Fortunately the screens were transformed to beautiful windows complete w/ Velux skylights before construction began. It's three walls of oak woods viewed beyond his massive antique walnut desk, I'm sure soothed his nerves while he put his mind and pen to work. Now his status as angel has allowed me to turn the porch/office into my girlie room, swathed in Benjamin Moore's white chocolate, (of COURSE, CHOCOLATE!) Thank you, Mrs. Blandings. I must peruse the bamboo chair……and I doubt "solarium" will roll off my boys' tongues, either. But I must give them credit. They are good w/ giving the family room a more creative name, still to come.

  6. Your office/ solarium sounds wonderful. Kudos to Bill for suggesting the daybed, you are really rubbing off on him!

    Art by Karena

  7. Those mullions would make me crazy. Do you think if they were black it would make them go away?

    If you give me your address I'll come by and break all you windows and your homeowners insurance will take care of the new ones. Bless you my dear. Ann

  8. Solariums have now turned to Morning Rooms, Couches to Sofas, and now for my most pressing question: Do you say curtains or drapery?

  9. Can't wait to see a photo of Rosie and Dexter lounging on their day bed. My brindle boxer, Stella hangs with me in her favorite chair by the window when I am in the "solarium"! She is currently snoring away! How big is Dexter now?

  10. How utterly charming to work from a solarium perched in upon a wicker chair in wheels. I rather love the notion of a chaise or day bed for gathering one's thoughts or recounting the day with loved ones over a cold beverage.

  11. This is the first time I heard the word Solarium. What an elegant word for me, us brits called it the conservatory. Bravo on the chair. Your blog is such a refreshing sight for this era, elegant, personal, humorous, and most importantly you do not get paid for featuring products. Love.

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