To those with an observing eye (who have previously seen this post), I switched the photo to one with some morning light. And now there is a cat in the picture rather than a dog! :-)
If someone were to come into this space and inspect it with a shrewd, cold decorating eye, it would strike them as completely unspectacular. They would see a ripped chair with a fairly unattractive piece of cloth temporarily placed over it, a missing window casing, a brick woodstove area that could use a mantle, cat-scratched table legs, a too-small tablecloth (which I use anyway because it's a vintage one like something my grandma had), a window that needs replacing, a need for new curtains, undone finish work, a chair or two in need of repair and sprucing up, an overhead light that doesn't work, and a whole lot more. They would not see what I see.
I look at this space and see Aimee and Josiah, Michelle and Monty, Aaron, Melissa, and Mike, all sitting around that table after dinner, drinking tea and playing Telephone Pictionary or Apples to Apples while Roman and Jayden run around the table and through the house and I make treats (two steps behind the dining table is the kitchen-- it's an open floor plan). And then I see everyone hanging out there the next morning, drinking coffee and eating scones.
I see a warm and cosy spot where everyone in the family loves to sit. Where countless long conversations have taken place. Where we have laughed and played games and had tea time and eaten warm cookies. Where birthday thrones have been erected and candles have been blown out after we all sang happy birthday and where gifts have been opened. Where pretty Christmas Eve buffets have been set up.
I can picture my kids, as children, sitting in this space to draw, read, sew, paint, write, create, and play games. I see my grandchildren sitting there eating (and making a mess of it), drawing, watching Grandpa Mike's trains.
I see people sitting in those corner chairs on a snowy night, snuggled in a quilt, drinking tea or hot chocolate, and reading a good book with the fire burning warmly nearby (the rounded brick on the right side of the photo is the edge of the hearth). I see pleasant meals together at that table with family, friends, and relatives. I see coffee and conversation. I see happy times, people I love, warmth, tears, comfort, care, and laughter.
In our home, this is the place to be. The place that draws everyone. This is our very imperfect, perfectly cosy, space. We have been richly blessed in the things that matter most, and I am grateful.
*Spelling of "cosy" in honor of at least two of my kids who prefer it that way. This is how it's spelled in some places in the world. Like in Britain, where they were born. :-)