In 2005 we relocated to South Carolina and started shopping for a house. We saw a style we loved, and found a contractor to custom-build it on our land.
DH and I each made a list of the must-haves in our new house. On his list were a balcony and lots of land. On my list were separate bathrooms – and my own private tea room. (Yes, we got all our “musts!”)
The model we chose had an option for a “bonus room” – what used to be called a study or den: an extra room off the living room with a door but no closet.
I had also wanted a library, so we combined the two into a library/tea room. It seemed a natural to put tea and books together.
We visited frequently during construction. One day I walked into the partially-built house – essentially just the foundation and the frame – and realized that for the first time I was standing in my very own tea room.
Shortly after we moved in we built cherry wood bookshelves around half the room. These hold books as well as tea and tea “things.” A local shop has beautiful sea grass baskets in a wide assortment of sizes and shapes. About a dozen of these are now filled with teas, tablecloths, and various other items. A large floor basket is stuffed with tea cozies.
Windows on three sides look out on our front, side, and back yards – well, actually our woods. Ottomans at two of the windows serve as window seats. Thermal draperies in a sage and burgundy cabbage rose pattern, along with the bookcases lining the walls, keep the room cool in summer and toasty warm in winter.
A sofa, a few serving tables, a teapot “tuffet,” stacking wooden storage boxes embellished with hand-painted cabbage roses – the smallest of which holds oolongs, white teas, and the occasional kitty — and a chair that converts to a library step complete the furnishings.
In the six years we’ve been here, my collection of tea “things” has expanded beyond the tea room to fill a couple of floor cabinets and a wall cabinet in the adjacent living room. One of these days I’ll give away a few books to make room for more tea ware. Maybe.
My tea room is a refuge for solitary teas, for sharing “girlfriend” tea, and for weekend mornings to enjoy tea with my dear husband. Where we can look out at birds, squirrels, rabbits, deer, our fruit trees and our flower gardens. Or curl up with a book. On a pleasant spring or autumn day we might go outside on the balcony with our afternoon cups, but mornings are reserved at our own private tea room.
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