Today's blog is about attics. And to spark your imagination, I'm offering pictures of attic windows in Paris and in Viroflay, the suburb of Paris next to Versailles where I stayed this summer.
The French do attic windows in tremendous style, like they do so many other things.
What do I think of when I think of attics? Mr. Rochester's crazy first wife in Jane Eyre was an incredible attic dweller, completely secret even to people who lived in the house below her. She had wild hair, and when she was angry her lips and eyes became inflamed. Eventually she burnt Mr. Rochester's incredible home down.
Look at the top row of windows. Who lives up there now? What goes on up there? What scenes of seduction, murder, childbirth, played out behind those windows in the course of history? Maybe those windows never had a home behind them but instead were storage for papers from the offices below. What do those papers have written on them? What miscarriages of justice did bureaucrats come up with against their enemies that could be discovered today? The injustices would have been perpetrated centuries ago, with no way to even begin to make things right now.
We had an interesting attic in the big house I grew up in. It had an unheated, uninsulated attic, which my parents promptly stuffed with furniture and boat gear.
In one corner was a little room closed off, with a small radiator, a window, and a long worktable. My brother claimed it and used it as a radio shack at first, building short wave radios and listening to conversations from around the world.
Eventually he moved in completely. The table was strewn with radio parts. The room smelled of solder. He hid out from the family there.
When my brother went to college, I immediately moved into the attic room. At this point the room held a dresser and a twin bed in addition to the long table. I would spread my papers out on the table. I opened up my portable typewriter. I sewed there. Or I laid on my bed and read. I would play my music loud. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" was a constant.
My poor mother used to climb two sets of stairs to knock on the door of my tiny room and tell me it was time for dinner. Teenagers! I was so incredibly self-involved, fleeing to my attic room, avoiding chores, so unwilling to help out with the work of a home and a family.
I loved that attic room, though, and nowadays attic windows still speak to me. They evoke a feeling of creativity -- a space to spread out and make things. Quilts. Books. Blogs.
So many attic rooms to choose from...I'll take one that gets sunlight.
Look at the interesting roof shape on the left. That's the room I want, with the circular window.
Maybe you want an attic window that has a statue outside it.
Here's that same attic, zoomed in on.
In some Paris buildings, the rooms under the eaves were for the hired help. A female maid is called a "bonne," and the room she stayed in was called the "chambre de bonne". These get rented out now. Often they're six floors up--no elevator and a shared toilet.
This is an attic window in Viroflay. Isn't it exquisite?
Here are two interesting attic windows in Virofly.
If I owned this house, I would open those shutters and let the light pour in.
Same with this house.
More attic windows in Viroglay
Here's a modern house, with big sheets of glass for doors and windows.
An adorable attic -- let me up there!
A home in local Viroflay stone, with a French-style eyebrow window in the attic.
Wouldn't it be cozy to live behind that window, under those eaves?
Yes, a balcony of my own. Exactly what I need.
An older home in Viroflay, with local bricks and tiles.
How do they keep the shutters at those perfect matching angles?
This was taken in Paris. They attic overlooks the Seine. Can you imagine how much it costs to rent?
These attics look over L'Arsenal boat basin, near La Bastille.
I'd love to live in that attic, too.
Viroflay. The sun gives the local stone a warm glow. I crave to live in that attic! How about you? Do attic windows make you start to think about what goes on in that house? : ) Comment below!