A Space of My Own

In the old house in the North, I had a desk in the attic, a quiet space all for me, away from the rest of the house. The desk was an ikea flat pack, which required a lengthy and fiddly assembly, which I did, downstairs. It took twice as long and help from a friend to inch it up the short stairs to the attic. The narrow, twisted stairs proving to be a barrier, not previously considered. So when we moved the desk stayed there. Part of the fixtures and fittings of the house. Along with a flat pack double bed, that arrived in over 60 pieces. I am over flat pack.

The rented house was short of useable space and we spent most of the time squeezed into a tiny living room. My ‘essential’ bits of paper distributed around the house and inordinate amounts of time spent looking for ‘that bit of paper’, which was ‘just there’, the day before yesterday.

Here we have more space, the kitchen table, sits in a light and airy space. The thing is, I find that if I leave things on the kitchen table, a couple of days later they are not there. Hurriedly, tidied away for a meal, by me or someone else. Whereabouts now unknown.

The back room is almost finished, it has been painted, shelves made and loaded with books and a new-ish desk/table (Ebay) added. This room still houses the odd un-packed boxes. Eventually, there will be a sofa-bed. It still needs lampshades and a little sorting before a full tour. In the meantime, here is my new desk, a space of my own.


A surface I can put things down on and know they will still be there tomorrow, currently it houses; Christmas cards waiting to be written, notebooks of Christmas shopping still to be bought. The big book of lists, with much to be ticked off. Some receipts I need to hang on to. School photos waiting to be sent to relatives. It needs some more personal touches, those bits are still in boxes.

Most of the black bic, biros are in one place. I have a ‘thing’ about black bic biros. They are my stationary of choice, a notebook and a black bic biro. ‘Apps’ for organising, don’t work for me. The book of list extends to a box ‘essential’ bits of paper, bits of paper to be sorted. “Hello, it’s Gemma and I am a woman who hoards random bits of paper”. Letters, leaflets, bits torn from the newspaper. ‘Things’ for further ‘doing’.

I know exactly where the stapler is, and my address book. As someone who forgets where things are, or what needs to be done without a list, who is constantly thinking about the next thing and the yesterday thing. I need a ‘one place’ to leave it all and to find my reminders.

Happiness for me, is being organised, slightly sad, but true. The desk represents a space to keep everything together, to sit and stare at a green wall and think. To the left, there is a view of the outside world and a tree occasionally inhabited by birds. Everyone needs a middle distance to stare into, that is my middle distance.

(that’s my school bible, I found it in a box, we were all given one in the first year of secondary school, not entirely sure what to do with it).

This is my space, tell me about yours?


  1. Molly

    I have an office at the back of the house, just beyond the kitchen. It used to be a utility room but we put cladding on the ceiling to insulate it and built a built-in desk. Mum’s currently making curtains (Orla Kiely-esque fabric print, natch) and it will very soon be almost finished. Only problem is that I have to share the huge built-in desk with the NLM. Oh well, at least it’s companionable as we both get on with our work in the evenings. Who said romance was dead?! 

  2. Anya from Older Single Mum and The Healer

    Oh that’s lovely Gemma. I know what you mean about being over flatpack.  Never happens here either now.  My desk is a second hand ladies bureau mahogany type.  It has loads of drawers so that I can be more organized – more in theory than in practice  tho – and it lives in the kitchen. I generally pick up the lap top and take it to the sofa in the sitting room with my legs raised on (what we’d call a pouffe) footstall. I am so glad that you are so happy and settling so fabulously X

  3. Midlife Singlemum

    I remember my school bible – not sure what happened to it. As for my working space – I have it set up in the niche in my bedroom (I always said I’d never have the office in the bedroom but no other place atm) but I always bring the laptop to the dining table to work as it’s so much more pleasant, light, and with a view in the living room. It’s a work in progress. 

    1. helloitsgemma

      I think having a base is really important, I’ve missed having a spot just for my stuff, even if I didn’t use it. My previous desk was in the bedroom, I rarely sat there – mostly on the sofa too. 

  4. older mum in a muddle

    Oh I love this so much (spotted the yummy crumpets) – it’s fab to have a space to call your own. Mine used to be the kitchen table but then this September I treated myself to a bureau from Ikea and I haven’t looked back. I love having my dedicated writing/working space. Your space looks great, and love the bookshelves too.

    Have a fab Christmas and New Year! X   

  5. Metropolitan Mum

    Having your own space makes such a huge difference. I didn’t have a space of my own since we moved from Islington to West London in 2010 – and now again, I can call a study/guest bedroom my own. I find I am working much more, because I can start on things and just leave them where they are if I have to get the girls or else, without fearing my documents will have gone missing by the next day. Congrats! 🙂 x

    1. helloitsgemma

      thank you! this is what I have found, it is really helpful to be able to leave things and then return to them, without the worry of disturbance. It makes a real difference to my productivity.  I used to spend so much time searching and re-ordering, now I just pick up and continued. 

  6. Annie

    My space is about 2 metres wide and 4 metres deep and is awaiting flooring later this week. Then Al is making me a desk with reclaimed scaffold boards (which sounds ever so arty and I have high hopes for).
    It’s a work in progress, a sort of space ready to be a space.
    I love Pinterest and have a gazillion ideas – it’s just there is SO MUCH CHOICE! SO MUCH INSPIRAITON! And I lack the ability to a. Make decisions and b. Reorder the inspiration and ideas into a tangible end ‘thing’

    But I am spurred on by your space 🙂

  7. Emma

    My space is in an office downstairs, more often than not taken over by Mr R.   My desk is actually my childhood oak desk that I couldn’t bear to part with.   I love your space, and I am jealous of your crumpets!!!! Emma xx

    1. helloitsgemma

      I used to have a childhood desk, it wasn’t mine but given to me by a friend who no longer wanted it, all chipped paint and scratched top. It has loads of personality. I loved it, sadly it went in a fire. 
      I should send you crumpets….! X

  8. Pingback: Room tour; a gathering space - Helloitsgemma | Helloitsgemma

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