Home Design Innovation: The Happy Place


I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

Note: This post is not really about home decor. Nor is it about happiness, reading, or my friend, Neil Ellis – although all that is involved. It is, instead, a celebration of that incredibly rare phenomenon – the plan that, despite being well organized and thoughtfully executed, produces the hoped for result.

In his home, my buddy Neil Ellis has a designated reading area, comprising an easy chair by a window, that he calls his “happy place.” My admiration of Neil’s “happy place,” abetted by Penny’s and my realization that a formal dining room and a second area for meals (situated in the sunniest room in the house) was overkill, especially since 97% of the time we chow down from victuals laid out on the living room coffee table, led us to replace the dining set in the so-called breakfast nook with a couple of comfortable chairs, an ottoman, side tables, and shelves just large enough to hold a few books and a small speaker. (See above photo)

The consequence of this transformation has been – well, consequential and transformative.  The reading room has become our “happy, happy place” and our favorite location at home, whether we’re reading alone or as a pair.  We are considering the addition of a brass plaque commemorating Neil’s contribution to our household bliss.

I wrote to Neil to thank him for inspiring the renovation; his reply, which follows, goes far to explain why this is such a lovely notion:

I opened your e-mail while ensconced in said chair, sometimes referred to as my “happy spot.” My ass could well become one with the chair at some future date. When I’ve been out for a while and return home, Augie [the Ellis family dog] is waiting by the treat jar, and after he is rewarded (for absolutely nothing) he races me to my happy spot (he always wins) to begin a session of reading, He squeezes in tightly against my left hip. Augie loves it when we read together.

Neil Ellis: Neil is great friend who plays a respectable round of golf, identifies unseen birds by their calls, completes the New York Times Friday Crossword in ink, and snaps a heck of a photo. His photos are featured here at AllanShowalter.com and can be found collected at Neil Ellis Photos.

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