Living small in great cities
LIDCOMBE, NSW WHATis it about attic bedrooms? As a child I lived in shared houses with my family. Sometimes my bedroom could be on the back veranda or front porch, with privacy provided by a curtained screen or canvas blinds.
Such spaces were always shared with my sister, who is three years older. The smallness of these spaces exuded a cosiness because of beds placed close together, with little room to walk between. They seemed like secret bedrooms.
Perhaps that is why I like attic bedrooms when I travel. I stayed in one at a hostel in Dunedin, New Zealand. It was pretty, with broderie anglaise cottons and just enough room for a double bed and a bedside locker.
Being about threequarters of the way up a very high street, I overlooked the rooftops.
In Venice, my attic room was beautifully decorated all in red — carpet, bedhead, curtains and bedspread. The sky was hazy as the hot afternoon sun beat on the sliding wooden shutters, which opened to reveal the brightly coloured rooftops and the white dome of Santa Maria della Salute in the distance. A softer light in the evening and early morning changed the view as I watched swallows circling, now and then a seagull and, occasionally, a large sea bird.
In Paris, it was 90 steps up to my quaint room at a small pension. Three petite windows opened inwards and I looked out over Rue Saint-Honore and statues on the side of the Church of Saint-Roch. The double bed was half under the sloping roof and there was a cupboard with a TV and bar fridge.
I could stand in the bath and peep down at the street scene below, the lights at night and the garbage collectors in the morning. The intimate dining room on the first floor, where breakfast was served, also overlooked Rue Saint-Honore.
In each of these small, high rooms, I have felt special, a part of the city.