The Year of The Ottoman

This has been the year of the ottoman. An ottoman extends the reach of my NEW sofa, nicely accommodating all of the people you were hoping would have been held by the sectional you wanted but doesn’t actually fit in your space. Bonus: There’s nothing quite like an ottoman shoved under your feet when it’s impossible to stretch out on the sofa for a quick power nap because your son is on the other end playing a video game. (Moms understand and have mastered, by necessity, the intricacies of the power nap.)

But which ottoman? It is a small space, which perfectly holds a sofa and two side chairs, so bulky ottomans cluttering up the floor is to be avoided. So, let’s try one big ottoman – it must be big enough to extend across the sofa, so that the people on the chairs can put their feet up too. A rectangular one might not be deep enough to reach those sitting on the chairs, but a big square one just might turn our living room into a big king-sized bed obnoxious bed. In the midst of my constant intermittent fussing over the ideal arrangement, testing different size coffee tables and ottomans, I received the book, My French Life, from my boys this Christmas. My copy is an excellent condition version of this out of print book.  I have been curious this woman about since I found the author’s blog, Viki Archer, with her witty headlines, and her advice to women. The book offers a more intimate side of this amazingly creative woman and is stirring more respect within me for this amazing mother, wife, and housekeeper… or should I say, home-builder. In the first few pages, I was gripped, with her decision to “impulse buy” a run-down fruit farm in the countryside of France, that required days of air travel just to visit.

Her story is intriguing from the start: While visiting with her family, they had what the French call a “coup de foudre,” love at first sight moment when she saw a 17th-century French farmhouse in dilapidated condition on 50 acres. She transformed this into a jewel.

As I am pouring over her tale, with treasured photographs of detail, I am mesmerized by the magnitude of the decisions she successfully made regarding antique farm machinery, decisions about olive trees over pear trees, and how to convert buildings into rooms that become the dining room and bedrooms.  This is all in the background of managing an army of craftsmen, who help decide, among other things, how to lay the stones of her floor,  while raising her children, I couldn’t but help feeling a bit of comradery for her — just like my ottoman. Tough decisions.


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