D-L refers to her studio in Argeles as 'The Nest.' It's on the top floor of a four-story condo-style house, accessible via a series of semi-winding staircases. Or a block-and-tackle hoist from the street through the front windows if you're a large piece of furniture.
It's small. Really small. 18 square metres. For my American golf friends, about a 15-foot putt in either direction.
Yet it has everything that a single person needs. Place to sleep (a 'click-clack' pull-out couch), place to eat (frigo, stovetop, small oven, dining table), place to work (computer desk, chair, internet connection, phone), built-in storage for clothing and books, bathroom (water heater in the little attic above with sufficient hot water for 1 and 1/2 persons), a wash machine and a clothes dryer (a rack hanging over the stairs), TV (yes, cable) ... even a fireplace and a skylight.
The Nest features a natural stone wall on the stairs side and an eclectic assortment of artwork which Donna-Lane has collected over the years, each with personal stories that carry great meaning and memories for her.
We're about to introduce a 2nd person into this one-person haven ... me.
The place I am renting for my office, a couple doors down the street, was pre-rented to summer vacationers for July and August, so I must vacate temporarily, moving back in September for good. Until then, my books, papers, golf clubs, etc. will get hoisted up to The Nest.
And we'll do our best to give each other our necessary space during the time we are both trying to navigate 18m2.
We already know from previous experience that it's impossible for both of us to be on the phone at the same time. A few months ago, I was talking with my (former) boss on my mobile phone and D-L got a skype call for an interview for her financial newsletter. So I moved my call into the bathroom - the only place where I could close the door. (Did I tell you the bathroom was tiny too?) The boss complained about the poor reception on the call - he didn't know I was in France and not the States - so I told him it was because I was in a 'remote area.' Hey, he said I could work from home ... so I hopped on a plane and flew to my new home in Argeles. But I digress.
Fortunately, it's summer, and when we're in Argeles (which is only some of the time), we'll likely spend a good bit of time outdoors ... early morning walks to the beach, the marche on Wednesdays and Saturdays, social engagements and entertainment some evenings, exploration adventures to historic sites in the region.
If necessary for work, I can go to La Noisette around the corner and hook into their WiFi.
There are some tremendous advantages to living simply. For one, you tend not not buy unnecessary things ... there's no place to put them. (For example, D-L owns exactly three paperclips - all decorative.) It's easy to clean. And it has a cozy feel without really seeming cramped.
The Nest has been Donna-Lane's some-time home and refuge for 25 years. Gonna do my best to modify my pack rat ways and not clutter it up too much. Stay tuned.