Friday, May 24, 2024

Of Spare Rooms and House Guests


If you've ever read L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables, you'll remember the importance of the spare room. It was a long-held dream of young Anne's life to sleep in a real spare room. How excited she was to spend a night with her friend Diana and be allowed to sleep in that hallowed space. However, her hopes were dashed when, after being out for the evening, she and Diana raced in to jump on the bed in the darkness. What a shock to discover curmudgeonly Aunt Josephine in the bed. She had arrived unexpectedly and was a much more important guest than Anne. Anne's dream did come true later when she visited Aunt Josephine and was given the "sparest of spare rooms." 

While growing up we often had aunts, uncles, and grandparents visit. There was no dedicated spare room, instead, my sister and I gave up our shared room for guests. We slept on piles of blankets on the floor elsewhere. 

Spare rooms are on my mind these days as we are expecting guests - Tim's sister from Alberta, and her daughter, son-in-law, and two little ones from Colorado. I've been fluffing and organizing. This house has plenty of room now that it's just the two of us living here. We're looking forward to meeting two little great-nieces and anticipate that they will have fun times with Iris and Cora who are almost the same ages. 
A few weeks ago, work was being done in our bedroom where Cora usually naps. I told her she would have to take her nap in the guest room, aka spare room. As she marched up the stairs she said, "I am not a guest!" I suppose she considers this her second home - and I love that.

The Green Gables spare room is seen below. A voluminous crisp white nightgown lays on the bed, perhaps waiting for someone as important as Aunt Josephine. 

Prince Edward Island is full of places that L. M. Montgomery loved. Many of them inspired the settings and scenes for her books. In 2020, a scheduled bus tour could not take place because of the pandemic. Instead, a virtual tour was arranged. For anyone interested in the author and her life, it's a lovely way to spend a half hour. 

I'll leave you with this sweet photo of the early strawberries that are appearing in our garden. These are held by the little girls who were quite excited to pick and eat them. 

Do you have a spare room or guest room? Does it get used very often? Ours often sits empty, but when grandchildren spent the night, or family comes, I fluff up the pillows and ensure the sheets are fresh and crisp, and there are piles of towels in the bathroom next door. 

"The sweetest words in the English language are: 'Welcome. Make yourself at home.' " (unknown c 1949)


  1. Such a lovely post, Lorrie!
    I have been thinking of guest rooms recently, as we are planning summer and some family members' visits. In our Italian home, we had a proper guest room, here not, but organising things, I am able to find a comfortable room for two persons and can start my favourite activity: planning the matching linens, choosing a range of soaps, shampoos and creams and other things the guests might need. :)
    Already red strawberries! Oh, what a pleasant climate you have.
    We had last night some long-awaited rain. It wasn't much but a help.
    Happy weekend!

  2. I have always loved making a spare room ready for guests, special towels, a pretty lamp, lovely bedlinen...... and of course, fresh flowers.

  3. That is so sweet! "I am not a guest."
    Lovely post. A spare room is like a beach cottage in waiting, a place to daydream and have naps.

  4. Enjoy your guests - like you I can imagine that Iris and Cora will really enjoy meeting, getting know, and playing with the younger guests. Our spare rooms are only used occasionally these days, mainly by our adult grandchildren and their partners, or our sons and their wives.

  5. Dearest Lorrie,
    Lovely post and indeed—'Welcome. Make yourself at home' is a lovely quote.
    Yes, we do have spare rooms. One is upstairs with two twin beds and down duvet pillows and comforters (Caribbean light from Yves Delorme for summer and a heavier one for winter). But my Pieter worked his tail off for creating an entire Rose Suite for our guests with private keyless entry.
    He dug out the 60 tons of dirt (left there by the builder in 1990 while we worked and lived in Indonesia), did all the plumbing, electric wiring, airconditioning ducting (for heating + cooling) and we have this now:
    Below you find links to previous post about how it came to be.
    On June 6 the next guest will arrive and Pieter's Goddaughter got to stay there for 3 nights in May when she came to his Memorial Service—both guests from The Netherlands!
    Feeling forever mighty proud of my very talented and unique Pieter.
    Sweet child hands with strawberries...

  6. I enjoyed your sweet post about spare rooms and remembering Anne's great hope to someday sleep in one. "Welcome. Make yourself at home." is such a lovely invitation. Thank you for the link to the virtual bus tour of Anne's PEI - I'm planning to watch. Happy Weekend as you prepare for your guests.

  7. I love hearing about PEI and Anne of Green Gables and your visit. Ah, the spare room. I do have one. It's small -- just a twin bed. (I stay there if I have a couple visit) Your post reminds me that today I need to clean it and change the sheets for a guest tomorrow! It's used several times a year for a guest but more often than that when poor Rick (or I) end up moving in there because I'm either coughing and waking him up or one of us is having a tough time sleeping and doesn't want to awaken the other!

  8. Our spare rooms get constant use from cat sitters aka members of the family. My brother and family stayed over Easter and all three spare rooms were filled. I love it when the hose is full. The whole family descends on us every Christmas. Special times indeed. B x

  9. No spare room here; all 5 bedrooms are occupied. Thank you for posting the link to the virtual tour of P.E.I. / Green Gables. I think watching it will be the perfect thing for this rather dismal wet day.

  10. We don't really have a spare room per se, but since our daughter moved to Germany, her room is a "spare" room. So far it hasn't served as a guest room, but during the October fire of 2017 a friend of us was staying with us in that room for six weeks when her home was heavily smoked damaged and unlivable for several weeks (but thankfully didn't burn down as so many others in her neighborhood).

  11. I am thinking your granddaughters and the guest little ones will have a fun time together. I can also tell the adult guests are in for a warm reception and surely memorable times together. Enjoy your visit.
    We have two spare bedrooms here and since our children never lived in this house, they are now both considered guest rooms. Our guests are pretty much our adult children, one grandchild and two granddogs.
    Thank you so much for sharing the Anne of Green Gables virtual tour. It is on my bucket list to get to P.E.I. one day. In the meantime, I shall enjoy the video.

  12. Our grandchildren love the spare rooms and use them for overnight stay several times a year. We always enjoy those times.

  13. A guest room is certainly very useful.
    Now I don't have one but in the future I will definitely make one!
    Have a great week Lorrie!

  14. Oh your last photograph is so nice.
    Little girls and their strawberries ... I like it.

    All the best Jan

  15. Anonymous4:52 PM

    We do have a space we’ve made into a spare room. I love having guests. This post was special, Lorrie!

    Deanna Rabe

  16. When I lived with my parents, I also gave up my room for guests. I do have a spare room in my own place, but it's missing a bed! LOL.

  17. Anonymous5:57 PM

    I love imagining a spare room, but my spare room is my office. There is a single bed that one person could sleep in; so I guess it is still a "spare room" of sorts. Love imagining Anne jumping in the spare room bed. What a surprise!

  18. Anonymous5:58 PM

    OK, I forgot my name - Marilyn M.

  19. Anonymous7:54 AM

    We have two spare rooms that aren’t getting much use these days. But my sister, niece and great-nephew from Manitoba were here recently and quite enjoyed their accommodations. The days of having grands come for regular sleepovers are over, but they all have good memories of the ‘guest room’ at Grammy’s. Enjoy your time with your guests!

    I just caught up on your recent blog posts. I’m sure the memoir of your life in Equador will be a most interesting read!

    Judy @ My Front Porch

  20. I so enjoyed reading your musings on spare rooms! Oh, a "spare room" does sound so delightful, doesn't it? We have had one for a few years now (since child #3 got married) and it feels luxurious to have an extra space for guests. Since two of our children live in different states, our spare room is put to good use, although so are the other nooks and crannies as children fill them!

    It is delightful to have house guests! I hope you have some happy moments with yours!

  21. Grandchildren & strawberries is just lovely!
    Love from Titti

  22. Our guest room will be used on a few weeks by our children and grandchildren and it will take life again! Happy June!

  23. What a charming post, Lorrie!
    Reading about spare rooms brings back memories of my childhood, when my siblings and I would eagerly give up our rooms for visiting relatives.
    Those early strawberries look absolutely delightful!

    Happy Monday!

  24. When we built this eight bedroom home, we had only five children, then had eleven more, so the nice guest room had to be used for a bedroom...then things started swinging the other way, as they grew up and moved we have a few "spare rooms", and only four kids living at home...the grandkids visit though, and sometimes spend the night... I love Anne of Green Gables, and oh when she jumped on Aunt Josephine...:).

  25. Oh how I love this post and I'm going to do that virtual tour today! Thank you for that. For a time ( in our early empty-nest phrase) we had four spare bedrooms and we made good use of them for local grandchildren and traveling relatives too. After a while of course all those extra rooms became a reason to downsize, but that was years later!


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