Recently, I was talking to my friend who is currently redecorating his hallway. I asked him about the colour scheme, and how he will decorate it to which he replied:
‘I don’t know, it’s just the hall.‘
This made me think about how our attitudes towards certain rooms has changed over time. How specific rooms once held an air of importance and were respected in a sense, to now holding no real meaning, and in most cases being regarded as just another room in the house.
As I’ve already mentioned it, I’ll use the hallway as our example.
Through history the hall has lost the meaning that it used to have associated with it; before Medieval times it used to be the only room which the house consisted of, referred to as the ‘Great Hall’. It was used for everything – sleeping, eating, entertaining guests, you didn’t have privacy in those times. Privacy as we know it didn’t come about until around Medieval times when the chimney was invented, because then they could begin to think about building liveable rooms upstairs.
The concept of having an upstairs living level was not really feasible before the chimney came about due to the fact that in the hall (or Great Hall), they would have had an open-hearth in the middle of the room to keep warm, but the fumes and smoke from this would gather around the roof space, therefore making it inhabitable. But with the chimney to get rid of these fumes, the roof space had cleaner air, meaning rooms could be built upstairs, which in turn, brought about real privacy.
It saddens me to think that a room once filled with so much history, and grandeur is now used as a passing place to take your shoes and coats off, and venture on into one of the other rooms.
Written by Jade Turney – Building Tectonics.