Short, bright tea-time in my room

My house has enough eccentricities to be worthy of a post in and of itself. The quirk prompting my musings today is the presence of not one, not two, but three built-in wet bars in our home. Presumably, the architect feared for the poor soul who had to climb even one flight of steps before having a mixed drink over ice. There is a bar on each of our three levels, each complete with a built-in fridge, bar sink, pull out glassware shelves, and a mirrored backsplash.

One of the wet bars is in my bedroom. Heaven forbid a homeowner be forced to make such a portentous choice: go downstairs to the second floor bar (or, horrors!, the kitchen), or go to bed sober.

I enjoy my red wine, but I’m not otherwise a big drinker. There isn’t much call for a wet bar anywhere in my social life, but especially in the bedroom. DH doesn’t drink, and I don’t often entertain in my boudoir.

I toyed with the idea of buying a beautiful set of bar ware for display, but that’s not really my style. I love the idea of a glamorous, sparkling setup, but then I’d have to dust it. More likely, I would fail to dust it, thus living with another constant reminder of my lackluster housekeeping and the resultant allergens. No, even antique cut crystal decanters weren’t the answer to my superfluous home “feature.”

Instead, I outfitted my bedroom wet bar as a tea station. A coffee setup would work equally well, but that doesn’t suit my routine. I really love my coffee, but I don’t drink it first thing in the morning. Coffee is a fortifying, sit down treat with second breakfast or elevenses. I don’t have time to enjoy that until both of my children are occupied with their academic work, one at home and one at school.

Ideally, before the three-ring circus day’s schedule begins, I like to have a mug of strong black tea to jumpstart my brain. Yorkshire Gold, please!

My typical weekday starts with waking up a little boy, getting him (to get himself) ready, then shuttling him off to school. I’m not one of those living-on-air types who won’t eat before noon. I need at at least a bite of something before operating heavy equipment (the minivan my children dubbed Pookie) but my first breakfast is often just a slice of toast or a piece of fruit on the run.

Morning stiffness is one of the characteristic symptoms of the autoimmune disease that I live with. With medication, this is much reduced, but I wake up something like the discovery of the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. While my kids sleep on, I creak my way out of bed, shuffle into the next room to commence my morning ablutions, then spend ten minutes or so reading, gently stretching, and just generally allowing my body to warm up to movement again.

Tin Man

Just like me with my morning tea, except I pour it down my gullet instead of applying it to my knee. Usually. <dribble>

Bringing a counter top water purifier and an electric kettle into my bedroom gave me the means to have my first cup of tea during these quiet minutes at the start of my day.

Our local water doesn’t flow from the tap with a pure, clean taste, so I filter what I consume; my electric WaterLogic purifier uses a removable water carafe instead of requiring new plumbing, and it was a good fit for my narrow space. An electric kettle works just like the stove top version, but it’s plugged into an electric socket to provide heat to boil the water.

I use two trays to keep the space organized. A stainless steel surgical instrument tray came in precisely the right dimensions to fit the space to the right of the bar sink while accommodating both electric devices. If I miss the mark while refilling the kettle with stiff fingers, the drips don’t mar the wooden counter. (Who bothers with a mirrored backsplash while neglecting to install a water-resistant counter top around a sink? Drunken architects, apparently.)

Tea Station right

I chose the black T-fal BF6138 electric kettle because it was small in size and it does NOT ding when the water boils. This makes a lot more sense in a shared bedroom than it would in a kitchen.

A more decorative, handled wooden tray sits on the other side of the sink. It holds mugs, teapots, and anything else I might want to carry en masse to the kitchen for mechanical dish washing. If I had designed my own tea station from the ground up, I’d have a mini dishwasher installed beneath the counter instead of the refrigerator. I don’t need milk for my tea, and I really don’t enjoy hand-washing, not even a few lightly soiled mugs.

I’d always appreciated similar setups in hotel rooms, but never thought to try fitting such a thing into our cramped upstairs floor of our previous, much smaller home. The electric kettle and having what you need laid out nearby is all that’s really necessary, though. Bonus points if you have a convenient sink, but carrying water in a carafe will suffice with a little forethought.

If I move house again (God forbid!), I think I will forevermore duplicate this set up in a corner of my room. A small table or cart placed near an electric socket and the habit of replacing the consumable tea things the night before is all that it would take to keep enjoying my favorite ritual. It’s only a little effort, and a tiny space.

Sometimes, at the end of a long day, imagining my morning cup of tea is the soothing balm that defeats my pestiferous insomnia. I look forward to those quiet few minutes. I savor them.  The morning light, the soothing warmth of the mug in sore hands, the fragrant steam rising up to my face… Carving out a little space is a small price for a great luxury to enjoy every single day.

Have you set aside space in your home for your own little sanctuary? What’s your most nurturing ritual?

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