Friday, November 11, 2005

Margaret's Tea House

When you were a child, did you dream of having a playhouse in your back yard? You know, the type that had doors, glass windows, and electric lights? I sure did! As an adult, having your own private tea house for special friends is like the "cream" of tea! How special! I'd like to share with you about a tea house that a family friend had built for her in her back yard.

I've known Margaret since I was a small child. She is a lovely woman (a retired nursing instructor) who has always been a gracious hostess and strong supporter of church and community. She and her husband never had children. Her life was dedicated to career and service. She is now in her 80's and is still vibrant, vivacious, and busy! Recently she fulfilled her own dream. She had a tea house built in her back yard!

I was privileged to be able to visit with her in her tea house recently. What a delight! Her idea came from an article in Better Homes and Gardens where children's "dream" play houses were featured. She clipped the article for future reference. When her church had a missions project, members were encouraged to find a specific project that they could do to raise money (beyond giving from their pocket books). She kiddingly told two retired gentlemen (former instructors in building technology at a local college) that she would like to hire them to build her a tea room. Several days later they called her up and asked her when she wanted them to start!

Building codes in her city say that anything 8' x 10' can be built without inspections or codes (although her tea house far exceeds most codes), so this is the size they built. It looks exactly like a full-size house, in miniature! A bay window, siding, shutters, front porch, gray with white trim, window boxes, and paned windows invite you right in! Inside is a dream tea room! It is decorated exquisitely with tea-themed wallpaper,floral arrangements, a drop-leaf table, a custom-made bench seat in chintz upholstery, lace curtains, wall grouping and photographs, comfortable chairs, and guest book. Teacups and china adorn the walls. It is the essence of beauty and hospitality! Margaret invites friends over in small
groups to enjoy tea parties in her tea house. Food preparation is done in her home kitchen. A small path leads the way to the tea house in her back yard. [She also admitted that she and her new husband recently spent the night sleeping in the tea house too!].

When Margaret's tea room was completed she had a "ribbon cutting" ceremony with invited guests. In preparation for this event she took swatches of the upholstery chintz to the florist so they could create a floral arrangement to match her decor. The florist was very interested in this project and Margaret and florist had a lovely conversation. During this conversation Margaret talked about how she had never owned a doll in her entire life (she had been raised in a poor family and later never had children of her own). When the florist delivered the flowers they also sent a beautiful porcelain doll in Victorian attire to match! Margaret received her first doll when she was in her 80's and she treasures it! It stands on an end table at the end of the sofa in her tea room.

Margaret uses her tea house to serve teas and luncheons to her friends. She has found that sometimes individuals seem somewhat intimated when guests in her home. But, in her tea house, friends and neighbors relax and have quiet, intimidate moments of conversation and a cuppa herbal tea. Her gracious hospitality extends to other tea lovers also, as she welcomes the opportunity to loan her tea house out to others for their own tea parties.

I have been begging my husband to build me a tea house ever since my visit! He hasn't said "no", but I can tell by the indulging way he smiles and just listens. . .that it is not high on his priority list! But, I'm a patient woman! It's still on my list!


  1. what a lovely story and what a lovely woman your friend sounds like. Its inspired me to think about having a small log cabin as I have always wanted to live in a log cabin. The "honey do" list for Emery just got a little bit longer !
    Thank you so much for sharing this story. So inspiring on so many levels.

  2. (Forwarded for)Elizabeth:

    Thank you for shaing. This is so wonderful. I have one room in my home that is my play room. I have all my toys in there. I plan to add a nice table someday. This gives me some ideas.

  3. Anonymous5:02 PM

    This was a lovely story. It made me daydream of a little tea room of my own. Your friend must surely be a blessing in your life. One of our Father's greatest gifts to us, friends. I was given a link to your blog by a friend and I am so enjoying reading through each entry. Thank you for sharing.

  4. I'm so glad you enjoyed the story about the little tea house. I hope that you can someday achieve your dream of a tea room. Thank you for visiting my blog and for your nice comments. :)


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