This came about I believe with the emergence of subdivision housing and later with the McMansion industry. When I was a kid, if we didn't have a number of rooms to escape to when annoying siblings or mothers with a to-do list were threatening our piece of mind, we would have killed each other. Don't get me wrong, clutter and darkness makes me uncomfortable as well, and one things these rooms usually have going for them is abundance of light. It's just the use of the term great room that causes me the most problems. If you tell me you have a great room, when I visit, you better greet me sitting on a throne with court jesters and damsels strewn about. If not, I'll just go back to my house with its damaged porch, its half-finished patio, and its very serviceable mead-hall.
By the way, here is a shot of my "pretty-good room."
I also want to add this. Four years ago I had just left my job of eleven years and was seriously floundering, wondering what I was going to do next. Two great things happened during this time. I was given my dog Booker as a present from my parents, and I read one of my favorite books of all time Life of Pi. These two events would have significance for a number of reasons, and funnily enough both the book and the dog are located in reaching distance as I write this. For those of you who have had puppys you know what the first year can be like with chewing and other fun side-effects of unmitigated cuteness. Well, when Booker was small, nothing was off limits for chewing, and things with my smell on it were particularly popular targets. Shoes, telephones, remote controls, couches, chairs, and practically anything else I had touched were usually found mauled on the back-porch.
So I came home one day during the time when I was reading Life of Pi and found this:
I've kept this copy and view it fondly now, but at the time I was pretty pissed. Now I see it as a souvenir of a different time in my life, one that I've worked hard to steer away from. Both Booker and the book are representative of a time when I caught my breath, gained a loyal companion, and rediscovered the power of good fiction.