Tucked away behind Trustees and the First-Year Village sits Sondheim House, a quiet and cozy 2-story dormitory populated with up-to-four person suites. The recent warm spring weather makes the stone wall surrounding Sondheim a pleasant place to sit and admire the greenery of campus and appreciate the beginning of a new season. This is what I do as I sit and wait to tour the suite of Amita Chatterjee and their partner Dom McKinney, two seniors living together in a four-person suite.
Having only two residents in a room made for four people makes Dom and Amita’s set-up more than ideal: both of them can enjoy their own private, spacious rooms (“dingles,” as they are commonly referred to on campus), while being able to repurpose the extra furniture in their common space, the first room seen upon entering.
In the living room, an extra bed frame is a couch, across from which is an extra desk that a flatscreen television stands on, along with a warm-lighted lamp and some drinks. Another desk on the other side of the room is the designated coffee and tea zone, holding an array of uniquely-shaped mugs and various hot-drink-making-machines. In between is the closest you will get to a dining room table in a college dorm room: a small wooden table with a white tablecloth draped on top and two matching wooden chairs that Amita brought from home. Despite not being Goucher provided, the tan shade of the wood matches the rest of the furnishings in the room, bringing a strong sense of cohesion to the space.
Connected to the living room is the private bathroom, containing separate closed spaces for the shower and toilet with a large double vanity in between them. In between the bedrooms is the coat closet, a small narrow door for the convenient hanging of heavier layers. This, along with the shelved medicine cabinets in the bathroom, are some of the elements of the room Amita appreciates the most. They referred to them as “easter eggs” – minor and somewhat unexpected components of the dorm that elevate the space above previous on-campus living environments. Both Dom and Amita agreed that Sondheim is the nicest spot they have lived in on campus. The quiet community, private space, and secluded location all make it the ideal building for their preferences.
The first room on the left is Amita’s, a fairly large space with walls packed dense with posters, drawings, postcards, ornamental mirrors, and colorful string lights draped across the room. Hanging above the bed is a white-lace curtain they got from a Savers, creating a canopy-like structure. The bed is placed on the wall opposite of the window, in accordance with the Feng Shui principle that a bed next to a window will intercept too much flowing energy, causing restless sleep. The room has an open, breezy quality to it, as natural light spills in from the two adjacent windows. The desk sits next to the rightmost window, allowing Amita to enjoy the view as a calming way to take a quick break from schoolwork.
Amita finds that as a senior, room-style choices have become easier. Their time in college has not only allowed them to acquire a large collection of unique decorations, but it has also given them time to develop and become more secure in their own personal decorative style. To describe their style in just a word, they said organic, matching up with the prevalent earthy tones of green found in their decorations.
Dom’s room, across the suite from Amita’s, is the same size, but includes a second bed frame turned into a daybed, providing a space separate from where they sleep to relax and unwind. Positioned next to the window with plenty of natural light, it is an idyllic spot to read, casually do work, or watch a show. Next to the bed is the desk, which is well-decorated with various pictures and trinkets, much like the rest of the room. There is ample seating and an abundance of things to look at in Dom’s space–they made a point of mentioning their distaste for the minimalist side of things. Posters of butterflies, amphibians, and much more cover the walls, with small animal figurines and a collection of clowns populating the two dressers. Even their door is decorated with a cutout of a clown face, among other things, like a hanging knitted frog made by their mom. When asked to sum up their style in a few words: “silly, goofy… foolish.”
Dom and Amita’s space helps remind us of the importance of curating a space that is true to yourself. Decorations that speak to you–whether it is clowns or plants, few or many–help to cultivate a space that is harmonious with your personality. A room is a friend: we may have many of them in life, and we may only know them for a short time, but it is our unique sensibilities that take a room from being something ordinary to something special, something to be cherished.
Goucher Cribs is a new Quindecim column. For this article, candidates were nominated through an official Instagram post on the @goucherquindecim page. Dom and Amita were nominated for this edition by an anonymous peer who responded to the post.