- What does Home mean to you?
- Is Home a Place or Person?
- Where would you most like to live in the world?
- What makes a house a Home?
Creating a Space that Feels Like Home
I am an introvert…and an unapologetic homebody. I’m also, no surprise, a nester, and, because I spend so much time at home when I’m not working, I spend a hefty amount of time ensuring that my spaces feel “just right.” We just moved this past summer from a home we’d been in for more than 12 years. It was the first home we chose together, and it was the first home our son knew. And while it was time to let it go,as we’d grown out of its bounds and needed room to expand and find our own spaces and corners, I left it with a bit of sadness. It’s hard not to leave at least a bit of yourself behind when you’ve spent that long in a place, breathing life into it. We buried our pets in the front yard, I planted trees and climbing vines I was given for Mother’s Days, we painted and upgraded and infused our blood, sweat and tears.
That’s when my nesting drive goes into overdrive.
I’m not sure why it matters so much. After all, it’s the people who live here that matter, not the things.
Even so, I enjoy making a comfortable space. The colors (bright and warm), the furniture (sturdy and comfortable). And of course, it has to be affordable. This move, we had actually built up enough equity that we could afford to buy new things to furnish our new (bigger) home. I spent quite some time getting all of the combinations right, shopped online and in thrift stores, and found some amazing older pieces, like our oak farmhouse table and hutch and a few very cool antiques. Other things, I bought new…rugs to add warmth and color, a giant, squishy sectional, bookcases, and new furniture for our son’s room. I was intentional and mindful about the furniture I kept, what I replaced, and what I bought. And while not all of it is perfect, every piece has it’s particular purpose. And there is plenty of space between the notes, room to breathe, room to grow.
Places for books. Places for dogs…and cats (though they pretty much make anything they want…theirs). More places for books.
It felt decadent. And therefore, it also felt essential to get “just the right things” the first time…to take care and time in selecting items that would last and make this house feel like our home.
Of course, we’ll keep adding and changing and turning this place into our version of almost perfect. The place we all look forward to coming at the end of the day. The place where we join around the table for dinner nearly every night. The place where we collect on a couch we love in front of the TV. The place where we join with friends and family to celebrate. The place where we find our own little nooks and crannies for quiet and solitude…spaces we can intentionally personalize.
These walls contain a lot of things…special things…functional things…but the most essential ingredient is us. And that means that this space must fit us all. In all of my nesting, that’s been an understanding. We all have to fit here…belong here…and feel safe here. We all need choice in where things go and what things go where. Even though I’m fundamentally the “home maker,” I keep my family in mind and ask them questions when their input is necessary.
I will admit that some new considerations arose when we began toying with the idea of moving into a bigger home. The most pressing of which was that our son is finally at an age where he needs more privacy…and so do we. It was important to us that we find a home with our bedrooms further apart. Our new home offers that. As any parent can attest, trying to find “adult space” and “adult time” can be hard, even when you’re lucky enough to find the necessary energy to pull it off. It’s never perfect, but our bedroom is much bigger and is far enough away from his that we have at least some privacy. Thankfully, he still sleeps hard once he finally goes to sleep.
We also all need to have our own little corners to go to. My Husband has His shop, our son has his room, and I have my office. Those little places we can keep the way we like, no matter what anyone else’s opinion. Places where we can close the door and be by ourselves.
Scent is a Powerful Thing
We also found that scent was a big part of what made this place feel like ours. Within just the first few days, we found ourselves digging through boxes to find the incense we have been burning in our home since we met. I actually found this particular type at the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto when I was traveling in Japan back in 2005. Each temple smelled different, and this one in particular grabbed my attention enough that I bought some to bring home with me. When I ran out, I sent the box to work with my husband for his co-worker’s wife to translate, since I couldn’t remember where I had originally bought it. While each temple doesn’t necessarily make their own incense, they burn particular types and many package incense with the name of the temple on the side. We were lucky enough that this was the case, and once I knew it was from the Golden Pavilion, it was easy to find online (in fact, I order it from Amazon).
We’ve been burning it ever since. And this one thing, I believe, truly made this house begin to feel like home.
Read my related post (with a poem!…something I used to write a lot more of and should get back to again): “A Bold Move: Considering Sacred Spaces.”