What makes a house a home?

Leah over at Creative Everyday always has the most wonderful and creative things posted.  Not only does she post her beautiful art pieces, but she also posts the creative processes behind them and general everyday musings which are both inspiring and thought-provoking.

Recently, she posted a question that she ran across on the Decor 8 blog.   The question was:  What makes a house a home?

I love this question because it is not asking about a physical, concrete structure.  It is asking what makes the physical structure into a place where you want to be, a place where you are comfortable and loved, a place where you return again and again, a retreat.

For me, a house becomes a home when it is filled with the things that I love and the memory of people that I love having been there.

It is a home when my cat is there, curled into one of many nooks that she has carved out as “her” spots.

It is a home when there is a bit of clutter, but not too much to overwhelm me.

It is a home when I can smell a juxtaposition of coffee recently brewed and lavandin burning in the oil burner.

It is home when there is jazz music playing lightly in the background, coupled with the dryer running.

It is home when there are bookcases along most of the walls, filled to the brim with books, favorites that have been read over and over and copies that haven’t been opened but that have good intentions.

It is a home when there are pictures of loved ones on the wall, alongside pieces of art that friends have given to me, painted especially for me or the few that were painted by me.

It is home when friends and family know that they can stop by anytime and I will welcome them to have a seat and a cool drink and, on a good day, a little something special to eat.

It is home when I have some project or another spread across the table to be dabbled in from time to time, whenever I get the chance.

It is home when I have herbs and half-dead plants on the front porch, right alongside my wrought iron bistro set.

It is home when flinging the blinds open and pottering around in yoga clothes feels right, like anything else might be a faux pas.

It is home when my yoga mat is ready for me at any moment and yoga DVDs are on the top of the stack of DVDs that I have to watch.

It is home when my collection of antiques is displayed seamlessly with my collection of retro items and my collection of Eiffel Towers and all things French and my collection of whatever else that I happen to collect at any given time.

It is home when things are a bit jumbled and eclectic.

It is home when there are a zillion-and-a-half sticky notes stuck here, yonder and there, reminding me of one thing or another.  (Lord knows I can’t remember otherwise!)

It is home when I feel like me, when I can’t wait to get back there, when friends feel as welcome and comfortable there as I do pottering about in my yoga clothes on a Saturday morning, watering the dead plants.

It might seem that I focus a lot on THINGS to define what makes my house into my home but I believe that things are a catalyst for comfort and I do like to have things that I love around me.  If I were to live in a house that had nothing but stark furniture with no story behind it, no books, no pictures and no knick-knacks, it would not feel like a home.  I can guarantee that with confident certainty.  These things remind me of so much of what has happened in my life, of the people – past and present – in my life and I need that in order to feel at home.  Things do that for me.

Admittedly, I might have too many things but I love them and they tell me stories, in their own ways.  And, even as contradictory as it sounds, I do practice non-attachment to my things.  I love them but, in the right situation, will give most anything I have to another person, should they need it more than I do.

My home is not the building that I’m in.  My home is the memories that I’ve created, the people I’ve loved, the reminders I have of these things, the journeys I’ve been on so far in my life, and the promises of journeys yet to come.

And so I ask… what makes a house a home to you?

13 thoughts on “Home.

  1. what a beautiful post, karen! i love the bit about jazz music and the dryer running. i felt like i could hear and smell what that would be like and it felt like home to me too. xoxo

  2. OH, that was really nice. What a great post. I do love the ‘stuff’ in my home and it would not feel the same without it. Coming home to the find the Kitty waiting for us, the kitchen table full of ‘art’ supplies, the books everywhere, and the garden brimming with flowers, those are the things I love.

  3. I love this question. To me, a house is a home when i can put my feet up and no one complains about it. My dog is running around sniffing crumbs on the floor. I can listen to whatever I want and dance around the house. I can eat whatever I want and no one complains about it or tells me I am going to get fat. I can light candles and no one complains about the soot. I can walk around barefoot and in pjs for days. A house is mostly a home, when I walk in and I feel safe and loved by whoever greets me at the door.

  4. very thoughtful and beautiful post! I love the question! Do you mind if I answer to it in my own blog?
    I loved your home feeling with smell of coffee and lavender….sniff, sniff! 🙂

  5. Oh, I like this alot! “Homemaker” is definitely one of my personal archetypes, guided over by the Goddess Vesta, I’m sure 😉 The first ‘home’ I made was when I was little. I would hang a huge blanket, and some towels, from the corner tree in the backyard. More like a tent, really 🙂 But I’d have all my little dishes in one place, and a nice clean place to lay down. A few treasures, maybe a friend or two, and I could camp out all day in my House.

    I’ve had lots of practice since then….I have moved no less that 17 times over the course of my life. Not sure if it’s some latent Gypsy gene or what…but there’s something so powerful and renewing to have an empty space to work with…sort of like when I sit in front of a blank canvas or computer screen. I take the things that I love and reconfigure them. Each and every time I come up with something I love even more, and my friends and family always tell me how much peace they sense, how lovely and serene it is. And I did it on quite a budget!

    Here’s what really makes it “home” though. The first time I clean it from top to bottom. LOL Something about scrubbing floors and toilets just makes me very possessive of the territory ! 😉

  6. This post was really well thought out, I had to come back after I contemplated it. A home to me is where I can be me. I feel at home with some of my family back home. There is McKedge, with whom I am always home, no matter where we have lived. There are a few friends that I can be with or go to their houses and feel like “home” Home is the people around me who encourage me to be me and when I am alone home is my ability to find peaceful solitude-ness in an encouraging environment (nyc, art on the walls, etc).

  7. This is lovely.

    I would need to give it more thought, but my first thought is that home is wherever I tuck my kids into bed at night. Might blog this one – lovely to think about and quite revealing about the author.

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