Wednesday, May 11, 2011

On Making Home - Part Three

I am sitting in the middle of my messy living room. The roar of traffic hums outside my window - it's rush hour and the busy street we live on is wet with rain, the cars picking their way through the puddles. I have a knit hat on because our house is chilly - we have radiant heat so we don't pick when it goes on or off and right now it's off.

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These things are the familiar: The need for slippers on our splintery wooden floors, the hiss of the water pressure, the quiet buzz of the refrigerator, the smokey walls in our kitchen that need so desperately to be painted, the way the finish is worn off on the hallway floors. These things tell me I'm home but the familiar does not always make home.

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What makes home, to me, is what spills into the space between the four walls. It is the people who occupy it, the objects that fill it, and the stories that are created here. A building, when you think about it, is nothing more than a place to be, and without the couch I hate and the husband I love, this would not be home.

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I make my home like I cultivate joy - it is not forced, but it is deliberate. Making home is more than just simply amassing objects and then dwelling here, it is a cultivation of a personality, a guarding of an atmosphere.

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Here are some things I do to make my home:

1. I'm an old fashioned housekeeper.
My home is rarely spotless but we do keep on top of the mess. Dishes are generally done, the living room is generally picked up, the bed is made almost every morning. We have a routine for keeping our house clean and I try to do at least fifteen minutes of cleaning a day. A clean home is a welcoming home, not just for guests but for myself.

2. Objects in, objects out.
I feel like we are currently at equilibrium with the things we have here at home, so when I bring something new into my home we take something out. We rotate our art every few months, storing the pieces that are not being used behind a dresser. I look at my house with a critical eye and try hard to give away or toss things that are not used or loved deeply.
Before I let something in the home it has to cultivate my joy, and over the years I've learned to listen to what actually brings me joy and what is just neat to have.

So, we have old windows with broken panes propped up against the wall, a rotating display of vintage clothes (I am a firm believer in clothes as art!) on the manequine, drawer pulls from Anthropologie in unexpected places, a bulletin board of old photographs above the work deskbecause these things nourish my soul. How often do I find myself doing something loathsome like paying bills only to be comforted and made happy by the picture pinned up of my grandma as a stunning young woman in a fabulous coatt? Well...every time.

3. Keep Calm
I touched upon this in the last home posts, but I try to keep my home a calming place. Soothing colors, a sense of order, and a lack of intrusive media help keep home a place I can escape from the aches and evils of the world. When I'm here, I can rest.

3. The final and most important is Love the people in the home.
I want my home to be welcoming to everyone, both my self and my husband and our guests. Want to crash on our floor? Always yes! Want to come over to dinner? Always yes! Do you need refuge? Come on over and I'll make you some tea! Want to celebrate? We'll host your birthday party! A home is just a showroom without people in it.

I want my friends and family to always, always feel welcome here. Hospitality is very important to me and having a welcome, opening home is something I've tried to teach myself. We didn't have a lot of company growing up, but my husband's parents had a very amazing social life and subsequently it was a lot more natural for JR to have people over. He has taught me, over the years, that people really don't care if your food is perfect, or your home is immaculate, but that people just want to be with you. Sure, I'm a sucker for the details and you'll find me serving a planned dinner with cloth napkins, but if you find me unexpectedly, I'll still welcome you in and give you Almond milk in a plastic cup with a paper towel just as happily because I love you and I have time and space for you no matter what. No exceptions.
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If you are interested, you can read part one and part two of the home series.

5 comments:

  1. Great mindset to carry though with you in the everyday things. And I really like how your house feels retro and vintage, but there are skateboards hanging on the wall as art.

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  2. Your mindset is wonderful!

    I also really loved his passage:
    What makes home, to me, is what spills into the space between the four walls. It is the people who occupy it, the objects that fill it, and the stories that are created here. A building, when you think about it, is nothing more than a place to be, and without the couch I hate and the husband I love, this would not be home.

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  3. I love having a "of course you can stop over/crash on our air mattress" home, too. There's always enough dinner for everyone, and there is always tea, cocoa, or a bottle of wine.

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  4. Love your kitchen! It's so kitch!

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  5. congratulations! Saw you in AT!

    <3 Jamie Lee

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