Sunday, November 18, 2012

Heart of Home

My library nook
For years I have sought to determine the elements that elevate a house from a mere building to a home.  As a child when I visited school friends and relatives, I was drawn to certain houses much more than others.  In retrospect, I realize that the homes that spoke to me were the ones that felt warm and welcoming to a child. 
As an adult, I have come to realize that there are many different opinions on homes.  Some people view their homes as a measure of their success -- they want new, upscale and large.  There are those who love the serene look of a pared down decor -- a few quality furnishings and accessories.  Ease of entertaining is a requirement for many -- an open, flowing floor plan.  Cozy log cabins are a popular choice.

While I can appreciate the beauty of many different houses and styles of decor, what I find most appealing  personally is warmth and comfort, and the look of a home that reflects the personalities of its owners.  I love to see a little "clutter" here and there -- books, magazines, a piece of knitting in a corner, family photos -- something that leaves clues to the everyday living that takes place within its walls.  I love kitchens with children's paintings on the refrigerator and counters lined with well-used utensils.  I love cozy throws in the living room and plants scattered here and there. 

Several years ago I met a woman with the most beautifully decorated apartment.  I loved it.  However, as we became friends I realized that the apartment did not reflect her personality at all.  She had hired a decorator, and while it was lovely, there was nothing in it that was "her."  She was an interesting, vital person, and yet there was no trace of her life and interests in her perfect apartment.

My home is an old Victorian that has been in my husband's family since 1924.  I have loved it since I first saw it, and now it is a comfortable little haven as I grow older.  It shows its age, just as I do, and it has sheltered my children, grandchildren, friends and family through all of these years.  The refrigerator is covered at this moment with my grandchildren's precious drawings; the kitchen cabinets and floors are in dire need of updating; the dining room is graced with a large table which is a bit rickety now, but has been in the family for generations.  The books that I love have overflowed my little library nook; every room could use a fresh coat of paint.  But, it has tremendous heart -- no one could walk into this house without feeling welcome.  It is obvious that I love teacups and flowers and books.  Often, there is something simmering on the stove or baking the oven -- wafting aroma through the air.  It may not be a showplace, but it definitely has heart, and, in my opinion, that is one of the most important elements in the transition from "house" to "home."

What makes a house feel like home to you?


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