So here’s a thing: I’ve lived in at least a dozen different houses, apartments, properties, cottages, on three different continents in the last 14 years (like the beachside studio on the right). For some that will sound like a huge number, and for others I will be barely scraping the surface of the experiences you’ve had in far flung places.
It really is a cliche for a reason – Home is what you make of it!
Truly, whether renting, sharing, buying, or bunking up our experiences will help us come to a place of clarity with regard tohome. Every single place you’ve laid your head could or might be able to have that perhaps illusive, but definitely identifiable, abstract and physical label of home. It isn’t about how big or small, how grand or simple. This is about how we see and experience life.
Values and Mission
Let me assuage the nagging feeling you might have rising in your throat — this isn’t the corporate speak mission or values with which you might be familiar. Instead, I want you to think about this is terms of telos (which really means purpose) and ontology (which is the study of being, existence, reality, and becoming).
I want us to ponder together a series of questions and take some time to record, in whatever form you like, your answers.
This could be a good exercise to do as a household!
Know that this is just a beginning and doesn’t lock you down to anything – you can change and adapt as your needs, life, and family change. You may have different ideas about home depending on your season of life! This is okay, in fact it is a good thing.
Let’s start here:
What purpose do you want your home to have; or what purpose does your home serve? And how do you want your home to be , or how do you want to be (live) in your home.
- What purpose does your home serve? What purpose(s) do you want it to serve?
- What do you value?
- What kind of home do you want to have?
- How do you want to live, be, and feel in your home?
Would you like to be able to easily, conveniently, and gracefully open your house to a group of people with only a couple of hours (or less) notice? Would you like your home to safely appeal to small children? Would you like your home to be a sanctuary and refuge from the outside world?
As I said in House v Home, “I have a strong sense that the way your home invites others to ‘just be’ reflects the importance of the value of home as a place of peace, hope, and joy.”
These values and the purpose of your home may change over time: there are seasons of life for us all. They will also depend on the make up of your household. What is important to you will be reflected in how you live in your home. This list is not rigid, and I would encourage you to reassess it and discuss it at least once a year.
This is what I value, what we value:
- We desire for our home to be welcoming; for it to be a sanctuary and refuge.
- We have a shared desire to open our home as it is, to serve simple and delicious food and to welcome others into our ordinary life.
- We value keeping us both healthy, which for me means keeping a gluten free house as much as possible, to avoid the effects of cross contamination.
- We value inviting guests over before it is done, perfectly decorated, or before we even have anything more than dirt or weeds in the backyard.
- We desire for others to feel like they can be in our home. We want them to feel comfortable to be themselves and to relax.
- We desire to create a home that is open to friends who need a bed on short notice.
- We desire our home to be a place of gathering.
- We value beauty and utility!
- We value home as a place to rest, retreat, and relax
- We value having a home where cleaning and chores do not take longer than 1 hour a day.
- We value home as the first place to think about caring for the environment and how we treat our world.
- We value home as a place to learn, read, think, create, and make.
You may want all of these things, or none of them! I’d love to see what you come up with! (i’d love to see images)
I chose to create visual record as a way of reminding myself daily of the atmosphere, and home, that I am seeking to make and create.
In case the bold title wasn’t enough, this section is about lists. It is about brainstorming, collecting images of spaces that speak to you, observing design when out and about. But it also about what kind of home you’d like to nurture.
You don’t have to make a written bullet point list. This could be an opportunity to get busy with you scissors, glue, and some pages from a book, newspaper or a blank white page.
These are the ways I’ve been beginning to think about the practical transformation:
- What do you love about your home now? What makes you feel welcome in your own home?
- What is your favourite room? least favourite? What is your favourite place to sit?
- Take before photos and photos along the way. Take a walk around your house inside and outside and take images of each room and from different vantage points. It is amazing what photographic images can show us that we might not immediately see in person. This will help you track your progress and give you a record for the home! Finally, It is always an encouraging thing to see how far you’ve come!
- Take measurements and draw a scale map (or have one drawn) – This has been great for selecting furniture, cabinetry.
- Take note of paint colours (Either keep the paint chips handy, or at least write them down. This will help when choosing textiles and thinking about the transition from one room to another!)
- Make a list room by room of your ideas.
- Make a list of all the maintainence tasks and small odd jobs for each room and space in your own.
- Begin to save a little each week for things you’d like to add or change (this is about delayed gratification)
- Prepare a folder with some of your ideas or some of your inspirations and muses.
- Use an app to help visualise what it might look like. (some of the best allow you to clip images from the web so that you can see textiles, furniture and spaces in a different way for inspiration).
I was encouraged by the suggestion of beginning by brainstorming room by room. Some things we may want to do in every single room, but mostly this is so that we have a sense of the big picture and budgeting for it. Also, I read a great suggestion some where that this may also help you save money if you can group like tasks together from different rooms and even group together like purchases!
I want to encourage you to put aside any shouldas or couldas! This is not the time for wishing things were different, instead I encourage you to dream and muse upon what you love about where you are and how you might create a home of comfort, peace, relaxation, a community hub, a place of health and hope — or whatever it is that fits with your values!
The lists you make initially might look different once you filter them through the lens of the purpose of your home, or in the very least the lists will be more easily prioritised based on what is truly important to you.
We’re going to start from the front! It s about the winding paths to our front doors, to what makes our homes welcoming!
Listening. Observing. Participating. Writing. Photographing. Reflecting.
Anna Blanch Rabe is an Australian-born writer and photographer. She is proudly Team Rabe. Recently married, she and her husband love to cook together using fresh ingredients. More recipes can be found at Food: Nourish. You can follow her adventure on Not A Pedestrian Life, or Facebook. Quotidian Home is a place of comfort from which to show hospitality, of joining with friends for food, fun, laughter, and tears.
This is Day 2 of 31 days to Making a House a Home. The Introductory post is here.
Day 1 is House v Home.
This is the first 31 days series published on Quotidian Home.