Thursday 31 October 2013

When Does a House Become a Home

When does a house become a home?
This is a question I've been asking myself a lot recently.  At the moment travelling between our two properties, our rented one in Berkshire and our bought 'forever home' in North Wales we feel a little bit caught between two houses, or is it two homes.  I honestly don't know how more well off folk that actually own two homes manage long term, I guess you get into a routine and have lots of duplicated items so that both properties feel like 'home'.
For me I need one base, one home that both we and our animals love to be in and I am looking forward to this being the one we are in forever.  The decorating is almost finished, we still have the kitchen to paint although all the prep work was done last weekend so this week we will be actually getting the paint on the walls, then we will get round to doing the hall and stairs and then finally, the conservatory, which is where we are currently storing all the paint and DIY necessities needed as you tackle a whole house at once.
As each room has been finished we have been bringing our possessions from 'home' to fill it and make it ours.  Sometimes it still feels a bit 'showhousey'.  Too neat and tidy, too organised and slightly unused, but I'm hoping this will change.  I don't want, nor have I ever had, a house that looks perfect, a house where children can't touch things or animals can't wander from room to room, although I did draw the line at the chickens roaming through the house when they started shaking the soil from their dust bathing all over my kitchen floor :-/
I love it when you can read a persons or a couples characters from their home, their rooms and their belongings, when you can stand and browse a friends bookcase and smile at their choice of books, coveting those you have always wanted or thinking 'snap' when your tastes are just so similar and you realise just why they are your friends and you love them so much.

I actually think that soon it will start to feel like home, the more we add to it the more familiar it feels, the more I want to be there and I  am really looking forward to the day in the not too distant future when we will.
I had an email question about the display that I have put above the bookcase in the living room, saying it looked identical to how it looked at our current address - well spotted.  It is almost identical there is just one new addition.  Each time we move or have a truly memorable occasion one more item gets added to it, I guess now it is almost complete.
So here is our life in pictures, the things are numbered in the photo above.
1.  My 'Where's Mum' limited edition print bought when I bought my first ever home of my own after my divorce.  A tiny kitten in an almost empty room looking for her Mum.
2.  A carved wooden Gecko, almost the same as the one tattooed on my arm, I had the tattoo done to celebrate my freedom the day after the divorce came through, hence it's nickname Freddy Freedom.  This wooden copy was bought for me by Lovely Hubby on a trip to a Christmas Market the year we got engaged when I realised I didn't need to be alone to experience freedom .... I could share it with my soulmate.
3.  A tinplate picture 'Le Chat Noir' that we bought on our first trip to Paris, it brings back memories of walking hand in hand through the streets of the most romantic capital in the world.  Early morning coffees sitting outside little coffee shops and bistros, and seeing the Eiffel Tower perfectly lit on a Saturday night from our hotel window.
4.  The advert we placed in farming magazines and newspapers when we decided that we were going to live our dream and start our new life in the country while we were young enough to enjoy it and build it up instead of waiting until we had both retired..
5.  One of a limited edition range of framed photographs that I used to sell in my little shop, that I simply had to have for us when I sold up ready to begin our new lives.  It is taken by one of the most talented landscape photographers I know - my brother.  It reminds me every time I look at it of happy times in the Cumbria and reminds me of Graham.
6.  A Welsh Love Spoon bought by us during our two weeks of decorating our new house on a day out we had to Carnarvon to relax a bit in the middle of all the chaos.  We had lunch in a warm and cosy restaurant and then a mooch around the shops.  Welsh Love spoons are composed of different symbols and the one we chose has two hearts and a keyhole, which symbolise love and home.
On the top of the bookcase lives 'Mother' our Christmas Cacti passed down to us from my lovely Mum in Law, it was her Mum's before that so how old she is I really can't work out, but she flowers at the most unexpected times and burst into bloom just after Jessie died and she came to live with us, a sign we took that it was meant to be. 
Now that these are all in the places where they will stay, it really is feeling a lot more like our little Welsh house is edging forward in the 'home' stakes and our cute little rented bungalow is merely full of things waiting to go home.
So in my opinion, in answer to my own question ... 'when does a house become a home?' 
When you fill it with yourselves, your love, your memories and your hopes and dreams for the future.
Sue xx


  1. Some houses just feel like home, some never seem to, no matter what you put in them.

  2. I think a home is where your heart is. This home is going to feel like home when you move in I'm sure. Don't forget to get some sand/salt for your driveway.

  3. I am sure it will be home once you are there and the muddles of living are around you. I have a cactus like yours which is over 40 years old and was a tiny wee thing in a pot bought with a voucher we were given for our first Christmas together back in 1972 - like yours it flowers when it feels like it.

  4. Smashing post. It's all coming together. I've got cactus envy now and I didn't even know I liked cactus:)

    Jean x

  5. Loving seeing it all come together in your forever home, and am looking forward to the day when we can do the same in New Zealand. :o)
    I have one of those cacti as well, it was given to me as an Easter Cactus (alledgedly flowers around Easter time). Its only flowered for me once, you are supposed to be able to put them outside in Summer as well. It was one of the last pressies I got from my Father-in-Law before he died, so it holds a special place in my heart.

  6. you are so lucky moving there , I envy you its a really beautiful place. I am going myself for a weekend in a few weeks. if you like Italian food there is a fab restaurant in Llandudno called valentinos, it is delicioius ( its by the roundabout at the top of mostyn street ) I would love to move there myself :--)

  7. Interestingly I felt instantly at "home" when we walked into our wood - which was before we even looked at the house, attached!

    Probably why I place priority on the outside stuff and am less bothered about the house!

  8. What a lovely post. Now that your treasured possessions are there, you have created your home I think.

  9. I can't exactly answer your question but when we moved into our current home, I stayed away from the old one for a while. I can now say that when I drive by it, I truly see it as a house. It's "our old house." Part of my ability to let it go is that we love the new house but also because I learned the owner of our old house loves his house. So now it's someone else's home.

  10. "Too neat and tidy, too organised and slightly unused, but I'm hoping this will change. . . ." oh Sue, you KNOW it will change! xx

  11. I am loving watching you getting your new home ready.

  12. I love the Welsh love spoons - but you have made me realise that I don't have one in my house even though I have bought them as presents for lots of people. I'll have to sort that out next time I'm back in Wales. I'll probably go to Betws-y-coed for mine - have you been there yet?

  13. Such a lovely post Sue. It's wonderful to see you evolve the house into your dream home :)

  14. A house is a home to me when I can remember the address completely and the phone number. My mind just doesn't want to remember this house at all. I think it is a sign

  15. When you start leaving stuff laying about instead of compulsively keeping it nice! And it does look lovely.

  16. Nice post! But now I want to read the advert you posted all those year ago! Has it been on your blog before?

    1. To read the wording of it go to the very first Blog post of this Blog.

  17. Oh I love this post, I too prefer to have things that mean something rather than show home stuff :-)

  18. Looking good - you have been working hard and it is beginning to look like home now with all your bits and pieces and little treasures. From someone who does keep two houses (wrecks) going I have two completely different homes and it satisfies my split personality - I can have my modern and my old and it suits me very well but I know what you mean about having a base - sometimes I think I am losing the plot a little when I can't remember if the grey primer I bought is for our Yorkshire home or our beach cottage!!
    PS when is the housewarming?


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