what feels like 'home' to you?

*Throughout the month of October, we’ll be talking about HOME here at The Happiest Mom: how we feel about our homes, how we run our homes, and what ‘home’ means to us and our kids. I’ve got lots of topics planned, some great interviews lined up, and you can follow along as I take on some home projects, too. Subscribe if you want the posts in your email or feed reader!

old houses always feel like 'home' to me

I lived most of the first six years of my life in a typical, middle-class split-level home. Our house was typical of my friends’ homes in the late 70s and early 80s; complete with a blue bathtub, avocado and harvest gold appliances, brown and orange kitchen, brown shag carpet and lots of shiny vinyl.

My parents divorced when I was in the second grade, and soon after, my mom purchased a small, “quirky” 1890 home for an incredibly small amount of money. To family and friends I know it must have seemed our family had taken a huge step down, from middle-class comfort via wall-to-wall carpeting and a finished basement near newer subdivisions, to a shabby old house in an unstylish part of town–but I was totally captivated. I loved the French doors, the old fireplace, the spooky huge walk-up attic, the peeling wallpaper and especially the creaky, glossy hardwood floors. The house captured my imagination. I remember very clearly, at about the age of 7, thinking about the way our new house was different from my friends’: not as new, not as stylish, not as functional–but feeling very confident that ours was still better.

We left that house when I was in the 8th grade and I’ve lived in more than two dozen apartments, duplexes and houses since, but no other place has felt quite as much like “home” to me as that little house. I think in some ways I’ve been trying to re-create the feeling those wooden floors, old fireplace and sloping stairs gave me ever since. (Of course, I think a lot of the reason that house felt so much like ‘home’ was because my mother was so good at creating a cozy, homey feeling…something I’ll be writing about later this week.)

After renting (and moving a lot) throughout our marriage, last spring my husband and I finally closed on our first “really ours” house. It’s a big, old house with crooked, creaky floors (hardwood…under lots of carpet and vinyl that still needs to be torn up), and French doors (no fireplace, but you can’t have it all, I guess.) But even though we’ve found a house that meets most of my “dream home” criteria (or at least could, one day) I’m finding that the older I get, the more I can imagine myself creating a home out of any house. I’ve been inside a lot of adorable houses, from 900 square foot cottages to 4000 square foot rambling country manors, that really reflect the personality and lifestyle of their inhabitants. If push came to shove, I know that I could make a happy home out of any old dwelling.

Still, I’m glad I wound up with the wood floors.

What about you? Is there a certain type of house (era, style, etc) that speaks to you more than any other? Have you found a place that felt immediately like ‘home,’ or have you learned to make a home out of a place that didn’t seem like “you” in the beginning?

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