03 May 2009

homework: personalize your space

a new blog feature. hip hip. this month we'll see how it goes. next month we might try it again. here is how it works, i pick a topic and ask some favorite people of mine what they think. they become my panel of experts and spout off their thoughts on the matter. got it? good.

recently i've been wondering, what it is that makes a house a home? what makes it happy and comfortable and cozy and spectacular? what makes a home homey? how can i create that feeling within my own walls? what kinds of personal touches make a difference? i started doing some homework and began my extensive research. i asked the experts. my family, friends and favorite bloggers whom i trust and admire. i sought ladies who have homes of all shapes and sizes, but all happy, warm and welcoming. the kind of homes that are clean and inviting and delicious smelling. the kind of place that you want to plop down in a big chair, play board games by the fire and pile a million quilts on your lap and hibernate in. yes, the chicken noodle soup and homemade rolls type of home. i will post my homespun questions along with their answers every sunday of May. here we go.

gabi, my sis: I surround myself with things that are special to me. Favorite books in every room, family photos on the wall, my husband keeps the plants alive. The school-teacher in me likes to decorate for the seasons. Right now, I have pussywillows and my Beatrix Potter collection on display to celebrate spring. Also, I have my wedding china, along with heirloom dishes and serving pieces on display in the dining room, it connects me with my history.

elise: I personalize with collections of photos + my own artwork. A happy home is lived in. It holds evidence of each member of its family. Shoes by the door, dishes in the dishwasher, toothbrushes in a holder on the counter. A happy home is warm. Both the temperature and the light. A happy home is the place you are always relieved to get back to. The place where you are most excited to turn the key in the lock.

whitney, my bff: I like to place items in my home that I truly love that gives a little detail of who we are as a family. I love pictures and have placed metal slabs (plain magnet boards) on the wall to fill them up with quotes, pictures, postcards and notes. I also love framing letters, speeches, anything that makes me smile or feel inspired. Color, I love bright colors. If it's not my bright furniture that does the trick, then it's my colorful bowls randomly placed around the apartment. Quilts: from my first quilt I made for Jason, to my sister, Abby's masterpieces to my great grandmother's. I love displaying these unique and bright quilts to hopefully add a cozy touch.

brittany of tangled & true: I personalize our home by mixing in vintage items that I find at flea markets, garage sales and resale stores. They add character and a unique flair to our home as well as serving as some great conversation pieces. My favorite spot in my home is my room. The color combinations make me happy and the bedding and furniture mix is eclectic and fun. I love the mornings that the sun streams in the windows and the girls come climbing in bed, we laugh and talk, we're relaxed and just enjoying each other.

polly, my aunt: I personalize my home with things that I love. Most of the furniture is hand-me-downs or if I get something new it is very well thought out and so special that I love it dearly. Other possessions around my home are gifts or are from vacations, or pictures. Every place I look, I am looking at something I love dearly or that has a story. I love that about my home.

abby, my cousin: I’m a quilter so I like to put quilts around as d├ęcor. I also am very relaxed, in my pjs as soon as I walk in the door. I like to have ottomans and comfy chairs around so everyone feels they can just lay back and relax at my house. My favorite spot is my backyard because Jake, my 17 month old is happiest when he’s outside. He loves to explore behind all the trees. Its very relaxing for me to be out there and just lay on the trampoline and watch him wander around.

summer: i personalize my space by keeping the grand scheme clean and bright. simple lines. clutter-free. plus a touch of vintage. pursuing the less is more effect, that's my stratagem. my favorite spot in my home is our front room, it's the room that receives the most sunlight, and i am easily won over with a little sunshine.

amy, my sis: The most important thing for me is to be surrounded by things I love like quilts, books, flowers, art and family. I use past and present treasures to accessorize. Red is my favorite color and so I tend to accent with this hue in each room; it puts my signature on the project.

cath: While its original owners were thoughtful designers who added touches that gave their new home old-house charm, over the years we have learned to add special features that have made it distinctly our own. We began with a style. My husband, Mark, and I are especially fond of the Arts & Crafts movement. This style is all about making your home simple and functional, and bringing the outdoors in as much as possible. We wanted our home to be colorful, inviting, and warm. And so, gradually the white walls succumbed to yellows, reds, and greens, and we covered everything we could with wood.

christie, my sis-in-law: We like to personalize our space by putting things on the walls that are meaningful to us. We don't just hang art for the sake of hanging it or to have the wall covered with something. We hang portraits of people we love. We hang pictures of places that mean something to us. We have a wall with photographs of all the cities we have lived in (which for us, is a total of eight!). We like to have pieces out that are part of our heritage, and full of memories for us. Makes our home feel more like ours. We're also realistic about the fact that children live in this home. We have a basement playroom and have hung canvas prints without a frame or glass on the wall, knowing the kids will be down there throwing around a ball or wrestling. Josh built an armoire with doors that close to protect the TV from flying toys. Rather than set them up or failure, we created a fail-proof space that they can absolutely be themselves in.

hilary: The first thing that comes to mind about what makes a happy home is the people who are in it. The main reason I love my home is because it is where my family is. I love being with my family whether it is immediate or extended. You can always bet that we will be laughing and whenever we get together we always eat wonderful food. Which brings me to my next item that makes a happy home, a big home cooked meal. Nothing beats walking in to a home that has bread baking, stew stewing, or chicken cooking. The aroma of good food always seems to calm and comfort everyone in the home.

thank you. tune in next sunday to see what our panelists do to prepare their homes for guests! if you'd like to add in your two cents about personalizing your home, do tell, leave a comment.


EliseBlaha said...

this is so fun.
can't wait to see + hear more.

amy said...

Oooh, I think I'm going to like this new blog feature a bunch!

Travelin'Oma said...

This is a perfect month to celebrate the home. The ideas here are great. I love the topic.

Anonymous said...

YAY for this new feature! And you are surrounded by friends and family who are also bloggers!

I loved the tips and now want to infuse more color into my home and also to get rid of clutter so the focus can be on my carefully selected favorite items!

Looking forward to this feature again!

the dibers said...

i got my mini diary in the mail yesterday and it could not be cuter- i love it-thank you! thank you!

Magdalena said...

Oh this is wonderful. I'm a designer and party planner and work from my 200 year old farmhouse. I am always looking for great ways to entertain and I make sure I have a home that no one ever wants to leave. that means something is always baking, candles are always lit, the fire is going, fesh flowers are always present. Most of all our home is filled with happy people who love each other.

Anonymous said...

Marta, I'm so glad I found your blog. I've become interested in homemaking of late and this panel discussion is a great big help. Thanks, Marta! Thanks, everyone! I can't wait for the next installment.

Becky said...

Hello! My friend found your blog and then recommended it to me. I love it! Thank you for such a wonderful addition!!!

gem said...

love this*

summer said...

yay! yet another brilliant idea! what fun. new features are truly your specialty. thank you for always being the go-to girl, marta. i am eagerly awaiting more of your homework.

Erica said...

seriously you kill me marta. your ideas are always so amazing! I LOVE this new feature. I think I may be responding on my blog a little bit about each of your topics. i would love to have these little things written down so one day i can remember them. i will for sure link back to your blog if i do. for sure! i think you're brilliant!

ps. i sent out tj's announcements and so many people have called - and LOVE them. i gave them all your info!!

{amy k.} said...

yet, another brilliant idea from Marta... not surprised- you are amazing! What a great idea, I'll be excited to see what is said each week.

Seems like I need to get some quilts to "homey" up my home.

Something that always makes a big difference for me is to open the blinds- open the windows... let the outside in. If I could afford it, I would have fresh flowers in my house everyday, they just make me happy and give the "homey" feel. And candlelight- if it's evening and guests are coming I always light candles, it makes a huge difference!

Unknown said...

i just left a comment over at summer's blog, but i might as well tell it to your face:

i LOVE how you've always got something super-cool cookin. :)

i'm looking forward to hearing more!

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