31 May 2009

homework: there's no place like home

gabi, my sis: I used to want my house to look like a model home--every room perfectly clean and coordinated. I was constantly stressed, trying to keep things "photo-shoot ready." Then I read a book that suggested each room only needs: a well-lit chair to sit and read, a large flat workspace for projects and eating, and a comfy spot to rest. I have really tried to incorporate this trio in all of our living spaces. I've realized that my favorite homes to visit are my favorites because they are lovely, but also comfortable, practical, kid-friendly and relaxed.

elise: A happy home is clean. Not so clean you feel like you can't eat gooey chocolate chip cookies on the white couch, but tidy enough that you can sit down and relax. our house is a home because, well, it's filled with all our stuff. :)

whitney, my bff: My husband and I, the m&m dish on our coffee table, the yoga mats tucked in the corner, the dirty laundry in the basket, the towels on the radiator, the drips from the facet, the red bowl on our kitchen table filled with banana's, the planted cilantro, the sunset through our kitchen window, the shoes right by the door, music playing, family and friends over for dinner, Jason and I laughing and bringing one memory at a time to make this babysized apartment truly a home. It is where we wake up each morning and can't wait to get back to at the end of the day.

brittany of tangled & true: What makes a home a happy home are the people in it, the friends that pass through the doors, the memories that are made there, the kids laughing, the lessons learned, the love that is shared. I love walking into a house that is filled with positive energy, the hostess is relaxed, the food is plentiful, the house is clean the sun is shining in the windows and I'm surrounded by people I love.

polly, my aunt: My house is not grand or anything..it is pretty simple, but I do like to welcome anyone who comes to my door with open arms and a big hug. I love visitors and long chats in the living room, in the garden when the sun is shining and many have found their way into our big beautiful master suite. I was sick for several years and so I had many friends who found their way to the comfy chairs in my bedroom. There is always room for friends and there's plenty of crushed ice and diet coke at my house, so come for a visit!

abby, my cousin: I often think of this, and I think overall the home is where you gather with loved ones. I wonder if I lost my house tomorrow although it would be devastating, it just 4 walls, and my home would move to the little 1 bedroom apartment I’d share with my husband and my baby. I think too often that we all get so involved in decorating and buying and trying to make our houses look a certain way, that it sometimes becomes materialist in a way. (Myself included.) I mean right now I have a list a mile long of things I’d like to improve and buy for my house, but when you sit back and think, it’s the little things that make a house a home. Its something I need to remind myself of all the time. It’s the feeling of a house that makes it a home, not the STUFF inside of it.

summer: my house is made a home by the care and keeping, the concern and consideration, and the time and effort that goes into it each day. the being with my husband, the making of lunches, the doing of dishes, the hugging when he gets home from work, the lighting of candles, the washing of pillowcases, the baking of bread, the crashing on the couch, the discussing of the future, the fixing of the water softener, the getting of the mail, the turning on of lamps, the putting away of groceries, the kissing goodnight, and all the everyday sort of things.

ultimately, i believe that a happy home is the result of it having a happy maker. that means it all starts with me. my disposition determines the character of my home. the most important step i can make in creating a happy home is to be cheerful myself. to work with eager hands. to speak wholesome words. to have compassion. to practice hospitality. to be sweet and gracious. i've never been in a home where these qualities haven't lent a lovely and wonderfully inviting atmosphere. no matter how unattractive you find your house, you can determine the beauty of your home.

amy, my sis: Having a good time and knowing the mess is always worth it.

christie, my sis-in-law: I think what makes our house a home is the family that lives inside. We're by no means perfect, but we love each other and always try to show that. We like to have fun together. When anyone walks through the door at the end of a long day, here is a place they never question if they're loved and valued. Our home is our haven, and there's no place like home!

marty, my mom: A house is a structure. When there's a spirit of love inside, it becomes a home. Tulips on the table, somebody practicing the flute, cinnamon rolls in the oven, a quilt on a chair—the little touches are important because they entice family members to return at the end of a long day. But the details don't make the home. When there's contention, resentment, sullenness or fear, the furnishings won't make a difference.

Acceptance, understanding, commitment, laughter, hope, and love create an atmosphere of peace and stability. Under those conditions bread and milk and a dirt floor can sustain a family, and they will create the spirit of a magnificent home.

hilary: The last thing I think about when I think of a happy home, is a big comfy couch. Sure, it sounds silly. But who doesn't feel happy while lounging in a big comfy couch. It doesn't have to brand new with the latest fabric rage. It can even be an old corduroy couch that has been passed down for years, like our first set of couches were. They were my parent's couches when they were first married and had been sat on many times over, but I loved how big and comfy they were. They were welcoming, and when people came over to visit, they stayed because they were comfortable. Those couches also added character to our little apartment, and always provided a great story.

stephanie: Personal touches. The fact that I've decorated my home and not someone else makes it feel like home to me. Also, I've chosen easy-to-maintain fabrics like microfiber suede and leather to allow it to be both grown up and child-friendly at the same time. Not two weeks ago my 2-year-old took a pen to one of my living room chairs...in a big way! It was a breeze to clean up thanks to the stain-resistant fabric on the chair. I was so grateful to not have purchased something high-maintenance.

elizabeth, my sis-in-law: What makes my house a home is that it is lived in and enjoyed. My house is never spotless, there are always toys everywhere, and even more noise, but the kids are usually happy and I try to keep the front room tidy so when visitors come knocking I'm not embarrassed to invite them in for a chat.

cath: What we’ve discovered along the way--and our home is still constantly evolving--is that it’s important to choose a style that is inspiring to you, put some sweat into creating it for yourself if you can, save your money for special pieces that will last, and pepper it with meaningful items that make it uniquely you.

For home is where our stories unfold. It’s my hope that those stories, and the people who tell them, feel warm, comfortable, and loved.

thank you, panelists. i truly enjoyed reading your answers. what good homemakers you are; i've been so inspired these past few sundays. am happy i am not the only one scrubbing my sinks before guests come and now i have plenty of new recipes to try.

tune in next week for a brand new panel series for the month of june. the topic: Beauty Secrets. i hope you'll add your tricks and tips. can't wait.


talesofahummingbird said...

the comment your mom made was perfection. i may have to borrow it to post beautifully up in my home as a reminder of what home is. just lovely. thanks, marta and marty!

gem said...

while reading i thought of these words, which i discovered yesterday, by emily dickinson, "Where thou art, that is home."
as always, thank you for your offerings here, Marta.

ALFIE said...

the panelist's words felt like home. such love and passion for life in this post. so inspiring.

can't wait for the june panel:: beauty tips! i love it! can't wait to get new ideas and to share mine!

{amy k.} said...

Great panelist's- you can tell they all love their homes! And now i want to go visit each of their homes! :) I love this feature Marta, can't wait to hear some great beauty tips!

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