It’s been two years since we fell in love with our current house. We weren’t house shopping. We had a ‘list’ of things we wanted but didn’t really know exactly what we needed.
So one day we took a ‘day trip’ or could be called a real life ‘daydream’ to Stillwater, Minnesota to go to a few Open Houses. What really caught my eye was a neighborhood that looked like old houses of Minneapolis. Craftsmen, farmhouses, bungalows, or cottages. The great thing about some of my favorite Minneapolis neighborhoods is that there are so many different types of houses that it creates a cohesive diverse look. (Is cohesive diversity an oxymoron?)
I remember the first thing I said to my husband once we first stepped into that gray craftsman house on a beautiful Autumn day was “Ahh, this is too big. It’s just us and a dog.” The reason we fell in love with it was not because it was big, but because it could support the life and family we wanted in the future. I personally fell in love with it as a place I knew I could spread my creative roots and really make a “home”.
So how do you create a home? I mean really creating a space where your family and friends also feel relaxed, loved, and cared for. Not something that looks meticulously planned out, which is okay and I really admire when others are able to do that.
I think of my own Mother whom, without a lot of money, always made our house (an apartment actually) feel like home to myself and all my siblings. The living room which wasn’t always clutter-free felt warm and inviting. The leather couches were famed for “turning company into family” after they took a nap there. There is something about being able to fall asleep on someone else’s sofa that speaks to the level of hospitality and welcome of a home.
However, how do you make your house feel like the home where someone feels comfortable enough to take a nap on your couch, borrow a book, or scrounge in your fridge while still looking cohesive and beautiful?
We’ve made some strides, picking up personal items here and there. We’ve come into a lot of family items as our parents downsize or upgrade some of their items.
My favorite pieces we have received were gifts from my father. First was a an old 1800s traveler trunk my Dad refinished. He did this by ripping out the lining, airing out the musty odors, re-lining, painting, staining, and fixing the hardware. He did an amazing job and now the trunk is in our living room as a coffee table.
The next thing he gave us, a belated wedding gift, is a Scandinavian style mirror. He built the entire thing himself. It’s a beautiful dusty blue. I don’t have a good photo of it but I’ll add it as soon as I do.
We snagged before moving, my siblings will probably steal this right off the wall someday, a painting given to my parents from a painter by the name of Jack Norman. He taught water color courses at Augsburg Collage among other institutions. I am still researching him and learning about his work.
Another favorite of mine is a print we picked up at my husband’s Grandmother’s house. She was purging her own home and has wanted her grandchildren to come over for quite some time. We finally made the trip out to her small town in Iowa. She probably would’ve give us the whole house lock stock and barrel but we only had our sights on a few things!
I saw this print hanging in the basements on an unlit well. It’s by an artist by the name of Ikki Matsumoto. He was a well loved artist on Sanibel Island, FL. The detail is hard to tell on a screen but in person it’s mesmerizing. Right now it is in a guest room but I think it would be perfect for a future nursery.
When my own Grandmother was downsizing, I picked up a tall pottery umbrella holder. It’s at least 2 feet tall and has a beautiful sea foam color glaze. I also picked up some Christmas ornaments, as they are my favorite memory pieces to hold.
My question stands, how do you continue to build a home and make sure that it feels like a place for family and friends, while still looking put together?
Updates on our family/great room to come.