Monday, November 16, 2015

Nest Building: Making a New House Feel Like Home

A warning label should accompany this post. Though it contains a few "before" photos, you won't see lovely "afters." This post isn't about decorating. 


When we buy a home, it is only natural to add our own touches and to create a new story. But mostly, we crave comfort and a sense of belonging.
 Last weekend, Bandwidth and I loaded and unloaded the Jeep many times, bring our old belongings to the new house, hoping to find the burger's heartbeat. Well, that was my goal, anyway; Bandy did the heavy lifting and set up a television--his contribution to making a house a home. 

It doesn't help that I'm woefully out of shape. If I were a hen, a farmer would say that I was suffering from the "pip." In some ways, that's an apt description, because I have chickened out on decorating. True, the house has wonderful views, but a view has no heartbeat. It can't wrap itself around you like a tartan blanket.
First, a little history.
When I look back on past moves, my goals were to "set up" the house with basic necessities--clean sheets, food in the fridge and larder, fluffy towels, and clothes in the closet. I was never critical of clashing colors or styles. Shoot no--the house was new, or newly remodeled, and I had plenty of time to tweak. I put K-Mart comforters on the beds, and they stayed there for months--sometimes years--until I figured out what to do.

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Some rooms were comfortable, but they were never finished. I didn't mind. The house was a home.

Fast forward to the present. 
I'm not sure why, but I am much more critical of my progress at the ranch (especially my bad decisions and the lack of progress). I know that it takes time to build a nest, but what can you do when the nest feels alien? I find myself tiptoeing though the rooms, feeling like an intruder, half expecting the real owner to call the police.
It hadn't always been that way.
I remember the first time I saw the burger. A chef lived here, and her personality was evident in every room.

Using a Pottery Barn unit for inspiration, we added a beadboard panel to give the pieces a built-in look. But would I have done this a decade ago? I don't think so. 


The "old" me rose up and said, You can do this, girl. It's a small space, so take small  steps. The goal had been to add color with accessories. But when did I confuse nest-building with accessorizing? 
The "old" me said, You've got what you need. Use two pillowcases as a makeshift cushion cover. Add your pillows. Find the coat hooks later. You have plenty of time.

When building a nest, it's important to not compare your new, trembly ideas with a polished, decorated room. 






Now it was my turn to "decorate." 





Since I felt very much like an intruder in this house, I thought a little whimsy and holiday cheer would help make this room into a happy place.

 The bedding had been my only purchase for the house: I'd spent money, and it hadn't really helped. We'd had a monkey wrench or two thrown into our plans to move the furniture, so I just had to wait. And use what I had--and what we could move without injuring ourselves. (I may be the only person in the world who can get hurt while tucking in a dust ruffle! A born klutz, I is.) 

The crux of the decorating matter wasn't the decor. It was my unrealistic expectations. All by myself, I was piling on the pressure, and it was totally unnecessary. This wasn't a One Room Challenge that I'd created for myself. It was a challenge to take a blank canvas and create a home. Why in the world did I think I could bang it out in a weekend--or even a year? Did I really think I would feel at home if the space was furnished and decorated? I'd never needed that before. Why now?

 I called my mother. We chatted a bit, and she told me to stop beating up on myself. I asked if she would like me to spruce up her bedroom for the holidays. She was so happy. So I think this bedding will find itself in a warm, loving place very soon.


The state of the burger kept nagging at me. And I just couldn't understand it. What was different about this house? Or was I different? I walked around the house, my shoes clapping on the floor, making hollow noises. Oh, what had I done? The 1990s Georgian had always felt like home, even though it had never been decorated, much less staged for blog photos. But that house had been sold to people who loved it as much as I had (and that is always a blessing and a joy). 
The Burger had become daunting and so unfamiliar. I am still recovering from my first real illness in 62 years, and stuffing a duvet wears me out. Decorating isn't for sissies or hens with the pip.

But really, the emotional stuff is much more tiring. That night, I dreamed I had broken into our old house. Just as I was making myself at home, the owners arrived. I woke up before the police took me to the pokey. The next morning, I dug through my "pillow ho" stash and found the comforter that I'd used at the Georgian. I'd lost the plaid dust skirt and a few pillows, but surely they'd turn up. Luck was with me: I found some old, white bedding. I also borrowed a few plaid pillows from the living room sofa. 


You know, it's funny how things look better in person. A photograph will bring out the warts, real or imagined. Maybe that adds another layer of pressure? Whether you have a blog or not, most of us have phones that take pictures, and while this is a good thing, it has put a different spin on how we decorate.

Hello, Mr. Sea Turtle. Surely you will make us smile.

A cream bathroom and a cream comforter. 
At this, I had to sit down and laugh at myself.
This isn't decorating--the camera in my phone is calling the shots.

The space is calmer and "matchier," but is it home?
What is needed?
Not stuff. 
Not a hastily patched together room.
Time and patience is needed, or the space will never acquire true warmth and true comfort.

When you moved into your house, what did you do to make yourself and your family feel comfortable and "at home?"



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51 comments:

  1. Well, I'm going to go out on a limb here and hope you don't smack me. You lost two precious pupsters in a short amount of time. That alone would keep my house/apartment from feeling like a home. Have you thought about giving another lucky dog a wonderful home with you? Only other thing I can think of: I'm not accustomed to such big rooms. Seems to swallow your stuff up. I'm sure you'll be adding more furniture. I just don't know how to decorate large spaces. They intimidate the hell out of me. But give me a small space, and I'm a happy camper. Maybe, just maybe, think about bringing new life into your new home with a new dog to love? To me, I think the rest would just naturally follow. You're still grieving, I know. But a sweet little puppy/dog face might help you feel more like yourself.
    Hopefully still your friend, Brenda

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  2. When we recently moved, to make our place feel like home I started putting up some of my favorite little decorating things... My fave pair of staffordshire cats, my fave paintings on the wall, and a few family photos as I think that makes it more like home. And of course, my favorite wool throw blanket to cuddle with on the couch! Rome didn't build itself in a day, it will all come together eventually! :-)

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    1. Great ideas. I love tartan blankets. I'm wrapped up in one right now.

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  3. You are absolutely my friend, Brenda. I had thought the 8' ceilings in most of the house would be a bonus and help create a cozy, warm feel; we really need to bring over the furniture, but our current home developed some issues, and we are stuck here, getting them tended to, and trying to pack in the midst of chaos. You really saw into the heart of this matter: the Yorkies. I had a dream about this the other night, but Bandy and I are still heartbroken. The boys are buried in the side garden, and their butterfly bushes are still in bloom. A hopeful sign.

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  4. Hi Michael Lee! I think Brenda is right. Our little fuzzy faces are our children and you are still grieving. Chloe Dawn made the move here and from August til the next January, she was making this new/old house her home too. I still feel empty without her and we'll probably get another puppy in the spring. I hate to potty train with snow on the ground. Your home is so pretty and you are a wonderful decorator and your home will come together with time. You have beautiful things and a beautiful decorating sense. It'll come. Just make a cup of tea and curl up and move stuff around in your pretty little head. Don't do too much while you're still recovering.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

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    1. Tea is a great idea, Shelia! Thank you for your comforting words, especially how you are coping with your loss of sweet Chloe Dawn. Sometimes it feels like a step forward and twenty back.

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  5. We moved three years ago and I'm just now really feeling at home.... It takes time... what worked at our old house did not work here because the rooms are different sizes and the windows and doors are in different places, etc. I just a few weeks ago finally realized what I should put on the wall above our bed. Three years later! And besides, who wants to rush the journey when the journey is the best part???

    It's really gorgeous, by the way. Whatever you do whenever you get to it will be, too...

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    1. I feel so much better after reading your comment. You're right--it is the journey, not the destination. Thanks!

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  6. well your post is perfect timing for my broken feet... as you know i am rarely online these days, but frankly i just popped ibuprofen, poured a GIANT mug of hot tea and kicked my feet up to call it a day! we had our floors redone at the beach, which means every single thing was striped from the house, tossed outside for 3 days and i now have the horridly daunting task of putting this place back together... and let me say this is a cottage, a mere 800 sf, i thought i would knock it out it in a day, instead i am nursing my broken body and realize that this is a could 4-5 day project... i want to paint, launder and decorate every square inch, instead i spent 8 hours JUST filling the bookcase... i get it about a house being a home, we waited 4 years to figure our what kind of floor would work for us with pets and sand, and now that its here, i want to tweak everything that has crossed my mind... I JUST CAN'T DO IT IN A DAY!

    i love your little bench area, i have one too and love the flexibility of it, mine is for walking the dogs with leashes and treats at the ready, with warm coats and scarves hanging to handle the great outdoors. your pillows are adorable, i had a black lab i LOVED, you reminded me of him, i want your to hang his read leash and a cute red down vest ;-)

    fun to see your remodel on the computer with big pics, i usually see it on my phone :-) i love your holiday bed, looks very festive, are you sure it needs to depart? just add a tree, will make the room extra special and smell divine, but i do love the replacement too. i LOVE all bedding, i just spent hours filling my tiny linen "shelf"!

    tell me about your black and red dust ruffle, did you just buy fabric and tuck under, because it looks like a genius idea to me, i just put a new one last night and hate it, i am going to a fabric store as soon as my feet heel up and i can stand again because today has killed me!

    my goodness i rambled, once i get my feet up i just don't shut up, loved visiting your house today and living LARGE!

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    1. Jain, I used tablecloths for a dust ruffle. Fabric would be even better, though. Love the idea of a tree in the bedroom. While I was going through the mail, a catalog caught my eye--it had the cutest hedgehog ornaments. I was going through art and stuff, and so much of it centers around dogs and nature. Maybe I should take a cue from this. I can't wait to see your floors.I've got a heating pad on my feet tonight. The weather has been brutal here at GG. ;-)

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  7. the very first comment was EXACTLY what I was thinking...therefore; must say. You need a new furry friend. One to follow your every footstep around the house while you make it a home. To hear little puppy dog feet on those beautiful floors will be the first step. Then you need to hear laughter in your new home! Invite some friends over and break out the wine......tell stories....let them give you ideas for decorating....laugh WAAAAY outloud. Make memories on your first days in the house and soon that ol' familiar feeling of "home" will begin to show its head.
    And start shopping.....IN YOUR OLD HOUSE! Use the stuff you already have and loved once and will love again. Move it around using it differently than in the old place...it will make you feel good to shop your house for treasures. They are there, you just have to now make them new in the new house.
    And then - your house will become your home. Puppy love. Old stuff in your new place. And LAUGHTER. girlfriends.
    That's my recipe for a warm home!!

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  8. It just takes time! I am with your mother. Don't beat yourself up! And when we are of a certain age (I include myself) it sometimes takes us a little longer to bounce back after an illness. The main things are food in the house, clean sheets, and towels for a shower. After that, just roam around and tinker at your own pace. Also, aren't sons wonderful. Mine helps me out when he comes to the empty nest. ha. It's great to have a son with muscles and a "can do" attitude. And what Brenda said is true also. I read a list about stress once. Guess what is in the top group...moving! along with death, and job changes. Once you start cooking and learn the new traffic pattern in the the house you will be on your way. Don't worry about art on the walls, etc. You are artistic. Artistic types (I include myself) have to do things on a different timeline. We have to "fee" it and "see" it. ha.
    Hugs. Sheila

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    1. Our old house is adding to the stress--it's as if she doesn't want us to go, and she's becoming a hypochondriac. Yes, I agree--a different timeline is normal.

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  9. Gosh, it takes time to make a house feel like a home and after twenty years I'm still changing things. Ha ha

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    1. Yep, it does take time. I think my dream creeped me out a little. LOL

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  10. Your new home is gorgeous. From your pictures and conversation, I think the sheer scale of the space is overwhelming you. Add grief to that and it is just going to take more time than you thought. The answer will come with your beloved things taking their places as you find just the right spot for each one. Making a house into a home doesn't happen the day we unpack, it evolves as the space and our lives find harmony together. For me, it has taken at least a year in every home we have lived in to feel that it was home, and not just the house where we lived.

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    1. I'm so glad to read this, Carole. I have tried to understand why this move feels so different. It's the first time in our lives that we haven't been owned by four-legged critters.

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    2. I understand, we lost our precious psychodog about 8 weeks ago and the house still feels empty. But we are going to be dog-less for a long time. It is a difficult adjustment. Give yourself some time too.

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  11. We just moved 30 days ago and downsized more than half so it's a challenge deciding what's a treasured, must keep item and what can just go! I find that I'm asking myself what brings me joy and what's just "stuff". There have been a few tears shed, many trips to landfill, huge donation piles and plenty of stuff that needs to be sold but it's starting to feel more like home to me. Give yourself a break and time without stressing because soon it'll be a house filled with love and laughter then it becomes HOME!
    Donna

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  12. Just think of it as your canvas, and you can paint over it as much as you like! I do think you have to live in a space for a while to let it tell you what it needs...love the entry bench~
    Jenna

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  13. I would say that your dreams are your mind's way of working out your emotions about all that you've been through in the past couple of years. Perhaps you are resistent to moving forward because you are still healing emotionally. I say focus on the living spaces that you are in the most and then work into the other spaces. I always moved fast and made fast decisions when I was younger- I find now that I want to take more time to think things through so I'm satisfied with it for a longer period of time. I suppose that's just a natural progression with aging. I don't know if getting a new dog or two is the answer- I tried that a little too soon once and it just felt awkward. Carole spoke wisely and I agree with her thoughts about making this house feel like a home.

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    1. That's a good plan--focusing on the most-used spaces.

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  14. As you might know, we sold our home of 40 years a couple yrs ago and moved into our son's Pool/Guest house...
    I have had my ups and downs...the olden house where we raised our kids, where we became grandparents...I couldn't keep from missing it...however, slowly but surely, I began to add things here and there and one morning, I was drinking my coffee and looked up and....we were HOME...this sweet house is the nicest we've ever lived in and we are so happy here...it just takes time...once you get rugs on those wooden floors and start adding your personality to the house, you will feel at home, too. I promise....xoxoxo

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    1. I love that story, BJ. I look forward to that day!

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  15. I have to agree with Brenda stating about the grieving process....and these are big big big things, ML - losses, illness, moves; moving to a home perhaps your heart wasn't quite originally into (versus the Georgian, if I may,) and it is a very large home - there are very large rooms, and they are difficult to design around! But, well, perhaps the fact that you are documenting it in a public way - by blogging - you feel more intense pressure. Maybe you are feeding your anxiety by thinking you MUST post updates, that you are self-imposing a deadline to complete- before you are ready!

    Something that could work and maybe even be fun? Invite a couple blogger friends you respect and enjoy their talents and designs for a "gal pal" weekend. Go to a great place to dine, drink wine, have fun, enjoy getting to know one another.....next day do some fun shopping, have lunch and then pop over to the ranch. Get some ideas going with one another. It really is amazing how a different set of eyes can be so helpful. Lord knows how much talent is out there - and I just bet there's one or two gals you have been dying to meet. Pick up the tab for dinner (feed them, and they will come has always been my favorite mantra.)

    Just a thought. And something to think about. And your momma is right. Quit beating yourself up. Take all the time you need, this will come - depression is weird and you may have some, which is completely understandable losing your fur babies. Hugs. All will be fine at the end of this journey. It WILL come, maybe just not at the pace most bloggers place on themselves, but it will come, this is a promise. xx

    PS Now go watch that awesome flat screen with Bandy and relax a bit, k? ♥

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  16. I think for me, hanging pictures on the walls and having family photos around makes for a homey feel. Having pillows, rugs, candles, accessories and things that you love in your new surroundings will make you feel like home. I feel like a house sometimes "speaks" what it needs. We just need to listen...I'm still listening, tweaking, and always striving for a cozy home.

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  17. I loved reading all the previous comments. And they all make wonderful points. I just want you to know that when I moved from my 1000 sq ft house into our 2600 sq ft home and from 8' ceilings to 10' ceilings my furniture suddenly looked like it came out of a doll house. It's taken me 20 years to finally feel like things are proportioned correctly. Of course it was done piece by piece as I could afford it. Always scouting out the bargain and learning about quality vs quantity. Goodwill received many donations from me as a result of my eagerness to fill up a space rather than curate it with things I love that make me smile everyday. Your home is magnificent. I have been following your journey and enjoying every minute of it. I so appreciate your generosity in sharing and teaching by example. As anonymous said - the journey is the best part so if I can offer any words of wisdom, based on experience it would be to relax, breathe deep and listen - your house will tell you what it needs and you will know that what you are choosing or deciding is right by how it makes you feel. And the feeling you are looking for is joy...Hugs

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  18. I am so very sorry that you are feeling that way. You have been through a lot this year and loosing your babies is so sad.
    I now that you miss them so much and your new home is over whelming. I think when you get your furniture in and see what you need it will all come together. Do we every stop decorating? No we don't, we are always moving this or that.
    You have a stunning home, but once all the furniture arrives it will feel more like home.
    You know there are some wonderful dogs to be adopted and need loving homes. I have two rescued dogs and they are the very best, loving dogs I have ever had. They were about 2 years old. Took them to Petsmart to be trained and have never had a bit of trouble. Just a thought..
    Take care and soon you will be enjoying your lovely new home
    Hugs,
    Mary

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    1. We are always our own worst critic. We have moved 14 times and it appears you and I are quite similar in age. When we had children at home, I was determined to settle the house quickly so that when they came home from school familiar comforts surrounded them. Over the summer we sold our east coast Georgian and moved to Texas and are building a new home. I feel your pain....but I also feel how important the journey is. You have had many changes, and right now time is on your side. The only timeline is being set by you. Your new home is absolutely lovely with a killer view. I think you are missing the coziness and familiarity we all miss when changing homes. But it is within reach.....if I could just recommend one thing that has worked for me....unpack all of the boxes that include day-do-day items that you use. Put things away in closets and cabinets in appropriate rooms or place things on tabletops & countertops by room so that they are in full view of what you have to work with. It will be cluttered a bit, but your precious items will be in full view for you to decide where they would work best into your new surroundings. Take the boxes out of the house. Each day or few days, do a little shopping trip in your home...add things here and there until you feel satisfied and achieve the look you are envisioning. Your photos showcase the beautiful bones your new home has....it's just waiting for your HOME SWEET HOME touches! Good luck!

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    2. Kathleen, that's a great plan. I love your idea of setting my own timeline. The last time we moved, we had a deadline, and it was a nightmare. I still haven't found my frog dishes or the children's handmade Christmas ornaments. We're lucky that history didn't repeat this time around. I also love your idea of shopping the old house. Great tips! Thank you! P.S. I'm so glad you'll be pinning with us at Top Food Bloggers!

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  19. I love how your new home is coming along. And, yes, I did use the word "home" instead of house. There is already so much personality that you have given it. I've found it wonderful to watch the progress you've made over the last many months on it. Several years ago, we built a new home and left the home we raised our children in. Our dog died two months after the move, which was hard. We opted not to get a new pet for quite a while as we had so much to do in our new home. So, don't feel pressured to get a dog while you are getting settled in your new home. You'll know when the time is right. As you move in your furniture and accessories, you home will begin to really become home. And, I think the idea of having some friends over for a glass of wine when you feel up to it is a wonderful idea!

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    1. So true--"you'll know when the time is right." Thank you for saying that. And I love the idea of having friends over for wine and decorating talk!

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  20. We are settled into our condo after years of big homes. We love it. We have donated,auctioned off and yard saled so many things, and I still feel like we have too much stuff! It is such a sense of accomplishment to fill another box with things we just don;t need or have any place for anymore-and give it away.
    Our old treasures seem to fit fine in our new place. I am looking forward to bringing out our Christmas things and seeing what will fit where.
    I feel like I am playing house in our new home. I know when you finally get into your new home you will be so much happier. You will someday look back on all this and hardly believe what you went through to get where you are at.
    Happy contented days are ahead.

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    1. Thanks, Mitzi, for sharing the story of your new home. "Playing house" is something I've always loved to do, and surely that love is still there. You are so right--we need to get into the house. Right now, we're in no man's land. Boxes and turmoil in one place, and an intimidating blank canvas at the other. Bandy and I had planned to move some furniture today, but the wind was just crazy. Thanks for your warm wishes for happy days. I just know it will all work out.

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  21. Perhaps you have decision overload. You've had to make so many decisions about the house and on a time line, too, which isn't so easy. I'm kind of a ditherer so time pressure in decision making can be tough. It's one thing to be living in a house already and decide you are ready to make a change or to make a repair, but tougher when it's a new, unlived in by you house. I moved across country 8 years ago and I'm still making changes and moving furniture around. But for me it's fun - I like discovering that I might like a different arrangement better than the way it currently is and then trying it out. Often I find I like it better the way it already was or that the new way is just right - at least for a while. Be gentle and patient with yourself and enjoy this journey into a new life as you are move towards it.

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    1. "Discovering." That word helped me turn a corner. I told Tyler today, we are very blessed to be moving, and I'm going to use your word--"discover"--when I feel daunted. You're so right--the remodeling process is filled with decision making. Just today, I realized that I had forgotten to add electrical outlets in one part of the laundry room (and I'd failed to remove the old lights to the closet, which we covered up). I had reached a point where I just didn't want to decorate. It probably was due to decision overload. It's like bouncing back from an illness, in a way. It just takes time. I admire you so much for moving cross-country--that is brave and wonderful, all at once.

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  22. When we moved, my family felt uncomfortable in the new house saying "it's not cuddly like our old home". Once I put area rugs in all of the rooms, even under the kitchen table, everyone started to relax and feel at ease. I know it's a very simplistic solution, but area rugs warmed up all of the spaces and just made the rooms feel grounded and good, even in our family room with its 20 ft high ceiling.

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    1. Rugs really do create such a cozy feeling. I need to put them at the top of the list. My mother is coming to stay with us, and I don't want her to walk on a cold floor. Comfort. Thanks for the idea!

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  23. We purchased our home while Jim was in hospital (pancreatitis) in March. I sold our old house using a Power of Attorney we acquired many years ago and was prepared to go to closing alone on our new home. Jim was dismissed the day before that closing and after the morning at the Title Co. I wished I had done the process on my own with the PofA. It would be June before the bulk of our furniture would arrive. We did a lot of work, new floors paint etc etc. right after we moved in, but for the most part the real homey feel didn't begin until July and only tentative then. I have had ER visits but no admissions for bouts with ailments I feel have been directly related to my age in the first place and the stress of this particular move in the second. Last Saturday after over a year in storage, we cleared the last building. It was a reason to celebrate. We have sold and donated many things. The girls swear we will have a basement sale in the Spring, but I'm not sure I am quite ready for that.
    I believe when the deck was finished this Fall our new home finally felt right.
    We are decorating for Christmas. Not as elaborately as in the past, but hopefully nice. This has always been special for us. We both enjoy the process. This year we are seeing Christmas things that have been packed away for as long as three years.
    I hope your health improves and you don't get sick again. This moving house is a major change in the best of times. I've loved watching the burger come to life. You are doing an amazing job!

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    1. Pat, I have followed along your home journey, and I was cheering you all the way. I know you have been sick, and it really does take a toll. So happy you cleared the last building--I look forward to that day, myself. I love how your are discovering Christmas treasures and loving your home. It is beautiful. Thanks for your words, Pat. They have made my spirits soar.

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  24. In 1993, I and my teenage daughter moved into a condo that was in good condition, but the wall colors and carpet wasn't what I wanted for the first house that I would be able to call my own. It needed upgrading in lots of ways, but that meant I could fix it up exactly like I wanted it. The very first thing I did was have a carpenter fill out one entire wall with built-in bookshelves. That tells you how I feel about books. Your books are there, some even autographed. To make a long story shorter, over the years I remodeled the kitchen and did other upgrades, but have never gotten around to a makeover of the dining room. I don't have use for a formal dining room, but this room has French doors that lead to my garden patio, so I call it my garden room. Early on, I stripped off the wallpaper above the chair rail, which left a residue of brown paper, and left me with no desire to try to clean it up and get it paint-ready. I won't hang a picture on the wall until I know where I enter it to go, but I have painters arriving in two weeks to re-do the LR, new carpet, etc., and after 22 years, they are going to clean up the garden room walls so I can finally turn it into a nice sitting room which will have a nice old drop leaf table that would maybe accommodate a friend or two for dinner sometime. Can't believe it has taken this long to get my act together .... But I think I can finally see light to the end of the tunnel. Might even add a new kitty in the spring since both my daughter and I have lost our kitties in the past couple of years. Sorry to learn of the loss of your beloved pets. I think Brenda has the right idea for you. Sometimes it just takes a while for things to fall in place. Good luck!

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    1. I loved reading about your journey. It's so funny you should mention books--we don't have any shelves at the burger, and I met with a carpenter today to brainstorm about adding shelves over the big box in the "man cave." I'm just not at home until I have books around me. So I understand and applaud your need to build shelving. Your garden room sounds enchanting, and it will be a lovely spot to dine with friends. Thank you for sharing your story. Your words comforted me more than I can say.

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  25. This house represents a lot of change for you on many levels and you are still in the early stages of feeling your way into what that actually looks like. This can be unsettling. You've lost the certainty or, on the other side of the coin, the devil-may-care attitude that came so easily when you were younger because this older, wiser self has very different needs. My theory is that as we get older (I'm 62) we sense that time no longer stretches out limitlessly before us. When we were younger we had the luxury of time in abundance to work things out. The pressure was off.

    But you still do have time. This home is going to express the you that you have become and are still becoming.
    The challenge is knowing that your taste, and what used to feel like "home" to you have changed. Of course you are hungry to figure out what that looks like now! Yet home and familiarity are closely linked. There is nothing familiar for you about the Burger because it is so different from what you have been used to. In a way, you've taken a risk with this house. There is a confidence and bravery in that even if it doesn't feel so right now.

    I sense that you are wanting your new home to wrap you and yours up like a blanket. But you have a glorious view which is expansive and an open living space with very few walls. These might at this point feel a little daunting and even antithetical to the coziness your soul seems to long for. In addition, your man cave is formidably large and your bedroom is still unpopulated by space sensitive, warm furnishings. But this is temporary! These will all right themselves. You will create intimate groupings within the open spaces. The familiar things that you have brought forward with you all your life will find their places. You can trust yourself. And you can give yourself permission to make mistakes. You don't have to "get it right." Ultimately you don't need to play to any audience other than your family, even if you do let us have a peek and express our opinions. You will instinctively reach for things that make sense to you and make you and your men feel "home."

    As for me, I've moved quite a bit. We've had very large homes, smaller homes, and some in-between. We fill our spaces like water fills a container. I've been known to sit and stare at the piles of moving boxes and walk away in a complete fog. For days, weeks, months. Each house needs to unfurl before me, which takes time. I've never been one to just "get it done." Even as a designer I still have to ruminate. I've never even tried to create a showplace even though our homes have been beautiful. I've always preferred to provide the atmosphere where people can come and take off their armor and feel safe in our company or care. But a Brown home will always be a Brown home not because of the particulars, but because of what we bring to it from our hearts. We are the haven, not the space I designed. The same goes for you. I love what Smike says to Nicholas Nickleby - "YOU are my home."

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  26. Wonderfull fotos, greeting from Belgium.

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  27. Love Smike's quote to NN. :-) Yolie, you are wise, and your words have comforted me. You have touched the heart of the matter: no walls, openness, and time itself (we are the same age!). Unexpected misadventures have delayed the first big leg of the move, but you're right: when the old, loved pieces arrive, the mood should improve. (My old living room is 90s open concept, and I floated furniture--I'll try that at the new-old house). I love that "a Brown home will always be a Brown home...because of what we bring to it from our hearts." Brilliant, true, and moving. You would be a homeowner's dream designer.

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  28. Funny you write about this. Because we added a "room" onto our house that was almost as big as our entire original house. We put new furniture in the huge living room. It was beautiful. It just sat there waiting for us and the "old " living room was going to turn into the dining room. We waited to move the old couch out and the children and I continued to sit in the old living room and "live" there instead of enjoying that huge new space we had waited so long for. It was the oddest feeling as if we couldn't make friends with the space right away. It was so huge. It was so not our cozy little living room. We took over a month to warm up to the space and now we "live" in that room daily and only walk through the dining room. It is a weird adjustment to come to know a new living space as your own. I think it takes some time. I know it will finally feel like yours but , yes it doesn't happen right away! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

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  29. So many of us think that new furniture and different colors on the walls will make a new house a home.....All the new furniture and drapes will not make this happen. Twelve years ago we left the Jersey Shore for the Pennsylvania mountains.....knew no one.....and our family now were 110 miles away. I remember laying in bed with tears falling onto the pillow. I then woke up one morning, looked out my bedroom window and thought I was dreaming! There grazing on the front lawn was a horse! I ran downstairs in PJ's and walked right up to her...within a few minutes a young woman drove up in a pickup and jumped out laughing and telling me how "Belle" always escapes and makes her way up to our property to hang out....We laughed and shared stories about Belle and from the day on I was home. I needed a connection and Belle was it. Find something either in the house or on the property and "Connect" with it....make it the zip line that lets you leave the Georgian and brings you right into the Ranch...walk through the rooms and laugh as hard as you can. Take selfies.....all over the house and then find your favorite tree and put Christmas lights on it..... By holding onto the old house your not giving the new house a chance to help you make new memories....and when your ready the sound of little paws running across the new floors will make your heart and the house sing!

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