Monday, March 26, 2012

...A HOUSE / A HOME...


I drove by our former house last week. It's been almost 4 years since I had the inclination to do so....couldn't bring myself to do it before. We had lived at 1169 R.... B... Cres. for 19 years. Our home had been witness to the growth of our 3 daughters....scraped knees, lost hamsters, bike riding lessons on the front lawn, countless birthdays, huge Christmas parties, first boyfriends .... and perhaps a ghost (would necessitate a very different post.

I very much disliked the house when we bought it and protested (not vocally enough obviously) that the kitchen was ugly and awkward, there was no family room, or gorgeous ensuite bathroom... the three top 'must haves on my next house wish list'. The house sat on 3 acres, in a quiet, 'country' neighbourhood. It had some fabulous features....an entire fireplace wall of reclaimed brick in the kitchen, medium toned oak hardwood floors, 4 huge bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, tons of Tamarack trees. This house also sported seven...yes seven deep dormer windows which from the outside looked charming, but on the inside were awkward and the bane of my existence. The kitchen had the requisite almond melamine kitchen cabinets with oak trim....cue the late 80's,  and disgusting off white vinyl flooring.

All of this could have been a deal breaker for me except the price was right. A compromise was struck...we would buy the house, but by golly we would renovate within 5 years, no IFs, ANDs or BUTs mister.

As a stay at home mommy/ frustrated wanna be decorator...I wanted it all done NOW. I came to understand that very few of us can realize that immediate satisfaction. Over time, we managed to  renovate the kitchen and four bathrooms, add built-ins to the study (which became our family room), added window seats to the dormers (what a difference), a screened in porch (an absolute necessity in the country during mosquito season), a pool and a deck, not to mention the window treatments, duvet covers, painting jobs and the decorating I undertook. Our house eventually became our home and in fact ... to me, a living entity ....watered, fed, and clothed. and deeply cared for.

When we downsized 4 years ago. It was the right decision as, our family of five was heading off in different directions. I did not look back, not once, until a few days ago.... and I wondered why the disconnect?
I realized that home is where your 'junk' is. It's not the outer shell, it's the meaningful possessions, the memory makers we choose to live with. The books, a favourite chair, a snuggly blanket, the kitchen plates and cutlery we eat off of everyday, the twisted rug in the hall with the countless winter boots, (OK...maybe not the boots)  the picture of Grandpa with all the grandchildren, an artisan bowl bought on a fabulous trip to Italy. When we packed up the boxes, we were packing our home .... it was the house we were leaving.

I'm no different when working with a client than I am when making my own decor decisions. I want to know about their 'junk'....which doesn't mean I necessarily want to utilize it all.... I just want to get a handle on the family. Do they have collections, meaningful art, photos, furniture that simply cannot be parted with. My job is to interpret their needs and include them in my design for their space.The process of turning a house into a home can sometimes be long, tiresome, dirty, frustrating. but when done right, you can bet my clients also feel the innards of their house, their own living, breathing home.

12 Comments:

At March 27, 2012 at 8:24 AM , Blogger Lynne Knowlton said...

You clearly have a beautiful ability to make a house A HOME. That is a skill, that I think, only the BEST OF THE BEST OF THE VERY VERY BEST can do. I am lucky to know you *_*. xx

 
At March 27, 2012 at 9:29 AM , Blogger Lisa said...

Beautiful post Maureen. You've certainly captured what makes a home. I'm really liking the watermark on your photo ;-)

 
At March 27, 2012 at 12:35 PM , Blogger Solace Interiors said...

A good reminder that we can't always get everything on our wishlist in our houses, but we can make every house a home with time and sometimes a little help.

 
At March 27, 2012 at 12:39 PM , Blogger TLC_Designs said...

What a nice post, Maureen :) Thanks for sharing! It's a very special combination of things that makes a house a home...but to me, it all starts with a good foundation (mind the pun) of great design.
*Tania @ Passport2Design.com

 
At March 27, 2012 at 5:33 PM , Blogger Donna @ dh designs said...

Great post Maureen, and so very true. What makes a house is a home is the living you do there. Even though we don't have the kitchen or bathrooms we dream of, we have the wonderful memories we made there. And they go with each of us, wherever we hang our hat

 
At March 28, 2012 at 1:09 AM , Blogger Sheila @SZInteriors said...

Exactly! It's about coming home!!! And you've captured this perfectly. Nicely written, Maureen.

 
At March 29, 2012 at 8:56 AM , Blogger Maureen @ Modecor said...

Thank you, Lynne. i like to believe that everyone can have that....even with minimal funds.

 
At March 29, 2012 at 8:57 AM , Blogger Maureen @ Modecor said...

Why thank you, LIsa...and I'm loving the watermark too.....that you taught me how to do!

 
At March 29, 2012 at 8:59 AM , Blogger Maureen @ Modecor said...

Exactly Nicole. I see pictures of beautiful rooms....but i don't feel that they are very homey, because there is no 'junk' in them. I can't seem to being myself to decorate in that style.

 
At March 29, 2012 at 9:03 AM , Blogger Maureen @ Modecor said...

Absolutely, Tania. But not everyone can have the great design (sometimes hurts my eyeballs)...but in those situations, those houses might still feel like home (not sure how sometimes) to the people who live there.

 
At March 29, 2012 at 9:05 AM , Blogger Maureen @ Modecor said...

Agree Donna. The 'things' that are meaningful that we bring with us can make the smallest space feel like your (you're) home.

 
At March 29, 2012 at 9:08 AM , Blogger Maureen @ Modecor said...

Thank You Sheila. Always decorate with the things you love (edited sometimes), I've seen some rooms that don't necessarily appeal to my sensibilities, but you can tell that the owners LOVE their space.

 

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Maureen at Modecor Muses: ...A HOUSE / A HOME...

...A HOUSE / A HOME...


I drove by our former house last week. It's been almost 4 years since I had the inclination to do so....couldn't bring myself to do it before. We had lived at 1169 R.... B... Cres. for 19 years. Our home had been witness to the growth of our 3 daughters....scraped knees, lost hamsters, bike riding lessons on the front lawn, countless birthdays, huge Christmas parties, first boyfriends .... and perhaps a ghost (would necessitate a very different post.

I very much disliked the house when we bought it and protested (not vocally enough obviously) that the kitchen was ugly and awkward, there was no family room, or gorgeous ensuite bathroom... the three top 'must haves on my next house wish list'. The house sat on 3 acres, in a quiet, 'country' neighbourhood. It had some fabulous features....an entire fireplace wall of reclaimed brick in the kitchen, medium toned oak hardwood floors, 4 huge bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, tons of Tamarack trees. This house also sported seven...yes seven deep dormer windows which from the outside looked charming, but on the inside were awkward and the bane of my existence. The kitchen had the requisite almond melamine kitchen cabinets with oak trim....cue the late 80's,  and disgusting off white vinyl flooring.

All of this could have been a deal breaker for me except the price was right. A compromise was struck...we would buy the house, but by golly we would renovate within 5 years, no IFs, ANDs or BUTs mister.

As a stay at home mommy/ frustrated wanna be decorator...I wanted it all done NOW. I came to understand that very few of us can realize that immediate satisfaction. Over time, we managed to  renovate the kitchen and four bathrooms, add built-ins to the study (which became our family room), added window seats to the dormers (what a difference), a screened in porch (an absolute necessity in the country during mosquito season), a pool and a deck, not to mention the window treatments, duvet covers, painting jobs and the decorating I undertook. Our house eventually became our home and in fact ... to me, a living entity ....watered, fed, and clothed. and deeply cared for.

When we downsized 4 years ago. It was the right decision as, our family of five was heading off in different directions. I did not look back, not once, until a few days ago.... and I wondered why the disconnect?
I realized that home is where your 'junk' is. It's not the outer shell, it's the meaningful possessions, the memory makers we choose to live with. The books, a favourite chair, a snuggly blanket, the kitchen plates and cutlery we eat off of everyday, the twisted rug in the hall with the countless winter boots, (OK...maybe not the boots)  the picture of Grandpa with all the grandchildren, an artisan bowl bought on a fabulous trip to Italy. When we packed up the boxes, we were packing our home .... it was the house we were leaving.

I'm no different when working with a client than I am when making my own decor decisions. I want to know about their 'junk'....which doesn't mean I necessarily want to utilize it all.... I just want to get a handle on the family. Do they have collections, meaningful art, photos, furniture that simply cannot be parted with. My job is to interpret their needs and include them in my design for their space.The process of turning a house into a home can sometimes be long, tiresome, dirty, frustrating. but when done right, you can bet my clients also feel the innards of their house, their own living, breathing home.