If you live in it but never make it your own, if you never put your personal stamp on it and infuse the space with your signature touches, it’s just a house.
A home is more personal.
That’s why a page clipped from a magazine or the advice of a friend who “knows how to do things,” sometimes misses the mark. The photograph is beautiful. And the advice is well-meant. But without your own interpretation the spark – the element that makes a space uniquely yours – is missing.
I visited two homes over the holidays. One is spare and elegant and sophisticated. The walls are painted soothing neutral colors. Books and framed photos line the shelves and the windows are bare and open to the forest that adjoins the lot. At night bamboo shades roll down to wrap the rooms in the warm glow of reading lamps. From the moment you walk through the door you know you’re in the company of thoughtful and contemplative people.
The other is more bohemian. There are good rugs scattered across the hardwoods and colorful pillows on the voluminous sofa. Large prints decorate the walls and hand-painted pottery sits in the kitchen cabinets. It is the home of a vibrant, creative soul.
And it’s all wrong.
The man and woman who live in the first house are empty nesters. They’ve survived the demands of raising a family and building careers. The place they’ve chosen to live reflects couple who lives there. The rooms are furnished with things – carefully chosen and edited – that mean the most to them.
The other place ought to work, but it doesn’t. The owner enlisted the help of a friend who threw herself into the project and decorated to fit her own personal style. For the first few months the owner loved the changes. But in time the “noise” in the décor began to disturb her. Now, she’s afraid to hurt the feelings of a friend and she’s unhappy in her own home.
There’s a lesson there for each of us.
This week in Home
When a family found the place that would suit them best, they took a 1904 landmark and made it their own. The story of Andy and Jennifer Thornton’s Corbin Park redo is our cover feature.