Friday, August 18, 2006

On Creating a Home

Over in Another Country/Walker (now called Pilgrim), Poor Mad Peter is chronicling the buying and creating of a home. I think that for most of us making a home is our single most satisfying creation.

Friends of ours bought a rather scruffy house on the banks of a lovely little river. A while ago they put on a small addition, designed by the wife, and the difference it made is amazing. Now there is a view of the river, of the bird feeders, of a magnificent tree. The house reflects their personalities too, their art collection and the art they both make.

Another couple have a house that the two created together: her weavings, antiques from both their ancestral homes, their son’s woodblock prints, a wonderful room that his carpentry created as her studio. On our street is a house that was quite plain. The new owner invented a color scheme, did landscaping, made an unusual deck. The siding he wanted was too expensive, so he literally invented another cheaper one. He changed plain Jane into something quite handsome.

Unlike most creations, a house is a collaborative affair, usually between the spouses. When the kids come along, they contribute too. Our son made a mural on the wall of his bedroom that depicts various characters in the Chronicles of Narnia.

Another friend designed a house that his son-in-law built, along with help from various members of the family. The chimney of the fireplace is so tall (twenty feet?) that his son had a hook put in the top so they all could practice rappelling.

I have already written about the camp our son created, Slow Loris.

Our local newspaper regularly has an article about someone's home, and often it is disappointing. The photos show a house straight out of a woman's decorating magazine with no stamp of the owners, no indication of the owners' personality.

Bill and I have been lazy for quite a few years about re-inventing our house.

1 comment:

Poor Mad Peter said...

Your comment is a wise one, Nancy Ruth. Buying a home is buying a building: when we move in, we will be challenged to Create a Home, a place where we will thrive and grow.

We're already nervous about the financial outlay and the logistics of moving and settling, but the indefinable of creating a place of love and support is just as important as the physical shelter.