In order to make a house a home I first had to find out what makes a home. I have heard that home hides in people, in places and in things both expected and unexpected. It hides in the air we breathe and in the sounds that we hear. Home presents itself to us when we are away from it and it provides calm for us when we are closest to it. It is somewhere where we experience the best and also the worst of things and it is where we return to in order to understand ourselves. Home is a dwelling and a location, but it may also move and transform. I have heard that it is the feeling of permanence and of love and of food and sleep. It is the destination that we gravitate to and it is full of the things that we yearn for. These are some of the things that I have heard.
I heard these things and I wondered how on earth I was supposed to create all them for someone else. I was tasked to “make a house a home” for a very important person that I did not want to disappoint. I had limited time, limited resources and limited belief in my abilities to create any sort of home for someone other than myself. This person went away for some time and asked me if I would do them a favor and create a home in their house while they were gone. They said that they were growing tired of the house and that home sounded good to them. Equipped with my own sense of home, which I could not really articulate, let alone think about recreating in someone else’s space, I set to work.
I decided that I would get some help. I started to ask around for some inspiration for how I might make a house a home. I asked people who I thought might have an idea about creating spaces – I asked a museum curator, an architect and an interior designer. They said fill it with light, fill it with soft edges and fill it with comfortable chairs. I asked people who I thought might have an idea about creating a mood – I asked a poet, a musician and a storyteller. They said fill it with love, fill it with sound, and fill it with things that are less than obvious. I asked people who I thought might know about permanence – I asked an elder, a neighbor and an old friend. They said fill it with tradition, fill it with kids, and fill it with trust. I asked animals whom I thought might have an idea about safety and comfort -I asked a tree squirrel, a dog, and an owl. They said fill it with food, fill it with warmth, and fill it with sleep. Finally, I asked my family and loved ones, whom I thought might have an idea about creating happiness. They said fill it with memories, fill it with respect and fill it with us.
In order to make this house a home, I gathered as many of these elements as I could. I knew that a lot of what I was looking for was hidden in the idea of things and that it was impossible to locate everything that I needed before the owner got back, but I set to work anyway. I combined what I had heard with my sense of home and I filled every room with some aspect of what I now considered to be home. I filled the living room with the most beautiful lights, the most comfortable seating, and I filled it with love. I filled the kitchen with the most traditional recipes, with neighborhood kids ready to enjoy the food, and I filled it with trust. I filled the dining room with the most wonderful music, stories and humor. I filled the bedroom with blankets, thick curtains and I filled it with safety.
I arranged everything just so, and I filled the house with family and loved ones so that we could create memories. I had just about everything in its place – enough to make any house a home I thought. I had people and things. I had love and safety and calm. I had a dwelling and a location. I was happy and so was everyone else. I thought I knew what home was and I thought that I had created it. Something very important was missing though. I couldn’t put my foot on it, so I called the owner of the house to explain what I had done and to see if my work was to their liking. They said that it most certainly was, but that I was missing the main ingredient to make a house a home. They said that now that I had gathered so many wonderful people, so many beautiful things, and so many thoughts and feelings in one place, all I needed was time – a lot of time. They also said that since this vision of a home was so very much mine that it might as well be mine. They said that they had moved back to the place that had always felt like home to them anyway. They told me some of the things that they had heard along the way. They told me that home hides in people and in places and in things. They told me to use my time wisely and then they told me goodbye.
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“Revealed: How Producers of CGI PeterRabbit Used Real Settings from Beatrix Potter’s Lake District Home to Create an Animated Home” Mail online. Daily Mail. Web Dec 20, 2012. Feb 4, 2014.