Very few of us live in homes that were custom built for us. But this doesn’t mean your home shouldn’t fit how you want to live. Your home can be tailored to fit your needs.
Our family stayed home this Memorial Day weekend. How wonderful it was to do so! We like to cook, have cocktails on the patio, and enjoy the views out of our windows into our yard. We have ample room to entertain and relax, and the house is easy to keep clean, so we don’t worry if friends come over with pets or children.
My “staycation” made me wonder a bit about other folks who don’t like to stay home when they can. Why don’t they? Why do people put themselves in a car filled with their possessions, their cranky family and pets, just to sit in traffic on their way to their getaway place? What is it about that place they don’t have at home? And why don’t they have it at home? Don’t they know they can have it?
OK, it’s impossible to put an ocean one block away from your home, but it is very easy to create that “getaway” feeling at your home. Why shouldn’t “home” feel that good? If you can learn what it is you love about your favorite getaway place, you can have it at home. Here are just a few things to consider when thinking about these types of changes for your own home:
View — Consider installing better, bigger windows and locating them in the areas of your home that can deliver the best views
A patio or deck, pond, cabana house or pool — These elements can greatly enhance your enjoyment of your yard. Imagine a cute “snuggle hut” where you and your honey could have a quiet drink at the end of the day, where you could watch fireflies, or where you might write in your journals.
Landscaping — The proper type of landscaping for your home and your lifestyle is key. Since we typically work on older homes, we often see mature plantings which, like the home, should be worked with, not against.
Water features — Water brings life to your yard, yet it can be very calming at the same time. Even a small body of water or a slight trickling sound can sooth. Birds appreciate these water offerings, too. In return, they will eat insect pests.
Light — Often, when we travel, we are influenced, without knowing it, by the quality and quantity of light. Light in the Mediterranean is crisp, bright and very white. In Canada, in the fall, it’s very blue and diminished. We are more active in summer than in winter because of the light. Considering the quantity and quality of the light that you can enjoy in and around your home is very important to your enjoyment of it. There are many solutions for supplementing natural light with artificial light.
Dimensions — I am clumsy, so I need a lot of space around me. I would be most comfortable in large rooms with tall ceilings and not much furniture or knick knacks about. Others might prefer the low ceilings and cozy spaces of a 1700s log cabin. I remember one 1960s home we worked on had very low windows, where the window tops were at about 5 feet high. This makes you squat just a little to get a site line out of the house. Everyone who came into the house and looked around did this little knee bend because of the low windows. That house was built that way because an 8 foot 2×4 is cheaper than a 10 foot 2×4, a smaller window is cheaper than a larger one, and ranchers were the style. But wrong-sized elements like this can be adjusted to fit you and your needs.
Experience — Your house frames your experience of every day life. Think about the kind of experiences you and your family love when you travel — and make it one of your goals to achieve some of them in your own home.