One of the nicest compliments I've ever gotten about our house came from my younger daughter a few years ago. I was cleaning up after a family birthday party we'd hosted, and out the blue, she told me that while we were all sitting at the table, talking, she'd been looking around the place and appreciating it.
“It just felt like a place where you could be cozy and settle in."
Some people are car people; some people are jewelry people. I am a house person. I'm not talking about fancy or impressive; I'm talking about comforting and homey. I'm talking about exactly what my daughter put her finger on: creating a place where the people I love can "be cozy and settle in."
Which is why when my friend Lisa the Syncopated Mama mentioned that her upcoming 5 After 5 party was all about home homeyness, I started working straight away on this list of my homeyness must-haves.
1. Candles. I'm a big fan of wood-wick candles that give you the crackle of a fireplace without the whole chop-down-a-tree-cut-it-up-stack-it-haul-it-in-the-house routine. (Listen, we heat our house with wood, so I know whereof I speak.) I hope someone in my family reads this post, because the wood-wick candle they got me last Christmas is almost on its last crackle, and I think this pumpkin nutmeg layered number would make a lovely replacement...
And with apologies to candle purists, I also love battery-powered candles. I'm especially fond of this wall version that makes me feel like we're back in the early 1900s, when this house we live in was built. Except, you know, now we have better plumbing.
2. Low lighting. The only use I have for overhead lighting is that it helps you not ram into the furniture when you first walk into a dark room. Once I've avoided that pitfall and am safely settled, I want that glaring, "let's get something done" light off and a nice, gentle, "let's lay around and watch a movie" table lamp or floor lamp on.
3. Window coverings. We've got a lot of windows in This Old House. (And now that we've blown our daughters' inheritance on replacements for the original models, we can actually open them. This is surprisingly thrilling.) I love natural light during the day. But come evening, I want those windows covered. When I close the drapes and pull down the blinds, I feel like I'm tucking myself and my family in and shutting the world out.
4. Music. If this isn't your first visit to Guilty Chocoholic Mama, you probably know that music is a big deal to me. (Also, if this isn't your first visit, THANK YOU FOR COMING BACK! And if it is your first? Welcome!) We love lots of type of music around here, but homeyness-inducing favorites include Eric Whitacre, George Winston, and the inimitable Aaron Copeland.
5. Comfort food. I've mentioned on this blog before that my husband, daughters, and I are food people. We like to eat. Meals are not just something we do to stay alive; they are something we do to make the life we live better. We're fans of of comforting classics like homemade pizza and macaroni-and-cheese and pot roast. And cookies...LOTS of cookies. In fact, I've got a batch of these White Chocolate Pretzel Cookies in the oven right now.
One of my favorite perspectives on home comes from my cousin/friend/surrogate big sister Karen, who evaluates houses not by how elaborate or upscale they are, but by whether or not they look "loved."
Which leads me to the real reason I care about whether my house is homey or not: I want it to look and to be loved, because that's how I want the people who live here to feel.
If "homey" is something that matters to you in a house, how do you get there? Share your list in a comment or over on Facebook or, better yet, at Syncopated Mama's 5 After 5 party. I promise when you get there, you'll feel right at home.
**This post may have been shared at some of these lovely link parties.**