‘I want a house that has got over all its troubles. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life bringing up a young and inexperienced house.’ Jerome K Jerome
If the walls in your house could speak, what stories do you think they would tell?
Would they be thrilling tales cloaked with high drama and suspicion, or charming fables of love and romance? Perhaps the walls would talk of joy and celebration or the laughter and the tears that make up your life and the history of those who have come before you.
Would they be words of wisdom – words of comfort and guidance? Or are they brand new walls, just assembled and a little wet behind the ears, waiting eagerly for their story to begin?
The houses we choose to live in say so much about who we are and how we prefer to live in the world. They speak of what we need to survive – not just from a functional perspective of providing shelter for our family, but from an emotional one.
Your home is a participant in your life, not just an obersver. It should both inspire emotion and satisfy the senses. At its very best, if should reflect and support the very essence of who you are, providing you with a place to retreat from the world, a place to cast off your pretences. A backdrop on which your story can unfold!
In this way, every room in your home offers its unique emotional perspective, working to enhance the ambience of your home as a whole. The kitchen, for example, is the hub of the home. It is the engine room, ensuring your survival on the most basic of levels – we need to eat to live.
But it does so much more than just feed the hungry hordes. The kitchen brings families together. Where there is food about, there are people about, all gathering to feast and let go of the events of the day. In this way, the kitchen is the great connector. It is a place where we can communicate authentically and revive ourselves enough to move on to the next leg of the journey.
The bathroom, on the other hand, is our sanctuary. It provides us not just with a cleansing space but a place to unwind, to reconnect with our souls and our hearts. The ritual of bathing purifies the spirit and calms the inner self. The act of sloughing away the residue of daily life helps us to feel renewed and ready to take on whatever life throws our way.
If you think about your home as having a kind of heartbeat of its own, then when renovating and decorating it makes sense to address your choices and the assemblage of things, not just from a practical point of view, but from an emotional one.
For it is the feeling in a house, created as a result of the stories unfolding there, which will best convey the story of your life so far.
By Shannon Fricke
Originally published in Inside Out magazine