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There’s no place like home

We’ve lived in this house for more than two years now, the latest in a long line of residents who have called this place home over the past hundred years or so.

(One hundred years! I never thought I’d ever live in a place of that age, and sometimes wish the house could share its stories of all of those who came before. What an interesting conversation that would be!)

home2From the outside, our house doesn’t have much in the way of curb appeal. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not ramshackle or neglected. It’s a solid, sturdy house, well kept and in good condition for its age, but with a face of grey block only the builder could have loved.

Inside, though, it’s a slightly different story.

Our house retains its original character in the hardwood floors, high ceilings and beautifully-carved wooden banister, while some high-efficiency upgrades, an updated bathroom, and a beautifully finished attic let us know that it’s been lovingly tended throughout the years by its previous denizens.

Our house is by no means perfect. The walls have very little insulation, which means that there are times in winter when the heater is going full-blast in order to provide enough warmth… and, because the attic was originally meant to be used for storage and not as a bedroom, the oppressive summer heat occasionally drives us downstairs in search of the refreshing air-conditioned coolness of the main floors.

The stove and cooktop, while functional, are from another decade entirely, as are the kitchen’s painted wooden cupboards. The “second bathroom” is a shower at one end of the basement, a washbasin that’s actually part of the laundry area, and a toilet on the far wall, separated from the rest of the basement by a light wooden fabric-covered frame. The stairs are creaky, there’s a leak in the garage wall, and the upstairs carpet needs to be replaced.

Yet far more than either of our previous homes, we have fallen in love with this house.

Perhaps it’s because, though we’re on a narrow city lot and therefore extremely close to the houses on either side, for the very first time all four walls are ours, completely detached from those of our neighbours.

It could be that it’s purely practical: we can see ahead to a time in our lives when it will be fully paid for.

Maybe it’s the character, the heritage, the lives that were lived within these walls that make us feel like a special part of history.

Or maybe it’s because living here is teaching us that something can be imperfect, yet still be very, very good.

One day, a couple of months after we arrived in our new city, we returned from an evening out and, as we drove up our street, for the first time since we moved here I felt a little thrill as I saw our house and realized, “We’re home!”

Home, indeed.

What makes a house a home to you?
Please share!

NaBloPoMo February 2014

(Updated from original post in February, 2012.)

Laurel Storey, CZT – Certified Zentangle Teacher. Writer, reader, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Claudia Schmidt
    Twitter:
    February 26, 2014

    It sounds wonderful. I too love hardwood floors and old homes with character. So nice that you’ve found your special place!
    Claudia Schmidt recently posted… 10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was In My 30’sMy Profile

  • Wendy Bottrell
    Twitter:
    February 26, 2014

    We live in an old townhouse that we definitely call home. It needs a complete top to bottom renovation and at some point in the future we will do that. It simply feels comfortable and there is love in our home!
    Wendy Bottrell recently posted… Managing Stress Today- What You Need To KnowMy Profile

  • Amy Bovaird
    Twitter:
    February 26, 2014

    I loved the description of your house! I have seen some old, well-kept houses in our neighborhood and just love them. I live in a historic town. Some of the houses have become lawyer’s offices and such. I always wonder about the history. I love exploring old houses. Last Christmas I went to my financial advisor’s new office and it’s a restored mansion. So beautiful. You enjoy your house with its imperfections. It’s yours and you are part of its history.
    Amy Bovaird recently posted… My Story with RPMy Profile

  • Richelle Anderson
    Twitter:
    February 26, 2014

    I know the feeling, we bought our first home 7 years ago and while it isn’t perfect it is home to us. The saying goes, “Home is where I hang my hat” for our house it is more like, “Home is where our dogs are.”
    Richelle Anderson recently posted… Get Started in Online MarketingMy Profile

  • Allison Katelyn
    Twitter:
    February 26, 2014

    Your house looks lovely – I happen to live in a new house (I moved here from a little 1920’s studio apartment!) and while newness has it’s charm, I can’t help but miss the character of my previous place. I’m jealous of you love affair with your current home!

    Allison Katelyn @ http://SimpleSilverLinings.blogspot.com
    Allison Katelyn recently posted… Trifecta Writing Challenge #1: That Wasn’t What I MeantMy Profile

  • Lynda Kelly February 27, 2014

    Really enjoyed this piece Laurel, as I do so many of your blog postings.

    And also this is one of the times when I am struck by how good a writer you are. It felt like I was reading a piece in the newspaper by one of the long time reporters.

    Either you will follow that path or else there is a book inside of you, just waiting to be written.

  • ElaineLK February 27, 2014

    Our house is close to that age, having been built in the 1920s, and it does have character. Our neighborhood is the historic area of Providence, and one reason I love living here is that all the houses are different. We have a great mix of very old, somewhat old, newer, and new–though not too many of the latter, as it’s densely populated and there just isn’t much land for building. We’re lucky to have bought it before prices here went out of control, and we’ve been able to pay it off. We’ve been slowly and gradually making improvements to it, but I loved even when we had an old cracked linoleum kitchen floor and Formica countertops. I love what you say about how it doesn’t need to be perfect to be good. We bought another house several years ago so we could take care of my mother and lived there for two years, and even though we liked that house, it just didn’t feel like home! It’s good to be back.

  • Carol Cassara
    Twitter:
    February 28, 2014

    I’ve loved most of my homes–never have had the one homestead. I love our “retirement” home because it’s filled with light and color and all the treasures we’ve collected on our many travels. It’s filled with doggie love. And it’s imbued with the kind of love that withstood 27 years of separation and allowed us to remarry each other after that. Yes, that’s what makes my home “home”.
    Carol Cassara recently posted… Turning the page, saying goodbyeMy Profile

  • Diane
    Twitter:
    February 28, 2014

    Home to me means family. And lives lived.
    Loved this post!
    Diane recently posted… A Royal WelcomeMy Profile

  • ajaybpai
    Twitter:
    March 1, 2015

    Wonderful narrative! the wooden work would always look awesome.
    ajaybpai recently posted… The day my clock died!My Profile

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