Friday, November 30, 2007

Confession Time

Have you ever lived in a home where you just didn't feel like you were "at home?" Well, I have a confession to make... I don't feel at home in my home.

It's a traditional home from the outside, but contemporary on the inside. It's quite contrary to my style, and as much as I try to stay within the style of my current contemporary home (decorated with an "Italian" or Pottery Barn feel), I find myself dying to go back to the style of the first home we ever owned.

I loved it. It was so... ME. It was unique, it was charming, it was a sweet bungalow-country-cottage-garden styled home. It had walnut trim around all the windows, door frames, and floor boards. The doors were all original 6-panel walnut doors, and the windows were original, hand-blown windows with the old pulley system. The house had wonderful angled ceilings, the powder room was tucked under the staircase, it was very bright, very airy, and ... very small. And old. Which is one of the reasons we moved away from it. It required a LOT of maintenance, because the house was all wood on the outside. Paint, paint, paint. Chipping, peeling paint. Another reason is because it was RIGHT on a main road, and if we had children, we didn't feel like it would be a safe place for them to play. And boy, was I right, considering that my child likes to dart into the middle of the road at any given moment.

The house was located in a small historic town. It had a charming front porch, German wooden shingles for siding, and a lovely white picket fence around the front yard. The town was originally founded in the late 1700's. The home was originally built in the late 1800's, and burned down in 1920. It was rebuilt around the original foundation with an addition off to the side. It had two outbuildings, one being a garden shed, and the other was an historic barn. My mom had painted pretty murals on the walls in several of the rooms. It was decorated in a French country style mixed with shabby chic. It was my style of home, and I really miss it. Did I mention ... I LOVED IT??? And, it was ADORABLE?

But, while the house was adorable, it was also cold, drafty, lacked in insulation, and was a money pit for us. We sold it, made a good profit, and purchased our current home, which had been on the market a while because it needed a lot of work. My husband, family and friends poured their hearts into this home. They did so much work, and it's beautiful... it's just not "me." I've tried so hard to "make it me," but to no avail. Don't get me wrong... I'm comfortable in this home. Very. And I'm extremely grateful... I am just feeling a bit blue, and missing my old home right about now.

I keep looking around and I think to myself... the Christmas tree would have looked PERFECT in our living room ... IN OUR OLD HOUSE. And, the bedroom was such a good size ... IN OUR OLD ROOM. And, I wish I had the view we had ... IN OUR OLD HOUSE. But, while it was charming and adorable, it was riddled with problems, and it became an albatross around our necks. So, now ... we've been in our new home for 4 years, and I'm just out of place. I don't have the money to redecorate, but the decor is very nice, and there really isn't a need. I'm just feeling restless, and ... well, out of place.

I know this is silly, but I share all this, only to ask ... Has anyone else felt like that? What have you done to make yourself feel more "at home?"


ValleyGirl said...

I guess I just don't have a style! Well, unless you consider 'second-hand' a style! But I did have exactly the same feelings about the first house we lived in -- because it was right after we got married and I was missing my parents' huge house. I discovered it doesn't actually have to cost a lot to make a house feel like home. You're going to laugh, but what did it for me was a second-hand rusty-orange loveseat and a wallpaper border that, amazingly enough, had the same navy as our other couch, but some orange that matched the 'new' loveseat. Before, the house was all grey, blue, black and white and that couch and wallpaper border just instantly made it feel warmer. And it was something I had done to change the way the house had looked when we moved in.

I don't know, it sounds like you've already done lots with your house, but start small. Change the curtains in your kitchen or repaint the bathroom. Sometimes a small simple change can not only brighten things up, but also help you feel like you've personalized your space.

emilymcd said...

You are kidding, GiBee!

We just moved this summer from a charming 1920's bungalow to an 11 year old new build and I have the EXACT SAME feelings. I have a hard time bonding with this house and making it feel like it has a personality.

Thanks much for sharing. I didn't know anyone else went through this!

emilymcd said...

Post Script:
GiBee- I'm starting to make it feel more homey by buying older furniture on Since I can't have my bungalow right now, I'm adding character to the house in different ways.

The latest "O" Home magazine gives some cool tips on decorating...mixing old and new. Give it a whirl!

And do keep us updated!

emilymcd said...

Just for you!

Jen said...

Maybe after the holidays you could do some winter projects to make the home more you. I feel this way in our new home too..but mine is because we bought new furniture in almost alllll rooms and now I have regrets with some of the colors and fabrics I went with and now I'm stuck with them. Also with it being the holidays you tend to get down some...cheer up and try to focus on some winter projects to make this home YOURS.

Tania said...

It's weird that you say that. I am going through the same thing in my home. I feel so 'out of place'. It seems that no matter what changes I make or how I try, I don't feel that comfortable homey feeling of being in my sanctuary.

I don't have the answer for you, I wish I did. But what I can tell you, is that I will be praying for you. And maybe, we can figure this out. Big hugs to you, and may God give you that sense of belonging that you need in your home.

Love and hugs.

Tania said...

By the way... here is my new blogging home... Stop by and say hello!

Sandy said...

Hi GiBee - I guess my answer is move stuff around. When money is tight (which it usually is), and when I need a fresh look, I re-arrange. Take something from one room and put in another. Move pictures around. Go to yard sales.
Thanks for sharing your heart with us again!

Carey said...

I have felt the same way in my house. We have been here for 7 years, its an old drafty house, that needs some work. I dont really have a set style in my house as well. Im still looking for that warm cozy feeling, lounge in my jammies and slippers all day type feeling. Some day i keep telling myself..some day.

LvlyRita said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LvlyRita said...

I often think this is the way people feel when they get an "Extreme Home Makeover."

For us, living in a parsonage, we don't get to choose our house. We just have to trust that God will provide. I'm blessed that this house is closer to what I want in a home than the last house (in fact, it's almost exactly what I wanted). But there are things that I would change (like the layout of the kitchen and the landscaping outside). With everyone I've talked to abou their home, there is always something they'd like to change.

I guess my outlook is that nothing is permanent. Even this nearly perfect house won't always be ours, and I'll need to make the next home as perfect for us as possible. There will always be things that I'd like differently, but maybe we'll get that in our next place, or maybe not. Sometimes, I wish I could remember how I had decorated something because I enjoyed the feel of it. Part of it is the amount of child-proofing I needed to do. Many of my beautiful things are simply packed away.

Just get rid of stuff that you don't like. Nothing wrong with that. I did it to my closet. Need to do it again. And God provided. Of course, if I don't have the money, than I have to do with the two pairs of jeans that fit. One I love, one is okay. But, I don't wear the ones that really made me feel "dowdy." Is this possible to apply to house and home?