Rosalind Sack and Jessica Jonzen are founders of The Home Page, the online interiors and lifestyle magazine. Below they lay out the lessons they've learnt about what truly makes a house a home.
Who can resist gawping over images of beautiful homes with their pristine worktops, plumped-to-perfection pillows, achingly stylish artwork and architectural magnificence? You know, the ones that make us feel a little pang of regret as we look around our own untidy homes with their cracks, stains, frays and scuffs.
Yet we all know, don’t we, that there’s far more to home than a beautiful extension or a pretty cushion. So much of the pleasure we get from our homes is how they make us feel – and that goes far beyond bricks and mortar and paint charts.
Photo by Wendy Aldiss Photography
As founders of The Home Page online homes and lifestyle magazine, we’ve interviewed all manner of people about their homes – from politicians to chefs, designers and writers; renters, self-builders and serial buyers; people who live in extreme places and those who have moved to the opposite side of the world; owners of historic houses, modern spaces and house boats; and people who have loved, lost, launched careers and given birth in their homes. All their experiences make for unique and fascinating tales, yet there are common themes that weave through their stories. Themes that cement that age-old fridge magnet saying that home truly is where the heart is.
For many, that deep emotional connection with home begins at an early age and people’s childhood homes often, subconsciously, have a major bearing on their adult family home. Sometimes we find that they are the polar opposite – for all sorts of reasons, quite deliberately so. Often, it’s not until it’s brought up by others, that people realise the endless similarities. If our childhood home is somewhere that made us feel safe and content, why wouldn’t we try to replicate that feeling later in life?
Photo by Wendy Aldiss Photography
That word, ‘sanctuary’ is one that regularly pops up when talking about home. As is the acceptance that home isn’t necessarily rooted to one particular place, it’s about people. How many of us still refer to the town or city where we were born and have family and friends, as ‘home’ despite having moved away years ago?
As journalist Amanda Woodward-Brown, who moved to the UK from her native Australia, told us; “Home is where you feel your soul settle.” It’s a lovely way to think about it. For some, that contented feeling comes from setting up home in a forest, for others it’s by the water. For some, their house can be anywhere, it becomes a soul-settling home when they’re cuddled up with a loved one on the sofa, or when it’s filled with people, eating and laughing together.
Home is far too important to waste your time worrying if it’s considered stylish or tasteful. We’ll let you into a secret; rooms that look incredible on Instagram don’t always feel that way in reality. Ask yourself, how would a dark maroon living room make you feel on a grey winter’s day, or what about a loudly patterned bathroom with a hangover? Besides, we all know that caring too much about other people’s approval is a fast-track route to stifling personality, creativity and fun.
While the high-street may insist on pushing an ever-turning carousel of homeware trends, the homes that truly sing with warmth and cheer are the ones that are filled with objects and people that tell the story of your life. Things that you truly love and treasure, that evoke vivid memories and, above all, that make you smile. This is what truly makes a house a home.
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