What Makes a Home?

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Is it the neighborhood? The home design and architecture? Or maybe the backyard BBQ, sparkling swimming pool surrounded by tiki torches and left over props from an aged Gilligan’s Island episode? Two story feel more like a home than single? Is a home a home if it lies within the boundaries of that spectacular Blue Ribbon elementary school you’ve read so much about?

I have come to think about this question, more philosophically than real estate jargon. Most understand that the process of buying, selling a home is quite emotional. We are drawn to a home, often for how it feels, rather than its practical qualities. General statement, yet I’m speaking in generalities. Stay with me. There’s a point here.

Upon purchasing my first home almost thirteen years ago, I realized this entity called a house was not a living, breathing organism. Merely a place, a refuge with a roof, keeping the outdoor elements at bay. A house is a mortgage, a lease, a storage area for unpronounceable Ikea furniture, flat screen tv’s, scuffed shoes and rusted rakes. Told with great accuracy of George Carlin, a house is, “a place for your stuff.”

In 2000, bought my first house. About eighteen months into new homeownership I gathered the courage to admit I wasn’t a happy homeowner. It just didn’t feel like home.  Eventually, confronting my then husband with my new revelation left us with a silent relationship for 3 days. To his well-deserved credit, he was a champ upon hearing this new. Yet some how, in some way, after that confession, the 2,300 sqft. abode suddenly became a little cozier; a different air of warmth permeated her walls.

From that point on, I realized this house, our home, was not merely a place of stationary artifacts. More than that, the house was us, the family. Each person living under that roof, began creating their own memories, contributing to our collective experience of what home meant to us.

As a teen, my Mom, brother and I lived in a small apartment. Little did I care it wasn’t the spacious house on the hill, glorious oceanfront  or average single family residence. It was our home; a place where we took care of each other, helped make dinners, had friends come stay the night, drink Dr. Pepper and crunch on Doritos. It’s the living room my Mom comforted me when my first boyfriend broke my heart, the kitchen where I learned to cook lasagne, the breezeway where I helped my brother fold the local daily newspapers for his route.

Perhaps we have the capacity to create our own environment after all, house and home.

What ingredients make up your home?