What makes a house a home?

I challenge you to find a definitive answer on this question.

Home is where the heart is, home is where you hang your hat and any number of clichés you can conjure up. Our home will evolve with our needs and state of being; from your first college apartment to your cozy retirement home you will live in many different types of homes and they will all serve a need and a purpose.

The concept of home has been glamourized and polished and I think sometimes we are left feeling like our living space may be inadequate. I hear this ALL the time, people are afraid to invite me over because they think I have some standard of what home should be all about. I’m just happy to be invited over and enjoy the company no matter where a person may reside!

When my friend Karen passed away it was then that her husband could return to their beautifully designed ‘home’, the amazing thing is that he had been sleeping at the hospital at her side for months – a tall man on a very small cot. This had become their home as they fought a painful battle by each other’s side.

The thought of returning home without her is now a looming decision as he deals with his grief. Home can become anywhere you may be at the moment due to circumstances, it is possible to make the most humble surroundings (yes, even a hospital room) feel like home.

I think it’s really about having things surrounding you that make you comfortable and happy. That could be family and friends, your pets or even a familiar blanket.

When I moved away to college I cured many homesick nights curled up with my childhood quilt!

It wasn’t pretty and I think the dog had chewed a corner of it but the smell and touch of that blanket took me right back home and its comfort, along with long phone calls to my mom, helped ease the loneliness.

Your home may not be exactly where you want to be but it is very important to make it as ‘you’ as possible.

Simple things like even having your familiar coffee pot set up ready to brew can make a chaotic or temporary environment more bearable. So the walls need painting and you need new tile in your kitchen, you can have a serene moment every morning with the familiar babble of your coffee pot as your favourite mug awaits. It doesn’t have to be perfect or show home ready to be home.

The more we detach from the ‘things’ in our lives and reach for the most important elements the more likely we are to go on an adventure, pack up and take a journey that our hearts have always wanted.

I know so many people who have done this and have challenged the limitations of their fear and the four walls they call home. A new home may be waiting on the horizon and it may be just the items you can carry with you.

You may find a new definition of home sleeping by a loved one’s side or living in a tent as you help build schools in impossibly hot climates.

May you always carry home with you in your heart and in your mind.

Kim Meckler is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre.

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