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Advice Please! How Do You Make Your House A Home???

Affiliate Disclosure | in Everything Else | by | with 45 Comments

The Limousine Kicked Up A Cloud of Good Ole Texas Dirt

As we whooped our way down my favorite country road. In those days “going to the ranch” meant hanging out of the sunroof and waving to Calico (the old shetland mare) like a movie star with my seven and eight year-old cousins. Their world was a strange mix of opulence and down home earthy goodness: snapping peas fresh off the vine for lunch and then sidestepping cow patties on our way to the two-story playhouse.

Let me tell you, lattice trim and double balconies were just the beginning of the this cottage’s charm. There were matching daybeds with eyelet lace covers, a kitchen equipped with running water, a mini-oven and three speckled starling eggs nestled in the window flowerbox.

Back At Home . . .

The only lattice on my playhouse – AKA the storage shed – was made up of delicately spun cobwebs. My “running water” came from a hose and the “kitchen” was a slab of plywood with grease spots on it. I must say, though, it was magical. Just out front a gregarious, scraggly rosebush beckoned local sprites and leprechaun’s for tea and I  – the grand hostess – welcomed them inside to an imaginary table set with fine silver, delicate china and red-checkered napkins.

Is “home” written on the heart of every little girl like it was mine? Like it is still?

In less than 30 days I will say goodbye to the sea of beige I have called home for the past eight years. Sure, there have been some uhMAZING times here (including two waterbirths!) but ya’ll I am soooooo ready. I didn’t know who I was back when I decorated this house, and though the ambience has been somewhat improved with the random placement of toys and discarded bananas there are still parts that have the personality of a hotel room. Hmph!

And That’s Why, In A Little Town . . .

Just outside of Nashville I will fill flowerpots to the brim, splash color everywhere except the walls (we’ll be renting while we house hunt), and sand vintage pieces down to their first 10 “authentic” paint layers.

I will host dinners with gloriously mismatched dinnerware, serve tea in mason jars and make candles out of oranges. My grandmother’s rolltop desk will keep us company at “school” and her vintage mixing bowl will share in the joy of homemade cookie experiments. I have so many plans.

But mamas, there are so many ways to make a home that I don’t know about yet. And I’m getting this great big chance to start from scratch. So I’m asking you: How do you make your house a HOME?

Is it Saturday morning pancakes . . . fresh linens on Tuesday . . . cookies after naps? Or maybe something entirely different like mudfights, or that first moment of the day when all the kids are finally in bed.

What inspires you to LOVE home?

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45 Responses to Advice Please! How Do You Make Your House A Home???

  1. Maria Castro via FB says:

    Congratulations ma God Bless your new home

  2. Angela Bell Aitken via FB says:

    Coming into my neck of the woods huh? I am in Hendersonville. Will you be close?

  3. Elle says:

    Well Heather I truly know what you are going through. My husband and myself, along with our now four month old are renting a home while we VERY SLOWLY build our dream home. We have been in this rental home for over a year now and I would be happy to tell you how we have managed to make this little tiny house our temporary home. I would say our daily routine helped me to organize and decorate accordingly. Using only those things which are truly necessary made me realize how much stuff we have and don’t really need! Let your daily life be your guide. It’s your family that makes the house a home…their daily wants and needs should be your guide on how to set up so you can enjoy the little things, and all the great moments. Life can be so beautiful with a harmonious family schedule. My life consists of brightly colored flower pots, a place to hang the baby’s cloth diapers, a kitchen FULL of veggies and fruits and health food for our sit down meals. The smell of baked cookies for my dear husband, mismatched dinnerware, and a pot of always boiling stock. The smells and tastes of your last home should be enough to get you and your wonderful family into that rental and enjoying the adventure! Good luck with your move!

  4. Erica Kimberlin via FB says:

    Love the way you write! I can see the dinner party unfold and the child with laughter running the halls, while the fresh breeze brows the curtians. Congratulations

  5. Mellanie Gray Sheppard via FB says:

    I didn’t realize you are moving to TN! I hate it when people who I would really like to get to know better move away before I get the chance. :-) Have fun making your new house a home!

  6. Mommypotamus via FB says:

    Thank you Maria Castro! We are so excited! But we are also really, really REALLY gonna miss the people here in Texas <3

  7. Emily Cowles Brown via FB says:

    So happy for you! Sounds like a great little town….and you’ll have a blast figuring out how to set up “home”, I’m sure! :)

  8. Maria Castro via FB says:

    I can relate to that, my husband is military and we meet very speacial people who become part of our family then either they have to move or we have to move, there will be many great adventures ahead for you guys :)

  9. Mommypotamus via FB says:

    Angela Bell Aitken – Close-ish! We’re going to be in Franklin, but I would love to meet up!

    • DeAnna says:

      I moved from Texas to Franklin. I love it here! I hope you find a place that makes your mental image of home a reality. Welcome to Tennessee – from one Texas girl to another :)

  10. Angela Bell Aitken via FB says:

    Sounds great! Can’t wait to meet you.

  11. Caroline says:

    Omy gosh!!! Soooo exciting!! I call Knoxville, TN my home even tho I’m living in charleston, SC right now. You will looooove Tennessee for so many reasons. ;0) I am excited to read about your journey embracing your new surroundings and creating your new home. And selfishly, I am excited you will be closer to my neck of the woods and perhaps a chance to meet you may be more real now. :) Cheers and Blessings and Prayers for you, Daniel, K and M! <3

  12. Kathryn VanLoon Schuman via FB says:

    Naturally Free RD ~ Tim’s cousin lives in the Nashville area & loves it!

  13. Kristin Fisher Lawler via FB says:

    How exciting! My husband and I keep wanting to make the leap and move, but keep holding back, even though we have a short list of places to move to. What made you finally decide and why TN?

  14. Annie Leos says:

    We are military , and are on our 12th move in 18 years… What makes a house a home is family, the memories that are created togeather, the laughter, the smiles and all the wonderful memories. We have smiled and laughed our way through 2 years of chicken keeping, beautiful boutinful gardens to suburbs with popsicles, and delicious family meals, brand new friendships blossom to foreign countries where we learn the language, laugh at our mistakes and cry at the yet another deployments. It is the family that makes a house a home. No matter where that home is, all you need is your family…

  15. Mommypotamus via FB says:

    Thank you, Erica Kimberlin!

  16. Kathryn says:

    So happy for you. I believe your home is a reflection of you, your dreams your desires, your peace. Fill it with you and who you desire to become and you will fit right in no matter where you live.

  17. Mommypotamus via FB says:

    Mellanie Gray Sheppard – I feel the same way! We’ve been discussing a move since Katie was 7 months old. The first couple years I just couldn’t get excited about it because I didn’t want to leave the community here.<3

  18. Mommypotamus via FB says:

    Kristin Fisher Lawler – After looking in Texas for the “right” place for years it dawned on us that we were looking in the wrong place! We’ve traveled as far as Costa Rica looking for “home,” but in the end it was actually prayer and a hunch that led us to Tennessee :)

  19. Kirsten says:

    Ahh! So excited for you! Nashville is one of my favorite places. I’d move there in a minute! :) if you don’t have a church yet, there’s a really wonderful one called “Grace Center” in Franklin. (They’re connected with Bethel in Redding.) Anyway, congratulations on your move! As for making a home, I’m still really learning too…but what helps me is adding little touches that are “me” no matter how small. Thanks for the reminder. I need to do this more too. :) And, for the record, my parents rented all my growing up years, and my mom filled everything (except the walls) with color and made every place we lived “ours”. So it’s totally do-able. Can’t wait to see what you make of your new digs!

  20. Megan Alba says:

    So, so excited for you, Heather! My family is from South Carolina & we drive through Tennessee on our trips home. Love that part of Tennessee! Would love to connect with you sometime as we’re driving through.
    I know EXACTLY how you feel about the home. I look at my decorations and wonder, “Who WAS that girl?!?!” We’re in the process of buying our first home, and I’m chunking everything so we can start from scratch.
    By the way – if you have sweet tea in Mason jars, you’ve already made your house a home in the South. :-)

  21. Whittney says:

    I would start with the porch if you have one: cozy chairs, outdoor rug, Boston ferns hanging and potted plants with color – then the kitchen, totally organized and decorated as much as you can in a rental – then an awesome photo wall in a main area of the house.

    So excited for you!

  22. caroline says:

    This is so exciting! Wow and actually pretty perfect since we’re moving into Spring (wait, is it Spring already? Temperature changes are confusing me). So at the first mention of you using the word ‘goodbye to a sea of beige’ I immediately thought of Maria Killam. I hope it’s okay that i’m mentioning her blog ‘Colour Me Happy’ ( but I’m a HUGE fan of Maria Killam. She’s an internationally known color/interior design expert and her blog spills over with really great information. So much so that you’ll never look at color the same way again (I say this to everyone but it’s totally true :)

    Okay ending my happy rant as I feel the urge to pull out the pom poms and do a cartwheel. Hope this helps!!!

  23. Heather Bain Brandt via FB says:

    I’m from TN originally & love that area you’re moving to…I think you’ll enjoy it to!

  24. Nicole Stidham via FB says:

    Congrats!!! I am so ready to be ‘where’ you are. We have been talking about the big move for over 6 years. But we have to sell our country home in order to fund this new adventure. We too looked in Texas first but finally decided that to get what we want and live off the land we needed to go else ware. I think that will be the Ozarks for us. But God willing, we’ll see. All the blessings to ya’ll.

  25. Anna-Marie Hizer via FB says:

    I lived in Clarksville, TN for seven years and really liked it (I was stationed there … at Ft. Campbell). Nashville area is pretty awesome! I would move back closer to Nashville if I knew we could both find good jobs there :-)

  26. Maggie Sammis Grayson via FB says:

    There is an awesome Stroller Strides in Franklin! Deena is the owner/instructor and she is amazing! Great way to plug into the mommy scene 😉

  27. Tiffani Beckman via FB says:

    come to wine country Calif! it is beautiful here! (and ridiculously expensive!)

  28. Tiffani Beckman via FB says:

    come to wine country Calif! it is beautiful here! (and ridiculously expensive!)

  29. Kristine Winniford via FB says:

    TN is so beautiful, what a wonderul place to move to! A house never feels like home to me until I fill it with house plants and start a garden.

  30. Kristine Winniford via FB says:

    TN is so beautiful, what a wonderul place to move to! A house never feels like home to me until I fill it with house plants and start a garden.

  31. Samantha Salyer Jacokes via FB says:

    Oh Tennessee … you’ll have a much longer growing season than I have here in MI! And it’s lovely there. We have family near Nashville and I love to visit.

  32. Samantha Salyer Jacokes via FB says:

    Oh Tennessee … you’ll have a much longer growing season than I have here in MI! And it’s lovely there. We have family near Nashville and I love to visit.

  33. Kathy says:

    We moved my 94 year old mom from her home into a Retirement community. It still feels like ‘home’ to me when I go see her because: We smile at each other, we laugh, We listen with love..that is what makes a house a home…wherever we go. Are you centered in your own heart and full of gratitude? that makes people feel at home with you..none of the ‘stuff’ can make up for the magic of gratitude and listening with calmness.

  34. Leah says:

    For me, it’s all about the “knowing” when I drive through the neighborhood or walk through the door for the first time. The rest just falls into place over time.

  35. A. B. says:

    If you haven’t already, start a pinterest account. It is an AWESOME website for organizing your homemaking ideas and decorating tips. Good luck!

  36. Karen says:

    It’s the special things….My Dad’s lanterns, my grandmother’s crochet bedspread she made for me before I was born because it was time for a girl (fits a double bed!!!), the watercolor cards my Mom has painted and mailed me over the years that I have framed….. The people who fill the house with love and laughter, the nourishing food we share, and growing things…..

  37. Jennifer says:

    We have been thinking about TN lately too….to have a farm. We currently live in MO, and though I would miss many of the things here, it has never quite felt like home. I’m not sure where our home is, but TN is being considered!

  38. Zusa says:

    Congrats! How wonderful to be starting a new life with your dear family! I can tell from what you’re saying that you create home with heart and soul — can’t go wrong there!

    Most people talk about leaving room for spontaneity and that is so importnat. But I also think some routine is very important just to get the necessities done and keep the home running well. Plus there’s a “feeling” that one gets when somewhat organized — a groundedness, I call it. So I have a set day each week for certain laundry tasks — towels on Tues, sheets on Thurs, etc. Some things that I can count on help me feel like my home is a home, that I’m investing in its wellbeing as well as my own.

    I shop thrift stores for almost everything. The older I get, the more I realize that something isn’t a good buy just because it’s a great price, which is a huge temptation with thrift stores. Now I try to bring home only the things that I love, even if that means going without a sofa or whatever for awhile. (And some of what I love would just be trash to someone else.) But I also have to keep learning the lesson of — if you love it, buy it now!. I can’t tell you how often I’ve let something go, trying to make a decision, and then, of course, it’s gone when I go back for it. I guess that’s not going to be the case so much in mainstream stores, but mainstream isn’t so charming, IMO.

    I love art and have a few nice pieces, but I’m not above framing a great card or calendar picture. Who cares? I you love it, it brings great energy into your home.

  39. Megan Oien says:

    I love Whittney’s ideas. I have lived in my house for 3 years now. We never have any extra money and the little we do have goes to food. The smells and routines that come with cooking and raising children the way we do, definitely make a house a home, but now that we are expecting our third I have myself wanting a little more. Maybe it’s nesting. Maybe it’s knowing that I will be tied down like I’ve never known before with a 4 1/2 year old, 2 1/2 year old and newborn. Anyway, we have been lucky enough to slowly fill our house with furniture from generous family and friends, as well as some hot garage sale deals. Now that our house is feeling full, I find myself sitting in my favorite chair nursing or reading to my 4 1/2 year old and feeling so blessed with the warmth and generosity I am surrounded by. This has inspired me to to do more of the little things- like hang family pictures on a picture wall in the living room, add houseplants and beeswax candles. Set up little baskets full of art supplies and other fun things, so they are very accessible for the kids. My next goals are to sew curtains from some fabric I have been saving. Maybe make some placemats and tea towels. I recently organized a houseplant swap with friends. They brought me a houseplant or start and I gave them a dozen eggs from our chickens and ducks, a kombucha culture, or kefir grains. It was really fun and everyone came away happy. I also have always loved bringing the outdoors in, so if you come to our house in the fall, you will see a table full of squash that we slowly chip away at over winter. Bring in plants like cedar and holly in December and January and hangs them from the walls; cottonwoods and pussywillows in February; and then once spring hits the possibilities are endless. Oh and for me, a reformed city girl, you gotta have some chickens, ducks and a garden- no matter how small.

  40. Bethany Nash says:

    A tablecloth. This is the thing that kept me sane when we lived in an apartment. I had a couple of them, so I could have one to wash and one to use. It made the whole apartment feel more real to me.

  41. Can You Guess What This Means?? « The Mommypotamus says:

    […] but as soon as we get settled I’ll give you a mini-tour, okay? So excited to put all your fabulous advice to […]

  42. AnRene` says:

    Well, you’ve got the candles covered…I would add hot epson salt baths in the evening when the kids are down. I could live pretty much anywhere if I had candles and a nice tub. 😉 Best wishes with the move. :)

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