Welcome home. Two words that make me think of sweatpants and pulling up a chair for strawberry waffles. Would you like butter or syrup? Both? Works for me. Would you mind watching the dog while I cook? K, thanks, mugs on the side of the fridge!
You know what else feels as cozy as a ‘here’s the keys to the front and don’t forget to lock the back’ reminder? Warm cookies in the kitchen, fresh laundry piles on the stairs, and praying hands at the dinner table. It’s rhythm and routine, it’s comfort and soul: a home is a building, sure, but it’s also the place where you make memories and build a life.
I bought a red front door and the house came along with it. The flower boxes, rolling vines, and bright entry had me thinkin’ ‘THIS IS THE ONE’ before I ever stepped foot inside the house. First impressions aren’t always reliable, but y’all? The red door clicked open, and I knew I was home. Natural light? Check. A brick fireplace? Check again. Wide open spaces? Sold! Now where to put my bookshelves?
The house passed inspections today, and our move is ready-set-go end of April. That means I’ve gotta coupla weeks to make repairs, stain floors, paint walls, and get my stuff moved up-and-over to the new place.
There’s a whole lotta happy work that needs to happen before we move, and so I’m taking this moment (a blogging pause) to share my New Home Bucket List. Never heard of such a thing? It’s a small collection of memories I wanna make inside my new home:
1. History lesson. Our little white colonial is almost 100 years old, and I’m looking forward to learning about the previous owners of the house. Who lived there before us? How did they enjoy the space and interact with the community? I saw a height chart with names & dates inked onto the wall of the mudroom, and so I’ve already gotten a small glimpse into the lives of the current owners. Once we have the title, I’ll be able to research right back to 1922.
- House-warming. The house we bought is 100% fixer upper, and we’re not about doing it all at once (think a coupla’ years folks), but I want our friends + family to live // love // enjoy our home throughout the process. Afterall, it’s not about the quality of the house you buy, but about the life you build inside it.
- Host holidays. Our apartments haven’t been large enough for Christmas trees or formal dining tables, and so we’re used to packing-up and visiting family for the holidays. Some good news? Our new home has room aplenty for guests and trees, and so I’m gearing-up (err scouring Pottery Barn for more plates & glasses) to host Christmas & Easter & a good ol’ July 4 BBQ.
- Gallery wall. Wedding & baby & vacation photos hanging next to one another as a visual timeline of the people, places, and – every-once-in-a-grand-while – things (like the house), I hold dear. My inner photographer might be more excited about this item than any other thing listed on this bucket list of mine.
- Home cook book. What’s this about? Welp, Imma tell you: when I was little, my mom put our favorite family dishes together in a single book, and we paged through to pick-out breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner whenever we needed inspiration for meal-time. I have happy memories of paging through the go-to dishes loved by our family, and I’m looking forward to recreating this book for my own little growing family.
- Reading library. I want real books (as opposed to Kindle or other digital devices) that I can share with friends, page through with kids, and reference for inspiration. A house of mine will always contain a little space for authors, stories, and illustrators.
- Send keys to family. Our family members all live out-of-state, and I want them to feel like our home is their vacation home. This bucket item sits very closely with having a guest-suite that makes people wanna stay a week or two, and so I’m just gonna add that item here.
- On the heels of #7, I’ll keep a guestbook in the guest-suite. I signed a couple guest-books when I stayed at Italian B&B’s during my college study abroad semester, and I’ve wanted my own record of guests & visitors ever since.
- Subscriptions. Imma make sure there’s a paper in the kitchen and the latest Fast Company, New Yorker, and Kinfolk Magazine in the living-room. Pour a coffee, a lemonade, or a glass of wine (depending on the time of day), and then find a couch or table to read and relax.
- Game closet. The closet comes in handy for all the game nights I foresee in the future, and Imma make good and sure that the collection includes Settlers of Cattan, Ticket to Ride, Anomia, and Catch Phrase. Am I missing your favorite game? Let me know – I’m always looking to expand.
- Mug collection. I’m planning for a big family and a heavy rotation of guests, and so I’ll make certain that everyone has a charming mug for their morning coffee and their afternoon tea. I’m even thinking about painting custom mugs for regular visitors – sisters, brothers, best friends, etc. How better to make people feel at home?
- Meaningful artwork. I love browsing artwork in galleries and museums, but I want the art in our home to be personal to our family. I might have a decorative piece here or there, but I’ll make sure that family heirlooms, favorite photos, and other personal items receive pride of place in the home.
- Home sketch. On the heels of #12, I love when homeowners get an artist to draw their newly purchased home. A great way to remember home your home looked when you first bought it, and what’s more, the image can easily be made into a postcard for letting friends know you’ve moved.
- Custom address stamp. I’ve spent the past 12-years rotating through apartments, and an address stamp seemed like a poor investment amidst the transition. Now, however, imma start stamping my address on my Christmas, birthday, and ‘we’ve moved’ cards.
- Restore. My coffee table holds catalogs for all the decorating gals: Pottery Barn, Serena and Lily and a new favorite, One Kings Lane. I’ve got coffee in my cup, Fixer Upper on the TV, and a whole lotta catalogue=pages earmarked for making our house into a place full of warmth, belonging and Netflix marathons. I’m honored to be the girl who not only restores this home, but gives it the lovin’ it deserves.
Readers, do you have any tips&tricks for making a house a home? If yes, I’d love to hear your ideas:) Oh, and happy spring! I’ve neglected this space a bit, but I’ve missed you all, and hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful Easter holiday with their family. Chat soon!
Oh, and Imma leave you with the most heart happy pic: