I’m reading House Thinking: A Room by Room Look at How We Live by Winifred Gallagher. One of the ideas she talks about early on in the book is how our childhood home or the place(s) where we grew up influences our ideas about our homes later in life.
I lived in the same house from the time I was born until I left for college. Maybe I was lucky, but growing up I was sometime jealous of friends that got to move. Odd, maybe. But as an adult, I’ve come to appreciate my one-home childhood. I know I am lucky in that I can’t think of a single bad memory in that house on Wayne Avenue.
It’s a modest house in a good neighborhood. Built around the turn of the century, it has a lot of details that are missing in most of the new houses built today. The trim is hefty, the overhangs on the roof are proportionate and the materials aren’t plastic or vinyl. It was what my parents called a ‘handyman special’ at the time they purchased it. It’s fun to think of them just starting out in life together, my mom pregnant, and both of them so excited.
Unfortunately because of time and money shortages, I think the house became a thorn in my dad’s side. He was constantly doing projects (My parents have a ‘vintage’ Ikea kitchen if there is such a thing) around the house and felt as though it was lost time that he could have spent with his children. I on the other hand have quite a different perspective. I have lots of memories of the various home improvement projects that went on through the years and I really believe that was strong influence in my decision to pursue a career in architecture. I have a strong love for old houses and seeing them renovated and restored and am thankful that I get to do what I love everyday. I would say that is a very general example of how one’s home experience can be influential.
Ms Gallagher emphasizes creating a home that is just right for you and suggests "listing the things that you’ve loved or hated in past and present homes". She asks, "Does a Victorian delight you or give you the creeps? Do you want to recapture the aura of a beloved childhood home or create the exact opposite of an unhappy one?"
The specific things I love about my parents’ house are the front porch, the hardwood floors and the deep window sills on the first floor and they are all things that I’d like to have in my home or homes.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences!