Things I’ve learned lately: HOME

There are so many things I love about the feeling of Home. I am very introverted and love, love, love to be home. It’s the softest place I land, the space that holds me in, lets me go, and serves as my favorite dance floor.

So, home is really important to me. It serves as all of the above, but it (hopefully) also welcomes anyone who enters it with the same kind of love and attention. We’ll cover this more in the Hosting section but even though I’m extremely introverted, it’s also very important to our family to be the open house. To let others in, to share what we have, to feed the masses and to be social without actually having to enter the world.

Let’s get to it, then.

BOOKS

Beautifully Organized, Wild At Home, Cozy White Cottage, Made For Living, Poetry Of Place, Half Baked Harvest Cookbook, Half Baked Harvest Super Simple, Kitchen Sconce (Khaki).

These are not affiliate links (I’m like 80% sure they’re not and if they are it is by wild accident because I have no idea what I’m doing anymore.)

These books, however, do know what they’re doing. They serve as amazing inspiration and beautiful coffee table books to have out for anyone to browse. Our kitchen is forever in favorable rotation with Half Baked Harvest, and the lights were something we added when we reimagined the space … which leads me to:

REIMAGINING SPACES

As I confess in the About me section of this site, my superpower is being able to see through walls. To envision spaces and flow. We gutted our previous home and it was so much fun, but a lot of work. When we were looking for another house, I was adamant that I didn’t want to do major renovations again. Updating, sure. But knocking walls down? Nopethanks.

Essentially all a room actually needs is structure. Walls, wiring, fixtures. Are those things available? If not – start there. We lived here for a few months and then hired an electrician to please come in and add, subtract or change the electrical. How do you want to live in the space?

That’s it. That’s all you need to ask yourself to reimagine a space. What’s missing, and what do I want out of this?

Then, get to work on pinterest, in real life, in magazines and coffee shops. Hotels, friends homes, and places you love visiting. Pay attention. Take photos of spaces that make you feel comfortable. Notice how you feel walking into rooms, whats in them?

When I feel ready to make some changes I go back to the photos I’ve saved and look for repeats. I might see a pattern in the “feel” of a room, or the colors used. I might be really drawn to bold art or soft textures. Most of the time, I’m not looking at the structure of the spaces … but the feeling of what it might be like to be IN them. (And, other times I am ONLY looking at the structure. We’re currently remodeling our primary-suite bathroom and the structure of the space is the most important right now, so I’m only paying attention to walls and angles and layout and built-ins and walkways.)

The advice sticks, though, no matter what problem you might be trying to solve. What reflects you in a space? Below on the right (pictured) is our half bathroom when we bought our home and on the left (pictured) is still our half bathroom … now. Reimagined. We added wallpaper, found the new vanity on wayfair, and changed out the light fixture. The bathroom already had hardwood floors, a toilet, electrical and the plumbing was ready to go.

Wallpaper is great for small spaces and big impact. Play with it. If you hate it (and it’s ok if you do) it’s only wallpaper. You can take it down! Don’t marry all of your ideas. Stay flexible because you are going to hate some of it, or change your mind. Totally normal!

THINGS I LOVE

Who’s still with me? Mom?

We made it this far in this gigantic post today so I have some funsies for you in absolutely no particular order:

These pull-out cupboard shelves are, literally, the best purchase I’ve made this year. They’re spendy, I know. Shut it. I am in the kitchen for hours every single day. Every day! These make re-using our kitchen cabinets look like the best idea I’ve ever had. I bought 6 of them – 5 of them in our pantries and one in side cabinet that utilizes otherwise wasted space. I can’t get over how much I love these. They’re SHELVES. And I am undone about them.

This canvas-style bag for carrying logs. Handles. It has handles. We can take lotsssss of wood from our outdoor pile (which, elevation wise, is 2 stories below where we need to bring the firewood) to our hearth without swearing all of the swears we know out loud.

Sweet and Spicy Tea. I know you think drinking tea is like drinking hot water while someone whispers the herbs and flavors used from another room and I’m sorry you hate tea this much. But have you had this tea? You will like this one. It punches you right in the face.

These under-the-chair-things are like “money in the walls” but for your floors. You’re welcome. We refinished and added more wood flooring to our house, unlike our last one where we added plywood … I want these to look real for as long as possible. Because they are. They are real wood floors, take your shoes off.

These unfinished wooden handles are the sisters and brothers to many other unfinished wooden handles we’ve been using in all of our projects lately. We did buy new cabinets for the island in our kitchen (a painted cabinet to offset the oak) and the unfinished wood handles are like … cream for the eyes. That’s weird and I know it, but I stand by it. I love them. We also have unfinished wood handles/knobs (I know I’m saying unfinished wood a lot right now and I just need you to keep your eyes up here for a few more seconds) in our laundry room and the library. Everywhere, I tell you!

These sheets are a good idea. Sheets that I can’t touch before I buy them? I understand, it’s risky. But these are possibly the best sheets we’ve ever owned. And they’re not a million dollars.

Souper Cubes! I saw these on Shark Tank, like I see many things on Shark Tank, and this was the only item I’ve ever purchased before the pitch was over. Correction: this is the only item I’ve ever purchased that was featured on Shark Tank, ever. Revolutionary. These people are geniuses. Why didn’t I think of this?

Young House Love has probably influenced me more than any other blogger with influence. I almost always buy the things they suggest (when it fits my needs) because they are NEVER WRONG. So, yea. I’m a bird lady. I watch birds and I feed birds and I have (you guessed it) books on birds. And now, I can see birds right next to my chair. Because of this.

We’ve been married over 18 years, my husband and I, and in all of those years he has had the same alarm clock from his middle-school ages so I found him this one, instead. It’s from this century but it looks similar enough to his oldie and AND! I don’t hate it. Did I mention you can turn its lights off? All the way? And the volume isn’t 100 devils crying a beepbeepbeep in bright red in your ears every morning?

Lastly, I give you our espresso maker. When the quarantine started and everything shut down, we had to re-engineer our morning habits. So we ordered this espresso maker and never looked back. It’s so fun, looks great, is so easy and we love this little guy. He’s the real MVP of our house.

That’s it. I have a lot to say sometimes. Thanks for checking in. And please, please … add your must haves, house hacks, ideas and questions to the comments. I really love having the conversation with you.

xoxo

Jodi