Monday, February 4

Cultivating Your Home

As I was growing up, even as a little girl, I remember always daydreaming of colors to paint the walls of our home or ways to re-arrange the furniture to best make use of the light streaming through the windows. I became an avid window watcher and loved it when we had to drive home from anywhere late at night, the windows of homes lit up, enabling me to see just how other people decorated and lived. On my own, I studied architecture. Not in any great depth but enough to recognize the different examples in the area which we lived.
In high school when my peers were reading teen magazine during library time, I was pouring over decorating magazines, committing everything to memory. Many apologizes to all the die-hard feminists out there - my heart was always headed home! Our first home as a married couple was a enthusiastic hodgepodge of all the ideas I had ever seen thrown together as cheaply as possible. It took a while for me to find my decorating grove, to fully embrace this idea that "everydays" can be special, unique and celebrated, eventually finding a wash and wear style that fits our growing family. I fully believe that children thrive in a beautiful environment; that all of us do, no matter our age or position. We are tactile and visual creatures.
The way we decorate our home today is thrifty, just as it was ten years ago. It is what I know and love and embrace. Sure, we could afford to buy a leather sofa and plush velvet armchairs, but how practical would that be for our season of life? Always having to worry about feet on the chairs or markers on the sofa or scratches on the coffee table...
Thrifty doesn't have to mean cheap or of poor quality. Many of the lovely things found in our home are of a high quality and well made but through auctions and thrifting and garage saleing, we've been able to spend very little on them.
Some of the authors and books who have heavily influenced the keeping of our home are all the books by Alexandra Stoddard, Homemaking by J.R. Miller, books by Emilie Barnes, Sharon Hanby-Robie, and The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer. Local libraries should be able to order most, if not all, of the books by these authors. What I love about these authors and their books is that they aren't jam packed with photos saying "decorate like this picture" or you must paint your walls "this" pottery barn color. They deal with the art of living and cultivating an atmosphere of beauty and warmth in your home. If you are interested in dealing with practical, daily issues like hospitality and friendship and children, I recommend these authors and books.


Leigh Ann said...

Your blogs are so peaceful. Thank you for sharing your life.

~ Shannon said...

I also have a long-time love for architecture and decorating! As a single young woman, it is exciting to see someone with a family applying these ideas in her home in such a creative and delightful way. I greatly enjoyed "Homemaking" by J.R. Miller and "The Hidden Art of Homemaking" by Edith Schaeffer; I'll have to look up the others. Lovely photographs, by the way -- especially the ones with books! ;-)

Your blog is like a breath of fresh air -- thank you!

Yours in Christ,

Niki said...

lovely post, thank you!

Amy said...

I am just thrilled to know that I am not the only "window watcher" out there. ;o) I always feel like such an oddball for doing it, but maybe I am not so weird after all!

Your home is just beautiful, Hannah. I have been taking notes from several of your blog posts and hope to implement some changes when we arrive at our new home in the coming months. :o) Thank you for your inspiration!

Andrea said...

We are redoing my girls' room right now, so this post is timely. You have made me want to dig out my Edith Schaeffer book and re-read it again in this season of my life. I first read it when I was newly married, and it gave me a good start in establishing a home. One thing I always need to remind myself is that the first thing on my "decorating" or "to-do" list is if my attitude is lovely...that creates the tone in my home, not a Pottery Barn couch. :)
Wonderful post, I enjoyed it.

Renee said...

What a lovely post! Thank you for sharing this thought provoking article.

Me said...

I'm glad everyone enjoyed this post. I love to write about practical homemaking! Won't you'all post and write about the ways you've found to sensibly decorate?

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post! Thanks for sharing.

I was one of those high schools girls reading the home decor magazines too. I loved to dream about my future home and garden. I still do, but now I can at least try to make some of those things into reality.