Creating Space with Soul

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Nothing makes you reflect on life’s profound questions like packing all your worldly possessions into boxes. As I look around my increasingly bare apartment and think ahead to the new space that we will soon occupy, I wonder: how do you breathe life into empty rooms? What makes a house a home?

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Is it the photos and paintings on the wall, records of faces seen and moments passed?

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Is it the books on your shelves, their pages telling not only their own tales but also stories of who and where you were when you read them?

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Is it the smells from the kitchen, the fragrance of birthday cakes and holiday pies, the scent of life’s celebrations feted through food?

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Is it collections acquired and displayed, the pieces coming together over time until they threaten to take over curio cabinets, mantlepieces and tabletops?

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Is it turning nooks and crannies into opportunities to delight and surprise, taking seemingly useless corners and making spots for reading, napping, sipping tea?

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Is it finding the light, exploring the best sun puddles for taking photos, growing houseplants, whiling away the afternoon?

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Is it creating new routines, discovering where the olive oil should be kept for easy access, determining exactly how many appliances you can store on the counter before you no
longer have room to cook?

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Is it the sounds through the window as you sip your morning coffee, the call of birds and the hum of traffic as the world starts its day?

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Is it learning the idiosyncrasies of the bathroom, perfecting the exact rotation of the taps for optimum water temperature, remembering to close the shower curtain that extra inch so you don’t flood the floor?

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Or is it the warm bodies that share the space with you, the ones you carry in your heart no matter where your next move may take you?

Of course it’s all these things and more. So tell me: How do you make your house a home?

Image Credits: 1. Domino 2. Source Unknown 3. Tiny K 4. Roland Bello 5. New Moroccan Style 6. Simon Bevan via Desire to Inspire 7. Urban Eco Chic 8. Found Style 9. Domino 10. Found Style 11. Found Style

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42 Responses to “Creating Space with Soul”

  1. stephanie Says:

    I think it is time – the objects we carry with us have been accumulated and loved and used and winnowed through the years, whether they are books or prints or pillows or juicers. They each have their story of use in our lives, and putting those things in a new space starts the process of making a house a home – the rest is done by actual living. Even the most beautifully decorated spaces feel barren until they are lived in – our things just help soften that transition.

  2. {this is glamorous} Says:

    Love this post – such lovely sentiments and wonderfully written.

  3. {this is glamorous} Says:

    Love this post – such lovely sentiments and wonderfully written.

  4. blair Says:

    Hmm…for me it is making is my own–having my personality reflected into the space versus that of the previous tenant or owner.
    Beautiful photos!

  5. blair Says:

    Hmm…for me it is making is my own–having my personality reflected into the space versus that of the previous tenant or owner.
    Beautiful photos!

  6. Caroline @ Patagonia Gifts Says:

    Such a lovely post, Anne! so heart-warming! for me, a house is a home because each of the things you’ve mentioned, but especially the special meaning we give to those things we treasure.
    xoxo

  7. Jane Flanagan Says:

    Oh all these things. Plus time and memories!
    I think seeing four seasons in a place makes a huge difference. Once you’ve got through four seasons you start to feel the changes are familiar and you’re part of them.

  8. Bells Says:

    all so true and beautifully put and illustrated.
    When I moved into my new flat just about a year ago the very first thing I did was the kitchen – everything done and it it’s place before I even had a bed or a sofa. It’s what made me most feel at home!

  9. Joanna Says:

    Such a beautiful, thoughtful post, Anne. I’ll be bookmarking this one for future readings. 🙂
    And I totally agree with you that making a house a home is everything you described. It’s all about surrounding yourself with lovely, functional things that inspire you and creating memories with the people you love.

  10. Michelle Says:

    what a lovely post. i think it is a combination of all those things that life comes with.

  11. Emily Says:

    for me, it’s all about a perfect bathroom. these images, by the way, are some of my favorite that you’ve posted.

  12. Rachel (Heart of Light) Says:

    Sweet reflections, dear!
    It’s everything – your accumulated treasures, your books scattered on the floor, your favorite flowers on the table, your music playing in the background.
    And one of the most distinct things I’ve found is that most people’s homes have a scent. I love walking back into my parent’s house and knowing that I’m home even if I have my eyes closed.

  13. vee Says:

    awesome post and good luck with your move! 🙂

  14. Liz@VioletPosy Says:

    Beautiful post with some gorgeous images.
    What makes a house with soul? For me photos, sound, scent and love.
    I’m going to add this one to my Tumblr page, just lovely x

  15. Kotori Says:

    Love that painted portrait – beautiful… and I agree with you on the books. One of my favorite things is to peruse bookshelves – it gives you such insight as to who lives there.

  16. Julia Says:

    What a thoughtful post! I loved so many of your images. I really like the idea of lighting a fir scented candle in my living room and putting up old familiar pictures on my wall. Oh and a throw over the couch!

  17. Grace@PoeticHome Says:

    The nook and crannies are my favorite. I totally concur with your post — I think it’s so important for every item in one’s home to soulfully reflect a piece of one’s personality.

  18. Donna Says:

    I really needed to read those words today. Yes, all this and more. The trick is to embrace the whole families soul into the home and to all be comfortable with it!

  19. Kotori Says:

    I just tagged you on my site Anne. You have such great taste, I can’t wait to see if you can choose just one photo to define your style!

  20. Anonymously Chic Says:

    oh, i think all of the things you mentioned help make a home! i am a firm believer that home, for me, is wherever b and my two dogs are…

  21. Anonymously Chic Says:

    oh, i think all of the things you mentioned help make a home! i am a firm believer that home, for me, is wherever b and my two dogs are…

  22. The Deco Detective Says:

    Anne, I’m sure you’ll make a home that’s beautiful in every way – it’s obvious from the way you write that you’ll create a home that’s both lovely and loving!
    Trudi

  23. Pretty Little World Says:

    This is a really lovely post, and it gets you thinking about all of the little things that aren’t in decorating books or on design shows — the really personal things that happen when you settle into a place.

  24. B Says:

    Of course, all those things create a home, but what does it for me is being surrounded by my books. They are everywhere in my house. I love it… my boyfriend doesn’t so much.

  25. i.d. Says:

    It’s an amalgamation of things, but crucial are the shelves and shelves of books and the art. I think artwork says so much about a person!

  26. from the right bank Says:

    I’m a serial mover so I’m always asking myself that question. And quite frankly, I don’t think I can add to what you put so eloquently. This is a BEAUTIFUL post, Anne. Good luck with your move.

  27. Jess LC Says:

    Yum, yum, yum! That is my favorite color of cocoa in the photo with the lamps.
    Perhaps I should go thrifting for something similar myself.

  28. kasey Says:

    o.k., you have got to stop taking photo’s of my house and posting them without telling me.
    xo

  29. Melissa Says:

    I love this post and am going to save it 🙂 For me it is pictures and being surrounded by things I love 🙂

  30. A-M Says:

    Oh my, goosebumps! What a poignant post… so, so beautiful. I am so pleased to have found your blog.. thank you for finding me! I have been asking myself this very same question. What perfect timing your post is for this stage of my life. How do I breathe life into the beautiful shell, that I have just created? When I look back at all the places I have called home, my distant memories are always about the experiences and not so much the decor. As much as I am going to enjoy the interior fit out, I know that I am going to revel in seeing my boys breathe life into the home… their toys, the light through the trees that creates shadows on their rumpled beds… I am already drinking in the beautiful light, even when it is empty and unfinished!!….the squeals of delight when they have their friends over to enjoy their first ever pool. Yep, it’s everything you have so eloquently put and also filling my home with my loved ones… the rest will all fall into place. A-M xx

  31. Lynne, Tea for Joy Says:

    I have to admit I emphathise with the hot shower scenario…how exciting to move, and what a lovely time of year to get all organised!

  32. Jamie Says:

    Wonderful reflections. It makes me think of every new home I have ever settled into…and there have been a lot!
    Good luck making your new home home.

  33. Georgia Says:

    that’s got to be the coolest shower i have ever seen!

  34. Renee Finberg Says:

    in the 1st pic;
    i love the Chippendale chairsn with that gorgeous finish.

  35. Georgia Says:

    that’s got to be the coolest shower i have ever seen!

  36. Georgia Says:

    that’s got to be the coolest shower i have ever seen.
    i’m so excited about your new home! i can’t wait to see it unfold!

  37. joanna goddard Says:

    oh what a beautiful roundup. i want to live in every one of those rooms!

  38. joanna goddard Says:

    oh what a beautiful roundup. i want to live in every one of those rooms!

  39. Kitty Says:

    Anne – I think the last sentiment you expressed is the truest reflection of what the word home really means. For me, a house can never truly be a home unless it is shared with the person or people that you carry with you in your heart.
    The pictures in this post are fantastic.

  40. Melanie Says:

    That bedroom with the blue wall, distressed wood floors and big windows is my fave.

  41. Chessa! Says:

    I think it’s a combination of all of the wonderful things you describe here…but, most of all, I think it is the items that we’ve collected over the years that at first seem haphazard but then tell the stories of our life that make a house a home. They say things about who we are, where we’ve been, dreams fulfilled, wishes we hope to be granted…
    I love all of the inspiration here. I’m wishing you many happy times in your new home! I can’t wait to see what you do with it:)

  42. nkp Says:

    You already know what I think of your writing, this was no exception, in fact, it was exceptional.
    As for home, it’s where ever my little family resides, be it grand manse (it’s not) or rural hut…

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