Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A welcoming home...

What is it, to you, that makes a home welcoming?

I received this email from a reader and she would love your help!!

I am trying to come up with a picture of what I want my home to be like. Would you mind helping me with some ideas? Think of one person/family who you love going over to their house. It's just a peaceful, welcoming home that you enjoy. Describe it: What words come to mind? What is it about the home that makes you want to spend time there?? What is it decorated like? What does it smell like? How do you feel when you are there? What kinds of things register with all 5 of your senses?

The most welcoming homes I've been to haven't been the kind that look like they came out of Southern Living magazine. They are homes that are clean and relatively tidy, but you can definitely tell that people live there. They aren't decorated with the most up-to-date styles or colors, but they are cozy feeling. They don't really smell like anything (unless they are cooking something)- no stinky odor, no trace of animals, no dirty trash can smells. It's not their homes that I notice, though. It is the people that live there and their warm, welcoming personalities that make me feel like they are glad I am there.

I liked Joyce's house because she was already ready for guests. She gets up pretty early for her quiet time and for cleaning so that when someone arrives, she's already cleaned for the day. And apparently she does a little cleaning every day so that every day something has been tidied. Plus, she always has a few cookies, a slice of cake, something yummy tasting to share with you as well as a cup of coffee or tea. She doesn't ask me "Would you like some coffee? Regular or decaf? Flavored or unflavored?".. she just makes what she has and says something like "May I pour you a cup of coffee?" (I always feel like I have to offer guests a billion choices).

I liked Diane's house because her door is always open for guests (literally- she does not ever lock her door and often leaves the front door open and only the glass storm door closed!!!). You walk in and feel like she's been waiting just for you to stop in. She's always full of conversation and questions and wants to know about YOU. She doesn't go on and on about herself (she does talk about her grandchildren, though. :) ) And she always makes lots of extra food at meals so that when people stop by at meal time (which is often!!), she can easily say "Come on it and eat!! I've got PLENTY for you!!"

So what about YOU? What, to you, makes a home welcoming? Please share!!!!!


Dianna said...

I think it's the lack of apologies--and I'm guilty of this. Instead of welcoming guests with "I'm sorry it's so messy," just ask them in and make them comfortable. This is always in issue for me because my toddler is always making messes!

Anonymous said...

To me, a home always feels welcoming when it smells like love.

Yeah, I said smells like love. Lemme explain, LOL.

When I was growing up we lived on a little hobby farm some way out of town. We kept a stocked pantry out of necessity and oftentimes afternoon tea consisted of hot scones right out of the oven, dripping with jam and cream, or we had homemade bread with our dinner, or the fire crackled. I grew up loving grass, trees, simple farm-y smells (although I could have lived without the, uh, 'product' the dairy cows left behind, LOL!) Rain has a smell. I LOVE the smell of rain. We never had very much money, but there was a hole lot of love wrapped up in that hot, buttery scone smell *smile*. Something in it said (from the perspective of my mother) "I missed you kids while you were at school today and I know you're starving. With a bit of flour and butter I whipped up heaven and put it on a plate for you". It wasn't about the food, it was about the relationship.

These days, baking is a lost art. My family lives in suburbia (no awesome rain-on-eucalypt smells :( I bake, but nothing like my mother produced. We don't have an open fire. I do try to recreate some of what my childhood gave me, but I fall woefully short. Perhaps that's a good thing. Childhoods are meant to be looked back on with nostalgia right? LOL.

Smells are (obviously) pretty important to me. I love how a nice scent 'dresses' a room. A room can be neat and tidy but when you add a simple floral scent - jasmine or sweat pea are both gorgeous - it just kind of 'makes' the room. I wish I was better at the 'guest ready' housework stakes but I think I'm doing alright if I can drag out the flour and butter and whip up some scones...


http://whisperofgrace.blogspot.com/ (encouragement and resources for the new Christian)

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

The homes where I have been most comfortable have been those which are obviously "lived in". You can tell that interesting people live there and that someone in the home really loves making it cozy and pretty.

There is a favorite shop Downtown that sells primitive country items. As soon as you walk in the doorway, there is a feast for the senses. She always has some kind of scent in the air (whether from candles or tart warmers) and music playing in the background. I like to do that when I know people are coming over.

I once read an article about decorating where they asked the reader to think of their favorite restaurant and what made it special. I remembered a place we went to often when we were in Holland, Michigan whose curtains were dutch lace and we would watch the shadows come through that lace onto the walls. That is why I have dutch lace curtains in the dining area and in our bedroom.

Julieann said...

My favorite home to visit is my Grandmothers--it is exactly how you stated--it is neat and tidy but not glamoursly decorated--it is so homey--you just feel safe:)

I enjoyed this post Mrs. U--Now I need to think if my home is welcoming--and yes, I need to stop with the apologies too--if I think it is messy--I need to get over that.


Anonymous said...

My grandma's home comes to mind. It was not real fancy, but it was always clean and neat. It smelled of coffee perking on the stove. She had a completly stocked pantry and could throw a meal on in no time. The sheets and towels smelled like the outdoors because she hung the laundry outside. The windows were always open and there was a nice fresh breeze going through the house. We always gathered in her sunporch in the evenings for conversation and something cold to drink. We would all talk for hours. There was always music playing in the background, usually easy-listening or 40's type music. Not loud, just right. I have tried to put my finger on what it was that made it special and I can come up with one thing that made it different--it was simple, slower paced, and easy going. No feeling of being rushed or stressed or running to the next thing. I miss her and her lovely home but she gave me some really great memories. Thanks for letting me share.

Hill upon Hill said...

A kettle that always gets put on, nice cups to drink from. Something homemade (even if it needs to be defrosted) to eat. A fresh room to sit in (ie fresh air been through) and a clear chair/table area to sit at. Projects on the go to view and chat about, and the host does not mind stopping a while to give hospitality.

Anonymous said...

I like a lived in look but not cluttered and messy. My in laws never apologize for their messy house, but they should. I think the apology is important. It shows you care and take some pride in the appearance of your home even when it is not as tidy as you would like.

Joy Comes in the Morning said...

I know this is an old post, but I am new to your blog and was just gleaning from it. I wanted to tell you about a dear old lady that lived down the road from me when I was in high school We lived in a very rural area and the school bus didn't go all the way to our house, so we had about a mile walk home from the bus stop. This old lady, her name was Mabel, lived in a very small, cottage like home. Her doors were always open, laundry was always on the line, beautiful flowers were blooming EVERY where, and the smell of pie would whip through her windows. She would always walk out on her porch as she saw us children pass her home and she would invite us in for a bologna sandwich. I assume it was all she had. But her home was full of things not from Wal-mart, but from her life. Real things that had meaning to her. Needless to say, I always felt at home at Mable's. She was hospitality at its best.


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