I’ll never forget a couple of conversations I had about five years ago when we first moved to the farmhouse. In the first encounter, I was chatting with an older woman born and raised here and never left the region. She said to me after I gave her a very cheerful and brief overview of “we just moved here, we love it, it is so peaceful and the farmhouse was home the minute we walked in” spiel. She looked at me and gruffly stated, “well, if you can make it five years, you might make it for the long haul” I smiled back at her because I knew what she meant; at least I thought I did! She was eluding to how brutal our long winters can be and how rural our area is. It gets pretty darn cold up here, and winters do drag on far too long. Winter seems never to end. While the beauty of the snow-covered mountains is wildly spectacular, I am ready for spring by early March.
My second and poignant conversation was with a friend. She was seeing the farmhouse for the first time, and she was standing at the kitchen sink, looking out at our expansive fields with glorious views up to Sugar Hill, and she said, “I couldn’t do this”? My only response was, old houses aren’t for everyone.
So as you can imagine, these comments put me a little of kilter and have me revisiting them in my head on occasion. But what is essential to takeaway here is that those words from other people were not my feelings, nor were they in my heart. Nor were they their situation; this was my situation. Yes, I was worried about the winters a little, and I felt my friend’s comment sounded a little judgmental, which can be a natural response at times. But my intuition and my joy were and remain unstoppable. I think it is true for many of us at times; when we feel a little judged for some of our decisions, it can make us think twice about our choices.
Finding the perfect home is equal to the absoluteness of feeling whole. Where the natural comfort of a home truly lies is not in the perfectly styled tablescape, fluffed pillows, or even an updated and perfect kitchen; sure, those are all nice to have. But it is so much more than all of those “things.” Home is a feeling, a place to be your whole authentic self, which is why the first step of being comfortable is listening to your “self” and tapping into your intuitive needs.
Our last home never felt like my home, even after gutting it and redoing almost 75% of the interior. When we moved back to New Hampshire, our priority was finding a home that served the children and mostly centered around school decisions we had to make; and at the time, the real estate market was tough, and our choices were limited. So this time around, when we started house hunting, my husband and I put a lot of thought into what makes us comfortable physically and emotionally. One of the most important aspects of my happiness, joy, and comfort is sunlight or, at the very least, natural light. Giant pine trees surrounded our previous home, and they would get even taller as they grew up the slope of our back hillside. We cut many trees down over the years. I found myself too surrounded, too enclosed, and always missing the light the trees shrouded. At times, especially in the winter, it was worse. When we were hunting for an old home, this feeling was top of mind for me. I knew I wanted fields and fewer trees too close to the house. For me, streaming natural light would be essential to my comfort.
We also craved the comfort of a smaller community. The idea of being in a rural area appealed to us. Our comfort did not command what many find essential to a quality of life, like theatres, shopping, and dining. We’ve always traveled for these experiences anyway, and we were okay with driving a little bit when we felt like we needed to add a little culture into our lives!
For my husband’s comfort, he needed to be able to enjoy getting outside into nature. So the area or region we chose would be vital to his ability to get outside to enjoy biking, hiking, and skiing.
My takeaways from sharing all of this are that it’s essential to understand what is most important to you to find the most comfort in your home. While moving to a new home or tearing a wall down isn’t always the solution or a viable option, there are some things you can do that cost little or no money.
Consider these options when thinking about solutions to your environment that may be giving you some “dis” comfort. As I mentioned above, I need light so, with that, my last home had no curtains. As much as I love them, and I did try them in a couple of rooms, I had to remove them; they further blocked what little incoming natural light was available. Lamps, lots and lots of lamps. I had lamps on every available table and standing lamps in corners. I also used floor can lighting to uplight very dark areas. I do this now in my dressing room to help light a dark corner. I would keep lamps on even during the day for extra light. I do that now on cloudy or rainy days.
Move your furntiture around to get the best view that soothes you. Maybe this is a view to the outside, or perhaps you love another view within your home; this is an easy way to get more comfortable in your space.
Clutter is a big physical thing that impacts me emotionally, hence my comfort. Kitchen counters need to be clutter-free for me to think; my desk cannot have papers and books scattered about the area. What drives your comfort will be entirely different for you; figure out what it is and solve it. For me, I need to have easy, quick storage for extra kitchen counter items. Laundry gets folded as soon as it leaves the dryer and gets put away. I keep one notebook on my desk and one pen; extra office supplies are on a shelf or in a drawer.
I always say to my husband, do you smell “that” or “this” or “what is that smell?” And he always responds, what smell? I’m laughing, but it’s true. For me, smell is a substantial sensory factor. I always have a candle burning; I spray my kitchen counters down at least three times a day to keep yucky kitchen smells from permeating the rest of the house.
These are all simple solutions that don’t cost a lot and only take a little bit of your time. So take a moment, make a shortlist, look around and see what solutions or actions you can take to help yourself feel a little bit more comfortable in the space you have!
Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration”Charles Dickens