I still marvel at how Ron and I just sort of fell into our mutual passion. My career in architectural design and Ron’s ability to do nearly anything became like magnets for sad houses begging for new life. 

I think we all agree that there are few things more thrilling than the search for the ideal home. Over the 40 years that Ron have been married we’ve purchased and renovated twenty two houses of our own, each with a distinctive personality. 

The nomadic life isn’t something we sought, rather it found us in profound and revelational ways. Through our mutual love of all things architecture we discovered great satisfaction in breathing new life into homes with seemingly sorrowful dispositions.   

Finding our homes was more of a free-spirited, creative process much like my entrepreneurial career. 

Instead of hiring a realtor we would jump in the car, lattes in hand, and scout our favorite areas, driving the neighborhoods looking for the neglected houses that seemed to be calling, “pick me to love.”

Of all the homes we purchased, only one was found with a realtor. I will always remember what she uttered when we drove up the driveway to the house that ultimately became ours, “It’s never the one you want it to be.” 

It’s never the one you want it to be. Let that resonate with you a moment. 
Is your home the ONE you want it to be? If not, let’s discover why. 

Nearly every home we purchased was unhappy when we first walked through its doors.
Never mind the dingy carpets or other evidence of neglect, most of the homes were ‘depressing’ not because of the work that wasn’t done but because of the work that was.

With little thought to what the house wants, we go about renovating and decorating without consideration for what I call, “the personality of place.”  Discovering the innate character of your home is the first step toward fixing what feels wrong even if you are having a hard time identifying exactly what that is.  The best part about collaborating with your home [rather than following a tangent of your own] is it will tell you what it wants to be. And when it does, listen…even if what is revealed isn’t exactly what you were expecting.

Are you and your Sanctuary on good speaking terms? I ask because, like any healthy, functioning partnership you and your home should bring out the best in one other and that means being honest about who and what each of you really are. 

Leaning into what is inherently beautiful is always the best option—just as in the people we love, rather than wishing for something that isn’t, identifying and then nurturing the intrinsic qualities to life in your home is always the better choice over trying to bend it into something it can never be. 

We are driven to externalize every decision. We want to know what’s “on trend.” And we find safety in duplicating someone else’s style. Yet, what starts as a quest for inspiration turns into a rabbit hole…layers and layers of input from outside sources when all we ever really need is to look within.

The secret is not being afraid to have the intimate conversation with your home. The most important thing to remember is that real transformation can’t be rushed. When you’re ready, you will know. And whatever you do, never be afraid to get your hands dirty, swing a hammer, paint [or even remove] a wall.

Focusing on what is right in front of us eliminates the confusion, anxiety, comparison, disappointment and coveting. We begin to see the beauty in what is—the view from the kitchen window, the way the light flows in a room—and rather than covering over what we don’t like by purchasing ‘stuff’ that we really don’t need, we peel back the layers to reveal the sweet embedded details of a living, breathing home.

Number 23. This is the answer to why I am telling you all this now. The home we recently purchased has interesting bones, but if you asked me I would say, “it is not my favorite.” The best part about that answer is…it will be when I’m through. And that’s where the real fun begins.

The only way to create the sanctuary you long for is to:

1. Uncover—who you really are*.
2. Make—The Human+Home Connection—Include your home in the process. Your home is your perfect partner. What does it want to become? What are its standout characteristics/features? Identify its architecture/innate style.  What are the “personality traits” of your home that resonate with who you really are (location, architectural style, history of place, color, outdoor spaces).
3. Examine—what what is standing in your way:
~People (inside the home/their opinion, their energy, how they live/evaluation of personal space):
~Health (practical/structural aspects, poisons, sustainability, light sensitivity) 
~Resources (money, time, never home, lack of help/trust) 
~Disinterest (until now)
~Confusion (too much stuff/input/stimulation?)
4. Settle—the issues that have been holding you back. 
5. Determine—what you really want your home to be (a place of rest/retreat, work/client consult, entertaining space, playground, inspire soulful connection with friends, connection with the earth? 
6. View—your space as a seamless presentation, leveraging color, light, texture to tell your story.
7. Integrate—inside with outside (bring outside in and inside out).
8. Focus—on cultivating resources that agree with and move your vision forward.

Close your eyes. What color do you see? Describe it.
Choose one—bold or serene.
How would your best friend describe you?

In the next journal I’ll include some extremely personal and thought-provoking questions [like those above] that I use with my clients to uncover the essence of who they are and what is essential in their homes.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply