What Makes a House a Home

There’s a difference between living somewhere and creating a home. For years, I lived in various houses and apartments in Manchester, sometimes moving more than once in the space of a year. Then, nine years ago, I moved in with my boyfriend to a Victorian terrace that he had bought, to the south of the city. We lived there until the beginning of this year, making it the house that I have spent the longest amount of time in since my childhood. But it still didn’t really feel like ‘home’.

We’ve been living in our new house since June, just short of five months, but it already feels like home more than any place ever has. Perhaps this is because it is our house, together. Or perhaps it is because we’ve completely renovated it and made it our own. There’s a notable difference in how I feel towards this house and our last. Even when I’m returning home from a trip, I still feel excited to open the front door and walk into my house. Before, when living in Manchester, I always resented returning to my neighbourhood’s grey streets.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what makes a house a home. Obviously, anywhere that you live is ‘home’, but there’s something more. Something that’s difficult to put into words. I don’t think you have to own your own house to qualify it as a ‘home’, nor do I think filling a building with beautiful things makes it ‘homely’. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it isn’t something that can only be achieved with money. There’s no reason why you can’t create a cosy and welcoming home in rented accommodation or by decorating a space minimally. You don’t need things to feel happy.

For me, ‘home’ is a combination of the beautiful views of the countryside from our windows, a fire roaring in the wood burner, being snuggled up on the sofa with my boyfriend & dog, a small yet well-designed space filled with my favourite objects, an abundance of plants in every room, and the knowledge that I can step outside my front door and be surrounded by the woods, the hills and wide open space. These are the things that matter to me, and different things will matter to other people.

I’m looking out of my living room window as I write this, distracted by the golden views that look more like a painting than reality. I can see my best friend’s house, hills, fields and many, many trees - all vibrant shades of autumnal yellow. Thinking back to this time last year, I don’t think I ever voluntarily gazed out of our old living room window at our gloomy front garden where we kept the bins. For me, these views and the surrounding area are a huge part of what makes my house feel like more than just a building that I sleep in.

As mentioned earlier, another part of why I feel so at home here is because we designed the whole space ourselves. When we first got the keys, the building wasn’t in a state for us to move in. We had no kitchen or bathroom, the electrics needed rewiring, and everything was constantly filthy. As we were starting from scratch, we designed the house to be exactly as we wanted. I’ve always loved open-plan living, so we decided against internal doors downstairs, creating a space that feels bright and open wherever you sit or stand. I love that you can walk in a loop around the bottom floor of our house, enjoying views of the countryside from every angle. We knocked down the wall separating our kitchen and dining room, creating a larger room with a kitchen island where we can gaze out of the window or chat to guests sat around the table while we cook. We installed a wood-burning stove in the living room, making it the focal point of the room. All of these decisions ensured that we use the space to its full potential, creating a home that works for us.

I haven’t shared much of the downstairs of our house yet, so thought I would use this post as an excuse to finally show you a few photos. I’m guilty of being incredibly nosey in other people’s houses, and love nothing better than a good snoop. My favourite content on other people’s blogs is always when they offer a glimpse into their homes, so I’m sorry that it’s taken so long to share my own. We still have lots of odd jobs to do - our carpet is being fitted in my ‘library’ room and on the stairs and landing next week, there’s lots of paintwork that needs touching up (as you can see in these photos!) and we haven’t touched the spare room yet - but it’s almost there. It feels like we’ve been constantly decorating for months and months, but everyone keeps remarking at how quickly we’ve done everything. I’ll write about this in an upcoming post, but making a home takes time and isn’t something that should be rushed.

So this is it, my home.