Making our homes special

Making our homes special should not require lots of money or a brand new home.  It is the little things around the home that make it homely and not something you have to spend big dollars on.

I have been watching "House Hunter" (USA) where potential buyers (from all over the US) look at three homes with their real-estate agent to find the home of their dreams. At the end of the programme, they have to decide which one to buy.

Those in this particular series all have small budgets (and many are new weds), but regardless, they all want "everything" — my husband and I chuckle as we listen to their "wishlist". They must have the ensuite bathroom, the kitchen must have new appliances, they can't live without granite bench tops, they only want timber floors,  must have charm, street appeal is very important etc....

We all now expect to start our married lived with the perfect house—walk in ready. Couples are willing to go into huge debt to buy their dream abode and struggle for years to pay it all off, even putting off children because they cannot afford to have mum off work.

It is better to start simple and add your own personal touches — one can live without granite bench tops and if the bathroom is too small, one can still manage!! Paint is cheap and one can brighten up an old room with a fresh coat of paint. I lived for a number of years with a really ugly kitchen, it didn't prevent me from preparing home cooked meals or making it look presentable. When we could afford it, we got it completely renovated and I appreciate it often because I had to wait. A home is what you make it and it doesn't need to look like a vogue centre piece.


My home isn't fancy, built over 40 years ago — it is a standard brick house with three bedrooms, one bathroom and only one living space, but it is adequate for our needs. I would have liked a bigger house, but this is what we could manage financially at the time and now that the children have left home, its just fine for two.  Modern homes do lack charm and beauty but by adding one's own personal touches it isn't difficult to create a wonderful place to live: I love piles of old books and these have beautiful covers that add charm to any room, a throw and colourful cushions or flowers and a pretty teapot can add beauty to an ordinary space. None of these were expensive, some given as gifts (such as the blue teapot from my son) or bought second-hand (such as the books). The roses are from my garden.


Ever thought of bowls of fruit as a way of adding charm to a room - more practical than flowers as they can be eaten and don't they look nice in different bowls. I often buy bowls from charity stores or when on sale which makes them inexpensive. The bowl full of cherries is very old and from my mother and rather than keeping it in the cupboard, why not put it on display.


I use to keep all my dried food in tupperware, but once I bought my dresser I replaced the tupperware with these lovely glass jars. Things like pasta are really quite lovely to look at and adds a country feel to a very urban kitchen.

If you start to look around your home you are bound to find interesting things to put on display such as they old cups. I don't use them for drinking tea as they aren't big enough for me — but they do look lovely on a shelf.


More old books around my home!! One can never have too many books on display!!


Have  you ever thought of using old postcards, birthday cards or even pictures from calendars to add art to your room. This one below is part of a series of 5 small pictures on my wall, all using a old calendar I had. The only outlay was the cost of the frames which I bought from the dollar store. On my bright yellow wall, they look beautiful and I doubt anyone would guess their origin.


Most of us will never own our "dream house" we can still create wonderful places to live without huge debts and it isn't as difficult as you might think. However, whatever your home is like, finding contentment is what is important —whilst I enjoy looking at houses for sale, I am content in my  own little house. It might be ordinary but its special to us!!

*****

Comments

  1. When I first watched those home shows, where they decided on which home to buy, I was intrigued. But as time went on I couldn't believe how In titled, most couples were.
    I can't watch anymore, because of the attitudes.
    I appreciate your style, simple and elegant. Treasures from the past, pulled from the closets.

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    1. I am glad it isn't just us, my husband and I just laugh at it now!! The other thing we have noticed it the number of really bossy women who tell their husbands what they want and don't listen to him at all - it really is quite ugly to watch.

      I do love old treasures, especially if they are from my mother :)

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  2. Dear Jo,
    I couldn´t agree more with you. Creating a home with little or no money but lots of hopes and imagination is an exciting journey. When we moved to this little three-bedroom, semi-detached house, the house where our children would be born and brought up, the only home they can think of, the neighbour next door had been given 25.000 euros by her parents to decorate and buy furniture. It took two more years for us even to have curtains in every window, and I can remember every cross-stitched design I made, every cushion, quilt or lamp I put in the children´s bedroom and the thrilling anticipation to see their smiling faces, and the day they finished our little fairy-tale country yellow kitchen…
    We´ve also watched that programme on TV, and we´ve also looked at each other in amazement when listening to these people talking about what they “need”. Need?? It´s incredible how pampered and entitled some young people may be, how much money they must earn to pay for it all, and how far we are – in our Western society – from the sense of humble gratitude for the little things that the children of God have always had.
    Your photos are lovely, your old books are – oh, so beautiful!, the glass jars in your kitchen could be perfectly those of an Amish kitchen, and the blue teapot is absolutely gorgeous. In fact, looking at your jars has reminded me of my pantry tidying project , which now I´m determined to start as soon as possible. Thank you so much for your sweet inspiration.

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    1. Don't you appreciate it all more if you have to work hard to get it - I love my kitchen much more because it took so long to buy it. And we waited even longer for the bathroom to be renovated and that was a special moment, hoping in to a brand new shower :))))

      I love the fact that many of these families NEED so many bathrooms, I would hate to have to clean them all. Happy with my one !!

      Thankyou for your wonderful comments :)

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  3. We started in a small crowded house as children, but eventually my parents transformed it into a spacious home! It is incredible how much young people feel they are entitled to right from the start. Guess that is one reason why I believe all young people should visit - and live in an ordinary home while there - a third world country - to find out that real life - happy life can be lived in the simplest of dwellings. Home is where our loved ones are - no matter how it looks - so long as there is love, laughter and God - we can just be thankful for a roof over our heads, and doors that close!
    love your doodads,
    Bets =)

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    1. People seem to want so many rooms in their homes these days - not just the 4 bedrooms, but the family room, formal living room, kitchen, dinning room, entertainment room, multiple bathrooms etc....I wonder if the members of the home ever get to see each other so spread out!! Houses in Australia are some of the biggest in the world, however blocks are getting smaller so there is very little space outside to play in.

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  4. Amen! And I couldn't agree more, books are my favorite decoration too! The older the better! :)

    http://strangersandpilgrimsonearth.blogspot.com/2012/01/our-family-living-room.html

    Have a lovely week!

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    1. Books are such a wonderful decoration - more the merrier!!!

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  5. Couldn't agree more. That has always been my philosophy to life. Our home is special to us. Not flash to some standards. I am content. We are debt free now which is a huge Blessing. Love your photos. Thankyou for sharing the joy!

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    1. In the show I found it interesting the number of people wanting "street appeal", what it looks liked to others which is really sad as that is just so shallow - what your home looks like has nothing to do with what sort of home it is :)) Ours is simple but meets our needs and isn't that what it is meant to do. We are still paying ours off but working hard to get it done quickly!

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  6. I also agree, and I also like to have dry foods in lots of glass jars in our kitchen! One of my favourite pictures on our walls is a card I was given for my birthday from my parents, about 10 years ago! Thank you for sharing your lovely photos :-)

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    1. Thankyou Gwen - I started off with all the glass jars matching, but I have now added others that are different and I don't mine that look, gives it character!! The other thing about glass jars is that I can quickly look to see what needs replacing before I go off to do the groceries, makes things easy!!!

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  7. What a beautiful blog, and I so enjoyed your post with its wonderful mosaics of lovely things.

    My first time visit and I'm glad I 'happened' upon your blog.

    Wishing you a beautiful day...
    Brenda

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    1. Thankyou Brenda for dropping by -so glad you have enjoyed this post.

      I will, the sun is shinning and I am certain the day with be glorious. You too have a lovely day :))

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  8. This is the way I was raised - to keep things simple but pretty. You certainly don't need a professional designer to make a pretty home.

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    1. My mother had the wonderful ability to create a home with very little and from watching her, I have picked up some of her knowledge. it is one of the many things I am thankful for - she taught me so much over the years :)) Mothers are invaluable. !!!

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  9. Such encouraging thoughts about contentment with your home! Our house is about the same age—around 50 years old, and almost all of our furniture was given to us or purchased second-hand. I also try to decorate with whatever is on hand, whether it be a mason jar with wildflowers, or an artfully-arranged pile of old books. :) Thanks so much for sharing at Artful Homemaking!

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    1. Hi Joy - nothing beats a artfully-arranged pile of old books!!! That is my sort of decorating :)))

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  10. I think it's ridiculous how people want to start out with everything. It's not realistic. And it doesn't teach anything but discontentment! We live in such a rich society and people just keep expecting the money to roll on in to provide them with every little thing their heart desires. It's sad, actually. We had to wait many years to have our home upgraded when we were children, and Dan and I had to wait years to be able to move into our own home as well... and it's taking time to get it just how we would like it to be - and that's OKAY!
    I agree with Bets that every young person should visit a 3rd word country and spend time in an ordinary home there. I went to PNG when I was young and learned a LOT from the experience. It really highlights just how rich even poor families in Western countries really are.

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    1. Don't you appreciate it far more when you have to wait for it. I waited many years before I got a new kitchen and I do love it still, even after all this time!! Its the same with overseas holidays - young people all expect to go off overseas as soon as they complete school and many parents are willing to pay for it. I know that if and when I do, it will be treasured as I have waited so long!!

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