Back in the olden days (well, the 80s, actually) there was a book which caught a lot of people’s attention for a while called “Home – A Short History of an Idea”. It was part history, part psychology, part architecture. I read it a few times, and I’ve just dug it out to read again.
I’m a home girl, no question, most of the time, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. My home isn’t large, and it’s not particularly tidy. It’s a bit cluttered, with bits and pieces, photos, tchotchkes and art and things I find funny or comforting. One of the nicest compliments I ever received was from a co-op student we had years ago, who came to my house to pick something up and declared “I love your house! It’s so homey. It’s just like you. I would know you lived here.”
To me, that’s what a home should be. I’m uncomfortable when someone’s home looks like a page in Sears’ catalog. Where are your photos? Where are your books? Where is your art? Where is your you?
The terminally ill often choose to die at home. When you’re in the hospital, kind as the nurses are, and as much as you are aware that you MUST be there, you still just want to go home. Even when you’re away on a wonderful vacation, after a while, no matter how awesome the trip is, you just want to go home and sleep in your own bed.
Home is safe. Home is real. There’s no pretension at home. Home is where you hang your head. Home is where you can be undoing your pants walking down the hall to the bathroom (although I’ve caught myself starting to do that at work occasionally). Home is scratching your butt, no bra, feet on the coffee table. Home is your weirdo music playing full blast, another pot of coffee, grilled cheese and an afternoon nap. Homeward Bound, Look Homeward Angel, Show Me the Way to Go Home. There’s no place like home, click your heels together. The concept of “home” as an ideal – a Paradise, Nirvana – is a constant theme in art, music and literature. Home is where we are our most true selves, and where we long to be.
My office has always reflected my tastes as well. I spend so much time at work that I always like to put a few of my own things around me; art and some favourite photos of my family. It comforts me, and makes me happier and more relaxed, and hence, I think, a better and more productive employee.
I’m not sure I really understand the concept of hiring an interior decorator. To me, the best decor is achieved by surrounding yourself with things that please you. I suppose the role of the decorator is to discover what those things are, and put an artistic spin on it. What I don’t understand is how you can decorate a space for someone you don’t even know.
It may be beautiful, but it ain’t home.