come on in, make yourself at home, can i get you some tea?

May 10, 2013

It was around 2am Pacific Time, 36,000 feet up and five hours since take off: after Virgin Atlantic’s crazy idea of nutrition (best described as ‘probably a veggie thing’), after watching Gangster Squad (even on a 10 inch screen: Ryan Gosling *sigh*), that I started to crave home. I would have given anything for the ability to lie down in our freshly-sheeted bed. Given my somewhat imprisoned state, I took myself on a little house tour in my mind: our weeny home on its best day, with the sun streaming in, smelling faintly of coffee and incense and sounding like Ellen Mcllwaine.

This is the longest I have ever lived anywhere in my adult life, and its the most settled I have ever felt. Its also the first time I have loved every single room in my home. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the amount of books we have and the lack of storage space irritates both of us. So if we could expand the kitchen and the living room and knock out some walls, add another bedroom and have room in our office for two desks, this would be my dream home. Also: extra loo and double the garden size so our Future Pooch will have loads of room. And not be in the middle of the city, paying extortionate rent :)

Okay, yeah we need to move!

Former monk and psychologist Thomas Moore said that every choice we make in the material world, no matter how small, reflects the condition of our inner lives. Our living space is a metaphor for whats going on inside us: small and cramped or large and spacious; smelling like onions or old books; the color of the walls, the annoying neighbours or the neighbours that live five miles away, the chair you hate but can’t seem to throw out – when you talk about your home, you are talking about your life.










Try this: in your journal (or the comments below) describe your favourite space in your home – what do you love about it and why? And then describe your least favourite spot – the space that gives you an ‘icky’ feeling: this might be The Cupboard That Must Never Be Opened, or the grotty bathroom, the lack of windows or low ceilings.

Now read back over your description and substitue your name for the spaces in your home. This will produce a metaphorical description of whats going on with you. ‘I love the size of the garden, I can grow things here’, ‘We have a ridiculously large tv and yet there is no room for me to be creative’, ‘Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all of the kids toys’, ‘Its never as tidy as I want, and I don’t get any help with that’ – all intriguing little morsels of information!

What insight does your home give you about your inner world? 

Leave a reply

33 Responses to “come on in, make yourself at home, can i get you some tea?”

  1. Nathalieso says:

    Thank you for sharing your house, it is really lovely. It is a fresh change to see real lived in houses. Yours looks cosy!
    I moved in with my boyfriend two years ago (about) and few things have changed. I am not a fan of his decoration even tho it’s not ugly (lots of Buddhas!). I’ve been meaning to make some changes but only mustered the courage to make the bedroom and my office look okay. Nothing feels quite finished and I don’t feel home. Even tho that couch we got last week is damn comfy!

    • sas says:

      oh yeah moving in with someone is always pretty interesting for bringing up stuff – especially if it was your boyfriends home where he lived alone before.
      ‘mustering courage’ and ‘not feeling at home’ – hmmm – like you feel as though you are encroaching on his space?
      i like the sound of your couch!
      comfy with room for both of you :)

  2. Kimberly says:

    What a BEAUTIFUL home – cozy, colorful, warm, inviting – thank you so much for sharing! It made me a bit homesick for London. Would love to have a cuppa with you one day! :)

  3. alisha says:

    what a beautiful home! thank you for sharing your space.

  4. Xanthe says:

    I had never thought of this in this way. You’ve just blown my mind, coz it totally makes sense.
    Happy weekend in your cosy home xxx

  5. Susan says:

    OOOO, I love the white horse lamp! I’m in a furnished rental right now and love it. I’m not sure what that says about my life at the moment. All my things are in storage. I’m having a bit of a nomadic vibe after selling a house we loved and lived in for 10 years. My best hit on this is that I’m in a period of deep releasing…

  6. Alicia says:

    I started reading your blog a few days ago, after Susannah posted “Soundtrack To Your Life.” I love your writing style: honest, simple. It is a breath of fresh air.

    Your home is beautiful. It looks lived in, comfy. I am a gypsy at the moment. I take care of a man with Alzheimer’s during the week and live with a friend on the weekend. Brigit, my cat, travels with me. At the moment, what matters for me is being at home within myself – something my Lakota great-grandfather taught me. How can one “feel at home” anywhere if one does not “feel at home” within oneself?

    • sas says:

      well hello love!
      it sounds like you are brigit have a great little partnership – and yes being home within ourselves – thats the best kind of home :)

  7. Rachel says:

    I love my writing nook, a little alcove in my living room. The cat’s asleep behind my chair and the desk is full of old fashioned stationery. The desk itself is an old Edwardian bureau which used to belong to my nan. It is my only treasured possession and probably the only thing I’ll ship to Australia when the time comes. I write here, I daydream here, I talk to my Skype clients here. I practice yoga there *points to floor*

    I love my garden, I love all the vegetables that are growing there. I wish we could have chooks but the landlord says no :(

    I hate the “dining room”. It’s horrible. It’s a space that has no meaning between the kitchen and the hall. It has no windows and is painted mustard yellow. It makes me want to cry. I store laundered towels that await passage to the studio there. I also store potatoes and other things that must not see the light. Even covering the walls with pictures of the Grohl hasn’t helped.

    • sas says:

      mustard yellow? yep we used to call it karitane yellow – its like baby shit, right?
      oh honey that needs a lick of paint and a plant!

      i love the sound of your alcove (not a euphemism 😉

  8. Kerstin says:

    I love house tours! And yours is so very London, so very Chiswick, so very cozy, stylish and quirky, so very YOU :) I especially love your office, it’s a writer’s or entrepreneur’s heaven. Given the choice I will always prefer older character homes over pristine modern ones. I love homes with window sills, nooks and corners. We are currently renting an ultra modern place with huge floor to ceiling windows and white box-shaped rooms, but the light and views of the park next to us are amazing. For the first time in my life I am not sacrificing space for location, we have both here and that feels quite amazing :) My favorite room is the open plan kitchen, I love sitting at our huge kitchen table looking over into the living room and the park beyond. Not many nooks and corners though so I am needing to be creative to make it interesting and comfortable. We won’t stay here forever and my absolute dream is to find a home (probably back in the Pacific Northwest) and STAY. Like, for good.

    • sas says:

      That feels like a place to rest and stretch in and to look out of – to imagine what the PNW home might be made of :)

  9. Sarah says:

    Um, wow! This was so super useful for me, I looked at your lovely pics and was enjoying the homey vibe so thought I’d have a scribble but not really seeing that I would get any great insight. Then reading back, I found I had written about my lovely kitchen “I hate not having the time or energy to be in there more, to love it and care for it and make it come alive.” So, there we are, couldn’t be truer about what is going on for me at the moment. Thank you!

    • sas says:

      Yep old Thomas knew what he was on about :)
      And I wonder if having the energy, time, love and care; that feeling of coming alive also applies to you? xx

  10. kristen says:

    Recently I was told, (or read somewhere), that what is happening under your house, (read: basement, storage in the garage, etc.), sets the foundation. DUH! Makes so much sense, and it furthers the believe that because the one room I detest is the storage under our house, which is still in the jumble of boxes when we moved in 8 months ago.
    My favorite room is the front room/living room that we’ve dubbed the ‘listening room’ because our record and CD players are there. It’s also a great reading room – my favorite pieces of furniture are in there and it’s really peaceful.
    I’ve been in a flurry of activity over here – I’m having walls painted, and my kid is switching her room for the guest room, (which also doubles as office space for me), and I’m SO EXCITED!! I’ve always envisioned her current room as my office space, I know once there’s more room, I won’t feel so confined and perhaps my current status of cluttered work surface will change. :)

    • sas says:

      I love that you are getting a room of your own! Claiming some space in the world mama – thats where the magic happens :)

  11. Victoria says:

    My favourite room is my bedroom, as it has more natural light than any other room in my apartment. I’ve kept it simple with white walls, white curtains and a white duvet with red embroidery. I have just three pieces of furniture – bed, bureau and nightstand. It is a great place to read, relax and, oh yeah, sleep! I work to keep the stacks of books and magazines out of that room. (They overflow in the living room.)

    The room I hate is actually the full flight of stairs inside my apartment. Super pain in the ass on grocery day and its covered in a brown carpet that is wrinkled in places. Since my place is a rental I can’t do anything about it other than rush up the stairs and try to ignore it.

  12. Roxanne says:

    I have a studio flat and I just love it. I hate the way I tend to turn my kitchen table into a sort of depository for all manner of things.

  13. elizabeth says:

    your home is GORGEOUS !!! (just like you) and I want to come over now. oxox, e

  14. The divine Ms G says:

    As usual, your home is gorgeous and how lovely to see it this way! What a lovely exercise. My words reminded me that, while everything could use a little “this and that”, I love our beautiful home and am so grateful we have it. Why? For the wonderful memories it holds of family and friends gathering around our kitchen table, bathing our tiny babies in the kitchen sink and the garden planted with roses to remember special people and events in our lives. Thank you my lovely friend, how wonderful that some recent memories involve you cuddling my treasures and reading them stories. xxx

    • sas says:

      So many of my happy loving memories of Welly are centered right around your kitchen table :)
      Moore would argue that it is actually YOU that has the magical magnetic powers of gathering those loved ones around you, and of keeping those memories alive xxx

  15. meg says:

    {{{Hides head in shame and remorse for state of house.}}}

    Hmmm… house is in chaos as a result of the purge going on. It WAS full of stuff we don’t want or don’t need, so we are now selling/ giving/ getting rid of piles. Those piles currently occupy every flat space.



  16. Kimberly says:

    I loved this exercise. My favorite room in my home is the sunroom. That room has windows on all sides and not a shade or curtain in sight. I love being in there.

    Your home is lovely. Much tidier than anything in my own. I deeply wish I had the “neat gene.” New to your blog and love it. Hugs from Atlanta!

  17. Christianne says:

    So, this little home tour made me so happy. I loved seeing your home! And it occurs to me that I really love seeing people’s living spaces. Especially when they’re spaces that are deeply loved. I can tell yours is. xo

  18. Robin says:

    I love your home! I’m moving in.

    My favorite room in my home is the bedroom. I love the light in the morning (even though I am not a morning person at all), I love reading in bed (no tv in my bedroom, thank you) and the bed is so beautiful (the white sleigh bed I’ve always wanted but ex-husb did not want) and comfy I wish it was a car so I could drive it.

    My least favorite room is my current kitchen. I LOVE to cook and this one is dodgy and small and needs a new floor (ugly brown lino – which means a whole domino effect of other things that need replacing). Your kitchen looks cozy and cheerful. Hence the moving in part above.

  19. tammigirl says:

    I never really thought of it this way. We were just discussing my projects and how I like to leave them in various stages of ‘unfinished’. Because when everything is still a work in progress it can not be judged, right? Please, someone, agree with this.

    I think the house is the same way. I was so excited last year to build and move into our brand new house, with all of our very own selections. Hardwoods everywhere downstairs, which is nearly impossible to find in these parts, feel like my biggest achievement. The downstairs is clean and tidy, but upstairs? In the bedrooms, laundry and bath? Oh boy! There’s work needing done up here right now. As a matter of fact I’ve just ordered a new mattress, which will hopefully get here in time for my early Juned birthday, and I need to get the upstairs in order so it can be ready to receive the new mattress, which I hope will be less of a Scottish burial mound than the one we are sleeping on now.

    • sas says:

      Oh yes there is nothing like not quite finishing something to save ourselves from judgement! Your home sounds lovely – a real love project. And so it might be that if you keep putting off completing it, you can always have an apology in your back pocket for when its done, because then it will be different, tidier or will measure up to someone else’s or your own expectations (tell me where I’m wrong?).

      Using your house as a metaphor, you could think about where else in your life, you apologise for not measuring up. I am really conscious of when I am saying sorry – most of the time I do this, its because I am telling myself a story about what I think other people might be thinking about me. I am actually apologising for who I am – and really, this is denying the world my awesome!

      So if you weren’t worried about it being perfect, or what everyone else thought of your upstairs, and instead thought about how you want to feel in these rooms, you would have a sense of what ‘finished’ looks like to you.

      And then you can decide if the items on your to do list can be 3B’d! They are either Binned (cross them off – they don’t fit with how you want to feel), Bettered (to be done but you’ll make them fun or reward yourself – lovely new bedlinen makes finishing the bedroom Better), or Bartered (where you trade money/energy/services for someone else to do it – because it needs to be done but the thought of doing it sucks your will to live).


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