Aaron and I have both moved a lot, and lived up and down the east coast in various kinds of homes. Our families are spread around the country, from Texas to Maine, and several places in between. The concept of “home” has changed for both of us over the years, something I was reminded of when he was working on a paper for his philosophy class last month. Pittsburgh, this house we’ve inherited, and our current situation, is the first concrete place that has felt like home in a long time. For years, home was a place in my mind where conjured up certain emotions and feelings – where I reminded myself of how loved I am and all the wonderful comforts my life has. Now, home is a solid place, with a foundation under our feet.
It’s hard to fill the footprint of a family home. Our house was Aaron’s grandparents’ home for 50 years. They raised three boys in that house, and welcomed in the next generation of grand kids there too. When Grandpa passed and Grandma moved to a small apartment, the family came together and cleaned the house up before we moved in. The carpets came up, the wallpaper came down, fresh paint was spread across the walls. Hardwood floors and a refinished basement, and an updated kitchen, oh my.
Now we have this great basement, full of art and posters from our adventures at the Bonnaroo Music Festival from the last three summers. When we finished this space, we moved our over-sized sectional and the accompanying furniture from the main floor into the new room, leaving one area totally finished and another completely empty. I felt pretty grown-up spending so much money on an entire new living room set (mind you “so much money” is just my perception), but I’m thrilled with the way the house is coming together. Last night, I sent some of the pictures that are in this article to my family so they could see how the room was coming together. I wrote, “I shouldn’t be allowed to love my own living room this much. I never want to leave my house” in a text to my mom and sisters, and then I looked around and smiled. Peace.
I’ll never be done nesting, no matter where we live, so don’t think I’m saying we’re done now. I still have bookcases and end tables and decorations to consider, nevermind the ideas I have for the guest room and the yoga studio. All I’m saying is that we’ve reached a point of comfort, a point of quiet, and without anything drastic changing, our house suddenly feels like home. I can feel my roots spreading into the metaphorical earth here, finding ease in the soil beneath me. This place, this city, this community feels warm and welcoming.
Tuesday night, I was helping Aaron with his marketing homework when I read a portion of his textbook about sources of consumer influence. They’re pretty much what comes to mind, family, friends, self-concept, social, financial, etc. What blew me away, was when I applied this theory to my last significant purchase, the living room furniture. We, consumers, make decisions about buying every day. Some of us are brand loyalists, I would say this is especially true in the yoga industry, and we make decisions based on our concept of a brand rather than the physical product they produce. I’m certainly guilty of this. I don’t “need” new yoga clothes, but every month I get an email from Fabletics with the newest styles and I make a choice to purchase or to skip. I get weekly emails from Lululemon, and prefer JadeYoga mats over any other. The brand is typically how I find my clothes, but when I furnished my living room I had to consider so many other factors.
This purchase is going to sit in my house, always. It’s not an outfit I can keep in a drawer if I change my mind about it. This furniture is going to set a tone for our home, sitting in the very center of the house, and subconsciously I made choices about what I want others to think about us when they see it. It’s simple, but sophisticated, with a bold statement in the rug but elegance and comfort from the couch and chairs. I knew I wanted a comfortable place to read in peace, to let the dogs cuddle if they wanted, but mostly just a place I could find quiet. I also wanted it to be a place to entertain, to have a friend over for a glass of wine, or to gather family together at the holidays after a big meal.
This bright pink rug in our living room was probably the most daring, and scariest purchase I made. I could have gone to HomeGoods, saved a couple hundred dollars, and bought a really nice boring neutral rug that would have completely served the same purpose. I could have done that, maybe I should have, but I’m so glad that I didn’t. Aaron saw the picture of the rug online last week, and his comment was “um, it’s pink.” When it actually arrived yesterday, and was laying on the floor in it’s forever home, he said, “Yup, very pink.” It’s not his man-cave, though, it’s my reading room, my sunny, Sunday morning spot, and I’m thrilled. Walking down the stairs this morning, still groggy from sleep, that bright color jumped off the floor and brightened my day. I’m so happy with it, with the whole house.
By investing in my space, I am showing myself the kind of love, warmth and affection I want to spread to others, and in turn radiating the positivity I so strongly believe in.