House v. Home

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  I had a very nice visit with a dear friend I hadn’t seen in a long time and, while she was here, we spent some time in the National Building Museum checking out the Lego and House & Home exhibits.

Legos are awesome.  I don’t have much else to say about that exhibit.  Moving on now.

The House & Home exhibit was incredible.  It’s an intriguing concept, House versus Home. What is the difference, anyway?  I’m sure everyone has their own definitions, but I always think of “House” as the physical structure and “Home” as the abstract feeling we associate with the structure.  That’s not to say the house isn’t important.  One thing I read yesterday that really resonated with me was this:

A house is a portrait of its inhabitants.

I don’t think a house needs to be custom or completely renovated after a person/couple/family moves in for this to be true.  I don’t even think a house needs to be owned to reflect the verity of this statement.  As renters, we make a “Wish List” of things we need in our apartment.  Once we find a place that fits our criteria we move in and make our House a Home.  The fascinating part of it is that our things would look and feel completely different if they were in another space.  So the space we choose to personalize is just as important as the direction we take once we’re inside.  I don’t think my apartment would “feel” like me if I had chosen a completely different space in another location.

The Home aspect of the exhibit was especially enchanting.  It’s something I find myself thinking about a lot when I’m planning out interiors.  I always say, “Fill your home with things you love.”  If you buy furniture or accessories just to fill space without taking the time to find things that speak to you, then you will end up feeling like you’re in a hotel, a catalog, or (gasp) someone else’s home.  Your home should be a comforting sanctuary; a place that wipes away the day when you walk in.  It should also be a reflection of you.  Every time I take a trip with my husband we end up finding something — a tiny figurine, a tapestry, a painting, a piece of furniture — that we both saw and instantly fell in love with.  We have all those things in our house and everywhere we look is a special memory.

I think my favorite part though was the video series.  It was displayed on two huge screens that came together at an angle, like two walls of a house.  It followed various people through their household routines and it was absolutely MESMERIZING.  To see people in their personal environments, doing the quiet things they do when no one is around, was one of the most captivating and engaging things I’ve ever seen installed in a museum.  I loved it and I can’t recommend it enough.  If you’re in the DC area you should definitely make time to see this.

What makes your house specific to you?  What do you have in your home that comforts you or makes you happy?  Do you have a different definition of these words?

4 thoughts on “House v. Home

  1. Heather says:

    I love to look around my home and see all the photos of my family and friends. It shows the love and places I have been to. I was in a house recently and saw not one photo! Although there were nice art work and plants. I felt like the house was bare. Two things that makes a home and not a house in my option are photos and things that you can actually touch/ sit on.
    I enjoy reading your blog. I am currently moving out of my home and in with the inlaws for some time. This is causing me to be overwhelmed. I have to pack and donate this but I am also taking my comfort away as I do this. Somethings wont reappear on a wall/ shelve in till I have found my new house! Any advice for my situation moving home into a master bedroom? Thanks.

    1. Kerra Michele says:

      Hi Heather! I’m so happy you enjoy my blog! I am sorry you’re so stressed about your living situation — that’s the worst! Living in someone else’s home is a great way to save up money but I can’t imagine how difficult it is not to have your own comforting things around you. If it’s ok with you I’d LOVE to share your story on my blog! Maybe even a post for tomorrow? Email me through the submission form and tell me a little more about the room you’re in. How big is it? What kind of furniture do you have? Once we’re emailing directly you could even snap a few photos of your room — even just with your cell phone — and we could really get some ideas brewing :) If you don’t want your room dilemma as a post then I’ll just give you some suggestions here.

      Thanks so much for posting! I’d love to help in any way I can (and I’m sure some readers would, too)!

  2. repurposed redhead says:

    I agree with your definitions of house and home; and although I do not have a house right now (I quit my job, left my apartment, and sold all my belongings a few months ago), I do still have a home. I love this quote from Emily Dickinson – “Where thou art, that is home.” When I am constantly going from place to place, I need to keep some semblance of familiarity with me; be it pictures, a certain routine, or that weekly call to the folks. These small things become my home away from home and help keep me grounded in my continuously changing surroundings. Thanks for the great post. If I find myself in DC again, the House and Home exhibit will be on my list. -Rene

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