Welcome to our latest installment of ‘Dear Urbaneer’, where we field thoughtful questions from our readers. In this piece, we respond to an astute reader who has observed the differences between a “house” and “Home”.
Why is it that in some homes, as soon as you cross the threshold, you are aware of a sense of the life that unfolds there, and with others, you pass through without a connection? Are there design elements that contribute to that, or are there other things at play?
How can I make sure that my living space exudes that same type of emotion?
Signed, I’d Rather Have a 'Home' than a House
Here's Our Response:
Dear I’d Rather Have a 'Home' than a House:
Houses are like people: individual, special and radiating emotional connection. Like people too, houses have stories to tell. Over time, chapters form and characters emerge. The themes that bind these stories have as much to do with the people as they do with the walls that surround them and how these people choose to configure and decorate the space to reflect themselves.
For example, memories of your first family home may have appeared in a home that to others may have seemed uniform and mundane - perhaps a raised bungalow on a mound of clay in a suburb that had no trees or sidewalks. Plain like the others, one in an enclave of houses already built from seven plans in three different coloured brick, one can still recount how bland it all looked. Whatever the house may have lacked in character, like the others around it, it grew with the optimism of a loving family built on hope. It’s not tangible, but it is as present as if it were.
It's a strange phenomenon really. Some buildings feel neglected, while others feel too shiny and new to offer much depth. Others still are plain and simple embrace you with a wonderful sense of calm. One thing is certain, while appearance does matter, it is how a property “feels” that gives it the quality of “Home”.
You may have gone into a model home and, as beautiful as it was, there was no emotional connection for you? This is the struggle designers battle with, trying to seduce you into recreating an emotional connection when none inherently exists. This is because “Home” is not something that can be manufactured; it has to be lived and experienced. It requires not only emotional connection, but a commitment of time and person to throw down roots. Space can be pretty, but if it doesn’t resonate with potential Buyers, the impact is lost. So, why is that? Why do some spaces feel like a living container, while others feel like “Home”?
Research on housing and home, suggests that no matter where you live, you do what is called 'optimization'. Basically, whether the place you are in meets all or your needs, wants or wishes, you optimize the space so that it most closely accommodates your vision of home. Of course, while this mostly depends on your financial situation, people often start with little things that are easy and decorative. Inexpensive solutions like paint, window coverings, and carpeting are used to provide a backdrop to personal possessions, enhancing their representation of you and, as a result, instilling a sense of ‘Home’.
But home still can't be conveyed solely through the placement of personal possessions in a place physically modified to a more pleasing aesthetic. The visual result of changing a space doesn't make a place necessarily feel more like Home, but the personal investment and physical act of a person making a change helps makes it so. It is the act of spreading one's positive energy through a place that helps solidify that sense of home.
People often say that the first thing they do when moving into a space is that they clean it, even if it is already immaculate. This is a way of spreading one's energy, and by extension, the moving of furniture, the hanging of pictures, and the painting of walls, all help imprint the energy of the resident.
Sometimes as realtors, we price an abode and add a premium for enhancement. Despite the modesty of its location, or the state of its condition, we feel the charm of the place and the love for its patina. This premium for home is not easy to achieve, for it only comes to those who have truly celebrated the place in which they have lived. It is for those who have optimized the space and made the best of it without dismay or regret. This positive energy can run with a property. Each time it has new occupants it adds more depth and colour, and the enchantment grows like its value.
At Urbaneer, we spend our days sweeping the city for properties that offer the best value for their dollar and that hold the most opportunity for you to tell your own story of “Home”. No matter how much we might promote a particular property for its tangible qualities, we assist our clients in their search for a property that pulls on their heartstrings. Beyond purchasing a place for practicality or convenience, the purchase of a Home where one can love, laugh and grow into is the key to an intelligent purchase. People who love where they live find the sanctuary of their dwelling helps them become more prosperous, more balanced, and more personally satisfied. What’s your housing story? Can we help you tell it?
~ Steven and the urbaneer team
earn your trust, then your business