What makes a house a home?

Well, here we are after one week in our new house. I keep getting asked if it feels like home yet, and I’m not quite sure how to answer. I’m very comfortable here, probably due to the fact that our house is almost an identical floor plan to my mom’s house. Is it “home” yet? I don’t know. I have a habit of calling everywhere home…if I’m someplace for longer than like an hour, I consider it home. I’m that person who checks into a hotel and immediately starts referring to it as “home”.
But what really makes a “house” a “home”? Is it when you finally unpack all the boxes? If that’s the case, then I think there are lots of people who’ve lived in their “homes” for years but it’s never really been a “home”. Is it when you celebrate a significant moment or holiday? Is it when the house starts to smell like you? I don’t know. I’ve tried out all the appliances, set things up in a basic enough way, but I don’t know when it’s going to be home. Maybe once I’ve started painting and making things really our own. Or maybe it will all come clear this Thursday when I get to make my first mortgage payment…
Anyway, here’s some pictures of the house so far. We’re pretty well set up for now, but I’ve got lots of projects that I want advice on! Feel free to let me know what you think!
There’s no pictures of our bedroom or the basement though…I was just too lazy to make the bed and put away my laundry and clean up all my shoes to take a picture…I’ll do that later. And the basement is basically empty except for a giant pile of boxes filled with books.
Anyway, here we go!
The little cubby shelf thing in the living room has proved to be a perfect place for our Blu-Rays and DVD’s (in alphabetical order, no less.)

The living room pictures are a little wonky because I had the camera on the wrong setting and didn’t feel like taking new pictures…I think a pattern of laziness is quickly becoming apparent…

So this is our living room. After four visits from Rogers, they finally got our cable set up in the place I wanted it in the living room and cable run down to our bedroom. How the previous owners survived with only one cable hook-up in the whole house, I’ll never know.
Obviously, we need some more furniture. Right now I’m thinking about finding a loveseat and maybe putting a new bookcase in the bedroom to round things out…I also want a new TV stand (which I am crazily thinking about building myself). I’d also love to get our couch recovered – it’s a great shape, but my previous roommate’s cat did some serious damage to the leather back in university.
See, my problem with the yellow paint was not so much that it’s a bad colour, but more that I already have lots of yellow in my living room stuff. The coffee table is yellow, those big fake flower things I have back by the DVD’s has a yellow one…I had the yellow area rug in here, but it was too much. I still can’t think of what colour to paint this room…any suggestions?
This is back by the front door – the door on the left side is the hall closet. This is just a cheap piece from Jysk, and it’s just unfinished wood. I can’t decide if I want to paint it or stain it, but it needs something done…right now I’m leaning towards painting it white to kind of match it with the cubby area. I also need to find a place for that Medusa lamp on it. I like having the box (that’s our time capsule from our wedding there on the right) and my antique whiskey jars on there and I’m hoping to make the wall behind it into an art wall once I get some things framed.
Crocuses are starting to come up in the yard! Unfortunately, they’re just in the middle of the yard and not in a garden, but still.
Our yard needs a lot of work. There’s not much in the way of landscaping and the yard is absolutely, completely full of dog shit from the previous owners. Fantastic.
The kitchen isn’t too different, just has our stuff in it now.
That’s my mom’s china cabinet/buffet thing there against the wall. I don’t know what I would have done without it. Somehow, I managed to fill all the cabinets in this kitchen, even though it’s way, way bigger than the kitchen at the apartment. It’s missing a pane of glass in the door, so I’ll have to fix that. I like how the wood matches the wood in our little table and chairs though. Those bar stools were given to us by Jagger’s cousin and they’re super nice. Unfortunately, we don’t have a bar (yet). The cats are really enjoying them though – they can keep an eye on everything from way up there.
Ah yes. This is my gossip bench. It’s currently in the spare room, and it desperately needs a facelift. I really, really want to recover it and maybe paint it? What do you think? The cabinet part of it needs something, it’s just old veneer I believe. This piece is really old, I got it at an antiques place in good olThedford ages and ages ago. I love it.
This is at the desk in the spare room. Again, I love this old chair, but it could use some work. Paint? Stain? Right now I’m thinking about painting the wood a nice grey colour, I think it would look great with the red.
Here’s the desk. This was my desk when I was a kid. I’m really, really happy to have it in the house because it’s such a great piece. It’s handmade and is one of those pieces that I hope to be able to pass down later on. Unfortunately, the years have not been terribly kind to it. You might be able to notice that the small top drawer on the right has no face on it anymore. The whole thing is looking a little beat up, but I don’t know what to do with it. I think it would break my heart to paint the wood, but at the same time I think it would just about kill me to sand the whole thing down and stain it. I’m wondering about doing some sort of wallpapering technique on the back of the shelves and changing out the hardware on the drawers to try and update it without making any major changes. What do you guys think?
Here’s the other view of the spare room. We don’t have any bedding for the little bed, so the Mexico blanket is the only thing that really fits it. Right now, this room belongs to Domo (obviously) and the cats. I think if I’m going to keep that desk in this room with this bed, I might paint the paint frame the same colour that I end up painting the wood on the chair. Sound like a plan?
Here’s the bathroom, which is pretty much the same except for our shower curtain and mismatched towels. I still would really like to punch up this bathroom with some colour, but everyone else seems to think that the colour in here is awesome.
This is in the office, which is really only partially set up. It’s my new happy place though. I don’t know how I ever survived without an office! This is my little knitting tower with all my patterns and yarn and my needles in this vase.
Yes, still a few boxes to unpack. I need to get a filing cabinet, that would really help. Eventually I would like to get a futon for this little nook that would give us some more room for when there are guests over here.
Another part of the office. This bookcase has kid of turned into a tower o’ comics. I need to unpack the graphic novels still, and do some serious organization with the comics. Right now they’re pretty much all in those boxes, so I need to do a lot of bagging and boarding.
Ah…hello, desk. This desk barely survived being take apart and assembled again. It’s just a cheap particleboard and veneer desk that I got when I started university. It’s definitely served its purpose, and it’s time to upgrade. It’s just ridiculously large for what I need, and it is all shelves, there’s no drawers. So, everything ends up just laying in piles on top of everything else…no good at all. I did find a good use for that little table that was left in the garage though, it makes a perfect stand for my stupid big printer.
Hi office!
Here’s our shed after the crazy wind we got last Saturday. At least we weren’t trying to move furniture that day, because the wind and rain was just nuts. Our shed ended up moved just a little closer to the fence than it ought to be.
Can you see that lighter area of concrete on the right side of the shed? That’s the area that would have been inside the shed before the wind got to it.
See the gap?
This thing was stupid heavy to move back into place. It’s too bad it’s not anchored down…it might be a project for down the road. Or maybe we should just put more junk in it to secure it a little more.
Ah yes, and here’s our first home-cooked meal in the new house. On moving day, my mom brought us a huge platter of sandwiches and a bunch of chips, chocolate bars, chocolate milk, pop, Gatorade, and a can of coffee for my new coffee maker. That’s what makes moms, moms. It was awesome to have all that food there so we didn’t have to worry about cooking at all for the first few days. My grandma brought us a loaf of banana bread too – awesome.
So our first meal was my chicken and stuffing casserole with garlic bread and broccoli.
Mmm…hot and bubbly out of the oven.
This is one of those super easy recipes that you can easily change up to your own tastes. We have it all the time in the winter, it’s just pure comfort food.
The way that I make it is to cube up 2 chicken breasts and put it in the bottom of a greased 11×13 pan. Then cover the chicken with a can of cream of mushroom soup and then a layer of shredded cheese. Sometimes I like to throw in some chopped onions and garlic to kick up the flavour a bit. While you’re doing those layers, prepare 2 boxes of Stove Top Stuffing per the directions on the box. Use the stuffing to layer over the chicken, soup and cheese, creating almost like a crust. Put it in the oven at 400 degrees and cook for 35-40 minutes. When it’s brown and bubbly, it’s done!
It’s so yummy, and even better the next day as leftovers. It’s not exactly a low-fat recipe, but it’s darn good. I think it’s one of those recipes that everyone knows how to make a variation of it – I know my mom makes one with frozen veggies and sour cream in it.
So, there you go, there’s the basic in the new house post. Sorry it took so long – I fully intended to be blogging all week and doing 3-4 smaller posts instead of this one monster, photo-tastic blog post.
Anyway, I would love to hear what you think about the decorating and changes to furniture, and I’ll put up some pictures of the rest of the house later on. Have a great weekend!

10 thoughts on “What makes a house a home?

  1. Amanda says

    Everything looks great. Don't paint the desk. It's too nice. Wallpaper's cool, you could also do bulletin board mounted in the back, which you could take out later. Don't forget to sand before you paint anything, especially metal — like your gossip bench (I learned that the hard way). Feel free to borrow our staple gun if you need it.


  2. Dan says

    When is a house a home? There are many ways to judge that one. Perhaps the first time you do it in a room other than the bedroom. Perhaps the first time one of the cats throws up on the floor. But try this one — the first time you get the feeling you've been in the house longer than you've really been there. I feel like we've been in our place for years, even though it's only been a few months. That's how I know we're in the right place.

    My only suggestion is put the bar stools in the basement. I'm figuring Jagger will have a bar down there in the man-cave eventually.

    Thanks for the virtual tour (and the tour in person as well!).


  3. This is such an exciting time, Ashlie! All the planning and the ideas and the indecision! I agree, don't paint the desk, but new knobs or corkboard/paper is a good idea. Grey and red do look awesome together (our walls of our dining room in Sarnia are red n grey) so perhaps you could paint the walls in there grey, and then use red as the accent?
    I love that you toss in pics of your dinner–you make me laugh!!


  4. Yay! Isn't it awesome to have so much room? You have a big backyard too! I spluttered on my coffee when I saw that stuffed monster on the bed:) Your dinner looked delicious by the way. I can't believe the wind moved the shed that far! It is pretty sweet to have a bigass shed in your yard already there when you move in though. About the dresser thing…I think the quickest way to update it would be to knock off that fancy decoration bit on top. It is pretty drastic but having a clean straight line up there will make it more modern looking. I am big fan a dark-ish stained wood too. I think the wallpaper on the back is a really cool idea. I saw a show about framing pieces of wallpaper with chair railing. It was awesome! You can have a big piece of art for less expense – you can use fabric too. I love that stuff – keep us posted as you work on this stuff 😀
    Fellow Weird Toe Girl


  5. Thanks for posting the pictures!

    I agree with Dan Brown(I never thought I'd say those words) don't paint the desk!

    I think you should do a burnt orange in the living room. It'll create warmth without making it too dark.

    I call everywhere home as well. As long as I have access to books, movies and food…I'm home. 🙂


  6. Oh my! Moving is a lot of work—but it looks like you've made some really solid headway! The shelf where you put the DVDs is awesome, and I love the leopard print telephone chair!

    I think the desk would look really updated if you knocked the decoration off the top, as Joan suggested. But then I would further update the look of it by staining it a much, much darker colour.

    I tend to think of home as where the heart is (cliché, I know). But I take it mean that the physical home is not as important as the feeling of home. Love, family, friends, safety, security, belonging, etc. 🙂


  7. that caserole sounds delish! I might have to make it…

    Also i love your wood floors and your backyard! If you don't want to pick up the poop you should check to see if there's a service that will do it for you. We have someone come out in spring after the snow melts to pick up all the defrosted poop


  8. Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! I need to settle down and just go through rooms one by one – I'm getting all overwhelmed! I would love to re-stain that desk, but I don't know if I'm up to the challenge…I might have to try out a few mini-projects before tackling that monster!

    Thanks for the poop suggestion, Falen! I'm trying to convince my husband to get a dog, so I might have to just get used to the idea of picking it up…I'm not winning the argument yet though!


  9. Oh actually – Falen – there were these little girls who came to our front door last week and asked if we had a dog – we think they were looking to walk dogs to earn some money or something, they were pretty little. Maybe we should have just been like, “Nope, no dogs, but there used to be dogs here, he's a shovel and a nickel, get to work!” Ah, child labour…


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