If you could have the perfect home, what would it look like? What would it feel like? How do you think it would change your life? If relationships are at the center of your heart, then making a place that is conducive to family and friends is one way to define the purpose of your home.
If working from home defines a major purpose of your house, as it did for an artist friend of mine, you may choose to use traditional areas in your house for new purposes. With her children grown and gone, my friend had the freedom of building her art studio in what had previously been the dining room and sunroom of her home. Her home also accommodated a grown son who had multiple sclerosis. As a result of her innovative use of space, her home became an art-filled and fun place to be.
Sometimes people lose perspective on the purpose of their home, and take perfection too far. I had a client many years ago who actually hung a rope across the entry to her newly decorated living room to keep her family out of it. How sad for her—and how sad for her children. Instead of being able to enjoy the fruits of her work, her family was forced to just observe them.
It is unfortunate when people think that designing and creating a beautiful way of living is all about possessions rather than the spirit of the home. No matter how beautiful a home may look, it is the warmth and the approachable attitude of those living inside that matter.
How does your home feel? What is your attitude when friends or strangers arrive unexpectedly? Are the always welcome? Or do you find yourself angry because they didn’t call first? If so, why? Are you frustrated because the interrupted your schedule or because you wish you had time to straighten up the house?
And does your mission statement blend with the objectives of others who live in your home? Sometimes conflicting goals can cause the most strife. I’m a planner, so I’m reasonably well-organized. But I drive my husband Dave crazy because I am always early—he is always late. I hat clutter. He thrives on clutter. I was making myself nuts with his clutter. Notice I said that I was making myself nuts. Dave is who he is. I can’t change that. But I can change my attitude.
We established a compromise. Dave’s clutter stays upstairs and in the garage. When we know we need the guest room, he has to clean up. That’s the deal. That way, I don’t have to subject myself to his clutter. I just avoid going upstairs and we have a peaceful, clutter-free first floor.
My old attitude would have said, “I really don’t care whether I can see it or not, I know it’s there!” This new attitude is a choice, and a right spirit.
Charles Keeler understood clearly the purpose of home when he wrote, “Homemaking is one of the sacred tasks of life, for the home is the family temple, consecrated to the service of parents and offspring. As the strength of the state is founded upon family life, so is the strength of society based upon the home. The building of the home should be an event of profound importance.” Although this quote was written a century ago, the truth of the sacred task of homemaking is still relevant and important to meeting the desires of our hearts. Make your home a sanctuary—a consecrated place, a place of refuge and protection.
As an interior designer, I can begin working on a home only after I define the purpose of the individual spaces. I start by asking some fundamental questions that you too can use as a starting point:
PLAN a family powwow—even if it’s just you and your spouse—or have a powwow with yourself! Have everyone prepare a list of the things that are most important to them regarding how the home should function.
RECOGNIZE that each family member has a perspective relative to his or her age group.
Although you cannot meet every need, TAKE STEPS to meet at least one need for each member of the family. For example, if you have children, provide a consistent place for doing homework.
START with an overall goal, then begin to narrow the purpose room by room.
ACKNOWLEDGE that God has a plan for all of us and that includes a plan for our home.