Home Sweet Home

It is said that “home is where the heart is”, and when we use these words we also express a wish to inhabit a space where we can feel safe, loved and protected. The concept of home, although referring mostly to a condition or a state of being, is still heavily dependent on a structure of some sort.

In 1928 Le Corbusier stated that a house should fulfil the following criteria:

  • A shelter against heat, cold, rain, thieves and the inquisitive.
  • A receptacle for light and sun.
  • A certain number of cells appropriated to cooking, work, and personal life.

It is in our homes where beauty and functionality can meet. Beauty is, after all, the promise of happiness, according to Stendhal. The furniture and décor we choose, in this yearning for happiness, is not only an expression of our personality, but also the reflection of a desire to create a space that mirrors our dreams, aspirations and values.

We often gravitate towards a specific style, and in his book The Architecture of Happiness, Alain de Botton writes that we should ask ourselves what it is the style represents that we are in search of. It is a very valid question that I have not ever consciously considered, so I did just that, as I was setting up our new home from scratch.

It is not often that one can indulge in the luxury of starting with a clean slate. Most of the time we lug the past with us, as we move from place to place, too reluctant to discard those memories that tie us down, or perhaps unable to come to terms with how life has changed. Our identities, tastes and values shift and change as we move through the landscapes of life, but we are often unwilling to accept or acknowledge these by discarding the worn out bits of our lives. Sadly, we cling to them in the form of stuff that often suffocate our treasured homes.

What I found when I started to contemplate De Botton’s statement was that I love uncluttered minimalistic spaces with clean lines. I guess it satisfies my yearning for a life of simplicity, peace and tranquillity.

My dear husband, on the other hand, is anything but a minimalist. By stock piling and collecting imagined necessities he hopes to ward off unexpected shortages with a readiness that would make any doomsday prophet proud. He has always heavily gravitated towards a state of messiness, but my obsession with tidiness and having everything in its proper place, is slowly wearing him down. As I watch him struggle to get a grip on the chaos spilling from boxes and plastic bags, I have learned to relax a little bit. I can now turn a blind eye to the sneaky pile growing on his bedside table from time to time, or on the floor in the corner of the room over a weekend, without getting agitated.

Love, and harmonious co-habitation, demand compromises, and through the process we open ourselves up to change, and if we are lucky, it also unlocks those dusty corners in our personality and gives it a good scrubbing. Michael is lucky enough to have a room all to himself. Christened the “Man Lab”, it is a space he can inhabit without my interference or bossy demands; where he can hoard, homemess or simply dream of all the projects he’d like to get stuck in if it wasn’t for work interfering with his precious time.

After another visit to IKEA over the weekend, we feel happy that we have created a home that pleases us both. It is a space we are planning to fill with love and joy, and is reflected in the furniture and decor elements we have so carefully chosen. It serves as a reminder for our values and dreams; our states of mind and within this cocoon of safety and comfort we also hope that it will be a reflection of our wish for our life together: simple and uncomplicated.