When Your Home Speaks: Our Relationships With Our Homes

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What is the difference between a house and a home? Well, most of whatever it is can be hard to define. But, regardless of the specifics, over a period of time spent in a house, a relationship does begin to form between the space and those who live there. Sometimes, it’s a good fit. Sometimes, not.

Interior design expert, and writer Beryn Hammil muses on the ineffable bond between home and home owner which goes beyond simple bricks and mortar.


A client recently said to me, “I’m moving to an apartment because my house is kicking me out.”

“Interesting,” I thought. She continued by telling me that little by little the house was sending her signals that she should no longer be living in it, and that she should move to an apartment building that had a maintenance crew.

Most of us view our homes as sanctuaries from the variables of the world outside, a little place in the vast universe where we have a small sense of control in the face of what goes on in the world outside.

So later that afternoon when I returned home, I looked at my house and thought about the message it’s sending me. I maintain, paint, and repair it whenever it asks, and sometimes before it does. It’s been structurally updated a few times, once because I wanted to, and more than once because it asked me to, an expensive drainage system being a good case in point.

My house is my sanctuary, my interior design laboratory, my family’s home, and my pride and joy. I love showing it off to guests, holding guided tours with commentary when requested, and as a result, the house glows and sparkles proudly. We’re a good fit, my house and me.

I’ve lived here for a long time; this house was my “starter” house. It’s now my “downsize to” house (I skipped that whole McMansion thing), and it’s my dream to live here for many more years to come.

So, house, speak kindly to me, and I’ll always take good care of you as you do of me.

The moral of this story: If you take good care of your house, it will provide you with a sense of home when it speaks to you.


Thanks, Beryn!

Beryn Hammil is an interior designer, and interior design writer in the San Francisco Bay Area who’s articles have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Home & Garden section.

You can visit her website and see her designs at berynhammil.com



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