Saturday, January 3, 2009

Home Sweet Home

By Kirsten Scott

So, does it look familiar? The houseboat, I mean. I think this particular houseboat probably caused a rush on houseboats unlike any the industry had seen. It's the one used in the movie Sleepless in Seattle, inhabited by Tom Hanks' character, and among other things, it played a prominent role in me falling in love with him. After all, who wouldn't love a man who loved a house like that? The lights on the water, the view of the boats and downtown Seattle...and of course it was gorgeous inside. Furnished like a dream. Furnished like no man would ever furnish a house.

During the holiday season we do a lot of visiting and go to a lot of parties, and I am always struck by how different peoples' houses are, and how each house tells a story about the person who lives there -- sometimes a very different story than the one I would expect. Someone I expect to have drab, by the book decorations has a house filled with art and color; someone I expect to be neat turns out to be a packrat; someone I expect to be simple has a taste for the ostentatious.

I love it. It's a window into the soul.

We authors are always on the lookout for windows into the soul, so we use houses a lot to develop our characters. What better way to show a person's true character than to describe their house? The man with a wounded soul lives on a cliff away from town; the woman who never broke free from her mother still lives in her mother's house, surrounded by her mother's belongings. We can show someone's unexpected depth by giving them a hidden art collection, or a beautiful garden.

As for me, I live in a boxy 1950s ranch that we renovated so it's open and light. In the living room we've got furniture covered with sheets (dog hair, don't you know), two old red arm chairs I inherited when my grandfather passed away, a fairly new sofa-couch from IKEA, and a couple of fabulous Oriental rugs I ordered from Ebay about eight years ago that are fraying around the edges. I want my house to be tidy, comfortable, and above all, a place where kids and dogs can play and have fun.

(Here's one of Grandpa's chairs. Isn't it cool?)

So I'm wondering...what does your house reveal about you? Are you a city dweller in a tiny apartment? A suburban mama? Do you collect original art, or maybe photographs? Is your house straight out of an IKEA catalog, or more of the shabby chic variety? 

And perhaps most importantly -- would you have married Tom Hanks just to live in that houseboat?! :-)

82 comments:

Helen said...

Is he staying with me

Have Fun
Helen

PJ said...

He is, Helen. If only Smokey had had to pee a little sooner. :)

PJ said...

I'm still mostly asleep so I'll wait to answer your questions in the morning, Kirsten except to say that I recognized that houseboat immediately. That was such a good movie!

Congrats, Helen! He must be having quite the good time down there!

Helen said...

It looks like he wanted to help us baby sit Hayley tonight he is going to be on his toes she never stops whirlwind Hayley we call her.

Great post Kirsten and the answer to the question yes I would have married Tom Hanks for the house boat I love it.
My house was built in 1979 and we have lived here since then in the western suburbs of Sydney we started with practicaly no furniture and now have heaps and so much stuff I am such a horder and have to be the worlds worst housewife there have always been kids and dogs and cats, but to us it is home nothing fancy just average everyday furniture some things were my mothers and grandmothers we have a mixture of old and new. I gotta say though I do love visiting other peoples houses and I think you can tell a lot about them from their house.

Have Fun
Helen

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Helen, I'd say he's found out where you've hidden the Tim Tams! Go and check now!

Kirsten, I love checking out people's houses. And as you say, often they reveal elements of someone's personality that they tend to hide from the wider world when they're out and about. And yes, I would have married Tom Hanks to live in that houseboat! I love it. Another house I thought was great was the one the baddie lived in in Sleeping with the Enemy. I think it must have been on one of the Outer Banks or something but it was this gorgeous modern architect designed place right on the beach. Wow!

I always use the houses to betray my characters' personalities both to the reader and to the hero or heroine (depends who lives there!). With the book I just finished (still without an official title, darn it!), the hero's ancestral house is an Elizabethan manor on the clifftops in Cornwall with a beach down below and surrounded by moorland. That was a really fun place to write about! The house symbolises everything he's running away from, everything he thinks he's no longer worthy to have. But of course, it's not going to let him go, is it? It's a bit like the heroine!

Donna MacMeans said...

Congrats Helen - The GR loves it at your place!

Kirsten- What a fun post! My tastes are fairly eclectic. Most of the artwork on the works is original, but as I was the artist - it's not of the big ticket variety (grin).

I suppose my tabletops are almost Victorian in that I set up lots of collections from glass paperweights (yes, I made those as well - in a molten glass furnace), carousel creatures, big snow globes & music boxes and castles - but everything else is open and airy. In the living room,I have a big hope chest decorated with Pennsylvania Dutch hex signs next to an old antique looking grandfather clock (with a lunar dial). Most of my furnishings have some story behind them so it's a sentimental thing. It's home.

I've never been on a houseboat but it sounds great. Someday...

Leslie said...

Yes, I would have married Tom for that houseboat. And I get seasick! lol

My house is comfortable and kid friendly - messy but clean.

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Helen.

I love the house in "Sleepless In Seattle." I would definitely have married him so I could live in his houseboat. I'm a city dweller in a tiny apartment. I've never lived in a house before. I used to get excited when I visited houses that had stairs. I would amuse myself by running up and down the stairs. I don't collect art, but my aunt is a painter and we have several of her creations hanging. I do buy some of my furniture from IKEA.

Joanne Lockyer said...

Kirsten - great post! Fun questions.

I moved into a fully furnished apartment back in September, and consequently just about all my own stuff is in storage. The apartment is modern, clean lines, black, glass, etc... I didn't buy any of it. My stuff is more cosy, earthy, timbers, bright (indigenous)paintings from places like Egypt, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru...

Still, maybe that does reflect something - my current lifestyle - single, living inner-city, being largely free of responsibilities at present? Or maybe just that its a small apartment - so there's no room for anything else!! (and I don't know if I'm allowed to put hooks in the walls...)

Maureen said...

That houseboat is fabulous and what a great place to live. We have a split level in the suburbs which we have slowly been updating for many years. I like it open so I try to ruthlessly get rid of clutter.

Keira Soleore said...

Helen, he sure is staying right there snug with you. While the snows have receded everywhere here, it's just too darn cold.

PJ, no fair, blaming Smokey for your shut-eye and chance at the GR.

The only time I've been on a houseboat is where I was six and we were visiting Kashmir in November. The houseboat was like a hotel two families could rent out. It came with a cleaner, server, and a cook. It was SOOOOoooo fabulous and downright cozy.

I be that suburban mama driving a large, environmentally-unfriendly people mover. The houses are individual, the garden large, and the neighborhood small, but it's still a small town not far from a city. No shabby-chic-ness at our place, not much IKEA either. The style's more Skarbos with some Dania thrown in. Though, the study is going to be redone this year, and we're most likely going to go IKEA for we have to fit in desks of various requirements, a file cabinet, and tons of bookcases in there.

Nope wouldn't have married Tom Hanks for the houseboat, but might've mightily considered an offer from Richard Armitage, Ioan Gruffud, or Gerard Butler.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Congrats on the GR Helen, he so enjoys it there with you.

I don't think I would have married him for the houseboat though it is beautiful and he is a cutie.
My home is a hodge podge of grandparents furniture, mother's furniture, what came with the house when I bought it and one lonely couch that I actually bought myself. That's it, all other furniture belonged to someone else before me. What is sad is my daughter has no interest and my son doesn't either. I tried to teach them right but neither one "gets" heritage or heirlooms.

Louisa Cornell said...

I agree with La Campbell. Old Golden Boy has discovered your stash of Tim Tams and he isn't leaving until they are all gone!

LOL on Old Smokey's bladder keeping you from nabbing the GR, PJ !

What an interesting observation, Kirsten. I do like to check out people's houses, but I never really thought about it the way you do.

My house is a 14 x 80 foot mobile home, which means I have way too much stuff and too little space! I am acquiring several really nice bookcases from a recent book store closing so I hope to have all of my books out of boxes soon!

My house probably reflects my travels more than anything else. I am turning my living room into my writing studio because it has a great fireplace and two big windows (a commodity in mobile homes!)

My kitchen was actually a combination kitchen and dining room, but I took out the bar and the big table and chairs and turned one side of the room into my sewing room.

The front bedroom is now a storage room for everything I have not unpacked in almost 4 years of living here. At some point it will become my music room. I intend to move the piano, all of my music books, opera posters, collection of vinyl, CDs, tapes, and my singing awards in there. MY collection of music boxes will go in as well.

I have an eclectic collection of furniture - from my great aunt's antique rocker, to an English tea caddy, to some great thrift store chairs I have refurbished. Eventually I'll pull it all together.

Add dog beds and cat tunnels and scratching posts and I guess you could call my house kennel/ library / musician chic! LOL

Right now my house represents the aftershock of a tornado as I have not cleaned since the holidays. I see a long Sunday of cleaning in store for me tomorrow.

Crianlarich said...

Kirsten - That houseboat is a dream. Years ago, friends on Vancouver Island had one very much like it. I loved every sweet inch of it. But their later home was equally enchanting, a darling little Victorian house on a cliff with its own horseshoe-shaped bay below. They watched seals in the water, the passing-by of whales and the house, like the houseboat, was full of whimsy.

That's what I like .. a combination of whimsy, old things, and a touch of shabby chic.

My own home is a townhouse on three levels and I adore it. The landscaping here is beautiful so that you only see live oaks and lush green from any window which gives the impression of being alone in a 'park-like' atmosphere as the trees and clever landscaping block the views of the other townhouses.

Inside is airy with an atrium and a 'sky walk' that connects rooms on the upper level. I can look down on the lounge and dining area. And there are many skylights - I can see clouds passing over or the moon and stars at night, which I love.

My personal interests become apparent on entering ... a standing armored knight overlooks my dining table from a platform high up on the wall and a claymore hangs near the lounge fireplace.

It's my office that truly holds my heart, though. Walls are the same blue as the Scottish Saltire, though not much can be seen of the color because I have floor-to-ceiling bookshelves on two walls, behind and across from my desk. To the left of my desk is a bay window, the window seat cushions in my clan plaid and the view is of treetops only, something I love. Scattered about are memories everywhere, mostly from my trips to Scotland. The Scottish flag (Saltire) hangs in here, too. Of course! And my desk chair is also plaid-covered. My little dog's constant presence makes the room complete. So my office is my haven.

I love living here and felt the townhouse had a warm and inviting 'personality' the first time I walked in to view it. I believe homes have personalities - heaven knows, I once lived in a house that had a very bad aura (with reason, as I later learned) and I was so glad to sell that home, even though it was quite lovely.

With this townhouse, I took time to visit at various times of day to 'see how the light falls through the windows' and to test the various 'moods' of the place. After bad experiences with the former house, I will never again live anywhere that does not have a good and light and wholesome feel.

Interesting topic. And I am procrastinating so need to skip out of your delightful lair and face the fire-breathing dragon of pressing work matters....

Kirsten said...

Helen, I would not have picked you for a hoarded, but now that you mention it...of course! And I bet you have stories to go with all your belongings. Your grandkids must have great fun hanging out with you and uncovering treasures in all those lovely piles of stuff. :-)

congratulations on the GR! Maybe he can do some babysitting today?

Kirsten said...

Pj--adorable avatar!--and well done on the identification. I didn't recognize it myself. I remember best that scene where he's wandering around on the deck, talking on the phone on the radio for the first time...ah, be still my heart. But you know I found it in an article on how it's for sale. At least it was in April. So maybe it could be yours! :-)

Kirsten said...

Oh Anna, I remember that scary house -- totally creepy but gorgeous architecture! And that's the show where she has to straighten all the dish towels to please him, right? And she goes from the creepy perfect cold steel house on the beach to the cheerful little yellow cottage in the small town. Perfect transformation of her life.

Oh, and OF COURSE I was thinking of La Campbell when I wrote this. Did you get the reference? Wounded guy, isolated house? Um, can you say Kylemore?

Kirsten said...

Oh, and Anna the new (nameless) book sounds fabulous! Can't wait to read it. Shall we call it "The House of Never Letting Go"?

Kirsten said...

Donna, here's the fabulous thing about you -- I bet lots of people have no idea you have the soul of an artist. You are a boisterous, fun-loving gal. About as far from the tortured, introverted artist as you can get. And you're an accountant. Even better! But then you're a fantastic writer, and have all these artistic talents...well, I bet it makes for a lot of people not understanding you. And it must be fun to show off your house and show people all the things you've done, and let them get to know the OTHER Donna. :-)

Kirsten said...

Leslie, it sounds like we could definitely hang together! I just can't stand clutter. I don't mind having kids wrestle in the living room and jump on the sofa, but I do not like dirty counters or rooms that are filled with too much furniture and piles of...stuff.

And I would have married Tom, too. Though I'm not seasick. LOL. Your sacrifice is far greater! Maybe I should give him to you!

Kirsten said...

Oh, Jane, what a funny comment about the stairs. My daughter just had a friend over yesterday who lives in a house with one floor and she was FASCINATED by our stairs. Then again, when we visited my mom in her apartment, my kids were fascinated by the elevator.

Even today, when I look at apartment buildings, they seem somehow sophisticated and romantic to me. Isn't that funny?

What style of art does your aunt do? Watercolor? Oil? I just love the idea of having originals on the walls.

And if you live in a tiny apartment, how can you NOT shop at IKEA? Man, I love that store. So many fabulous little space saving devices. :-)

Kirsten said...

Oh Joanne, I love your story. Can we make you into a Harlequin heroine? We'll have to decide first if you WANT to be single and free of responsibilities, of course. :-)

If you want to be in my book, you could choose to end up in the cottage in the small town, or in the millionaire's penthouse. Because we could go either way, of course, from your current digs. Your furnished apartment could be letting go of the life you had before (your small town roots that were never right for you, your ex-boyfriend, spouse, whatever) and setting you up for the penthouse with the millionaire, OR they could symbolize your transitory stage and lack of fulfillment before you head for the cottage in the small town and the single dad with twins who desperately need a mommy.

But you'll get to pick, of course. LOL. And you could decide you just want to have a carefree existence for a while.

(Which, by the way, always sounds good to me when I'm 30 pages into a new book, want desperately to focus on it, but have two burrs hanging on me clamoring for attention 24/7!)

Kirsten said...

Ah, Maureen, my sister in renovation! Since we bought our ranch eight years ago, we have knocked out many a wall, until I can now sit here in the living room on one side of the house, and see the kitchen on the other end. Of course, it was a small house to begin with. LOL. 900 square feet, though we do have a basement, thank goodness.

And clutter -- just say no to clutter! :-) I did some great purging over the Christmas break. Cleaned out a lot of closets. Poor kids have no idea how many of their toys I got rid of. ;-)

Kirsten said...

Okay Keira, do NOT make me think of the first story from Unaccustomed Earth. Have you read it? I was totally creeped out by that story because of the parallels with my own life (and my sisters'). Okay, if you haven't read it, I'll be quiet about it. It's just that all of the women in my office passed around the book, and we all had different reactions to the story, but mine was the most dramatic. It depressed me so completely I had to put the stories away and never read them again.

It was just the sense of hopelessness that the story invoked. Made me want to rush out and pick up the first romance novel I saw to get my fix of HEA!

And I love Dania. We like to visit the "scratch and ding" room and have gotten a couple of pieces there. And we got a fabulous bed there for a wedding present, but the headboard was too big for our little tiny house and I used to bonk myself on it every time I turned around! That's life in a small house for you. LOL.

And okay, honestly, I couldn't survive in the houseboat either. I'd probably roll out of bed in the middle of the night and end up in the lake.

Kirsten said...

Dianna, sounds like you and I have a similar collection! I love my own hodgepodge of treasures that I've accumulated and inherited from my family. Besides my cherished red chairs, I have a telephone table that was my grandpa's, my grandma's silver, and a china set from a dear friend who was sort of like an aunt. Everything else in the house can go, but those things are irreplaceable.

Kirsten said...

Louisa, I think I can picture your house! Animal lover, pet lover, and history buff...it also comes together. LOL. Be careful to attach those bookcases to the walls, though. We don't want to lose you in an avalanche of books if there's an earthquake or something! :-)

Kirsten said...

Crianlarch, your townhouse sounds like it would take my breath away. A sky bridge, and a standing suit of armor? And you get to look out on beautiful live oaks? Oh my. Be still my heart. It does sound like a very special place. And I agree--houses do have their own aura. It's part of what I learn when I visit someone. I learn a little more about them from sensing the aura that they create in their home. It's a little like seeing someone's underwear. ;-) It's covering up the really private stuff, but it's still so revealing.

good luck on getting those work matters taken care of--it's always good to see you here in the Lair!

Christie Kelley said...

Kirsten, we watched that movie just the other day. My husband is fascinated with the idea of a houseboat. Me, not so much.

I'm in the process of slowly taking down the Christmas decorations only to realize why I didn't want to do it this year. My house looks very bare without all the decorations.

We got rid of a lot of things that we'd had for years before we remodeled. And we haven't replaced much of it yet. I have no lamps in my living room (overhead lights though) and no pictures or paintings on the walls. So really, no style at all here.

danie88 said...

I currently live with family so can I just talk about my bedroom? lol

My room reveals that I'm a major book lover/movie lover and that I'm a kid at heart. I have 4 book shelves over flowing with books and movies. My walls are covered with Disney movie posters and collages that I've made. My other shelves have little trinkets and figurines that I collect and that I've had since before I was 13.

danie88 said...

Oh, and it also shows that I'm a dog lover... I swear everytime I walk into my room I trip over a dog toy... lol

Tiffany Chalmers said...

Congrats on the nab Helen.

No I didn't recognize the houseboat.

It's pretty but not my thing, even if it is on the water.

I'm a city dweller, living in an old Georgian/Turn of the century house (was a mansion in it's day before they split it up into flats). My thing though, is that I need to be near the water. And I'm literally a minute walk down to the lake, where we do have a nice view of open water we are in Toronto, but in a residential park-like area.

My flat would say that I love old world. Even my art is old world (I love waterhouse) and a few I couldn't tell you who the painter was. But it's mixed in with some of my hubby's photographs, he loves cemetery angels (he's a photographer by trade) I like frilly and ornate to add to the new world stuff. I don't have a ton of trinkets but enough to decorate all the surfaces and shelves my books don't cover. And we do have our fair share of ikea hey, it's kid durable) :)

Virginia said...

Congrats on the Rooster Helen! I was going to go after him last night but was toward the end of the book I was reading and couldn't put it down.It was Elaine Levine's debut book Rachel and the Hired Gun and a fantastic read.

Yes I would marry Tom Hanks for the house boat and for him, because I do like him alot. We bought our house in 1984 it was four small rooms and a bath built in 1954. We added a large living room, bathroom, and laundry room, about a half of a house and remodeled the old part making a larger kitchen. The bedrooms are still pretty small. In the living room we have two lazyboy recliners and a lazyboy couch, oak intertainment center, fish tank, and oak bookshelf. Yes I love oak furniture. I like my house to be tidy but lived in. Which I have to do my cleaning today and I am setting here on the computer not getting it done. It will be there when I get to it.

Kirsten said...

Hey Christie, I feel your pain about taking down the Christmas decorations. The house gets so full and happy with it all, and then you take it down and it feels so barren and empty. I just did the same thing myself and said the exact same thing. It doesn't help that I can't find the box where I put the pictures and other things that USED to be on the mantle (before the x-mas decorations), so now the mantle really is just bare and empty.

And lighting. Deep sigh. My house has HORRIBLE lighting. Worse thing in it. At least you have overhead lights and a blank slate to fill in with good floor lamps. We have no overhead lights, except for a few, badly placed ones in the kitchen. I guess it's an old house thing. And we're too cheap to buy lots of nice, heavy floor lamps, and I'm too worried about the kids smashing them to buy table lamps, so as a result we just don't have enough light.

This is a serious issue for us.

Good luck filling in the empty holes in your big, beautiful house! I'm sure it will be fun, now that the renovation is complete. :-) You've got the structure...style comes second. Right? LOL.

Kirsten said...

Oh Danie, it sounds like you are a real soft-hearted romantic! (as if we didn't know that already!) I bet you influence other areas of the house too, and maybe don't even know it.

But the dog toys intrigue me -- how many do you have? Do they squeak? Do they wake you up at night? And do the dogs sleep with you? :-)

Kirsten said...

Tiffany -- I love your description of your house and style! Here's what I picked out: old world, ornate, and frilly. And look at your avatar! You to a t! I also love to be able to be close to water. There is just something so soothing about being able to look at it and hear the water moving. I work a block from a river and walk the bridges over my lunch when I can and it always lifts my mood. I would hate to be landlocked.

As for cemetery angels, how fascinating -- I think immediately of the ones I saw when I visited New Orleans this fall. You'll have to visit there (if you haven't already). The above-ground tombs are really remarkable, and I just found the angels so striking.

Kirsten said...

Virginia, I like your attitude: 1) Reading comes first; 2) cleaning can wait; 3) lazy-boy rules! LOL. You also described my little fantasy: a laundry room. Yes, this is very sad, but my current laundry room is the bed in my room, so you can see why I'd like it.

Good luck with the tidy but comfortable house cleaning! I think I might have to go there today. The dog hair just builds up if I ignore it too long, and then it JUMPS on me from the carpet. Very annoying.

PJ said...

It's so fascinating to read about everybody's houses. Crianlarich, I would adore your townhouse! It sounds magical.

I love my house but it's way too big now that it's just the dogs and me. It sits on a hill and is all on one floor with a wide 65 ft. wrap-around porch that overlooks the sloping lawn. The rooms are huge with lots of light from 3 skylights in the kitchen, 2 in the living room and large sliding glass doors across the entire front of the house which includes the dining room, living room, office and master bedroom. The decor is pretty bare bones right now as I've just finished packing away Christmas and am getting ready to put the house back on the market. My normal decor is what I call comfy contemporary with oriental touches. My "artwork" consists mostly of photos I've taken that I've had blown up, matted and framed.

Tiffany Chalmers said...

Kristen,
I've never been to new orleans... I'm not well travelled, I'll make up for that some time in the future!

As for the avatar. That is me. So it's definitely me to a 't'. And my hubby took the picture.

I have an assorted collection of corsets :)

Tiffany Chalmers said...

That was Kirsten, mind my typing, I've been fighting a head cold all week and I think I'm finally losing. Ugh. And I'm not wearing my glasses yet this morning... or uh, afternoon.

Kirsten said...

Tiffany--WAIT--that's seriously YOU? In the picture?!! OMGosh, that's too cool!! I just assumed it was an old school picture from some collection. I had no idea it was really you! Wow!

PJ said...

Kirsten, you should see some of the other photos Tiff's husband has taken. He's very talented and she's a wonderful model!

danie88 said...

How many dog toys or dogs? lol The 3 dogs we have... they have quite a few dog toys only a few of them squeak cuz they manage to tear out the squeaker when they get them (i have no clue why they do that).

My dog, Bear is the only one that sleeps with me. Though the other 2 manage to "sneak" in once in awhile and crash too.

Have I been woken up by a squeaky toy... oh yes, numerous times... :P

Kirsten said...

Oh PJ, I'm jealous! Sounds like you've seen these fabulous pictures. Or is there a book somewhere of this collection?

Kirsten said...

danie, I feel faint -- three dogs in bed with you? I can barely survive with my cat. she manages to sleep right next to me and refuses to let me roll over. I can't imagine how you'd manage with three beasties!

Tiffany Chalmers said...

chalmersphotography.com

:)

I think any pictures of me are buried in there though. I couldn't ind more than a handful.

Tiffany Chalmers said...

not ind... find. sheesh. My typing just gets worse and worse.

danie88 said...

oh, and i forgot to tell you the best part... they're all not small dogs... Bear is the biggest of the bunch... he's about a size smaller then a great dane... Ginger is a black lab... and Moochie she's about a size smaller then a lab...

plus we have 5 cats... usually only one of them manages to sleep with me... so ya... a lot of pets... especially if they sleep with me... *sigh* they do make good pillows though... if mine manages to get taken over... :D

Kirsten said...

Oh, Tiff, you naughty thing you! I love the black corset! Please tell your husband he is very talented. Your pictures are definitely the best. I love the pin-up ones, too!

Kirsten said...

danie, I think we many need to stage an intervention. LOL. three dogs plus assorted cats may be interfering with your sleep, dear! :-)

Treethyme said...

My house reveals that:

*I'm missing the Suzy Homemaker gene

*We've been putting our money into college tuition fees instead of redecorating the house

*My husband and I both work at home (the living room is my office; the dining room is his)

We'd love to live in a condo in a big city (ANY big city) but we're stuck here in the suburbs because of the dead real estate market.

We're debating whether to remodel the house so we can have actual office space (where we can close the doors on work at some point) or wait until it's a better market so we can move someplace smaller and more manageable. Tough call.

By the way, I loved that houseboat in Sleepless in Seattle, but I loved Meg Ryan's apt. in You've Got Mail more!

Treethyme said...

I forgot to mention the most important thing about our house, because I take it for granted: It's almost wall-to-wall books!

Anna Campbell said...

Keira, you make me laugh! So you'll only marry RA and co IF they have a houseboat? You're mighty picky, gal!

Crianlarich, oh, I love the description of your house. It sounds just gorgeous. I love the description of the other houses too!

The first home I owned was a small one-bedroom apartment squeezed between the harbour and town in Sydney in a very groovy suburb called Potts Point. LOVE that apartment. It was a 1928 Art Deco building with high ceilings and bright white walls and odd little quirks of design (and sadly odd little quirks of electricals and plumbing!).

Now I live in the house my parents retired to on the Sunshine Coast which is a modern brick place. Never thought I'd live in one of those - I've always liked old places. But this is so comfortable and there's plenty of room, including an office that I just adore that looks out on a subtropical garden full of native birds and lizards. There's a pool, which I always love, and there's a lake at the bottom of the garden. We're close enough to the sea for me to hear it at night. So while it's not what I expected to end up in, no plans to move at the moment!

Trish Milburn said...

What a fun topic, Kirsten. We live in a western red cedar house built in 1976 that needs some work. We've done several things, but seems like there's always more.

I will say that I don't think the house really reflects me or my personality. Hubby, sweet as he is, couldn't care less as long as it doesn't cost too much. :) What I'd love is a Spanish hacienda type house with lots of Southwestern and Western decor and art, gorgeous Spanish tile, and an interior courtyard with a fountain. Don't see a lot of those in Tennessee though. :)

Would you believe I've never even been in an IKEA store? We don't have them here.

Trish Milburn said...

I will say that the one room in the house that I do think is very reflective of me is my office. Thankfully, it's on the front of the house, which has the most natural light. There are four bookcases filled to the brim; my desk with computer, printer, resource books, scanner, etc.; recliner; TV connected to DVD player and TiVo recorder; posters reflecting my TV and movie faves (Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Twilight, Supernatural, Smallville, Into the West); and maps (one of the National Park Service units, one of the world, and one that is a huge map of the U.S. that has every individual county in every state marked. I'm what's called a county counter, so I use a yellow highlighter to fill in the counties as I visit them.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Kirsten, absolutely that house in CTC was a reflection of Kylemore. Even to the fact that it was hidden away and surrounded by jagged mountains. Pathetic fallacy or what! And it had been a prison too - ooooh!

Actually as a lot of you know, I grew up reading Victoria Holts. Creepy houses (actually this one is gorgeous, not creepy) on the edge of the cliffs with the sea pounding the rocks down below are par for the course with your average VH!

danie88 said...

I honestly have never been in a IKEA store either...

Helen said...

I have just read thru all of the posts and WOW these homes are really nice and I love the way there is a little bit of everyone in them.

As for my house Kirsten yes it is like an adventure for my grandkids when they come. I remember as a child going to my grandparents place and I loved looking thru all of Nana's little boxes etc and she always would answer any questions I had on what I had found and tell me where it came from.

Have Fun
Helen

Kirsten said...

Treethyme, I wince with you at the college tuition. I watched our college funds practically disappear this winter and I can't imagine how we're going to do it. So I'm with you -- the last thing I'm dumping a lot of money into these days is furniture and art! ;-)

A real office would be fabulous, wouldn't it? My office is a bookcase in a guest bedroom where I put papers and hope no one puts things on top of them, and my laptop, which I open wherever I'm sitting. We're about to lose the guest bedroom too, because right now our kids share a bedroom, and when they split into separate rooms, my husband and I will end up in that room. Ah well!

Fingers crossed for a quick real estate recovery and a new office for you and your hubby!

Kirsten said...

Oh Anna, I would just love to hear the ocean at night. And to have a POOL? Ah, I would feel like I died and went to heaven. Wouldn't really matter what the house looked like...

I can imagine you in that apartment, though. Bright colors and neat little nooks. Must have been very Anna Campbell. :-)

Kirsten said...

Trish, I would love to see your office. It sounds very evocative of you! And I love your county map -- don't you count your national park visits, too? I count states I've visited, though I don't have a map on the wall. I've just got a few more to go...I need an excuse to visit Oklahoma. LOL.

And why is it that men don't care about their spaces the way women do? Isn't that funny? We're so much more about our NESTS than men.

Kirsten said...

Danie and Trish, you must get to an IKEA store someday. It's a real experience. A whole world unto itself. Rather overwhelming, but so perfect if you're trying to fit a whole family into 1000 square feet, or you need to furnish an entire bedroom for $200. Perfect for folks like me who don't want to throw a lot of money into their stuff because they know their kids and dogs will ruin it in a few years anyway. LOL.

Kirsten said...

Oh Helen, it does sounds like your house would be a lovely place to come visit. Can I send my kids to you? Maybe for a couple of weeks this summer? :-)

Trish Milburn said...

Kirsten, I do track my visits to national parks, and state parks for that matter.

And in hubby's defense, he's all about amassing savings so that he can retire early. I'm all for that, but sometimes I guess the Early Married furniture collection (aka hand-me-downs) bug me, especially since we've been married 16 years. In the grand scheme of things, it's no biggie since I have a fabu hubby. We just have different ideas sometimes, and that's okay.

Anna Campbell said...

Kirsten, there's a few things I love about this place and almost make up for missing my Sydney flat. I love the wildlife. And the pool is wonderful - there's nothing like a swim when you're all stiff from working on the computer. I also love the fact that I can be at the seafront within about five minutes walk - that's so inspirational!

I could have gone back to Sydney but I realised that a little flat just wasn't suitable if I was going to be running a business from home - and that's basically what I do now. And this house, like a lot of modern places, is absolutely chockablock with cupboards. So there's plenty of space to store manuscripts and publicity materials and files and copies of my books. I couldn't have managed to keep going just working in a corner of my bedroom as I did in Sydney.

Caren Crane said...

Congrats, Helen! Hope the GR can keep up with whirlwind Hayley!*g*

Kirsten, I love seeing other people's houses for the same reasons you do. I find it intriguing when someone's house is nothing like the face they present to the world. It makes my writer's mind think of all sorts of movtivations for the differences. *eg*

My own house is a 30-year-old brick Dutch colonial. Quite traditional. The inside is all an eclectic mish-mash of stuff. We tend to have way too many books and lots of knick knacks. Our art consists of prints we like, prints we inherited from family and one original drawing done by my oldest sister.

We have the fridge loaded down with pictures of family through the years. The furniture is all about comfort and utility, though we have an antique hall tree I got from my mother. Lots of wood in many different finishes, tons of throw pillows and some bright rugs. I love my house!

And I would have married Tom Hanks without the houseboat, but the houseboat would have been a really nice perq. *g*

limecello said...

Heh - my house - well room, I've always said, is a physical manifestation of my inner psyche.

Rarely is it all neat and tidy. (Clean - but not all put away.) When I'm super stressed it looks like a tornado came through - literally. Haha. It's bad I'm something of a pack rat but I try to keep it within my personal space not the great rooms etc.

Nancy said...

Helen, congrats on grabbing the rooster! I hope you're having fun with him.

PJ, better luck next time!

Dog hair, you say, Kirsten? We got dog hair. Our one yellow lab sheds as much as the two golden retrievers we had before her. And still isn't bald, which astounds us.

I would not marry Tom, boat or no boat--though I agree it's gorgeous. He's just not my type.

We live in a 1930s bungalow, to which we've made modest additions (closets! and a little living space) in the city. It needs some fixing up, which we hope to get to soon. We did a project a year back when we both worked fulltime and tried to keep the interior finish true to the house's period.

As for what our house reveals about us--like Treethyme, I do not have the Suzy Homemaker gene. We are book people. I am, alas for the dh, a packrat. He's the voice of "let's throw this away." Occasionally, he wins.

We also have a teenaged, male anime fan in residence, so we have various manga and anime-related things strewn about.

Some people would say we have too many books, but--all together now--"There's no such thing as too many books." *g*

PJ, I wish you luck selling the house. It sounds beautiful.

Keira Soleore said...

Kirsten, no, I haven't read Unaccustomed Earth and from your vehement description, I don't want to either. For an uplifting look at suburban living and HEAs, Jane Porter writes good women's fiction. Her Flirting on Forty is simply the best, made me cry and smile widely.

Anna Campbell said...

Keira, I love Flirting with Forth! I hope we get the movie over here.

Anna Campbell said...

Sorry, that should be FORTY! Flirting with Forth is that well known book about romance in Edinburgh! ;-)

PJ said...

Nancy, my good friends have a 1920's bungalow in Dilworth. They've had it restored to its original style and it's simply gorgeous. Every time I stay over with them I feel like I'm in a hotel. :)

Kirsten said...

Caren, your house sounds just fabulous, and a lot like mine -- a great combination of things, all of them mishmashed into one warm beloved space. And a Dutch colonial, no less! Just like the house of my childhood. Awwww....

Kirsten said...

limecello, I'm the opposite of you with my mental space -- when I get stressed, I need my workspace really clean and tidy -- even tidier than usual. It helps me restore control over my crazed mind, I guess. But in either case, the outside definitely reflects the inside, right? :-) thanks for stopping by today!

Kirsten said...

Oh Nancy, I bet your place is fabulous. I love bungalows! But the lack of closets is definitely a problem. :-) And you're absolutely right -- there's no such thing as too many books.

Oh, and we've got a yellow lab! So yes, I know what you mean. It's truly amazing for one creature to lose that much hair and not be bald. Truly amazing.

limecello said...

Awe - blogger ate my comment. But Kirsten - it's strange, really. When I'm super stressed I go into cleaning mode. I'll bust out the toothbrushes, bleach, qtips, and yes, even toothpicks. The kitchen, bathroom, everything will become spotless - vacuuming, etc. All to avoid the work I should be doing.
But my "personal" work space? Total war zone.

Kirsten said...

Keira, yes, avoid Unaccustomed Earth like the plague! Pulitzer notwithstanding, there's only so much depressing "real life" stories a person should be asked to endure. Thanks for the recommendation -- I also love Jane Porter!

Kirsten said...

Oh, limecello, I get it -- you need to have all your work out around you in your study so you can "see" what you're struggling with or stressed about, but you need the rest of the house tidy so it doesn't add to the stress. How's that? ;-)

Keira Soleore said...

Fo(xxxY) wrote, "Keira, you make me laugh! So you'll only marry RA and co IF they have a houseboat? You're mighty picky, gal!"

Well, all the hunkiness is well and good, but field weeds or barn hay is rather hard on the back. A nice bed sure beats those options. And since we're in a dreamy world as is, a houseboat adds the requisite drama.

Keira Soleore said...

Fo(xxxY) wrote, "Flirting with Forth" is that well known book about romance in Edinburgh!"

That would be the book "Flirting with Firth on the Forth" that's set in Edinburgh.

Christine Wells said...

Kirsten, what a thoughtful post! Um, I think what my house says about me is that I only attend to things I really care about and let a lot of other stuff fall by the wayside:) So our furniture is a bit mishmash, the lounge chairs need replacing (I'm waiting for small sticky fingers to be a thing of the past before I buy new ones!) I do have a very nice collection of china, though:) Priorities, priorities!

And no, not even for that houseboat would I marry Tom Hanks! Which is probably a good thing, as he's never likely to ask:)

Kirsten said...

Hi Christine! So nice to have the weary traveler back in the Lair! :-)

As for your place, I'm just impressed you have lounge chairs. Do you actually, er, lounge in them? Or is this an Aussie word for something that I've got in my house already? Like, an exercise bike? LOL.

Priorities is a good word for the state of our house as well. (and the state of my waistline after Christmas, for that matter!)

As for sticky fingers, I figure the kids are the least of my worries. Even after they grow up I've got the dog, cat, and husband to worry about. Sigh. I'll never bother with nice furniture.

Anna Campbell said...

Um, Keira, I can't help it... A houseboat ROCKS!

Kirsten, what do you call things like stuffed chairs and sofas? Don't you call them lounge chairs?

And Christine, Tom would be the luckiest of men to have you!!!