Tuesday, January 2, 2018

What Makes a House Feel Alive?

For families and friends, what makes a house alive?  Photos by Salt Water New England
Some houses feel alive, and others feel more inert.  For those with an ocean or salt marsh view, or that live around farm animals, this energy can almost be taken for granted.  One can add to it in other ways as well.

Examples of what makes a house feel alive, this time of year:

Spring bulbs (above)...
Ocean views...

Larger farm animals...
Hampshire Sheep (Mostly)

Pets...
Holland Lop

Cloverdale Golden

Wood fires...


Smaller farm animals...

Barred Rocks and Rhode Island Reds

Cooking...


Live music...




And feeding the birds...






22 comments:

  1. Photographs of family and friends, and flowers.

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  2. I feel all warm and cozy and happily alive just looking at these pictures!

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  3. We have deer and birds visiting as well as spectacular sunsets viewed through our woods. We burn candles, both real and flameless. What I like about our flameless candles is that they are very realistic looking and have timers so that the home "fires" are burning when we come home after dark. Also a favorite of mine is the sound of my vintage kitchen timer when I'm baking or roasting dinner.

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    1. I love the flawless candle idea.

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    2. Some of the flameless candles out there ARE near flawless. :) Luminara and knock-offs make candles with real wax and "dancing" flames. I don't use them in place of dinner candles but the pillar candles are perfect for my mantel and end tables.

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  4. Lit candles and classical music bestow serenity.

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  5. Nothing overcomes the comforting pleasure of playing Chopin on the grand...

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  6. This evening it has been three labradors being let in and out of the house with the accompanying blasts of 9 degree weather through the door. Two kids playing their great-great-great grandparents' piano with some of their original 1927 sheetmusic composed by Hoagy Charmichael. I'm a firm believer that those family members that are no longer with us live on through us. The tapping of lap tops as homework is being done. The heat is working because the radiators are hissing. Thanks for making me stop and take stock. It is nice to think of the wonderful things.

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  7. Hmm.. yes, these things. But more, I think. First, it has to be loved & respected by the people who live in it. Taken care of, cleaned, repaired, arranged. It doesn't have to be perfect, but it must not be neglected. An abandoned house by the sea does not feel alive. Neither does a house piled with years of junk, even if the inhabitants themselves are a lively crew. The house must be big enough to breathe, small enough to comfort, and tidy enough that the telltale signs of daily routines can be noticed.

    Then, it can reflect the life in and around it. Pets, nature, music, flowers, books, personalities. Soup simmering in the kitchen. Photos of friends. Warmth of the day and cool of the night. Sounds of sleeping and waking.

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    1. Yes, this! I agree completely. My husband and I bought a house that has always been occupied but was very much neglected by the previous owner. We moved into a shell and after almost three years of work we live in a home. It's tidy, clean, repaired, arranged...but still a little messy from dogs tracking in snow, plaster dust settling from ongoing repairs, blankets thrown over the couches and chairs in the living room because they're used to frequently to fold.

      It's perfect in it's imperfection. Wabi sabi, perhaps!

      -ER

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  8. Today the heat coming on makes our house feel alive. Brrrrrrr, it's nippy.

    Aiken

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  9. Surprised no one has mentioned books. Also, lots of wood, scarred but well cared for.

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  10. Toasty radiators, warm slippers, hot soup and two cuddly Yorkshire Terrier's. I'm so thankful for these very cold days, makes me appreciate summer even more.

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  11. Laughter, books, a puzzle in progress, a fire in the fireplace, something tasty on the stove or in the oven.

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  12. Family, friends and pets, but also, changing the environment in the home to embrace the seasons. Cozy places to sit, fires, low lighting and comfort food in the kitchen during the cold months. Open windows, sunshine, breezes and fresh flowers during the warm months.

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  13. Love these comments. Polished aged wood, forced bulbs, pets, music, books, candles or fire, something tasty and warm cooking and/or baking, and a feeling of love and care--all has been so well captured in these comments. N from VA

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  14. All of the above and things that show use, age and being lovingly made and handled. A bookcase with dog eared leather bound books & paperbacks, mud room with boots showing signs of a good country tramp, children’s artwork, etc. Lives being lived. I have been to numerous house “warmings” featuring the minimalist look complete with neutral palette. Has always made me feel like I am walking through the inside of a commercial refrigerator. Yes, I know, it’s an aesthetic and I do enjoy staying at 5 star hotels with the “look”. But living in such an environment day in and out, brrrrr, it’s below zero. If anyone has seen the minimalist send-up Ab Fab episode with the incomparable Miranda Richardson, it’s a hoot but not far off the mark from my experiences. Hard not to giggle when visiting.

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  15. Children home from college.

    The Concord Diaspora

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  16. Great books, favorite art, comfortable furniture, soothing music, homemade anything cooking in the kitchen, sunlight pouring through the window warming a carpet or floor. Oh and tea in the afternoon followed at 5 pm by a martini and some cheese and crackers! Can't forget the essentials.

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  17. Love these...they warm my heart!

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