Making a House a Home

We hosted a dear friend last week who was in town for a conference.  He told me the night he arrived that he loved how the house was set up and that he felt very at home there.  It made me feel SO great, because when you live in a place and see it every day it’s hard to tell how it really looks, yes?  And I’d had some challenges to overcome as I arranged our little love nest (Bryan says I’m not allowed to call it that, but I think it’s okay here on my blog).  🙂

When we were almost married, Bryan and I spent a few weeks looking at houses.  We wanted to sign a lease in time for some of the wedding party (all out-of-towners) to be able to stay in our new place during the wedding weekend.  The last house we saw before the place we ended up renting was on a beautiful, quiet street with lots of large, charming houses.  It was the only small house among them, but it had an equal helping of character.  Wood floors, carved stone fireplace, tiny lanterns in the hallways.  It was so many things that I had imagined, but it was also really old and hadn’t been maintained as well as we would have liked.  My heart sunk as I realized this was not the kind of house we needed right now.  It was hard to walk away.

We were running out of time and starting to feel a bit stressed when we we drove past a cute, red brick duplex on the peaceful end of a street walking distance to the university.  As soon as we entered the front door, we glanced at each other and knew without speaking that our decision was made.  It was a breath of fresh air.  Solidly built, new, clean, small and cozy with just the right amount of space for newlyweds.  It even has a guest room although, sadly, only one bath.  Sidenote:  According to my Pawpaw, the secret to a good marriage is what he likes to call PTL2–patience, trust, love and two bathrooms.  I’ll have to post the video I have of this quote sometime soon.  We will make that a goal for when we become homeowners.  Right now we’re getting along okay.  We’ve got two sinks, at least.  🙂

The only other thing about the place that I have trouble with is that the walls are all white.  I love color, so knowing that we wouldn’t be able to paint was a difficult reality for me.  Once we got back from the honeymoon and started to settle in, I made it my mission to create a homey vibe despite the white walls.  I have more stuff hanging than I would normally want, but I think it helps to cover up a lot of the stark whiteness.

I tried to incorporate some Costa Rican flavor–particularly in the kitchen where we spend a lot of time.  I think everyone is allowed to have one thing that they are OCD about, and mine is lighting.  I HATE flourescents, and much prefer the softer light of lamps or natural light streaming in through windows.  I’ve never thought of myself as someone who has an artistic eye (and I still don’t).  I typically consult with my sister on decor decisions.  She is the artist in the family and has great taste.  So it surprised me how much I enjoyed putting together our casita.  I have moved around a lot since leaving home for college, and I have almost always had roommates.

This was my first experience with having an entire dwelling in which I could arrange things the way I wanted them.  Husband has a fairly laissez faire approach to these types of things.  He likes to say that he only knows about six colors and that’s all he wants to know.  So I lovingly selected the placement of each piece of furniture, area rug, appliance and wall hanging, only asking for assistance with some of the manual labor.  I want to show you a few of my favorite things (Sound of Music, anyone?) from our abode.  I’ll share more at a later date.

This is the view from our kitchen window in the mornings.  Lovely way to start the day.









This is a partial view of the antique printer’s tray that my dad gave us (representin’ the family biz) and the pictures surrounding it.  This is the focal point on the largest wall in the living room.  I haven’t finished filling the printer’s tray yet, and it looks a little sad…hence the partial view.  🙂


I love the color and style of our coffee table.  We bought it from our friends Jonathan and Michiko a few weeks before they moved to Japan to do mission work.  The pattern on this area rug is called “Costa Rica”, so that’s pretty perfect.  Those are Husband’s feet in the background…studying hard, like always.  🙂





Thanks for reading, dear ones.  Have a lovely weekend!


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